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digital marketing 101, digital marketing overview, basics, and best practices

digital marketing 101, digital marketing overview, basics, and best practices

it’s pretty easy to see the importance in the value of building out your online presence with the majority of online marketing being self-service it’s easy to dive right in and honestly many businesses are in such a rush to take advantage of the opportunity that they fail to build out a proper strategy being digital for the sake of just having a presence in these channels is not the answer the key is to build out a dedicated strategy that results in a strong return on investment without investing time in a strategy you’re not only going to miss great opportunities but you may find your business left behind because online marketing is so broad it’s easier to look at your strategy as three distinct strategies that all share a common goal these strategies cover your business your customer and your marketing now I’ll dig deeper into each of these in the next few movies and my goal is to help you develop a cohesive online marketing strategy and to do that you’ll need to understand the plan for your business at a high level how you intend to be perceived by your market who that market actually is how your customers are using digital technology and what channels you’ll build into having a clear and well thought out strategy keeps you focused and it serves as your roadmap as you explore new marketing channels now there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution here every business needs to create its own strategy and that makes sense if you’re selling custom t-shirts to sports fans online your plan will bear little resemblance to a local restaurant your strategy will vary but the focus is always to create shared value and shared value is when the goals of your customer overlap with the goals of your business your entire marketing strategy should be built with shared value in mind forget for a moment that you’re selling a product or a service and instead adopt the mindset that your marketing and experience so as we look at our three distinct strategies I want you to focus on building each of them out with the idea that at the end of the day you want to have a shared value experience and that experience will bring you positive ROI the first of our three strategies is your business strategy and here we want to identify the mission statement objectives your value proposition and the elevator pitch these four elements help to focus our attention and they’ll make it easier as we look at our customers and marketing strategies but before we get there we need to cross the basics off the list and these are is your business digital do you have the right structure in place will your online marketing efforts fit into your existing process and do you have the time necessary to maintain your strategy we’ll talk about the minimum effort required in each channel but you’ll still need to know that you can maintain the day-to-day one of the big challenges of online marketing is keeping things up to date you can only plan an effective strategy if you have a clear understanding of your business from the start you need a big-picture view to determine which route makes the most sense and when you hit a hurdle you’ll need that big-picture view to pick a new route that gets you to your destination so let’s get back to building our business strategy over time you can refine your strategy to find a way to hit the bullseye so as I mentioned earlier we’re going to identify the mission statement objectives your value proposition and the elevator pitch okay so we need to start by defining our mission statement this one sentence should summarize what we’re trying to do it can be vague but it should be able to stand up on its own you’ll use your mission statement to keep everything else in check next we should define at least three organizational objectives and you can have more if you’re so inclined these should be the pieces that are necessary to keep the business running and to maintain your brand identity it can be anything from selling product to increasing signups next identify the value proposition of those objectives why do you stand out what makes you unique why would someone choose you over your competitor ideally you’ll select one or two value propositions for each of your objectives finally add your elevator pitch your pitch helps you think concisely online marketing has many channels that limit the amount of information you can communicate so this is a great opportunity to practice thinking in a concise manner so pick and choose the elements that are specific to your business going through this process will help you understand who your business is and where you want your online marketing efforts to take you next we’ll be looking at how to add to the strategy with our customer strata gee so at this point we’ve got a good understanding of our business but now we need to understand who our customer is and where we’ll find them with our customer strategy we’re trying to do three things the first is to reach the correct audience it would be a waste of time and advertising spend to pursue the wrong audience the right audience will have the best return on investment the second is to understand that audience what it is that motivates them as it relates to our objectives and finally we want to understand where we’ll find that audience more specifically what marketing channel we can leverage to connect them with now when we talk about our online marketing audience we aren’t referring to some special class of consumer the truth is the customers that shop at a brick-and-mortar are the same people who will order from an online store the major difference however is that the digital customer is in control they’re able to drill into a landscape that is more niche and personalized than ever before this means that when you go to identify this audience you’re blessed and cursed at the same time you have to be specific with who you’re targeting there’s no street traffic to market broadly – each view costs you time and money but because your audience expects niche you’re able to seek this ultra fine customer out with ease unlike marketing efforts of the past next we need to put ourselves in the mind of the target audience what are their goals what are they looking to accomplish list each goal for that audience below it here you want to identify what mediums this audience is using is it social if so what network is it a blog are they likely to be searching on Google or visiting a particular website from here we need to drill in and understand our goals for each audience I’ll be referring to these as our customer segment so we’ll end up creating a new table to explore these segments in detail for each segment we need to understand four things first what is our business goal for this segment these goals are likely a more granular version of our overall business objective second what is the shared value for this segment if you recall shared value is when the goals of your customer overlap with the goals of your business next we’ll look at the key performance indicators these will be what you’re measuring it could be how many units you’ll sell or how many people visit your website last we want to create a target and this target will be directly related to our key performance next what we need to identify is how our business goals line up with the goals of our consumer so under each goal list why the customer is likely to see shared value finally let’s create a target what are you trying to achieve your target is directly related to your KPI so take your time and think through your core demographic the goals for each and what your final target is in the next video we’ll take that information and build a marketing strategy around it now that we understand our business and our customer it’s time to identify how we’re going to go about our online marketing each strategy builds on the strategy that precedes it and each time we get even more specific our marketing strategy will actually be many individual plans each tailored to one goal for an audience segment we specified from here we’re going to look at the channels we intend to market on and then develop a marketing idea for each of those marketing media’s available to us paid earned and owned now at this point you might not have a sense of all the channels available to you and that’s okay take an educated guess for now and then refine this plan as you continue through the course next do the same for your earned media because this is our organic effort we’re really identifying what we’d like to see happen we might need to leverage the efforts in paid and owned to influence our earned media finally make note of what you can do with your own media as it relates to each channel this might be as simple as posting on Facebook or it might involve a complex email campaign remember online marketing is an iterative process and you’ll work to continuously approve upon these ideas as you build out a new audience new objectives and new channels you’ll want to make sure you have your coverage with your marketing strategy it’s important to be flexible as you collect more and more data you’ll be able to get closer and closer to your real targets you may also learn that your plan was too aggressive or maybe it’s even too conservative there’s a lot to think about when you build your marketing strategy spend time doing research to further understand your business your customer and the marketing channels available to you you may choose to implement all of the strategies available to you or you may choose to ignore a few both are valid options depending on what you’re setting out to do all in all your marketing strategy is the final piece of the puzzle build it last and revisit it often throughout this course I’ll be using terminology specific to online marketing I’ll review these terms and their definitions with you now let’s start with one of the most important pieces of online marketing your call to action this is an instruction provided to your audience as a way to provoke a response calls to action typically use a verb such as save now or by today you’ll find them in banner ads on website landing pages and in social media posts to name a few as you drive traffic to your site you’ll encounter what’s called the bounce rate and this is when a visitor arrives to your website but leaves after visiting only one page they’re said to have bounced and your bounce rate is the percentage of these visitors and a bounce rate can apply to an entire web site or a single page now the traffic that bounced had to come from somewhere whether it was an advertisement or an email you’ll want to be measuring your click-through rate as marketers will often measure performance by how many clicks an ad receives every time an advertisement is shown it counts as an impression and the click-through rate is how many clicks were received in relation to the amount of impressions so let’s shift gears now and look at the term abandonment and this is when a user does not complete the goal you’ve intended for them so a user is following a particular path say to checkout from an ecommerce store or to complete an online form for more information and then they leave the process early in marketing we aim to reduce that and that’s what we call abandonment as you begin to scale up your marketing efforts you’ll encounter paid advertising and the term ad impression each time your advertisement is displayed to a user it counts as an impression and impressions are often tied to frequency frequency is the amount of time a single user will see your advertisement so if you had 10 impressions of an ad with a frequency of 2 then 5 individual people will have seen that advertisement when a user completes your goal whether it’s buying a product or downloading an application they’re said to have converted your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who entered into this experience and actually completed the goal to understand how a user converted or when we need to use what’s called a tracking pixel and these are tiny 1×1 pixel images that are installed on your website to track conversions website visits and add views now advertising only makes sense if it brings you a positive return on investment to discover that we’ll look at our cost per acquisition you may also hear this referred to as CPA or in some cases cost per action this is how much it costs you per goal completion so if you ran an advertisement with the