Avoiding Content Cannibalization and Self Plagiarism with SEO/Marketing in Minneapolis, MN

If you run an online brand or company website, you probably know how important it is to generate fresh content on a routine basis. With frequently published, original content your site will be more attractive to algorithms used by search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Search engines use a crawl, index, and rank system to find website results that they deem to be most valuable to any given user inquiry. Originality is important to the engines and algorithms. With crawling bots reviewing all the components of your site whenever content is created, search engines indexing that new information, and results pages ranking for user inquiries from that index of websites, you can imagine it becomes a problem for your website’s performance if you publish content that plagiarizes other sites. Additionally, if your site content self-plagiarizes or cannibalizes your older site data that is a problem too. MLT Group provides effective content creation for up-to-date SEO/Marketing in Minneapolis, MN and the surrounding area. Heck, all across the USA actually. With our services, you can have professionals creating original content for your site and be sure none of your content is detrimental to itself from accidental cannibalizing or plagiarizing practices.

Google and other search engines change their algorithms over time, which means older content might have SEO/Marketing features that aren’t effective anymore. For example, Google now punishes sites that overload keyword content, while in the past websites were rewarded for that practice with higher placement on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

There are fixes for both plagiarized content and self-plagiarism. The latter is usually a result of lazy content creation or a lack of attention to automatically generated or queued content.

Cause and Effect of Self-Plagiarism

Self-plagiarism of website content can be as obvious as the exact same text or media published multiple times on your page or as subtle as metadata and URL copies. One example of common self-plagiarism is with ecommerce sites when products are duplicated to create a similar, but ultimately different product page. Duplicating a product requires the content creator to double check every data point about the entry, including title, price, quantity, description, images, tags, URL, stock keeping units (SKU), collection or group, color, size, and more. It can be simple to duplicate a product to create a new one that has many similar data points as the other one, but the creator needs to remember to change the points that search engines interact with when ranking indexed sites. If you have many duplicate title cards and other copied aspects of a page that will show up as a header on a SERP, your site becomes less attractive to a search engine ranking algorithm.

Another example of self-plagiarism is republishing old content that is still published in its original place on your site. Copying and pasting an old blog under the guise of new information is a poor SEO practice. Not only is it a hallmark of spam websites, but it is also something users may notice. Search engines will definitely notice and potentially ding your ranking on SERPs.

When creating content, it’s best to put in the time and effort to double check your work and to plan news, blogs, and other content that is actually fresh information.

Cause and Effect of Cannibalization

Cannibalization of site content usually occurs when two pages on a single website publish the same or very similar information. If you had a brand with one page of your site dedicated to water damage cleanup in New York and another page for water damage cleanup in Chicago but both had the same content other than changing out the name of the city… you might have a cannibalization problem. The search engines see the two URLs as near duplicates, causing both to perform poorly in the long term. This is a form of classic cannibalization between unintentionally competing URLs.

Google and other search engines rank sites based on different kinds of user inquiries. There are three main kinds of user inquiries:

  1. Informational: Users looking for information with specific keywords, such as, “what is eco-friendly clothing”.
  2. Navigational: Users searching for specific websites by name, such as, “earthfashion.com” or “Earth Fashion”.
  3. Transactional: Users want to buy a product and use that product as their keyword search, such as, “where can I buy eco-friendly clothing” or simply “eco-friendly jogging suit”.

If you have an ecommerce URL on your website, such as earthfashion.com/shop in addition to a blog URL like earthfashion.com/blog, search engines will prioritize one URL over the other depending on the type of user inquiry and the search terms they use. This is good. However, if the engines can’t tell which page is more relevant to the user’s search because of indistinct URLs or duplicated page content it can hurt the ranking results of both.

With tracking software, you can chart the patterns of each URLs performance. This can provide insights into the effectiveness on the content of various pages on your site.

If you believe your website is underperforming because of the effects of website content cannibalization there are steps you can take. As an example, if you suspect old content is cannibalizing new pages, search the domain name and key phrase  (for example, “site:earthfashion.com sustainable outfit ideas”) on Google to see all the content that exists on your site pertaining to that topic. If you have old content that might cannibalize any new information you want to publish, redirect all of those old pages to your fresh URL.

For more information about self-plagiarism, cannibalization, and other problems that can impact the effectiveness of your SEO/Marketing in Minneapolis, MN, or to learn more about our SEO and marketing services, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490 or sales@mltgroup.com today.

Why Understanding Marketing ROI is Important

For any kind of business there are many tools that can be used to calculate projections in expenses, revenue, investments, growth, and many other aspects of the bookkeeping and budgeting process. One of the most useful tools for determining marketing expenses and the return on those costs in the form of a broadened company audience and income is a “return on investment” (ROI) calculation strategy. ROI calculations can be applied to business operations outside of the marketing sphere, but because marketing costs and successes can be difficult to put on paper, an effective marketing ROI measurement system is often the best solution for building marketing budgets. When it comes to determining if your search engine optimization (SEO) or other online marketing costs are worth it, which aspects are working the most effectively, and how long expenses take to build a return, understanding how to calculate your marketing ROI is key. MLT Group offers guidance and support for businesses developing digital and social media marketing strategies. Our goal is to help you boost your ROI and implement long term, smart marketing performance indicators.

Simply put, ROI is a tool that is used to determine the profitability of a marketing expense. For example, it can be applied to see if the cost of an online advertisement is justified by the growth of your company’s customer base when new users are led to your business through that ad.

These ROI calculations can vary depending on the marketing strategy and your goals as a company, but they are all used in the same way to take the guessing out of that part of your business.

Taking Out the Guesswork

Unlike calculating profit, baseline operational costs, inventory, and other simpler parts of a company budget, it can be difficult to predict the impact of new marketing investments. Likewise, predicting which ventures are going to be the most effective and how potential customers will interact with marketing endeavors can be tricky. Because of the many factors in a marketing plan, it can involve a lot of guesswork. Implementing effective marketing ROI will significantly impact the guessing part of developing a marketing campaign.

ROI calculators measure conversion rates, traffic fluctuations, sales, followers, and overall engagement from customers and audience members and compare the revenue from all that engagement against the cost of each marketing strategy.

Because each marketing strategy can vary greatly in format and cost, it can be difficult to build a universal ROI calculator. The most effective way to use ROI calculators to determine which marketing techniques are returning your investments is to build multiple measurement systems that can be applied to each category of digital marketing.

Some companies, for example, designate different ROI calculators for the social media aspect of marketing, Google Ads, pay-per-click ads, blogs, SEO strategies, and other types of paid advertising. Understanding the basic format of most ROI calculators will help you learn to adapt different versions to begin measuring your investment efficacy.

How to Calculate It

One of the simplest ROI calculators measures the financial gain after an investment minus the cost of that investment. Then it divides that number with the cost of the investment. If an ad costs $50 and sales worth $100 can be traced back to customers that found your company through that ad, your calculator will look like this:

(100 – 50) / 50 = 1

On paper, you would have broken even on this investment.

This calculator is very simple, but it can be applied to help you make preliminary decisions about many kinds of investments. In reality there will be other costs involved in all investments. Even when purchasing a $50 ad, there are additional costs in the time spent making graphics and communicating with ad platforms. Additionally, even if that $100 in sales can be linked to the ad, complex factors like what was purchased, who the customers are, and where they are located can alter that number.

