There’s no shortage of web development and digital marketing experts who will throw jargon and acronyms at you until you lose sight of what you’re actually buying from them. Do your CTAs produce a decent CTR? Or maybe you need to enhance the onsite SEO within your CMS to boost that CR? But—wait—don’t even think about adjusting your PPC campaign until you’ve synthesized your CPC data with your current understanding of your typical CLV.
In the extremely competitive digital marketing field, some try to stand out by dishing out the alphabet soup and convincing you it’s delicious.
It’s possible to cut the crap, talk common sense with a small business owner, and build a website that attracts, converts, and satisfies customers. That’s what good small business website design is all about. Launch a new website with MLT Group, and you’ll understand what you’re buying and how it works.
Continue reading for a guide—including three essential questions—on how to know what you’re buying when you invest in custom web design. Consider it a resource for when you’re thinking of working with someone to develop a new small business website design. You will find no jargon, no acronyms, no bull below—we promise.
Does the developer understand you, your brand, and your audience?
Knowing is half the battle, as a great sage once said. Any small business website design worth its salt begins with a robust discovery process. That means you sit down with the design team who will ask and learn about your business, brand, and audiences. This conversation informs how the designers, programmers, and writers will approach your website.
A web development team that takes discovery seriously won’t just take this meeting and call it good. Discovery continues throughout the process as both the business owner and the development team think, work, and learn more about the project. Perhaps new research into likely site visitors will change the language used on the homepage. Maybe your business just won an award or earned some other recognition, and you’d like it emphasized on your website.
For this to work, open communication is vital! Both the development team and the business owner must be familiar with each other and maintain open communication. Good development teams will take the lead with progress updates, questions, and submissions for your review. They’ll prod you for feedback and explain their choices. Beware the jargon: if these conversations become bogged down in technical terms, you’ll begin to lose sight of where your money is going.
Will your site attract visitors?
Your money goes much further when your development team can build a site that attracts visitors who Google search for words related to your business. What’s the point of building build the most beautiful dream home if there are no roads to it?
How are these “roads” to your website built? Through detailed research into your audiences’ search patterns on the internet. Knowing how your audiences tend to use Google and other search engines should inform the design, building, and writing of your website. Once this research is completed, solid developers will send this research to you to ensure that it matches your business—and smart developers will ensure this research report is understandable. Without clear communication, misunderstandings early in the process will inevitably lead to delays in your new website’s time to market.
Another related but distinct part of attracting visitors is the mobile design of your website. Your website simply must look good and be easy to use on mobile devices in 2019. Most people nowadays use their phones or tablets to search on the internet. Make sure you ask about your site’s mobile design. If you’re not getting a design specifically for mobile screens, run for the hills.
Does your website convert visitors to customers?
Savvy designers will compose a beautiful website, and smart researchers, developers, and writers will build the roads to it. Once your website attracts visitors, it must convert them to satisfied customers.
By far, the best thing you can do to ensure your website converts visitors is to use a custom design and build. A custom design accomplishes several things for your small business.
A custom design for your small business’s website will make your business appear more professional and credible.
Custom work will also ensure your website suits your brand and audience perfectly.
A custom website design makes your website easy to navigate for visitors. The navigation of your website—its menus, page arrangements, links, and so on—should be clear at a glance, and it should be tested to ensure ease of use.
If you want to make sales and move money, you need something custom for the job. Don’t rely on a preset theme to carry your business online.
In addition to custom design, compelling writing on your website will engage your site’s visitors to think and act. The writing for your website should be informative, adding real substance about your products, services, and brand. The writing should also be persuasive. Returning to the discovery process, a good writer working on your website will know the right levers to pull to make your audiences convert from visitors to customers. Whether that means appealing to emotions, logic, or your company’s great reputation, a writer working a custom job for your site will ensure your website makes a great argument to visitors.
Finally, a custom website will include the final steps your visitors need to become customers. That could be forms that they fill out (like “request a quote” or standard contact forms) and/or a cleanly designed eCommerce shop for them to purchase the product or service.
Know What You’re Buying
It’s easy to spend a lot of money on a small business website design and not really know what you’re getting. Digital marketing has plenty of jargon, acronyms, and snazzy terminology to hide behind. Digital marketing can be extremely powerful and grow your business, but you have to cut the crap when working with an outside development and marketing team. Remember and return to some of the fundamentals in this guide to ensure you really know what you’re buying when you’re spending money for small business website design.
If you want a small business website design partner that’s rabidly anti-jargon, practical, and results-oriented, learn more about MLT Group. Having built websites and implemented digital marketing plans for over two decades, we’ve seen trends come and go, acronyms rise and die, common sense terms turn to jargon. We keep up with the latest research and design trends, but we’re not going to pretend that showing off our expertise with jargon will help us or our clients succeed. We work for results.
Interested in a free audit and proposal? Contact us using the form below, and we’ll get back to you in two business days or less.
Even the newest online business owner can imagine that the more places their website URLs appear online, the better the chance they have of getting noticed. However, spreading links all over the web without a plan makes as much sense as dropping leaflets from an airplane to advertise a new restaurant. In order to get the right link in front of the right audience, you need to build a smart citation campaign.
After taking action on this plan and growing your collection of purposeful citations on the right platforms, you may enjoy one of the most magical parts of digital marketing in existence. Your web of influence will grow automatically when loyal customers or clients start talking about you online—creating “citations”—without much effort or additional investment on your part. So, how do you start on that path? Let’s explore the digital marketing power of citations.
What Is A Citation Anyway?
To put it simply, a citation is any mention of your business on the internet. They do not require direct links to your company website or other unique platform, although that always helps. Your listing on a high-level professional directory is a structured citation. A customer who posts “ABC Company is awesome!” on their Instagram page gives you an unstructured citation. Both provide great benefits for your overall marketing efforts.
The example below demonstrates an unstructured citation: a reference and link to MLT Group that wasn’t prompted and that appeared organically on the web.
Something called co-citation also exists. When two different websites or pages mention the same source, that mention is called a co-citation. This does not include direct links. So, if ABC Inc. and XYZ Ltd. both mention your company as their source for quality information, Google gets excited and assumes that your website must be quite valuable. You have very little control over this type of thing unless you engage in a targeted guest blogging strategy or similar. Provide top-quality content that people want to mention, and it will happen organically.
Citations are a part of that age-old search engine optimization practice of link building. It would not make much sense for you to mention your company name somewhere without attaching the website address unless, for some reason, it was not allowed and your brand just came up in conversation.
Proper NAP for Citations
When it comes to geo-specific businesses that have physical locations or service areas, local citations matter more. These require the exact same name, address, and phone number (NAP) each time they appear online if you want maximum benefits. While you cannot control a customer posting something incorrectly, your structured citation plan must start with a decision about the precise NAP you intend to use everywhere.
For an example of a structured citation, see MLT’s listing below in the local chamber of commerce directory. It accurately lists our NAP and is one of many places on the web that includes this information.
Google and other search engines want consistent information. If your business is listed under different names or at different addresses, it looks sketchy. Before you begin building local citations, seek out inconsistencies and mistakes and try to correct them.
What Citation Building Does for SEO
In Google’s constant quest to bring the most effective search results to its users, they constantly find new ways to weigh everything from keyword phrases to links to vague mentions of your business. Google commands about 90% of global searches, so focusing on what Google wants makes sense in the digital marketing arena. Many online business experts constantly provide new information about what, exactly, that is.
Throughout its history, SEO focus has flowed from keyword stuffing to crazed levels of content creation, to machine-gun link building, to something that makes a lot more sense for actual people. Structured citations on directories give people information about what companies offer the products and services they need. Unstructured online mentions build brand authority. After all, why would a random customer post about your business unless it mattered in some way?
Number, accuracy, and positioning of citations all affect search engine positioning in really common sense, user-friendly ways. The more your NAP appears, the more important your brand looks in the industry. Correct information always outranks messy, inaccurate mentions. Where the citations occur matters a lot, too. Link building on popular sites is obviously more effective than spamming your link on trash sites that no one ever looks at.
Local Optimized Marketing Specifically
According to recent statistics, 86% of consumers find local businesses online. If your company operates in a specific geographic area, local citations are one of the most powerful options for improved SEO and rankings. Accurate and consistent NAP show potential customers and clients who you are and how you do business.
Taking an active approach to building local citations prevents the potential penalties and confusion that leaving things to fate often brings. This includes company information positioning, dealing with inaccurate or unflattering mentions, and maintaining control over how your brand appears online.
Where Do You Want Citations Online?
The more high-quality, on-topic, and positive citations you have online, the better. This answer makes sense from a logical point of view. The average consumer needs to first become aware of your brand through a mention or marketing, hear about it a few more times to build comfort and recognition, and then finally make a decision about doing business with you or not. It increases the chance of someone coming across your brand information and makes Google happy.
Structured citations such as regular business listings on directories create a type of extended platform that builds on your website and social media pages. Unstructured citations create something called social proof. People care more about what their friends – even relatively unknown social media friends – are doing than what businesses say about themselves. Even if you run the quaintest Mom-and-Pop shop, consumers will trust someone they know saying, “Hey, you should shop there” over you saying how great your bargains are. The Facebook “Like” button is a fundamental example of the social proof concept in action online.
A combination of every type of citation makes sense, although you have little control over where a person might mention your company on their own. For what you can control, however, focus on website authority as a guide.
Understanding Domain or Website Authority
Online marketing master site Moz developed the concept of domain authority to help business owners and strategists figure out how they rank and how they can improve it. Authority goes up, you rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Most of the determinations for this website or web page authority are a matter of common sense. Does the site itself rank high? Do a lot of people visit it? Does it have a high amount of positive citations itself?
Every website has a specific value based on a very complex system that ranks the power of link backs and other factors. To explain it in the most basic way possible, the value of the sites that your links are on matter an awful lot.
Platforms for Citation Power
Your company exists in a certain industry, and you should know the most popular websites and other pages that people go to for the niche-specific information. If not, start researching as this knowledge can form the foundation of your overall marketing strategy. Also, understand that social media matters more than static websites in this socially connected world. Video is hot, podcasts are rising quickly, and mobile apps outrank a lot of other online access types.
Where should you build citations? The simple answer to that question is “Wherever you can!” although you should definitely shy away from poor-quality, low-authority sites. With the goal of improving Google rankings, it makes sense to start with the internet giant itself.
Google My Business directory pages provide not only a SERP-friendly platform to claim your place on the internet but also helps you maintain accurate NAP. Claim your Google My Business page, fill out everything properly using keywords and eye-catching graphics that help build your brand, and consider using the integrated web 2.0 site for more benefits. Below is MLT Group’s Google My Business page in action. This information is often the first thing a potential site visitor sees, so make sure to get it right!
Next, focus on business citations for both global and local reach on associated directories and review sites. Other search engines like Bing and geo-focused sites like Yelp are musts. Double check your NAP and make sure you have no double listings. Also, get citations on specific platforms. If you want to market a physician’s office, make sure you show up on HealthGrades. If you run a travel agency, TripAdvisor is a must.
Local citations affect rankings considerably, too. Look for geo-specific directories, business collectives, state commerce lists, and even neighborhood social media groups. You already know not to spam your business name around randomly, but it would not hurt to become active in the community you wish to serve.