goal of getting an application download and that ad cost you $100 then if one person downloaded the app despite the hundreds that clicked on it the cost per acquisition for that single user would be $100 that CPA will then be compared to your lifetime value or LTV every customer has a value some will buy once and never return others will become repeat buyers your lifetime value is a prediction of the net profit attributed to that relationship typically with paid advertisements you want your cost per acquisition to be lower than your lifetime value now later we’re going to talk more about banner advertisements and display ads and here I’ll be referring to visual images either static or animated that are used to generate brand awareness or entice a user to click most banner or display advertisements will contain a call to action now when you’ve run these advertisements or share an offer it’s important that the user arrives on a page that is specific to your promotion if you don’t use one it’s unlikely they’ll convert this page they first arrive on is called the landing page and finally let’s look at an organic result when you conduct a search on say Google you have two types of results paid results which are typically the first couple of links and a handful of links on the right sidebar and organic listings which are not paid and instead achieve their rank through search engine optimization year over year more and more marketing opportunities present themselves online and this is because people are creating and adopting new technologies and exploring new ideas the amount of options available to you as a marketer are almost overwhelming in this course we’re going to explore the main components of digital marketing but the concepts will scale to other areas it’s important to keep in mind that your strategy does not need to include every available marketing channel you may end up using a handful of the ones we discussed or you may find success in leveraging other avenues that are not part of these core components with such a wide array of choices it is important to evaluate which channels make the most sense if you’re operating with limited resources you may need to prioritize which channels you want to start with and on the same vein if you’re exploring a new channel it’s a good idea to explore how it will impact your day to day so to do that I like to evaluate each based on the effort required to build out the channel and the value in doing so and from there we can plot them on a matrix so to show you what I mean let’s look at four areas of our online marketing strategy SEO search marketing social media and video so the first thing we need to do is figure out what channel we’re using for these areas so for SEO we’re going to focus on Google for search marketing we’ll use Google Adwords and with social media I’m going to start with Facebook and then for video we’ll use YouTube so let’s drop these four into a table next we need to score the effort on a scale of 1 to 6 6 being the most amount of effort and 1 the least will also score the value so which of these are likely to have the biggest return on investment now these scores are specific to your business so I’m going to just assign some numbers here as an example now that we have our scores let’s visualize how we can spend our time and to do that we’ll create a 6 by 6 grid with one axis for effort and one for value since we’re using a scale of 1 to 6 we’ll mark each row and column with a corresponding number now if we break these into 4 separate sections what we have is a visualization of effort versus value the top left is low value low effort and the bottom right is high value high effort taking our scores from the previous table we can plot exactly where these marketing channels land so since I scored Google a 5 for value and a 4 for F I’ll place that in the correct section I’ll repeat this process for Adwords YouTube and Facebook with the complete matrix it’s easier to decide how we’ll spend our time start with things in the high-value high effort section and work your way back around the matrix keep in mind that just because something is high effort and low value doesn’t mean it’s not worth exploring we’re simply scoring these in relation to one another low value could still mean a significant return on investment it’s just not as significant as something in the high value section first of all search is the number one source currently used when making a decision to purchase something this comes from consumers all the way up to high level business decision makers your website’s visibility and search is likely the most valuable real estate online because searchers are expressing intent and are of Anish they’re an ideal target paid search is a key piece of today’s digital landscape and the current leader to buy ads from is Google AdWords now email was once the marketers dream a quality email list was extremely valuable in the early 2000s now it’s still effective but it has to be mobile almost 50% of all emails are open on a mobile device so the landscape has definitely shifted with mobile email the digital marketplace demands a mobile website we’re seeing a huge trend in marketing automation as well these concepts involve automated bidding based on results automatically remarketing to people who visited your site and even creating custom advertisements specific to what a user was searching for automation will continue to evolve or the next couple of years and it’s likely going to stay a key component to the marketers toolkit social media is still proving to be valuable for many brands there’s been some pushback from the consumer as it relates to advertisements in social but this marketing style is still relatively young and has room for improvement we’ll likely see social advertising remain very popular in today’s landscape and finally we’re in a mature stage of content marketing building high-value content for audiences is proving to generate significant ROI is for those doing it well users report interesting content as being one of the top three reasons they follow a brand now content marketing might actually be in the early stages of reforming more and more consumers are becoming weary of sensational headlines and may be responding less effectively to previously common techniques such as top 10 lists and weird tricks to solve a certain problem now it’s important to stay in tune with the online marketing landscape I recommend that as new trends emerge test them out and see how they perform for your brand your website is an important piece of your digital marketing strategy it may serve as a gateway to gather information or the actual destination where a sale takes place it’s an opportunity for a visitor to discover what makes your brand unique to find the information they’re looking for and to guide them in their decision to buy you may have all sorts of marketing campaigns running ads on Google post on Facebook blog articles all of it is bringing in new customers that eventually end up on your website all of that attention on your website makes it one of the most valuable pieces of digital real estate you own the better your marketing the more visibility your website has online consumers of today are fickle and that’s because digital interactions are so commonplace so users are spoiled by companies that are doing it well they’re used to things just working and they expect that the information they want will be available and accurate when it’s not they’re disappointed and credibility is lost for whatever brand they’re interacting with the truth is if your website isn’t good you’re going to fall further and further behind as the landscape evolves and if your website doesn’t work on mobile you’re already behind chances are there’s a competitor with a better online experience and your customers will seek them out if they’re fumbling with yours so let’s talk about how to make sure that your experience is good enough it doesn’t need to be perfect it just has to be successful an effective website is simple well-thought-out and highly functional it should be intuitive and eliminate any and all barriers so your visitor can accomplish their goals effortlessly in our marketing strategy we’re aiming for shared value it’s the same with your website your business goals and the needs of your target market should overlap and while we’re drawing similarities to our marketing strategy I’ll also point out that your website only needs to appeal to your target market so spend your effort designing it to work for that audience as you evaluate your current website take some time to ask yourself the following questions 1 is it mobile-friendly the amount of people using their mobile devices to browse the web is staggering so design with mobile in mind now later in this chapter we’re going to talk about something called responsive design and that will help give you some more ideas around the topic of being mobile-friendly now the next question is does it load properly in all modern web browsers if your site looks one way on Safari for Mac and another way on Chrome for see you’re not really controlling the experience test it out on all of the modern browsers I recommend browser staff calm as a way to quickly test your site across platforms does it answer all the questions my users have or may have now a good practice is to write down things your customers ask for via phone email or even in your place of business you can check to see if those answers are easily found on your website and if they’re not then you should put that information online next is the site reflective of my brand within the first couple of seconds a user is going to decide how the site feels to them you need to make sure your brand is carried through luxury brands need to feel elegant whereas discount sites can focus more on the current sales make sure your logo tagline and the color scheme all reflect your brand you definitely want things to be consistent is it up-to-date nothing is worse than information that’s out of date it creates concern with users so be sure to keep information current if you have a blog you should be using it weekly are all of your services and products easy to find because online marketing is so niche you’re targeting audience is likely looking for something specific can they find it on your website if they can’t find it and they call and you say it’s a service or product you do offer then it needs to be on your site are all of your policies easy to find that is to say if you ship or handle returns can a user understand the process clearly will they know how long shipping takes when they can expect to call back or a product to arrive you want to provide ample feedback so a user knows where they stand in the process and finally one of the best criteria for your site is how does it compare to your competitor are you proud or jealous if you’re jealous it’s probably time to seriously consider whether or not you need to patch up your website leverage your relationships with existing customers and colleagues as a way to get feedback on your site ask them what they like what they don’t like and for any ideas as you go about creating an effective website I also recommend hearing from someone outside your circle check out peak usertesting.com for no charge they’ll have a real person spend five minutes on your site and give you honest and unbiased feedback as I said earlier your website is possibly the most valuable piece of your digital marketing strategy take your time and conduct an honest about you Asian having the right domain name is essential your domain name is how your visitors find your website it appears on your print materials and it’s also shared both online and offline as your brand recognition increases a poorly chosen domain name will have a widespread negative impact on your online and offline efforts a good domain name is relevant memorable and usable so let’s talk about relevant your domain name should be relevant to your business typically it’ll be your business name but in some situations it can be a bit more broad if your business name is too long you may need to creatively shorten it while still remaining on brand the more relevant your domain name the better even for SEO so stick with what makes sense to your target market next make it memorable and you’ll do that by keeping it short using simple terms and by selecting the most common suffix now what I’m talking about suffixes I’m referring to com net org and today.com is still King and most people instinctually type com even if you listed net or org it’s ideal to always have com now some