The type of investments also matters when building an ROI calculator. Is the investment a one-time fee or a recurring cost? Will that cost increase or decrease over time? Will a higher initial cost bring more ROI in the long term and vice versa? These are just some questions to consider when you build a calculator for specific marketing investments.

Even though ROI calculators for marketing can be challenging to build because of unpredictable factors and hidden expenses, there are many tools available to help you better determine starting points, measure patterns, and overall gain better footing for your marketing strategies. Some useful tools many of our clients use to target marketing ROI include:

● Google Analytics: Especially when paired with Google Ads, Google Analytics is a great tool for measuring traffic, digital ad campaigns, and SEO quality. This software system will gather data and organize information about your online audience. You can even build your own ROI system from the information Google Analytics provides.
● CRM Software: There are several sources for CRM (customer relationship management) software, such as Hubspot and Salesforce. CRM software is designed to keep track of customer interactions and information. This information can be gathered from each of your platforms separately or together in a single report.
● Call tracking: For both digital and off-line marketing strategies, call tracking software can gather information about phone calls and conversion rates. This provides data on which of your campaigns led to phone interactions with customers that, in turn, led to a sale.

No matter how you build your ROI calculation tactics, there might be some trial and error, but an effective system will provide multiple benefits, and it’s an important part of a successful marketing department in today’s digital world.

Marketing ROI Benefits

Implementing an effective marketing ROI calculator will give you valuable information about your efforts, including:

● Which digital platforms are bringing the most traffic to your site and leading to the most conversions
● When you should spend money on a campaign versus utilizing free marketing tools
● Where you should spend money and which third parties work best for your company
● Which marketing strategies to eliminate
● Who your customer base is, including their age range, location, spending patterns, and other demographics
● How customers interact with different marketing strategies
● When and why that interaction can shift over time
● How to adapt to those shifts in customer behavior
● What tools work best for your brand and company

In addition to advertising, SEO tools, and marketing overall, your ROI calculations can be used to build your company in other ways. It may give you information that will guide you in rebuilding your website, generating graphics and media, hiring new employees, increasing the diversity of your products, improving your business’s accessibility, expanding to a global audience, consolidating debt, and much more.

In many ways, ROI calculations for your marketing strategies are not just an important part of building your brand and saving money, they are often a vital aspect of being able to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions of the digital and physical consumer world.

To learn more about marketing ROI and how you can integrate it into your digital and social media marketing strategies with the help of MLT Group, contact us at (507) 281-3490, sales@mltgroup.com, or online today.

Franchise SEO & Website Design – The Big Fix

Everyone in America is familiar with franchises. They are represented on street corners coast to coast; McDonalds, 7-Eleven, Dunkin’, Great Clips, and hundreds more. From fast food to haircuts, and commercial cleaning to glass repair, franchises help meet a need for almost everyone at one time or another throughout each year. Their economic impact is fantastic, with those in the United States alone producing an output of nearly 800 billion dollars annually. In fact, franchises made up 10.5 percent of all US businesses in 2020 and employed over 8.5 million Americans.

Among businesses, franchise organizations have a unique component structure; a central licensing organization – the franchiser, often a large company with an entrenched corporate mentality, which supplies, supports, and collects fees from much smaller local businesses – the franchisees. The success of franchises across 295 industries attests to the benefits of this structure. In at least one area of the franchise world, however, there is an intractable struggle between franchiser and franchisee that often leads to marketing issues and lost opportunities.

That’s where we come in. At MLT Group, we have spent the last decade specializing in website design for franchise organizations and have become franchise SEO experts. In the process, we have assisted several national franchise companies to improve their digital marketing and have achieved outstanding ranking results for a plethora of franchisee sites. Now, for the first time, I’m about to tell you what we’ve learned, the not-so-secret problem in franchise SEO and marketing and the Big Fix that’s needed.

Number One: It’s important to recognize that franchise organizations want their franchisees to be successful. This desire is driven by economics and pride. Successful franchisees pay more fees to the franchiser and promote more interest among other potential franchisees. It is equally important to recognize that franchisers and franchisees don’t always share the same priorities. A franchisee sees business success as primarily defined by profit. The more business the better. A franchiser considers both profit and brand image to be paramount concerns. Which makes sense– the brand they have built is the foundation of their entire franchise organization.

Number Two: This misalignment in priorities frequently leads to problems for both franchisees and franchisers in the realm of digital marketing, with both groups struggling against one another rather than working in cohesive and collaborative harmony.

Concerns of the franchiser:

  • We need everyone to represent the brand consistently and accurately across all digital platforms. This is important to consumer confidence in the brand.
  • We worry that some of our franchisees lack the expertise in digital marketing to deliver our brand and messaging appropriately on their websites or on social media.
  • Even though digital marketing is most effective for service businesses when geo-targeted to the appropriate service area, our ability to assist hundreds of franchisees in producing digital marketing unique to their area and offerings is limited by budget and time.
  • Digital is more complicated and changeable than print, radio, or TV ads, making it harder to control from one central source.
  • Even though unique content is essential to search engine optimization, it is not feasible for corporate to write unique content for 400 or 1,500 separate sites, all explaining the same services.

Due to these concerns, franchise organizations often take the following actions which directly harm the digital marketing of their franchisees:

  • To control brand and messaging, they do not allow each franchise to have a unique “local” website and/or social media presence.
  • They do not allow each franchise to have its own unique domain name, preferring to house information about the franchise under the corporate “our locations” page or a URL like Bigfranchiseco.com/location_2463.
  • They may insist on franchisees using duplicate “boiler plate” marketing text for their websites, which is an SEO killer.
  • They do not accurately inform franchisees that the most effective way to rank on search engines is to have a unique local website with original content that is SEO’d and updated regularly.

Concerns of the franchisee:

  • Our local franchise needs to rank highly in search engines for the services we offer within our service area.
  • We need help to design, build, and populate a professional website and/or create an effective social media marketing campaign.
  • Our digital marketing efforts are limited by budget, available time, and lack of expertise in digital marketing.
  • We need a local web presence that is not owned by corporate.
  • Even though regularly posting unique website content is essential to search engine optimization, we do not have the time or expertise to create this content.
  • We want a robust social media campaign but do not have time to maintain it.
  • We want leads to come directly to us when potential customers find us online, not directed to us by corporate with fees or strings attached.

“Due to these concerns, franchise owners need their own unique local websites.”

Due to these concerns, franchise owners need their own unique, local websites. Many would also benefit from independent social media campaigns as well. Corporate can do a lot when it comes to buying online ad space for multiple locations or establishing a robust social media presence for the whole organization. Many franchise organizations maintain impressive social media campaigns, and for some, it can be enough for a franchisee to piggyback on these efforts. However, in terms of traffic and lead generation from Google and other search engines, there is no substitute for a robust local website for each franchise or major franchise market.

There are exceptions. Fast-food franchises, rapid oil change locations, car washes, and similar businesses do not need local websites. Due to the nature of their offerings, a central corporate website with locations pages is sufficient for these sorts of businesses.

“It is imperative for businesses to be  easy to find and easy to do business with.”

Companies providing services in people’s homes and businesses (cleaning, repair, remodeling, lawn care, pest control, etc.) need independent, local websites optimized effectively for Google and other search engines in order to achieve the best rankings possible. Solid rankings on search engines are the gold standard for being found, and the surest way to drive relevant traffic and leads. With an increasingly savvy consumer market, it is imperative for businesses to be easy to find and easy to do business with.