Remember that whenever someone mentions your company name or brand information, you get a citation with the power to improve your marketing automatically. You cannot really control where someone will bring it up, although you can suggest existing customers and clients leave reviews. Popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest work well. YouTube still provides a great option, too.
Track Everything: The Digital Marketing Mantra
If you fail to collect data and analyze it, your online marketing efforts of any kind are probably wasting time and money. Keeping track of your citations matters if you want to intelligently build your online presence and power. You need to ensure your NAP stays accurate, your links point in the right direction, and your mentions are providing benefits rather than detracting from your brand message.
Keeping Track of Citations
Various free trial and premium tools exist that search for your citations online. You could also just do comprehensive and specific Google searches for your company name, website URL, or any unique brand designations that people may use to mention your business. Track citations regularly so you know how your business stands in comparison to competitors.
Structured citations should pose no problems. These are the mentions you created yourself on top directories and review sites. They should not change after placing them. Just occasionally check them to ensure they’re still around and still 100% accurate.
Unstructured citations remain mostly outside your direct control. If someone posts something negative or on a low domain authority website, you cannot send them a message to remove it in most cases. Dealing with bad reviews is a matter for customer service actions, not citation building.
How Citation Data Helps You Succeed
Every piece of information you gather about your company’s reach and influence online matters. When you know the number and location of citations, you know where to focus your efforts. Do you need to extend your mentions to a new directory? Is your presence weak on a certain popular social media platform?
Things change all the time online. Competitors who manage their citations better can squeeze you out of the top-ranking results pages. Everything depends on comparative standing, after all. If a town has two plumbers, the one that stands out the most for the right reasons is going to get the bulk of the business. If your citations fail to engage and impress new consumers, growth stops.
The digital marketing world involves so many moving parts you have to wrangle in order to reach those coveted top Google positions and attract people with their wallets wide open. Citations come into play in all the strategies that have long benefited brands: content marketing, search engine optimization, boosting social proof, and direct advertising. Whether you place the mentions on purpose or conduct your business to inspire customers or clients to create beneficial citations for you, they play a considerable role in how the search engine algorithms and the buying public view your brand.
Start Building Your Citation Campaign Today
A strong citation campaign will build more roads to your website and help to generate leads and organic engagement. So, ready to boost your digital marketing power and grow your business? Contact MLT Group today for a free consultation and quote and learn how our digital marketing services can build a smart citation campaign for your business.
Have you been thinking about doing a website redesign?
If you have, there’s a lot to consider.
You have to think about budget.
You have to consider whether or not you’ll use a custom web designer or template solutions offered by companies like WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace.
In the changing marketing landscape of 2019 and beyond, you’ll have to consider how a potential website redesign fits into your content marketing strategy.
If you go through with a redesign, you’ll want to focus on elements that affect your site performance, ability to build your brand, and keeping up with Google’s ever-changing standards.
In today’s guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know if you’re considering a website redesign. By the end, you’ll have enough information to make the best decision for your business.
How to Think About Your Website Redesign Investment
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to do a site redesign, you can break down the decision into two separate buckets:
Definitely need a redesign
Potentially need a redesign
We’ll walk through each option. Depending on your business, revenue, marketing budget, and more, you’ll be guided through either of these three paths.
Before diving into each, let’s talk about the idea of investing in your own business, especially in marketing and design.
There’s a right and wrong way to think about investing in your business.
The right way? Carefully make a decision with the right mindset. Yes, you need to take things like cost into account, but you should never make it the sole criteria for your decision. Failing to invest in marketing out of fear can leave a lot of opportunity and profit on the table.
I get it. You want to squeeze as much profit out of your business as you can. But there are some things in life that you never want to go “cheap” on.
SEO is one of those things.
First, cheap SEO will likely land you a penalty. So, even if the low-quality tactics work in the short-term, you will end up getting nailed later on. If your site gets penalized, you will have to hire another agency just to get the penalty removed. Once your site gets a penalty, it’s a long road to recovery. In fact, your previous traffic levels may never recover.
And these are only the visible costs.
You also have to take into account opportunity and time costs. If your site gets penalized, you will have wasted precious time and capital.
The same thinking applies to design.
No, you don’t need to necessarily shell out top dollar for a website redesign, but failing to invest enough in your website design can lead to unintended consequences down the road:
Having to redo your design for performance issues
A site design that doesn’t reflect the quality of your business
Failing to meet the tastes and standards of your target audience
Think of the people in your audience. Think of the impression a well-designed and high-function website would have on them vs. a slapped together design that lacks originality?
Appearances in design matter for both your customers and the performance standards Google uses to rank websites. If you can afford to make a solid investment and the decision makes sense for your business, make the smart choice that pays off in the long run.
Signs You Need a Website Redesign
There are some clear cut signs to take the next step for your website. These signs include things that can definitely hurt the performance of your business on Google or lower the quality of your brand.
If any of these signs ring true for you, it’s time to level-up your website.
Your Site Isn’t Mobile Optimized or Responsive
Imagine you’re looking for a product online using your phone.
It’s tough to navigate because the site doesn’t fit on your screen.
It loads slowly.
Since the website doesn’t work well on your screen and you’ve had tons of experience with sites that do, you’re not impressed with the quality of the business, so you click away.
You move onto a website that loads quickly on your phone. You can tell the design was made for phones. The information you’re looking for is easy to find and shown in a professional way.
Which website are you more likely to buy from?
On top of the impression, you’re leaving on visitors, a site that isn’t mobile optimized leaves a bad taste in Google’s mouth.
When Google flat out tells you it’s doing something, take their word for it. We build all of our sites using responsive web design, meaning your site design looks great on any device. Ensuring a positive user experience for everyone means your site will perform better.
Your Website Is Just…Old
If you’ve had the same website design for more than five years, it’s almost certain you’re behind on either visitor preferences or search engine standards.
Old website designs miss the mark in many ways:
User experience – User experience (UX) has become a growing factor in not just design, but content marketing and SEO. Google continues to work on sites that do everything well, not just standard SEO techniques.
Preferences – Think about it. People use the internet now more than ever, especially on their devices. They see great looking websites every day, which means they expect quality businesses to have quality sites, period. Odds are, a site that’s half a decade old doesn’t exactly scream professionalism.
Brand – Has your business stayed the same in the past five years or has it grown? Shouldn’t you have a design that reflects the growth of your business and brand?
Often, we have clients who ‘know it’s time.’ If this is you, what are you waiting for?
Your Website Gets Traffic, But Not Enough Leads
Many experts say the average conversion rate for a website is anywhere from 2-5 percent.
This means if your website receives 1,000 visits per month, 20-50 people should either sign-up to your e-mail list, fill out a form on your website, or call your business directly.
If you’re not getting this type of conversion rate, there are a few potential reasons why:
Calls to action – If you don’t use the right calls to action with your site copy and design, e.g., using buttons instead of hyperlinks, you’re not making the next step for your users obvious enough
Lack or lead capture elements – A ‘sign up for our newsletter’ form tucked away in the sidebar of your page isn’t going to do a great job of collecting leafs
Confusing design – If your website doesn’t make the next step clear and easy to take by doing things like having a simple menu, using forms, and properly placing CTAs, people are going to leave your website instead of convert
Our design philosophy includes the idea that you should make it as easy as possible to take the next step. This makes for a better user experience and an overall increase on the metrics that matter to business owners.
Signs You Might Need a Website Redesign
There are times where a website redesign isn’t urgent, but could still make a positive difference for your business. In these cases, it’s important to weigh the benefits of moving forward.
Some possible reasons you might need a new website redesign are:
Rebranding your business
You bought a new business
You’re entering a new market
Let’s take a look at each scenario.
Rebranding Your Business
Often, businesses will rebrand because they’re looking for a fresh start.
Maybe you founded your company and website a while ago and you need your brand to speak to the current market.
Maybe you want to rebrand because you’ve seen competitors in your space updating their brands with design, content marketing, and more.
In any case, there are some important questions to ask yourself before going through a rebrand:
Ask yourself ‘why’ – Simply articulating the reason behind wanting to change your brand can bring out great insights you can use in the design process
What does your audience want? – In our guide on B2c marketing, we touched on the idea of having a deep understanding of your audience — where they hang out, why they buy, and who they trust in your industry, knowing the answers to these questions makes sure you create a new design with a brand that matches the needs of your audience
What direction is your industry moving in? – Almost all audiences are moving toward preferring a professional, up to date, responsive web design. Your industry may be trending toward more online inquiries as opposed to phone calls. Pay attention to the actions of your current customers and potential customers to see how design trends are affecting their behavior and act accordingly.
You Bought A New Business
When you buy a new business, you have the option of retaining their brand and marketing or changing it. If you’re looking to update a brand with a website redesign, here are some important items to consider:
Business philosophy – Often, if you buy a business, you’re betting on being able to improve the quality because you see a new direction for the company. If this is the case, a new website with a new company and updated information about the company leadership makes sense.
Reputation – Each business has a reputation that impacts how it performs in an industry. This ties into the point above. If you want to reshape the reputation of the business you bought, a redesign helps you establish a new presence under your leadership.
Name – Again, tying to the point above, if you’re looking to really change the identity of a business by changing the name, a web redesign may be a necessity.
You’re Entering a New Market
Maybe you’re adding products and services to your business to capture a new related market. You’ll definitely want to have a menu with pages and content that reflect the new market you’re trying to serve.
Often, a total website redesign can help you think holistically about the entirety of your new business, which can lead to many changes including design, content, and marketing strategy.
Entering a new market can mean hiring new employees, too. You’d want to update the employee information on your website and focus on design and copy that attracts the new employees you want if you’re still hiring.
A website redesign can help you move your business in the right direction. Working with a smart web design agency can mean the difference between a decent site and one with all the performance, style, and marketing techniques needed to move the needle for your brand and the bottom line at the same time.
Are you interested in taking the next step? If so, fill out the form below to get a free marketing proposal in 48 hours or less.
Does b2c marketing require a different skill set and strategy than b2b marketing?
Yes and no.
Marketing has foundations you should learn regardless of the type of business you run.
Once you master those, it’s important to learn the difference and nuance that comes with your niche.
Most business owners run into the same problem. They think too much, fail to make decisions, and treat marketing as an afterthought instead of the core of their business.
In this guide, we’ll break down the marketing foundations you need to know and the specifics for becoming a top business in your b2c marketing niche.
Marketing 101 – The Basics All Business Owners Need to Know
Often times, business owners focus on the wrong topics when it comes to marketing.
They focus on tactics and asks questions like:
“Should I do SEO?”
“Which social media channels should I be on?”
“Do I need to run PPC ads?”
Those tactics are secondary. First, you need to focus on the core pillars behind your marketing. After, the insights you gain from building those foundations will guide your decision making when it comes to the channels you want to use.
So what are some of these foundational elements of marketing?
Unique Selling Proposition
This is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. Often incorrectly. Having a USP isn’t about making a sexy mission statement. It’s about answering these two simple questions, famously pointed out by advertising legend David Ogilvy:
“What does the product do and who is it for?”
Seems like a simple question right?
It is simple, but if you never take the time to truly consider that answer, you won’t be able to create the right content, sell effectively, and convert casual browsers into buyers.