countries have specific suffixes such as MX or Co UK use the one that is most widespread in your region if you have a difficult to spell or pronounce business name you’ll end up with a less than memorable domain name instead you’ll want to try an alternative domain name that still maintains the feel of your brand and finally the domain should be usable if you’re adding in hyphens or leveraging prefixes other than www you might be hampering of visitors ability to arrive at your website the best domain names are short and free of special characters so after you select your domain name I recommend buying multiple variations and suffixes to prevent others from registering them also if you’re using a number in your domain it’s not a bad idea to buy the version with the numbers spelled out to avoid any complications when sharing a domain name through word-of-mouth if your domain name is unavailable it might be worth contacting a current owner to inquire about the cost of purchasing it if you can’t find their contact information on their website you can try denta fiying them by running what’s called a who is this will query the registered owner you’ll find the tools to do this at Whois net or who dot is it’s hard to change a domain name once you’ve got your marketing underway so evaluate your options and make the best choice for your business if you’re not doing the work yourself or if you don’t have the luxury of an in-house web team you’ll want to bring in a professional to help you build your site you might need a designer a developer or even both the truth is there’s an endless amount of options out there and it can be challenging to find the right fit the number one complaint I hear from small businesses is their inability to find designers and developers that get the work done I’d like to provide you with some ideas on how you can refine the list of potential resources to something manageable let’s start by talking about graphic designers not all graphic designers are web designers and not all web designers have the skills necessary to build something that meets your requirements as you look for a designer I would start by reviewing their website how does it look is it appealing to you you are the target audience so if you find a designer that feels too edgy they’re likely not going to produce the right result you want a website that achieves its goal if they’ve got an eye for good marketing it’s a step in the right direction next look at their portfolio if they don’t have a portfolio that’s a red flag make note of the sites they worked on read through their comments and then visit each of those sites and explore them I like to double-check the footer of each website to see if there’s an attribution Lee more often than not I’ll see a link attributing a different design firm and that raises a red flag as well I would also check out the recency of their portfolio if you visit a website in their portfolio and it’s completely redesigned it could raise some questions now some designers aren’t in a hurry to keep their portfolios up to date so they could have conducted the redesign it’s good to see relevant designs however the more up-to-date the portfolio the more likely that designer is to be staying current with the latest trends and techniques now once you have a shortlist I’d review any online reviews you can find and then reach out to the designer and ask if you can talk to a few of their current or former clients talk with your designer and ask them if they’re familiar with responsive design what software they use to design their sites and ask if you can see some of the process behind their current designs it’s really helpful to see a designer’s thought process if they’re creating wireframes and mock-ups you’ll have some assurance that you’ll be part of an iterative process if they seem hesitant they could be buying prefabricated templates and not putting much thought into it now not to say templates are bad they can be very useful for low cost projects and as a way to build an initial foundation finally ask them to review your project and provide you with a quote and a timeline a short turnaround and a low-cost bid might seem alluring but I’d be weary get a couple of proposals and compare them good designers aren’t inexpensive the truth of the matter is good talent usually knows what they’re worth but your website is so important so it’s worth a sizable investment you can take a look at behance comm dribble calm and Elance calm for designers share their portfolios with your friends and colleagues to get a second opinion now looking for a developer can be an even bigger challenge the way your site is built will impact everything from your usability to your SEO skimp on development and you’re going to find yourself with costly problems in the long run it’s usually easy to get a sense of what you like in a designer but if you’re not familiar with programming it can feel impossible to really vet them out start the same way as you did with the designer take a look at the projects they’ve worked on interact with the websites check the sites on mobile and in various browsers you’re looking to see if the experience is fluid and smooth review the websites to see if they comply with web standards and you can conduct a search for that at validator w3.org you’re looking for a low number of errors a few is fine but a handful might indicate some problems some developers might have a handful of errors because their clients are using old frameworks or they’re not interested in paying for fixes in that case check the website of the developer it should be a solid representation of their talent next I like to run the site’s through Google PageSpeed insights you’re looking for scores at least in the high 70s if you see something low make note and use that as a conversation point with the developer ask them if they know why one of the sites in their portfolio is poorly optimized and get a sense of how they might approach the problem it’s also a great idea to ask the developer if they’re contributing in any public repositories you can ask to see their bitbucket account and review their activity someone who is leveraging the latest technology and using repositories might be a step ahead of the others and just as you did with your designer check reviews you can look at sites like oDesk and Elance for programmers but know that a good review doesn’t necessarily equate to good code there are many agencies overseas that can crank out great customer service and a functional product but leave a tangled mess of code that just becomes difficult to deal with later again ask your developer for a quote and a timeline and shop around a mid-range web developer will likely cost you between 40 to 80 dollars an hour with high-end development agencies charging in the range of a hundred to $150 an hour I can’t stress the importance of having good development talent working on your project I locate plenty of time for your website project the best results come with the ability to review things conduct research and work alongside the team building your digital real estate every website has a goal it could be to distribute information capture an email address or sell a product there’s a reason you’re putting an effort into online marketing your goal is for your visitor to take some sort of action after they land on your website now depending on your audience you’ll have between 2 and 6 seconds to convince them to stay once they’ve arrived what happens is these visitors will click take a glance and then bounce from your site if they’re not interested so ideally you’re driving this traffic to a specific landing page having specific destinations allows you to reinforce the decision to click provide an attention-grabbing visual or headline and frame the information in a way that helps you achieve your goal now some new visitors will inevitably arrive on your homepage and that’s ok but it’s important to avoid campaigns that drive visitors directly to your homepage it’s the least conversion friendly page on your website since it tends to be fairly broad the key to making your website convert is to build goal specific landing pages these landing pages come in a few varieties but I’m going to focus on the four most common types teaser pages squeeze pages infomercials and viral pages these are all ones you’ve likely encountered as you’ve browsed the web the first is a teaser page the objective of a teaser page is to give your visitor just enough information to get them to click through to the next step of your process teaser pages are useful for products that are nearing launch by creating anticipation and excitement you can convince the visitor to take an action such as providing an email address or even pre-ordering you can also use these pages to tease out any unqualified leads if you have a special product for a select audience you can leverage teaser pages to ask them questions one step at a time slowly revealing more about your product or offering depending on the answers next we have the squeeze page the goal of the squeeze page is to capture content and qualifying lead information typically a visitor exchanges their contact information for something of moderate value say a webinar ebook or an exclusive discount the lead information can be as simple as an email or as complex as four or five pre qualifying questions a good squeeze page keeps the message above the fold stays on target and has a strong enough value to be effective let’s move on to the viral landing page the goal of this page is to invite your customers to enlist their friends you might have a reward that is earned through a number of shares for example for each friend who signs up you’ll get a $5 credit your viral landing page might include a funny video or an infographic now finally we have the infomercial page these are typically designed in the same style as an infomercial you’d see on TV the idea is one page typically a long page and you’ll share all the information about the product what it is how it works its benefits testimonials and a special offer if you buy it today infomercial pages are effective at driving sales for certain products and are typically used by affiliate marketers when running large campaigns to build your landing page select the right type and then focus on these five things you want to define the goal what needs to happen what information from the user do you need to accomplish that goal their email phone number credit card outline what the user needs to do do they need to fill out a form invite a friend and so on what information does the user need to be convinced what is of shared value to them and finally how will you track the results it’s important to make sure your landing page has your logo an explanation of the offer a very compelling headline related testimonials and links to reviews along with a strong call-to-action after you build your landing page or if you already have pages on your site executing these goals it’s important to continuously improve them when someone starts by clicking on your link maybe fills out the first page but then never enters their credit card they’ve abandoned you want to fix abandonment by finding the pain point and we’ll talk more on this later when we get into conversion funnels but here’s why this is important if you fix conversions you can increase your revenue without having to increase your traffic so 10,000 visitors at a 1 percent conversion rate would equal 100 sales and 10,000 visitors at a 3 percent conversion rate well that’s 300 sales so focus on keeping your landing pages concise just the right amount of information necessary to get the job done make sure you add confidence to your visitors by linking to your email policy having a valid SSL certificate and including your contact information directly on the page there are many other ways to improve the conversion on your website obviously not every page can be a landing page but landing pages allow you to build isolated tests and you can then apply those learnings to the rest of your website here’s the reality people just don’t read on the internet they scan they’ll jump from a headline to an image and then scan a few bullet points this means when it comes to the copy on your website less is more and with less words to work with it’s important that you make each one count will call all the text on your website copy now I’m not going to be discussing blog articles that’s a whole different beast for now we’re going to focus on your web copy writing engaging web copy starts with knowing your audience your writing specifically for them