There are multiple benefits of an independent local website for a franchise. These include:

  • A unique domain name – important to franchise SEO and local marketing
  • A platform for unique content specific to the franchise’s services and service area
  • Ownership of the website for both control and as a valuable business asset
  • Results – a well-built and optimized local website will get better rankings and more traffic, leading to more leads and better ROI

“Corporate franchise organizations want their franchisees to succeed, however they have legitimate concerns about brand image and control.”

The Big Fix: Corporate franchise organizations want their franchisees to succeed, however they have legitimate concerns about brand image and control. The fix is to allow individual franchise owners to have their own local websites and to offer them trusted vendors who can provide quality digital marketing services that meet corporate brand expectations. Moreover, putting some money into the solution via co-pays helps the franchisees feel they are not bearing the burden alone. Additionally, the big corporate sites often have a good reputation with the search engines, so making sure to link from the corporate site to each independent franchise site provides powerful link juice. All of which lends itself to better franchise SEO, better Google rankings, more traffic, more leads, and better ROI. It’s a win-win that corporate franchise organizations need to understand and implement in the increasingly competitive world of digital marketing.

To learn more about professional franchise SEO services, contact MLT Group at (507) 281-3490 or sales@mltgroup.com today.

About the Author

Theo St. Mane is a partner and director of operations for MLT Group – Creative Solutions in Rochester, Minnesota. He has over 30 years of marketing experience and has spoken at national and regional conventions of franchise groups. He has also consulted on digital marketing for a variety of national franchise organizations since 2012.

 

Marketing Tactics You Can Use to Grow Your Business in 2019

marketing tactics

Marketing tactics make for a double-edged sword.

One the one hand, the right marketing tactic can help you grow your business. On the other hand, marketing tactics can become a waste of time. So how do you choose the right one?

In today’s guide, we’re going to walk you through different marketing tactics to help you grow your business, but before we do that, keep this important lesson in mind.

The #1 Marketing Tactic of them All

Imagine you’re seven years old.

You just got a new bike with no training wheels.

Instead of letting you ride, fall on your face, and repeat the process until you learn how to ride, your parents give you a training manual called “How to Ride a Bike.”

It has perfect instructions. The guide breaks down the physics of riding a bike with mathematical equations about balance. It tells you how to grip the handles, gain momentum, and maintain balance. There are graphics and illustrations walking you through every step of riding the bike.

You read the manual cover to cover, taking notes, and discuss the process of riding the bike with your parents in detail.

After all of this, you know how to ride a bike, but you don’t know how to ride a bike. The only way to learn how to ride a bike is to ride one. The only way to see if certain marketing tactics work is to try them. That’s why we created a list with many options. You can choose a tactic, try it, and see if it works.

If the tactic does work, double-down. If it doesn’t work for your business, try something new. Also, don’t blame the tactic itself. Many entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that if one strategy doesn’t work, all strategies are bad.

This cynical mindset kills creativity, marketing, and ultimately profits.

Either try the tactics out for yourself or work with a smart agency to handle it for you.

Ready for the tips.

Stick with us…

Run a Content Marketing Campaign for a Year

Content marketing and SEO are the lifeblood for many businesses.

These strategies work if you give them enough time.

As you can see from this chart via Ahrefs, your website pages may need to age a little bit before they rank well on Google.

Some other benefits of giving your campaign time to grow are:

  • Insights – You can’t get good data on where your traffic is coming from, which keyword selection works best, or whether you’re creating the right content. When you can compare data quarter over quarter and year over year, you get a birds’ eye view that helps you make better content marketing decisions.
  • Branding – Brands are becoming more important to SEO. Google trusts brands more because they’re an easy way to vet the quality of information. Brands take time to build. One of the best ways to build a brand is through smart content marketing, but it requires patience to pull off.
  • Certainty – Often, business owners quit on SEO before they know whether or not it’s working. This impatience causes failure and wastes time and money.

Create an Interesting Hook to Get People to Engage

Getting attention is hard in 2019.

Getting people to take the action you want is even harder.

People are getting jaded. They’ve signed up for the email list, gotten the white papers, and end up ignoring marketing messages.

There are some fun and unique ways to get people to engage and take the action you want like signing up to your e-mail list.

Lead Quizzes

Lead quizzes are a fun and interactive way to get people to join your list. You provide a quiz based on your niche and give them the answer in exchange for your e-mail list:

Lead quiz example

Prize Wheels

Prize wheels let users ‘spin’ for a chance to win a prize you offer. To claim the prize, you have to provide an e-mail in exchange:

Prize wheel example

Giveaways

Done correctly, giveaways can build your list fast. In this case study for giveaways, WishPond displays 24 different Facebook Ad giveaways with unique offers, copy, and images:

Facebook Ad Giveaway example

 

Twist the Knife

Customers often buy products to alleviate pain and solve problems, that’s where the Problem, Agitation, Solution (P.A.S) formula comes in.

  • First, you spell out the problem they’re having.
  • Next, you make the problem worse by elaborating on the consequences of it.
  • Last, you offer your product as a solution

Here’s a great example:

pas formula

Courtesy of Copy Hackers by Ramit Sethi

Get the Most From Your E-Mail Blasts

Here’s a simple marketing tactic you can use to boost the open rate and clicks for the e-mail newsletters you send out.

What tactic, you ask? Resend your message to people who didn’t open it the first time. Wait a few days, change the subject line, and send the exact same message. Look at this example from my personal blog through my Converkit dashboard:

resend to unopens example

Spruce Up Your About Page

If we had a dollar for every boring and bland business page that uses copy that starts out like “We started our company 30 years ago from a garage in Wichita, KS […].” we could retire from having an agency.

This speaks to one of the biggest marketing mistakes businesses make. Your website and about page aren’t for you, they’re for your customers. Yes, feel free to tell your company story, but also answer the question “What’s in it for me?”

Your about page is a great place to talk about the benefits of your product or service. Take a look at this example from the about page of my writing coach website:

about page example

I open the page by talking directly to the reader. I even sprinkle some PAS formula in there as well (see if you can spot it).

As an added bonus, it’s smart to add a call to action to your about page, too:

about page call to action

Ad Upsells and Downsells to Your E-Commerce Store

Upsells work great because they engage a customer who’s already bought something. Someone who buys something from you is more likely to buy again. Adding an upsell to the checkout process of your e-commerce store can help you get extra sales.

It speaks to the thinking “I already want the product I bought. Why wouldn’t I want this extra cool added upgrade or special tool?”

upsell example

Example via E-Consultancy

If they don’t opt for your upsell offer, add a downsell offer, a discounted version of your upsell:

downsell example

Example Via Umesh P

Redesign Your Website

Redesigning your website can give your brand new life.

Haven’t an outdated website with a bad user experience is bad for your brand.

It’s also bad for your search engine performance, because search engines use user signals like load speed, mobile responsiveness, and dwell time as part of their algorithm.

Re-designing and re-building your website solves these problems and gives your brand a new look at the same time.

website redesign example

Via Elcor Consruction – A site redesign client of ours

 

40 Marketing Principles You Can Use to Grow Your Business

Why did we decide to write an article about marketing principles?

Because we took a look at the top results for “marketing principles” on Google and thought someone needed to do better justice to the topic.

If you’ve studied marketing before, you’ve heard of concepts like:

  • The 4 P’s
  • Unique selling proposition
  • S.W.O.T. analysis
  • Positioning

The list of dry marketing terms and concepts is endless.

