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Digital Marketing – 8 Signs You’re Doing It Wrong

Digital marketing. It’s a vital component of survivability in today’s age. As marketers ourselves, we’ve seen the mega shift that has occurred in the way that companies are  now able to promote and advertise themselves, and engage with audiences across Internet platforms.

We also see on the horizon the rise of even more digital marketing technologies that will change the entire marketing landscape once more.

But do you know what’s so frustrating?

Many business leaders still don’t get it. They don’t want to invest in digital marketing — either because they don’t understand it, or they don’t have faith in it.

Unfortunately, these business leaders are digging their own graves.

Here are 8 signs your your business is missing the mark when it comes to digital marketing. If you can relate to these signs, don’t walk — run to the phone and call us for help.

(RELATED: What You Should Be Prepared to Spend on Digital Marketing in 2018)

increase-facebook-likes1. You Stress Over Social Media ‘Likes’ and Shares

We sometimes bring our love of shared, re-tweeted and “liked” content from our personal lives into the way we do business. While a high number of likes or followers can look impressive at the surface level, you might not see any benefit from these things once you dig a little deeper.

While there is currently some debate about it in the industry, people liking your page or sharing your content doesn’t factor into the complex algorithms Google uses to determine how high your page ranks. Don’t obsess over too many likes and shares and don’t let a high number of shares make you complacent.

2. You’re Forgetting the Importance of Email

Did you know that almost two-thirds of marketers believe email is at the heart of their business? Over half of all consumers like receiving promotional deals and updates in their inbox each week, too.

People are using an increasingly large variety of devices to stay on top of their emails and as a business owner, you should too. Emailing your clients or customers allows you to personalize the experience to meet their needs and increase their engagement.

3. You’re Sharing the Same Things Across Every Platform

There’s no reason for customers to follow you on more than one platform if they can get everything they need from you on just one. The various social media apps are made for different groups that want different things, and you can use that to your advantage.

  • Use Instagram to bring a visual message to your clients and give them a look at what you’re selling.
  • Twitter is ideal for the smaller bits of news that you want to get out to your audience in real-time.
  • You can use Facebook to bring repeat customers back in, engage new ones, and hold competitions to keep interest levels high.

If you do need to share one thing on all mediums, you should employ some strategy and tweak the stories to fit the platforms.

(RELATED: #RIPTwitter – How the Social Network Dug its Own Grave)

4. There’s Too Much Focus on Small Things

You need to have a specific goal in mind for the long run. This will help you craft a digital marketing strategy around meeting that goal. Everything you produce after that should have a purpose, whether it is to bring in more web traffic, get more email subscriptions, or generate more clicks. Make a broad plan so that you aren’t just creating meaningless content.

5. Customers Can’t Find You

Without an online presence one, you could be artificially limiting your potential or exposing yourself to competitors. If you aren’t getting much web traffic, it could be because you don’t generate very much content or the stuff you do put out there just isn’t interesting to your base. You can find strategies to help you with that on this very list.

6. You Don’t Have a  ‘Digital Team’

If your marketing team isn’t reading at least some digital reports, you might need to implement some training programs. Reading these things, along with attending conferences, blogging weekly, listening to podcasts, and working with digital marketing experts can all help to keep your business relevant.

7. You Can’t Answer These Basic Questions

There are some basic questions every business involved in digital markets should be able to answer.

  • What is your cost and revenue per lead?
  • Which web content manager do you use?
  • How many visitors per month do you get?
  • How are you staying current?

(RELATED: 6 Digital Marketing Hacks the Competition is Using to Steal Your Customers)

8. The Site is Too Old

If it’s been at least five years since you’ve launched your website and you’ve not updated it, now is the time. Almost one-third of all websites are visited via mobile devices, and you need to optimize your website to accept this traffic. If you do not, you could lose valuable customers.

In addition, the advancements in content management systems, marketing automation tools and web design necessitate that a new website is in order.

An investment in digital marketing is an investment in your future. A strong team and a clear plan can keep your company viable in the digital age.

 

10 Google Adwords Mistakes That’ll Blow Your Budget in a Heartbeat

Anyone savvy in digital marketing and its trends will tell you the same thing about Google Adwords: It’s an effective tool for bringing traffic to your website. However, creating a campaign to bring in customers or subscribers can be expensive, and those costs will quickly increase if you’re not careful.

