Are Google Ads Worth It?

Are Google Ads worth it? Yes, but…

 

  • It’s one piece of a larger strategy
  • It doesn’t guarantee results
  • It’s NOT a magic bullet for your online marketing

 

While many small business owners know about Facebook ads and other social media promotional materials, you may not know just how much you can use pay-per-click (PPC) marketing to your advantage when you pair it with search engine optimization (SEO) and solid web design.

 

At MLT Group, we’ve seen many successful uses of PPC marketing tools integrated into a strong digital marketing strategy. When those PPC techniques are combined with SEO capabilities, that marketing strategy can go beyond a single-faceted tool and become a fully fleshed out system.

 

There are many options for PPC marketing available to you as a business, but by far the most effective tool in the entire scheme of the internet is Google Ads. It’s a big leap for businesses to transition from little-to-no assertive digital marketing to building a full Google Ads account. However, if used correctly, Google Ads can be the single most “worth it” PPC digital marketing strategy.

 

Basics of Google Ads

The basic role of Google Ads is to put your search result before any organic results.

 

 

“Organic” results are the natural search results. “Inorganic,” or paid results, are what you buy with Google Ads.

 

 

Google Ads can make your business seen, improving placement in search results and exponentially increasing that improvement as the number of clicks on your site are made.

 

The money you pay for each click goes to Google, and that means the goal of Google Ads is just that: click count. On one hand, this can mean more prevalence of your site being seen, but on the other, it is up to you to write compelling calls to action in the ad, build effective landing pages, and have the kind of website that’s actually worth visiting and engaging with.

 

The best way to cultivate the way Google Ads will handle your placement and which search terms will put your URL in a spot that will yield the most clicks is to set your Ad Goals. By setting your ad campaign goal, Google Ads can understand better exactly what you want to get out of a click.

 

 

 

Other tools you can use to generate data that will guide how Google Ads establishes your PPC ad campaign are Google Ads Conversion Tracking and Google Analytics.

 

 

Google Ad Conversions examine what clicks turn into other engagements and sales. However, most PPC experts recommend keeping an eye on the valuable information that Google Analytics provides. Based on the conversion data, Google Analytics uses an algorithm that will generate certain goals that are recommended you build a campaign around. Google uses the engagement results that clicks and further information about interaction with your website to build a goal that you may not be following now, but could benefit greatly from diving into.

 

Overall, Google Ads is a PPC marketing tool that will provide quick results, place your URL at the top of a search result page, and open the door for you to create new ad campaigns based on all the data Google gathers for you. When used correctly, Google Ads is a valuable tool worth the cost. There is no denying that it will increase traffic to your site.

 

 

It’s Not All About the Clicks

 

While, yes Google Ads will increase traffic, you have a lot more to consider if you want that traffic to mean anything. It doesn’t benefit you to have a user click on your Google ad if your website isn’t actually worth engaging with. Your Google Ad might hook a lead, but to reel it in you need a well-designed landing page and website. To get the full positive effects of Google Ads PPC, you have to consider several things that SEO can control:

 

  • Is your site visually appealing and user friendly?
  • Does your site load in under two seconds?
  • Did you build SEO correctly so that the search term used correlates to the goods and services you provide?

 

If you can use SEO to build a sleek, clean site and establish the right keywords in your content, you can combine Google Ads and SEO tools to maximize your investment in an ad campaign. Google Ads is an incredibly useful tool, but SEO still beats out Google Ads in internet traffic sources.

 

 

If you aren’t pairing Google Ads with good SEO and web design, then the money your business dumps into Google’s pockets won’t do you any good!

 

Stitching PPC and SEO Together

Organic traffic is the long game to PPC’s short game. Building organic traffic takes time, but it will generate a continually growing return as Google’s search engine and the Google Ads algorithms get to know what your website offers and what you are trying to accomplish with it.

When you invest in organic SEO, you build equity in your site. You invest in your site – not short-term gains from paid search results.

Overall, Google Ads is a tool you can use to increase traffic to your site, but PPC marketing only goes so far. You have to use good SEO practices to move your site to the top of a result organically.

If you use Google Ads as a crutch, you will soon see that users engaging with your site are not satisfied. SEO reveals whether your site is offering exactly what people are looking for even if it’s a PPC URL, and good SEO practices will allow you to expand and gain an even larger audience/customer base.

To help get the most out of your next Google Ads campaign, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online today.

Reputation Management 101: How to Get Customer Reviews and Why You Should Care

One of the most important factors in running a successful sales or service company comes down to proving to your customers or clients that you provide the best options possible for them. One of the best ways to do this is by gathering and sharing a large collection of positive customer reviews and testimonials. This augments your business reputation management efforts in ways that are much more effective than anything you can do on your own.

 

Consumers are much more likely to purchase a product or interact with a business if someone they trust recommends it. This creates social proof for your brand. This makes directories and social media and the entire friends and followers dynamic so important for digital marketing success. However, in order to reap the benefits, you first need to attract testimonials and reviews.

How to Get More Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Two main methods exist to get more positive reviews sent to you, posted on social media, and added on popular review sites like Google MyBusiness and Yelp. First, you can impress people so much with your exceptional products, essential services, and wonderful customer service that they are eager to spend their time writing up a five-star review everywhere possible. In order to succeed with any business, this is the type of thing you should strive for continuously.

 

The other way to encourage testimonials takes a more direct route. You can simply ask for them. Remember that it is absolutely not a good idea to incentivized reviews in any way. Do not hire someone to create fake ones or bribe people with discounts or freebies in order to leave you glowing reviews. If you want to succeed for the long-term without risk of penalization from search engines or the general public, keep things completely aboveboard and positive. A simple “Please leave a review if you were happy with your service” or similar phrase may increase your collection.

 

Some techniques that encourage people to post more positive reviews and testimonials include:

 

  • Asking for them directly but not excessively
  • Providing multiple platforms and options
  • Engage more personally with customers to build relationships
  • Show appreciation for customers who do leave reviews
  • Always ask for permission to use testimonials
  • Offer incentives wisely – never for positive reviews only

 

Business Reputation Management Tasks Off-site

In order to facilitate customer testimonials, step off your own website and social media pages and get involved with the biggest review sites online. Claim your pages and make sure that your customers know they have options. Many of these are dependent on what type of business you run and your target audience. Others, like Facebook, Yelp, and LinkedIn, offer more general possibilities and a higher potential as most people are on these sites as well.

 

While asking for reviews and directing people to these sites can help, you cannot control everything about the testimonials you get. This is where active business reputation management comes into play. In order to stay on top of your brand mentions online, track them and respond professionally and with excellent customer service skills if you get a negative review. Of course, it helps to encourage more positivity if you engage with satisfied customers as well.

 

Use Reviews and Testimonials On-site Effectively

Always ask for permission to post reviews or testimonials on your website. If you have ever purchased the product or service online, you have seen positive attributed reviews next to the particular item, on the front page below the fold, in a sidebar, or filling up an entire testimonial page of their own. You have perhaps come across re-posted reviews on a company’s social media feeds, as well.

 

From a company’s point of view, the ability to use these things in a controlled manner definitely boosts the entire customer experience. Not only do you get more content, which is highly effective at attracting interest from future potential customers and clients, you also get an automatic boost to trust and value. As mentioned above, people are much more likely to make a purchase somewhere recommended to them. Even a picture, name, and testimonial from someone they do not know can help push them over the edge from consideration to pulling out their wallet.

Source: thinkwithgoogle.com.

 

The Power of Brand Advocates and Fans for Digital Marketing

People who take the time to leave reviews become brand advocates and fans. In the entire world of digital marketing, and even before the Internet existed, one of the most powerful lead generation and conversion methods comes from word of mouth advertising. This comes directly from consumers instead of the brand itself, which automatically gives it more credence. It is one of the things that make social media the hottest platform for marketing today.

 

Getting and using customer reviews and testimonials represents one of the most powerful aspects of digital marketing that can help propel a brand from obscurity to household name status. Business reputation management represents a relatively complex problem for companies who do not follow all the best practices that consumers expect from them. Even those who strive to offer the best products and services and use exceptional customer service methods can end up with a bad review sometimes. While interacting positively with the dissatisfied individual and attempting to transform the negativity into something more useful matters, the best way to improve your audience’s overall impression is to encourage and share more positive reviews and testimonials. After all, the success of any company depends primarily on how the public views it.

 




Why Your Content Marketing Strategy Isn’t Working (and How to Fix That)

Is your content marketing strategy failing?

If I had a dollar for every time I heard “content is king,” I could retire.

Content marketing works, but it doesn’t work for everyone. The same can be said for SEO, pay per click advertising, and social media marketing.

Marketing channels work, but you have to make them work. It’s easy to throw money at something like PPC ads, but it’s hard to figure out how to get ROI from them.

Marketing isn’t a magic potion. It’s a tool to help you grow your business.

The good news? You can always fix your content marketing strategy and sometimes it doesn’t take an overhaul — a few simple changes can make all the difference.

Let’s dive into the tips.

The #1 Content Marketing Strategy Mistake 99 Percent of Business Owners Make

Here’s what will happen when you start a content marketing campaign (or hire someone to do it).

You’ll get excited to see all the new content published on your blog.

You’ll anxiously check your analytics and Google the keywords you targeted with your content.

A little time will pass without any major movement. No worries, things will pick up soon. But they don’t.

You’re a few weeks (or months) in and your rankings haven’t budged.

Your traffic is stagnant.

Then you start to worry.

You spent a ton of time working on the content.

Or you spent a lot of money for an agency to do it.

Either way, you’re worried about your return on investment.

Do you wait it out and give your strategy time to work, or do you bail?

The answer to that question makes or breaks your content marketing strategy.

Google is slow 🙁

It can take months, a year, or even multiple years for your strategy to truly take off:

average age of page one rankings chart

Source: Ahrefs

You have to think like an investor.

Content Marketing Creates Exponential Results

Investors know compound interest will make their money grow faster over time.

If you think like an investor and use a lot of resources up front, you’ll reap rewards later.

This means:

At first, your traffic and rankings won’t move much, but after time, they’ll rise up the rankings. Higher rankings mean more traffic and more authority for your website.

When some of your pages start to rank high, they’ll attract backlinks and gain authority on their own.

Why? Because people often Google information to use in their own content and tend to cite results that show up on page 1.

If you write evergreen, in-depth, and useful content, people will link to you naturally, which gives your entire site more authority.

When a single page ranks for one keyword, it will start to rank for other related keywords — these are called LSI keywords. 

A single page can rank for dozens, hundreds, or thousands of keywords.

You can go back in and sprinkle these LSI keywords into your content, which will help it rank better overall.

Stop Doing This Immediately

Marketing experts are aplenty in 2019.

They’re all giving the same advice.

People who take that advice give the same advice so on and so forth.

This becomes a content marketing pyramid scheme.

Everyone copies each other, meaning no one is original or has anything truly useful to share.

Did you develop a strategy based on copying your competitors? It’s time to rethink that.

How? Figure out ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.

One Strategy No One Can Copy

Ayetkin Tank, founder of Jotform, writes a blog on Medium.com

What separates him from other people in the space? He tells personal stories. Look at the story he used to open a blog post about the taste of customers:

storytelling in your content

You can’t replicate someone else’s personal experience. Stories shape the world and humans love learning through stories.

Try to think of ways to inject more narrative into your content strategy.

Do you have unique testimonials and case studies from people who’ve bought your products or services? Use them.