And when it comes to marketing principles, you really want to know what marketing rules you should follow in order to move the needle for your business.

You don’t need a fancy business plan. You need revenue. Powerpoint presentations and boring marketing conferences aren’t going to help you build a brand, develop an audience, and find more customers who want to buy what you have to offer.

What will?

The #1 Marketing Principle You Must Follow to Successfully Grow Your Business

Take a look at this google search for “marketing advice”:

marketing advice

There are nearly a billion results.

There’s no shortage of marketing advice out there. And a lot of it works.

You know what definitely won’t work?

Sitting on your hands…

Reading blog post after blog post about marketing tips and implementing none of them

Telling yourself next week, next month or next year will finally be the time when you invest in marketing…

Execution trumps creativity every time. You can have the most creative marketing ideas in the world, but if you don’t see them through, who cares?

I don’t know you personally, but I’m guessing you’re either a business owner, marketing employee, as aspiring to do one of the above. You think about improving your marketing or hiring a smart agency to do it, but you sit on the fence and procrastinate.

Why? Because you’re afraid.

Afraid of taking risks.

Afraid of wasting time and money.

Or afraid of all the above combined.

If you want to succeed in marketing, or business in general, you have to understand that fortune favors the bold. You have to invest time, money, or both to take your marketing to the next level.

There’s more competition out there than ever before.

Fortunately, that’s a good thing.

Principle #1 – Saturated Markets Are Good (But Only if You Do This)

There are about a bajillion marketing agencies out there.

But that doesn’t bother us at all.

In fact, we love it.

Why? Because, to be honest, most of them just aren’t willing to put the same amount of work in as we are and it shows. We’ve checked our competition’s content marketing game and we are up to the challenge.

Even in hyper-competitive industries like marketing, you can pretty much cancel out 90 percent of the field right way. Why? Because pulling off a legitimate content marketing campaign is difficult. Not difficult in that you need to be a genius to do it, but difficult in the fact that it’s time-consuming.

We write a 3 to 5,000-word blog post covering topics in-depth, like advanced PPC tracking,  at least once a week. That’s on top of the landing pages we create, ads we run, videos we shoot, and designs we change.

We do this because we know our competitors won’t.

The great news for you? You’re probably not in a niche as competitive as marketing. And you’re competition likely won’t do the work.

If you did just these three things well over time, you’d destroy your competition:

The catch? You’ll have to do it for a while before it pays off in a major way.

But, if you’re in business, you should be thinking long-term.

Principle #2 – “Me Too” Marketing Doesn’t Work

Every business has competitors.

But most businesses make the same mistake when it comes to competing. They try to copy their competitors’ tactics.

Why doesn’t this work?

It doesn’t work because taking the same actions someone else will, at best, get you the same results.

But often, it won’t because you don’t know why your competitors are taking that action in the first place.

It’s important to have your own marketing strategy based on your unique insights like:

  • Audience – Have you taken the time to understand your ideal audience? Do you know their hopes, dreams, fears, and desires? Until you do, you won’t know how to create the right marketing messages.
  • Brand – Dollar Shave Club launched their company with a viral video campaign. Their videos used crass language, over the top humor, and theatrics. Another shaving company with a different brand couldn’t pull the same type of campaign off. You need to build your brand with intention and articulate what type of company you want to be then market the business itself.
  • Goals – Your goals — aside from the obvious like sales — aren’t always going to be the same s your competitors. That’s why you need to clarify what those goals are before you start a content marketing campaign

Your competitors built their own marketing campaigns using these insights; insights that you don’t fully know. Copying their tactics is both inauthentic and ineffective.

Principle #3 – The 10x Rule

Our formula for creating content is simple:

  • Study what’s out there
  • Note what the competition does well
  • Find the gaps they didn’t cover
  • Create something 10x better

This speaks to the point above about saturation.

You can beat out your competition. But to do that, you have to blow them out of the water. If you’re writing an article about a topic, it should be the best article about that topic on the internet. You should promote it unabashedly — literally send more outreach emails than your competitors.

If you believe in your product, trying to get 1,000% better results through marketing shouldn’t scare you, it should excite you!

Which brings me to our next point…

Principle # 4- No Amount of Marketing Can Solve This Problem

There are two types of products, bricks and feathers:

  • Feathers – Great products that just need a ‘lift’ from marketing
  • Bricks – Duds that no amount of marketing can “lift”

You see a lot of startup owners making this mistake.

They figure their product just needs a good marketing campaign and it’ll start flying off the shelves.

No amount of marketing will work unless you can answer these questions:

  • What does your product do and who is it for? – You’d be surprised at how many business owners can’t articulate this
  • Does anybody want your product? – Often, “revolutionary ideas” that haven’t been thought of before…haven’t been thought of before for a reason. Your product needs a market fit. Content marketing can’t create demand; it only amplifies it
  • “What’s in it for me?” – This is the question people ask anytime they read your content, learn about your product, or interact with your brand. That’s why knowing your audience on a deep level is important. If you know their problems and the solution your product offers, you can communicate that through marketing.

The number one benefit of having a great product?

You’re excited to promote it. If you know you have something amazing to offer, investing in marketing becomes a triviality.

Principle #5 – Always Lead With This

“People don’t buy drills. They buy holes.”

If you visit a random company website, you can see this mistake being made about 75% of the time.

You see it when the company rambles on about “being in business for 30 years,” or has a long list of features their products or services have.

People don’t care about features. They care about the benefits.

People don’t care about “MPG.” They care about saving money and time.

People don’t buy workout routines. They buy bodies that look good naked.

You don’t care about content marketing and SEO.

You care about getting more people who are genuinely interested in your product or service to engage with your brand, turn into leads, and become sales. As a forward-thinking business owner, you want to be seen as the go-to experts in your field with word of mouth of your brand spreading like wildfire.

Go look at your website right now.

Is it feature focused? Or benefits focused?

If it’s the former, it’s time to start creating new content or hiring someone else to do it.




 

Principle #5 – Never Do This

Michael Jordan used to visit the opposing team’s locker room before games.

He’d walk around, shake hands, smile politely, and make small talk.

Under the surface of his smile was a bit of an evil smirk.

He knew, and his competitors knew, that in his mind he was thinking, “I’m going to destroy all of you.”

See, when you know you’re the best, you don’t focus on your competition, you make them focus on you.

Every minute spent worrying about what your competition doing is a minute you could’ve used to build your own business. This attitude works especially well in content marketing and SEO. You might not have an authoritative site..yet. But you will.

And while you’re building up your authority, you’re focusing on making your product better, your content better, your marketing better.

Then, one day, out of nowhere, you’ll start rising up the rankings and get noticed in your niche. You want others in your industry to think. “Who the hell is this and where the hell did they come from?

Principle # 6 – Adopt This Attitude

Promotion and outreach are huge pieces to the SEO puzzle.

There are an endless amount of guides showing you how to pitch and promote your content, but many miss the fundamental point.

You have to have something worth sharing to promote it well. Jon Morrow, the owner of Smart Blogger, expresses this idea well in his viral blog post – On Mothers, Dying, and Fighting For Your Ideas:

“Writing isn’t about putting words on the page […] It’s about breathing life into something and then working to make sure that life becomes something beautiful.

That means spending ten hours on a post, instead of 30 minutes.

That means writing a guest post every week, instead of one every few months.

