Acceptance of Circumstances, brand promise, marketing best practices, Marketing Planning, Objectives Setting, sales, strategic planning, target audiences, Target Marketing

Why Business Success Depends On Knowing Your Primary Target Audience and Catering To Their Needs and Wants

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for several months now — while folks were still wearing shorts. You’ll learn why shortly (hah, hah, see what we did there?) But, fortunately, it was a very busy summer at Results C & R, and when it’s busy, we always put our clients’ marketing work above our own.

Earlier this summer, I visited my local “Paper Store,” and while perusing and admiring their clothing items for women, I was extremely surprised to see how short their various short offerings were. I had always assumed The Paper Store catered to women of my age, i.e., women aged 40+ and that their “sweet spot” as far as target audience went was women 45 – 65. These assumptions were likely based on the following:

  • What I observed to be the demographic of other shoppers when I visited various Paper Store locations
  • The fact that, despite their rewards/coupons program, their prices for various items like clothing, toiletries, and accessories, are higher than what you would pay at a discount store like TJ Maxx, Home Goods, or Marshalls. And, therefore, younger generations (who in many cases would have lower income than the above middle-aged group) might be less likely to shop or make a purchase at a Paper Store.

I decided to take a poll on LinkedIn (which I also shared with my Facebook connections) a few months back to to see what other consumers believed The Paper Store’s primary target audience to be and to inform my planned blog post.

As shown above, poll results indicated that I am not the only one who believes The Paper Store’s primary target audience is women over 40. If the aforementioned is really true, then why didn’t The Paper Store offer longer shorts — shorts that hit you one, two, or three inches above the knee — to its shoppers this summer? Either The Paper Store overlooked their primary target audience’s needs and missed out on an opportunity to sell them a summer staple, or women 45 – 65 really aren’t their primary target audience (or, at least not their primary target audience for shorts). Or, based on our poll results, there’s a big misperception about who their target audience is. Regardless, one or more of the following seems to be at play:

  • The Paper Store is hoping to reach and sell to a younger demographic/consumer and is moving in that direction by selling clothes that appeal to younger audiences — and perhaps, they are achieving that goal. Only they know the answer to that.
  • The Paper Store isn’t giving enough thought to their primary target audience’s needs and what they will and won’t wear.
  • The Paper Store is targeting numerous target audiences at once as part of their overall target market, but only targeting certain products to particular target audiences, as indicated in part by the fact that they offer:
    • A very large collection of Vera Bradley and Lilly Pulitzer products which I see most used by middle-aged or older women vs. teens or 20- or 30-something women because of the price associated with those products
    • Alex and Ani bracelets or other jewelry items which I’ve seen worn by both younger and middle-aged women, but primarily by women under 30
  • In keeping with the above, there is no pecking order when it comes to the various audiences The Paper Store serves; therefore, there is no one true primary target audience – just lots of smaller target audiences to whom various distinct products are targeted
  • Being a “gift store,” regardless of the age of the actual primary “purchaser/buyer/consumer,” The Paper Store needs to offer gifts that can be bestowed on anyone of any age — baby/toddler, child, young adult, etc.

The Paper Store’s website has been updated for fall and at the time of this post, homepage images showcase women who appear to be aged 40 at most, and who could possibly be and pass for 30-something and younger. So, I’m left thinking my bulleted thoughts above are accurate. Did/do I and others have their primary target audience wrong or is the retailer just trying to move away from that older audience, and attract younger consumers/shoppers? Or, are they just trying to offer something for everyone?

Products, Services and Marketing Creative Must Meet Needs Of And Resonate With Primary Target Audiences

Ultimately, what I hope you will take from this post is this. Whomever your primary target audience is, if you want to maintain them as customers and grow the amount of business they do with you, you have to offer products and services that make their lives better and easier, and your marketing creative (messaging and images) should reflect those audiences and what they hope to accomplish with your products and services, i.e., their reasons for buying them. If, for whatever reason you want your primary target audience to shift, i.e., you want to cause a new audience with different demographics (this could be based on age, location, gender, income level, and more) to become the primary consumers of your products, you need to make sure that products and services resonate with and provide solutions to problems of that new audience and your marketing creative speaks to that new audience and their needs.

Know What You’re Good At And Who You Serve

We’ve always been of the mindset that “you can’t be all things to all men.” You need to know what you’re good at and understand what the demographics of the audience who will be most interested in your particular products and services, i.e., your primary target audience, will look like. That’s usually a best practice when it comes to deciding what products and services to offer and how you market them. But, in the case of The Paper Store maybe trying to be many things to many people is working for them? Regardless, I won’t be visiting The Paper Store again to purchase shorts. I hope that was The Paper Store’s intention/objective.

alt-tags, Being Found on Google, blog, Blog, Blogging, competitive advantage, digital marketing agency, keywords, lead generation, marketing best practices, Marketing Planning, Objectives Setting, ongoing digital audits, online presence, organic SEO, pull marketing, push marketing, sales, Search Engine Optimization, search terms, SEO, SEO tags, target audiences, technical SEO, website

Why Combining Keyword Research With An SEO Audit Is A Recipe For SEO Success

Anyone who knows me well, knows I love watching cooking shows on Food Network, particularly ones where competitors have to combine ingredients that are given to them to make a dish that is appealing to both the tongues and the eyes of the particular show’s judges. Yeah, I’ll admit it, I’m watched pretty much every episode of “Beat Bobby Flay,” and countless episodes of “Chopped.”