Do you have industry insights you gained from unique experiences? Sprinkle these stories into your content.

Zig When They Zag

Is everyone in your niche writing blog posts? Do more videos.

Are all your competitors on Facebook? Try LinkedIn.

An innovator is simply someone who has tried something other people haven’t.

Always think…what’s the opposite of what your competition is doing. Do that.

It won’t always work, but it helps you think outside the box. With so many businesses creating content, creativity is at a premium.

Kill the Sacred Cows

Fun fact: a lot of conventional wisdom is completely wrong.

People just repeat mantras over and over again until they become accepted.

If you can discredit the “sacred cows” in your industry and provide better solutions, you’ll stand out.

Nat Eliason is a great example of this. In his post about the Wiki Strategy — which includes creating a ton of content with a heavy internal link structure like Wikipedia –, he called out the sacred cow.

He said backlinks and typical SEO optimization aren’t all that important.

According to Nat, as long as you write the best content possible and cite credible sources, you can rank your posts without any backlinks. 

Not only does this fly in the face of typical SEO advice. It’s useful and it works.

You Chose the Wrong Partner

You can work with an agency who can create content for you.

Here’s the problem, though: some of them just aren’t that good.

The marketing waters are…murky to say the least.

Some agencies have good intentions but can’t execute.

Some are flat out incompetent.

Agencies who can help you create stellar content are the exception, not the rule.

Business owners know this, as many of them have been burned by shoddy SEO and content marketing companies.

Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to find out if you’re working with the right agency.

Check Their Own Content Marketing Skills

We kid you not, there are some content marketing companies who don’t do it very well, or often, for themselves. 

Would you take workout advice from someone who is out of shape?

Here are a few tells the agency you’re working with isn’t cut out for the job:

  • Thin content – content length is a ranking factor. If the company you want to work with doesn’t write 1800+ word long guides and posts, run.
  • Unoriginal content – read and analyze the style and voice of the content on agency websites. If theirs is dry and drab, why would yours be different?
  • No proof – if you don’t see reviews, testimonials, and case studies, there’s a good chance there aren’t any

Choosing an agency to help with content marketing is a big decision, don’t make it lightly.

Want to ‘feel us out’? Fill out the form below and get one of our marketing proposals, 100% free:




 

Your Content Marketing Strategy is Off Target

Everything in your content campaign should strive toward an ultimate goal.

This could be traffic.

Or leads.

Or sales.

Figure out the metrics that make sense and measure the success of your campaign by them.

If you notice the strategy is working, consider this: you’re targeting the wrong people, writing the wrong content, or sending out content at the wrong time.

Targeting the Wrong People

We’re an SEO company.

Naturally, we’d love to rank on the first page of Google for the phrase “SEO.”

But if we did, would it be worth the effort to get there?

Someone searching the phrase “SEO” could be doing so for a number of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with becoming a lead or a sale for you (not that this always matters, but still).

Instead of trying to rank for broad keywords with many different types of search intent, we focus on keywords that complement broader topics like SEO and content marketing.

Long-tail keywords are more targeted and have a narrower audience, meaning you can create content that better matches what searchers are looking for.

Writing the Wrong Content

Each industry has its own standards for content marketing.

If you’re running a Pizza shop in Boise Idaho, you don’t need to write a 3,000-word treatise on pizza toppings to rank well.

If you’re in a competitive and information heavy industry like we are, you’ll have to write 10x content to rank.

Either way – the lesson is the same. See what content is already doing well, emulate what works, and add more to make yours stand out.

Sending Out Content at the Wrong Time

An awareness funnel shows the process people go through before they trust you enough to become a lead or buy your product/service:

inbound marketing funnel

If you sent the right content at the wrong stage, it won’t have the effect you want it to have.

This is why it’s important to create a digital marketing strategy from start to finish before you start creating content.

You need each stage of the funnel ready to go when the time comes with the right content for each stage.

Your 1 Track Mind Gets You in Trouble

Creating more content isn’t the solution to all your woes.

Some people think creating a bunch of content will magically make their site explode with traffic and get more sales and customers.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Content marketing isn’t just about writing content. It’s about experimenting with different strategies and iterating over time.

Too many marketers and business owners are running on the content treadmill.

It’s time to step away and analyze your results.

Here are some useful tips.

Use This Technique Improve Your Rankings Fast

The easiest way to get more out of your content marketing strategy?

Improve the content you already have.

If you’ve been creating content for a while, odds are you have pages that are ranking well.

Why not just make those pages better?

“Because marketers keep yelling at me to create more content!”

Ok, don’t listen to them. Listen to me.

Make Your Content Visually Stunning and 10x Your UX

Design and user experience play a huge role in SEO and content marketing.

Make sure your website loads lighting fast, has interesting media and use different techniques to make your content appealing.

Look at this example by Ramit Sethi at I Will Teach You to be Rich.

His personal finance ultimate guide goes from bland and boring to exciting, not just with content, but design:

content marketing example

Notice the unique way he breaks up with words with design and adds calls to actions:

content marketing calls to action

 

If you can think of ways to go above and beyond with design, you can outshine the competition.

Harness the Power of LSI Keywords

Remember earlier when we told you that your blog posts and content pages can rank for more than one keyword at once?

You can take those secondary – LSI Keywords – and add them back into your content.

If you use a tool like Ahrefs, the process is simple.

Enter the URL for a piece of content into the Ahrefs dashboard and click on organic keywords:

LSI keyword examples

Then, find the keywords ranking from positions 4-20 for that keyword (keywords on page 1 and 2 excluding the top 3 positions):

organic keyword finderUse the keywords you see and:

  • Add them to your body content
  • Add them to headings
  • Create entire new sections based off of LSI keywords

Remix, Rematch, Combine, Create

You can get a lot more mileage from your content by simply…being more creative.

Content marketing is frustrating when you continue to use the same tired strategies and content over and over again.

The good news? There are plenty of ways to reinvent your content marketing strategy, techniques, and the content itself.

Combine Content

Often, you have too many pieces of content competing for attention because they’re too similar.

Better to just combine them. Nathan Gotch with Gotch SEO calls this The Cake Technique:

  • Find similar content assets
  • Choose the most authoritative one
  • Combine the content and 301 redirect the old URLs to the new, monster-sized content asset

Recycle Content

There’s no rule saying you only have to publish content on your own website.

There are other websites who will let you republish your work on their platform.

Medium is an example of this. It has an important tool that lets you publish your content on Medium without suffering a duplicate content penalty.

The import feature automatically adds a “rel canonical” tag to the republished version of your post, which lets the search engines know which piece of content to rank.

Remix Content

A single blog post can be turned into…

A video:

 

Several visuals for social media:

social media content recyle

An infographic:

content marketing infographic

And more.

You can use one single piece of content in a variety of ways.

Conclusion

Content marketing is a long game.

You need patience, skills, and lots effort to succeed.

But it can be done. Make these fixes to your content and watch the ranking and traffic roll in over time.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to creating content for your business?

How to Promote Your Business in 2020 (with 15 Tips and Examples)

If you’re a business owner, you want to know how to promote your business the right way.

You’re learning more about marketing — especially online marketing — because you know promoting your business online is necessary in 2020.

The problem? There are a million different ways to promote your business and a million different “experts” giving you advice on how to do it.

How do you know which way is the right way?

Before we dive into specifics, let’s talk about the truth you need to understand to promote your business the right way.

Online Promotion in 2020 Means Adding Value for Your Customer

Whatever content you put on the web has to genuinely engage your target customers.

Inform them. Entertain them. Teach them.

Simply putting your customers first relates to SEO in a lot of ways.

When you build a well-designed and user-friendly website because you want your visitors to have a great experience, you get “SEO-credit” in the form of “dwell time” and a low “bounce-rate.”

When you create content people want to share and link to, your site builds authority naturally.

The better your product itself, the easier it is to get positive engagement both online and word of mouth, which helps boost the “engagement signals” Google uses to rank websites.

All of our tips on how to promote your business revolve around putting your customers first.

…But Your Product Has to Follow Through

Here is an aspect of business promotion that goes overlooked — improving your product or service.

  • Have you been going the extra mile with customer service?
  • Are you actively listening to customer discussion and feedback?
  • When was the last time you did a deep analysis of product development?

When you start to hear back from customers online, listen to them. Engage with them.

Take their experiences to heart when they discuss your product, for good or bad.

And when you do improve your product or service, promote the heck out of it. Get that message out. Let the customers know you listened and you acted.

Nothing compares to the reputation of a business that’s sincerely tuned into its customer base. That good sentiment is invaluable in a market that increasingly rewards companies with transparent operations.

Smart digital marketing will take that sentiment, amplify it, and share it with as many potential customers as possible.

#1 – Invest in Your Website

When it comes to promoting your business online, all roads should lead to your website.

Why?

Your website is the one piece of the internet you totally control. You own it.*

Social media can drive engagement with your business, but you’ll never have 100% control of those spaces.

When you invest in your website, you build equity for the long-term. You develop an asset that never stops working for you. You build a home base for your customers.

Build a beautiful, easy-to-use website, and fill it with content that’s useful for your customers.

*(Or you should own it. All too often we’ve seen small businesses pay a monthly fee to a web development company for a custom website. NEVER do this! If you decide to engage an agency for a custom web site, make sure you 100% own it.)

 

#2 – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This is an example from one of our clients, demonstrating about a 3x increase in organic traffic. Organic SEO will still work well in 2020, but it’s going to get harder as Google (likely) exerts more influence on its results.

SEO continues to be relevant in 2020, and you should still (mostly) care about Google, whose sites receive over 90% of search queries.

It’s true that the SEO game is changing. One SEO expert notes that June, 2019, was the first time when fewer than half of all Google searches resulted in no clicks.

What does that really mean?

Many people nowadays use Google search and then find their answer without actually visiting a website.

Google continues to grow as an answer service rather than as a simple (but massive) index.

Still, organic SEO drives traffic to your site—but your SEO has to be smart. You must be able to identify relevant keyphrases with strong click-through rates.

Organic SEO will build equity in your site, keeping it working for you in the long-haul. That’s why we recommend organic SEO over pay-per-click ads in many cases.

A couple of factors to keep in mind:

  • Your market – what keywords do your customers use when searching for services or products you offer?
  • Competition – Who else is ranking high for your best keywords?
  • ROI – Some industries have searches with more “buyer intent” than others, meaning people use search to make purchasing decisions more in some industries than others

Organic SEO is STILL a great way to promote your business online, but it’s getting harder in 2020 and will continue to do so.

#3 – Reviews

google reviews

Google and other search engines use online reviews as a ranking signal.

You should seek reviews on these platforms from your customers.

Also, reviews are a basic kind of social proof, demonstrating your quality.

To get those reviews, you have to have an awesome product or service.

Here are some quick tips for improving your product/service to get more reviews:

  • Actively seek feedback from your customers and use it to improve your product/service
  • Make sure to ask for reviews after your service has been performed or product delivered
  • Follow up with customers regularly (for long-term customers)
  • Aim to have the best customer service possible (this is not a trivial insight)

#4 – Brand-Building

Marketing expert Neil Patel wrote an article about the future of SEO. In it, he mentioned brand building as one of the top ways to promote your business.

Why is brand building important?

Google trusts established brands.

If you have an established brand, your website has a better chance to rank.

If you create a product or service people rave about, more people will search for your business online by name.

The more searches your business gets by name, the more brand credibility it has.

Focus on putting yourself on the map in your industry with both product/service quality and digital marketing.