I’m guessing you want our answer to that question.
We provide content marketing and SEO for business owners who want to grow their businesses.
Notice our USP had nothing to do with increasing traffic, specific tactics, or a super niche audience.
Not all marketing agencies look at their services as a tool for their customers to grow their businesses. All of them look at their services as a tool to grow their own businesses, however.
There’s a stark difference between vanity metrics and the type of content marketing that moves the needle for your business.
When it comes to your business, think of this answer deeply.
You could own a carpet cleaning company. So the answer to the first question is simple. You provide carpet cleaning services, but the who it’s for part of the equation varies.
Here are some examples:
Commercial businesses who need regular upkeep
Homeowners looking for an affordable solution instead of needing to replace their carpets
Commercial business and homeowners who take great pride in the appearance of their businesses or homes
And creating a USP doesn’t mean you can’t serve people who aren’t directly related to it, but it does mean your business has a focus that you can use in the marketing and sales process.
If the answer to “Who is your target audience?” is anyone who will buy your product. You’re not on the right track.
Defining your audience needs to go above and beyond simple metrics like age demographics and yearly salary. Those are important, but defining your audience goes deeper.
Sales are about emotion, not logic. You need to understand how the people in your audience think — about themselves, about the industry your in, and about the transformation your product provides.
You need to know the hopes, fears, desires, and frustrations of your audience.
For our audience, we’re looking for people who see past the shiny aspects of marketing and understand its a tool for the growth and reputation of their business.
We know how many business owners are hesitant to invest in marketing because they haven’t found the right fit, but see the coming trends and realize they need digital marketing to stay competitive.
They want digital marketing to be like a salesperson and brand advocate for their company that draws leads in. They see that marketing and business growth can free up time and money to improve their product, hire more people, expand their offering, and build an industry dominating brand.
Business owners who only look at the bottom line and nothing else are not in our audience. The same goes for business owners who want fast results or see marketing as an expense rather than an investment.
That comes across in our marketing in many ways:
We write insanely in-depth and informative articles
We don’t offer pre-packaged solutions that anyone can replicate
Our business model attracts people who spend time learning about marketing
Even if you’re in the b2c market, understanding your audience is just as important, if not more, because b2c businesses often have audiences with more choices and shrewder buying behavior due to a large number of products available in the space and social proof metrics to pay attention to like reviews.
This does mean using tactics like:
Creating customer avatars
Doing market and competitor research
Surveying current customers to find additional wants and needs
But these tactics are derived from the philosophy that you’re trying to deeply understand your audience instead of trying to sell to anyone who will buy.
Shortsightedness kills businesses in a variety of ways. Shortsighted business owners don’t invest enough in marketing. They can also invest too much in marketing because they believe marketing can help sell any product (marketing only helps sell good products).
If you’re going to become a master marketer or work with an agency to take care of your marketing for you, you should think in terms of years instead of weeks or months.
As Neil Patel explains in this video, the average time it takes to rank your pages on Google depend on a variety of factors:
In your case, unless you’re not willing to experiment and take time for your marketing strategies to work.
How B2C Marketing Works
We’re all B2C customers.
The easiest way to put yourself in your customers’ shoes is to think about how you buy products.
Do you buy products from random banner ads? Statistics says less than two percent of traffic goes to these type of advertisements.
You shop differently for different products. You don’t spend as much time mulling over which toothpaste you choose vs. which car you buy.
Often, you rely on word of mouth or reviews. More or less so depending on the type of product you buy.
Yes, you do make impulse purchases, but why? Often, an impulse purchase is for a product you’re already primed to want, quickly solves a problem or need that you have, uses great copy and messaging to persuade you to buy, and is in the right price range to justify the purchases.
It’s useful to go outside of yourself and think of the way you would look at products in your industry.
For a quick example, we’ll use carpet cleaning businesses again.
Carpet cleaning is more of a commodity product. It’s the type of product you’d search on Google and perhaps purchase services from relatively quickly. This insight would let you know that a tactic like SEO might work well for your business over the long run.
People might also buy your services based on your brand and reputation. This comes into play with local carpet cleaning companies and others niches like real estate where companies like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor have established named.
Insights like these let you know to focus on building your brand over the long-term to get more customers and build brand awareness on search engines.
This is an important step to take before you even dive into tactics — simply having the awareness and empathy to see your product in the eyes of your customers.
You’d be surprised how much of a blind spot this can be for many business owners, maybe even you.
You can want your business to succeed badly, but if you want it to succeed so badly you adopt a “build it and they will come” or “build a better mousetrap” mentality, you can miss out on great insights or take shortcut, both of which cost you the customers you want so bad in the first place.
All of these strategies are dependant on your business and niche, but here are some things to think about when it comes to putting together your b2c marketing campaign.
Stages of Awareness
How aware of your business does a potential customer need to be before they purchase?
What is the average time it will take to get them to know, like, and trust you?
What steps and techniques can you use to move them through the stages of awareness?
When we sit down with business owners, we focus on moving customers through the stages of awareness.
Often, we’ll begin with an SEO and content marketing campaign – writing blog posts, building backlinks and getting traffic to their websites to build awareness around their brand and communicate in a way that convinces people to trust their brand.
Attraction can work with different Mediums depending on the business. A business like an e-commerce business could have a much shorter awareness cycle and a strategy like paid advertisements might be the best fit.
You need a way to convert these visitors. Paid ads can be used to convert people into buyers or get them to sign onto your email list to educate and persuade them further. Either way, you need to be able to answer the question “How do I get the visitor to take the next step?”
The answer to that question leads to additional tactics like:
Calls to action
You have to focus on closing the sale by doing things like answering potential objections and reassuring your potential customer.
And immediately after the sale, you must ensure an excellent customer experience to avoid pitfalls like buyers remorse and refunds.
Let’s take a look at some of the channels, platforms, and strategies you can use to enhance your b2c marketing, move people through the stages of awareness, increase your brand equity, and get more sales at the same time.
SEO and Content Marketing
We’ve covered topics like SEO and content marketing in-depth in many of our articles. Let’s talk about how both work specifically for b2c marketing.
When you’re selling products to customers instead of other businesses, there’s one important word to remember when creating an SEO campaign. Intent.
The way you structure your campaign is based on the intent of the people who are interested as well as the stage of awareness they’re in.
B2c marketing strategies also change depending on the region you serve. Let’s take a look at a few different examples.
Local Service Businesses
Our fictional carpet cleaning business would be a great example of a local service business. Many local service businesses like carpet cleaning companies, restaurants, plumbers, etc have a much simple b2c marketing strategy for SEO.
For these types of businesses, your number one goal would be to rank for the key phrase [main service] in [city], e.g., carpet cleaning in Wichita, KS. If your business offers multiple services, you would want to create a unique page of content for each of those services and try to rank in your area as well.
The process would like something like this:
Create SEO optimized pages for each service
Create SEO optimized pages for each location you serve
Add an SEO optimized blog to your website to feature relevant and helpful content
Build citations for your business in relevant directories
Through techniques like blog outreach and guest posting, build backlinks to your website to increase authority
Get high-quality Google reviews from past customers
On your website, you’d create messaging based on factors like USP and solving the problems of your target audience.
Often, people coming to these types of businesses have the intent to buy or inquire. To move them through the stages of awareness, you’d use compelling website copy and calls to action to fill out a form or call your business.
Product businesses use a different SEO strategy than service businesses.
In 2019, most product businesses use e-commerce and online shopping for sales.
If you run and e-commerce business, you have many different strategies you can use to grow your traffic and increase awareness for your site.
First, you want to make sure to optimize each product page on your website by:
Adding keywords to the title of products
Adding keywords to the description
Writing detailed product descriptions
Using keywords in headings, descriptions, alt tags, and all other meta data
You’d do the same thing for each category page on your website. Here’s an example from one of our clients who sells stud fasteners:
In addition to creating SEO optimized pages for each product page and category page on your website, you can create blog content related to the products on your website.
Visit our e-commerce marketing guide for an in-depth look at the process, as well as our other deep dive guides into content marketing and SEO:
Pay per click advertising on Google and Facebook work well for b2c businesses because potential customers have more buyer intent and take a shorter time to purchase than most b2b scenarios. Compare looking for a pair of sneakers with finding a new aerospace machining company to work with.
If you look at many b2c queries, especially for product businesses, you’ll see ads dominate the search engine results page (SERP):
When browsing Facebook, you’ll often notice ads for products you’re interested in:
The question is – how do you make these ads effective and how should you use them depending on the stages of awareness?
Attraction Facebook Ads
If customers aren’t aware of your company yet, you can use ads to attract them to learn more about you. A couple of strategies to find new people to reach are:
Using detailed interest targeting in ads
Creating audiences based on competitors in your niche
Creating audiences based on your current customers called lookalike audiences
Here’s an example from my feed:
I’ve never personally been to this website, but I do like form-fitting t-shirts and have been to similar clothing sites. This brand is doing a great job of attracting me to learn more because it speaks to the things I want in a shirt, e.g., “athletic fit.”
Conversion Facebook Ads
Some ads will attempt to move through further through the stages of awareness by getting you to act in a way that helps further the relationship, mainly signing up for your e-mail list.
Often, these type of ads try to:
Offer something valuable in exchange for your contact info
Sell the benefits of joining their list
Make the decision to sign up as easy as possible
Here’s an example of one of those ads from my feed:
These types of ads are either for people who are well aware of the company or from companies who believe they can close the sale quickly.
For the former, this is often called a re-marketing ad. They know you’ve already interacted with their brand and they’re marketing to you again. There are some categories where it goes make sense to offer your product for sale via an ad right way, often a lower priced product with less friction to buy.
These are just a few of the many avenues you can choose for b2c marketing. It’s on you to choose the right strategy after understanding your customers first.
If you want to know exactly how to define your audience as well as how to sell to them, we can help. Just fill out the form below to get your free marketing proposal and competitive analysis in 48 hours or less:
Digital marketing constantly changes and evolves. To ensure your business stays competitive, incorporate new digital marketing techniques with each new year.
We’ve put together our top 12 Digital Marketing Tips to help you grow your site traffic, convert more visitors to leads, and build a brand people know, like, and trust.
#1 – Build Citations
Your business and website receive a citation every time it’s referenced online. More citations mean more authority for your business in the eyes of search engines.
Citations can happen naturally, like when someone mentions your business in an article. But you can make a concerted effort to build citations by submitting them to citation directories.
Citation directories are websites that feature information about businesses like their names, addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation, and website URLs. These sites are very similar to link-building directories with one exception: citation directories don’t always provide links to your site.
You Need More Citations If:
You want more site authority and traffic
You want to appear in more “map-pack” search results
You want to rank for more competitive local keywords
Citations Will Help You:
Improve your rankings in local search results
Gain more recognition from Google’s Local Search Algorithm
Have a consistent business profile across the web
#2 – Use Advanced Link-Building Techniques
Backlinks remain one of the top ranking factors for search engines. In addition to using link-building directories, businesses can use the following methods to get more quality links to their site:
Searching for brand mentions – If your business has been around for a while, odds are there are mentions of your business that don’t link back to your website. Spotting these unlinked mentions and reaching out to site owners is an easy way to acquire backlinks.
