The Inside Scoop From a Marketing Agency CEO: What They Look For On a Resume

COLLEGE GRADS! Let me let you in on a BIG secret from our Marketing Agency CEO: What he looks for on a resume!

He’s mentored students for years on how to enhance their resumes and get noticed. As a previous mentee, I thought it was about time to share this information with other college grads who need this advice more than ever, with his permission of course. 😉

The job market is probably the worst its been for a very long time for recent grads, so you have your work cut out for you. You need to set yourself out from the hundred, if not thousands, of other applicants.

Here are some ways you can really make your resume stand out. And the best part, you can do it from the comfort of your couch!

⚫ Get To Know The Industry Tools

Hiring managers want to know you’ll easily adapt to the company. That’s a lot easier if you already understand the different tools they use.

⚫ Become Certified!

There are thousands of different certifications you can do online from the comfort of your home, right now!

These set you apart from other applicants. Hiring managers will appreciate that you’ve gone above and beyond to educate yourself about industry trends outside of your college education, plus a lot of what you learn in certification isn’t even taught in college! Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Udemy has certifications and courses in just about anything you can imagine! I’d recommend trying one on Search Engine Marketing.
  • Hubspot Academy has amazing certifications in Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, Sales, Digital Advertising, Ecommerce Marketing, Social media, Email Marketing and so much more!
  • Google offers certifications for Google Ads, Google My Business (Have you heard of this? Because it’s a very important aspect to all businesses), Google Analytics and more. These certifications may not be as exciting and glamorous as Hubspot’s, but they are crucial to understand in the marketing industry.
  • Moz Academy has amazing courses on SEO, keyword research, optimizing your web pages, link building and more.

I’ve done multiple of these certifications and can attest that they provide valuable knowledge about the marketing industry you can not get in a university classroom.

Did anyone’s university train on SEO?

You could argue SEO is becoming one of the most important aspects of marketing for small to medium-sized businesses. You can have amazing content but if you don’t have a corresponding SEO strategy, then no one will ever see your content because it won’t show up on Google!

Obviously having internships, mentorships, leadership experience and good grades are still very important, but having certifications and taking extra classes can give you the edge over the hundreds of other recent grads who have the same experience.

Peers in the marketing and communication industry: Did I miss anything? What other advice do you have for recent grads?

Do you have questions about how you can enhance your resume? We understand upperclassman and recent grads are in a tough spot when it comes to the job market. We want to do our part to help.

So if you’re an upperclassman or recent grad looking to join the marketing industry, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to answer some of your questions

About The Author:

Gloria Berry MarketCrest

Gloria – Content Marketing Manager

Gloria manages MarketCrest’s award-winning content strategy including social media, email marketing, blog articles, web copy, and press releases.

She is Hubspot Inbound Marketing, Hubspot Software, Google Analytics, MOZ Advanced SEO Tactics & Strategy and Codeacademy Basic HTML certified.

Gloria was recognized as an Arts & Sciences Top Ten Senior at Oklahoma State for her dedication to furthering her education outside of the classroom. 

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How The Coronavirus Should Alter Your Marketing Strategy

How the Coronavirus should alter your marketing strategy

COVID-19 is going to change how all of us live, work and run businesses for a while.

In fact, most businesses will be impacted, and many businesses will suffer greatly.

Almost immediately the stock market plummeted and record number of people applying for unemployment.

Business owners are already cutting costs and, as usual, marketing is often the first to go.

Sadly, for many companies, if they stop marketing, they stop getting new clients and leads. That means and there’s only one way to go: down.

Instead, we are encouraging our clients and business partners to see this time as an opportunity.

An opportunity to be bold. Be smart. And be aggressive.

Your competition is also going to suffer during this time. Businesses whose finances aren’t as solid, have debt and are low on cash will be vulnerable.

The best time to pass your competition is now, when they’re weak and circling wagons.

The bold will continue, or even grow, marketing efforts to take opportunities and hopefully avoid some repercussions of the recession.

Communicate Early and Often – Address the Coronavirus

As much as people are tired of hearing about the coronavirus, we can’t pretend it isn’t here.

Immediately create social media posts or a short blog article communicating how your business is handling this new normal.

  • Are you “open”?
  • Are you answering the phones and emails?
  • Or are you only offering phone or video chats?
  • Are you working remotely?
  • Are you still allowing people to visit your office?
  • How often are you cleaning the office?
  • Are you running any special deals or opportunities? (Many retail stores are running discounts on gift cards to help with their cash flow and some attorneys are answering questions for free on social media.)
  • Have you updated your social media accounts, website and Google My Business Pages?

Let people know what is going on with your business. Be a superb communicator or risk falling off people’s radar. In addition, don’t forget email marketing as a means of staying in touch with your customers and prospective clients.

Plan, pivot and attack

It’s going to be a mad rush to normalcy when social restrictions are waved, and people are available to work and socialize.

Tens of thousands in losses (millions in some cases) have to be made up quickly.

Start by applying for the COVID-19 stimulus programs available for small businesses. You’re a taxpayer and funding it, might as well get some help if you qualify.

Strategize how you will accelerate once restrictions are lifted. Start early if you can. Burn up the phones laying groundwork for normalcy. Line up meetings, revise account planning, design ads and fund them, upgrade presentations, proposals, video content, website, and sales collateral.

Whatever you do, don’t retreat. Be active, be aggressive and be ready.

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8 Powerful Content Marketing Ideas for Busy Professionals

Content Marketing Ideas - MarketCrest

Running a small business keeps you busy – you’re working with customers and planning projects, ordering inventory and running everyday operations. There’s always something to do… but unfortunately, that means you might be overlooking a few important aspects of your company’s marketing.  

And while it’s easy to forget, content marketing can be a tremendous benefit to your business. There are plenty of ways to lead productive marketing campaigns, even when you’re always on a time crunch.

These quick and easy content marketing ideas to help you keep your campaigns on-track are perfect for busy professionals like you.

8 Content Marketing Ideas for Busy Professionals

Coming up with content marketing ideas doesn’t have to be incredibly tough. In fact, if you’ve got a few ideas, you can spin them off into new ideas and reuse them month after month. 

Still need a little help? Check out these eight content marketing ideas for busy professionals just like you to get started.

Content Marketing IdeaContent Marketing Idea #1: Official Months

Every month celebrates something, and if you can tie that month’s theme into what you’re writing about, you’ll be able to attract even more attention. For example, December is National Pear Month, National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, National Human Rights Month, Spiritual Literacy Month and Worldwide Food Safety Month.

If you want to drill down further, every month has national weeks, too. In December, the 1st through the 7th is National Cookie Cutter Week, the 10th through the 17th is Human Rights Week, and Saturnalia is the 17th through the 23rd.

Further, the 1st is National Pie Day and National Eat a Red Apple Day, the 2nd is National Mutt Day, and the 5th is International Ninja Day.

Content Marketing Idea #2: Follow a Timeline

Create a timeline that shows the progression of events that led to big developments in your industry. If you’re in the heating and cooling industry, for example, you can show a brief history of how HVAC systems became widespread in American homes; if you’re in the organic farming industry, you can create an agriculture timeline.

Content Marketing Idea #3: Feature Good Deeds

Write a piece on good deeds your company has done or spotlight an employee who volunteers in the community. These types of human-interest pieces go a long way – and they’re often more likely to be shared on social media by the highlighted employee’s friends and family.

Content Marketing Ideas - Video MarketingContent Marketing Idea #4: How-To Videos

Create a series of videos that show people how to use one of your products, and get written transcripts of each (might as well double-down on the SEO value!). If you’re in the clothing industry, for example, show people how to pair certain pieces; if you’re in the roofing industry, show people how to inspect their own roofs safely and effectively.

Content Marketing Idea #5: Turn Your Top Posts Into a Video or Slideshare

What are your top-performing blog posts or webpages? Combine them into a video that summarizes each, or create a slideshare that people can use to get the gist of what you’re saying. Don’t forget to include links to the original content, so those who want more information know where to find it.

Content Marketing Idea #6: Work on Listicles

Lists are incredibly popular – even lists of things not to do. Try something like “10 Reasons You MUST See XXX Before You Die” or “7 Things to Avoid When You Visit XXX.” Kick things off with a number so readers know what they’re getting into, and make sure you include plenty of visuals – that way, people will be more inclined to share.

