Articles in the Digital Marketing 101 – The Basics Category

Once you get the hang of it, digital marketing can seem like old hat. Before then, it’s important to learn the basics. In our Digital Marketing 101 blog posts, we offer an education into the ins and outs of the digital marketing landscape. Read these blog posts to learn digital marketing basics, such as creating campaigns, writing effective ad copy, and more.

September 19 2011

Don’t Limit Your Online Marketing Initiatives

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Clients will often indicate that their online marketing efforts are in good shape because they have a Search Engine Optimization Strategy in place. Or some will say they‘re all set since they are involved in a Pay per Click program with Google AdWords. Some may actually tell me they don’t need to do either and that all of their business comes from word of mouth.

The best case scenario is to truly cover all of your bases and the only way to do that is by engaging in all components of online marketing. This can be a daunting task, given the fact that there are so many options available today. I’d suggest starting out with baby steps and then broadening your efforts slowly, but surely. Below are just a few of the most commonly utilized forms of online marketing initiatives to take into consideration:

Search Engine Optimization (frequently referred to as SEO)
According to Wikipedia’s definition, Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.  Clients love achieving high organic rankings in the search engines. This is especially true when it comes to Google, which is no surprise considering it holds about 65% of the market share. Remember: organic rankings equate to FREE traffic.

Pay per Click (also known as PPC)
In this platform the advertiser is paying or bidding on keywords based on their specific business or industry, in an effort to have their ad displayed in the sponsored section of the search engine. This section is typically on the very top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as well as on the right hand side, listed vertically.

Onsite Blog + Blog Postings 
In my opinion, having an onsite blog is no longer an option, but rather a necessity. The main reason it ought to be onsite versus offsite is for the SEO benefits your website will gain. Blogs should have fresh and regular content on them, which the search engines love when crawling. You will want to ensure that your blog is updated on a regular basis (minimum of once a week).

Mobile Website
Nearly everyone has a Smartphone or iPad these days and more often that not, most are surfing the web via their device. You ought to make sure that you have a simplistic, mobile friendly version of your website that allows for easy navigation.
Social Media Marketing + Strategy
This form of marketing has become increasingly important the last few years and continues to maintain its necessary place within a marketer’s ad budget. Social Media is an excellent medium to reach and engage your consumers and should be utilized to its fullest potential. Just having a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page is not enough, however. You must have a solid strategy in place before diving in.

May 20 2011

Don’t forget About the Holidays When it Comes to Your Pay Per Click Campaigns!

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It is a well known fact that the holidays are prime time for online retailers. A good holiday season can be the difference between what turns a company from being in the red to being in the green. The biggest, most obvious, and anticipated holiday is Christmas, which typically yields the highest traffic and sales; especially for an ecommerce website.

Unfortunately, a common mistake many online retailers continue to make is not capitalizing on the many other holidays that can also drive increased, qualified visitors and (ultimately) sales.  It is important to remember that consumers are always looking for a deal and chances are… your competition is probably doing a good job of enticing them with holiday offers. As a friendly reminder, below are the holidays/seasons by month that should not be forgotten and can be taken advantage of in your pay per click initiatives. Some are religious holidays, others are simply the start of a new season, or perhaps a holiday you would never have even thought about, much less utilized to drive traffic to your website.  Be creative with your ad copy, keywords and incentives; you just might be pleasantly surprised with the results!

January: New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day

February: Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, Lincoln’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day, Washington’s Birthday

March: Ash Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Begins

April: April Fool’s Day, Passover, Good Friday, Easter

May: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day

June: Flag Day, Father’s Day, Summer begins

July: Independence Day

September: Labor Day, Autumn begins, Rosh Hashanah

October: Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, Halloween,

November: All Saint’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving

December: Hanukkah, Winter begins, Christmas, Kwanzaa

I highly recommended that you start planning your marketing calendar a few months before each holiday to ensure that you will be all set with whichever promotion you choose to offer, as well as have plenty of inventory available. Happy Holidays!

May 19 2011

Opt-out Ads for Behavioral Targeting?

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Did you ever dance to the Hokey Pokey song when you were a child? You know, “you put your left foot in you put your left foot out, etc.” It seems that this could be the case for advertisers when it comes to behavioral targeting. Due to some bills on Capitol Hill, mainly the “do not track” bill, some advertisers are getting ahead of the game to attempt to make sure their ads are compliant.

Capitol Hill wants to give consumers the opportunity to opt-out of behavioral targeting; mainly, requiring behavioral targeting ads to have a “Do Not Track mechanism.”  Chrysler along with others have started displaying ads that gives consumer the options to opt-out. It’s kind of like the fine print at the bottom of a contract. Unless someone looks for it they may not be aware that it is actually there. However, it is there and it gives the consumer the option to opt-out.

In this particular ad by Chrysler, the opt-out option is in the top right hand corner of the display ad. Once a consumer clicks on that icon, a drop down menu appears. It explains to the consumer that the ad is being served to them because it matched their interests and is based on their “browsing activity.”

Opt-out Ads for Behavioral Targeting Opt-out Ads for Behavioral Targeting

The consumer receives three options. 1. More information and opt-out options. 2. What is interest-based advertising? (aka as behavioral targeting) 3. Chrysler values their privacy. These options lead to more detailed summary pages that explain the options that consumers have and their various outcomes.

If the consumer clicks on option 1 they are taken to a page that shows a list of different online companies that may be collecting behavioral data on them. Not all of the companies give them the option to opt-out, but for the ones who do; they can just click a box to be opted-out. This doesn’t mean that they won’t see Chrysler ads anymore. However, their browsing data won’t be used to determine which ads they will see while browsing online.

If the consumer selects door number 2 they are taken to a website that shows them a demo of how interest-based (behavioral targeting) works. After viewing the demo the consumer has the option to opt-out and is even given an explanation of what will happen once they opt-out.

Last, but not least, door number 3 takes the consumer to a lengthy privacy document by Chrysler. This document explains what Chrysler does with their data and how they value the consumer’s privacy, etc.

All in all, the opt-out option is an attempt by advertisers to get ahead of possible regulation by the government. If the bill does pass, Chrysler will be ahead of the game while other advertisers will have to make adjustments to their behavioral targeting ads and create an opt-out option for them. For now, behavioral targeting ads don’t have to disclose their tracking capability to consumers, but that could change in the future. 

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