Guest posts – Guests posts are blog posts that you publish on websites other than those in your niche or related niches. You offer to write a post about a subject in exchange for a link (or links) back to your website.
Outreach – Outreach for backlinks can help you receive very high-quality links. First, you find out who links to content similar to yours and then you “pitch” content from your website to these site owners in an attempt to get a backlink. Outreach is more time intensive and has no guarantee per pitch, but it will help you acquire more backlinks on average.
You Need Advanced Link-Building If:
You want to rank for very competitive keywords
You own a regional service area business
You own a national or global services area business
Advanced Link-Building Will Help You:
Rank for very competitive keyphrases
Increase site traffic significantly by ranking for competitive keyphrases
Gain enough site authority to compete regionally and nationally
#3 – Expand Your Content
The standards for content quality and length have changed in 2019. Whereas 300 words used to be the minimum viable word-count to rank a page on Google, that number is much higher now (500 or more for local business pages).
For competitive keywords (mainly companies with a national audience), 1,000-2,000 words of content are necessary.
For companies with a national target audience, we suggest a content marketing campaign with 2-4 posts per month of this length to significantly improve organic search traffic.
For local businesses, we suggest expanding the page content to at least 500 words per page.
You Need Content Expansion If:
Your site content hasn’t been updated in the past 18 months
Your website has thin pages with fewer than 500 words of content
You want to rank for more competitive keyphrases
Content Expansion Will Help You:
Increase your site traffic by adding more target keyphrase-rich content
Rank for a higher number of keywords overall
Meet industry standard content guidelines to outpace your competition
#4 – Improve Site Loading Speed
Slow-loading websites will hurt your search engine rankings because Google uses website performance as a ranking factor.
Your site should take no longer than three seconds to load. You can use Google’s page speed insights tool to gauge site performance as well as tools like Pingdom for load speed data and recommendations.
You Need A Site Speed Performance Boost If:
Your site takes three seconds or longer to load
Your site receives low scores on site speed tools
Your site was built more than five years ago with out-of-date technology
A Site Speed Performance Boost Will Help You:
Make your site visitors happy and more likely to become a lead or sale
Increase your rankings with a Google-friendly website
Have a website built to last and perform among Google’s changes
Google uses site security as part of the algorithm
Users may receive an “unsafe” warning message
E-commerce retailers face liabilities without SSL certificates
You Need to Secure Your Website If:
You don’t have an SSL security certificate
You want to meet Google’s security standards
You sell products online
An SSL Certificate Will Help You:
Avoid warning messages to visitors
Meet Google’s standards to improve rankings and traffic
Create a comfortable environment for website visitors
#6 – Improve Technical SEO
Technical SEO is the process of fixing common site issues that affect SEO performance. Here are a few common technical SEO issues to look for:
Redirects – Each time a page is deleted or a URL is changed, the URL has to be redirected elsewhere via a protocol called a “301 redirect.” If this isn’t done, your site will return a 404 error page, which harms overall performance.
Redirect chains – After you 301 redirect a page elsewhere, you should replace all internal links pointing to the old page and add the link to the new page. If you don’t do this, then a redirect chain is created, which means you are creating an unnecessary buffer between links. This dilutes the authority your links pass to other pages.
Broken links – Often, when linking to external sources, broken links can occur because the source that you linked either deleted or changed the URL of your page. Scan your site quarterly to find and replace broken links.
You Need Technical SEO Optimization If:
You’ve had an active website for a year or more
You write content that cites other sources online
You’ve added, deleted, or changed pages on your site
Technical SEO Will Help You:
Have a more SEO friendly site structure, which improves traffic and rankings
Avoid a negative user experience for your site visitors
Have a faster more user-friendly site (redirect chains can slow sites down)
#7 – Revise SEO Content With LSI Keywords
LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords are keywords that relate to the target keyword for a page. Often, a page will begin to rank for these LSI keywords without them being in the content.
Adding LSI keywords that you already rank for can increase organic search traffic.
You can also search for additional LSI keywords that your pages don’t rank for and add them to your content.
You Need to Add LSI Keywords To Your Content If:
You’ve been creating content for more than a year
You rank on page two for keywords that you want to rank on page one for
You want to rank for many keywords with a single page
Adding LSI Keywords Will Help You:
Increase your keyword footprint for more traffic
Rank single pages for multiple keywords, creating a compounding effect
Provide users better information by adding related phrases, which aids buying decision
#8 – Focus On Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion rate optimization is the process of making your website more engaging to visitors so that they “convert” by taking the desired next step.
Signing up to your e-mail list
Filling out an inquiry or “request a quote” form
Calling your business
You can make your site more conversion-friendly by:
Strategically placing more opt-in forms across your website
Writing stronger calls to action in various spots of your website
Emphasizing information you want users to act on (for example, changing a hyperlink to a bright colored button)
Adding pop-ups to your website
Creating free resources like whitepapers in exchange for an e-mail list
You Need Conversion Rate Optimization If:
You want more leads and sales
You want more e-mail list signups
You want phone calls to your business
Conversion Rate Optimization Can Help You:
Get higher ROI for your marketing efforts
Build long-term relationships with customers to increase CLV
Spread awareness of your brand by retaining customers on your e-mail list
# 9 – Update Your SEO Data
There are important areas of your website code and metadata sections that should be updated occasionally as your campaign progresses.
Title tags – Title tags contain the target keyword as well as other content meant to get visitors to click. Analyzing and re-writing tags for targeting and persuasiveness can improve organic search traffic.
Meta descriptions – Click through rate (CTR) is the number of times people click on your page divided by the number of times people see the page. Search engines measure click-through rate as a ranking factor. Re-writing your meta descriptions to be more compelling can increase CTR and thus traffic and rankings.
Image alt tags – These are tags used in photos. These tags help search engine crawlers understand what the photos are about since they can’t see them.
You Need To Update Your SEO Data If:
You have pages with high impressions but low click-through rates
You haven’t updated your SEO data within the year
You want to increase rankings and traffic for low performing pages
Updating Your SEO Data Will Help You:
Increase your click-through rate and site traffic
Improve traffic by fixing the targeting on low performing pages
Continue to be Google friendly and maintain rankings by updating data on your site
#10 – Make Your Website Responsive
If your website isn’t built to display well on mobile phones, you are going to suffer on search engines.
Since Google now bases its rankings on the mobile version of your site (or lack thereof), having a mobile-optimized site isn’t a choice anymore.
Your site needs to be mobile-optimized yesterday. Even better, you should build your site to be responsive. This means the design of your site will adjust to look great on any sized screen.
You Need to Make Your Website Responsive If:
You don’t have a mobile website
You have a mobile-only version of your website instead of a responsive website
A Responsive Website Will Help You:
Make sure every visitor to your site has a positive experience
Rank on Google’s mobile-first index and increase overall search traffic
#11 – Get More Reviews
Collecting as many reviews and testimonials as possible from customers and clients has multiple benefits:
Google uses reviews as a ranking signal
Reviews provide “social proof” that shows potential customers why they should trust you
According to research from Bright Local, 91 percent of people surveyed said they read reviews (at least occasionally) and 84 percent said they trust reviews as much as their own friends
You Need More Reviews If:
You haven’t been actively collecting them
You have fewer than 10 reviews for your business
You’re a new business
More Reviews Will Help You:
Increase site traffic by adapting to Google’s local search algorithm
Increase sales as reviews on search engine results page provide “social proof”
Add an element to your marketing by placing reviews on your website
#12 – Redesign Your Website
As a rule of thumb, you should redesign your website every 3-5 years for the following reasons:
Style – Design style and tastes change over time and you don’t want your site to look outdated
Google – A re-build can help you meet all of Google’s new standards in one fell swoop
Conversion – Many outdated sites don’t have a conversion focus, which is crucial for digital marketing in 2019
You Need A Redesign If:
Your website is more than 5 years old
Your website isn’t responsive
Your website doesn’t have a conversion focus, which means you’re losing out on leads
A Website Redesign Will Help You:
Meet all of Google’s standards, which will increase rankings
Have an up-to-date site, which will increase visitor trust and lead to more sales
Convert more casual browsers into leads with a conversion-focused design
These digital marketing tips are a handful of many you can use to grow your business with content marketing and SEO.
The most important step to take next? The first one.
Will this be the year you decide to fully to commit to digital marketing?
If so, let’s talk. Fill out the form below and we will send you a detailed website audit and proposal in 48 hours or less.
One the one hand, the right marketing tactic can help you grow your business. On the other hand, marketing tactics can become a waste of time. So how do you choose the right one?
In today’s guide, we’re going to walk you through different marketing tactics to help you grow your business, but before we do that, keep this important lesson in mind.
The #1 Marketing Tactic of them All
Imagine you’re seven years old.
You just got a new bike with no training wheels.
Instead of letting you ride, fall on your face, and repeat the process until you learn how to ride, your parents give you a training manual called “How to Ride a Bike.”
It has perfect instructions. The guide breaks down the physics of riding a bike with mathematical equations about balance. It tells you how to grip the handles, gain momentum, and maintain balance. There are graphics and illustrations walking you through every step of riding the bike.
You read the manual cover to cover, taking notes, and discuss the process of riding the bike with your parents in detail.
After all of this, you know how to ride a bike, but you don’t know how to ride a bike. The only way to learn how to ride a bike is to ride one. The only way to see if certain marketing tactics work is to try them. That’s why we created a list with many options. You can choose a tactic, try it, and see if it works.
If the tactic does work, double-down. If it doesn’t work for your business, try something new. Also, don’t blame the tactic itself. Many entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that if one strategy doesn’t work, all strategies are bad.
This cynical mindset kills creativity, marketing, and ultimately profits.
Branding – Brands are becoming more important to SEO. Google trusts brands more because they’re an easy way to vet the quality of information. Brands take time to build. One of the best ways to build a brand is through smart content marketing, but it requires patience to pull off.
Certainty – Often, business owners quit on SEO before they know whether or not it’s working. This impatience causes failure and wastes time and money.
Create an Interesting Hook to Get People to Engage
Getting attention is hard in 2019.
Getting people to take the action you want is even harder.
People are getting jaded. They’ve signed up for the email list, gotten the white papers, and end up ignoring marketing messages.
There are some fun and unique ways to get people to engage and take the action you want like signing up to your e-mail list.
Lead quizzes are a fun and interactive way to get people to join your list. You provide a quiz based on your niche and give them the answer in exchange for your e-mail list:
Prize wheels let users ‘spin’ for a chance to win a prize you offer. To claim the prize, you have to provide an e-mail in exchange:
Here’s a simple marketing tactic you can use to boost the open rate and clicks for the e-mail newsletters you send out.
What tactic, you ask? Resend your message to people who didn’t open it the first time. Wait a few days, change the subject line, and send the exact same message. Look at this example from my personal blog through my Converkit dashboard:
Spruce Up Your About Page
If we had a dollar for every boring and bland business page that uses copy that starts out like “We started our company 30 years ago from a garage in Wichita, KS […].” we could retire from having an agency.
This speaks to one of the biggest marketing mistakes businesses make. Your website and about page aren’t for you, they’re for your customers. Yes, feel free to tell your company story, but also answer the question “What’s in it for me?”