So, what does food have to do with me, my company, and search engine optimization (SEO)? While my digital marketing agency isn’t just an SEO company, we’ve definitely gotten to be known, particularly in the last five years, for helping organizations (both for-profit and non-profit) in the Greater Boston area and beyond be found better and rank better on Google. Due to more than 10 years of being responsible for how websites rank in Google and other search engines, I’ve learned thru hands-on experience what combination of ingredients, i.e., what SEO tactics/activities, make for a winning SEO recipe!

Keyword Research: Your First and Most Important SEO Ingredient

I’ve given to, or shared with, Massachusetts chambers of commerce and SCORE chapters, as well as existing and prospective clients, a number of SEO presentations about the importance of keyword research. I’ve also written blog posts about it, and have a Word doc I’d be glad to share with you if you reach out to me to ask for it (hey, we don’t want to give out all the secret ingredients in our special SEO sauce too easily!) As we’ve shared in all the aforementioned documents and activities, keyword research ALWAYS needs to be a first step or ingredient in implementing an effective SEO strategy and recipe.

Even if you believe you already know what search terms (known as keywords) your various target audiences are entering into Google’s search engine to identify an organization or individual that offers the products, services, or solutions to problems you do, you should still make the time to confirm your intuitions about target audience’s search behaviors are accurate for these two key reasons:

  • you may be ranking well or trying to rank well for terms that target audiences are truly searching on, but are you missing out on terms that audiences are searching even more frequently on (high-volume search terms), and therefore, missing out on being found for desirable, relevant search terms because you don’t include those in your website content, page headers, meta tags, or other SEO real estate?
  • while you believed prior to keyword research completion that individuals were actively/regularly searching to identify an organization that offers the products, services, and solutions you do, your keyword research ends up indicating that the number of people entering relevant terms into Google is very low or negligible. The aforementioned scenario means all the SEO tactics in the world aren’t going to solve an immediate challenge of wanting and needing to generate more sales and leads for your organization since a “push” vs. “pull” strategy is warranted. You’re not going to drive a lot of “organic search” (search engine) traffic to your site, so traffic to your site will need to come from clicks on social media posts, display ads, links/banner ads on other external sites, e-blasts, and other marketing activities that put the idea of your products, services, and solutions in the minds of relevant target audiences who aren’t actively searching to find you.

Keyword research allows you to take a preliminary set of keywords/search terms you believe your audiences are searching on, and generate a much larger list of relevant search terms and the average # of times a month someone is entering that particular term into Google, for a particular geography. By reviewing this research, organizations can identify the keywords for which they most want to be found, and then make sure, as explained above, that those terms are included in SEO tactics/activities such as meta tags and public-facing website content and headers.

SEO Audit: An Ingredient That Adds Depth To Your SEO Recipe and Strategy

My Greater Boston SEO company employs a paid vs. free SEO audit tool to accurately determine for which of the keywords/search terms our clients most want to rank in a particular geography (identified thru the keyword research process above) they already rank well. We used to conduct SEO site audits for clients manually, but as our client list grew and the number of terms for which clients wanted to rank grew, we knew we needed to, and did invest in, a more cost- and time-efficient way to conduct SEO audits.

I consider an organization to rank particularly well for a particular keyword in Google if a listing with a link to its website or its Google My Business Profile/Google Search & Maps listing appears in the first 10 – 12 listings (for a particular geography) that Google serves up for the high-volume keyword in-question, i.e., appears on the first page of Google search results. I consider an organization to rank well, versus particularly well, if a listing with a link to its website or Google My Business Profile/Google Search and Maps appears within the first 25 listings Google serves up for desirable search terms, i.e., on the first two pages of Google Search results.

Identifying the intersection of relevant high-volume search terms and ranking on Google on pages BEYOND the first two (in positions 26 or higher in Google, and depending on the nature of an organization’s products and services, it may be critical to rank in position 1 – 12 in search results) allows us to know where there are areas for SEO improvement — therefore, areas where our client could be experiencing sweeter SEO success and for what terms we need to apply our secret SEO sauce to support ranking better in the future for those important keywords. The aforementioned secret sauce includes, but is not limited to, applying tactics such as employing the high-volume keywords in meta tags, page headers, and page content.

Why You’ll Want and Need To Repeat Your SEO Audit

Once you’ve set up your initial SEO audit, you’ll want to repeat it monthly to see if and how your organization ranks for the high-volume keywords regarding which you’re applying a lot of your SEO energy. Repeating this SEO audit will allow you to continue to tweak your SEO strategy and where you spend your SEO time, so that you continue to rank better and better for the keywords that are most important to the success of your organization and to your target audiences. Read why SEO is not a one and done marketing activity.

Why You Need This Winning SEO Ingredient Combo

Why does combining keyword research with an SEO audit make for a winning SEO recipe? Why spend time trying to rank well in Google for relevant, high-volume terms you’re already ranking well for? Sure, SEO is not a one and done marketing tactic and you should continue to employ appropriate-to-the-page-or-post-in-question content, headers, and page title tags that include those keywords for which you already rank well, but why not put the majority of your SEO energy into trying to rank well for high-volume search terms your organization currently isn’t ranking well for so you’re not missing out on important opportunities to reach your various target audiences?

Here’s an example from my own business. Two high-volume keywords I want my own site to rank well for are “digital marketing agency Boston” (average monthly search volume whole U.S. = 480/month), and “Boston SEO company” (average monthly search volume whole U.S. also = 480/month) since both of the aforementioned keywords have the highest average monthly search volumes among keywords/search terms that are relevant to the products, services, and solutions to problems we offer. Based on an audit we conducted today, we learned that we rank better for the term “digital marketing agency Boston” than we do for “Boston SEO company” — hey, Boston is fortunate to be a place that a very large number of SEO experts call home, so we are always competing with the best of the best SEO experts to rank for relevant terms. Anyhow, given the aforementioned audit information, while we’ll want to continue our efforts at ranking for “digital marketing agency Boston,” we’ll put extra effort into tactics to rank for “Boston SEO company (for the time being anyhow since rankings constantly change and shift depending on your marketplace and competition to be served up for certain keywords.)