Content Marketing Idea 7 - Answer Your Customers’ QuestionsContent Marketing Idea #7: Answer Your Customers’ Questions

Dig into your email and pull out a question one of your customers has sent to you. Answer it in a video or with text – and make sure you’re as helpful and informative as possible. If you choose to answer it in a video, offer a transcript beneath the video for those with impairments. Keep collecting questions from your users, and do one of these a week if you have enough questions – they’ll be some of your most popular pieces of content, and they’ll save you time in the future when people search for the same answers.

Content Marketing Idea #8: Interview Other Industry Experts

Talking to other industry experts – even if they’re not in your field – can be a great way to create content. Think about doing a few long interviews and breaking those up into different types of content; you can create video content, slideshares and even infographics, all of which should be accompanied by a text-based transcript.

How to Pull Off a Content Marketing Strategy

In order to successfully pull off a content marketing strategy, you’ll need to:

  • Define your process
  • Assign teammate roles
  • Create an editorial calendar
  • Use visuals

Define Your Process

Don’t approach marketing with a “wing it” attitude, but do leave plenty of room for creativity. Your process might look something like this:

  • Generate ideas
  • Assign a teammate to execute the idea
  • Pass the editorial process
  • Publish
  • Syndicate

If you have specific team members, such as a social media guru, he or she should know how many posts per day to share across your social sites; your writers should have deadlines; your blog manager should know when to publish posts.

It’s easy to lose things in the shuffle, so staying organized is the best way to reach your goals when it comes to content marketing.

Assign Teammate Roles

Every team needs to have specific roles. (And don’t sweat it if you have a small team – there’s usually a lot of crossover.)

Your team should include:

  • A social media manager who’s responsible for maintaining all social media channels, including sharing new posts and responding to comments and mentions.
  • A blog manager who runs your editorial calendar, assigns articles to writers, performs edits, and formats your posts.
  • Writers who are exceptionally skilled. You can hire freelancers if your team isn’t well-stocked, but make sure you’re hiring writers who are truly talented and have a thorough understanding of search engine optimization. The wrong writers can do more harm than good.

Create an Editorial Calendar

Putting together an editorial calendar can help ensure your content marketing strategy stays on track. Your blog manager can assign articles early based on what you’ve already planned, giving your writers – and you – more time to prep for upcoming events.

Use Visuals

“We are incredible at remembering pictures,” writes Dr. John Medina. “Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10 percent of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65 percent.”

If you use visuals on your site, your viewers are more likely to remember what they have seen. Using charts and graphs, infographics and videos can also boost site conversion.

Now, on to the content marketing ideas.

Ready to Implement Your Content Marketing Ideas?

These are just a few content marketing ideas you can use, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you are struggling to establish yourself in the digital world, we would love to help you improve your marketing campaigns.

Hiring a digital marketing company can improve your conversion rates, increase your revenues, and allow you to spend more time on the pieces of your business you really care about.

Feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation or you can contact us directly to get additional information.

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Inbound Marketing Strategy for the Legal and Home Services Industries

inbound marketing strategy

If you have a legal or home services business, you want leads. Not just any leads, though — you need to reach the people who want to buy your products and services.

You could spend lots of money on online or traditional media advertising… or, if you want to zero in on your target audience, you could develop an inbound marketing strategy, which is also known as content marketing

First, you need to understandthe differences between inbound and outbound marketing. The difference between the two marks a cultural shift in the way businesses market to consumers, and this article explains each method and how they each produce results.

Inbound Marketing

The inbound marketing approach draws consumers to you and then engages them by providing added value. It’s done with incentives that encourage people to engage with your business and, in many cases, ask for more information about your product or service.

 

How Inbound Marketing Brings in Consumers

Inbound Marketing for Law Firms and Home Services BusinessesInbound marketing concentrates on attracting new customers with relevant, useful content. The company creates blogs, social media posts, infographics, white papers, newsletters and other content people want to read. Once searchers arrive on your website, you engage them with emails, interactive content and chat, and you show them that you can provide continued value.

The goal is to be where potential clients can find you when they have questions or problems. People love to read, comment, share, and interact with useful content.

Successful inbound marketing uses search engine optimization, paid search and paid discovery to bring in traffic. 

The information and solutions you provide show readers that your company is reliable and trustworthy. It creates a positive impression on potential clients that influences their buying decisions. 

Inbound marketing is gentle compared to traditional advertising. The customer is nudged towards a sale with engagement and information. That’s a lot different than outbound marketing.

Outbound Marketing

We used to call outbound marketing plain old marketing. It’s TV and radio ads, billboards, newspaper and magazine advertisements, and telemarketing. Online, it includes banner and display ads, pop-ups, pop-unders and contextual ads.

But outbound marketing is an interruption, and it distracts people from what they really want to see. It throws itself at the audience to gain attention. Many ads are intrusive and repetitive, especially online, and they can annoy people to the point that they form a negative impression of your business.

Here’s what happened: Ads became noise instead of messaging. They started appearing everywhere — on TV, on your favorite news websites, and even in the games you play on your phone. They took over radio waves to the point that you can now buy subscriptions to ad-free music services for your car, your phone and your home. That over-saturation turned ads into something to ignore rather than something that could provide value. Online ad blockers and privacy settings let you reduce how often you see ads, and they’re working. In fact, clickthrough rates for online ads are at an all-time low of 0.05%.

Outbound marketing channels like print, outdoor and broadcast media just aren’t as effective as they were 10 years ago.

The Differences Between Inbound and Outbound Marketing

There are dozens of major differences between inbound and outbound marketing, but this infographic lets you see the most important at a glance.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing - MarketCrestInbound marketing pulls in consumers with information written for their specific desires. Outbound marketing pushes the message out to everyone, whether or not they’re interested in what you have to offer.

Inbound marketing is interactive. It moves at the consumer’s pace. Outbound marketing is a one-way communication.

People discover inbound marketing content while researching a topic. Outbound marketing interrupts and disrupts the reader.

Inbound marketing uses blogs, social media, opt-in emails, search engine results, and influencer marketing. Outbound marketing includes display ads, billboards, telemarketing, print and broadcast ads. 

Let’s look at how each method sends messages.

Inbound Marketing Uses Owned and Earned Media

Inbound marketing engages potential customers through owned and earned media.

Owned media refers to channels the business controls, such as a company website, social media profiles, and YouTube channel. The company makes all decisions on what’s written, as well as when and where it’s published.

Earned media is coverage you receive in publications that aren’t company-owned. You earn this kind of coverage through networking, newsworthiness and public relations. Earned media can be online or offline. You don’t control the content the way you can with owned media. It’s the result of all the work you put into inbound marketing.

Earned media examples include:

  • Digital PR
  • Social media mentions
  • Campaign hashtags
  • Online conversations in forums
  • Online reviews
  • Newspapers and magazines

Outbound Marketing Uses Paid Media

Outbound media uses paid media, like traditional offline channels, online pay-per-click, display ads or paid emails. Social media advertising plays a major role in outbound marketing, such as promoted posts on Twitter, Facebook advertising, and paid Instagram ads.

Pro Tip: You can use social media advertising to boost your inbound marketing campaign by pushing out owned content to your target audience.

The biggest difference is that with inbound marketing, the consumer is already interested. Outbound shouts a message at everyone and hopes it sticks. 

Benefits of an Inbound Marketing Strategy

Should You Use Inbound or Outbound Marketing - MarketCrestInbound marketing reaches the right audience at the right time. This generates quality leads. A focus on inbound marketing means you spend your advertising budget on attracting traffic from the people most likely to buy.

Some of inbound marketing’s benefits include:

  • Increased trust
  • Quality traffic from a variety of channels
  • Solid return on investment

Increased Trust

Inbound marketing is about serving potential customers. You create appealing messages that deliver the information they want and need — sometimes even when they don’t know they need it.

There’s no pushy sales pitch. Inbound marketing content presents your company, products and services in a positive way. You position your business as a reliable resource. When the consumer is ready to buy, you’ll be top of mind.

Quality Traffic From Many Channels

Inbound marketing traffic comes from a variety of places:

  • Organic search
  • Social media
  • Website referrals
  • Online reviews
  • Word of mouth

When you use many traffic sources you reduce the risk of not being found because you relied on one channel.

Return on Investment

When you plan your inbound marketing campaign, state your objectives. What do you hope to achieve? How will you measure success?

It can be tricky to measure inbound marketing. For example, you may not know how many leads were generated by a campaign without using special tools that provide you with deep-dive insights. However, even without special tools, you can measure how many people downloaded a resource, watched a video or visited a website. You can also track the number of followers and subscribers you gain.

The bottom line:

  • Outline your marketing goals
  • Decide how you’ll measure success
  • Make sure everyone involved understands the concept and the implementation

Adopt a Long-Term Inbound Marketing Strategy

Like any successful advertising plan, an inbound marketing strategy doesn’t fall into place overnight. It takes time to plan, produce and execute an effective campaign.

