Acceptance of Circumstances, community involvement, keeping up with trends, LinkedIn, Making Connections, Making Connections and Introductions, making time for things you value, Networking, relationship building, sales, staying current, target audiences, warriors, fighters, doing good, giving back, paying it forward

How to Pivot Your Business Toward Relationship-Building in the Time of COVID-19

By Guest Blogger, Bethany Clarke

Running a business these days is no joke. The global pandemic has put many small businesses into a tailspin. No one’s seen anything like this before and everyone’s talking about “pivoting,” but what does that actually mean? What does a pivot look like for you? 

You’re great at running and marketing your business. You’ve got the branding, social media, and your new client funnel down to a science. You’re turning a profit and you can’t believe how far you’ve come since the first days of starting out, but this COVID-19 deal is uncharted territory.

You’re not alone. Sales for many businesses have dropped this month due to the distraction provided by the pandemic, but particularly, due to its associated social distancing practices. Yes, the latter are a matter of national health, but man, are they a pain for conducting in-person sales activities. And, our current world scenario has made all forms of sales and outreach activities far more difficult and far less effective, whether they be in-person, phone, or e-communications ones. That’s why we recommend that your pivot be one that includes relationship building.

What’s the deal with relationships? They will be what sustains you through this crisis and after it is over. By reaching out to potential clients now, you can be certain that you’ll be one of the first people they come to once the crisis has receded. You can establish yourself as a credible, helpful and friendly resource in your field, and even a “thought leader.”

How to make the pivot toward relationship building?

  1. Establish connections online by devoting a half hour to posting and being present on your social media each day. That’s enough time to reply to comments on your posts or to comment on others’ posts. Always make an effort to do this, especially on Facebook and Instagram since that’s part of the algorithm that drives your posts to the top of people’s feeds. 
  1. Direct message followers who are your dream clients. Now’s the time to reach out and say “hello” and offer to help or provide information they might find particularly beneficial at this point in time. Most people have more free time lately and are craving connections. If you’re making a practice of extending your olive branch now in a very genuine/authentic and heart-felt way, you’ll be remembered by people for helping make this hard time a little easier for them.
  1. Reach out to people who operate in fields adjacent to yours and who serve the same vertical (target audiences) you’d like to do work for. For instance, if you’re a copywriter, you could connect with someone who does graphic design. In the future, when you meet a client who needs a website re-done, you can provide your client with the copy they need, and then refer them to your colleague who will design their fancy new logo or design their new website. If you help nonprofits with marketing, but there are other firms that don’t compete with you that offer bookkeeping services for nonprofits, then why not try to be referral sources for each other? These referrals can go both ways. People in your identical spaces could be competitors but what if you shifted that perspective? What if you turned them into collaborators or work referral sources? Developing a “referral circle” is an excellent way to broaden and strengthen your network and increase your customer base.

Aside from all the business benefits that come along with establishing and maintaining relationships, having these positive, collaborative, helpful relationships just feels really good right now. In this time of isolation, it’s human and healthy to crave connection with others. Making the pivot toward relationship building in your business will not only make your business stronger, but it may help make you healthier and happier as well.

Being Found on Google, blog, Blog, Blogging, competitive advantage, content marketing, integrated marketing, keeping up with trends, keywords, Memorability, organic SEO, SEO, video, video marketing

Three Ways to Use Video to Boost SEO

By Guest Blogger, Nick Bartos, Social Motion

Video is valuable for any business, as it can be used to amplify your brand utilizing interesting visuals and engaging storytelling. However, many marketers and business owners may not know that video can also be used to support search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Here is how to own search engine results even further – utilizing video.

#1: Create evergreen content, and host it in evergreen places

Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are fantastic places to post videos – but unless those videos are consistently being served up to new individuals via paid ads vs. only being viewed organically by followers of or visitors to an organization’s social media profiles, the view-count is very likely to drop after the first few days of posting on these platforms. YouTube is the number two most used search engine behind Google. Utilizing a platform like YouTube will allow your video, and therefore, your organization, to remain in search results consistently. This will help your SEO efforts and allow your content to keep working for you, even after the initial drop off from feed-based channels like Facebook.

#2: Utilize your keyword research

Keyword research allows you to identify the high-volume “search terms (known as keywords)” which individuals and organizations are entering into a search engine like Google to identify organizations that offer the services, products, or solutions to problems that you do.

Use keyword research you already have to both inform your video and take advantage of the keyword research you spent hours collecting. If subscribed to an SEO service, such as SEMrush, or even if you just use Google Ads keyword planning tools, utilize the information offered by the software/tools. Many times, these services will  cause the researcher to think of blog post ideas based on their findings – do not be afraid to turn these into video! And, then be sure to tag your video appropriately in YouTube with the keywords for which you want your video to be found.

#3: Use Closed Captioning and Subtitles

The above is arguably the easiest way to help yourself. While you can use your video title, description, and tags as ways to help your videos rank, make it even easier for search engines to rank video for desirable terms by providing a transcript. Not only are you providing closed captioning for accessibility purposes (which search engines also applaud), but you are also providing a script for search engines to rank your video for appropriate search terms and keywords that you have incorporated in your script. Some services provide automated closed-captioning services, but they are not always perfect. It takes a bit of time to complete, but will pay dividends in SEO efforts.