That means asking for links without any shame or reservation, not because you lack humility, but because you know down to the depths of your soul that what you’ve done is good.”

It’s much, much, much easier to promote your content when you actually believe in it. This goes back to point #2 about “me too” marketing. You’re not going to want to promote an unexceptional piece of regurgitated content because, deep down, you’re ashamed of it.

You didn’t do your best and the people you want to share it with will smell the low-quality from a mile away. The low-quality mindset you had when creating the post will leak right into the pitches you make when you’re trying to promote it.

The opposite is also true. When you “become so good you can’t be ignored,” people will have no choice but to pay attention.

Principle #7 – Find Balance When Doing This

SEO and marketing are weird in the sense that the people in your network can bounce back and forth between being competitors and colleagues at the same time.

Since getting links from other websites in your niche builds authority, you have to build relationships with people in your niche. At the same time, you also may have some overlap in the keywords you’re trying to rank for.

How do you solve this problem?

Here’s how we look at it:

  • There’s more than enough room – There are enough search terms available for you to get enough traffic to move the needle for your business.
  • Be authentic – We only reach out to or link to other sites and site owners we admire and respect. Your “competitors” also add value with the content they create. There’s nothing wrong with showing a little love.
  • Connection is needed – You need both inbound and outbound links to rank well. That means being cooperative and nice is a prerequisite for being successful at content marketing.

Principle # 8 – Kill Your Darlings

Want to know how to kill your business?

Stay stagnant, don’t innovate, and maintain the status quo.

Whenever you’re thinking about being complacent, think of all the companies who failed to switch things up when their business model or marketing effort became obsolete.

Is your business model going to work 5 years from now? How about 10?

Are you thinking far into the future about how to market your business?

Or are you still relying on your “bread and butter,” — tossing money down the drain in billboard ads and radio spots when you could get 10x better results investing in digital?

Warren Buffet has a saying:

“When the tide goes out you will see who’s swimming naked.”

Business owners who miss the boat on marketing techniques for 2019 and beyond will feel the pain eventually.

Don’t be one of these business owners.

Principle #9 – Don’t Be “Smarter Than a 5th Grader”

When you write your content, aim to write at about a 5th-grade level.

Use short sentences and simple words.

Don’t use business jargon if you don’t need to.

This goes for the copy you use on your landing pages to writing blog posts.

Simple is better:

  • If your content is hard to read, people will leave your site
  • Using jargon makes you look arrogant, not smart
  • True intelligence makes complex topics easier to understand, not the other way around

Ernest Hemingway is known for his blunt and simple style. There’s even an app named after him that helps you write your content in a simple way.

Principle #10 – Use the “D-Day Approach”

D-Day is one of the most famous moments of world war II.

The good guys sent a bunch of troops to the beaches of Normandy to attack the bad guys.

They sent a large group of soldiers into a small and concentrated area.

They won the battle and secured an important strategic advantage. Taking Normandy allowed them to expand in the right territories and win even more victories. Many say this battle was the beginning of the end of the war.

In your case, you want to concentrate your forces.

If you want to fail, try every marketing tactic in the book all at once.

Now, you do have to experiment with different marketing channels to find one that works. But when you do find one that works, double-down on it. When you’ve mastered it, move onto another tactic.

Principle #11 – Avoid the #1 Marketing Mistake 99% of Business Owners Make

We work with clients. Part of working with clients is steering their minds in the right direction.

A critical piece to this – getting them to stop thinking only about themselves.

Yes, when you build a website, it’s your website. But the website isn’t for you. It’s for your customers.

When you write an about page, the page is about you or your company. But a great about page talks about the benefits you’ll provide your customers.

It’s your business, but you won’t have a business unless you market it for, you know, other people.

Nobody cares about your vision.

They want to know your product can solve their problems.

You have to make sure your marketing speaks to that and that alone.

Go look at your company or personal website right now. Who do you talk about more — yourself or your potential customers?

If it’s the former…we should talk.

Principle #11 – Do The Little Things

Everybody wants to swing for the fences with their marketing.

It’s appealing to write ultimate guides, go viral, and get a ton of followers on social media.

It’s not appealing to do the little things that, combined, can move the needle for content marketing and SEO.

Things like:

But the little things make a world of difference.

Bill Belichick — 7-time super bowl winning coach — spent a long time as an assistant. He’d do all the grunt work the head coach and others didn’t want to do. And he did it gladly. He’s won many championships from taking advantage of little key moments where he used the experience of hours and hours of watching film.

That’s what the top SEO’s and agencies do, too. Behind the scenes, they’re working on the little things.

You’ll never see them up-front, but the effects are real.

Principle #12 – Never Stay Satisfied

We’ve talked about mastering one marketing channel before you move on to others, but once you’ve mastered that channel, move to the next, and keep doing it until you become a marketing swiss-army knife.

You have to take this omnichannel approach because online marketing continues to evolve.

Once the traffic from SEO starts to roll in, you’ll feel good about your business, but don’t stop there.

Pour gasoline on your marketing fire.

Principle #13 – Stop Believing in This

Do you ever look at your competitors and think they’re just lucky?

They had the right connections.

They built a career off of a few lucky viral hits.

The industry wasn’t saturated when they started.

Blah, blah, blah.

Yes, luck is involved in marketing success (and every other type of success for that matter).

But you can learn how to engineer luck.

The more seeds you plant, the more likely your marketing campaigns will grow. Yes, that means writing (or investing in a writer) in-depth content over and over and over again even if it doesn’t pay off right away. It means scheduling out social media posts as if you had a big following when you actually don’t.

The top players in the field are almost always there because they’ve been at it for a long time. Success, especially content marketing success, takes time, not luck.

Principle #14 – The Only Guaranteed Way to Beat Your Competition

There are no guarantees when it comes to marketing (see the point above).

But, if you want to make a splash and stand out among your competitors, there is one way to do it.

Create something no one would even think of trying to replicate. Make your competitors feel exhausted by even looking at your content and imagining having to create it.

When it comes to regional competitors in our area, other marketing agencies, we just try to take it to a level they don’t want to match. We’re playing the long game. You can, too.

String together a long enough streak of insane pieces of content, and you’ll be too far ahead to lose

Principle #15 – Stop Consuming, Start Creating

About 99% of people read marketing blogs and do nothing with the information.

Many business owners sit on the fence about hiring a marketing firm for years.

There’s a consistent theme running through all the marketing principles we’ve listed — action.

You can’t know all the answers up front.

You discover the secrets of marketing by experimenting. This goes for in-house marketers and agencies.

Too many would be marketing owners are sitting on their hands, slowly letting their businesses get phased out of the future.

Your time is now.

Go.

Principle #16 – The Rich Get Richer

The 80/20 rule states that there will be an asymmetrical relationship with the total amount of resources.

That’s a fancy way of saying a few people reap most of the rewards.

The top 20 percent of blogs get 80 percent of the traffic.

On your own website, the top 20 percent of the pages will get 80 percent of the traffic.

It’s important to stay active and experiment because once you succeed, your success will beget more success.

If you get backlinks to a blog post and it starts to rank on page 1, it will receive backlinks naturally.

If you grow your social media following, your followers will promote your page for you.

Now, at this point, you use the marketing principle above and put your foot on the gas pedal. Once the growth curve goes up, you push even harder. This is how you become a household name and have permanent success.

Principle #17 – Don’t Lie to Yourself

You know what mediocre business owners do? They hire companies that provide “affordable SEO services” and get upset when they don’t get any traffic.