Your about page is a great place to talk about the benefits of your product or service. Take a look at this example from the about page of my writing coach website:
I open the page by talking directly to the reader. I even sprinkle some PAS formula in there as well (see if you can spot it).
As an added bonus, it’s smart to add a call to action to your about page, too:
Ad Upsells and Downsells to Your E-Commerce Store
Upsells work great because they engage a customer who’s already bought something. Someone who buys something from you is more likely to buy again. Adding an upsell to the checkout process of your e-commerce store can help you get extra sales.
It speaks to the thinking “I already want the product I bought. Why wouldn’t I want this extra cool added upgrade or special tool?”
If you want to talk one on one with one of our SEO experts about analytics tracking, reach out to us below:
If you’re looking for an in-depth answer to the question “Which kinds of hits does Google Analytics track?” Keep reading.
Google Analytics Explained
The Google Analytics tool has a menu you can use to look for different metrics about your website traffic.
This is just one of the sections you can use in the tool to get useful data.
You can go into quite a bit of depth into how Google Analytics works, but for today, we’ll focus on the most important and easiest to understand metrics.
Direct traffic measures people who visit your website directly by entering a page on your website into a browser. Quick example, if you shop on Amazon, you give Amazon a direct visit when you type in amazon.com.
The question is, what do you do with this data and how can you use it to improve your traffic?
When looking at direct traffic, here are some things to consider:
Watch growth over time – If your direct traffic is growing over time, it could mean that your brand recognition is growing. The more you promote your business, the more people will come back to your website because they already know your brand.
Understand your business – If you are a company that does not have repeat business, this metric might be less useful than it would be for a business that relies on brand recognition for repeat business.
Watch relationships – You can analyze whether or not the organic traffic you receive from Google keeps pace with your direct traffic. If it does, it means your site isn’t just attracting search traffic, but converting it into repeat visits.
Organic Search Traffic
Organic search traffic is one of the top measurements you can use to judge the success of your SEO campaign. While you can’t predict the future, it’s safe to say you want your organic traffic to grow over time. You can analyze organic search traffic in many ways.
Here are some of our best recommendations:
Geography – If you run a local business or a service area business, you can track which region of the country your search traffic is coming from.
Top pages – In Google search console, you can check which pages receive the most organic traffic and which keywords they rank for. You can use this information to improve your website pages, which will increase your overall organic search traffic over time.
Timelines – Data takes time to make enough sense to make smart decisions. It also takes time for pages to rank on Google. With our clients, we measure organic search traffic quarter over quarter, which is a good length to get more reliable data.
Referral traffic measures the number of people who visit your website from other websites that link to your website.
You could use this data to find the following insights:
Backlink quality – Backlinks from other websites build your site authority. The best backlinks also provide referral traffic. You can analyze which backlinks drive the most traffic and copy what you did well to acquire that link when trying to acquire new ones.
Promotion techniques – There are many promotion techniques you can use to get referral traffic like posting a thoughtful comment on a blog in your niche. You can measure how much traffic you get back from this and other techniques to refine your promotion strategies.
Site behavior – If you notice the referral traffic you get doesn’t stay on your site for long, you can make the pages they land on more attractive. If you notice they do stay on your site but don’t convert to leads, you can improve the conversion rate of those pages by adding forms, calls to action, and even media
Social Media Traffic
This metric is pretty self-explanatory, but it can be analyzed in different ways:
Channels – Note which channels drive the most traffic. Double down on the ones that work first, then seek to improve your other platforms
Ad tracking – If you want to know how well your social media ads are working, you can add custom tracking codes to measure the performance of your campaign.
You can use insights from other portions of Google Analytics to make changes like
Behavior metrics on landing pages you’re sending ads to
Boosting new pages with Ads to increase traffic
Increasing the ad quality for better conversions.
Google Analytics Behavior Metrics
Google and other search engines measure behavior metrics to index and rank websites.
This makes sense. The search engines want to present the best results possible. Knowing what turns visitors on and off can help them make better decisions. With Google updates like ‘Rank Brain‘ and the fact that search engines use AI and machine learning to understand sites, these metrics will grow in importance over time.
Here are some of the behavior metrics Google Analytics measures and how they relate to the SEO success of your website.
A ‘bounce’ happens anytime someone visits a page on your website and leaves right away. Search engines use bounce rates to answer the question “Do people like and want to view the content on your site?” A high bounce rate tells them “no” which lowers the value of your website pages.
Mobile friendliness – More people use Google search on their phones than desktops. If your site isn’t mobile optimized, people won’t use your site on their phone. This is a website development andSEO best practice you must following in 2019.
Content – The content on your pages need to compel users to engage. To increase time spent on your site you can rewrite the content, add media, and improve design elements of your pages.
Average Session Duration (Time Spent on Site)
Each time someone visits your website, it counts as a ‘session.’ Average session duration measures how long someone stays on your website. Usually, the longer the better, but the type of page you’re trying to rank does come into play.
For example, for something like a simple service page where the visitor lands on it and does the desired action like fill out a form or call doesn’t need a long session duration.
If you’re trying to rank an in-depth blog post you wrote, you’ll want to see a decent time spent on page, at least two minutes or more.
Here are some things you can do to improve the time spent on the page:
Improve your copy – Omit needless words and help people find the information they need faster and earlier on
Site performance – Many of the site performance issues that cause high bounce rates also drag down your average session duration
Content – You shouldn’t just create content. You should analyze how that content performs. If you notice certain types of content create longer sessions, consider changing your strategy and writing content that relates to your top performers.
Number of Pages Visited
In general, you want to see that visitors are visiting multiple pages on your website. In Google’s eyes, this means you’re providing quality information and have a good internal link structure, which just means you’re linking between pages on your website in a way that makes sense to search engine crawlers and helps your visitors find the information they need in a simple way.
Again, if you are driving traffic to something like a sales page, you might not want visitors to view multiple pages on your site.
If you have a site that this metric matters for, here are some ways to improve it:
Internal linking – You should always link between relevant pages when it makes sense for the user. Adding internal links is an art. You want to create a situation where visitors want to visit multiple pages because you create犀利士 content that relates to other content on your site. Check out the wiki strategy by Nat Eliason for a deep dive on this topic.
Link depth – Many experts say no content should be more than 3 clicks away. Some debate whether or not this is true. In general, though, you don’t want to bury pages on your site, or worse, create orphan pages — pages with no internal links to it.
Site navigation – Your site navigation should be simple and easy to understand. That way, visitors know where to find your most important content regardless of what page you’re on. If you have a site with a deep linking structure such as an e-commerce site, consider creating a ‘breadcrumb’ navigation that shows people the steps they took to reach the page they’re on.
Google Analytics Conversion Tracking
While traffic is a good metric, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Getting people to visit your website is the first step. The second step is getting those visitors to do what you want.
This is where conversion tracking comes in. Google analytics allows you to track different behaviors people take on your site that matter to your business like:
Sales – If you have an e-commerce business, you can track how many sales you receive and from which channels. This can help you get exact ROI numbers for your marketing.
E-Mail List Signups – Email marketing can help you get more sales and grow your brand over the long term. Conversion tracking can help you figure out which pages drive the most sign-ups.
Contact/Request a Quote Forms – You can also set up conversion tracking to see what percentage of people reach out for more information after they visit your website.
So, what should you do with conversation tracking to improve your marketing?
Pay attention to the data. You want to know how well your website pages are converting. Your conversion rate is the number of times people perform the desired action divided by the total number of people who visit the page.
Manufacturing marketing has a ton of room for growth and potential.
Why? Because most manufacturers, machining companies, and engineering companies aren’t great at marketing their own businesses.
This is understandable.
If you work in or own one of these types of businesses, you know this truth: time is of the essence.
You have to meet deadlines, make sure your operations are efficient, and constantly monitor the output of your facilities. Although many of the employees in your business may be knowledgable enough, they just don’t have the time to do things like create content, run PPC ads, promote the business through social media and other marketing channels, or keep track of SEO data to keep growing traffic.
So what’s the best manufacturing marketing solution?
How Agencies and Manufacturers Can Work Together
From time to time, we publish industry-specific guides like our post about real estate SEO.
We write these guides because we’ve gained expertise in working with these types of companies. In the past 18 months, we’ve worked with several companies in the manufacturing space in areas like precision machining, stud welding, and industrial services.
We’ve found that while different strategies are always needed for each individual business, manufacturing companies have some similarities when it comes to growing their business with SEO
Niches like marketing and SEO are very competitive. Often, you need to create insanely in-depth content and promote the “you know what” out of it to get your content to rank on search engines.
This isn’t the same for manufacturing companies.
We use a tool called Ahrefs to measure how competitive certain keywords are. Take a look at these screenshots from the tool showing the large difference between the keywords in our niche and the keywords in the manufacturing niche.
You still have to use a solid strategy to rank, but there is a pathway to getting a great amount of traffic with a little bit of persistence.
Content Depth and Quality
Often, the type of content that works well in a manufacturing marketing campaign has both depth and quality.
This is especially true for manufacturing companies because:
Many manufacturing techniques, machinery, and processes require an in-depth explanation to understand
Each type of term or phrase used often counts as an LSI keyword, which is a fancy way to say a secondary keyword. In-depth content x industry jargon = a keyword rich piece of content
Most companies who write content for their blogs in the space write thin content, meaning writing in-depth content can help you stand above and beyond the crowd
The Need for a Smart Agency
Most manufacturing companies can benefit from using an agency because of their lack of time to market the business.
Interestingly enough, many companies are convinced an agency can’t help them because they’re not technical experts. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
First, we have a staff of copywriters, many of which focus solely on writing technical content.
Second, we listen. Proper SEO discovery and studying resources can lead to a content campaign that meets SEO needs and maintains technical quality.
Last, we’ll go the extra mile to make sure we understand your business. If that means coming to take a tour of your plant, meeting key employees, and scheduling calls for content until we have the perfect content recipe, that’s what we’ll do.
In the beginning, there is usually some back and forth to get the technical terms right, but after that, our content doesn’t need much editing on your end to be worth publishing.
Want to see how we can improve your website? Fill out the form below for a FREE site audit!
So what are some of the components of a successful campaign?
On-site SEO is the process of adding keywords — words people use on Google searches — into important areas of your website like:
Image file names
Anchor text for links
The terms themselves aren’t that important.
It’s important to know that your entire website should be covered for SEO. This is especially true for manufacturing companies who run an e-commerce business.
Each product and category page on your website should have on-site SEO as well as keyword rich content on that page:
If you have a larger website, it may take time and money to create content for each and every category and product on your website. Often, we work with companies with large inventories by adding content to a handful of pages to start and gradually add it and boost their SEO with a monthly content creation package.
This way, you can dip your toe into marketing without breaking the bank and steadily grow over time.
Content Marketing For Manufacturing Companies
So why type of content should you create if you want to make a splash as a manufacturing company?
Content marketing for manufacturing companies usually follows a few simple rules of thumb:
Keyword researched topic – Some manufacturing topics get a high amount of traffic, some don’t. We focus on finding a balance between high-traffic keywords and competitive level.