 

#5 – Content Marketing

“Content marketing” means producing content (blogs, videos, graphics, memes, etc.) that resonates with your customer base.

Content marketing is NOT writing a blog post about the 10 reasons someone should buy your product. That’s an advertisement (and a bad one, too).

Content marketing is the long game. Imagine it like you’re building a fanbase for your business. You’re building a following of people who are interested in what you say and do.

You build that fanbase using consistent, engaging content.

And remember: “engaging” is determined by your audience!

Content marketing from a CNC manufacturer might mean white papers and case studies. Something a purchasing manager at an OEM would like.

Content marketing for a B2C company like Casper, who sells mattresses and sleep products, looks like this:

An instructional “how-to” video like this is useful content that adds value for your customer. It’s not a straight-up advertisement. It makes your business look good, establishes authority, and keeps customers tuned in.

Content marketing has mixed results for different companies.

This excerpt from Smart Blogger highlights why:

content marketing

You need to plan your content around your business as a whole.

You need to keep the following in mind when creating your content:

  • How familiar is the visitor with you when interacting with a certain piece of content?
  • What type of content is needed to build more awareness so visitors know, like, and trust your company?
  • What are the goals of your campaign – building an email list, increasing brand awareness, increasing conversions for a particular service or product?
  • What problems, pain points, aspirations, and desires are your content addressing?
  • Who does your content need to target (this changes based on the stages of awareness)?

Content marketing is a topic worthy of an ultimate guide of its own.

The bottom line – content marketing is a tool that works for any business when done the right way.Top of Form

Next we’ll look at some specific forms of content – especially what will be most relevant in 2020.

#6 – Optimized Blog

Blogs will continue to be a relevant way to promote your business in 2020.

An optimized, consistent blog is the backbone of your website’s organic SEO.

A solid blog takes time and a regular commitment to research, writing, and revising successful posts.

Here’s what an optimized blog can do to promote your business online:

  • Generate traffic. Blog posts should target keywords that relate to your business and that are frequently searched. Blog posts can be great ways to target longtail keywords.
  • Build an email list for email marketing (see more below). Write engaging and useful content for your audience, and they’ll be more willing to sign up for email communications.
  • Drive conversions. Blog posts cannot simply be advertisements for your business. However, they can drive good traffic to the parts of your website that are designed to convert visitors.




#7 – Video

There are two great frontiers in digital marketing in 2020: video and podcasts. Let’s talk video first.

Look at these video marketing statistics:

  • The 25-34 (millennial) age group watches the most online videos and men spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than women. (Wordsteam)
  • Cisco has projected that more than 80% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2021. (Impact)
  • 45% of people watch an hour or more of video per day (Hubspot)

There are many different ways to promote through video.

You can add a humorous twist and make creative commercials like Dollar Shave Club:

 

You can make “how-to” videos for using your product:

Or, you can leverage video in paid ads to grab people’s attention:

 

video marketing example

 

#8 – Podcasts

Podcasts are becoming the next big frontier in online promotion.

The audience for podcasting is growing significantly.

Check out these key stats from this 2019 Edison Research study:

  • 32% of Americans over 12 listened to a podcast monthly
  • 41% of Americans say they’re listening to podcasts more than they did last year
  • Americans averaged SEVEN podcasts per week during the period studied

What does this tell us?

There is surging demand for podcast content.

Podcasts are becoming the new radio – but much cheaper, easier, and with far greater reach.

If your company can pull it off, a regular podcast can be the center of your content marketing strategy. A good podcast will build an audience and establish your brand’s authority.

Don’t have the resources to do a good podcast regularly?

Few do.

However, you can still promote your business with podcast advertisements.

Many podcasters include advertisements in their regular shows.

If you can identify niche podcasters with audiences relevant to your business, they can be a goldmine for targeted advertising.

#9 – Infographics

Infographics are another engaging medium. Here’s an example from a demo version of our employee referral tool – Referral Factory Pro:

 

infographic

Like all your content, a good infographic should add value for your audience. Teach them something. Show them something useful. Don’t simply advertise your business with an infographic.

Share a good infographic through your online channels – blogs, social media – to engage with your audience and link back to your website.

The bottom line – the more relevant and engaging media you can use the better.

Each of these content marketing channels should lead back to your home base, your website.

Not only is it informative and entertaining for your visitors, but it helps improve important SEO metrics like:

  • Dwell time
  • Bounce rate
  • Total time spent on site

#10 – Email Marketing

If you don’t already do it, you might not think about emails when you think of how to promote your business.

But why should you do it?

For the same reason you should invest in your website:

When you invest in building email lists, you create a long-lasting asset for your business.

According to Hubspot:

  • “More than 50 percent of U.S. respondents check their personal email account more than 10 times a day, and it is by far their preferred way to receive updates from brands.”
  • “59% of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions.”
  • “>59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI.”

These stats are HUGE—and only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to email promotion.

Just about everyone today has an email and pays attention to it.

If you can get them to trust and value your brand, they’ll be more than willing to share their email address.

Implement smart (read: not annoying spam emails) marketing, and this list can generate leads and repeat sales.

To build this list, you need compelling, useful content. You need to demonstrate to your audience that you’re worth listening to.

The takeaway: email marketing is one of the best ways to promote your business. It’s not going away anytime soon. Invest in it–though it’ll take time to create an email list, it’ll be worth it.

#11 – Social Media Marketing (duh)

Yeah, of course social media plays a big part in promoting your business online.

It IS useful, but don’t come to wholly rely on it and expect it to do all the heavy lifting.

Again, invest in your website first — the piece of the internet you do own.

You can spend a lot of money on social media channels, but you’re not building a long-term asset like you would for a website.

That said….

Instagram is top-notch for visual marketing, so make-up would look great there.

For B2B companies, LinkedIn is your place to be.

You’ve probably said to yourself “I need to promote my business on social media more.”

But which platforms are right for you?

Each comes with its own pros and cons.

Let’s take a look.

#12 – Facebook

Facebook has excellent audience targeting features for paid advertisements.

Facebook’s organic reach – traffic you can get for free – is not so great for businesses.

It’s still wise to have a Facebook page for your business to get likes and reviews, which count as a ranking signal for Google.

Bottom line: You should probably have an active Facebook page for your business.

The best organic activities on Facebook are:

  • Sharing content and media – blog posts, videos, and other forms of content should be shared on Facebook
  • Reviews – encourage people to leave reviews on Facebook and respond to them
  • Engagement – if you have a community based-product, e.g., an education business for parents and children, answering questions and interacting with users works well on the platform

Facebook does tout one of the top social media paid advertising platforms.

Here are some excellent articles on creating Facebook ads the right way:

#13 – Instagram

Instagram works well for products and services you want to show. 

Custom home builders, health and nutrition companies, and landscape design companies are all examples of businesses who should leverage Instagram.

Also, if your target audience is in a younger demographic (<50), odds are they use Instagram.

If you can create quick, punchy, and entertaining/informative videos about your brand, Instagram is a great cross-promotion channel, too.

You can run Facebook ads to both Facebook and Instagram, too, since Facebook owns the company.

#14 – LinkedIn

If you have a B2B business, you should be promoting it on LinkedIn.

Over the years, LinkedIn has improved its features in both paid advertisements and organic reach.

The trend shows LinkedIn is gearing up to become a much more user-friendly and community-oriented platform, shifting away from its old identity as a dry B2b social media company.

While companies like Facebook and Instagram had explosive growth, LinkedIn has played the long game.

LinkedIn has been steadily building its userbase and functionality for years. It’s getting more solid as time goes on. That makes LinkedIn more than worthwhile to continue using in 2020.

Marketing expert, Neil Patel, has been doing a ton of videos on LinkedIn. Always pay attention to the early adopters in marketing trends:

IinkedIn video

Notice the engagement on a simple and short video.

If you can create bite-sized content:

  • Short videos
  • Short excerpts of posts
  • Shared posts with insights

You can reap the rewards of LinkedIn’s algorithms.

Look at the insane amount of reach from one shared article:

linkedin posts

All B2B brands should utilize sharing, curating, and storytelling to promote their business on LinkedIn in 2019.

#15 – Twitter

Twitter engagement varies from industry to industry.

In the content marketing and SEO space, Twitter is a great tool for promoting content about marketing because users engage with it.

Businesses with a heavy focus on media do well on Twitter:

twitter promotion

Online magazines, public figures, marketing companies, authors, news outlets, and personal finance experts are all examples of businesses who can benefit from Twitter.

Local carpet cleaning companies? Not so much.

If your business uses content marketing as the main tool, Twitter is a great place to promote your work.

Think Long-Term

If you can’t think long-term, digital marketing won’t work for you.

Neither will marketing in general.

Digital marketing isn’t a cookie cutter solution.

You have to learn what works — and what doesn’t — after a long period of time.

How long, you ask?

Well, when we work with companies, we tell them SEO and Content marketing takes 12 months before the campaign fully kicks in.

It can take even longer to build a stellar brand and reputation that stands out above all the competition.

It’s counterintuitive. Some of the most important aspects of marketing have nothing to do with the marketing tactics.

They have everything to with your vision, outlook, tenacity, persistence, and willingness to collaborate with other smart companies like digital marketing agencies.

That’s why we call ourselves “strategic partners” to our clients.

It takes more than tactics to succeed online. It takes a level of dedication and patience that doesn’t come easily for everyone.

This also makes digital marketing easy, in the sense that most companies aren’t willing to invest the right time and resources into their marketing.

If you differentiate yourself, you can win in 2019.

Commit to Promoting Your Business in 2019

Above all else, you need to commit to promoting your business online to succeed in 2019.

The biggest marketing secret isn’t a secret at all.

Either on your own or with the help of a smart digital marketing agency like MLT Group, make this your year to invest more in marketing than any year previous.




Video SEO and Video Content Marketing 101 (2018-2019 updated)

Have you heard of Video SEO?

What about Video Content Marketing?

You can use video production to drive traffic to your website and create better content.

Doing both is important because you have to stay ahead of the curve for your business to succeed online.

Just ask the companies who failed to create mobile websites and lost their rankings after mobilegeddon.

Ask those who lost traffic because they didn’t improve their content after Google’s Panda update. 

Google introduces new updates like these all the time like Google penguin and recently Google Rank Brain.

 

With each update, business owners like you must alter your strategies to keep getting traffic, leads, and sales to your website through Google.

What’s the SEO focus in 2018? Google wants quality content and not just written content, either. Video and multimedia are now cornerstones of both SEO, paid marketing, and content marketing. Just take a look at the numbers.

Video SEO and Content Marketing by the Numbers

There are also compelling statistics behind the wave of multimedia in SEO and content marketing:

  • 59% of those surveyed in this study agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video.
  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than written content and images combined.
  • Video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more.
  • Landing pages with videos are 53% more likely to show up on page 1 of the SERP.
  • Blog posts with videos receive triple the number of backlinks as blog posts without video.

Are you missing out on web visits and leads if you’re not using video? The numbers say ‘yes’ emphatically.

You can use Video in two different ways — as an SEO tool or as part of your content marketing.

How to Use Video SEO to Drive Traffic to Your Website

You’d have to be living under a rock to ignore the fact that ranking highly on Google can send visitors to your website.

What many business owners don’t know, however, is that Youtube – a company owned by Google – has its own unique ecosystem and search function with comparable power to send new leads to your website.