You may need to add content creators, designers, copywriters, social media marketers and website developers to your team. Once you’ve added everyone you need, you need to get your whole team on the same page.

Take your time and focus on a long-term campaign that provides leads for a long time. It’s hard work, but it definitely pays off.

Examples of Long-Term Inbound Marketing

Check out these examples of long-term inbound marketing:

  • Create content hubs. Feature how-to video guides and related product information that you can repeatedly link back to in future inbound marketing efforts.
  • Engage with consumers to produce user-generated content. Try social media campaigns and photography contests. Allow happy customers to tell their stories.
  • Collaborate with related businesses to create online content. This expands your audience and promotional opportunities, and it positions you as a company with connections.

Analyze which types of content, calls-to-action and images resonate with your audience and capitalize on it. The key with inbound marketing is to create lasting connections with your consumers, and the way to do that is to relate to them wherever they are.

Should You Use Inbound or Outbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is the more popular marketing choice. It provides a better return on investment — inbound leads are 62% less expensive than outbound leads. If you want to build a relationship rather than make a quick buck, inbound marketing works better than outbound.

Why Your Business Needs an Inbound Marketing Strategy - MarketCrestThe caveat: it can be hard to immediately measure how effective your inbound marketing strategy is. An inbound strategy isn’t a hard sell. It’s not a transaction. The focus is on raising brand awareness and providing value. These are harder to quantify.

But outbound marketing is expensive and non-responsive, and it isn’t usually targeted. A business that spends big money on a mass audience TV advertisement can only hope it works. There’s no guarantee. Some outbound strategies, like telemarketing, will never work for most companies, but other methods do — including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google ads, which can direct messages to specific audiences.

A Word on Targeted Online Ads

Unlike traditional outbound marketing, targeted online ads use an inbound strategy. They show viewers things they find useful.

Many businesses do well with a combination of inbound marketing and targeted online ads. 

There are advantages to both inbound and outbound methods for generating leads. The bottom line is you need to find the mix that works best with your potential clients.

Let’s Talk About Your New Marketing Strategy

Want to put an inbound marketing strategy in place for your company? Contact the digital marketing experts at MarketCrest, LLC for a free consultation. Our pros can test your current strategy and assess all your marketing options.

MarketCrest, LLC is an award-winning digital marketing consulting and services firm. We’re ready to put our expertise and resources to work to grow your revenue.

 

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Email Best Practices for Small Businesses

Email Best PracticesDoes email marketing seem too complicated and overwhelming?

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Below, you’ll find all you need to know to make
your email marketing campaign easy and effective. Keep reading to learn the marketing email best practices to use in your email marketing strategy.

Benefits of Email Marketing

So what’s in it for you? Here are the top benefits of a successful email marketing campaign.

Everyone Wins

Probably the biggest benefit of email marketing is that the people you’re marketing to choose to subscribe to your emails. You’re only advertising to people who actually ask or it!

It’s Free

Next, it costs nothing to send emails. And with email marketing software, it doesn’t take much time or effort either.

You Are in Total Control

Speaking of software, there are also many tools available that make it easy to keep track of every detail your email campaign. Using analytics, you can target as many different demographics as you want and see exactly how effective your email marketing strategies are. You can observe subscriber behavior, find out what works and easily fix what doesn’t.

It Can Save Lives, Well Sometimes

Lastly, your email marketing campaign is useful for a lot more than just marketing. It may be the most powerful tool you have in very serious situations, such as product recalls or correcting misprinted emails.

When you have extremely urgent information that needs to reach as many people as possible, you’ll be grateful to have email access to thousands of subscribers. In the case of product recalls, it could be the difference between life and death!

Use the email marketing best practices below to reap these benefits for your business.

Email Marketing Basics

The following are the basic essentials that every email marketing campaign requires.

Get Right to the Point

Your company name and subject line are all your subscribers will see without opening your emails. If you want your emails to get read, you better make a good impression and make it fast.

Subject Line Guidelines

Follow these subject line guidelines to get your emails opened instead of spam-filtered.

Don’t Use All Caps and Too Much Punctuation

This is the text version of shouting. People hate this. Also, your emails are more likely to be recognized as spam by email filters if you do this.

There should be no typos, strange characters or weird formatting in subject lines, ever. Don’t mix capital and lowercase letters or put spaces, periods, or numbers in your words to grab attention.

Lastly, use a maximum of 1 emoji to add a playful tone. But it’s safer to avoid emojis altogether.

A good, attention-grabbing alternative is Capitalising Only the First Letter of Words, Like a Headline.

Be Intriguing, Not Salesy

For the same reasons as above, try not to use words like “free,” “cash,” “huge sale” and “now.” Explain these in the email body if you need to, but putting them in your subject line is a marketing email death-sentence.

You can’t push people into opening your emails. Instead, pull them into the opening by tickling their curiosity.

Each email you send should give the subscriber something they want. That is, after all, why they subscribed. So then, use your subject line to hint at the secret treasure you are offering.

Let your subject line be the carrot you dangle in front of your subscribers to get them to move.

Keep It Short

You only have about 38 characters in which to state your point before it gets cut off. And there’s no need to use all of them. It only takes two words to form a complete sentence:

Be intriguing. Be concise. Type less.

Good Subject Lines

“You spoke. We listened.”

“Who’s Hungry?”

“Free Movie Tonight”

“Here’s what’s new in-store.”

Don’t Blow Your Second Chance

After your subject line has enticed recipients to open, the first sentence in the body of your email is your second chance at a first impression. Treat your intro sentence like another subject line. It should follow the same rules as above, but to inspire a different action.

Instead of enticing subscribers to open, your intro points readers to your call-to-action. A call-to-action (CTA) is something you ask your readers to do. So your opening line must immediately state your point and then be directly followed by your CTA.

Do this with five words or less. Three is plenty.

Good Opening Lines

“Here’s your reward:”

“Scroll down for deals”

“Your Free Gift:”

“Coupons Below:”

“Enjoy!”

Or, alternatively, don’t even bother with an opening line; state your point in a picture instead.

One effective technique is using an image that’s taller than the screen. This is actually a popular technique borrowed from webpage-design. The partially-blocked image frustrates the mind and forces the viewer to scroll down to reveal the full picture.

Here’s an example from Dave and Busters.

Always Include a Call-To-Action

The entire point of sending marketing emails is to inspire some action from your subscribers. Are you trying to get them to shop online or in-store? Are you trying to get more website views or more subscribers?

Whatever response you’re after, make it your call-to-action. Here are some guidelines to help you out.

Use one main CTA as the point of your email. Your CTA must be a graphic, either a still image or animated GIF. It must be a link.

It must be located immediately after the intro sentence or image or be used as your intro image.

It must contain a command, like “See all titles,” “Reveal your coupon,” or “Share on Facebook.” Command, don’t ask.

Be Mobile Friendly

Most emails are read on smartphones. You must make sure yours are mobile-friendly.

Always Proofread

Like your subject line, your email body must contain proper grammar and formatting.

How to Grow Your Email List the Right Way

You must display respectful, appropriate behavior when adding contacts to your email list. Specifically, we’re talking about respecting your recipients’ privacy.

This is the most important rule you must obey to avoid ending up in spam folders or being reported as abuse. Failure to do so can even land you in legal trouble. If you aren’t respecting privacy, you are a spammer.

Know the Law

The official laws governing email marketing are listed in detail on the Federal Trade Commission Website. Here is a basic summary:

  • Don’t use false or misleading sender info or subject lines.
  • Identify the message as an advertisement.
  • Provide your location.
  • Provide an opt-out.
  • Honor unsubscribe requests promptly.
  • You are responsible for hired help acting on your behalf.

Failure to obey these will result in prosecution.

Get Permission

Only email customers who purposely subscribed to you. If you send to email addresses that are purchased, phished, recorded for other purposes or are anything other than intentional subscribers, you are a spammer.

Send a Confirmation Email

To be extra safe, your first email to a new address should always be a welcome email to confirm subscription. Maybe the customer typed the address wrong or gave you someone else’s address.

Always require new subscribers to confirm subscription. Otherwise, you may be reported as spam.

Let Unsubscribers Go

If someone wants to unsubscribe, let them go without a fuss.

Don’t beg them to stay with “Are you sure?” messages. Don’t make them jump through hoops or answer a bunch of mandatory questions. Always put an “Unsubscribe” button in every email and don’t make it hard to find or too small to see.