and no one else you need to deliver your information in a way that meets their needs and you have to be mindful of the fact that for whatever reason they’re likely in a hurry to find that information the goal is to write great copy not just content it’s different so as you approach your project start by getting rid of any long introductions and word heavy descriptions stick to clear concise and punctual copy use clever headings to your advantage and break up your text with bullet points building on topic and relevant content will not only help your users but it’ll help you out as you work to rank in the search engines as well one thing I see often is pages that put their headline as about us or contact us for the page you’re on now those are helpful in the title or the breadcrumb but save that heading space for something captivating and attention-grabbing especially on your landing pages as you move into the content deliver the most important points of your story first and then add the supporting details as you go this way if the user stops reading early they’ve got a gist of what you’re trying to say now before you get started look at each page of your website and answer these questions who will read this copy why are they reading this what should they feel when they read this page what am I trying to accomplish with this copy and what benefit and feature do I need them to really understand use these answers to build your first draft save it and then write it again with half as many words compare the two and only add back in what you need to reinforce the points that are lacking now at some point you might decide it’s a good idea to hire a professional copywriter I can’t stress the importance of good copy enough this is a worthwhile investment if you aren’t able to spend the time to refine your own copywriting skills when you look for a copywriter read through their work copywriters often write in specific niches and while they’re happy to adjust their tone and style for your needs it’s often better to find someone who understands your audience a copywriter should be invited into the project at the beginning this way they can gather all the facts understand the challenges ahead and build you exactly what you need you can utilize a copywriter to write slogans add ideas entire websites or focused landing page copy most work on a daily or half daily rate and expect to pay anywhere from 600 to 800 dollars per day right with the approach of connecting your audience to your business convincing them to take the next step and affirming their conversion over the past few years we’ve seen impressive growth of tablets and smartphones all coming with different screen sizes it would be an incredible amount of effort to build the design for each screen size and then try to keep up with new devices on top of it that’s where responsive web design comes in this approach allows your site to be adaptive the page responds automatically based on the screen size and even the orientation a user is viewing it in it works because a responsive website is designed around building blocks these blocks can break and collapse under one another stretch and shrink and even adjust the font sizes and image sizes based on the available screen real estate what’s great is that the same code is served to all the devices you won’t need to build multiple code bases you’ll instead rely on your style sheets to handle the scaling advanced responsive design can even adjust elements on the page adding an additional content or removing it based on the view you’ll have to decide if responsive design makes sense for your business personally I’d lean heavily towards making the investment in this style of web development it’s almost a necessity if you want to compete in today’s digital marketplace it’ll help future-proof your brand and it’ll give you amazing flexibility as you expand your marketing and improve your customers experience as they interact with your site from various devices now responsive design sounds relatively simple but it’s a fairly complex endeavor if you’ve built your website on a framework or a paid template you might be able to find an update that includes responsive elements if you have a more complex project including say ecommerce websites it’s probably best to enlist the help of a professional use responsive design as a tool not a cure-all fix you’ll still need to take usability into consideration and that might mean changing certain interactions on your website to accommodate a responsive experience the data you collect on your website your campaigns and your social media efforts will determine the overall health of your digital marketing the data is your map without it you’re flying blind you’ll be using your data to improve your experience listen for untapped opportunities and pull the plug if you have to on any failing ideas the amazing thing with digital marketing is we can track just about every action a user takes there are a number of tools available that help marketers understand both the qualitative and the quantitative we can track what’s happening now and even model what is likely to happen in the future let’s dig a little deeper into measuring data by looking at how we can capture data within our three media’s paid owned and earn so the easiest place to start is with your own website here you can track how many visitors where they’re coming from what pages they’re visiting how long they’ve stayed and even what page they left from by reviewing your analytics you’ll get a sense of how your users found your site if they’re finding what they want and if you’re advertising objectives are driving a meaningful amount of traffic with a resource like Google Analytics you’ll install a tracking code on every page on your website from there you’ll have a goldmine of data to leverage segment and correlate for example if you made a change to your website design and noticed on that day web traffic dropped dramatically you’ll have a sense of where to start looking for the problem if you roll out a new landing page you might see an increase in conversions resulting from that specific page or you may see a sudden spike in traffic and by drilling into it you can identify the source say a social media post or a mention or even an online blog now you’re paid analytics are typically tied to a reporting platform provided by the tool you’re using to run those ads this data is extremely useful as it can give you granular details on which ads are working what targeting makes sense and more however you’ll want to track as much data as you can in another tracking tool independent of that provider this way you can check the accuracy and evaluate things from different perspectives this is important because more often than not the way your platform will report conversions is different than how you report them and this works by installing a small pixel on your conversion page which informs the platform that a sale happen so if you have an advertisement on Facebook for example driving traffic to your landing page you’ll want to use campaign tracking tags or goal tracking in Google Analytics and the Facebook advertising dashboard simultaneously this way you can compare the data identify any discrepancies and test if your conversion pixel is actually working now the final part of our measurement will come from earned media and this one is typically the most difficult here your outcomes aren’t necessarily determined by spend but how interesting people think your product and services are here you’re tracking things like your social media fanbase mentions and interactions on tweets and video views on YouTube you may have many dashboards that you collect this data in and you’ll want to look at it alongside all your other advertising metrics the best way to measure results with earned media is to have your own goals and objectives that you can measure against so if for example you decide that 10,000 Facebook fans would increase your revenue potential by $1,000 then you can track how you’re trending towards that goal and the effort you’re investing there’s an endless amount of data providers out there investigate them against your needs and keep a system in place that provides you with the necessary checks and balances I find interpreting your data becomes easier and more meaningful if you understand the pieces that make data collection possible every action you take on the web is tracked one way or another the pages you view the files you download and even demographic and interest data can be recorded and this data is captured through the use of what are called cookies and pixels a cookie is a small file that a website stores on your computer this file might contain the pages you visited and when a unique identifier and even if you’re authorized to view certain logged in content typically a cookie doesn’t have much identifying information the website itself will store its own corresponding file and match your cookie ID to the records on the server and this is useful for knowing whether a visitor is returning for the second time how long between visits and even what advertisements they’ve clicked into speaking of advertising ad platforms such as Facebook Atlas or Google Adsense use cookies to identify the same user as they browse the web so you might see an ad from Google on the New York Times and then another ad from them while you’re browsing a food blog as you continue to browse the web and load advertisements from the same publisher they’ll see a list of the type of sites you visit and how you interact with these ads this information can then be used to sell ads that you’re likely to engage with so beyond cookies we have the tracking pixel and a tracking pixel stores information on your web server not your computer a pixel is really just a 1 by 1 transparent image and they’re often used to see if users convert after visiting a particular ad here’s how they work the server stores a small file call it pixel gif and every time the server asks for the file it’s going to log that request now instead of just asking for pixel gif will instead add custom variables to the requests a pixel gif question mark ID equals one two three and so on and so forth the server will be successful in delivering the image because all that extra text is irrelevant so the user won’t see any issues but it does keep a log of that unique URL and it can use those variables to then match that transaction back to a particular user or advertising event to put this another way let’s say you click on an ad to buy movie tickets as soon as you click you’re going to receive a cookie the cookie will include in formation on the time where you clicked what banner was clicked and so on now at this point the advertising platform knows that the ad received an impression and a click but it has no record of the sale so now let’s say you continue on and buy those tickets on the confirmation page the website is going to read the cookie on your computer pull the information from it and send it back to the server through the conversion pixel and now the advertising platform will connect the dots and indicate a sale for that ad we’ll talk more about how these sales are attributed later there’s some other factors such as how long it’s been since the click if the click came directly from the last click or maybe if a user saw an advertisement and purchase without actually clicking but again more on that later I could go deeper and deeper into the technical aspects of how cookies and pixels work but the truth of the matter is you really don’t need to know all the nuances with this high level overview you’ll be able to make sure yours are set up properly and tracking the right information conversion funnels helped us see the sales process or the specific route a user takes to arrive at a sale they’re a visual representation of each step of the process and they can be fairly generic referencing sales in general it’s white at the top because that’s where most of our users are in the process and narrow at the bottom because we lose people at each step in the process which is shown through the use of the arrows on the edges of the funnel funnels actually come in all shapes and sizes a perfect 100 percent conversion funnel would look like a straight cylinder a typical funnel is really wide at the top and very narrow at the bottom a well optimized funnel has a more gradual shape suggesting very limited abandonment and poorly optimized funnels might have bulges or aggressive drop-off indicating an issue your online marketing funnel will be specific so we wouldn’t track things so broadly