Continuing with our food metaphor, we know this was a lot to “digest,” We’d be glad to walk you thru a recent case study we put together about the above winning combo, so please don’t hesitate to use our calendar app to schedule a time to chat https://calendly.com/gail-moraski.

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Why I’m A Jimmy Fund Walk Walker and Team Captain

The following blog post is dedicated to my friend, Susan Clawson, who lost her hard-fought battle with stomach cancer earlier this month. Susan was an incredible woman. Despite her own battles with both thyroid and stomach cancer, she helped raise both awareness of cancer and funds for research through her Relay For Life leadership roles — roles to which she brought great passion & energy. I know I and other friends are committed to keeping her cancer-awareness and research-funds-generation goals alive!

This morning, I met with my lovely contact at The Jimmy Fund. Such a caring and kind individual and so passionate about her role in helping Jimmy Fund Walk teams generate funds for cancer research. We talked about a number of things — fundraising ideas for my “Mission Possible” walking team, and how I could share with local reporters both my reasons for walking, as well as a cute story about how I met a good friend and current cancer patient thru the walk — all to create awareness for the walk and it’s important mission. We also chatted about my own cancer journey and how treatment for abdominal sarcoma has had a lasting impact on my health, as well as my unending desire to provide ongoing support to friends and family who are battling cancer, so they never feel alone or forgotten during their cancer journey.

I also shared with my Jimmy Fund contact a “fun fact” I hadn’t thought about in a while. How Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) — the organization that receives and employs the funds generated thru the Jimmy Fund Walk to conduct innovative, life-saving research — was one of the very first places I worked when I moved to Boston after graduating from UCONN. Back then, the beautiful, state-of-the-art Yawkey Center owned and run by DFCI did not exist. I worked out of the Dana Building, which is still used today. As a temporary employee in DFCI’s HR Department, each morning as I came to work, I walked by a children’s play area set up in the back of the lobby. While seeing kids battling cancer made me teary-eyed, it also gave great meaning to working at DFCI — to help these kids and others win their cancer battles.

Little did I know — and I’m tearing up as I write this — that 23 years later, I’d be a patient myself and receiving care in the exact same building!

This October, I’ll walk in the Jimmy Fund Walk — so happy it is in-person again this year — for the fifth year!

It’s been another very busy year for me on both the work and personal fronts, but when summer rolls around, I know I need to make the time to start fundraising more for my Jimmy Fund Walk team, “Mission Possible.”

Why I Know and Have Supported So Many Other “Cancer Warriors”

There’s just not enough “real estate” on my Jimmy Fund walk page to explain why I continue to walk and raise funds for the Jimmy Fund, so that’s why I’ve taken to my blog to share my countless reasons. Friends and family have pointed out to me that, compared to the average person, I seem to have a disproportionate/very large number of loved ones who have battled or lost their battles with cancer. I won’t argue that, and there’s a reason for it — once you’ve been a “cancer warrior” yourself, friends and family members who are diagnosed with cancer tend to reach out to you for advice regarding how to physically and emotionally handle a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Plus, you get to know other cancer patients who are on the same treatment schedule as you, or through virtual cancer support groups and discussion boards. And, a sad actuality of serving on the Braintree Relay For Life Committee for a few years was that I made friends with people who are involved with cancer fundraising because they are “cancer warriors” themselves.

All of the above explains why I have so many names listed next to my number one and number two reasons for why I walk in the Jimmy Fund walk below.

And, lastly, as a cancer patient or cancer survivor, you know what it’s like to feel so darn lonely and out-of-step with the rest of the world. As I shared with my Jimmy Fund liaison this morning, when you are battling cancer, it’s particularly hard to see the world keep spinning and everyone going about their day-to-day/everyday lives when what was previously your normal routine/life has been put “on hold,” — either temporarily or forever.

Reasons Why I Walk In The Jimmy Fund Walk

  1. IN MEMORY of family members and friends I’ve lost to a variety of forms of cancer, including lung, bladder, prostate, breast, stomach, brain and pancreatic cancer: Sue M., Felice E., and Karen T. (my college friends), Susan C., Enid L., and Patty W. (Braintree Relay For Life Committee friends), Jeff P. and Scott R. (high school friends), O.V. S. (my dad), George E. (my grandfather), Hazel S. (my grandmother), and Sharon C. (my sister-in-law), Beth M. and Jen L. (fellow sarcoma patients), Bruce M., Trece M., and Nancy K. (fellow cancer patients I met along my journey), John S. (a close neighbor’s son), Marion H. (work friend.) And, there are many others from cancer support groups I lost along the way.
  2. IN HONOR of family members and friends who have won their cancer battles or who are still fighting, including leiomyosarcoma, neuroendocrine tumor (NET), and prostate cancer, breast cancer, and thyroid cancer: Barbara and Maria S. (my sisters), Jean C., Jeanne M., Francine F., Carolyn Q., Barbara J., Chris M., and Archie S. (life-long/close friends of me and my husband), Pat E. and Dee C. (women who walk with my team), and of course, yours truly.
  3. TO REMIND others that “cancer never takes a holiday” and that, if anything, the number of individuals battling cancer is on the rise vs. on the decline, and that there is not one person among us whose life hasn’t been, or won’t be impacted by cancer in some way, even if it’s thru a loved one’s diagnosis vs. a personal diagnosis.
  4. TO RAISE VERY MUCH-NEEDED FUNDS for cancer research, especially for rare cancers, since no one treatment is likely ever going to be capable of treating each & every form of cancer. And in keeping with the aforementioned, to feel that I’m helping friends & family who are still battling cancer or, who might again battle cancer, due to metastasis or recurrence. Fundraising is a way for me to put my anger and sadness about cancer into something positive and to not feel like the deaths of those who passed from incredibly hard battles with cancer were in vain, and to remind those fallen “cancer warriors” that they will never be forgotten.