Imagine the following scenario. You’re an e-commerce store selling uniquely branded makeup. The makeup industry is one where video search makes a huge impact. Just look at these results for the query ‘makeup tutorial’:

 

 

video-seo-example

 

 

 

The top search results for this query have millions of views. If your company creates makeup tutorials, ranks them highly, and siphons some traffic from your videos to your e-commerce store, you have the potential to dramatically increase your sales.

Even better videos for certain subjects — mainly how to material — ranks at the top of search results themselves:

 

seo-for-video

 

Here’s an example of video potential for a healthy snack company:

video-content-marekting
1 million views for top results

 

And one for a fish and tackle company:

video

The bottom line is this — if you have creative videos to share, you can use them to drive traffic with video SEO.

Some key points to understand about Video SEO using Youtube are:

  • Videos can be optimized – Videos on Youtube utilize titles, descriptions, and tags for SEO purposes. The same methods of keyword research and use of key phrase rich content derived from website SEO apply to Video SEO.
  • Youtube uses similar ranking factors – Google uses time spent on page as a ranking factor for websites. Youtube uses time spent watching videos as a ranking factor. Google measures click-through rates of search engine results pages as a ranking factor. Youtube does the same. Google measures engagement as a ranking factor and experts say social sharing matters. Youtube ranks videos using similar metrics like comments per video.
  • Content is king – When it comes to ranking highly on Google, nothing is more important than the quality of the content itself, especially with new Google updates like Rank Brain suggesting depth and quality of content will soon become the top ranking factor. Conversely, your videos must also provide content that informs your audience about the topic you optimize your videos for. Yes, Youtube can track the content of your videos just like Google tracks keywords in your content.

The steps to building a traffic engine using Youtube and Video SEO are:

  • Do your research – In search engine optimization, keyword research is the cornerstone of a successful SEO campaign. You must know how many people are searching for certain terms to decide how to optimize the pages on your site. For Video SEO, follow tried and true methods like brainstorming, using the Google keyword planner and following suggested results on Google search engine results pages. After you have your list of words, take them to Youtube and test your results by typing the researched phrases into Youtube search box. Youtube has a different results page and the words you research won’t have the exact number of viewers as they do searches on Google. Using the results strategy helps you see if there are viable numbers of viewers for your topic.
  • Leverage existing videos – If you have company videos available that match researched topics, use them! Make sure the video title, descriptions, and tags include an optimized keyword. For each video, you’re allowed to enter a URL in the description – this is where you want to add your site’s URL. You can also add calls to action within the video itself. You can find a guide for doing that here.
  • Create new videos – If after doing your research you discover a huge potential for site traffic and views, consider shooting new professional quality videos. Using a video production company like MLT group will help your videos rank higher on both Google and Youtube because high-quality videos increase viewer engagement and retention.
  • Promote your videos – Share your videos on social media repeatedly, send them to your email list if you have one, and embed them into the content on your website. Speaking of the last point, there are more benefits to video than ranking on Youtube and Google.

How Video Has Become a Content Marketing and SEO Staple

We’re long past the days of newspapers. Even “newer” methods of content creation like blogging are seeing rapid changes. Video has become a major part of the content marketing conversation and will only grow from here.

Let’s just take a look at a few of the goals of content marketing and SEO:

  • Engage your target audience – You want your target audience to know, like, and trust you. What better way to build a relationship with them than provide your content in a medium that’s both easy to digest and fun to use?
  • Keep visitors on your website – You want visitors to stay on your website for long periods because Google uses this as a ranking factor. Users have been known to visit sites and leave quickly. If however, while reading your content a user discovers a video in the middle of the page, they may find themselves staying on your site well past the industry standard two to three-minute mark for effective SEO.
  • Give the people want they want – The easiest way to turn off site visitors is to give them content in a way they don’t want to receive it – think providing a written manual where a video could be much more informative. Some people simply don’t enjoy reading, so video provides all-inclusive option to attract new visitors, leads, and customers.

You don’t have to create videos for SEO purposes only. You can create them with the intent to provide a fun and unique way to market your business. 

Blendtec provides a great example of video content marketing.

How do you market something as simple as a blender?

Blendtec thought outside the box and created a video of their blender shredding different items like iPhones. The campaign went viral.

 

When you think of marketing your business, don’t look for the obvious only. Be creative with your marketing because it’s more fun for customers and ‘Mother Google’ wants you to as well.

Let MLT Group Take Your Digital Marketing to the Next Level

If this post made you interested in the power of video production, let’s talk about creating amazing video together.

Thinking of putting together a cool campaign to build buzz for your business? We offer full marketing strategy, social media management, and an entire suite of services to draw eyeballs to your business.

Does the thought of keyword research and SEO make your head spin a little? No worries, that’s what the pros are for. From start to finish, we can help you achieve results that help you grow your business.

When you’re looking for a digital marketing company to work with, check their digital marketing strategy.

With literally thousands of pieces of content, we aim to prove we’re the cutting edge and go to option in Rochester, Minneapolis, the Twin Cities, and across the U.S.

You’ve made it to the end of this post, which means you’re interested. If you’re interested, what you do next is simple. Pick up the phone, call 507-281-3490 and learn how to skyrocket your business’s marketing.

What is Inbound Marketing? Learn More About Inbound Marketing With Our Step by Step Guide

What is inbound marketing?

If you’re a business owner or marketing employee at your company, you’ve heard the term before.

You get the gist of it from the name — inbound marketing is the process of attracting people to engage with your business.

It sounds great in theory, but you’re curious about how it works in practice.

It’d be great to not have sales making cold-calls and scouring LinkedIn for leads.

We’re sure you’d love it if your phone was ringing off the hook or your inbox was filled with requests for your product or service.

In the back of your mind, however, you’re wondering if inbound marketing can work for your business.

You want to make sure you’re getting a return on investment for your marketing.

You’d be willing to invest if you were sure there were tangible results you could expect from an inbound marketing campaign.

In today’s post, not only will we answer the question, “What is inbound marketing?” but we will give you a full understanding of the process from A to Z.

How Inbound Marketing Works

Have you ever read a blog post about a topic, service, or product you’re interested in? Especially one you found through Google search?

Have you ever signed up for an email list where you receive something free in exchange for providing your email address?

Then, later on, you might see advertisements from the same company on Facebook.

Since you’ve seen the company before or are familiar with the brand, you might click through to the website through that ad.

At some point, you’ve purchased a product or service from a brand you first experienced online by watching or reading their content.

That’s inbound marketing in a nutshell.

It’s the exact opposite of the old form of marketing where businesses spent as much money as possible on advertisements to blast their message to consumers as many times as possible.

Why the shift from outbound to inbound.

Here’s what the numbers say:

  • 90% of searchers haven’t made their mind up about a brand before starting their search (Source: Hub Spot)
  • Content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
  • 96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders (Source: 2018 Demand Gen Report)
  • 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep (Source: 2016 Demand Gen Report)

We live in a world of a massive number of choices. We have stronger filters to ignore ads from companies trying to force their message on us.

Instead, we search for the products and services we truly want. And we search for them on our time. We’ve become more shrewd with our buying behavior — reading reviews, buying from companies who educate and entertain us first, and using the internet to make more informed buying decisions.

There’s still room for advertising, but at some point, you’ll have to market yourself well on the internet.

So how do you create this inbound marketing strategy?

Here’s the step by step process.

Step 1 – Understand Your Audience

Quick question for you — what’s your target audience?

Do you know their hopes, fears, and desires?

Do you know their demographics?

Have you been keeping an eye on the channels they use to interact with businesses in your industry?

Before you move into the next steps of the process like keyword research, content marketing, SEO, social media, email marketing, and more, you want to have a great idea of who your target audience is so you can create the right campaign.

Here are some great customer research tips you can use to define your target audience.

Use What You Know

If you’ve been in business some time you know some facts about your target audience.

Brainstorm the following and get the answers to these questions on paper:

  • What are the current demographics of your target audience (here’s a great article on finding them if you don’t know)?
  • What are the pain points and problems your product can solve for them?
  • Can you name some of the goals and aspirations your product can provide them?
  • How does a member of your target audience see themselves?

Using this brainstorming technique can give you some raw information to make a more detailed customer profile or avatar.

Go Straight to the Source

Sometimes the best method for discovering the needs of your target audience is asking your current customers about your product or service.

If you have an email-list with contacts for current clients, send out a survey with questions related to why they bought your product or service and how it can be improved.

Get on the phone with your current customers and ask them about their needs.

Track every review for your business and comment on your social media profiles and engage with those customers to get deeper insights.

Keep an Eye on Your Industry

There are many ways to keep tabs on the pulse of customers in your industry.

You can go to these sources to find out what customers like and dislike about the products or services in your industry.

Quora

Quora is a question and answer social media website.

You can search for terms based on your industry and get great information about what people in your target audience want and need:

Quora inboud marketing

Amazon

Amazon isn’t just one of the biggest retailers in the world, it’s one of the largest qualitative research resources you can find.

Search for products similar to yours on Amazon (if you have a service based business you can find books about the industry).

Read the reviews, especially the 3-star ones. Why? Because 3-star reviews strike the perfect balance — they’re not overly negative or positive. Someone who leaves a 3-star review has honest insights to share.

amazon inbound marketing research

Forums and Facebook Groups

Forums and Facebook groups provide unfiltered insights you can use to understand your customers.

This is great for industries that require a lot of technical knowledge like welding supplies. In that example, you could search for metal working forums and find out which processes and parts are working well (or not) and why.

forum inbound marketing research

Often when searching across the industry landscape, you can find useful information. You can even go as far as swiping the actual words people use to describe your product or service and add it to your marketing messages

Create a Customer Avatar

After you’ve done your due diligence, you can compile all your customer research into a profile you can use for your marketing.

A customer avatar is a detailed description of a member of your target audience. You create a description of the person including information like their interest, job, age, gender, etc

Creating this profile crystallizes who you’ll be talking to in your messaging. You need to have a clear picture of your target audience before you create content for them and know which channels to place and promote your content to attract the right type of visitor.

Here’s a great guide on creating a detailed customer avatar.

Step 2 – Research for Content Marketing and SEO

We recommend content marketing and SEO for each business we work with.

You can use other marketing channels, but these two are core elements of any successful inbound campaign.

Content marketing is the process of creating content to attract people in your target audience to your website. Blogging and page content are the main channels used for content marketing through SEO, but the term covers a broader range.

Search Engine Optimization goes hand in hand with content marketing. SEO is the process of adding relevant information about your product or service to your website to rank its pages on Google.

Both activities combined can increase the organic traffic to your website.

If you can convert some of that traffic into leads, content marketing, and SEO starts to work as an ‘automated salesman’ that draws people to your site and through the awareness stages of an inbound marketing campaign.

forum inbound marketing research

Source: Hubspot

After you have a great idea of the wants, needs, and interests of your target audience, you can research the phrases they type into Google. This helps you create content that will rank in search engines for terms people use to find your product or service.

Keyword Research

How do you find the right keywords?

There are many different processes and tools, but some core strategies when looking for keywords are:

  • Relevance – You want to find keywords relevant to your business. Keywords that sound good and get a lot of traffic are worthless without the right intent.
  • Volume – Keywords have a monthly volume – or an average number of searches. If a keyword sounds good to you, but the data says the volume isn’t there, try a different keyword.
  • Competitiveness – Keywords with higher search volume are usually more competitive, meaning you’ll need better content and more backlinks to rank for those words.

Keeping these items in mind, you can use a combination of brainstorming and competitor research to find keywords to use.