instead our funnel for a shopping cart might be product page at the top payment form in the middle and completion as the last step there we could track how many visitors saw our product page versus how many completed the sale in this example a visualized funnel will show what steps might cause problems if people aren’t reaching the payment page or if we have high abandonment right before checkout we have a problem you’ll use your funnel to test page variations the copy and language use and even identified bugs or browser issues with Google Analytics we can create our own visual funnels now once there’s data in this section you’ll be able to see how many people come in how many people exit on this particular step and how many move on to the next step in the flow this helps you identify where issues exist if we notice that a lot of people are making it to the payment page but then abandoning we’d know that we need to optimize the payment page perhaps there’s an issue with that page the way that we’re asking for data maybe the page itself is broken maybe we don’t have a security certificate maybe people are concerned about their information but we’d identify that something is happening that prevents people from finalizing that goal now keep in mind Google Analytics doesn’t calculate funnels retroactive Lee so you need to set them up from the start and the data will then start collecting into that funnel moving forward your analytics will have all the information of what’s going on across your marketing channels but your KPIs will refine that information to give you a clearer view of how you’re performing the KPIs will help tell the story of how your online marketing is doing at a glance if you don’t have them you’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of data available to you by monitoring your KPIs you’ll see what’s working what’s not and what is impacting something else when you go about creating your KPIs make sure they are aligned to your business goals they need to be measurable and easy to understand so good KPI might be increased traffic five percent month-over-month whereas a bad KPI would be increased traffic each month if you don’t have a quantifiable goal it’s not easy to interpret the results sure you might be satisfied with growing traffic but if you’re only growing by a few visits per month you’ve got a problem and that problem wouldn’t be visible if your KP I got a checkmark because it was simply to increase traffic you want your KPIs to be tied to your marketing objectives because then they are influenced by your effort they’ll let you know when to celebrate and when to make something better so for example if you’re running an advertisement as a test to see if you can get acquisition costs at an acceptable level you might want a KPI that says achieve a $40 CPA if you went with achieve a hundred sales you’ll be focusing on measuring something you’re not actually trying to achieve you could succeed at that $40 CPA and then scale your KPI to be generate 100 sales per month at a $40 cost per acquisition to help get you started here’s some items to consider creating a KPI around for online sales look at your conversion rate and the cost per acquisition for broader marketing objectives set a KPI for total revenue and even the ratio of new to returning visitors if you’re using a landing page set a bounce rate KPI this way you can identify if your inbound traffic isn’t targeted enough as you consider your KPIs do yourself a favor and avoid worrying about things that aren’t impacting your bottom line pageviews might be impressive but only if they’re actually driving revenue I track business and marketing KPIs with an Excel spreadsheet but you can also look at software from Geckoboard calm or safecom to build out KPI dashboards giving you at a glance information take your time and pick the metrics that are relevant to you and organize them in a way that makes sense for your business a lot of online marketing revolves around encouraging a direct response from a prospective customer will show them an advertisement a tweet or a special offer via email and measure success based on the click and subsequent conversion this is what is referred to as last click attribution the entire value of the customers conversion is placed on the marketing channel or campaign that delivered the customer last click attribution is easy to measure because it involves a very clear process the user takes however this is a really flawed method we know that customers take a much larger journey they might see an email then read through a few brand tweets check reviews online and compare prices prior to purchasing add offline influences and second screen interactions on mobile or tablet devices and you can see how attributing all the value to a single source isn’t going to cover it so what do we do from here truthfully it’s an iterative process unique to each brand so you start with your last click wins and then apply some weight to your other attributions your view-through conversions a view through can be measured when an advertising platform places a cookie when a user receives your ad impression now if they don’t click but later come to your site and buy your product then it’ll be tracked as a view through but not all ad impressions are single-handedly delivering sales again there might be social media or search playing a role as well but applying some weight to view-through conversions will help balance the attribution model even further with your paid advertising you might adjust the view through conversion by reducing the window of time that you’ll accept the sale as being attributed to an ad impression some brands might be willing to accept the idea that a 30-day window is reasonable while others might prefer a much shorter time period be sure to review your cookie durations with any paid advertising that you’re conducting as with most everything in marketing the idea is test optimize and test again you might notice patterns emerge where you’re taking a loss on your search marketing that is to say your cost per acquisition on a last click attribution is higher than anticipated but if you stop your search marketing you can see that your display advertising suffer significantly this might suggest people see your banner ad search for your brand and click on your paid result if your banner it was relatively inexpensive your attribution model might allow you to share some of the costs making both campaigns pencil out in the green you can boil attribution models down and do a wholesome model or a fractional model so in a wholesome approach you’ll give all the credit to last click or first click in a fractional model you’ll spread that attribution out and give credit to certain channels that might only be assisting on the final decision there are many ways to build out your attribution models you can track the metrics individually in Excel and make comparisons between each channel there are also third-party attribution tools or if you’re using Google Premium you can modify your attribution on-the-fly now if you’re not on premium you can still get a good idea of various attribute models by using multi-channel funnels this way you can start seeing which channels are actually bringing in the most revenue and drive your efforts in that direction or you can identify which channels aren’t driving a lot of value and see if you can work on those channels to increase their value it’s important to understand how you’re attributing your sales so don’t pull the plug too early on various marketing efforts instead use this data to see if you can identify why or why not various sources are working now your model might change so continue to keep tabs on this data and look to see if any patterns emerge search engine optimization is all about impacting how visible your website is in a search engines organic results you’ll be making changes to your site’s technical setup as well as the content on the page in an effort to improve rank to better understand optimization let’s start by looking at how search engines work a company like Google will have a bot basically a software program that crawls the web it does this by following links and links from your site to other pages on your site and even links from one site to another the crawler arrives at a page reads the code and stores the information that stored information is called the index and your initial goal is to get indexed by Google if your indexed you’ll rank and you might not rank well but you have the potential for ranking and when I talk about rank I’m referring to which position you appear in for a particular search query so when you enter a search term Google will do its best to provide the most important and relevant answers and then rank them from best to worst the better Google is at their job the more likely you are to use them and the more money they make so it’s in Google’s best interest to deliver the best content and because Google drives a mind-boggling amount of traffic each day it’s in your best interest to rank well for relevant terms and rank is determined by importance and relevance a complex algorithm turns through hundreds of variables to decide where your page lands many of those variables are what you’re aiming to optimize these variables might include the topics you’re writing about who is linking to your page how your website is programmed and even if your mobile-friendly Google even evaluates the quality of the pages that are linking to you if they’re on brand relevant and popular it’s going to assume you’re more credible than if off-topic unpopular pages are linking to your content variables that you can’t control might include where a user is searching from trending topics and any current events that could skew results SEO done well can provide an impressive ROI done poorly and it will negatively impact your organic search efforts in this chapter we’ll dig into the fundamentals of good SEO and how you can improve the chances that your page ranks well truthfully SEO is an ongoing effort there isn’t one specific tactic you can implement at the start to succeed at the race it’ll require many factors to be evaluated tweaked and then refined with that said there’s still a handful of variables that are absolutely essential to your success I’m going to focus on these key areas for now to give you a solid foundation for your continued effort so first off search engines are built around their ability to index pages so it’s very important that your site is accessible to crawlers and that crawlers can get to every page on your site search engines love text it’s the easiest for them to parse if your site is built in flash you’re going to have trouble with SEO if you’re using images in place of text you too will have a problem search engines also love clicking links if you’ve got your links tucked into a custom JavaScript navigation your crawl ability might be impaired so as you look at your site make sure you have at least one regular text-based hyperlink to every page on your site it’s usually best to build a flat site hierarchy versus a deep site hierarchy and to help understand this let’s look at a flat hierarchy there are exceptions to every rule in some situations there are simply too many categories to show them all at one level in other cases showing specific topics too soon will just confuse your audience and users will understand your offerings much better if you include some intermediary category pages to establish contacts focus on building a site that is easy to navigate for your users with your most important content linked clearly and prominently next be sure to look at how your URLs are named it’s a great idea to have natural language URLs free of any extensions if you have an e-commerce site a URL of clothing site comm slash men’s slash pants slash denim – jeans is going to be much better than clothing site com slash Product ID equals one to three along that same concept be sure your title tags are unique to each individual page and include a clear topic don’t start your title tags with your domain name simply append that to the end be sure each page has a unique Meta Description Google often uses the Meta Description as the short text visible in search results don’t just list keywords here create a meaningful sentence or two that will entice the visitor to click Next make sure you’re taking advantage of heading tags these are the h1 h2 and h3 tags you always want your heading tags to appear in order on your page and you should only have one heading 1 tag avoid using your heading 1 tag to say things like about us or