We know you want to keep your subscribers. But it’s not worth it if you have to bully them into staying.

Your recipient may be a regular shopper that just wants a cleaner inbox. If you make it easy for them while showing a positive attitude, it’s a huge help for them. And it gives them one more reason to like your company.

On the other hand, if you make it hard for them to unsubscribe or make them feel bad about it, they will be very frustrated with you. They might even stop doing business with you altogether. Then you’ve lost a subscriber and a customer.

As an alternative to the above practices, you may ask optional questions after they’ve successfully unsubscribed. Or give them 2 simple options on your unsubscribe page, like this:

“How can we help you?

  • Adjust subscription settings
  • Completely unsubscribe”

Use bold text in all caps for your “UNSUBSCRIBE” button.

Above all else, do not keep emailing someone who has unsubscribed. It is illegal.

And be sure to include a disclaimer on your unsubscribe page warning customers that it takes time to process their request. Whether you use an automated email marketing system or manually manage your marketing emails, it will take time to process, and ex-subscribers may still receive a few emails. Let your customers know how much time this process will take so they don’t report you.

Use Automated Email Marketing Software

There are scores of tools you can use to automate your email marketing campaign, maximize it’s effectiveness and put you in total control. Use them. It will allow you to perform the following email marketing best practices with ease.

Personalize Marketing Emails

Using email marketing software, you can add each recipients’ name or company name in the subject line and body of the email. Just like physical mail labeled, “Current Resident,” usually goes straight to the garbage, email recipients are much more likely to open an email when they see their name on it.

For the same reason, it’s also a great idea to use their name in your call-to-action.

Use Analytics and Segment Emails

Email marketing software makes it easy to keep track of all kinds of analytics. You can see which subscribers are opening which emails, what they purchase, how often they purchase, etc. You can see exactly which email marketing tactics work the best.

If you take other information during sign-up, such as zip code and age, you can further categorize your subscribers. This makes it easy to segment your marketing emails, that is, send different, relevant emails to different subscriber demographics.

It also means you can see exactly what isn’t working and why it’s not working. Then you can easily fix what needs fixing. Email marketing gives you more control than almost any other type of marketing.

Allow Subscription Settings

Or let your subscribers segment themselves! Too many or too irrelevant marketing emails will drive your subscribers to unsubscribe.

Avoid this by encouraging them to personalize their own email settings according to their demographic and desired content. Present this option at sign-up and again during unsubscribe attempts.

Other Email Marketing Ideas

Try these email ideas to keep your subscribers interested.

Interactive Content

Include fun, interactive content such as “scratchers,” click to reveal deals, games, GIFs, video links, and quizzes.

Email-Exclusive Content

Your email content should be exclusive. Why should subscribers let you junk up their inbox if they can get the same deal on your Facebook page?

Use These Marketing Email Best Practices For Success

Take what you’ve learned today and apply it to your email marketing campaign. Start these marketing email best practices today!

For more about email marketing, check out How to Use Email Marketing Metrics to Maximize Your Campaign ROI. Get your free consultation today to see how we can better your digital marketing campaigns.

Or, you can get a free quote for our services.Share this article: Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

10 Secret SEO Tips From the Experts

 

10 Secret SEO Tips From the Pros - MarketCrest

Standing out online is tough – you’re up against more than 1.8 billion websites.

That’s a lot of competition.

So how can you stand out? How can you compete with all of those other sites to get the lion’s share of clicks (and the business that results from those clicks)?

There are plenty of things you can start doing right now to kick off your journey toward dominating the web in your field – and these ten secret SEO tips will get you started:

  1. Craft killer content
  2. Be consistent
  3. Make your site user-friendly
  4. Speed up your site
  5. Answer people’s questions
  6. Take advantage of SEO tools and reports
  7. Zoom in on local search
  8. Structure your content properly
  9. Make your site mobile-friendly
  10. Build backlinks

10 Tips From SEO Experts You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Search engine optimization is the process of creating a website that search engine algorithms find irresistible. When a search engine crawler comes to your site, it goes through your pages looking for content that will be valuable to users. When it finds those pages, it puts them in that search engine’s index. Then, when a user types in a query (like tips from SEO experts or how to optimize my website), the search engine’s algorithm dips into the index to find the pages most likely to answer that query.

Not too long ago, SEO was a lot easier – and it was easier to game the system. That led to search engines delivering junk results to users, and that’s the last thing search engines want to do. They’re in the business of delivering quality results; if they don’t, people will stop using them.

Google continually updates its algorithm, as do the other major search engines. They’re always making tweaks and changes to ensure that they deliver the best possible results to their users. Your best bet is to work with an agency that understands SEO and keeps up with the latest updates – that way, you’re always one step ahead of your competition.

 

Secret SEO Tip #1: Craft Killer Content

SEO Secret - Write Great Content

Content is the backbone of the internet, but here’s the catch: You have between 3 and 5 seconds to grab a user’s interest. If you can’t do it within that time frame, they’re going to click the “Back” button and leave your website for good. (Another downside to that is that Google tracks those clicks away from your site and counts them toward your bounce rate. If your bounce rate is high, Google takes that as a signal that you’re not providing the information users want or expect to find – and then becomes less likely to deliver that page in search results.)

Beyond the first 3 to 5 seconds, you have to keep your users engaged. Most website users leave before 59 seconds have elapsed – and if you haven’t completely captivated your audience by then, you’re probably not going to.

And the best way to do that is through amazing content.

Content can be more than text. It can be visually pleasing images, like infographics, or it can be video with a transcription, or it can be a list of products you’re selling.

The basis of your SEO strategy should always be content. You can’t optimize your site for users without it.

In most cases, that does involve a lot of text. Text is easy for Googlebot (Google’s search engine crawler) and its colleagues, Bingbot (Bing’s crawler) and Slurp (Yahoo!’s crawler), to understand. If your text is structured properly, each of those bots can sort through your page and determine what it’s about, assign it a ranking, and store it in its own engine’s index. (See SEO Tip #8 for more information.)

Secret SEO Tip #2: Be Consistent

Search engine optimization doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen in a vacuum, either. When you commit to SEO, you must commit to sticking it out for the long haul. Usually, you won’t see immediate results – and if you call it quits, the work you did do will most likely be for nothing.

It takes time for search engines to notice content and start delivering it to users. But the good news is that once the search engines do start noticing your content, they’re more likely to come back and crawl often.

When you regularly update your website with blog posts, new pages, new products or listings, and other content, your site will do much better than one that’s gathering dust. Regular updates show Google and other search engines that your site is active and can offer searchers the most current information.

Secret SEO Tip #3: Make Your Site User-Friendly

SEO Secret - User FriendlyYour website isn’t for you – it’s for your users. And the one thing that Google is most interested in, aside from you answering a searcher’s query, is user experience, or UX. The search engine prides itself on delivering the best quality results, and that includes websites that searchers enjoy using.

Understanding – and catering to – your users is essential in creating a good UX. Think of your website as your customer’s pathway toward doing business with you. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, it’s clean, easy to navigate and easy to make purchases; your website needs to be the same way.

Remember, too, that Google is tracking what people do on your website when it delivers it in the search engine results pages, or SERPs. The better your UX is, the longer people will stay, and the more likely they are to click through to other pages. This is a huge factor in SEO.

Secret SEO Tip #4: Speed Up Your Site

 

Part of a good UX is fast loading time, but there’s more to it than that – Google uses site speed as a ranking factor, particularly on mobile searches. (You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to figure out how fast your site loads for visitors.)

Slow pages won’t rank as well, because again, Google and other search engines are in the business of delivering the best possible results.

The good news? You can almost always make your website load faster. You can optimize images, use a content delivery network, minify code or even work with a faster web host to boost your site speed.

PageSpeed Insights - SEO Tips

Secret SEO Tip #5: Answer People’s Questions

If you’re not answering any questions (or queries, which are the terms people type into search engines), Google isn’t going to deliver your site to anyone – let alone put you in the top spot on Page 1.

It’s incredibly important that the pages on your website answer queries.

A Word on Keywords

Many people want to rank for “vanity” keywords. Vanity keywords are those that may describe what the website or page is about, but that aren’t likely to deliver qualified traffic that produces high conversion rates.

Let’s say a business owner wants to rank for the term “houseplants” because he sells beautiful houseplants in Colorado. While the term “houseplants” is searched very frequently, it’s very unlikely to send him qualified customers.

That business owner would enjoy better results with a specific keyword, like “peace lily for sale in Colorado” or “buy peace lilies.”