Brainstorm Using Keyword Research Tools

Google Keyword Planner

There are tools that help you find important keyword information.

These include the Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, Uber Suggest, and more.

Take all of your different product or service offerings and brainstorm potential topics and put them into a keyword research tool.

These tools will often provide recommendations and suggestions based on your input.

Here are some great deep dive guides on keyword research:

Competitor Keyword Research

One of the simplest ways to find out which keywords work well is finding the terms your competitors already rank for.

Then, you can create better content and promote it more, which can help you leapfrog them on search engine results. 

You can plug your competitor’s websites into these tools and find great keyword information.

Here are some great competitor research guides:

At the end of the process, you should have keywords based on the main topics, products, and services of your business.

You also want to have keywords based on sub-topics and variations of your main ones to use for landing pages and blog posts.

The structure you’ll use for your sitemap should look something like this:

site architecture

You will want to have a complete sitemap for the main pages and other landing pages you want to create for your site.

You’ll assign keywords to each of those pages.

Then, the rest of your keywords can be used as part of your blogging strategy.

This Sounds Like a Lot of Work Doesn’t It?

We want to provide useful information regardless of whether or not you work with us.

That being said, content marketing and SEO can be an arduous process.

If the process we’re showing you looks promising, but you want a helping hand, fill out the form below for a site audit and marketing proposal:




 

Step #3 – Put the Channels and Tools in Place for Your Inbound Marketing Campaign

Once you have the research done for content marketing and SEO, you need the right tools to implement the campaign and decide if you’re going to use other channels to market your business.

Let’s start with the bedrock tools and channels you need for content marketing and SEO.

A Technically Sound, Responsive, and Built to Convert Website

You need to have a high-performing website because search engines use user-experience as part of their algorithm

This means your site needs to meet these standards

  • Fast loading speed – If your site is slow, users will leave quickly and search engines track this behavior with a metric called bounce rate
  • Mobile responsive – Your website needs to look appealing on a mobile phone.
  • No broken pages – Broken pages disrupt the flow of your website, which causes users to leave as well
  • Site architecture – Your website pages need a clear and logical structure

Also, your website should be built to covert, meaning you have multiple areas of your site to turn casual browsers into e-mail list sign-ups or get them to contact you.

You can use embedded forms:

form embeds for inbound campaign

Via- Shopify

Pop-ups:

pop up form for inbound

Via- Optin Monster

Strategically placed calls to action:

contact forms inbound marketing

There’s no use having tons of traffic coming to your site if you can’t convert it.

Here are some great in-depth guides on conversion optimization

Each page of your site should have an intention behind it. Consider the behavior you want visitors to take on each page when creating design and content for them.

Tracking and Reporting

You need data to make informed decisions for your inbound marketing campaign.

There are tons of tracking tools out there, but here are some metrics you need to track and best-known tools to use.

Traffic

Your website needs to track information about the traffic coming to it. Google analytics is the go-to software for this.

It comes with lots of useful information you can use to guide your campaign.

Some great guides on understanding Google Analytics are:

You can also use Google Search Console for additional analytics insights including impressions, click through rates and some keyword ranking data.

Check out these guides on getting the most out of Google search console:

Keywords

You want to track how well your keywords are ranking over time.

This helps you spot which terms are doing well and which ones need some TLC to improve their rankings.

These companies provide the gold-standard in keyword tracking:

Other Tools

If you focused on just the tools above, you’d know the bulk of the information you need to optimize your campaign over time.

There are a plenty of others you can use, however, and smart SEOs have put together some great curated resources:

A System to Nurture Visitors and Leads

Once you attract visitors to your site with content marketing, SEO, and other inbound marketing channels. You want a system in place to nurture those leads, engage them, and turn them into sales.

The most common lead capturing and nurturing system is email marketing software. Companies like MailChimp, Convertkit, and Aweber work well. You can also use more advanced tools like infusion soft, click funnels, and Ontraport that collect emails but also handle payment processing and other sales features.

You can also create a system where you entice visitors to request to learn more about your service, set up a demo, or a free strategy session.

Either way, you are drawing visitors into a marketing funnel.

The goal of a marketing funnel is to engage with people further after their first visit.

You want to capture their information and continue the conversation.

Here are some great guides on creating marketing funnels:

These are the basic tools and systems you need to get your inbound marketing campaign started.

There are a bunch of other channels you can use to pour ‘gasoline on the fire’ and get additional traffic.

However, the bottom line – Your business will usually get the most long-term benefit from a content marketing and SEO campaign.

Other Inbound Marketing Channels and Platforms

There are other channels and platforms you can use for inbound marketing.

Let’s walk through each and talk about how they work and whether or not they can work for your business. 

Paid Advertisements

Paid advertisements can work well when combined with content marketing and SEO.

You want to use paid advertisements to catch people’s attention in a way that’s not intrusive.

Nobody is going to respond to your ad if it’s nothing more than a half-hearted attempt where you basically shout out “buy my product!”

Smart advertisers use paid advertisements to capture attention based on the context of the user’s experience.

What do we mean?

If someone is searching for something on Google, this means they have the intent to either learn more or buy your product.

In this context, it makes sense to send them to a landing page with an offer for your product or service with a paid ad.

If someone’s on social media or browsing websites that display banner ads, they aren’t necessarily in the mood to buy right then and there, especially if they aren’t familiar with your brand.

In this context, you want to use ads to provide value and get people familiar with your brand.

Let’s say someone has visited your website and now you want to remarket them with an ad. You could be more aggressive here since they’ve already shown some interest.

Let’s look at the platforms and the best context to use them in.

Google Adwords

Google Adwords is a pay per click platform where you can display ads based on keyword data.

Here are some in-depth articles on using Google Adwords:

Google Ads is best for products and services that users show buyer intent for. This means you should only run Adwords campaigns based on phrases for people who seem more ready to buy.

Someone searching for “Size 12 Blue Nikes” is a great example.

Google Ads works well for business owners who want to get a pretty accurate direct ROI number. It’s also great if you are looking to get results a bit sooner as SEO and content marketing take months to start showing great results.

Google Display Network

google display network

The Google Display Network allows you to show banner ads on other people’s websites who participate in the Google Adsense program.

If you see a banner ad like the one above, the business is using display network ads.

The only problem with these types of ads is…nobody pays any attention to them. 

So why use these type of ads at all?

These ads only work if you have something valuable to give away or useful information that might pique casual browsers interested like a free white paper

Direct advertisement of products doesn’t work well for banner ads.

Facebook/Instagram Ads

facebook ads for inbound marketing

Facebook ads can work quite well if you do them right. Since Facebook owns Instagram, you can post ads to both platforms at once.

With Facebook ads, you want to provide value up front to build awareness for your brand and get people to engage with you.

This is why a lot of companies offer something free in exchange for an email address. This gets casual browsers into their funnel so these companies can further educate and persuade them.

Video works well on both platforms as well because people are used to seeing videos pop up on their feed and it’s an “easy to digest” form of communication.

Here are some excellent guides on Facebook Ads:

These platforms have another great feature you can use to directly sell to customers – remarketing ads.

Remarketing ads show advertisements to people who’ve interacted with your brand already.

You can create remarketing ads for people who have:

  • visited your website
  • watched one of your videos
  • liked your page
  • interacted with your posts

You can get advanced with remarketing and create all sorts of ads based on what the user has already done, e.g., creating a specific ad for people who read a single blog post on your site.

Here are some great guides on remarketing advertisements:

Other Advertising Platforms

Google and Facebook are the two major players when it comes to paid advertisements.

You can expand your advertising efforts across these platforms too.

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn Ads are best for B2b Sales.

Useful guides:

Youtube Ads

If you’re handy with a camera or have access/budget for studio time, you can create amazing ads for Youtube

Useful guides:

Twitter Ads

Again, you’d want to provide useful and entertaining info on this platform as people on Twitter don’t have buyer intent.

Useful guides:

Organic Social Media

Organic social media means social media promotion without the use of paid advertisements.

There are many different methods you can use for social media marketing.

Before we get into those, here’s our #1 tip – be social on social media. 

Social media isn’t a megaphone for your products or services.

It’s not just about likes, comments, and shares.

It’s about engagement.

The best marketers use social media to actually talk to other human beings with the primary purpose of connecting with them.

We cover social media marketing in a bit more depth here, but you can use social media in lots of cool ways like:

  • Running contests
  • Repurposing blog content – photos, infographics, video
  • Creating groups based on the industry
  • Creating polls and quizzes
  • Hosting live sessions to answer followers questions
  • Promoting blog content and interacting with commenters

This is just a short list of the infinite ways you can use social media.

Remember, the tactics aren’t as important as the goal – engage, engage, engage.

Email Marketing

Email marketing helps move casual browsers through the stages of awareness.

You get someone to sign up to your email list and then create messaging that informs and entertains them. The messaging should become more promotional over time.

The bottom line – you want people to know, like, and trust you to get them to buy from you.

The time cycle for how long this takes depends on the business, industry, and audience, but you have to get the person on the other side of the screen ready to take the next step.

There are different stages to the email marketing process to be aware of.

List-Building

For your e-mail list to be successful, you need to get people on it.

In short, you want to generate traffic to pages on your website with e-mail sign up forms.

You can do this in a number of ways.

Here are some guides that go in-depth about the process:

List-Nurturing and Copywriting

Once someone signs up to your list, you need to create the right messaging to compel them to take the desired action.

This usually starts with creating an engaging “welcome email” and sending messages with smart copywriting that persuades them with each message you send.

Check out these guides on messaging and copywriting:

Making the Offer

Eventually, you’re going to need to make the offer to sell your product or service and get people to buy.

There are many ways to lead to the ultimate sale.

These guides can point you in the right direction:

Tying it All Together

The tools, channels, techniques, tips, and tricks you can use for inbound marketing are endless.

They do, however, all move people through a similar process.

These are called the stages of awareness

inbound marketing funnel

Each stage has different goals and you need to know which of your resources works best for each stage.

We broke down the actual tools and techniques you need to use in each of these stages because we felt too much of the opposite occurs — people tell you the stages, but not the tools.

With this overview understanding and the insights and resources we provided, you should have everything you need to start putting together your inbound marketing campaign.

What questions do you have about inbound marketing? Let us know in the comments.

How Much Are You Charged for a Click on Your Adwords Ad?

How much are you charged for a click on your AdWords ad?

It seems like a simple question, right?

You have probably heard of the phrase “pay-per-click” (PPC advertising) and it makes sense for the most part, especially as a compliment to SEO services.

Your advertisement shows up on Google and you pay each time someone clicks on it.

Google Adwords

But how does Google determine how much you spend each time someone clicks on your ad?

In today’s post, we’ll provide a simple explanation for how Google AdWords works.

By the end of this post, you’ll know how you’ll be charged for ads, the different factors that affect your budget, and insights you’ll need to create your own successful Google AdWords campaign.

Factors That Affect How Much You’re Charged for a Click on Your AdWords Ad

Before we dive into specifics on using the Google AdWords platform, let’s talk about some of the different factors Google uses – either directly or indirectly – to determine how much you’re charged when someone clicks on your ad.

In essence, Google AdWords is a “pay to play” platform. If you outspend your competition, your results will appear first. In some cases, it makes sense to spend premium amounts for a click:

  • If your product has a high price or has a high customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • You are confident you can convert visitors to leads and sales when the land on your website
  • You know you can make a return on investment (ROI) on the amount you spend

In other cases, you’ll have to balance different factors to determine how much you are willing to spend on an ad.