You know what mediocre marketers do? They write a few blog posts with thin content, send a few tweets, do no real blog outreach, and throw their hands in the air when they’re not on the first page of Google.

It’s rare to give an honest effort at marketing and fail completely.

It’s extremely common to give half-assed attempts and fail.

Which type of marketer or business owner are you going to be?

Principle #18 – Forget Everything You Learned in Business School

There is no way to “learn business” other than actually running or working for one.

The type of marketing knowledge provided in business school is mostly worthless. These institutions are decades behind the current landscape of content marketing, digital marketing, and SEO.

Get your hands dirty and forget about the dry jargon they taught you at university.

Principle #19 – Do What Works for You

If you’re better on video than with the written word, shoot videos.

If you don’t like being on camera so much, do audio.

Outsource the work you don’t want to do yourself.

There are many different ways to market your business successfully. But it makes no sense to go against your strengths.

Principle #20 – Use Tools and Data

You can’t build a house without a blueprint and tools.

You can’t run a successful marketing campaign without data and tools to grow your business.

We’re talking more than just Google Analytics here (even though you can gain a massive amount of insights just from this tool).

Don’t be afraid to invest in software to track your marketing results.

And check the data often, but not too often to gain insights from, e.g., six times a day like most marketers do.

Principle #21 – Watch What People Do, Not What They Say

If you polled readers, they’d tell you they don’t like “listicles” or click-bait headlines. Content marketing data says otherwise.

The National Enquirer is still in business for a reason.

People have an outward image they portray and then behave differently in private.

Know the difference, and you can market to them correctly.

Principle #22 – Become a Marketer for Life

You want your career or business to last your whole life, don’t you? Well, at least you want to stay in business or work you love until you retire.

Settle in. This is a long game you’re playing. The marketing wisdom you gain over time will compound like interest in a savings account.

After you get your foot in the door and find some success, commit to developing the skills of influence for the rest of your life.

Principle #23 – Test Emerging Platforms

Around 2012, you could get a ton of organic reach from Facebook. Now, not so much.

In the early days of AdWords, clicks were so cheap the platform was like a money printing machine. Now, not so much.

Some have said LinkedIn is the platform de jour. It’s worth trying to see if you can get in at the right time.

Platforms, strategies, and techniques always come and go. It’s best to test new ones before they get too saturated.

Principle #24 – Focus on Metrics That Matter

Traffic doesn’t matter if it doesn’t convert into leads and sales.

If you’re running an SEO campaign, total organic search traffic matters more than ranking for your favorite keywords.

Having e-mail subscribers means nothing if they are just there to consume free content.

Being data-driven is great, but being insight driven is better. What you do with the data matters more than the data itself.

Principle #25 – Read Marketing Books

All marketing books aren’t created equal, but some stand head and shoulders above the rest. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
  • The Boron Letters
  • Contagious: Why Things Catch On
  • On Advertising

Principle #26 – Prepare for Failure in Advance

You will write content that doesn’t rank.

You will send pitches that get rejected.

Money? You’ll definitely invest at times without getting perfect ROI.

But that’s the game of marketing.

Principle #27 – Master the Basics

You can jump on the hottest trends like voice search and A.I., but it would be foolish to do so until you have a basic understanding of things like:

  • Keyword research
  • Content creation
  • Backlink outreach
  • Simple technical SEO

If you mastered those 4 things alone, you’d be in the top-tier of most marketers because…most aspiring marketers don’t even scratch the surface of those.

These marketing principles aren’t hard, per se, they are just time-consuming.

Consume the time. Do the work.

Principle #28 – Get on Google’s Good Side

Until further notice, Google is the king of online marketing.

It would be wise to use their guidelines and tools to benchmark your success.

When they make a definitive announcement, take it to heart.

When one of their employees gives you advice, take it:

 

Use their tools like page speed insights and get top grades:

Google page speed insights score

Obvious, yes, but also extremely useful.

Principle #29 – Don’t (Always) Listen to Marketing Gurus

Some marketing techniques and strategies become conventional wisdom, even if they no longer work.

Some people still think you need to add keywords in your meta description (which was never true). Same thing with ‘keyword density.’

Don’t get caught up in tropes. Take advice, yes, but implement it to see what works and try some novel strategies of your own.

Principle #30 – Use the Right Technique at the Right Time

This adds on to the point above.

Marketing rules change depending on the situation.

You’ve heard that content length is a ranking factor. It is.

But that doesn’t mean you should write a 5,000-word essay about “pizza shops in Wichita, KS.” You probably don’t need that much content to rank. A national content marketing and SEO campaign are completely different than a Local SEO campaign.

When in doubt, just study what ranks for the keyword you’re trying to target.

Studying the SERP for search intent is, again, time-consuming but worth it.

Principle #31 – Avoid Shortcuts

It’s all fun and games until your website gets hit with a penalty.

It’s easier to try and siphon money from customers quickly instead of building relationships that increase customer lifetime value.

Marketing advice and live advice have a lot in common.

Don’t try a marketing “crash diet.” Marketing is an attitude and a lifestyle. If you’re sincere about trying to do well, you will. If you’re not, you won’t.

Principle #32 – Learn How to Write Copy (or Hire a Copywriter)

The internet is flooded with bad copy.

Great copy uses simple language based on things your target audience is thinking.

They’re not thinking about how long you’ve been in business. They’re thinking about how your business can help them solve a problem. That’s it. Speaking to anything but that is waste of time, which is why it’s important to learn how to write copy.

These guides can help:

Principle #33 – Value Your Business

Too many businesses lean on discounts right away.

Unless you’re in a commodity business, your first instinct shouldn’t be to join the race to the bottom.

When you have a great product and customers believe it will solve their problem, price becomes a triviality.

Don’t lower your prices. Up your marketing.

Principle #34 – Share Your Marketing Vision With Your Team

If you can share the long-term vision and goals with your company or team members, you can get them to invest in it and communication between different departments will be much easier.

Sales and marketing should be on the same page.

SEO and content marketing often requires the help of developers. Keep them in the loop, too.

It’s worth taking time to meet with your team and review your marketing goals.

Not only does this improve tactics, but it also improves morale.

Principle #35 – Don’t be Afraid to be Crazy

Look at this ad:

And this one:

And this one:


Sometimes it pays to try something a little ‘outside the box’

Principle #36 – Talk to Your Customers

How often do you take time to talk to the people who’ve already bought your product or service?

You can get huge insights from talking to your customers.

If you’re in a recurring service based business like we are, talking with your customers more often and asking them about their needs helps them feel “top of mind” and important.

Plus, if you see improvements you can help them make that aren’t covered with your current services, you can sell them to your current customers.

The best customers are often the ones you already have.

Principle #37 – Get In Your Marketing Zone

Here’s what’s going to happen. Once you get traction, you’ll enter a state of ‘marketing flow.’ When all the cylinders are firing — great content, outreach, traffic, social shares, etc — you can stay in that groove for a long time if you actively seek to maintain the momentum.

If you’re the content creator or marketer who’s doing the work yourself, take this a step further in your day to day activities.

If you have the ‘hot hand’ while you’re writing a draft of a blog post, keep going. When doing a tedious task like conversion rate optimization, get into the flow of the monotony until you can find a way to get through that mental wall — kind of like a ‘runners high.’

Consistency and momentum matter most when it comes to marketing. Get in your zone and stay there.