contact us instead focus on the core topic for that page check that every image on your website has a well-defined name and an alt tag description no need to keyword stuff in your tags just make them natural and relevant to the user and Google will reward you finally be sure to use a sitemap both in HTML and XML format along with a well-defined robots.txt file I also recommend signing up for Google Webmaster Tools it’s a great dashboard that will help you inspect the overall SEO health of your site you’ll find the free sign up at google.com/webmasters use the dashboard to review how many pages have been crawled and indexed see a list of crawl errors and identify any HTML improvements Google recommends for you if you have a moderately sized site check out the tool screaming frog SEO spider at screaming frog co uk you can crawl your site just as a search engine would see a list of any broken links along with an output of all your heading 1 tags meta descriptions and title tags work through each page on your site to make sure it’s technically sound without great content you’re lost to Google in order to understand what is going on with your website Google has to have some information to read and it reads that information with a slight bias on keywords so earlier we looked at building a list of our important keywords and now we need to make sure we have content written around those terms and by writing content for our keywords I’m not talking about blanketing the page with these keywords back in the late 90s marketers were focused on these ideas around keyword density title tags stuffing and a whole slew of other tricks to try to win over a particular search term search engines are now smart enough to understand the relationship between words and phrases so trying to reinforce a keyword unnaturally isn’t going to help you if anything it might negatively impact your effort so when you build your content keep in mind there is no magic number of words or times to repeat your term instead build out the information that brings the most value to your user if you’re going after a particular search term it’s because that term is popular to your user base and using it naturally will be in your benefit if you really need a formula I’d stick with this have your keyword or related concept in your heading tag include your keyword once and maybe twice if it’s not awkward above the fold in your content and then write supporting copy that includes your related concepts and terms to give Google an indication of what the theme of this page is about remember Google is smart if you’re trying to game the system chances are you’re just putting yourself behind take time to build content that is natural easy to read and a value add for users and you’ll see Google reward that effort over time as you evaluate the SEO landscape you might decide it’s in your best interest to hire professional you can hire a resource to provide you with a list of recommendations or an entire team capable of executing on a strategy they develop search engine optimization has the potential to bring incredible amounts of traffic to your website because of this it’s quite possible that you’ll see a return on investment if you hire the right professional and provide them with enough time to demonstrate success there are hundreds of factors which determine how websites rank and there isn’t one flip a switch type answer because of this SEO requires a lot of effort and a lot of experience to drive meaningful results and this comes at a significant cost so before you move towards hiring a professional consider your budget a typical search engine optimizer and I’ll use the acronym SEO to refer to them will charge to audit your site to build the strategy and possibly a monthly retainer to track your performance for a medium-sized business expect between three thousand and nine thousand dollars each for the audit and the strategy development the implementation costs will be dependent on how much work is needed to achieve your desired result but expect at least a thousand dollars a month for an ongoing retainer the earlier you introduce your SEO to the project the better if you’re about to redesign your website implement a new technical feature or add a product to your lineup bring them on board so they can provide you with a strategy early on it’s never too late but undoing bad SEO can add to the cost I’m going to give you some questions to ask as you evaluate a consultant but before that let’s talk about some major red flags that should always be avoided first true SEO professionals will not provide you with any guarantees there is more to SEO than earning a number one slot firms that promote themselves by guaranteeing a number one slot for a certain amount of keywords are highly suspect it’s impossible to make that guarantee unless you’re using some shady tricks which will only make things worse in the long run your SEO should provide you with an honest overview of the type of improvements you’re likely to see and these improvements can take several months to really kick into gear secondly your SEO should not encourage you to participate in a link exchange or use pages of your site to include links to other sites under the premise that will increase your rank all this does is build a link farm and further dilutes the authority of your site third there is no such thing as instant results it’s alluring to see a $700 SEO special with an instant result guarantee but real SEO takes a lot of work and that expertise will come at a premium if you can’t afford a high quality SEO you’ll find more success in self-studying SEO here on lynda.com than paying for a quick fix SEO agency and finally avoid anyone who claims to have a special relationship with Google or Premium directory services Google doesn’t accept payment or provide anyone with a Fastlane SEO success now some SEO x’ might have relationships or resources in Google or be affiliated in one way or another and that isn’t a bad thing just know there isn’t any special treatment or special inside knowledge now those are the major red flags and fortunately there are still a lot of very qualified and talented SEO is out there ready to take your business to a new level you can start your search on LinkedIn or Twitter by asking your network for any recommendations talk with colleagues in similar industries to see if they’ve had success with an SEO some of the best referrals come from people who have had positive experiences with their consultant you can look at people contributing to SEO blogs or writing articles on your topic Cora comm has a lot of conversations on the topic worth exploring from there you can research the individual providing the answers and see if they fit your criteria take a look at conferences and who’s presenting if the conference is notable the speakers are likely vetted and a good starting point even if they’re out of your price range they might recommend you to someone that they like you can reach out via email or Twitter to engage an initial conversation as you build your shortlist and you should be getting quotes from a few parties to compare take the following into consideration does the SEO have any relevant examples related to your industry has the SEO been in business for a while how many years of experience do they have ask what tools and resources they use they shouldn’t have any problems being transparent with you and should at least suggest using google webmaster tools from there dig deeper into the qualities of the person or the agency get a sense of any reviews on the web if they’re contributing to SEO education and look at their LinkedIn profile you’re looking for people have been in the related industry for a while now a lot of SEO firms will staff quote and quote consultants who are really just fresh marketing graduates now that’s not always a bad thing SEO research is fairly cut and dry so as long as the strategist seems qualified they’ll likely employ a qualified team as well but it’s worth knowing all the people who will be interacting with your project if you don’t align with a particular person on the team it’ll impact your overall outcome finally evaluate a person or team on their entire offering don’t focus only on price or exclusively on experience there are a lot of expensive agencies that do terrible work and there are plenty of well studied beginners who can bring a lot of value to your process hiring an SEO is a big decision the wrong SEO might make things worse so do your due diligence and be thorough in your research you historically online marketing was a fairly one-sided approach businesses pushed ideas out and consumers passively received them but that landscape is shifted the internet has become extremely interactive and social media has created a new style of communication and there are now billions of conversations happening online people are discussing popular news articles sharing photos of their pets and even engaging with brands and it all feels relatively natural to the consumer it’s just part of how the web operates all of these conversations however present exciting opportunities for marketers we can join in on a conversation to drive brand awareness or create our own conversations and empower our customers to do the marketing for us done right social media has the potential to transform your business however it’ll require a good strategy some creativity and a little bit of luck done wrong and social media might bring unwanted attention which could potentially harm your business or your brand image typically when we talk about social media we’re talking about the organic natural approach of distributing content but it’s more than just sharing updates because people share so much information on social media we can buy some of the most targeted advertisements available on the web looking to sell a product to a new mom Facebook has a targeting option for that want to offer help when a customer is complaining about your brand twitter has a search feature for that for many brands social media will be a must-have component of their digital marketing strategy your social media might feature the major networks or it could be as simple as a blog a customer forum or a small niche bookmarking site in this chapter however I’ll be focusing on marketing with the big four platforms Facebook Twitter Linkedin and Pinterest these four networks are not the same each has its unique and its own best practices style and audience so keep this in mind as we develop our plan your social media plan will simply expand on the marketing plan we designed at the start of this course I’ll show you what I mean in just a minute but first I want to clarify a few things so open up a new document or pull out a piece of paper and make note of the following how much time can your team spend on social networks you want to plan on at least an hour a day you’ve got to remember that you need to write copy design or find images to support your message and then evaluate results so you can improve the strategy next think about what resources you have available are you doing this yourself can you train someone on your team to help you will you hire a freelancer once you factor in the time requirement you might decide it’s worth to pull in some more help and finally pencil out your budget what are you planning to spend even if you’re not doing any paid advertising make sure you still factor the time you or your team will be spending calculate the hourly rate and then include that as part of your spend if you are doing paid advertising I would try to allocate at least $500 a month especially at the start when you’re trying new things and exploring how your spend is most efficient social media is a moving target if you’re able to adapt and scale alongside of it your brand will benefit in the long term there’s a fair amount of choices when it comes to social media and each requires a significant investment in time to find success to help you decide where to start let’s look at the demographic overview of Facebook Twitter Linkedin and Pinterest I’ll guide you through the type of user you’ll find and what marketing styles are most appropriate the data I’ll be sharing with you comes from the Pew Research Center and you can find even more of it at Pew Internet org today it feels like it’s impossible to find someone who isn’t on Facebook and that’s probably because it’s the largest of the four networks with over 71% of Internet users having a Facebook account Facebook is great for brands but it’s slowly shifting more and more towards being a pay-to-play model on Facebook you’ll work to