Here are some important factors to note.

Competition

You’ll likely spend less per click to advertise handmade socks than you would if you created parts for airplanes and rockets.

The more competitive the service or product you want your website to appear for, the more it will cost.

What factors determine competition? Here are a few:

  • Commercial intent – Products or services people are searching for because they are ready to buy have “commercial intent.” These keywords (the phrase typed on Google related to the product or service) receive lots of attention from advertisers. Example:  Red Men’s Nike Shoes Size 12
  • The number of advertisers – This relates to the first point, but the more advertisers who want to promote a similar product or service, the higher the cost per click (CPC) because the advertisers will try to outbid each other and drive up the price
  • The bids themselves – Google uses an auction system to display ads. The behavior of the group of advertisers who bid on keywords changes depending on the word, the industry, and other factors like personality

Average Cost Per Click Adwords by Industry

Wordstream created an excellent graphic that shows the average cost per click for ads in different types of industries:

adwords-industry-benchmarks-average-cpc

You can infer why some industries have a different average cost per click than others.

Lawyers and consumer services are at the top. Both make sense in their own way. Lawyers can spend more because the price of their service is high. While the consumer services industry has lower priced products and services, the commercial intent is higher.

Before you create an AdWords campaign, do your research on industry benchmarks.

Better yet, you can work with us to create aPPC strategyy from scratch:




 

Your Strategy

To further answer the question, “how much are you charged for a click on your google ads ad?” it’s important to talk about strategy. Your PPC strategy is one of the major factors for how much you’ll spend per click.

In Google AdWords, you can both set track different metrics like:

  • Max CPC – You can set a cost-per-click amount you aren’t willing to exceed
  • Total Budget – You can set an amount for the total amount you want to spend per day, per month, or for a longer period of time
  • Impressions – This is the number of people who see your ad
  • Click Through Rate -This is the percentage of people who see your ad and then also visit your site

When you put together an AdWords campaign, you have to keep the metrics in mind while creating your strategy and altering it.

We will walk through the details in a bit, but here are some potential scenarios to consider:

  • If your impressions and click through rate are low, you aren’t spending enough relative to your competitors
  • If your impressions are high but your click-through rate is low, your ad might not be persuasive enough
  • An ad with a high click-through rate, but a modest CPC and number of impressions could mean you can spend more because you have a winning ad that will convert when you increase your bid
  • If your ad has a high click-through rate, but people don’t engage with your website once they visit it, you may need some design or content upgrades to make your service or product more attractive

When it comes to answering the question  – How much are you charged for a click on your AdWords Ad? There are a lot of factors to consider.

Your best bet, learn the basics and start a PPC campaign. Experience teaches you more than any blog post will.

Let’s talk about the basics. Then, let’s talk options. We can help you set up a custom PPC plan based on your businesses needs that will help you attract people who want your product or service.

The Basics Behind Creating a Successful Google AdWords Campaign

Keyword Research

When you create ads for Google, you need to research keywords.

What are keywords? Keywords are words or phrases people type into Google when they’re searching for stuff.

Google keeps track of important data about keywords:

  • Monthly Volume – This number tells you how many people search for a keyword every month
  • Competition – Google bases this number off of how aggressive the bidders are
  • Average CPC – This number shows the average amount of money you would need to spend to get a click

Google provides a tool called the Google Keyword Planner where you can see this data and make decisions about which keywords to use for your campaign:

Google Keyword Planner

You can use this tool along with good old-fashioned brainstorming to come up with potential keywords to use in your campaigns.

Creating Your PPC Ads

After doing your research, you’ll have a group of keywords you want to target during your campaign.

If your business has multiple services or products, you will want to separate the keywords you targeted into groups based on the different types of products or services you have.

These are called ad groups:

Google Ad Groups

 

 

Each ad group will have its own individual set of keywords:

google PPC ad keywords

When you visit the campaign settings, you can set a daily budget and a bidding strategy:

The dashboard provides useful tips to help with your campaign. You can choose between manual options where you can set your own bid prices. You can also use Google’s ‘smart bidding options’ which allow you to choose your budget and leave it to Google to make the best use of your money.

For each Ad group, you can create different advertisements to display on the search engine. Make sure to use appealing media in your ads like pictures and logos. If you need a new logo, you can hire a logo maker at an affordable price.

Google uses a quality score measure to determine how likely your ads are to get click-throughs. It also uses your quality score to determine your placement. An ad with a high-quality score and a lower bid could show up higher than an Ad with a low-quality score, but a higher bid.

Neil Patel has a great guide on ways to improve your quality score if you’re looking for an in-depth analysis

If you decide to work with a smart digital marketing agency like MLT Group, we will walk you through the process from start to finish using cutting-edge research and optimization techniques.

Conclusion

The concept of PPC advertising is simple. If you make more money than it costs to advertise, advertising makes sense.

As a business owner, you just want to get great results. Instead of learning all the industry jargon and creating a campaign for yourself, why not work with an agency who will partner with you.

Here’s your next step. Fill out this form below, we’ll give you a free audit of your website and marketing, then we’ll reach out to talk about a great campaign that works for your business. 




 

Digital Marketing Minneapolis – The Ultimate Guide to Working With a Minneapolis Digital Marketing Agency

When you Google “digital marketing Minneapolis,” you’ll see a wide range of results. How do you know which digital marketing agency is right for you?

You’re here because you’re curious about how digital marketing can help you grow your business.

As a business owner or decision making employee, you know you should be marketing yourself online, but you have questions.

Do you need search engine optimization (SEO)? Do you need to run ads on Google? Should your site be mobile optimized?

Should you be on social media? If so, which channels? Does social media marketing matter in your industry? 

Perhaps the most important question is what will digital marketing actually do for your business?

You want to take your business to the next level, but you want to make sure you’re getting a return on your investment.

Before we dive into specific answers to each question, let’s start with this premise.

Digital Marketing is a Tool to Grow Your Business

At MLT group are digital marketing goals for you are simple.

We use digital marketing to help you find more customers, increase your brand awareness, and engage your visitors.

Instead of starting with digital marketing tactics and going back towards the needs of your business, we start with your business goals in mind and create digital marketing solutions to meet your needs. 

The best digital marketing campaigns are customized because one size fits all solutions don’t work in business on or offline.

In our guide, we’ll discuss some of the individual components of digital marketing and give you the insights you need to make an informed decision for your business.

Why Digital Marketing is a Necessity for Minneapolis Business Owners

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a second.

He or she is looking for a product or service you offer.

What do they do next?

Do they grab the nearest phone book? Look in the newspaper?

No. Either on their desktop or phone, they go to searching for information online.

They go to Google and enter the service or product you offer into the search box. When they see the results, do they find your business? 

This is someone with either the curiosity or intent to buy your product or service.

From a logical standpoint, it seems like a no-brainer to display your business in front of people who are already looking for what you have to offer, right?

If the idea of putting your products and services in front of people who are actively searching for them isn’t enough, consider some startling pieces of data:

These numbers suggest that core digital marketing strategies are needed in 2018. Let’s talk about each of the individual components that can go into your strategy.

Digital Marketing Strategy # 1 – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Consider search engine optimization the backbone of any digital marketing campaign.

Google accounts for a large amount of traffic on the web. SEO puts your business front and center for people looking for the services you provide.

If you search for a product or service online, chances are the results you see didn’t make it to the top of the list on accident.

SEO uses a number of different techniques. When you combine them, your website can begin to climb the search engine rankings.

On-Site Seo

On-site SEO is the process of optimizing your website by entering researched keyword data into your sites code, content, and link-structure.

Effective on-site SEO combines dozens of techniques implemented on just a single page of your website such as:

  • Adding keywords to your title tag
  • Creating keyword rich content
  • Adding keywords to photo alt tags
  • Adding keywords to headings
  • Providing relevant links to your pages
  • Creating a great overall user experience

Just take a look at Brian Dean’s infographic, the anatomy of a perfectly optimized page:

digital-marketing-Minneapolis-businesses

Not only do these techniques need to be used on a single page of your website, rather for each page of your website.

This is where working with a smart digital marketing company comes in. At MLT group, we take the guesswork out of your hands and do the heavy lifting to make sure each page of your website makes Google go gaga for your Minneapolis business.

On-site SEO is just the beginning. You must also use different techniques to show the search engines why your site deserves the top spot.

Link-Building

Google uses links to determine how much ‘authority’ your site has.

It considers a link from another site to yours as a vote for the quality of your information. In digital marketing terms, we call links from another site to yours ‘back-links’

To increase the authority of your website, you want to get as many backlinks from quality sources as possible, because they increase two important metrics:

  • Domain Authority – This metric measures the authority of your entire website
  • Page Authority – This metric measures the authority of a single page on your website

Take a look at our DA and PA shown from the Moz Backlink Researching Tool:

save image

 

To gain our current level of authority, we had to earn links from 107 different sources. 

Link-building is an art form, one that doesn’t come easily to business owners with little digital marketing experience.

We’ve built a network of reputable sources in various industries to help our clients gain the links they need to boost their authority and climb the search engines.

How does it work? Sparing you the nitty-gritty details, we reach out to our network to find reputable places on the web that feature businesses like yours.

If you work with us, you can focus on running your business while we focus on getting the right websites to notice it.

Research, Tracking, and Strategy

Research, tracking, and strategy are important before during and after you launch your SEO campaign.

Pre-launch, you need to make sure you’re using the right phrases in important areas of your website.

For example, you may consider yourself a ‘maid service’ but the phrase ‘house cleaning’ might receive more searches per month.

Once you find the key phrases you want to use, you’d perform on-site optimization and begin your link-building campaign.

You’d want to track the following important metrics to measure growth over time:

  • Positions of target keywords – Even a well-optimized page will take time to reach page 1 on Google, so it’s important to know where the pages on your site stand in the beginning. This helps set expectations and keep you focused on long-term growth.
  • Traffic – You’d expect to see your traffic numbers grow over time. Quarterly measurements provide solid data.
  • Traffic sources – Traffic can come direct, via search engines, from social media, or from people clicking on links to your site from other sites.

MLT Group Provides ‘Done for You’ Tracking and Reporting

We consider an SEO campaign mature after 12 months and measure the progress of important key metrics each quarter.

We provide our clients quarterly ‘scorecards’ giving them an easy to understand snapshot of their site’s SEO progress.

Imagine you’re working with us on an SEO campaign after 12 months.

You check your scorecard to find many of your services ranking on page one.

Your traffic has improved quarter over quarter, meaning more leads and customers to your business.

You notice a service doing well but in need of a little love. What do you do? You simply speak with one of our digital marketing specialists and we alter your strategy, implementing several micro-techniques you’re unaware of but get the results you want.

That’s the power of working with a digital marketing company. 

Keeping up with your digital marketing on your own and running a business is a tall task. Why not work with a professional?

Case in point, Search Engine Optimization is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital marketing.

Digital Marketing Strategy # 2 – Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is different than search engine optimization (SEO).

With SEO, you can perform techniques on your own or work with a Minneapolis digital marketing agency to get traffic through your website from ‘organic’ search rankings.

Organic simply means you didn’t pay for the search results. As we discussed earlier, Google uses a variety of techniques to choose which pages show above others.

Search engine marketing involves the use of paid listings, which can come in many forms.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

Take a look at this search engine results page (SERP).

At the top, you’ll see the paid listings (PPC), move further down and you’ll see the organic listings:

Minneapolis pay per click
paid listings
Minneapolis organic search
organic results

You’re probably wondering how pay per click advertising works in comparison to organic search techniques.