How You Can Honor Or Remember The “Cancer Warriors” In Your Life

The above is pretty simple. Donate to my “Mission Possible” team or support another Jimmy Fund walker. Or, join my team by visiting the Jimmy Fund Walk site and registering to be a member of “Mission Possible.”

And, visit this page of my site if you need help and courage to “keep fighting.” E-mail me at gail.moraski@allintheresults.com if there are fighting people, words, or songs I should be adding to this page. Plus, let me know if there is anyone you want me to honor or think of as I walk on October 2 this year!

Thanks for any support you end up giving my team and those who battle cancer!

Being Found on Google, blog, Blog, Blogging, competitive advantage, content marketing, digital marketing agency, organic SEO, pull marketing, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, website

The 3 Kinds Of Links Your Site Needs To Be Found On Google

All the conversations we’ve been having lately with prospective clients, existing customers, and other SEO experts reminded us to remind our digital marketing blog/SEO blog readers about the three types of links you want to include in website blog posts and pages to support ranking well, and therefore, being found on Google.

Internal Links For SEO

  • Internal links are hyperlinks on words found in blog posts or website page content that link to other pages or posts found on your own site, or even to content further down on the same page of the site from which you are hyperlinking (known as “anchor links.”) Notice how we hyperlinked the phrase “blog posts” and pointed ad clickers to the blog section of our site, “Ponderings.”

External Links For SEO

Backlinks For SEO

  • Backlinks — these are links that other reputable organizations share on their site that link to your organization’s site. You can look at the Acquisition reports in Google Analytics to see where your referral traffic, therefore, site traffic from external sites not owned by your organization, is coming from. That said, the report will only list external sites which have had visitors click on the link to your site to arrive at your site. Regardless, of whether individuals are clicking on backlinks, Google still rewards you from an SEO standpoint for having these links in place on external sites. Not sure what sites are backlinking to your site? Considering downloading and using SEO Spyglass’ tool. Regardless, it’s always a best SEO practice to keep growing the number of high-quality backlinks to your site, so you and your team should regularly consider what organizations you can outreach to ask for a backlink, then be sure to ask, and then follow up, if necessary.
Internal Links, External Links, Backlinks — How They Support SEO and Being Found On Google

Since no-one knows Google’s exact algorithm for ranking websites and the degree to which each of the above types of links will influence exactly where your site is presented in search engine results, our recommendation is to “diversify,” and always remember to include each of these 3 types of links in blog post and website content, as long as it feels appropriate — and not too forced — to do so.

Need help figuring out where in website and blog post copy to include external links or internal links, or help figuring out what organizations would be best for your organization to approach about a backlink? We’re glad to help, so reach out today!

Blog, Blogging, Enjoying What You Do, Importance of taking break, keeping a balance, making time for things you value, Objectives Setting, Passion, walking, warriors, fighters, doing good, giving back, paying it forward

Two-Walk Days and Five-Walk Weekends

It’s Patriot’s Day here in Boston — the area in which our digital marketing agency and SEO company is headquartered. For those who aren’t familiar with Patriot’s Day, it’s most known for being the day both elite and less-elite-but-still-very-passionate runners from around the world gather to run the Boston Marathon. For many in Massachusetts, it’s also a day off since some businesses shut down to allow employees a chance to watch the Marathon or participate in other festivities occurring that day.

A day focused on extreme athleticism seemed the perfect day to write another in our ongoing series of blog posts about walking in the Greater Boston area and on Boston’s South Shore. We’ve been wanting to write specifically about the joy of two-walk and three-walk days for a while, and this past weekend afforded one such day.

I had the good fortune on Friday night to walk at a beautiful South Shore park (one that’s still a bit of a well-kept secret): King Oak Hill Park in Weymouth. In keeping with what I was taught as a child, I’ve always believed that Good Friday should be a day of reflection and a quiet, low-key day. Not too much celebrating (because of the sad and somber event associated with it), not too much noise, not too much socializing. A walk in a park felt like a good fit for the day.

King Oak Hill Park – Weymouth; Courtesy Herbert Hickey

My husband, Jay, and I visited the park toward the end of the day (around 5:30pm, I believe). The spring sun was still bright and warm and felt heavenly, and before we started walking the main pathway of the park, I announced that we were going to walk 7 laps as I recalled the last time we visited in fall of 2022, we had walked 6. I’m definitely both a destination walker and one who likes to set goals to increase my distance. Thus, I love the goal-setting allowed by a place where you can walk and track laps.

King Oak Hill Park was so enticing with its natural beauty from the trees, grass, and flowers, but also due to the old estate home, garage and other buildings. I didn’t want to leave it behind. We stayed at the park for quite a while, and met a bunch of nice people also enjoying all the park had to offer. I can’t wait to return. It’s one of my Weymouth park favorites, along with Webb Park, Great Esker Park, Osprey Overlook Park, and the several small parks/walking areas in Jackson Square that offer views of the Herring Run in Weymouth.