acquire fans for your business page and you can post status updates videos and photos to your timeline but truthfully only a fraction of your actual fans may see that content and new rules have emerged that are making it harder to motivate people to like your page this doesn’t mean you still won’t find tremendous success with the largest group of users their paid advertisement bring some of the best returns on investment in the social media playing field having an active social media presence and an organic fan base will help lower the cost of your promoted media Facebook boasts the highest percentage of users who graduated from college so you’ll find a strong middle class represented if your brand appeals to those ages 24 to 50 this is an ideal network younger users are shifting away from Facebook and joining Instagram or snapchat to communicate digitally it’s fairly well split between male and female users as well Facebook is great for small and large businesses alike if the demographic overlaps small businesses might want to focus on paid media to start and then slowly work towards a growing fan base twitter has around 20% of the internet population using it and it’s the most popular with the 18 through 29 crowd it’s slightly biased towards women but not by to much twitter is great for short rapid communication and it tends to be a top choice for consumers looking to get support or provide a shout out to brands because of its impressive mobile usage around 30% of twitter users are checking their feeds multiple times throughout the day if the user follows you on twitter they’ll receive any of your tweets directly into their timeline now you’ll be compete with all the other messages buzzing around but there’s absolute distribution Twitter requires more time investment than the other networks and it’s paid advertising platform is relatively young ads on it are more expensive but it’s easier to join conversations and search for leads because it’s primarily a public network now LinkedIn is the least frequented social network but it has the highest percentage of professionals and it’s skewed more in favor of an older demographic LinkedIn is completely business focused and a brand presence here may or may not bring much value there’s a lot of opportunity as an individual or if you’re a moderately sized business as a small business it’s worthwhile to build out a business page as a backbone to any business lead generation you’re doing you’ll find LinkedIn to be most effective for connecting with key decision-makers at other companies and their paid media advertising platform is among the most expensive in social media but it can be successful for the right advertiser Pinterest has continued to gain popularity this social network is built on the idea of bookmarking or pinning things that you find around the web it’s very visual and the majority of users are young affluent females if your brand has a strong visual language there’s plenty of opportunities on Pinterest you’ll find a wide range of companies finding success on Pinterest everything from coffee shops to Nike it’s a time investment and requires building followers who will essentially repin your contributions or pin content directly from your website as you consider where to find your audience on social media I also recommend taking a look at your competition or businesses in a similar market look what they’re doing how they’re engagement appears and how responsive their audiences video marketing is another relatively new component to online marketing it involves producing video content and placing on sites like YouTube now you might be asking why is it worth producing video content for sites like YouTube well if I were to ask you what the second largest search engine next to Google is what would you say Yahoo Bing it’s actually YouTube this makes YouTube an incredibly valuable resource for driving brand awareness and traffic to your website video marketing can be used to show off your location your products or even help customers through their buying decision you might make a video to tell your brand story or create your own commercial and use it to advertise on top of related content a well titled and described video can appear in Google search results as well driving yet another opportunity for people to discover your brand now there are several companies whose success was hinged on viral videos but to come to mind dollarshaveclub.com and Blendtec Dollar Shave Club is an online subscription for razor blades the company saw impressive growth after they posted a comedic viral video on YouTube within the first 48 hours of posting the video they had over 12,000 new customers and in the first three months they racked up over four and a half million video views another brand that you may have seen on YouTube is Blendtec the founder created a YouTube video series called will it blend and here he puts everything from bricks to golf balls in his blender to prove it’s one of the best blenders you can buy the videos were a direct response to customers curious if the Blendtec would blend things well and so he created a video series that answered their question and he jumped onto trends as well when the new iPhone was released he made sure it was dropped straight into the blender there is a huge potential to build video content that will resonate with your audience and your focus doesn’t have to be to go viral you may decide video marketing is ideal because it’ll help you along in your sales journey or maybe answering questions via YouTube will reinforce your brand’s commitment to customer service it’s possible customers or competitors are already making videos about your product or services if that’s the case there’s even more reason to jump in and leverage the power of video marketing the best impact from video marketing will come from building interesting and unique content not all video content is created equal if you decide to pursue video marketing you’ll want to focus on building high quality and highly targeted material much like your website YouTube viewers decide whether they’ll keep watching your video within the first few seconds so you not only need to retain their attention throughout your video but you need to make sure the first moments are captivating your content should speak directly to your audience if you’re skewing towards a younger generation humor is a great approach whereas an older generation might be more interested in an authentic and authoritative tone some of the best content answers questions your target audience is already asking as you create your videos avoid building a sales pitch and instead share the unique aspects of your product or service that can’t be told with text or pictures what makes unique what are you proud of what do you highlight when you share your business offerings with others these are some great questions to help you find what content to create first as you build this content keep the following in mind your video should be short less than two minutes is an ideal starting point and if you plan on using your video as a paid commercial less than 30 seconds when you go to create your content be sure to use a very high quality camera focus on good lighting invest in a tripod or a way of keeping the camera stable and if you do end up shooting with an iPhone remember to turn it horizontally talk directly to your audience and keep it natural slightly informal and personal the values of your brand your tone and your visual style should all be evident in your content and keep future videos consistent so as not to create confusion when users watch more and more of your material now both the viewers will only make it through about 70% of your video and that’s even pushing it the shorter your video the better the likelihood users watch it to the end include a call to action in the middle of your content and again towards the end and leverage annotations to make the messaging interactive for more details and best practices I would definitely check out the YouTube playbook at youtube.com slash playbook now if you’re strapped for ideas consider reaching out to an agency that specializes in building video content if you’re doing it yourself consider renting quality lights and video equipment from a company like borrow lenses calm too many email marketing feels a little old and antiquated it almost comes across very similar to direct mail in that you’re sending a newsletter an offer a flashy postcard alongside dozens of other letters in the hope someone not only reads it but responds to it and sure the older model of email marketing was a lot like that marketers purchase giant lists of email addresses and then sent completely irrelevant offers in hopes of catching a handful of leads and thus the boom of spam and while that still happens the modern email marketer is turning to their own lists to drive interaction and revenue and this is because many customers welcome communication from brands they already interact with just like our own acceptance and use of snail mail coupons from businesses we frequent today’s email marketing is typically built on a list of users who have subscribed to receive communication from you they’re interested in hearing what you have to say and potentially getting a special offer not available elsewhere on one hand your email marketing efforts will be about acquiring new subscribers to your list and on the other retaining and generating revenue from these subscribers with email marketing you can inform existing customers of new products upsell them to a more premium package or even encourage them to share your business with their peers email is very much alive in today’s online marketing landscape so it’s worth building a strategy around email marketing is very strategic each message needs to be carefully crafted include a strong call to action and arrived at just the right moment to get noticed if it’s not relevant it gets deleted think about your own email habits what are you opening and why what are you clicking on you might consider keeping track of every marketing email you open over the next couple of weeks or even looking back at those you open historically try to identify patterns and use those ideas to your advantage good email marketing is built on customer segments anytime you acquire an email you should track where that email came from if you have the resources it would be ideal to also track which emails made purchases how much revenue did that email drive and even associate demographics or persona information if you have it for example I might have multiple email lists for an online storefront I can have a list of customers that made a purchase in the last 30 days customers that have repeat purchases and a list of people who added an item to their cart but never converted each of those segments would receive a different email from me good email marketing is hinged on the idea of a drip campaign so for our abandoned segments I might send an email in the first 24 hours that says hey you still have an item in your cart there’s only one step left to checking out maybe 72 hours later I’ll drop another email free shipping today with online coupon ship free view your cart now and the following week I might try one last desperate attempt with another coupon or a reminder that there’s something in their cart maybe even information on why the company is so great and that’s just one example of many automated email marketing as a must-have in today’s digital landscape there’s so much potential revenue sitting in your email list to get the most value out of email you won’t be using a typical email client instead you’ll need to leverage an online provider such as MailChimp or Constant Contact these systems will let you tailor your lists set up automatic triggers and track results email marketing is still a valuable tool focus on generating your own email list versus purchasing one and you’ll likely see much better results to get the most out of email you’ll want to build a plan that is tailored to your target audience and I know I’m starting to sound a bit like a broken record but being targeted is incredibly important before we get into the emails you’re sending let’s talk first about the acquisition of email subscribers how are you gaining new members to your list common techniques are to include an email signup link on the important pages of your website or even on your footer you can use a lead generation page to capture information or exchange a coupon for their email when they first visit the site explore email lead generation through social media sites like Twitter