When you create content for your website, it’s important to figure out exactly what your customers are searching for. Then, provide answers to their queries.

Secret SEO Tip #6: Take Advantage of SEO Tools and Reports

Google AnalyticsIf you’re not taking advantage of analytics tools, keyword researching tools and in-depth reporting tools (or you’re not working with a firm that does), you’re not fully committed to SEO.

While there are many tools out there for optimizing search performance, here are a few of the most useful choices:

  • Google Analytics
  • Moz
  • KISSMetrics
  • CrazyEgg
  • Google Keyword Planner (the version available to advertisers only)
  • QuickSprout

Secret SEO Tip #7: Zoom in on Local Search

Google 3 Pack

Local SEO is more important than ever if you have a brick-and-mortar location where you sell products or serve your clients. In addition to putting your location on your website and having a robust Google My Business listing, you need to optimize your site for local search.

To that end, title tags, header tags and meta descriptions must include local information. Include reviews – or the ability to review your business – on your website, and claim your profiles on review sites like Yelp. There are several review management tools you can use, too, including Reputation Love.

Having a great Google My Business listing and locally optimized content on your website can also help ensure that you show up in Google’s 3-Pack, which is the group of three results it shows beneath the map on a search.

Secret SEO Tip #8: Structure Your Content Properly

In order for Google’s algorithm, Hummingbird, to understand what your website’s pages are about, you must structure your content properly. That means creating a URL that has your keyword in it, using a title tag that also includes your keyword, and using variants of your keyword throughout header tags and body text within each page.

Let’s say your keyword is secret SEO tips. You’ll want to include that throughout your document, as well as variants of that phrase – like expert SEO tips and SEO secrets. Hummingbird can fly into your pages, extract all the important information from your headers and semantic keywords (words and phrases that are similar, but not an exact match, to your target keyword), and determine that you have an extremely valuable page that will help people.

Pro Tip: Name the images on your site for SEO, too, and give them alt text that reflects the same keywords.

SEO Secret - Make Your Site Mobile FriendlySecret SEO Tip #9: Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly

For websites, design is important – especially when it comes to mobile-friendliness. Most searches take place on mobile devices, with an increasing number of those originating with voice search – and that means your site needs to be mobile-friendly. In fact, Google unleashed Mobilegeddon in 2015, which gave a huge boost to mobile-friendly pages in the SERPs.

Now, Google has shifted to mobile-first indexing. There’s still only one Google index that includes mobile and desktop versions of websites, but moving forward, the search engine is going to index mobile versions of content and rank it that way. 

Check your site’s mobile-friendliness using the Google Mobile-Friendly testing tool.

Secret SEO Tip #10: Build Backlinks

Backlinks are still an important ranking factor for the search engines. They’re also referred to as inbound links, and they’re a signal to Google and other search engines that your content is valuable.

The key: The links have to come from reputable sites. If they come from spammy, junk websites, they could even catch you a Google penalty – especially if the algorithm believes you’re trying to game the system by collecting these junk links.

Good links take some effort to get but pay off big time in the long run. You can’t get them artificially; you have to create great content that people want to link to. Authentic links are the only kind of links you want.

Putting All the Secret SEO Tips Together

A great SEO strategy has even more facets than we’re able to outline here. And the fact is, no matter what you do, you’re not going to skyrocket to Page 1 in the SERPs overnight.

But there’s good news. Your efforts will pay off, and when they do, things will start to snowball for your website and your business.

Need help taking your search performance to the next level? We’re here to help. Get in touch with us at (469) 661-1040 today for a free SEO consultation.

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The Ultimate Guide to Creating Annual Marketing Plans for Your Business

annual marketing plan

Marketing is an important part of any business. Business owners that spend time investing in marketing should see everything they’re doing as an investment in overall business growth.

Knowing that marketing is important is simple, but putting together a cohesive annual marketing plan is easier said than done.

If you want to know how to start looking at marketing as a year-long investment, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know to create a comprehensive marketing plan that can service your business throughout the year.

Tips For Creating An Annual Marketing Plan

Creating a marketing plan from scratch will require a lot of research, patience, and hard work. We’re going to let you know what you need to do to put together a marketing plan you can be proud of.

Whether you want to focus on social media marketing or improve SEO, if you follow these tips you’ll have a plan that can help meet your marketing needs.

Be Prepared To Be Flexible

A lot of things can change throughout the year.

There may be a brand-new marketing tactic that works for your other businesses in your industry you could want to try. You could find that something unexpected happens in the market and that you need to adjust your strategy.

When you’re planning your strategy, try to think of flexible and reasonable deadlines. Leave in spaces for market research and ideation to make sure that you’re aware of the latest industry news and marketing tactics.

Evaluate Your Current Marketing Methods

Before you can start making a new annual marketing plan, you need to think about what you’re doing now and how well it’s working for you.

Some businesses may be able to build upon their current marketing plan. They may have successful initiatives from last year that need to be taken to the next level of development.

Other businesses may find that last year’s marketing plan wasn’t a success. They may need to develop brand new strategies and start from scratch.

Are you not sure how to evaluate the success of your old marketing plan? Start looking into the return on investment (ROI) of what you did.

Think about how much time and money it cost you to perform each marketing task. Then think about how much money each task and marketing channel brought in because of your efforts.

Think About Your Budget

Before you start planning a comprehensive year-long marketing strategy, take time to think about how much money you have to devote to marketing.

It’s estimated that businesses around the world will spend around $457.62 billion on marketing services this year. PPC ads, website work, social media advertising, copywriting, and other marketing costs can add up.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a stellar marketing strategy, but you do have to think about how much your business can invest over a year.

Start off by looking at how much you already devote to marketing, then estimate how much you think you’d like to spend on your plan.

Think about what aspects of marketing deserve most of your focus over the next 12 months. Focus on finding money to fund those initiatives before you think about other larger projects.

If you find that you need more money than you anticipated, think of ways you can get money from other areas of your budget. Or scale back your marketing plan and think about focusing on the most important pillars of your plan.

Know Your Audience

Ideally, business owners would sell their products and services to everyone and anyone they can find. But in order to have a successful marketing plan, you need to narrow down your customer focus onto a target audience.

When you think of your ideal customer, what are they like?

Some of you may think of a mid-level manager at a business that needs professional services. They may meet with you throughout the year and get invoiced monthly for the services you provide.

Your ideal customer could be single men no older than 35 that earns more than $50k a year and has extra spending money. They may be a single mother in her twenties that needs to save money.

Knowing who your target customer is will make crafting a marketing plan to suit their needs easier for you.

Once you understand who your target market is, you can start thinking about which marketing strategies and platforms will appeal to them.

Know The Customer’s Journey

Now that you know who your target audience is, you should start to learn what it takes for the average buyer to make a purchase.

Knowing the customer decision journey is essential for all business owners, and knowing yours from start to finish can help you create a stellar annual marketing plan.

Think about how they learned about your business. Did they find your website online, or did they stumble upon it when they were walking along a shopping complex?

Take time to consider how long it takes them to make a buying decision.

Do you have the kind of customer that will spend time researching brands and businesses before they make a purchase? Or are these people that need something immediately, and will buy from a store that has what they need in stock?

It’s also important to think about how often the customer will need your goods or services. Will this be a one-time purchase? Will they need to come back each month for something new, or will the need something for every week?

Identifying these touchpoints for your customers can help you understand their needs, and how to better market to them.

Don’t Feel The Need To Do Everything

One reason why people struggle with creating a yearly marketing plan is that they try to focus on too much at once.

Small business owners may not have a lot of time to focus on individual marketing activities. That’s why it’s important to narrow your focus and only spend time and money on your most pressing concerns.

It’s better to get one part of your marketing plan in excellent shape than to spend time working on several strategies that never get off the ground.

If you don’t have a great PPC advertising strategy, spend the year focusing on building that up. If you don’t have a social media presence, devote a chunk of your plan to building up your profiles.

It’s also important to remember that some platforms and strategies may not be the best for your business.

An investment firm that handles clients aged 45 and up shouldn’t devote time to building up a Pinterest marketing plan. An IT company that deals with big businesses shouldn’t invest in building out a blog with beginner IT management tips.

When you narrow your focus and think about which parts of your plan are the most important, you’ll be in a good place for your annual marketing plan.

Play Up What Makes You Stand Out

Today’s business world can be a very crowded place. If you want to bring in new customers, you need to think about what makes you different from your competitors.

Once you determine your unique selling point, make it a core part of your marketing message. Reference it as much as possible in ads and copy, make it a part of your company image.

What advantages will customers have if they go with you over someone else?