Here’s the way to look at both.

Pay per click advertising does work, but it isn’t as effective as ranking your website using SEO.

Why? Because the click-through rates are much lower.

click through rate

Source: Modern Marketing Partners

Think of your own user experience. How often do you click on advertisements?

With PPC advertising, you can spend your way to the top of the results. With organic search, you must earn your spot, which is why they’re more trustworthy and convert much better.

The benefit of PPC advertising over organic SEO is the fact that PPC can provide instant results. 

Since an SEO campaign can take up to 12 months to mature, a PPC campaign can help you get traffic, leads, and sales in the short term. Many companies opt for using PPC while their organic results improve. 

How Pay Per Click Advertising Works

Pay per click advertising involves bidding dollar amounts (per-click) to get your business to show up in paid listings.

You can create a PPC campaign and set metrics like:

  • Daily budget
  • Bid amounts (the highest you’re willing to spend to receive a click for ‘x’ term)
  • Ad groups – these groups contain the keywords you want to target for the campaign

Each campaign will have a set daily budget limit, and you pay each time someone clicks on one of your results that appear for one of the search keywords you targeted.

The highest bidders get the top results. You must decide whether the terms you want to target are worth the cost-per-click (CPC).

This can be based on the price of your product, the number of leads you can convert to sales, and potential conversion rate of the page you send the ads to.

If you do use a PPC campaign, the following techniques will help them perform their best.

Keyword Research

For your campaign to be effective, you must make sure to use the right keywords as part of your PPC campaign.

How do you find the right keywords?

A few techniques are:

  • Competitor research – You can use tools like SEM Rush to see where your top competitors are spending their money on ads
  • Google Keyword Planner – The Google Keyword Planner is a tool provided by Google to give you important data such as average bid amount, traffic volume, and competition (example below)
  • Brainstorming variations – Once you have a sample of keywords you find through the keyword planner, search for variations of those terms to see if they are viable too

google keyword planner

Implementation

You can then use this data to come up with a comprehensive PPC plan.

After setting your target keywords and budget amounts, you can run a test period (one to two weeks) and check the results to answer important questions like:

  • How well are the ads converting to leads/sales?
  • Are you spending too much/too little for your target keywords?
  • How does your click-through rate stack up against your impressions?

These insights provide information you can use to alter your strategy over time.

If this sounds like a tall task, you can rely on a Minneapolis digital marketing agency like MLT Group to handle the process from start to finish.

Enter your information below and we’ll send you a free digital marketing audit




Digital Marketing Strategy #3 – Content Marketing

Content marketing goes hand in hand with SEO 

Many smart SEOs know the benefits of a solid content marketing campaign.

content marketing

The search engines want to provide the best results to users and it analyzes content to help make that decision.

Content marketing comes in many forms, but it’s the process of creating content that gives users what they want, is optimized for search, and persuades your readers to take the desired action.

So what forms of content does content marketing encompass?

  • Page content – From homepages to category pages to service/product pages and more, each page on your site can be used to attract visitors
  • Blog posts – You can use your blog to cover a wide variety of topics related to your industry
  • Social media – We’ll discuss in-depth soon, but social media can be an effective content marketing tool to build your brand and even convert casual visitors into loyal audience members or customers
  • Email marketing – Email is another useful channel to communicate with your audience, share informative content, offer promotions, and more
  • Media – Videos, infographics, photos, and all forms of media count as content marketing even though they aren’t in written form

These are just a few examples of content marketing. It’s an all-encompassing term that covers any aspect of communicating with your audience.

If you decide to work with us, we can explore each option in-depth. For now, let’s talk about how to create a successful content marketing campaign regardless of the medium.

How to Create An Awesome Content Marketing Strategy

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a second.

What impression will they have about your business when visiting your website?

Does your content answer their burning questions and address the problem they need to be solved?

Can they find the information they need quickly?

Will they stick around to check multiple pages of your site because they’re informative and persuasive?

Is your offering clear? Do they know why they should choose your business over the competition?

Do they feel like you understand not only their needs but the means with which they like to interact with your type of company?

Is it easy for them to engage with you?

These are the questions you need to answer before you create any piece of content.

Once those questions are answered, you can create a content marketing campaign that works.

Content Marketing With MLT Group

When you work with MLT Group, we collaborate with you to understand both your business goals and the target audience you serve.

Then, we conduct research to decide the best types of content to create, which channels to use, and a strategy to continue drawing in new visitors while keeping your current audience engaged.

Instead of treating content as an afterthought, we consider it a core piece of your digital marketing strategy.

Without content that reflects your brand, engages visitors, and works toward the desired result, you’ll end up with wasted time, effort, and money.

This is why choosing the right digital marketing agency in Minneapolis is important. You need to know they have the expertise and resources to help you grow your business with content marketing.

Our company puts you in touch with one of our SEO specialists to create the perfect campaign.

Then, we work with our staff of SEO content experts who can write content both humans and search engines love.

We’ll distribute your content across the right channels and track the results to make sure your traffic, brand-equity, and other important business metrics are seeing steady growth.

Digital Marketing Strategy # 4 – Design and Build

When you think of words like digital marketing, SEO, content marketing, etc you don’t necessarily think about the way your website is designed and built.

These two factors are critical to SEO success for many reasons.

User Experience

At the end of the day, Google’s number one priority is giving their users the best experience possible.

Again, putting yourself in your users’ shoes, imagine how they view your website.

Does your design look professional? Does it match the impression of your business you want to portray?

Is the site navigation simple and easy to understand?

Does your site appear and function well on a mobile device? Does it load quickly?

Designing and building a website with responsive coding, SEO-friendly coding, a simple-sitemap, and clear calls to action (CTAs) showing the visitor where to go or what to do next are all hugely important for digital marketing.

Let’s look at some of the important digital marketing and SEO factors related to design and build.

Design and Build Related Digital Marketing Metrics

Search engines keep track of the following factors that are informed by design and build:

  • Mobile friendly – Your site must be mobile friendly or it won’t receive favor on search engines, period, because Google has switched to mobile-first indexing
  • Bounce rate – A bounce occurs when someone visits your website and leaves right away. Slow loading websites, unprofessional looking design, and difficult to understand navigation can cause more bounces, which harms your SEO
  • Dwell time – The longer a visitor spends on your website the better. Professional design with effective calls to action and simple navigation can keep visitors on your site longer
  • Crawlability – Search engine bots ‘crawl’ through your website to find pages to ‘index’ or place on search engine results. Your sitemap, link-patterns, and site errors (or lack thereof) affect crawlability.

As a full-service marketing company, we keep your digital marketing goals in mind from start to finish, including design and build along with content marketing, SEO, PPC, social media, and all other forms of digital marketing.

Digital Marketing Strategy # 5 – The Suite of Additional Strategies and Services

When you work with us, we focus on providing the best solutions for your business.

This is why we’ve created an ‘a la carte’ menu of services where you can see exactly how much each service costs, how it benefits your business, and information on if the service is a good fit.

SEO, content marketing, SEM, and design/build are all core services almost any business should employ.

The following list includes services that can add even more value to your business.

Social Media Marketing

You know your business should be on social media, but which platforms do you use, how do you use them effectively, and how do you know if social media will provide good ROI for your business?

Working with a digital marketing agency will help you answer those questions in-depth.

There are two forms of social media marketing you can use — free and paid.

Paid Social Media Marketingpaid social media marketing

Companies like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linked in have paid advertising platforms you can use to promote your business.

You have many options to target potential customers like demographics, interests, geography, and more.

You can pay for impressions (simply the number of people who see your ad), clicks to your web page, or even more advanced metrics like email sign-ups, video views, page likes, and more.

There is a lot of opportunity to do well with paid advertising on social media right now because it is a newer industry, which means (for now) the costs aren’t as high as PPC ads on Google.

This is a section that deserves an entire guide of its own. The simplest way to understand the breadth of paid social media marketing is to talk to us.

Organic Social Media Marketing

Similar to SEO, you can create content for social media on your own or work with a team of experts at a digital marketing agency to help you.

The key here is to remember that social media isn’t just about likes, comments, and shares.

Just like SEO and other digital marketing techniques, it’s first and foremost a tool to help you grow your business and brand by giving users what they want and love.

There are many aspects that go into a social media campaign, but here are some useful tips:

  • Promote all blog content through social media to give it extra reach
  • Share interesting and informative tips with your audience
  • Use creative forms of media like video and infographics
  • Update your pages regularly
  • Gear your social media content toward a certain result and use strong calls to action

Online Review Campaigns

Did you know that the number of positive reviews your website gets affects your search engine rankings?

Positive online reviews also let potential customers know your brand is trustworthy and provides quality services or products.

We can help you create a review building campaign to reach out to your customers and generate positive buzz around your business.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is still one of the best marketing channels because it provides direct access to your customers and potential customers.

You can use email marketing to:

  • Share useful tips and information directly with your audience
  • Offer promotions and discounts
  • Sell directly to your customers (after educating them about your product)
  • Gather reviews
  • Encourage your audience to share your brand with their networks

We can help create custom messaging, design, strategy, and implementation to use email to reach your business goals.

Media Services

From creating corporate videos and commercials to creating logos to making infographics to creating custom graphics to use in your content, we provide a wide array of media services to add flair to your digital marketing campaigns.

Marketing Strategy

Our marketing strategy services help to create a full marketing plan for your business.

We can help you define your target audience better by using in-depth market research techniques and tools like surveys, data-driven research, and interviews.

We can help you craft a unique selling proposition, tag-line, and promotional messages.

We’ll help you cover every aspect of your marketing campaign from budget amounts to recommended channels, target campaign launch dates, the frequency of messaging and promotions, and much more.

Some companies come to us with a good idea of where their marketing needs to be and we provide the right solutions. If, however, you need a ‘ground-up’ solution requiring a digital marketing agency that works just like an in-house marketing professional that handles everything, we’ve got you covered.

Conclusion

Digital marketing is a tall task.

As a business owner, you already have a ton to focus on.

Why not work with a digital marketing agency that helps you save the time, headache, and frustration of having to be a marketing expert for your business.

We have the expertise. You have the drive and ambition that made you a successful business owner.

Let’s work together to build a successful digital marketing campaign. Fill out the form below and let us provide a custom plan to help you grow your business.




 

 

E-Commerce Marketing Strategies: The Ultimate Guide

E-commerce marketing can do wonders for your business. With the right strategies, you can engage people who are interested in your products, build a base of loyal customers, and grow your influence to reach every corner of your market.

In today’s post, we’re going to teach you different e-commerce marketing strategies ranging from SEO tips, content marketing, social media marketing and more.

If you use just one of these strategies, you’ll see results that can help you grow your brand and your bottom line. Before we dive into the tips, let’s talk about the unique power of e-commerce businesses.

Why E-Commerce Businesses Are The Future

The internet has changed the way people buy and the benefits of e-commerce businesses are impossible to deny.

Here is a short list of benefits e-commerce businesses provide their users:

  • Convenience – You don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to purchase from an e-commerce store
  • Speed – Most e-commerce businesses offer fast shipping. Just look at Amazon, who’s gone so far as to test ’30 minute drone deliveries’
  • Options – When shopping online, you can hand pick the products you want without ever having to visit a store and you can compare prices between different businesses without having to visit them

There are numbers to shed light on the shift in markets too:

e-commerce marketing statistics

 

It’s unlikely that retail will disappear, but it’s obvious the internet is here to stay.