Good Friday walking was followed on Saturday with three more distinct walks. Up early because of construction being done at a neighbor’s house, I walked to and from a local plaza to run some Easter errands at CVS and The Paper Store — hey, the eggs needed fillings for the annual Easter egg hunt, and I needed more plastic eggs too. Between walking to and from the plaza and walking around the stores, I added a couple of more miles to the similar distance walked the evening before.

A good friend reached out spontaneously about getting together later in the day on Saturday. To fuel ourselves (or so we could claim anyhow), she, Jay, and I did an ice cream run at the Braintree Ben & Jerry’s, followed by a walk on the very scenic trails at Blue Hills Reservation. It was definitely far more of a hike than a walk and I used muscles that I hadn’t used in a while, but I was a good sore the next day and welcomed the second opportunity of the weekend to soak in nature’s beauty and all the great fresh spring air.

After our hike, our friend expressed a desire to see and be by the ocean, so off we went next to Nut Island, another South Shore favorite walking place. And, the Island certainly delivered ocean feels, smells, and views. So, so gorgeous! During times when I was battling serious illness, visits to the Island always provided so much comfort, peace, and rejuvenation, and I know this park will always remain a South Shore favorite and a place of refuge!

The fifth and final walk of the weekend was another priceless one. A walk at the end of a very fun & festive Easter Day spent at my twin’s family’s house in Hanover — with four generations of family members! After eating a variety of snack and meals items during the day — as part of celebrating Easter, my eldest niece’s birthday and the first Celtics playoff game — a walk felt like the perfect ending to the day, as well as as much needed, after so much sitting.

What made the walk so priceless was the company — me, Jay, my twin, her son and our nephew, Matthew (who in keeping with this blog’s intro, respectively, had run a BAA race, and the Newport half marathon, the day before), and our nephew, Mike. There’s only so many moments in a year, where we get can get this group together for a great walk ‘n talk. So, despite the fact that the temperature was far lower that day than the previous two, and the wind made it feel particularly chilly, we did a neighborhood walk where we talked about things Boston, Massachusetts, and global, before we headed to back to our various homes.

We’d love to hear about your two- and three-walk days and your favorite places to walk on Boston’s South Shore, in Massachusetts, New England, New York — or any place in the world, for that matter — so please do share! And, never stop walking and never give up!

Enjoy These Past Walking Blog Posts

It’s A New Year — Time To Pivot If Only Slightly

A Life Constant: Why I’ve Always Walked

Why I’ve Always Walked Part II – No Excuses

Why I’ve Always Walked Part III: Brattleboro VT (150 miles) or Bust

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Our Favorite Marketing Blogs and E-Newsletters

Note: This post was updated on July 15, 2022 to also incorporate favorite marketing podcasts.

Anyone who provides digital marketing services, like our digital marketing agency, or has a role at a organization where they are responsible for the planning, execution, monitoring, and reporting on of digital marketing tactics, knows that the landscape keeps changing. New social media platforms get introduced. The interfaces or management tools you use to execute activities or monitor results change regularly. It can all have your head spinning.

To help you “keep calm and carry on,” we thought we’d share a list of some of the organizations whose websites we go to when we are in need of answers and help or whose e-newsletters we read to stay on top of all things digital marketing and e-commerce. Since Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are two of our Greater-Boston-Area digital marketing agency’s specialties — we love any digital marketing work that is technical or analytical — you’ll see a number of websites that focus on those topics below. Note: use the scroll bar underneath the table below to see right-most columns.

Cheerful, Pretty Woman Reading A Book Related To List Of Best Digital Marketing Blogs and E-newsletters

We hope the below makes your life as a digital marketer easier and welcome ideas for organizations we should add. We expect to continue to update this list as we discover more digital marketing experts to learn from. We’re all in this together as the digisphere continues to evolve! Note: use the scroll bar underneath the table below to see right-most columns.

Best Digital Marketing Blogs and E-newsletters

Publication/URLSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM/Google Ads)Social MediaE-mail MarketingOther
https://searchengineland.com/X
https://www.emarketer.com/XE-commerce, Retail
https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/X
https://www.searchenginewatch.com/X
https://iab.comBranding, Consumer Goods Research
https://thirddoormedia.com/
XIncludes A Variety of Brands That Address Marketing Technology and Conferences
https://www.hootsuite.com/X
https://www.marketingprofs.com/Marketing events and Training
https://corp.smartbrief.com/Industry Updates, Including: Small business, Food, Finance, Healthcare, Education
https://www.smarketingconnect.com/XXXMarketing & Sales Podcasts and Training, Opportunities To Meet and Collaborate With Other Marketing Professionals
https://npdigital.com/XXX
https://www.seoblog.com/
X
https://ahrefs.com/XContent Creation & Marketing
https://seo-hacker.com/X
Favorite Digital Marketing Blogs & E-newsletters

Since we shared the info. above, we’ve come across some other very helpful and informative sites, including the following:

Digital Marketing Podcasts:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/bwg-strategy-llc/

SEO Guide For Lawyers:

Results Analysis, Uncategorized

Are You And Other Team Members Missing Out On One of Marketing’s Greatest Joys?

This blog post isn’t about HOW to track marketing & communications results (although we’ve shared a few links at the bottom of this post that you might find helpful on that front). It’s about WHY.

Because I’ve always been a data geek, one of the aspects of marketing I’ve always found most rewarding is being able to see the fruits of my labor. It’s always so fun and exciting to see if website traffic, phone inquiries, e-mail inquiries, or some other desired customer or prospect action (aka conversions) have increased as the result of some new or revamped marketing activity.