Some businesses choose to showcase the quality of products and services. They’ll talk about using the highest quality ingredients or parts. They may highlight the professional experience their employees have.

Other businesses tend to go down the money and value route. Some businesses may talk about how their customers always save money when they go to their store.

Other businesses can play up the value of their services but in a different way. They may mention that other businesses are less expensive, but that their high-quality products and services are worth the extra money in the long run.

Know How To Evaluate Success

Regardless of what you do in your annual marketing plan, you want to make sure that your new strategies and tactics are working.

The easiest way to evaluate the success of your plan is to think about which metrics will matter the most.

If your overall marketing goal is to drive more traffic to the website, page views would be an obvious metric to measure. Bounce rates and time on the page can be an additional helpful metric that can help you better evaluate content and if it’s serving the customer’s needs.

If building your social media presence is important, look beyond your follower count. See if people are interacting with and sharing your content.

Next Steps

Now that you know how to make an annual marketing plan, you’re eager to start working on your overall marketing strategy.

We’re here to help you every step of the way. Be sure to get your free quote today so we can start talking about which marketing strategies are best for your business.

Also be sure to check out some of the helpful content we have on our blog.Share this article: Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Best Digital Marketing Techniques: Free Tips From a Professional Consultant

marketing techniques

In today’s digital world, you have to keep on top of different digital marketing techniques to stay relevant and reach out to your target audience.

Experts project Google to have a 32.4% market share of the net digital ad revenue worldwide in 2018. It remains the biggest search engine in the industry. With the digital age, it’s important to switch your marketing strategy to fit the internet landscape.

Majority of consumers today spend a lot of time online. It’s important to use digital marketing techniques that drive more people to your business.

The best way to grow your business is to hire an SEO agency. They have the know-how when it comes to digital marketing techniques. There are some things you can do on your own, especially if you’re starting to apply digital marketing techniques to your strategies.

Here are some techniques you can use like a pro:

Keep Up With the Upcoming Digital Marketing Trends

Of all the techniques you can use for digital marketing, “trend hijacking” is one of the useful ones so far. It’s best if you put your brand out there, especially on the World Wide Web.

There are a lot of trends going on in the digital world related to your brand that can help you gain a massive number of online audiences.

The best marketing techniques you can use to capitalize on this is to use tools like Google Trends to help identify ongoing trends.

If you have the right set of tools and the passion to stay ahead, you can strive and gain knowledge. This can help you surpass your competitors and make your way to the top.

Use Automation Apps

The digital marketing world is fast-paced and ever-changing. If you want to stay on top of your competitors, one of the best marketing techniques is to get into marketing automation.

It’s the best method if your marketing strategy involves result-driven approaches.

Market automation apps can help fill up the knowledge gap your business might have. There are a lot of apps out there that automate the promotion of your business. Some of these apps can do:

  • Automated e-mail marketing
  • Automatic Twitter tweet posting
  • Automatic Facebook feed posting

To test its degree of success, you need to observe the engagement and responses from your target audience. Some people prefer “real people” engaging them in your social media channels.

There are chatbots out there that can simulate an almost human-like conversation, so you can look for that if you want to get the most out of automation.

Optimize Your Marketing Techniques for Mobile Devices

A mobile-optimized strategy delivers a lot of value for a lot of businesses, especially local ones. Some mobile strategies faced controversies in recent times.

One of the reasons is the fact that mobile-responsive websites convert more people on higher resolution screens compared to the lower ones.

Google still keeps its mobile-first stance on the situation, but it’s undeniable that a large chunk of people online use desktops, laptops, and tablets for their online business transactions.

If you want to optimize your marketing techniques for mobile, keep these factors in mind. Build mobile-responsive websites that have relevant and engaging content, Call-To-Actions, and faster load times.

Use Social Media Marketing More

This marketing strategy is one of the newest approaches you can use to gain a massive audience for your brand. With large subscriber bases, social media networks like Facebook serve as one of your primary channels for brand promotion.

Facebook, for example, influences 52% of consumers’ online and offline purchases.

You can use social media trends to place your brand out for all subscribers to see. Recent changes to social network policies now make them more viable advertising platforms. It comes with a price since you need to pay these platforms to advertise you more.

The price is worth paying since the reach of Social Media is wide. You can target your ads to specific audiences that are more likely to support your brand.

Optimize Your Conversion Rate Through Your Website

When talking about Conversion Rate Optimization, it involves steps that help make your brand more attractive to your audience. It’s a systematic way of expanding your customer base and let you get the best out of your brand in different ways.

There are a lot of ways you can increase your conversion rate and reduce the bounce rate of your website.

The simple things like filling out forms, subscribing to your blog, clicking on a call to action, and the like can help persuade your site visitors. It helps you steer them into performing an action that you want. Using CRO can help you get more understanding about your website visitors’ behaviors and how to best adapt to it.

Make Your Brand Appear in Search Engine Results with SEO

You can use some SEO marketing strategies to focus on expanding your brand’s visibility on the search engine results without paying for the ads. What you need to have an effective SEO strategy is a technical knowledge that helps boost your rankings, drive more website traffic, and increase the search engines’ recognition for your brand.

There are a lot of aspects you need to consider when it comes to SEO, from the optimal word count to how other websites link to you online.

The main objective of your SEO strategy is to make your site in a way that search engines prioritize it more than your competitors. That way, you can get more customers and let your business flourish in this digital landscape.

Don’t be Afraid to Use Paid Marketing and Campaigns

Despite having an attached price tag, paid marketing is one of the most effective means for you to use search engines for paid ads. When you pay Google or Yahoo for advertisements, your website becomes visible at the top of the search results with the “Ad” label.

There is a lot of research supporting the fact that a lot of people online click more on paid search results compared to other forms of online advertisements.

When looking for things online through search engines, people who click your ads find it more relevant to their search queries. It adds another layer of legitimacy to your website since people will acknowledge the money you shell out to advertise your brand.

It’s one of the better marketing techniques to partner with your SEO efforts.

Familiarize Yourself with Influencer Marketing for PR

Another marketing technique you should capitalize on is influencer marketing. It’s one of the most recent and distinct digital marketing strategies that has its own set of benefits for your brand. You can link it to your content strategy, SEO efforts, and social marketing techniques.

Influencer marketing means that you promote your brand through the use of experts, influencers, popular figures, and other celebrities.

These people have followers that can change what people consider for buying.

It’s categorized under word-of-mouth marketing, which has the potential to spread faster especially when your influencer has at least a million followers.

Reveal the Power of Partnership with Affiliate Marketing

This is another of the many great digital marketing techniques you can use to market your brand online.

This type of marketing has a lot of similarities with commission-based marketing, where you pay your affiliate based on how they perform. When you engage in affiliate marketing, you only pay your affiliate if they’re successful at selling your brand to people.

There are a lot of companies that use affiliate marketing today, like:

  • Banks
  • Finance Companies
  • Travel agencies

Most of these companies report a successful campaign through this strategy. You can try it out and see if it works out for you.

Identify Your Goals to Know the Tools You’ll Need

Your marketing techniques should always tie in with your business goals. No matter what kind of goal your company has, you need to know the methods necessary to measure it. The method you’ll use to measure success depends on the kind of business you have, as well as the goals you set for yourself.

The metrics that you use can help you adjust your strategy based on whether you’re meeting your goals. Knowing the areas where you need to improve can help ensure that your business strategy is sound and adaptable as the digital marketing landscape continues to change.

Get More Digital Marketing Techniques Today!

There are a lot of great marketing strategies out there that you can use depending on the kind of business you have. Knowing what works can take a lot of trial and error on your part, especially if you’re doing it on your own.

If you want a more efficient way to implement your digital marketing strategies, getting an SEO agency is the best way to go.

If you need assistance with your marketing strategy, we can help.

We have a lot of experience working with various brands.

We can determine the right techniques you can use to ensure that your business thrives in the digital landscape.

Do you have more questions? We offer free consultations and services that can boost your company to the top of the search engine results. Contact us today to get you started on your journey to success.Share this article: Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

5 Website Strategies for Better Results

website strategies

Your customers are online – and it’s your job to reach them, capture their attention and cultivate a relationship. In this post, our resident marketing experts explain how you can do exactly that by employing these five website strategies:

  • Making your website mobile
  • Harnessing the power of content
  • Using smart calls-to-action
  • Being social media-savvy
  • Keeping tabs on your competitors

Each of these website strategies is connected, and when they’re used properly, they’ll strengthen your brand and empower you to grow your business.

Here’s how.