Here are 10 Google Adwords mistakes that can eat up your budget before your eyes.

1. You’re not paying attention to the ‘Quality Score’ aspect.

You might just see a number next to the quality score category and disregard it. However, this is the wrong approach if you want to use Google Adwords effectively. The algorithm assigns a qualitative number to each keyword you use. You should try to get a 7 or greater on every keyword. Better quality scores mean each click costs you less money and raises your ranking in the ad results too. If you want to improve your scores, you need to create good copy, optimize your home page, and use ad groups for each keyword.

2. You keep using the same ads for different keywords.

We mentioned that every keyword needs an ad group to itself, and mistake number two is part of why that is true. The keywords you create need to match the ads very closely. For example, if someone wants a leather recliner, your ads need to focus on leather recliners. They should focus on that instead of focusing on other types of recliners or leather sofas. You’ll get more clicks at lower rates with ads that remain relevant to the keywords.

3. You ignore the split test feature.

Adwords includes a helpful tool that allows you to run multiple copies of a particular ad at the same time. The goal here is to see which ad gets the most clicks within a specified window of time. In this way, you learn what ad generates the most clicks without relying on luck or guesswork. You should use the split test to run at least two copies of each ad and see how many clicks it gets in a given time limit.

4. You don’t use conversion tracking.

So far, everything you’ve done with Adwords is about getting clicks. We want to convert those clicks into actionable things like signups, e-mails, and purchases. If you are not tracking these conversions, you only know how many clicks you’re getting, which doesn’t tell you about the overall success of your site. Use this feature to weed out pointless keywords taking up space without generating income.

5. There are too many irrelevant keywords.

Google Adwords allows you to choose broad phrases for your ad groups or exact matches. You should always choose the latter because using broad phrases will bring back a ton of results that will make your ads appear in places they don’t need to be. Over time, this irrelevancy will reduce your quality score, further eating into your profits.

6. Clicks navigate users to your home page instead of a landing page.

It might seem logical, but don’t link your ads to your home page. What you really want is a simple landing page that sells whatever product the person who clicked on your ad wants to buy. On your landing page, use short copy for low-risk impulse buys and longer copy for more complex needs-based purchases that the user spends some time considering before buying.

7. Your keywords are grouped poorly.

If you don’t group your keywords according to appropriate ad groups, you lose the ability to customize your ads to be a better fit for the potential customer. This means that instead of seeing ads for “laptops,” a customer might just click, see a bunch of electronics, and move on to something else.

8. You’re not including negative keywords.

Adwords can use negative keywords to exclude those that are not a good match for what you’re selling. If you sell heavy winter clothing designed for the cold, you might want a keyword like “jacket” to be included but not one like “light” or “spring”. That’s because either of those will produce results that are not helpful to you.

9. You’re not investing in your own brand.

In digital marketing terms, you need to “bid” on your own brand. If you do not advertise and push your own stuff, a competitor might do just that. That means that another company near you in the results can use your brand and siphon off your customer base. If you have a brand, you should want to be the top result for it.

10. You’ve set unrealistic expectations.

If your budget is small, you can’t expect big things from Adwords, especially not right away. Testing ads and building your campaign will eat through a small budget quickly and if you get nowhere, you may be inclined to give up on the process. Instead, you should save until your budget grows and spend it on a good campaign. This will let you modify the plan as necessary and give you the time you need to stick with it.

If you can avoid these common mistakes in your Adwords campaign, you stand a much better chance of turning your plans into profit and sticking with the platform.

 

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No One Using Your App? 7 Ways to Bring it Back to Life

improve-app-performance

You’ve invested time and money into an app. You and the rest of the team think it’s pretty cool. But two things are jumping out at you: You have zero reviews, and your downloads don’t outnumber your Facebook friends.

It’s time to brush the dust off and get serious about discoverability and engagement. While it’s hard to make a living in the app store, there IS still money to be made. Here are 7 ways to breathe some life into a deadbeat app.

1. Create a User Tutorial

If you want to bring back your first time users, one of the best ways is to create a user walk-through for your app. People need to understand how to use the content that you provide before they will make a purchase. A user walk-through is one of the best ways to introduce yourself to a new audience.

2. Clean Up the User Interface (UI)

If you are not getting the download percentage that you want, you should try to make the interaction with your application easier. Cut down on the number of clicks that people need to perform in order to get something out of your app. Clean up your user interface.