Industry expertise – It’s good to establish a niche and focus on creating content in a narrow area first then going broader over time, e.g., a precision machining companies focusing on aerospace machining to start then branching out to something like medical devices.
Persistence – Creating a large volume of work over time leads to compound rewards. As pages get indexed by Google, they start to rank for more and more keywords.
We provide free marketing proposals and consults that walk you through just the type of content we will create and how it will benefit your site. Each proposal is custom-researched with no cookie-cutter components.
Enter your information into the form below and we’ll have a proposal to you in 48 hours or less:
Website authority factors into search engine rankings.
What is website authority?
Google uses links from other websites to yours to measure the quality of your site.
Each link to your site, called a backlink, is like that site ‘voting’ for yours.
So how do you get more votes?
There are a few different ways we’ll show you:
The rich get richer strategy
Google likes links from high-quality business directories. They are also a huge part of local SEO.
Manufacturing has many quality directories you can submit your site to like Thomas Net:
Industry-specific directories provide the following benefits:
Topical relevance – Getting backlinks from strong websites matters, but so does getting backlinks from industries in the same niche.
Reputation – High reputation directories provide more authority than low reputation sites. Manufacturing has many high-quality directories to choose from
Real business – Often, you can actually get sales from these directories as customers actually use them to find products and services.
You can also use local directories and general business directories, which help build your authority by:
N.A.P – The more times your name, address, and phone number shows up on the web, the better. These are known as citations
Local signals – If you do have a local manufacturing business or a service area business, using these directories can help with local SEO
Reputation – Google loves industry-specific directories, but it also loves gold-standard general and local directories like chambers or commerce and websites like Localeze.
On top of adding your business to quality directories, you can use outreach to get quality backlinks.
Here’s how the process works:
Create stellar content – Your content needs to be worth sharing to get backlinks
Find related websites – Many websites in the space keep resource lists and link pages. Finding them is as simple as doing a Google search like “precision machining + resource list”
Pitch – Send a custom email to each site telling them why your content is great and how it will benefit their website to link to your content
The last point is key. It’s easier to land a backlink if your content adds value to other websites. Google uses outbound links as a ranking factor, too. They want to see that pages link out to other sites and get links back.
They want this because it shows your site is a “resource hub” that makes a good faith effort to give users the right information. Having this mindset when creating and pitching your content makes a huge difference.
Of course, we keep this in mind when we do outreach for you. Just talk to us and we’ll show you exactly how we work.
The Rich Get Richer
Once your pages rank higher, it’s easier for them to stay there.
Often, pieces of content on page one naturally get backlinks.
Think about it.
If you write an article and need to cite sources, you go to Google.
Then, you find the best article on page one to link to.
As your content ranks high on Google, you can improve it to get even more traffic by:
Adding secondary keywords
Expanding the content for length, depth, and quality
You don’t need a fancy business plan. You need revenue. Powerpoint presentations and boring marketing conferences aren’t going to help you build a brand, develop an audience, and find more customers who want to buy what you have to offer.
The #1 Marketing Principle You Must Follow to Successfully Grow Your Business
Take a look at this google search for “marketing advice”:
There are nearly a billion results.
There’s no shortage of marketing advice out there. And a lot of it works.
You know what definitely won’t work?
Sitting on your hands…
Reading blog post after blog post about marketing tips and implementing none of them…
Telling yourself next week, next month or next year will finally be the time when you invest in marketing…
Execution trumps creativity every time. You can have the most creative marketing ideas in the world, but if you don’t see them through, who cares?
I don’t know you personally, but I’m guessing you’re either a business owner, marketing employee, as aspiring to do one of the above. You think about improving your marketing or hiring a smart agency to do it, but you sit on the fence and procrastinate.
Why? Because you’re afraid.
Afraid of taking risks.
Afraid of wasting time and money.
Or afraid of all the above combined.
If you want to succeed in marketing, or business in general, you have to understand that fortune favors the bold. You have to invest time, money, or both to take your marketing to the next level.
There’s more competition out there than ever before.
Fortunately, that’s a good thing.
Principle #1 – Saturated Markets Are Good (But Only if You Do This)
Why? Because, to be honest, most of them just aren’t willing to put the same amount of work in as we are and it shows. We’ve checked our competition’s content marketing game and we are up to the challenge.
Even in hyper-competitive industries like marketing, you can pretty much cancel out 90 percent of the field right way. Why? Because pulling off a legitimate content marketing campaign is difficult. Not difficult in that you need to be a genius to do it, but difficult in the fact that it’s time-consuming.
We write a 3 to 5,000-word blog post covering topics in-depth, like advanced PPC tracking, at least once a week. That’s on top of the landing pages we create, ads we run, videos we shoot, and designs we change.
We do this because we know our competitors won’t.
The great news for you? You’re probably not in a niche as competitive as marketing. And you’re competition likely won’t do the work.
If you did just these three things well over time, you’d destroy your competition:
The catch? You’ll have to do it for a while before it pays off in a major way.
But, if you’re in business, you should be thinking long-term.
Principle #2 – “Me Too” Marketing Doesn’t Work
Every business has competitors.
But most businesses make the same mistake when it comes to competing. They try to copy their competitors’ tactics.
Why doesn’t this work?
It doesn’t work because taking the same actions someone else will, at best, get you the same results.
But often, it won’t because you don’t know why your competitors are taking that action in the first place.
It’s important to have your own marketing strategy based on your unique insights like:
Audience – Have you taken the time to understand your ideal audience? Do you know their hopes, dreams, fears, and desires? Until you do, you won’t know how to create the right marketing messages.
Brand – Dollar Shave Club launched their company with a viral video campaign. Their videos used crass language, over the top humor, and theatrics. Another shaving company with a different brand couldn’t pull the same type of campaign off. You need to build your brand with intention and articulate what type of company you want to be then market the business itself.
Goals – Your goals — aside from the obvious like sales — aren’t always going to be the same s your competitors. That’s why you need to clarify what those goals are before you start a content marketing campaign
Your competitors built their own marketing campaigns using these insights; insights that you don’t fully know. Copying their tactics is both inauthentic and ineffective.
Principle #3 – The 10x Rule
Our formula for creating content is simple:
Study what’s out there
Note what the competition does well
Find the gaps they didn’t cover
Create something 10x better
This speaks to the point above about saturation.
You can beat out your competition. But to do that, you have to blow them out of the water. If you’re writing an article about a topic, it should be the best article about that topic on the internet. You should promote it unabashedly — literally send more outreach emails than your competitors.
If you believe in your product, trying to get 1,000% better results through marketing shouldn’t scare you, it should excite you!
Which brings me to our next point…
Principle # 4- No Amount of Marketing Can Solve This Problem
Feathers – Great products that just need a ‘lift’ from marketing
Bricks – Duds that no amount of marketing can “lift”
You see a lot of startup owners making this mistake.
They figure their product just needs a good marketing campaign and it’ll start flying off the shelves.
No amount of marketing will work unless you can answer these questions:
What does your product do and who is it for? – You’d be surprised at how many business owners can’t articulate this
Does anybody want your product? – Often, “revolutionary ideas” that haven’t been thought of before…haven’t been thought of before for a reason. Your product needs a market fit. Content marketing can’t create demand; it only amplifies it
“What’s in it for me?” – This is the question people ask anytime they read your content, learn about your product, or interact with your brand. That’s why knowing your audience on a deep level is important. If you know their problems and the solution your product offers, you can communicate that through marketing.
The number one benefit of having a great product?
You’re excited to promote it. If you know you have something amazing to offer, investing in marketing becomes a triviality.
Principle #5 – Always Lead With This
“People don’t buy drills. They buy holes.”
If you visit a random company website, you can see this mistake being made about 75% of the time.
You see it when the company rambles on about “being in business for 30 years,” or has a long list of features their products or services have.
People don’t care about features. They care about the benefits.
People don’t care about “MPG.” They care about saving money and time.
People don’t buy workout routines. They buy bodies that look good naked.
You care about getting more people who are genuinely interested in your product or service to engage with your brand, turn into leads, and become sales. As a forward-thinking business owner, you want to be seen as the go-to experts in your field with word of mouth of your brand spreading like wildfire.
Go look at your website right now.
Is it feature focused? Or benefits focused?
If it’s the former, it’s time to start creating new content or hiring someone else to do it.
Principle #5 – Never Do This
Michael Jordan used to visit the opposing team’s locker room before games.
He’d walk around, shake hands, smile politely, and make small talk.
Under the surface of his smile was a bit of an evil smirk.
He knew, and his competitors knew, that in his mind he was thinking, “I’m going to destroy all of you.”
See, when you know you’re the best, you don’t focus on your competition, you make them focus on you.
Every minute spent worrying about what your competition doing is a minute you could’ve used to build your own business. This attitude works especially well in content marketing and SEO. You might not have an authoritative site..yet. But you will.
And while you’re building up your authority, you’re focusing on making your product better, your content better, your marketing better.
Then, one day, out of nowhere, you’ll start rising up the rankings and get noticed in your niche. You want others in your industry to think. “Who the hell is this and where the hell did they come from?
“Writing isn’t about putting words on the page […] It’s about breathing life into something and then working to make sure that life becomes something beautiful.
That means spending ten hours on a post, instead of 30 minutes.
That means writing a guest post every week, instead of one every few months.
That means asking for links without any shame or reservation, not because you lack humility, but because you know down to the depths of your soul that what you’ve done is good.”
It’s much, much, much easier to promote your content when you actually believe in it. This goes back to point #2 about “me too” marketing. You’re not going to want to promote an unexceptional piece of regurgitated content because, deep down, you’re ashamed of it.
You didn’t do your best and the people you want to share it with will smell the low-quality from a mile away. The low-quality mindset you had when creating the post will leak right into the pitches you make when you’re trying to promote it.
The opposite is also true. When you “become so good you can’t be ignored,” people will have no choice but to pay attention.
Principle #7 – Find Balance When Doing This
SEO and marketing are weird in the sense that the people in your network can bounce back and forth between being competitors and colleagues at the same time.
Since getting links from other websites in your niche builds authority, you have to build relationships with people in your niche. At the same time, you also may have some overlap in the keywords you’re trying to rank for.
How do you solve this problem?
Here’s how we look at it:
There’s more than enough room – There are enough search terms available for you to get enough traffic to move the needle for your business.
Be authentic – We only reach out to or link to other sites and site owners we admire and respect. Your “competitors” also add value with the content they create. There’s nothing wrong with showing a little love.
Connection is needed – You need both inbound and outbound links to rank well. That means being cooperative and nice is a prerequisite for being successful at content marketing.
Principle # 8 – Kill Your Darlings
Want to know how to kill your business?
Stay stagnant, don’t innovate, and maintain the status quo.
Whenever you’re thinking about being complacent, think of all the companies who failed to switch things up when their business model or marketing effort became obsolete.
Principle #9 – Don’t Be “Smarter Than a 5th Grader”
When you write your content, aim to write at about a 5th-grade level.
Use short sentences and simple words.
Don’t use business jargon if you don’t need to.
This goes for the copy you use on your landing pages to writing blog posts.
Simple is better:
If your content is hard to read, people will leave your site
Using jargon makes you look arrogant, not smart
True intelligence makes complex topics easier to understand, not the other way around
Ernest Hemingway is known for his blunt and simple style. There’s even an app named after him that helps you write your content in a simple way.