have lead generation cards and Google will even let you run advertisements where email users can leave their address directly once you understand how you’ll capture the audience think about the actual email strategy itself start by identifying your goals it’s okay to have several a goal might be to generate more sales to increase signups for a conference or to reactivate a former customer make a list of your goals and then make note of what audience will most likely fulfill that goal for you the audience you identify will become a customer segment and you’ll load that segment into your email tool from there put yourself in the shoes of your customer what does the customer need from you in order to take action what will motivate them to follow through with the objective you might find that many customers need a handful of emails before they’ll take action and in that case you might design a campaign that has three or four steps before your big ask once you know what your customer needs build your content to support that answer it might be an image of video testimonials or even detailed instructions on how to complete a step in the conversion process as with most things short and sweet is key the content needs to be compelling the subject engaging and the call-to-action apparent the design shouldn’t hamper the experience either if you’re reaching a young extremely mobile audience you might speak to them through the use of emojis whereas if you’re targeting a small business owner a clean and modern appearance might win out test your design on mobile and desktop good content will be lost if the email doesn’t load properly on mobile next identify how the consumer will interact with your email most of your audience will be reading this on a mobile device but use your exist analytics to verify that idea make sure to outline any special considerations for mobile users you might need to use smaller images bigger buttons and you’ll want a mobile optimized landing page lastly consider your timing how often do you need to send your message is it best distributed during the day or at night do you need it to arrive at 8:00 a.m. Eastern and 8:00 a.m. Pacific is it seasonal there’s no magical answer you’ll have to use your data to help guide you in this decision if you’re just starting out with your email marketing you might not have enough data or customers to fully understand the opportunities in that case make educated guesses and stick to broad appeal offers until you’ve collected more subscribers content marketing is all about creating articles and media that in turn drive brand awareness create new customers and generate revenue it works because good content is valuable to customers it does a number of things and the first of which is answering a question people are curious their research driven and they’ll frequently turn to the web to identify material surrounding a particular question in some cases content marketing will even create questions people never knew they had you might be browsing an article with a recipe when you come across a headline that reads are you using your ice tray properly and you think to yourself I don’t know Am I and before you know it you’ve purchased a new silicon ice tray from a hip startup the right content is authentic and if it does a good job of answering the question it can sell without being pushy content marketing is also authoritative it allows people and brands to establish themselves as authorities on particular topics a carpet cleaning company might use content marketing to publish articles on the best methods for removing stains they may even add videos to their articles helping to demonstrate how their method works it can be a completely unbiased approach as well but the fact they’re sharing industry specific information makes them appear authoritative content marketing also adds value to a customer’s journey by providing them with the ability to self navigate any announcements you’ve made in the past or sneak peeks to what lies ahead for your brand the great thing about content marketing is that as a very low barrier to entry it’s inexpensive to add articles to your website or leverage a platform such as WordPress or blogger to build custom content the hardest part of the whole process is actually creating the material itself good and relevant content will also add value to your SEO efforts it’s one of the main reasons companies are leveraging content marketing and it should weigh in to your decision of starting down this path your content marketing will likely be cross channel weaving itself through your blog your social media and your email efforts by producing great content your business will help to answer questions steer customers journey and become a trusted source of information all of this works to increase your online reputation and that’s never a bad thing what type of content you produce and where you distribute it will be uniquely specific to your brand writing articles through the use of a blog is one of the most common types of content marketing so I’m going to focus on this for now with that in mind let’s talk about how to create your own plan and what elements you should carefully consider now our content plan will start with the same approach as all of our other strategies identify the core audience what you want them to do higher content will get them to do it and what you’ll measure to know if you’ve succeeded the tricky part with content is that it’s most often a comprehensive approach one article won’t be the primary source of conversions so you’ll want to think creatively about what types of content you need to produce the strategy here is to keep things closely related or neatly categorized so as people start connecting with your content they’re inclined to read more and more you can encourage this by adding related articles to your blog having a next or previous link at the bottom of the page or by linking to other articles throughout the copy of each one place to look for ideas is back to your keyword research from the SEO portion of online marketing you can start to think of questions and ideas surrounding those topics and reuse the Google Keyword tool to identify longtail keywords or topics worth discussing with content marketing you’ll likely see most of your success in the longtail keywords versus the short form and what I mean is most of your blog traffic will come from dozens of different keywords like why is my ice tray always breaking or what are ice trays made out of versus the short keyword ice trays more content means more opportunities to collect this smaller trickle of traffic 10 or 20 articles that our model I ranked might bring in the same amount of traffic as one decently ranked article but in a lot less time with that said you need a lot of content and you need it on a consistent basis and this takes a lot of time part of your plan needs to be thinking about who will write the articles many companies leverage their own employees but if you don’t have that luxury you might consider a copywriter or a freelance journalist stay away from content farms that generate SEO articles you want to be authoritative and knowledgeable so you need to focus on quality and these resources are not known for that plan on creating one article a week to start this is probably the bare minimum if you’re using dates on your articles to demonstrate their recency it’s even more important to eat things fresh as always measure your results to determine what content is popular or trendy and then continue to build around those ideas while trying new things in the US alone over 50% of the population is using mobile devices and they’re spending over two hours a day interacting with them according to the Pew Research Center businesses are taking note and the trends indicate that a mobile strategy cannot be ignored if your business has a mobile user base it’s an absolute that you should explore mobile marketing next time you’re out and about take a look around we’re consumed with mobile devices people at bus stops waiting in line at the grocery store or on a lunch break all likely looking at their mobile device major brands are taking note of this and providing ample opportunity to engage with our mobile devices text a short number for special offers or scan a QR code to pull up product details companies like amazon.com have built mobile applications that interface with our day-to-day life allowing us to scan barcodes to find the product cheaper on their website people are downloading a staggering amount of mobile applications and in them they’re clicking on mobile optimized advertisements most phones are now linked to GPS so we have opportunities to engage with customers at a hyper local level companies like Foursquare and Yelp have built-in reward systems for checking in to local businesses native applications specific to brand experiences are also commonplace giving way to a new type of marketing and these are just a handful of ways businesses are using mobile marketing there’s endless opportunities but a great starting point is to duplicate your existing efforts but tailor them to mobile the internet was once dominated by desktop users browsing the web from home or work and that landscape presented marketers with an incredible amount of options and opportunities to be creative now that we’ve gone mobile there’s still those opportunities and then some things span across multiple screens and it’s not just common anymore it’s expected carefully consider your prioritization of mobile marketing in your online digital strategy for most brands it should be near the top there are many reasons why companies should or should not build a mobile application typically a mobile application needs to provide significant value to your users especially because they require a lot of time and effort to develop a good app can bring value to your online marketing efforts though it’ll add additional exposure in new markets by being listed in the Apple or Google marketplace and it will provide you with a new call to action for your advertising in this case a download or install button you can use apps that are directly related to your business or you can create a supporting app that draws attention to your brand Geico the car insurance company pulled off a great example of this they have an app that allows you to manage your account pay your bill and view your ID cards but they took mobile applications to a new level leveraging on the silliness of one of their commercials they launched a different mobile application called bro stash the app allowed you to try different mustaches on yourself or your friend it was well designed funny and fit with the whimsical nature of GEICO’s image they branded it with their Geico logo and saw impressive virality as you decide to explore the mobile app landscape decide what it is you’re trying to accomplish with your application if your app is just an extension of your business then first determine if it allows a customer to interact with your product or service in a more meaningful way than your website if it doesn’t there might not be a lot of value there mobile applications require a lot of planning you should create a document called a scope of work and outline everything the application will need to do get really detailed as you’ll want to list every requirement I recommend thinking simple your options design and interface should be clean effective and look good start with a small prototype don’t try to pack all your features in at once instead pick the must-haves and start with those always consider how people interact with mobile devices they’re small so make sure the features you’re adding work unlimited screen sizes app development can be costly especially if you’re looking to put your application on multiple devices like the iPhone and androids finding a mobile application developer is much like finding a web developer do your research get multiple quotes and stick with a person or team who has demonstrated results you like now there are some self-service solutions for building a mobile application you can take a look at build file calm or good barber calm now I haven’t used either of those tools personally but have heard positive reviews explore them on your own and decide if they’re a right fit for you a mobile application can serve as a standalone marketing effort as well a tool to help convert customers or as an extension of your business it’s one more resource that you can market or market with to build even more exposure with your online marketing you

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