3. Dazzle the Eyes

You can always make your application look better. If given a choice between two apps, all else being equal, the average person will pick the one that catches the eye. Apps are very competitive. Make sure that you have a great-looking user interface and front screen so that you can get all of the traffic that you are supposed to.

4. Give Users Value

Provide real value to the people you are trying to target. One of the best ways to keep you coming back for more and make a purchase is to save them time or money. Entertain them if this is your niche. In some way, you have to make their lives easier, or there is really no reason to come back to your offering. You should also look to provide value that your application users would not have if you were not there.

5. Be OmniPresent

Be a consistent presence in the lives of your target audience. No matter how you choose to engage, consistency is definitely a positive character trait in the marketing and in the design of your application. Get in their heads by getting in their emails. Use push notifications. You can also make use of badge notifications. You can tie in a discount or some sort of a bonus feature announcement when you do this. You actually have many different choices – connect offers in different ways so that people who come to you will not get bored with your consistency.

6. Personalize the App Experience

Look to personalize every single message that you send out into the ether. As the world becomes more digital, the customers in that world demand more personalization. This may seem counterintuitive, but it it is actually exactly how you would expect people to act. As everything becomes colder, personalization is had at more of a premium. If you are the company that provides this to them, then why wouldn’t they come back? They will definitely want to get in touch with you because of your warm countenance and inviting appearance.

7. Hone the Functionality

Lastly, you can always improve the core functionality of your app. You may not be getting the sales that you think you deserve because you have not yet provided the core functionality that your target audience is looking for. Actually, you may have this functionality, but it could be hidden behind a wall of errors. You need to constantly test your application in order to understand what is going on with it. Add new features when the time is right, because your competition will always be catching up to you if you are standing still.

Follow the seven tips above for a higher conversion and retention rate. Applications today are among the most competitive technical products on the market, so you should always look to update your value to the consumer.

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Your Customers Are Mobile, So Why Aren’t You?

Just because customers can find your business online using a desktop computer doesn’t mean they can find it using a mobile device. Smartphones and tablets have smaller displays, different operating systems, software and other nuances. Statistics show, however, that 77 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone, and conversions on mobile devices are 64 percent higher than those on desktop computers.

As a business owner, you can — and should — target these users with a mobile-centric marketing strategy.

Define Mobile Marketing Goals and Objectives

You should first define your mobile marketing goals and objectives. Maybe you want to beat a competitor who’s currently ranking at the top of Google for mobile searches related to your business, or perhaps you want to attract 20 new customers every week.

No two businesses are the same, so it’s important that you create goals and objectives aligned with your business’s needs.

495-digital-marketingDevelop Mobile-Friendly Web Design

Run your business’s website through Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool. If it returns the message “not mobile friendly,” visitors on smartphones and tablets will experience usability problems like content wider than the display, hard-to-read text and two or more links placed too closely together. Not only does this discourage mobile users from interacting with your site, but search engines may lower its ranking as well. Thankfully, a simple solution is to use a responsive web design, which changes your site’s layout automatically to achieve a high level of cross-compatibility on all devices.

Add Your Business to Mobile-Friendly Directories

Your website isn’t the only place where mobile customers can find your business online; they can also find it on web directories. By listing your business on mobile-friendly directories like Yelp, Yellowbook, Whitepages, Superpages.com, Angie’s List and Merchant Circle, you’ll have an easier time reaching mobile customers. Many of these directories also support customer reviews, allowing your business to develop a positive, trustworthy reputation among its audience.

Target Mobile Users With Paid Ads

When advertising your business online, consider paid advertising platforms that support mobile targeting. On AdWords, for example, you can use device targeting for Display Network campaigns, and you use mobile bid adjustments — a feature that automatically bids higher for mobile impressions — for Search Network campaigns. Even Facebook Ads supports device targeting under user behaviors.

Keep in mind that you should only target mobile users with ads after updating your site with a mobile-friendly design.

495 digitalPersonalize Your Mobile Marketing Efforts

Many business owners overlook the importance of personalization when promoting their business online. They focus on the technical aspects of digital marketing like measuring click-through rates (CTR) and conversion, forgetting the personal touch that really connects with users. Think about what makes your business unique and memorable, and try to convey that message in your mobile marketing efforts.