Principle #10 – Use the “D-Day Approach”
D-Day is one of the most famous moments of world war II.
The good guys sent a bunch of troops to the beaches of Normandy to attack the bad guys.
They sent a large group of soldiers into a small and concentrated area.
They won the battle and secured an important strategic advantage. Taking Normandy allowed them to expand in the right territories and win even more victories. Many say this battle was the beginning of the end of the war.
In your case, you want to concentrate your forces.
If you want to fail, try every marketing tactic in the book all at once.
Now, you do have to experiment with different marketing channels to find one that works. But when you do find one that works, double-down on it. When you’ve mastered it, move onto another tactic.
Principle #11 – Avoid the #1 Marketing Mistake 99% of Business Owners Make
We work with clients. Part of working with clients is steering their minds in the right direction.
A critical piece to this – getting them to stop thinking only about themselves.
Yes, when you build a website, it’s your website. But the website isn’t for you. It’s for your customers.
When you write an about page, the page is about you or your company. But a great about page talks about the benefits you’ll provide your customers.
It’s your business, but you won’t have a business unless you market it for, you know, other people.
Nobody cares about your vision.
They want to know your product can solve their problems.
You have to make sure your marketing speaks to that and that alone.
Go look at your company or personal website right now. Who do you talk about more — yourself or your potential customers?
If it’s the former…we should talk.
Principle #11 – Do The Little Things
Everybody wants to swing for the fences with their marketing.
It’s appealing to write ultimate guides, go viral, and get a ton of followers on social media.
It’s not appealing to do the little things that, combined, can move the needle for content marketing and SEO.
Bill Belichick — 7-time super bowl winning coach — spent a long time as an assistant. He’d do all the grunt work the head coach and others didn’t want to do. And he did it gladly. He’s won many championships from taking advantage of little key moments where he used the experience of hours and hours of watching film.
That’s what the top SEO’s and agencies do, too. Behind the scenes, they’re working on the little things.
You’ll never see them up-front, but the effects are real.
Principle #12 – Never Stay Satisfied
We’ve talked about mastering one marketing channel before you move on to others, but once you’ve mastered that channel, move to the next, and keep doing it until you become a marketing swiss-army knife.
Once the traffic from SEO starts to roll in, you’ll feel good about your business, but don’t stop there.
Pour gasoline on your marketing fire.
Principle #13 – Stop Believing in This
Do you ever look at your competitors and think they’re just lucky?
They had the right connections.
They built a career off of a few lucky viral hits.
The industry wasn’t saturated when they started.
Blah, blah, blah.
Yes, luck is involved in marketing success (and every other type of success for that matter).
But you can learn how to engineer luck.
The more seeds you plant, the more likely your marketing campaigns will grow. Yes, that means writing (or investing in a writer) in-depth content over and over and over again even if it doesn’t pay off right away. It means scheduling out social media posts as if you had a big following when you actually don’t.
The top players in the field are almost always there because they’ve been at it for a long time. Success, especially content marketing success, takes time, not luck.
Principle #14 – The Only Guaranteed Way to Beat Your Competition
There are no guarantees when it comes to marketing (see the point above).
But, if you want to make a splash and stand out among your competitors, there is one way to do it.
Create something no one would even think of trying to replicate. Make your competitors feel exhausted by even looking at your content and imagining having to create it.
When it comes to regional competitors in our area, other marketing agencies, we just try to take it to a level they don’t want to match. We’re playing the long game. You can, too.
String together a long enough streak of insane pieces of content, and you’ll be too far ahead to lose
Principle #15 – Stop Consuming, Start Creating
About 99% of people read marketing blogs and do nothing with the information.
Many business owners sit on the fence about hiring a marketing firm for years.
There’s a consistent theme running through all the marketing principles we’ve listed — action.
You can’t know all the answers up front.
You discover the secrets of marketing by experimenting. This goes for in-house marketers and agencies.
Too many would be marketing owners are sitting on their hands, slowly letting their businesses get phased out of the future.
Your time is now.
Principle #16 – The Rich Get Richer
The 80/20 rule states that there will be an asymmetrical relationship with the total amount of resources.
That’s a fancy way of saying a few people reap most of the rewards.
The top 20 percent of blogs get 80 percent of the traffic.
On your own website, the top 20 percent of the pages will get 80 percent of the traffic.
It’s important to stay active and experiment because once you succeed, your success will beget more success.
If you get backlinks to a blog post and it starts to rank on page 1, it will receive backlinks naturally.
If you grow your social media following, your followers will promote your page for you.
Now, at this point, you use the marketing principle above and put your foot on the gas pedal. Once the growth curve goes up, you push even harder. This is how you become a household name and have permanent success.
Principle #17 – Don’t Lie to Yourself
You know what mediocre business owners do? They hire companies that provide “affordable SEO services” and get upset when they don’t get any traffic.
You know what mediocre marketers do? They write a few blog posts with thin content, send a few tweets, do no real blog outreach, and throw their hands in the air when they’re not on the first page of Google.
It’s rare to give an honest effort at marketing and fail completely.
It’s extremely common to give half-assed attempts and fail.
Which type of marketer or business owner are you going to be?
Principle #18 – Forget Everything You Learned in Business School
There is no way to “learn business” other than actually running or working for one.
The type of marketing knowledge provided in business school is mostly worthless. These institutions are decades behind the current landscape of content marketing, digital marketing, and SEO.
Get your hands dirty and forget about the dry jargon they taught you at university.
Principle #19 – Do What Works for You
If you’re better on video than with the written word, shoot videos.
If you don’t like being on camera so much, do audio.
Outsource the work you don’t want to do yourself.
There are many different ways to market your business successfully. But it makes no sense to go against your strengths.
Principle #20 – Use Tools and Data
You can’t build a house without a blueprint and tools.
You can’t run a successful marketing campaign without data and tools to grow your business.
We’re talking more than just Google Analytics here (even though you can gain a massive amount of insights just from this tool).
Don’t be afraid to invest in software to track your marketing results.
And check the data often, but not too often to gain insights from, e.g., six times a day like most marketers do.
Principle #21 – Watch What People Do, Not What They Say
If you polled readers, they’d tell you they don’t like “listicles” or click-bait headlines. Content marketing data says otherwise.
The National Enquirer is still in business for a reason.
People have an outward image they portray and then behave differently in private.
Know the difference, and you can market to them correctly.
Principle #22 – Become a Marketer for Life
You want your career or business to last your whole life, don’t you? Well, at least you want to stay in business or work you love until you retire.
Settle in. This is a long game you’re playing. The marketing wisdom you gain over time will compound like interest in a savings account.
After you get your foot in the door and find some success, commit to developing the skills of influence for the rest of your life.
Principle #23 – Test Emerging Platforms
Around 2012, you could get a ton of organic reach from Facebook. Now, not so much.
In the early days of AdWords, clicks were so cheap the platform was like a money printing machine. Now, not so much.
Some have said LinkedIn is the platform de jour. It’s worth trying to see if you can get in at the right time.
Platforms, strategies, and techniques always come and go. It’s best to test new ones before they get too saturated.
Principle #24 – Focus on Metrics That Matter
Traffic doesn’t matter if it doesn’t convert into leads and sales.
If you’re running an SEO campaign, total organic search traffic matters more than ranking for your favorite keywords.
Having e-mail subscribers means nothing if they are just there to consume free content.
Being data-driven is great, but being insight driven is better. What you do with the data matters more than the data itself.
Principle #25 – Read Marketing Books
All marketing books aren’t created equal, but some stand head and shoulders above the rest. Here are some of our favorites:
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
The Boron Letters
Contagious: Why Things Catch On
Principle #26 – Prepare for Failure in Advance
You will write content that doesn’t rank.
You will send pitches that get rejected.
Money? You’ll definitely invest at times without getting perfect ROI.
But that’s the game of marketing.
Principle #27 – Master the Basics
You can jump on the hottest trends like voice search and A.I., but it would be foolish to do so until you have a basic understanding of things like:
Simple technical SEO
If you mastered those 4 things alone, you’d be in the top-tier of most marketers because…most aspiring marketers don’t even scratch the surface of those.
These marketing principles aren’t hard, per se, they are just time-consuming.
Consume the time. Do the work.
Principle #28 – Get on Google’s Good Side
Until further notice, Google is the king of online marketing.
It would be wise to use their guidelines and tools to benchmark your success.
When they make a definitive announcement, take it to heart.
When one of their employees gives you advice, take it:
Use their tools like page speed insights and get top grades:
Obvious, yes, but also extremely useful.
Principle #29 – Don’t (Always) Listen to Marketing Gurus
Some marketing techniques and strategies become conventional wisdom, even if they no longer work.
Some people still think you need to add keywords in your meta description (which was never true). Same thing with ‘keyword density.’
Don’t get caught up in tropes. Take advice, yes, but implement it to see what works and try some novel strategies of your own.
Principle #30 – Use the Right Technique at the Right Time
This adds on to the point above.
Marketing rules change depending on the situation.
You’ve heard that content length is a ranking factor. It is.
But that doesn’t mean you should write a 5,000-word essay about “pizza shops in Wichita, KS.” You probably don’t need that much content to rank. A national content marketing and SEO campaign are completely different than a Local SEO campaign.
When in doubt, just study what ranks for the keyword you’re trying to target.
Studying the SERP for search intent is, again, time-consuming but worth it.
Principle #31 – Avoid Shortcuts
It’s all fun and games until your website gets hit with a penalty.
It’s easier to try and siphon money from customers quickly instead of building relationships that increase customer lifetime value.
Marketing advice and live advice have a lot in common.
Don’t try a marketing “crash diet.” Marketing is an attitude and a lifestyle. If you’re sincere about trying to do well, you will. If you’re not, you won’t.
Principle #32 – Learn How to Write Copy (or Hire a Copywriter)
The internet is flooded with bad copy.
Great copy uses simple language based on things your target audience is thinking.
They’re not thinking about how long you’ve been in business. They’re thinking about how your business can help them solve a problem. That’s it. Speaking to anything but that is waste of time, which is why it’s important to learn how to write copy.
Unless you’re in a commodity business, your first instinct shouldn’t be to join the race to the bottom.
When you have a great product and customers believe it will solve their problem, price becomes a triviality.
Don’t lower your prices. Up your marketing.
Principle #34 – Share Your Marketing Vision With Your Team
If you can share the long-term vision and goals with your company or team members, you can get them to invest in it and communication between different departments will be much easier.
Sales and marketing should be on the same page.
SEO and content marketing often requires the help of developers. Keep them in the loop, too.
It’s worth taking time to meet with your team and review your marketing goals.
Not only does this improve tactics, but it also improves morale.
Principle #35 – Don’t be Afraid to be Crazy
Look at this ad:
And this one:
And this one:
Sometimes it pays to try something a little ‘outside the box’
Principle #36 – Talk to Your Customers
How often do you take time to talk to the people who’ve already bought your product or service?
You can get huge insights from talking to your customers.
If you’re in a recurring service based business like we are, talking with your customers more often and asking them about their needs helps them feel “top of mind” and important.
Plus, if you see improvements you can help them make that aren’t covered with your current services, you can sell them to your current customers.