Being accountable for marketing results in a number of corporate marketing roles, it always made great sense to me to put various results-tracking mechanisms in place prior to launching a new marketing campaign — even if some of those were less technical/automated in the 1990’s and early 2000’s than they are now. For example, asking sales reps or customer service reps who would likely receive inquiries as a result of a new marketing campaign or tactic to ask prospective customers “how did you learn about us?”

But, you’d be surprised at the number of organizations that don’t make & take the time to:

  • figure out, prior to launching marketing activities, how they will track results
  • review and analyze the results of various marketing tactics regularly
  • know what key performance indicators (KPIs) they should be looking at
  • let other non-marketing team members of their organization know that a marketing activity is launching or has launched, such as customer service teams or sales teams that might need to respond to e-mails or phone inquiries that might be generated by a campaign
  • keep appropriate internal & external parties informed of campaign results

We regularly review and report on the results of various client marketing tactics and share insight on what KPIs make the most sense for the client in-question to track given the various marketing activities they employ. We recommend that every organization create and share a master marketing KPI report (one that is stored in a central, easily-accessed, version-controlled report — think Google sheet or report housed in a project management system) that everyone who has influence and impact on results can view whenever they want and need to. That keeps everyone well-informed and understanding and feeling that their contributions matter.

Hey, why shouldn’t everyone who plays a role in a product’s, service’s, or solution’s success get to experience one of the greatest joys of marketing? And, that’s knowing that their hard work, innovativeness, flexibility, creativity, etc. made a difference when it comes to generating results. Plus, having access to results makes everyone who plays a role related to a product’s, service’s or solution’s success aware when sales or engagement results are less than favorable, and hopefully, will prompt them to come up with ideas to improve results.

Joy of Marketing

Who Should Have Access To Marketing KPIs Reports?

  • The organization’s owner/founder
  • The organization’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Executive Director (ED)
  • The organization’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Other organization Chiefs and Senior Leadership Team Members, including the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Information/Technology Officer (CIO)
  • All marketing & communications staff/team members, including the organization’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), SVPs and Directors of Marketing & Communications
  • All sales & customer service staff/team members
  • Any Product Management, Product Development, and Project Management staff involved with the product, service, or solution being marketed.
  • Any external organizations that have been engaged for marketing & communication or market research services, such as digital marketing agencies, advertising agencies, website developers & designers, PR firms, and market research suppliers

What Marketing Results Should I Be Tracking And How Can I Track Them?

As promised above, shared below are past blog posts where we’ve addressed some of the marketing metrics/KPIs you should track and how to track them, but each organization’s results tracking needs are different, based on what digital and traditional marketing tactics and tools they employ, so please reach out if you’d like to discuss your organization’s specific needs with us.

Acceptance of Circumstances, digital marketing agency, integrated marketing, keeping up with trends, making time for things you value, marketing consultant, Marketing Planning, Objectives Setting, pandemic marketing, Passion, Post-COVID-19 Marketing, staying current, strategic planning, Understanding Your Environment, walking, warriors, fighters, doing good, giving back, paying it forward

It’s A New Year. Time To Pivot, If Only Slightly

After writing several blog posts in recent years about one of my favorites hobbies — walking — I was torn about whether it should be a walking or a digital marketing topic that would be the focus of the first blog post of the new year. But, then, it hit me (while I was out walking, of course) why not combine the two topics? So here goes…

Depending on how your business, organization, or you personally fared in 2021, maybe the new year/2022 doesn’t require some kind of grand gesture or large overhaul related to new beginnings and resolutions. Hey, if it ain’t broken, why fix it, right? Maybe, it’s just a matter of making some small tweaks to last year’s marketing strategy and/or the particular tactics that are part of it, or to your personal habits and mindset, so you can optimize results even further in the new year.

That’s why, while I plan to keep up with my “no excuses” winter walking plan this year, I made a small adjustment to it in the beginning of 2022. Sure, in the blog post that I linked to in my previous sentence, I sang the praises of last year’s coat related to being “prepared for opportunity.” But, I realized this winter, I needed to do something slightly different. The coat I bought and wore last year was just too heavy for my back, which started troubling me in fall 2021 (life happens). Plus, the length of last year’s coat-purchase (down to my ankles) limits the length of my stride. So, I went to Macy’s last week to capitalize on post-Christmas sales, and bought a very reasonably-priced coat that’s a bit shorter and a bit less heavy –because life circumstances, business, and marketplaces constantly change and we need to adjust to them, even if only slightly.

We’d welcome the opportunity to chat with you about what your business/organization could or should do slightly or significantly differently in 2022, based on the following and other possible or anticipated changes pertaining to:

  • your industry
  • the competitiveness or other attributes of your marketplace, such as pricing and inflation
  • consumer or business buying behavior or interests
  • technology used by consumers or businesses to gather information about products, services, and solutions, i.e., consumer and business technology preferences
  • marketing technologies and opportunities to reach target audiences

So, please let us know how we can help and don’t be afraid to make some very small or some very large tweaks to personal habits or business processes, tactics, strategy, etc. if warranted for a more prosperous, less stressful, more productive, and/or healthier new year!

Walk On!

If you’re a fellow walking fanatic, enjoy our other walking blog posts:

A Live Constant: Why I’ve Always Walked

Why I’ve Always Walked Part II – No Excuses

Why I’ve Always Walked Part III: Brattleboro VT (150 miles) or Bust

Stay Tuned For #FridayNightWalks, #DestinationWalks, and More!