If you’re an e-commerce business owner, providing a great user experience and solid marketing strategies allows you to reach a larger audience than you ever could with a physical location.

As an e-commerce business owner, you’re already sold on the power of the internet. For those who have the potential to move into e-commerce, but haven’t yet, consider how you can market and sell your products online to keep pace with the changing trends for the future.

Now, it’s time for the strategies.

SEO E-Commerce Marketing Strategies

Search engine optimization (SEO) helps put your business in front of people with search intent — meaning those who are actively searching for your product.

SEO works well for e-commerce businesses who do it right. Just take a look at this search engine results page for the phrase “green tea for sale.”

Each page that appears in this picture represents an organic search result. Organic means the businesses achieved these results without using paid advertisements. That’s the beauty of SEO — you can achieve results through effort and sound strategies alone.

These e-commerce SEO strategies will help you rank your business on Google and put it in front of buyers looking for your product.

Here are the e-commerce SEO strategies you must use to succeed.

Optimize All Site Pages

The most important pages on an e-commerce website are it’s category pages, product pages, and blog poss.

You want to optimize your pages using the following techniques:

  • Use key phrases in your page titles
  • Use key phrases  in your meta description
  • Place key phrases in your content
  • Optimize images by placing key phrases in their ‘alt tags’
  • Make sure your content length meets SEO standards
  • Add media to your pages like pictures, infographics, and videos

Here’s a great example of an optimized e-commerce website.

Cup & Leafs E-Commerce Product Page SEO Analyzed

The Cup & Leaf blog sells tea products. When you visit one of their product pages you’ll see organized information that also serves an SEO purpose.

Most product pages use the product name in the title. In this example, you’ll see an optimized key phrase as the product title:

When you scroll down, you’ll see a product description that’s optimized but also very informative and persuasive to customers (key phrase highlighted in red):

e commerce product description

 

 

The content is in-depth, but not overwhelming. It uses key phrases but doesn’t stuff them in the content. It’s informative, describes benefits, and cites reputable sources.

It takes time, but providing on page SEO to each of your products will help them rank on search engines.

Cup & Leafs SEO Content Analyzed

The Cup & leaf blog uses content marketing and SEO through their blog. When you look at their blog page, you’ll see posts with titles that match topics tea lovers might type into Google:

e-commerce blog example

Each blog post has optimized content, but also provides useful and relevant information for readers. This is key because content marketing and SEO are more about making users happy than search engines. Typical optimization doesn’t work anymore. The search engines are ranking content that’s useful for readers. It’s now their number one priority:

e commerce content marketing

Notice the techniques used here:

  • Optimized page title
  • Key phrase in the first sentence of the content
  • Internal & outbound links
  • In-depth content

Imagine you’re a tea lover who searches for tips on making great tea. You land on this page and read articles giving you the exact information you’re looking for. Then, when you read the post, it ends with a call to action to check out the company’s products.

This is exactly what Cup & Leaf does.

At the end of one of their posts, you see a call to action to buy their products at a discount:

e commerce call to action

The owner of the company — content marketing expert Nat Elision — shares the entire SEO & content strategy he used to start the company in this guide.

Highlights from the post:

Research topics – using tools like ahrefs, the Google keyword planner, and more, you can perform keyword research to find topics with traffic volume.

Design the blog to drive sales – each post has a call to action to enjoy a discount or try related products

Gain product reviews – this increases social proof and is a positive ranking factor for SEO

Write long-form content – long-form content is a positive ranking factor.

With a sound SEO strategy employed, you can use more e-commerce marketing techniques to build awareness for your company and ultimately drive leads and sales.

Use the Following E-Commerce Content Marketing Strategies

Content marketing works especially well for e-commerce businesses. To have an effective content marketing campaign, you need to understand the full breadth of the phrase.

Check out this definition of content marketing from the content marketing institute:

Content comes in many forms, including but not limited to:

  • Written content – pages and blog posts
  • Video
  • Photos & infographics
  • Social media

Let’s walk through examples of different types of content marketing and discuss what they do well.

Written Content

We discussed SEO and content marketing for e-commerce businesses already, but it’s important to know the details of running a successful content marketing campaign. Here are some need to know items.

Research

When you do the right research, you can create a strategy that targets the right customers and creates the types of content they want to read.

You can use keyword research — a staple of SEO — to discover topics people are actively searching for.

Check out our guide to keyword research for more detail.

You can also research what your competitors are doing well to create better content and use strategies like link-building to leapfrog them in search.

Here’s an example. Using the Ahrefs tool, you can discover a lot of useful information about a competitor. Sticking with our tea example, I found a tea company and looked for search data:

In the organic keywords section of the tool, you can see the keywords that get the most traffic and links to the pages receiving the traffic:

competitor seo research

Then going into the individual pages, you can see where they’re gaining links from, as well as important metrics to know like site authority, the number of backlinks, and the phrases the single page ranks for:

seo data

Using the ahrefs keyword analyzer tool, I can estimate the number of links I need to build to the page:

key word analysis

Next, I’d create a piece of content about chai tea lattes and make it more detailed entertaining and informative than the competitor’s post.

Then, I’d build links to the page by sharing the content with people who are likely to link back to the page. This is known as the skyscraper technique.

You can also leverage reviews to discover what your customers like and dislike about your type of product. Check out this review on Amazon for a green tea product:

e commerce product review

Using these insights, I make create content discussing both the quality and cost-effectiveness of my product.

Question and answer sites like Quora provide useful information as well. I typed in “chai tea” on Quora and got the result:

quora research

Knowing people want to know the difference between masala and chai tea, I could create content on this topic. My result may even show up in a cool Google snippet like this one:

google snippet

Implementation

Once you have solid e-commerce marketing research you can implement your campaign.

It’s important to know your target audience, goals, and key performance metrics before you begin creating content.

You also want to create a content calendar with topics you want to write about and block out time to create content.

If you’re an e-commerce business owner, you might not have time to create the content yourself. This is where a digital marketing agency can come in handy.

At MLT Group we have the staff, resources, and creativity to create a content marketing campaign for your business.

If you’re interested in a done for you e-commerce marketing strategy, fill out the form below for a free audit:




 

Video content marketing has grown in popularity in recent years.

Here’s some data on video per Hubspot:

  • 97% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service
  • 76% say it helped them increase sales
  • 76% say it helped them increase traffic.

If you leverage video the right way, it can do wonders for your business.

In a perfect example, Dollar shave club used viral video to grow their business:

In our breakdown of their marketing strategy, we highlighted the following reasons why their campaign worked so well:

  • Hook your audience
  • Keep your brand consistent
  • Know your audience
  • Have a clear message
  • Don’t get lost in your own video

Pay attention to how they used humor, shock value, and intrigue to make a boring product suddenly interesting.

In addition to branding power, video content marketing can help your business rank on search engines. 

Photos & Infographics

Visual content has multiple benefits.

First, it’s a different form of branding and marketing people love.

Second, you can use them to increase important SEO metrics like time spent on page and reducing your bounce rate.

An example from Gadget Snob shows great use of photos on an e-commerce landing page:

 

When you click into one of their products, you see excellent use of captivating photos in their “related products” section:

 

This clean and crisp site design and photo usage compel visitors to check out the site’s products.

You can also use infographics within the body of your blog posts to keep readers engaged (pro tip: use a plugin to make your images pinnable on Pinterest).

Social Media

You can write an entire guide on social media usage for e-commerce marketing.

 

Shopify has an excellent breakdown of social media tips on their infographic:

e commerce social media

 

You can use social media to market your e-commerce business in a variety of ways.

You can create streaming videos and commercials educating users about your product, sharing benefits, and entertaining them.

When you create a new blog post, you can cross-promote your content through all social media channel.

You can become a member of social media groups related to your niche and become an active participant.

Paid social media ads are always a cost-effective way to build your e-commerce brand and drive traffic to your website.

Here’s an example of a product display ad on Facebook:

product display ad

When running Facebook ads as part of the e-commerce marketing strategy for your business, you can use a ton of different techniques to drive traffic to your website:

  • Run promotions and discounts
  • Create a giveaway of your product where users enter their email address as a ‘raffle ticket’
  • Put commercials and videos in your ads
  • Create remarketing ads that display to visitors who visited your site but didn’t buy
  • Create a lookalike audience based on metrics and demographics of your target audience
  • Use ‘boosts’ to drive traffic to your blog posts to aid your content marketing efforts
  • Cross promote your Facebook ads to Instagram

Social media has many applications. Whatever channel or method you use, make sure to make social media a core part of your e-commerce marketing strategy.

Conclusion

These e-commerce marketing strategies are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to growing your business.

Choose one, or a few, and utilize them to gain traffic, leads, and sales.

Use them to build your brand and stand out in your industry.

If you’re looking for expert content marketing and SEO help, learn more about becoming a strategic business partner with MLT Group.

Need Video Marketing? Learn the 4 Ws of Video Production

Including video elements in your marketing campaign is a great way to get attention, engage your audience, and showcase what your business offers! However, tackling something like video production can be intimidating to the uninitiated. So much goes into video production, including budget, camera-work, script writing, music, and post-production work, and it can be difficult to know where to start? We’re here to help. Before you get started with your video marketing campaign, first ask yourself four important questions: who, what, when, and where?

video production

Who:

There are two important “who” questions to ask throughout the video production process:

Who is your target audience? Your audience affects every element of your video marketing from the message to where you share it. What is age, culture, socioeconomic status, or location of your audience? Some video types, outlets, and messages are more effective than others, depending on your audience. For example, if you’re trying to reach a younger, national audience, publishing your video online will be more effective than spending money on a local television commercial.

 

Who is your production team? Video production has many layers and should be handled by a dedicated team. Clearly outlining who your production team is, each person’s role, and their expectations will help the production process go smoothly. Video production is best handled by experienced professionals who can tackle every element of your video marketing.

 

What:

When it comes to video marketing, there are a few ‘whats’ to answer.

All of this will influence the content of your video, and help you develop a specific, relatable message. Whatever you’re promoting, it should support the overall marketing goals of your business. If you’re advertising a sale, promoting a specific service, or trying to expand your customer base, make sure to develop a script and message that remains focused on your specific goal instead of trying to do it all. This will ensure your message remains clear and has the most impact.

 

Where:

Where will you share your video? Are you crafting a video for online advertisements, a presentation for shareholders, or do you want to create a commercial for local television? Not all outlets are appropriate depending on the type of video you’re creating and the audience you want to reach. For example, if you want to demonstrate your product, a television commercial may not be the best outlet. Instead, post demo videos online! Understanding where your video will reach consumers impacts the style and length of the advertisement, and also influences your company’s budget.

 

When:

Create an achievable video production timeline and stick to it. With so many elements, it’s easy for a video production to get off track, especially for the inexperienced. The last thing you want is for your video to cost more time and money than it needs to. With a set schedule, your business will have an appropriate amount of time to dedicate to each point on the timeline, from script creation to filming, and concluding with the launch of your video.

 

MLT Group not only has over 30 years of video production experience, but we’re also marketing experts. This means we can craft an effective video that helps your business achieve its goals. Whether you’re looking for a simple demo video or a full-scale television commercial, we can handle every aspect of the production process.

 

Our video production services include:

  • Script writing
  • Animation
  • Music
  • Voiceovers/Voice acting
  • Editing
  • Special graphics
  • Aerial videography

 

Ready to take your marketing campaign to the next level? Contact us today at 507.281.3490 or sales@mltgroup.com.