The best customers are often the ones you already have.
Principle #37 – Get In Your Marketing Zone
Here’s what’s going to happen. Once you get traction, you’ll enter a state of ‘marketing flow.’ When all the cylinders are firing — great content, outreach, traffic, social shares, etc — you can stay in that groove for a long time if you actively seek to maintain the momentum.
If you’re the content creator or marketer who’s doing the work yourself, take this a step further in your day to day activities.
If you have the ‘hot hand’ while you’re writing a draft of a blog post, keep going. When doing a tedious task like conversion rate optimization, get into the flow of the monotony until you can find a way to get through that mental wall — kind of like a ‘runners high.’
Consistency and momentum matter most when it comes to marketing. Get in your zone and stay there.
Principle #39 – Have Fun
Business and marketing have a serious purpose. Mainly, to make money.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be boring, ‘corporate’, and dry all the time.
If you actually like marketing, you’ll be a better marketer. If you treat marketing like a chore or an expense instead of an investment, then that’s what it will be.
Connect with your audience more, use humor, have a loose environment with your team (but still get things done).
Yes, writing 5-000 word guides like this isn’t the most fun thing I could possibly be doing, but I love marketing and so does my company.
We can help you feel the same way.
Principle #40 – Pick One Thing Right Now
Reading this entire article would be a waste if you didn’t implement at least one tactic.
Choose the one that seems easiest to implement and go after it.
Time is ticking and the competition is only going to increase.
You’re already, you know, a little bit behind.
Start now. Heck, call 507-281-3490 and start with us!
We could write marketing principles for days, but these are enough to get you started.
What are some of your favorite marketing tips, lessons, and insights?
You can react to their updates in one of two ways – get frazzled and try to keep up or focus on long-term strategies that work.
The long-term strategies that help you grow your online presence fall in line with activities you should be using to build your brand:
Creating content people want to consume
Making sure your website is visually appealing and has a positive user experience
Being consistent with promoting your business online
Spending money on your marketing, like working with an agency or running PPC ads
The bottom line: anything less than in-depth, informative, and entertaining content marketing campaigns won’t work well in 2019.
It’s time to step up your content and branding game at the same time.
Here’s how you do it.
Adopt This Brand-Building Mindset First
Kevin Plank had an absurd dream.
He wanted to compete with Nike.
At the time, Nike is untouchable. To try to compete with them in the sportswear category was insane, but Kevin tried it anyway. And it worked. He also had a unique product to bring to the market – his wick wear technology undershirts. A fullback in college, he grew tired of having to changed soaked shirts during practices and games.
He chose a market segment to focus on — football. You can see Under Armour logos on gear worn in movies like Any Given Sunday and Friday Night Lights. He networked with football teams to feature his gear. Eventually, he expanded the line to feature clothing for different sports and went on to sign major athletes like Stephen Curry to endorse Under Armour products.
There are a few takeaways from his story you can use in your content marketing journey:
Audacity – You have to be bold and audacious to become a player in your niche because there are already entrenched brands in it. You have to believe you can become one of those brands.
Unique – Kevin didn’t try to sell basketball shoes right away. That wouldn’t have worked. When writing content, you need to find a unique angle. Writing “me too” content won’t work.
Long-term thinking – Under Armour was founded in 1996. It took a decade for the company to get real traction. Don’t attempt brand building through content marketing if you’re not in it for the long-haul.
Are you ready to get started?
Let’s move onto the brand building tips.
Build Your Audience
You can’t build a brand without an audience
Your audience is the megaphone for your brand.
When you get more people to know, like, and trust your brand, growing your influence gets easier as your audience grows bigger.
This is true for personal brands and corporate brands.
Corporate brands don’t always consider the importance of having an audience, but that’s because most corporations don’t know how to use content marketing in a creative way.
The ones who succeed, however, do. Take a look at these companies who’ve built large audiences through content marketing and used them to build their brands:
Having your own audience has a number of SEO benefits, too:
Social shares – Google doesn’t outright say social shares effect rankings, but the experts are pretty sure they do. Your audience will share your content for you, sending positive signals to search engines
Dwell time – The longer people spend on your site, the better. If you have an audience of people who love your work, they’ll stay to read your content longer than a stranger
Backlinks – Oftentimes people in your audience will have blogs of their own. Building an audience is one simple way to get inbound links without even having to ask
Let’s look at some audience building tips one by one.
Why focus on converting readers into leads, when you can focus on converting readers directly into customers?
The final verdict: the phrase “the money in the list,” doesn’t always ring true, but you should still consider building one if:
You want to become an “expert” or “thought leader” – E-mail is often the life-blood for expert businesses like authors, coaches, and online course creators
Your product/service takes some “warming up” before the sale – In Tim’s case, he could talk about his SaaS product and get people to sign up directly through the Ahrefs site. In our case – being an agency who comes up with custom packages – it pays to help you get to know us a little bit first 🙂
You run an e-commerce store – Building a large e-mail list comes in handy when marketing an e-commerce store. You can offer special deals and hit sales volume goals with the click of a button
You have a long customer live time value – If your business has the ability to sell to customers over and over again, an e-mail list can help create more recurring revenue.
List Building Tips
To build your e-mail list, you need the following.
A reason for someone to sign-up that’s better than “get free updates”
Offering something valuable for free is still the go-to way to get people to sign-up to your e-mail list.
You’ll need to find a way to drive traffic to your website to get people to sign up to your e-mail list. Some of the best ways to do this are:
SEO and Content Marketing – We’ll discuss this in-depth in a bit, but increasing your organic search traffic and having a website built to convert people into e-mail subscribers is one of the best ways to get more of them
Guest Posting – When you publish a guest post, you should always make sure to add a special offer in your bio to get people to sign up to your list.
Republishing – We’ll dive into this in a second, but there are several sites that will let you republish your work on their platform (without getting spanked by Google)
SEO and Content Marketing
SEO and content marketing helps you build a brand by creating a footprint of your business online.
Every time a piece of content from your site ranks on page 1 of Google, people see your brand name next to the results.
If you rank for many different topics and keywords in your niche, you’ll brand start to become a household name.
The purpose of this section isn’t to guide you the ultimate guide to content marketing and SEO (we’ve already done this here and here).
The how-to’s and SEO steps are abundant, the willingness to follow through with them and have the following mindsets isn’t.
Tim Grover trained elite athletes like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade. In his book, Relentless: How to go From Good to Great to Unstoppable he talks about the attitude it takes to become successful in sports, business, and life in general.
The book boils down to being able to exert a ton of effort, for a long period of time, without quitting, while staying hungrier than everyone around you.
Sounds super easy right?
Now, you don’t need to have the psychopathic levels of motivation that the athletes Grover trained had, but you’re going to have to be willing to go through some pain and hardship if you want to build a brand with content marketing.
Why? Because it takes time to rank well and build organic traffic. Google is slow 🙁
If you’re forward thinking and have a little patience, however, you can build a brand that becomes an “overnight success.” One day, your business or brand will be everywhere.
Get Good at a Few Things (80/20 Rule)
There are a lot of ways to market your business and build your brand, but it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle and get stuck in “marketing tactical hell,” where you end up trying a whole bunch of different techniques, none of which work.
Instead, get good at the techniques that move the needle and double-down on them.
At MLT Group our few things are:
Content – We try to write the best article on the topic we’re covering every single time we write a blog post
Links/Relationships – We’re focused on getting high-quality backlinks for both ourselves and our clients. We also aim to do it the right way. Not by spamming people, but building real relationships.
Media – From video to infographics and other media, we realize the importance of having an “omnichannel approach,” but we’re not trying everything in the book, just a handful.
You’d probably do well to focus on these 3 things, too.
Just remember this quote from Bruce Lee when it comes to building a brand through content marketing:
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Watch and Revise
I listened to an episode of the marketing school podcast by Neil Patel and Eric Siu titled “The One Marketing Strategy No One Is Using.”
What was the strategy?
Going back and updating content you already wrote.
This is super unsexy, tedious, and can even be boring, but it’s also a potential game changer.
It’s fun to create new content, but it’s not as much fun to go back and review your entire content marketing campaign to see if it’s working well. These “little things” make the world of difference when it comes to increasing organic traffic. This speaks to being relentless again. Are you (or your agency) really willing to do what it takes to succeed? Sometimes grinding it out is the only way.
The sites shown are great for republishing, but one takes the cake – Medium.
How to Republish Your Work On Medium
Medium is the most popular free publishing platform online.
Even better, it has a feature that helps you avoid a duplicate content penalty:
When you import articles onto Medium, it ads a “rel-canonical” tag to it. That way, search engines know that the original article came from your website. Also, if people link to your Medium article, those links will 301 redirect to your original, giving your website an extra boost of authority.
How to Get More Traffic From Every Post by Republishing on Medium
Build Your Brand Through Blogger Outreach
Blogger outreach is the process of reaching out to other blogs in your niche.
You can use blogger outreach to:
Genuinely pay a compliment to an expert you follow (highly recommended)
Share your content with people who might find it useful
Ask for social media shares
Ask for backlinks
Notice the first two points involve sharing and giving, not asking and begging.
The #1 Rule to Blogger Outreach (That 99% of People Break)
I’m not the first person to write about blogger outreach, but I might be one of the few people to tell you this:
Reach out to people you actually respect and appreciate their work.
This seems like standard, obvious, and basic advice, right?
Unfortunately, most who do blogger outreach don’t even know the people they reach out to. They just want a backlink. They’re not looking to make a long-term connection. They’re not offering up a resource that’s a perfect match to the blog they’re reaching out to.
The good and bad news about blogger outreach? Most people do it very poorly.
This is bad news because a lot of popular bloggers are jaded after getting so many horrible pitches. This is also good news because genuine outreach sticks out like a sore thumb.
Personally, I’ve studied many experts in content marketing because I wanted to get better at it. I don’t have to dig through their blogs and pretend to read one of their articles to reach out to them because, I, you know, actually read their blogs.
When it comes to building a brand, just being a decent person who respects other people’s time puts you in the top 10 percent of the field.
If you want to build a brand by reaching out to other bloggers, keep it simple. You’re not going to win over every person you reach out to.
You don’t have to write essay-length pitches to get noticed (actually, don’t do that.) Just use a simple process of getting to know people in your niche and reaching out to them occasionally over time.
Here are some tips to help you get started.
Write Good Content
Content marketing boils down to a lot of things that shouldn’t need to be said but bear repeating.
If you want to build a brand and become a known player in your industry, take the time to write good content. Our company is in an extremely competitive niche. We can’t write 1,000 word regurgitated articles and expect them to rank on Google. Even if you’re not in a super-competitive niche like marketing, focus on creating the best possible content on your topic.
Here’s the run-down of boxes you need to check:
Content length – Make your content as long as it needs to be. Don’t stuff extra words to make it long and definitely avoid thin content
Insights – Chances are your topic has been covered before but has every single insight been given justice? Probably not. Study your competitors’ content and find angles they haven’t covered yet
Stories – A personal or business story is one thing no one else can copy
Better – A simple test can help you figure out if your content is worth sharing. Read the other posts on the topic and genuinely ask yourself if yours is better. Revise your work until the answer is “yes.”