Being Found on Google, digital marketing agency, fundraising/development, Google Ads, Google Nonprofit Ad Grant, keywords, landing page, landing pages, marketing best practices, Marketing Planning, Nonprofit Marketing & Communications, Objectives Setting, ongoing digital audits, online advertising, online presence, paid search, pull marketing, Search Engine Optimization, search terms, SEM, SEO, strategic planning, Strong Ad Creative, target audiences, Target Marketing

Growing Your Nonprofit With A Google Nonprofit Ad Grant

Knowing that I and my Boston-area digital marketing agency team help clients obtain, maintain, and optimize Google Nonprofit Ad Grants, a few weeks ago a fellow digital marketing consultant asked me if I ever had a client utilize the entire $120,000 in free Google Ads search advertising available thru the Grant. While I knew generally that a few of our nonprofit (NPO) clients who offered products and services across all of the U.S. (vs. in a smaller city/town or state geography) were able to really capitalize on the free advertising $/media buy available annually via their Grant, it prompted me to both dig deeper on what % of their Grant dollars were being used, and to detail in this blog post, the various ways our marketing agency’s Google Ad Grant clients have used their search-advertising funds.

I hope that, by documenting here the types of nonprofits we’ve worked with who have obtained a Grant and successfully employed Google Nonprofit Grant monies, I might inspire other NPOs to either apply for a Google Grant, or use their Google Ads Grant differently or better to maximize it.

What Types Of Nonprofits Qualify For A Google Nonprofit Ad Grant

Let’s start with the types of nonprofit organizations we’ve helped obtain and/or capitalize on their Google Nonprofit Ad Grant:

  • religious organizations
  • organizations that offer training programs/coaching to at-risk women/women in-transition
  • organizations serving those with special needs and/or disability
  • organizations that serve financially challenged/at-risk teens in both the U.S. and abroad
  • arts organizations
  • environmental organizations

Most non-profits who apply for a Google Nonprofit Ad Grant will qualify for one unless they are a government agency/entity, a healthcare provider like a hospital, or an education institution (philanthropic arms of colleges and universities may qualify for a grant). We’d be glad to coach you thru the Google Nonprofit Ad Grant application process. The initial part is pretty simple, and starts with applying for a Google Nonprofit Account and joining Tech Soup if you haven’t done so already. But, you do need to know how to set up a campaign that effectively meets certain Google Nonprofit Ad Grant search advertising requirements, including using certain available advertising features.

Does Anyone Ever Use Their Entire Annual Google Nonprofit Ad Grant Funds?

The answer to the above is likely “yes,” or close to it. As alluded to above, the broader the geographic area in which a nonprofit offers support, services, and products, the more likely they are going to be able to employ much of the available monthly $10,000 in free paid search advertising, particularly if the volume of individuals searching on terms relevant to what the nonprofit offers is significant.

We just conducted an audit of several of our Google Nonprofit Ad Grant clients who are able to offer all or some of their products and services across the whole U.S. All three of them sell products and services that are available for purchase by anyone in the U.S. For example, one sells mass cards to fund the great work they do; another sells curriculum and online training programs; a couple have online gift stores whose sales allow them to provide the services they do to constituents. One client will likely use 70% of their annual Google Ad Grant dollars ($120,000) by year’s end; another about one-third; and another, about one-third. It’s not easy to properly and effectively employ those large search advertising budgets, but it shows it is possible! And, of course, we’d be glad to brainstorm with you to come up with creative ideas for optimizing Grant dollars.

A Happy Google Nonprofit Ads Grant Optimizer

How Can I Use My Google Nonprofit Ad Grant Dollars?

Many of our Google Nonprofit Ad Grant clients are using their Google Grant in a number of simultaneous ways, including the following:

  • Drive sales of products, therefore, tangible goods, such as those available in an online store/shop that fund their good work in our communities
  • Cause use of the organization’s on-site services or online/virtual services
  • Recruit volunteers for their organization
  • Through general/branding messaging, create awareness of their organization among appropriate audiences in an attempt to secure donations (keep in mind that ads specifically asking for donations aren’t effective; but letting individuals and orgs. that are interested in your cause know about you can be effective with development efforts)
  • Support attendance at paid or free events, including webinars, seminars, workshops, courses, and classes
  • Cause target audiences to visit/read/use resources/information on their site, or download information
  • Cause appropriate individuals to fundraise on the organization’s behalf/participate in the organization’s fundraiser
  • Cause target audiences to be an advocate for the organization’s cause or the general/broader cause with which the organization is associated
  • Cause other desired “conversions,” i.e., desired behaviors, such as:
    • e-mail/e-newsletter sign-up
    • podcast listening
    • visits to organization’s physical site for a variety of reasons
    • survey taking

We think Google Nonprofit Ad Grants are a well-kept secret and are often under-utilized by nonprofits — either because they don’t apply for and employ one to see if it will work for them, or they obtain one and don’t use it for the many purposes they could or should.

As an affiliate member of the MA Nonprofit Network, the team at Results C & R gets great satisfaction from helping nonprofit organizations obtain and maximize their Google Advertising Grant to support achievement of a variety of objectives. Want to learn more? Set up a complimentary time to chat today! And, check out these two additional resources:

Watch A Video About A Google Nonprofit Success Story.

Read More About The Benefits Of A Google Nonprofit Ad Grant.

Being Found on Google, digital marketing agency, Google Ads, keywords, marketing best practices, Marketing Planning, online advertising, online presence, paid search, pull marketing, search terms, SEM, Target Marketing, User experience

Why It Pays To Be Responsive, Particularly When It Comes To Google Search Ads

There’s little downside that we can think of to being responsive. When not used in a digital marketing context, being responsive means to “react quickly and positively.” Responsiveness, and therefore, the ability to be flexible and adapt, is usually a much-envied attribute or characteristic, whether it pertains to a person, product, or service.