5 Website Strategies for Better Results

Where’s the first place you look when you need information? You whip out your phone, open your laptop or start scrolling on your tablet.

That’s what your prospective customers do, too.

You need to position your company as the only company your prospects need. To do that, you have to:

  • Show search engines why your site is valuable to these searchers
  • Draw in potential customers on their own terms
  • Provide a useful, pleasant experience

What is Website Traffic, Anyway?

The term website traffic refers to the number of people who visit your site. It’s just one metric of your success, though – you need to attract your ideal customer and provide the user experience, or U/X, that he or she expects.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic refers to visitors who come to your site because they found you in the search engine results pages, or SERPs.

Paid Traffic

Paid traffic refers to visitors who clicked an ad on Google or one of your social media platforms.

An efficient and effective website brings in organic traffic. You can boost your site’s traffic by employing these five tried-and-true website strategies.

1. Go Mobile

Even in this wildly connected era, nearly 50% of all businesses still don’t have websites. If your site is up and running, you’re ahead of at least half of your competitors – and if it’s good, you’re ahead of even more.

Smart Website Strategies You Can Use Today

The majority of online searches take place on smartphones and tablets, so Google uses a mobile-first index to evaluate whether a site is worth delivering to people searching on mobile devices. If a site isn’t responsive, or if it doesn’t work properly on a phone or tablet, Google (and other search engines) are far less likely to deliver it to searchers using one of those devices. 

When a new visitor comes to your site, you have a window that’s only open for 3 to 5 seconds. Your site has to load and look appealing enough for users to stick around within that window – otherwise, that user will click the “Back” button and return to the search results.

When a visitor quickly leaves, Google determines that your site didn’t fulfill that user’s needs. With a high enough bounce rate (which is a topic for another day!), your rankings will drop… and Google will become less likely to deliver your website to searchers.

Your next steps:

  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. (Test its mobile-friendliness here.)
  • Make sure your website is fast. (Test its speed here.)

Getting users to your site is hard enough. Letting them leave because you weren’t prepared is like flushing your marketing funds down the drain.

Pro tip: Older sites can be tough to optimize for mobile, so sometimes it’s best (read: easiest and most cost-effective) to start from scratch.

2. Harness the Power of Content

Strong content is the cornerstone of every successful digital marketing strategy. Good content that people can “Like” and share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms will bring more traffic to your site.

Content - Website StrategiesWhen people search the internet for something, they’re ready to learn. It’s your job to give them the information and experience they want.

They have a problem. You have the solution.

Your content is the medium that connects you. It’s what search engine crawlers “read” to determine what each page on your website is about, and it’s what search engine algorithms use to rank your site among other, similar sites for usefulness. 

The content on your website can inform. It can inspire. It can sell. 

Quality content establishes trust, builds rapport and sets the tone with prospective customers.

Your next steps:

  • Make a list of the most frequently asked questions about your products and services.
  • Turn everything on your list into a blog post. Link to reputable sites (those ending in .gov, .edu or .mil, or large publications such as the New York Times) to help build trust.
  • Publish informative, useful content on a regular schedule, whether it’s every Monday at 10 a.m. or every Thursday at 1 p.m. The point is to create a schedule and stick to it so search engine crawlers and regular readers know what to expect.

Pro tip: Don’t write for length. Write for quality. Get to the point quickly and succinctly. Avoid using “fluff” that doesn’t help visitors. Remember, Google is watching how long people stay on your pages and where they go next – and they’re using that information to determine how valuable your site is.

What About Video Content?

Video will comprise 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. Check out these video marketing stats:

  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t use it
  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others
  • 90% of users say videos are helpful in the decision-making process

Your next steps:

  • Create videos that answer your customers’ questions and post them on your website. You can live-stream, create slideshows or show off product features.
  • Share your videos on all your social media channels, and include transcripts when there’s space to do so (such as on YouTube). Always include links back to your site where viewers can learn more on the topic or about your company.

Pro tip: Use subtitles on your videos, because 80 percent of people watch them with the sound off.

3. Use Calls-to-Action Wisely

Most of the pages on your website need a call-to-action, or CTA. A call-to-action is a piece of content that compels readers to take a very specific action, like buying your product, signing up for updates or clicking through to another page.

Website Strategies - Call to ActionYou’ve put a tremendous amount of effort into bringing visitors to your site and keeping them engaged, so you need a great CTA that seals the deal.

Calls-to-action need to tell the reader exactly what you want them to do and provide them with an opportunity to do it. You can use inline text or a button – whatever fits best with your brand’s tone and your website’s design.

Examples for inline text CTAs:

  • Click here to get your free one-hour consultation!
  • Get exclusive access to MarketCrest’s expert advice now by filling out the form below.
  • Find out how affordable our services are right now!
  • Get your free copy of our award-winning e-Book by clicking here.
  • Increase your leads by 1500% in one week – click here to learn our secret formula!

Examples for button CTAs:

  • Get a free e-Book now.
  • Let me in!
  • Sign me up!
  • Tell me the secret!
  • I want great deals!

Your next steps:

  • Identify pages on your website that need CTAs. Any page that offers a product, information or help can benefit from a call-to-action.
  • Come up with exciting text or great verbiage for a button.

Pro tip: Put a different CTA on every page and track its success. If some types, such as buttons, get more action than inline text CTAs do, make a few tweaks to perfect your strategy until your conversions increase.

What About Email Lists?

Opt-in email lists are extremely powerful tools in any marketing strategy.

But you can’t get something for nothing.

Offering your website visitors something they need – say, an e-book that gives people inside information from an industry expert (you!) or exclusive access to hot real estate listings – is the first step in cultivating your email list.

For example, if you know users look to you for how-to guides or for tips on working in your industry, you already know what types of deliverables to produce.

Pro tip: If you collect phone numbers when you make a sale, offer an option for people to opt into text marketing. Legally, you must ensure that people understand what they’re signing up for (this goes for email marketing, too) – and you must also provide an opportunity for people to opt out if they no longer wish to receive marketing messages from you.

4. Be Social

Social Media Website StrategiesSocial media posts drive targeted traffic right to your website. The user knows exactly what he or she is going to get after a click, and you’re uniquely positioned to deliver a great experience.

The key is to meet your customers where they are and make it easy for them to engage your brand. The more frequently you share useful content, the more visible your brand becomes across these mediums.

Check out these social media statistics to inform your next steps:

  • 73% of American adults use YouTube
  • 68% use Facebook
  • 35% use Instagram
  • 29% use Pinterest
  • 27% use Snapchat
  • 25% use LinkedIn
  • 24% use Twitter

Visibility on social media sites can boost your site’s visibility in search engines, and it helps build consumer trust. Even better, some of your competitors aren’t using social media – and that makes you far more visible.

Your next steps:

  • Create profiles on every social media site your clients are using. Be consistent with your branding on each.
  • Create or claim any listings on reputable websites, like Google My Business and Yelp, but avoid spammy business directories.
  • Use promotions through these websites to get people to visit your site, such as discounts and promotions available only to first-time customers.
  • Follow strong businesses in your community. Reach out and see if anyone wants to cross promote with you. If you run a yoga studio, start offering products with a local beauty supply or organic lotion company along with packages of classes.

Pro tip: Commit to a minimum number of social media posts each week, and make sure you stick to it. When someone interacts with your company by leaving a comment, reply! Share a mix of images, videos and text – and promote other businesses as well as your own.

5. Pay Attention to Your Competitors

Website Strategy - Keep Tabs on Your CompetitionSearch for your business on Google by typing in a key phrase an ordinary person would use. If you run a roofing company in Dallas, for example, type in things like roof replacement in Dallas or Dallas roof repair.

What companies come up in the organic search results? Which companies are paying for ads related to your business? Make note of who’s ranking naturally and who’s paying for ad space.

Visit your competitors’ websites. Look for:

  • Calls-to-action on each page. See how they’re wording CTAs and what they’re offering in return for a customer’s email address and other contact information.
  • Blog posts. Check to see how frequently they’re posting on their blog and see what they’re writing about.
  • Content. Find out what type of information they’re offering readers and compare it to the information you’re sharing. Evaluate it objectively, and if theirs is more useful, step up your game.
  • Social media buttons. Follow the icons to your competitors’ Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages to see how often they post, how much they interact with customers, and what they’re sharing.

Once you’ve done a little recon, it’s time to copy what the competition is doing – and put your own twist on it to make it even better.

Your next steps:

Pro tip: If you see something your competitors are doing that you think would work well for your own business, do it! Just make sure you track the results so you know where to focus more of your efforts.