Partner With the Right Digital Marketing Agency

Finally, partnering with the right digital marketing agency, like 495 Digital, can maximize your business’s online visibility for mobile users. Unless they work in the digital marketing, most business owners lack the time needed to create and manage mobile marketing campaigns. They toss up a couple of mobile ads, neglecting to monitor and optimize them thereafter. Thankfully, the right digital marketing agency can take this burden off your shoulders, allowing you to focus on your other elements of your business.

Remember: Mobile marketing requires time, resources and patience. With smartphone usage on the rise, however, it can pay off for your business by attracting new customers and establishing your brand as an online authority.

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What You Should Be Prepared to Spend on Digital Marketing in 2018

Gone are the days when businesses of all shapes and sizes spent the majority of their advertising dollars on traditional advertising mediums like billboards, newspapers, T.V., and radio. Now, almost all businesses regardless of their size spend most of their hard earned profits on digital marketing.

Statistics don’t lie!

Over the last decade, there has been a strong shift to online advertising by offline businesses. In fact, the advertising budget allocated to traditional methods has dropped by single digits every year over the past 5 years and digital marketing advertising has grown by double-digit percentages during the same time frame for businesses across the globe.

As a small business, your revenue dollars should go a long way when it comes to advertising your company’s products/services online. Since you will not have as big a budget as the “Big Boys”, you can not afford to throw them at every digital marketing method and see what sticks.

In order to get a decent ROI on your online advertising efforts, you should know which areas of digital marketing to prioritize first and what portion of your budget you should allocate to each.

What Does a Realistic Marketing Budget Look Like?

All businesses, large and small, must reinvest their revenues to keep the company going and growing. This is perhaps even more important for small businesses who wish to survive in today’s competitive business environment.

If we take a look at a recent CMO Spend Survey which gathered data from companies around the world as to how much they allocate towards their online advertising, we can get a good foundation as to how much your small business should allocate towards

 your digital marketing campaigns.

Overall Marketing Budget

According to the survey, most businesses allocate at least 10% of company revenues on various forms of marketing.

Digital Marketing Budget

According to the survey, the majority of today’s businesses spend over 25% of their total marketing budget on digital marketing.

Prioritizing Your Digital Ad Budget

The next step in figuring out how much you should spend is to figure out which part you will spend it on. Digital Marketing is a huge field and consists of many methods and strategies. Therefore, it is important for small business to narrow down the range of the most important aspects of digital marketing in order to spend their money wisely.

According to a recent marketing chart, successful B2B digital marketing campaigns over the last few years were mostly geared to generating leads and converting those leads. Basically, this equates to getting online traffic (visitors) and converting them to leads or sales.

There are three main digital marketing priorities that can accomplish these tasks:

  1. Digital Advertising
  2. Content Marketing
  3. Website Development & Design.

Digital Advertising: This consist of paid advertising mediums like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Youtube Ads, and a host of other social media and lesser-known platforms that offer Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Pay-Per-Impression (PPI), or a flat rate to show your ad for a specific time frame. This is the fastest way to generate traffic to your site but can be the most expensive as well.

Content Marketing: Content is still king online, therefore it is important to provide your visitors with engaging and relevant content that is provided free of cost (at first). This helps build trust and a long-lasting relationship which is the most important part of the conversion process. Engaging content includes blog articles, press releases, videos, infographics, and images.

Website Design/Development: Aside from being part of a well-rounded Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, your website should be properly arranged for ease-of-use and conversion tactics. Once you have guided visitors to your site, engaged them with valuable content, you then want to make it easy for them to opt-into your prospect list and become a part of your sales funnel, which hopefully ends in a new customer.

How Much To Allocate

Now that you know how much to spend for your digital marketing campaigns (25% of 10% of revenue), as well as which areas of digital marketing to focus on first, we can now break down the percentages even further for each of the three main areas of digital marketing.

Here is the breakdown:

13% of your advertising budget should go to Digital Advertising.

12% of your advertising budget should go to Content Creation/Marketing.

12% of your advertising budget should go to Website Design/Development.

For example, in very simple terms, assuming you have an ad budget of $10,000 the allocated amount would look something like this:

Digital Advertising: $1,300

Content Creation/Marketing: $1,200

Website Design/Development: $1,200

Conclusion

Having a planned out budget for your digital marketing campaigns is essential for you and your small business to see a positive ROI. Allocating the budget through the 3 main categories listed above will ensure a continuous amount of customers/clients both now and well into the future.