While we encourage our readers to be responsive on all fronts, given the nature of our business and our blog’s following, this particular post’s intent is to address responsiveness as pertains to the world of online marketing & presence. To be responsive in the digital marketing world means to present the digital content in-question in a fashion that makes it presentable (from an appearance standpoint), logical, legible and appropriate, regardless of the device on which the information is served up or viewed.

It used to be, as recently as 15 years or so ago, that when new websites were launched, the developer and/or the owner of the site did not give as much attention to the “responsiveness” of the website, i.e., how website page content would appear when viewed on a SMART device (devices that can access the internet) such as a mobile phone or tablet. Today, any web developer worth his or her salt would never launch a website that isn’t responsive to the various devices that might access it. And, most content management systems like WIX, Weebly, WordPress, Square Space, and Joomla, are designed to ensure that sites built and launched in them are mobile-friendly.

How and Why Google Ads Supports Search Ads That Are Responsive

Another digital marketing tactic/activity that rewards and supports responsiveness is Google search advertising, and it’s this digital marketing tactic’s responsiveness that’s the focus of this blog post.

I’ve been involved with Google Ads advertising — either in corporate roles or in my role at Results Communications & Research — for an estimated 12 years or more now. During the last 12 years, Google has continuously made revisions to its advertising platform, known as Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), and I expect that to continue.

In the days when I first was involved with Google Ads search advertising, the amount of information you could include in a search ad — an ad that is presented at the top or bottom of search results when an individual in an advertiser’s target geography enters relevant search terms (keywords) into Google’s search engine — was very limited. If I recall correctly, there were only three lines of text and a website URL that appeared in the ad. These short ads were “static” and advertisers knew exactly what lines of text would be presented to their target audiences, and in what order the lines would appear. While Google has enhanced this advertising opportunity to include a couple of additional lines of text via two description lines, plus various ad extensions (such as what’s known as site links that appear below ads and allow for self-triaging), even these “expanded text ads” still require advertisers to set up a large # of “static” text ads within the Google Ads Manager tool in order to test various combinations of ad headlines to see which combinations are most effective as far as generating clicks or “conversions (desired visitor website behaviors or phone calls)” goes.

In 2018, Google rolled out Responsive Search Ads or RSAs. My experience managing paid search campaigns that include RSAs is that Google rewards you from an optimization, and ultimately a cost-per-click, and even possibly an impressions (frequency of serving up ads to relevant searchers) standpoint. Due to the aforementioned, you’ll see it literally does pay to be responsive.

Responsive Search Ad Served Up on Mobile Phone

I’m a big fan of responsive search ads and tend to employ them in all Google search ad campaigns for the above-mentioned performance and budget optimization reasons, but also because it ultimately saves my agency and my client set-up time. And, as they say, “time is money.” Why go thru the cumbersome, long process of setting up a number of static text ads to address various combinations of ad headlines, when Google will create and test the effectiveness of ad headline combinations for you? And, should you choose to test a variety of description line combinations as well, Google can do that for you too.

In addition to allowing for an organization to test various ad headline and description line combinations, RSAs are referred to as “responsive,” because they respond to the real estate that’s available on the device on which the ads are being shown. Sometimes, only two headlines will be served up; sometimes three.

Another reason it pays to start employing responsive ads in your Google Search campaigns now? Google announced on 8/31/21 that, as of 6/30/22, responsive search ads will be the only type of “new” search ad that advertisers can create. And, any static/expanded text ads that were created prior to this June date will not be able to be edited. So, that’s an additional incentive to start creating and using responsive ads now. Why set yourself up now, or prior to 6/22, to not be able to edit static ads you create in the future? Plus, why not get accustomed to creating responsive ads now?

Key Inputs For Responsive Search Ads

Google will serve up two, and possibly three, of the headlines you provide, along with two of your provided description lines, each time it presents a responsive ad to an appropriate searcher.

In addition to basic campaign and ad group targeting and budget inputs like geography, demographics, daily budget, and keywords, at a minimum, advertisers need to provide Google Ads with the following responsive search ad components:

  • Up to 15 headlines (30 characters or less per headline)
  • Final URL that ad clickers will land on (landing page address)
  • Display path – this differs from the above as it does not need to be a live/active URL, but rather should display the nature of the page that an ad clicker will land on, i.e., what content they can expect to find there
    • Google automatically fills in your organization’s domain; you must fill in 15 characters or less for each of the two display path fields. A display path example based on our own site: https://allintheresults.com/services/ongoing SEO. Both “services” and “ongoing SEO” are display path fields we would provide if we were running Google Search Ads and taking ad clickers to a page about our ongoing SEO services.
  • Up to 4 description lines (90 characters or less per description line) – think of this as boilerplate language that you might include in a press release, on an “About Us” website page, or in an elevator pitch.
    • We prefer to only provide 2 description lines to Google. That way we know what two description lines are appearing with each and every ad (since Google only serves up two at a time). That means the description portion of our advertising remains constant, allowing us to test the effectiveness of various headlines/headline messaging.

As you can currently do with expanded text ads, you can also set up a number of ad extensions to provide additional information about your organization. That’s a topic for another blog post, but a capability that does exist with responsive ads.

Need help preparing for next year’s June deadline related to expanded text ads? Want to brainstorm with us about how you’d benefit from running responsive search ads. Reach out today! We always welcome a good Google search advertising discussion.