Implementing Winning Website Strategies

You’re busy, but you know you need to keep growing your business and helping it thrive.

We get that – and we’re here to help.

Check out our powerful content marketing ideas for busy business owners or skip ahead and call us for a completely free marketing consultation. We’ll walk through what you’re already doing right and show you how you can save time and money while increasing your bottom line.

One simple phone call can help you get more from your marketing budget than you ever thought was possible.

Call us at 469-661-1040 or fill out the form below to get the help you need today.

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Your Guide to SEO Basics for Small Business Owners

seo basics

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is part art and part science. It involves creating content for your website that’s optimized for search engines – but part of good SEO is optimizing your content for readers, too. Learning SEO basics isn’t terribly difficult, and it definitely pays off.

So where do you start?

SEO Basics: What You Need to Know About Optimization

Basic search engine optimization techniques include:

  • How to implement SEO in your web design
  • How to research the best, most profitable keywords
  • Understanding Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
  • Using keywords and their counterparts in your content
  • Hiring the right SEO professionals
  • Tracking performance

Before you can dive into the specifics, you need to understand search engine optimization and why it’s important, which the following section covers.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization is a digital marketing tool available to every business owner with an online presence. It helps SMBs reach potential and existing customers through major search engines, which all generally follow Google’s lead.

A basic SEO strategy keeps the principles behind a standard Google search in mind.

Users enter a phrase called a query into a search engine. These words best approximate what the user is looking for, such as “where to find pho in Dallas” or “how to knit a scarf.”

When Google receives a query, it automatically assembles a collection of results that provide an answer. The most complete and accurate answers, as determined by Google’s algorithm, appear at the top of the search engine results page, or SERP.

This is possible because Google’s crawler – commonly called the Googlebot – reads the content of each page it discovers and uses more than 200 factors to assign it a ranking. The algorithm Google uses latent semantic indexing. That means Google can recognize related terms and phrases in groups (like knit, knitting, yarn, stitch and purl) to understand, categorize and rank pages.

Think of Google like a giant file cabinet. It files away useful webpages in each drawer and knows precisely where to go when someone needs an answer.

The higher a page ranks in the SERPs, the more likely users are to click it.

Businesses can optimize online content with specific Google searches in mind. For example, a local shoe store can optimize its content to reach people searching terms like “Nike retailer” or “designer boots in San Francisco.”

Good SEO is about more than keywords, though. It’s an entire strategy that successful businesses implement to gain greater visibility in the SERPs and, as a result, more traffic and more sales.

How to Implement SEO Basics

As a business owner, you can take SEO basics into your own hands. It’s possible to engineer a powerful SEO strategy on your own. You have to be in it for the long haul, though – good SEO doesn’t happen overnight.

1. Spend Time On Web Design

Optimizing your website makes your business more visible to a highly targeted group of searchers who want or need what you have to offer.

There’s one catch: Google is all about user experience, or U/X.

If you search Google and the results you get are consistently underwhelming, you’re going to switch to a different search engine. There are myriad reasons you could be displeased with the results, like:

  • The pages you get don’t answer your question
  • The website you land on is slow to load or uses outdated technology, graphics or design
  • The pages you click don’t render properly on your device

That means your site needs to feature responsive design that renders properly on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. It also needs to load quickly – within 3 to 5 seconds – and each page needs to answer a user’s specific query. You also need to provide users with:

  • Easy navigation
  • Interactive, intuitive content
  • A user-friendly interface

Before you can dive into SEO, your website needs to provide the U/X Google and its users demand. (Learn more about responsive, intuitive web design services here.)

2. Research Keywords

SEO Basics - Keyword Research

Keywords are central to any SEO campaign – and the most successful search engine optimization campaigns are data-driven.

Start by researching your competition. Note where your competitors rank on Google for keywords and phrases that also relate to your business.

Perform some organic searches for keywords you feel your users may use to find your business. Start with the basics, but don’t be afraid to try out long-tail keywords.

Examples of basic keywords:

  • Turkish restaurant
  • Bowling alley
  • How to knit
  • SEO basics

Examples of long-tail keywords:

  • Turkish restaurant in Dallas
  • Bowling alleys near me
  • How to knit baby booties
  • List of basic SEO techniques for beginners

You can use a variety of tools to plan your keywords. Google’s Keyword Planner is the most obvious choice, but it only offers broad data unless you’re paying for advertising. However, there are a number of free and paid services that allow you to research keywords relevant to your business. Some can become very expensive, so for most business owners, it makes sense to hire an SEO expert who already has access to the most effective tools.

Pro tip: Only use one keyword or phrase per page of content. Keywords must be distinct between pages.

3. Familiarize Yourself With Google’s Guidelines

Following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines helps ensure your pages are compliant with Google’s requirements. Spend some time learning best practices – and what not to do – before you begin.

If you violate any of Google’s terms, the search engine will penalize your site. Google may elect to exclude a few pages from its index or it may deindex your entire site, depending on the nature and severity of the violation.  

4. Optimize Content

Content optimization is the most fundamental part of a basic SEO strategy. It involves choosing a keyword or phrase and building content around it naturally.

Googlebot is programmed to discover and index pages based on the text they contain. Google’s algorithm, Hummingbird, uses latent semantic indexing to determine a page’s purpose.

What is Latent Semantic Indexing?

Latent semantic indexing, or LSI, is the method Google’s algorithm uses to scan through data and identify relationships between words. This enables determine the context of a page and eliminates the need for keyword density.

What is Keyword Density?

Keyword density refers to the extremely outdated practice of using your keyword a certain number of times per 100 words. In the earliest days of search engine optimization, webmasters could stuff a page with keywords and rank well for the term. The result was generally useless spam that read like this:

 

Use each keyword naturally. Make sure that keywords appear in the page’s meta title, a heading or two, within the body of the content and in the meta description – but don’t “stuff” keywords in. The best way to incorporate a keyword is to write naturally, then revisit your content and ensure that it appears where it will help readers most. Because Hummingbird understands word groups (like the knitting example above), there’s no need to worry about keyword density.

Pro tip: Optimize image file names and alt text on images with your keyword.

If you use WordPress for your website, you can install a plugin that can help you with optimization, such as Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO Pack. Just bear in mind that as of this writing, Yoast still considers keyword density a factor as it “grades” your content.

5. Consider Hiring Professionals

Successful SEO depends on link-building and dozens of other factors, including local optimization, getting reviews and establishing social media profiles.

  • Link-building is an important component of SEO. Google uses inbound links – links that lead into your site from other websites – as a measure of how valuable your website is. If already-reputable sites link to yours, it’s a strong signal that you have something to offer users. Conversely, if several spammy sites (like link directories) link into yours, Google can interpret that as a sign that your site is likely not worth much or that you’re trying to game search engine results.
  • Optimizing content for location-based searches, such as “Brooklyn bagels” or “Dallas roof repair” can help bring in local business. A good SEO strategy also includes using Google My Business and other tools that help establish your company as the local go-to when your potential clients are looking for help.
  • Many people trust independent online reviews as much as they’d trust a recommendation from a friend, so it’s important to build a presence on review sites like Google, Yelp and others. Building a presence includes responding to reviews (both positive and negative) and showing people who read them that your company is interested in maintaining a good reputation for customer service.
  • Establishing profiles on social media sites is a proven SEO strategy – not only because social signals are one of the ways Google determines how valuable your site is, but because social media itself can bring in targeted traffic. (You can learn about how social media plays a role in any good website strategy here.)

Business owners who want a complete SEO campaign often turn to professionals. At MarketCrest, for example, we assist our clients in all aspects of search engine marketing.

6. Track Performance

SEO Tools for SEO BasicsSEO is always evolving, and you need to know where your site stands on a day-to-day basis to ensure you stay on top. Use Google Analytics to track which pages people land on to enter your site, where your visitors are coming from and how long people spend on each page. You can also use paid tools, like Moz and SpyFu, or built-in tools that come with platforms such as Wix and Squarespace that track your site’s performance.

The most important thing you can do is monitor whether your efforts are paying off. That way, you can adjust your strategy and focus on the optimization techniques that are bringing you new business.

SEO Basics: Final Thoughts

Learning SEO basics can make a huge impact on how well your website performs. Used properly, SEO enables business owners to connect with larger audiences and increase profits.

Simply by familiarizing yourself with Google’s guidelines, researching keywords and investing in the right web design, you can boost your bottom line.

At MarketCrest, we love helping our clients take their digital marketing to the next level. Learn more about our award-winning work here – and when you’re ready for a free, one-hour consultation with a marketing expert, call us at 469-661-1040. We’re here to help.

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