Principle #39 – Have Fun

Business and marketing have a serious purpose. Mainly, to make money.

But that doesn’t mean you have to be boring, ‘corporate’, and dry all the time.

If you actually like marketing, you’ll be a better marketer. If you treat marketing like a chore or an expense instead of an investment, then that’s what it will be.

Connect with your audience more, use humor, have a loose environment with your team (but still get things done).

Yes, writing 5-000 word guides like this isn’t the most fun thing I could possibly be doing, but I love marketing and so does my company.

We can help you feel the same way.

Principle #40 – Pick One Thing Right Now

Reading this entire article would be a waste if you didn’t implement at least one tactic.

Choose the one that seems easiest to implement and go after it.

Time is ticking and the competition is only going to increase.

You’re already, you know, a little bit behind.

Start now. Heck, call 507-281-3490 and start with us!

Conclusion

We could write marketing principles for days, but these are enough to get you started.

What are some of your favorite marketing tips, lessons, and insights?

Share them in the comments below.

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.

SEO VS SEM – What’s the Difference?

SEO companies throw a lot of terms at you.

SEO, SEM, PPC, Adwords, Display Network, CPC, CTR.

My goodness, that can be a lot to take in.

MLT Group is different. We write content for business owners and employees at companies who need marketing help.

We don’t want to bog you down in jargon. Instead, we want to show you which strategies can make the most sense for your business.

In today’s post, we’re going to break down some of these terms – mainly SEO vs SEM – so you have the type of understand you need to make a smart decision.

SEO VS SEM – What’s the Difference?

SEO and SEM and marketing channels.

Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your business appear on organic search results. Organic search results are results that you don’t pay for (directly at least).

We’ll describe the techniques in a bit more depth soon, but SEO is the process of making changes to your website that make it more appealing to search engines. Also, it involves techniques used outside of your website to achieve the same goal.

Search engine marketing (SEM) includes SEO, but it encompasses other forms of marketing, most of which involve paying directly for website traffic.

There are many guides on SEM Vs SEO on the internet. Why did we decide to write one? We checked the results for the topic and noticed one key element missing.

Most companies don’t talk about the psychology of using these channels.

We understand business owners are human beings who want to see results. Not only should you know the difference between SEO and SEM, but you should also understand the type of mindset you’re going to need to have when using each channel. One favors patience. The other favors instant (but also more costly) rewards. Both work, but each has a different level of value depending on the industry and business owner.

Let’s dive into each type. By the end, you’ll know which route is best for you.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO helps your site rank well on organic search results, like these:

SEO Vs SEM Serp

How can you create a website Google loves?

You use the following techniques.

On Site SEO

On site SEO involves doing things on your website to help the search engine understand what it is about.

The first step involves researching the type of words people type into Google when looking for your product or service. This process can get complicated, but in short, it’s a combination of brainstorming and using tools that tell you how many people search for certain phrases each month,

Once you understand how people search for your type of business online, you can use that information to optimize your website.

You can optimize your website in the following ways:

  • Content – When you use the words people type into Google for your product or service — keywords — it lets the search engine know your page is about that topic.
  • Tags – There are sections in your website’s code where you can add these keywords to help the search engines get an even better understanding of your page
  • Links – Linking to a relevant source on another page of your website or another website is valuable because search engines use links as a vote of confidence to what you reference

These are just the basics, but they’re good to know for understanding the on-site process.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO helps your site perform better.

See, the search engines don’t just want to see that your site has great information. They want to know you provide a good user experience.

Why? Because search engines care most about providing great results for real human beings.

If your site loads slowly, has sloppy code, broken links, isn’t secure, and is missing important data, search engines are much less likely to rank your website.

Technical SEO can get very in-depth, but here are the cliff notes:

  • Error pages – Error pages can pop up when you delete pages without redirecting them — telling the code that people who visit the deleted page should be forwarded to a new one. This happens often and can harm your SEO
  • Broken links – Broken links – links on your site that point to broken pages – can occur for the same reasons
  • Redirect chains – We won’t get in-depth on this topic, but you want to make sure to properly forward links of broken pages to other relevant ones
  • Load speed – You don’t want a slow website, period. It harms your chances of ranking well. If your site loads slowly, work with a webmaster to fix those issues

Again, there are many more technical SEO issues we can cover, but these are the core ones to know. Once your site is optimized and performing well, you can use off-site techniques to improve your chances of ranking even more.

Off Site SEO

You need to use off site SEO techniques to increase your site’s authority.

What does authority mean?

Search engines use links to your business’s website as a ‘vote’ for it’s quality. This makes sense. If many other websites link to yours you must have useful information on it.

They also use mentions of your business that aren’t linked. These are called citations.

Combined, getting both will help your website become more authoritative. The more authoritative your website and its individual pages, the higher — on average — you will rank on search engines.

Link-Building

You could write an entire book on link-building. There are an endless amount of tactics you can use to get links to your website. For your purposes, here’s what it’s important to know.

You want to get the right links. What are the right links? The right links are links from other authoritative websites that are related to your business. 

Example, getting a link from a less authoritative but related website can and often will count more than getting a link from a more authoritative yet less related one.

We help our clients get back links by reaching out to related websites and telling them why our client’s website content makes sense to link to. That’s a simple way to explain a sometimes complex process we use.

Citations

A citation is anytime someone mentions your business online.

Someone posts a Facebook status about your company? It’s a citation.

You fill our your Yelp profile. It’s a citation

You become a member of your local chamber of commerce. You get it.

We help our clients build citations by finding relevant directories in their niche and submitting their sites for consideration.

The last two words are important.

When it comes to link building and citations, we reach out to other websites to consider linking to or citing your site. Getting the links or citations isn’t guaranteed. This is important because it’s the only way search engines can serve up good and honest results. If everyone was guaranteed these links and citations they would have no value.

This is the very small gist of the SEO process. For deeper insights you can check out these articles:

 

The ins and outs of SEO aren’t as important as the mindset you need to have a successful campaign.

SEO is a Long-Term Strategy

If someone promises you page one rankings in a short amount of time, run for the hills. 

SEO takes time.

You can start to see good results in 4 to 6 months, but you have to be able to handle the wait.

Google is slow.

If you’re not the type of person who can delay their gratification, SEO might not be the right strategy for you.

If, however, you’re a forward thinking business owner who understands quality results take time, SEO could be a good fit for you.

Organic Search Accounts for Most of the Traffic

There’s a reason why it pays to be patient and rank your website using SEO.

Organic search results – ones you don’t pay directly for – get the majority of clicks through to websites.

Here’s some data to check out:

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SEO Has a High Long-Term ROI

Once you start to rank your website for a number of different key phrases, you’ll notice your traffic can increase in leaps and bounds.

As time goes on and your site increases its authority, it reaps even more rewards.

The “rich get richer” phenomenon is present in SEO.

Imagine you get your website page to rank #1 for one keyword.

It can start to rank for a bunch of other keywords too.

This means you can have traffic coming to your site for a variety of different phrases based off one one page. That’s the power of a successful SEO campaign run over the long term.

Now that you have an understanding of SEO, let’s talk about SEM.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing includes SEO, but uses other techniques, mainly paid advertising.

Google and other search engines have platforms you can use to pay directly for advertising in a few different ways.

Here’s a breakdown of each relevant platform.

Google Adwords

Google Adwords is a platform you can use to pay for listings on search engines.

