understanding online marketing basics and fundamentals


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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