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6 Digital Marketing Hacks the Competition is Using to Steal Your Customers

495 digitalBusiness competition is nothing new. Ever since the dawn of business, similar companies have been using various tactics to outsmart their competition and gain an edge over them. This is no less true today in the digital marketing arena.

It is not just about edging out your competition by pricing, better products, or sales manipulations in today’s online advertising world, but by redirecting your competitor’s customers using sneaky, but ethical, digital marketing techniques. Techniques that, if not known, are giving an unfair advantage to your competition as they siphon and sift your potential customers away from you.

The following 6 digital marketing hacks will teach you how to tap into your competitor’s online lifeline and shift their customer streams into your business instead.

Hack #1: Google Ads & Your Competitor’s Most Valuable Keywords

Google search terms are a boon to any business that advertises online, especially those that use the Google Adwords platform to target specific keywords.

As Google is the most visited website in the world, it can give companies advertising on its paid platform an almost endless supply of potential customers. That is if advertised in the right way.

Many companies use “branded keywords,” such as the names of their competitors to attract visitors via Google Ads.

 

This technique is simple and effective and takes a lot of the guesswork out of keyword research. Not to mention it saves the advertiser a lot of money in the process.

Hack #2: Gmail Ads & Branded Keywords

Similar to the above hack, this method differs slightly in that you will use the Gmail interface instead of the Google Search page to target your competitor’s branded keywords.

Gmail Ads work in much the same way as Google Ads do but usually appear on the top of the most recent email list.

By targeting your competitor’s branded keywords via Gmail Ads, you can put your business in front of millions of Gmail users who have searched for or asked to receive emails from your competitors.

Hack #3: Facebook Ads, Competitor Brand, & Interests

Facebook makes it very easy to do so as long as you know who your competitors are.

Using the Facebook Ad platform you can choose your competitor’s brand name under the interests section and get your ads displaying in front of those who have shown an interest in your competitors.

For example, if you are selling supplements online, you might want to choose Bodybuilding.com as a target interest to get your ads shown to Facebook users who like and/or visit this specific website.

Hack #4: YouTube & TruViews

Very similar to the above-mentioned methods, you can use YouTube’s TrueView advertising to target your competitors’ videos by running video ads of your own over theirs.

Your ad will appear right before their video does and you will get the first chance to show what you have to offer before your competition does.

It seems almost illegal to do such things, but it is totally legal to do so according to YouTube policies. Again, all you really need is to know who your competitors are and how to create your video in such a way as to attract the viewer’s attention to your offer and away from your competition.

Hack #5: Twitter Ads To Target Your Competitors Followers

Everyone talks about Google, Facebook, and YouTube as the best digital advertising mediums these days, but most businesses dismiss the other 600-pound gorilla in the room – Twitter.

With over 300 million monthly users Twitter is no advertising joke. Studies have shown that over 40% of these 300 million users are following some brand or another.

If you know your competitor’s Twitter accounts, you can target their followers through the Twitter Ads platform. What is more, there are many tools like Audiense, Twitonomy, and FollowerWonk that allows you to download the usernames and profiles of your competitor’s followers into a streamlined format.

After you have downloaded these names, all you have to do is upload the usernames in the “Tailored Audience” section of the Twitter Ads platform and voila, you have got your message in front of your competitor’s audience.

Hack #6: Dissatisfied Twitter Followers (Free Method)

The above methods are fine if you have money to spend on advertisement, but this hack works even if you have very little to spend or no money at all.

The only caveat to this hack is that your competitors must have a Twitter channel that handles support issues. Many of the big names do.

Once you have located your competitor’s support channels on Twitter, you can view each complaint and target ads using the Twitter Ad platform to reach out to each and every frustrated customer, offering them sympathy and guidance on how to deal with the situation (hint: how your business can help if they give it a try).

To make it easier on yourself, simply follow your competitor’s support channel to receive immediate complaint registrations and act on them before they get resolved.

Conclusion

If you are not using these digital marketing strategies to get in front of your competitor’s audiences, then you can be sure that many of them are using these same hacks to steal yours.

Therefore, put these strategies into play today and see how your customer base increases each and every day.