Here are some paid listings for reference:

We go into a bit more depth about PPC advertising in this guide.

Here’s the short version:

  • You use similar research to find key phrases you think your target audience uses to search for your product or service
  • You create pay per click campaigns where you set budgets for how much you’re willing to spend if someone clicks one of your ads
  • The search engine grants placements for website pages based on two factors — how much they spend and the quality of the ads and website pages themselves 

Either by yourself or working with a smart digital marketing agency, you can monitor the campaign and pretty much discover the direct ROI of your results:

  • You spend a certain amount on clicks
  • A certain number of those clicks become real leads
  • You close a certain number of those leads
  • If the profit you make from those leads is more than you spend, you’re happy

On top of Adwords, there are some other search engine marketing platforms you can use to spread your reach.

Google Display Network

The big difference between normal pay per click ads and display network ads is that display network ads appear not on search engine results pages, but other websites.

You might know them as “banner ads.”

Websites can participate in displaying these ads on their site through Google Adsense.

Other site owners participate in increasing the ads themselves through the display network.

Display network ads tend to have pretty low click-throughs (do you click on them?) but they can be useful if you’re creative with them and use them to share valuable information as opposed to trying to sell with them.

Here’s a great guide on doing just that.

Now, why would you want to create ads on the display network for any other reason but to sell your product or service?

You can use them to build awareness about your business so people will know, like, and trust it. This can lead to them becoming customers down the road.

This is important to remember – marketing isn’t just about selling right away.

Think of display network ads like digital billboards.

We could go in-depth about all the various forms of SEM but we aren’t going to.

The purpose here is to help you understand why and how these marketing channels work so you can choose one or both.

SEM Provides Instant Results

With SEM, you can “pay to play.”

If you want to get results now and you don’t like waiting, SEM might be your best bet.

Keep in mind, however, these instant results come with a cost.

The more competitive your industry, the more you will have to spend.

SEM Provides Great ROI Metrics

The best part of SEM is the fact that you can pretty much verify the ROI you are receiving from the money you spend. For pragmatic business owners, this could be the right route.

There’s a saying that goes, “you can’t go broke making a profit.”

If your ads are profitable and have a great margin, you can spend more money without much worry because you can rely on your money making money for you. 

Of course, this is no easy task or exact science either. SEM is anything but a “set it and forget it” strategy, which is why working with an expert often makes sense.

Conclusion

Both channels work. Both channels make sense.

It’s up to you to decide which one is best for you.

Our recommendation? Use SEM to kick off your campaign and SEO over the long haul to get consistent results.

An even better recommendation? Talk to us and figure out the best strategy. Fill out the form below

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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.

 

 

Which Type of Commercial Video is Right for Your Business?

Commercial videos have proven to be a powerful marketing tool. They’re entertaining, engaging, and effective. Now, it’s easier and more cost effective than ever to create videos for your business. But with all of the different types of videos out there, which ones are best for your business? Keep reading to learn more about different types of commercial videos and how they can boost your business!commercial video

Demo

Do you have a product or program you’re selling? Demos are a great way to showcase their benefits and how it works. Showing potential customers just how your product works will give them confidence in what they’re buying and decrease their purchase hesitation.

Tutorial

Do your customers need instructions on how to use your product? Tutorial videos are a great way to educate customers and help them use your product to its full effect. The product might come with instructions, but videos are extremely helpful for visual learners and easy to digest. Short tutorial videos are also great for teaching customers how to use different parts of your product.

Training/Education

Regardless of your business or industry, your employees probably require some type of training to perform their job well. Whether it be how to use equipment, first aid, or information regarding your product, training and educational videos can help acclimate new employees quickly. Not only can training videos be re-used, making them cost-effective, they also increase knowledge retention.

Broadcast Commercial

Broadcast commercials are one of the more expensive options on this list, but that’s because they’re so effective. They can reach a massive, captive audience. You can also target a particular audience by airing your broadcast commercial on the channels they most use at the times they are most likely to be watching.


Internet Commercial

Internet commercials have many of the same benefits of broadcast commercials, without the price tag. They can be inexpensive to produce and still reach a large, targeted audience. Internet commercials can also be shared on your business’ website and social media, racking up views and exposure.

Testimonial

There is no marketing tool more powerful than a satisfied customer. They will spread the word about your business and encourage others to visit you. Testimonial videos take that a step further. Videos of satisfied customers’ testimonials can be spread far and wide and be re-used, giving them a long shelf life.

Explainer

Explainer videos do just that- explain things. They are particularly useful if your business or products are new, complex, or abstract. For example, if you have a groundbreaking program to sell, you can use an explainer video go guide the viewer through the thinking behind the program, how it works, and what it can do. Animations are especially effective for explainer videos as they are entertaining and can illustrate abstract concepts. Done right, explainer videos can educate viewers and encourage them to buy! Here’s an example.

The commercial video professionals at MLT Group have been providing video production services for over 30 years. From broadcast commercials to training videos, we’ve done it all. We offer comprehensive video production services, handling everything from script writing to editing. If you’re ready to utilize the power of commercial videos for your business, contact us at 507.281.3490 or sales@mltgroup.com for your FREE consultation.

Why Your Business Needs a Blog

When it comes to maintaining your business’ website, you probably think of updating information, pictures, and managing your SEO and advertising efforts. But there’s another important element you’re forgetting— a blog.

Blogs are an often underutilized business tool. There are a number of hidden benefits to blogs beyond promoting your business, and if you’re not taking advantage of them, your business can fall behind the competition. Let’s take a look at what a blog can do for your small business.blog

Help build a relationship between your business and consumers

Blogs give you a great opportunity to connect with potential customers. They are a voice for your business when your sales staff can’t be there, telling customers what you stand for, what services you offer, and developing your business’ persona.

Help your site rank on search engines

When you type in a search on Google, their bots crawl around the web looking for sites that are relevant to the inquiry. One way bots evaluate sites is through keyphrases and geotargets. If someone searches for “floral arrangements in Minneapolis,” and you have a few blogs that highlight floral arrangements in that location, the bots will view your site as relevant, placing it higher in the search rankings. Bots also look for websites that are frequently updated with new, quality content. Blogs allow you to do this with ease. Even posting once a month lets bots know that your website is active.

Blogs work, even when you can’t

You can’t be promoting your business, interacting with customers, and boosting SEO 24/7. Blogs can. There are no expiration dates on blogs, so even blogs published months ago are still working for your business. Also, each new blog builds on those previously published, so the longer you consistently post for your business, the greater the benefits.

Build authority for your business

If a stranger walked up to you and claimed that they were a hairstylist, would you let them cut your hair? You’d probably want some proof of skill first. This is what blogs can do for your business. With plenty of competition claiming that they are experts in your industry, blogs give you an edge by allowing you to show off your expertise to potential clients.

Provide Content for Social Media

Creating fresh content for your business’ social media profiles can be time consuming. However, your blog is a great source to draw from. You can easily have blogs auto-publish to Facebook or Twitter, or manually share them. This exposes your content to a larger audience and allows you to get more mileage out of one piece of content.

In business, you need every advantage to rise above the competition. Utilizing blogs for your website is a great way to gain an edge. If you’re looking to improve your site’s rankings, engagement, and authority, MLT Group is here to help, offering a number of SEO services, including blog writing. For a FREE consultation, contact the professionals at MLT Group at 507-281-3490 or sales@mltgroup.com.