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.

October 27 2010

Bridging the Gap Between On and Offline Marketing

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Sometimes online and offline marketing strategies can vary throughout different media channels; T.V., radio, local (billboard, print, banners, lamp post flags), pay-per-click (banner, keywords) and more. It is important to keep a consistent flow and messaging throughout all of the various marketing channels especially in your branding messages.

For example, if you are putting out lamp post banners in your downtown area and billboards on the local roads and expressways to promote a special event like a food and wine festival, the messaging would be more powerful layered with online advertising such as search or content with banner ads that deliver the same look and feel of the lamp post message.

For the simplicity of this example, the advertising period is 30 days. Billboards and Lamp post banners have one fixed cost and it is difficult to see a direct ROI from this form of advertising alone. Online advertising (assuming you have a conversion point on your website) is easier to measure and ROI can be determined by looking at the total amount spent divided by your signups online. In online advertising, it is important to notice that you can control many different factors and use these in conjunction with each other to get the “best bang for your buck” online. 

Some dynamic features to use in online advertising:
 
Search Campaigns

  • Geo-target your campaigns to a radius (how far do you think people would drive)
  • Target people who would have otherwise not known about the festival using keywords around food/wine, etc.
  • Use a special offer or discount code
  • Send them to a different landing page
  • Schedule your ads to only run certain times of the day or week.
  • Exclude keywords and phrases
  • Directly control your budget and bids (turn off at anytime)

Content Campaigns

  • Target certain Food/Wine websites
  • Use “keyword” targeting to place your text or banner ad on a website
  • Place banner ads with the same look and feel in a pre-determined radius around the event.
  • Use a special offer or discount code
  • Send them to a different landing page
  • Schedule your ads only to run certain times of the day or week.
  • Exclude certain, non-relevant websites
  • Directly control your budget and bids (turn off at anytime)

Implementing a multi-channel marketing plan will help complement all forms of advertising. Even though you might not see a direct impact from one or the other, statistics have shown that people might not convert the first time they are aware of the product. For example, a person might see the billboard when driving on the highway each morning, but not actually purchase a ticket to the event until they are surfing the web on their favorite cooking blog in the evening and see the special offer. So, be sure you are leveraging all special touch points with your potential audience or target customers.

October 21 2010

Does Your Website Capture Your Visitor’s Attention?

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When visitors land on your website, either through a pay per click ad, organic listing, or simply by typing your URL into Google, Yahoo or Bing, what do they see once they get there? In other words, does your site appear polished, professional and clean? Is it visually appealing and easy to navigate? Are the calls to action strong and do they create a sense of urgency to find out more about who you are/what you offer?

If you did not answer yes to all of the above questions, it is time to go back to the basics. Your website is a direct representation of who you are as a company and no matter what your industry, it ought to wow your audience and keep them coming back for more. You only have about five precious seconds to sway visitors before they make the decision to stay or leave. Below are a few factors to take into consideration when measuring how captivating your website is.

Visual Appeal – A site does not need tons of bells and whistles to be appealing. It should not be overcrowded; less is definitely more. An attractive color scheme can go a long way. An approach to consider is to utilize your brand and/or logo colors. This can be effective, especially if you are trying to create more brand awareness. Test out different backgrounds, font sizes, colors, images, etc. If it’s been over a year since the look and feel has been updated, try making some revisions. Hint: An outdated website looks outdated.

Navigation — Keep it simple. You want it to be as easy as possible for visitors to take a tour of your website. Make sure that all of your calls to action (i.e. download our latest whitepaper, fill out this contact form, view our recent case study, etc.) are above the fold on the page, which refers to the section that is visible without scrolling. No one likes to scroll – and few people will. It is also a good practice to have links to your important pages found at both the top of the site, as well as the bottom.

About Us — This page is super important, yet often overlooked. Who are you? How long have you been in business? What sets you apart from your competition? Why should a consumer buy a product or service on your site, rather than Joe Shmoe’s?

Contact Us — This link should be conspicuously located on each and very page of your site. No if’s, and’s or but’s.

Content — Some will arguably say that content is the most important part of any website.  Searchers are “searching” for information, solutions to problems, answers to questions, products or services they want and/or need, etc. If your website does not provide them with what they are looking for, they are going to be off like a prom dress.   Your site should posses a nice balance of informative, relative and interesting content. Updating your content regularly is an excellent way of ensuring a fresh experience for searchers. SEO hint: Search engines love fresh content; kill two birds with one stone by pushing out new content, which will simultaneously help to give your organic rankings a boost.

An onsite blog is another great way to maintain new, relevant content. Articles and Optimized Press Releases are also beneficial and will keep your visitors interested; retaining them on your site longer. Hint: the longer they are on your site, the more likely they are to convert into a lead or customer.

Invest the time to evaluate your website on a regular basis and source members of your organization to do the same. The rewards of doing so will be well worth the time that you invest.

October 6 2010

Cost per Acquisition Is not Usually Black and White

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We speak with clients and prospects all of the time who are very focused on attaining a particular Cost Per Acquisition “CPA” goal with their search engine marketing campaigns. It’s clearly valuable to put energy into that kind of tracking effort and adjust campaigns accordingly, however I believe that the data can be easily misinterpreted if there is not a process in place to account for sales that occur later when the lead source may be a bit muddier. In other words, it’s essential to be able to properly attribute “leads” that become sales at a later date back to their original lead source, not just the last touch that they received.

With Google Analytics and most of the other tracking / analysis tools, it’s easy to accurately attribute sales on ecommerce websites. It gets trickier when the selling cycle is longer, particularly when companies have a process in place to continue to market to individuals who have visited their sites, but don’t immediately “convert”. Is the sale credited back to the original marketing effort, to a remarketing campaign or to the email campaigns that prospects have been consistently receiving for the past several months?

There is no exact answer to this question, nor is the answer the same in every circumstance. More often than not, the answer is that attribution should likely be shared across multiple sources (contributing factors). That being said, it’s important not to adopt a myopic view when it comes to assessing your lead sources and figuring out where to trim (or add) additional resources to campaigns.

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