If you want to boost your video presence online, check out Social Motion, a company dedicated to creating high-quality, buzz-worthy, and engaging content for social and digital media. We’re always glad to hold a complimentary phone chat with you to discuss your particular marketing challenges and opportunities and how video, such as the one I shared below, can help address them.

competitive advantage, Customer Service, differentiation, good will creation, Memorability, sales, traditional marketing, User experience

Employing a “Dinosaur” Marketing Practice to Keep From Going Extinct

Last week, I went “in town” (traveled from my office on the South Shore into Boston) to meet with a client. As I often do when I make the 45+- minute commute to meet with a client, or attend an industry or networking event, I ran a few errands after my meeting. There’s always a birthday gift or a new book to be bought, right? I stopped at Copley Place/The Prudential Building to buy a couple of ingredients that Sur La Table and Eataly carry, and also visited Barnes & Noble to purchase “The Secret” (a cool treasure hunt guide with a Boston reference).

Initially, I thought I was just having a lucky or “random acts of kindness” day, because employees in each of the businesses I mentioned above were so welcoming, helpful, or kind — something I hadn’t experienced to such a degree at retailers in a while. But, then it struck me on my journey home, how much retailers must be recognizing the need to step up their customer service game if they want to survive in the next year, never mind the next ten.

I’m likely stating the obvious here, but the plethora of online shopping opportunities, particularly, Amazon.com, is causing retailers across the U.S. to close their physical shops/locations in busy downtown areas and shopping malls. Whether it be filing for bankruptcy or completing closing up shop (literally and figuratively), recent victims of the uptick in online (particularly one-stop) shopping include Papyrus, Payless Shoes, Forever 21, Barneys New York, Gymboree, and more. And, it’s common knowledge, that time-honored retail giant, Macy’s, whom families have visited for generations, will be closing numerous storefronts.

As a marketer, I’ve always felt and known that customer service can make or break you, and if an organization’s service is outstanding or unique enough from that of competitors’ it can be a true differentiator. That’s why I’ve discussed this topic previously in my “In Praise of Praise” and “Why You Should Remind & Require Employees to ‘Do Your Job’ And Do It Well” blog posts.

My aforementioned shopping experience in Boston leads me to believe that many retailers are now coaching and requiring their sales staff to deliver exceptional service in hopes of maintaining a strong physical vs. online consumer following. So what were some of the stepped-up customer service tactics I experienced at the retailers mentioned above?

  • lots of smiles from individuals working on the floor of stores or at the registers
  • being greeted when I walked in the door
  • being asked by more than one employee if they could help me find anything or if I was finding what I was looking for
  • being offered food samples
  • being given double the portion of the food item I was purchasing (but only paying for the original one portion) and being alerted to that by the employee
  • displaying interest in my needs, my life, what problem I was looking to solve, etc.
  • engaging me in a lengthy conversation related to a product I was purchasing and why I was excited about it, and sharing in my enthusiasm

Based on the way I was made to feel noticed, valued, and important, I will definitely revisit all the physical stores of these retailers again. I’m someone who enjoys chatting with salespeople at stores, window-shopping, and being able to feel, test, try on, etc. a product I’m hoping to buy. Part of that may be due to the fact that I work out of my home office and all my co-workers are virtual. I welcome getting away from my office once in a while and excursions that provide opportunities to socialize. I know this does not hold true for all consumers, though — many don’t want to have to socialize with salespeople or leave their home to run an errand after a busy workday.

I’ve shared all of the above as a reminder and warning to anyone who is responsible for sales at their particular organization, regardless of the organization’s nature. Great customer service never grows old or goes out of style! It’s as relevant — in fact, it may be more relevant — than it was in the 1800’s (hence, the exaggerated dinosaur reference in my blog post title) when Brooks Brothers, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Bloomingdale, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Barnes & Noble opened their doors. While I do hope this stepped-up customer service effort will keep the retailers I cited from losing their brick & mortar presence, I wonder if such an effort might have kept them from being where some of them are today — close to closing up shop.

Being Found on Google, digital marketing agency, direct mail, Google Analytics, keywords, marketing consultant, Nonprofit Marketing & Communications, online advertising, organic SEO, paid search, pull marketing, push marketing, Results Analysis, Search Engine Optimization, search terms, SEM, SEO, target audiences, technical SEO, User experience, website

Why "If You Build It, They Will Come" Doesn't Always Hold True

Over the past six years, as a digital marketing agency owner and marketing consultant, I’ve had so many prospective clients approach me with a specific marketing tactic/activity that they’d like me to implement on their behalf. As I’ve repeatedly expressed on social media, in other blog posts, and in my website’s content, I never encourage clients to implement or continue with a marketing activity that doesn’t make sense for them. So, as part of discussing the particular tactic for which they’d like my help, I do a “preliminary check” to see if their website is “optimized for search,” and, therefore, likely to be found by individuals searching on relevant terms for the products, services, and solutions to problems the client in-question provides. Instead of a costly advertising campaign or direct mailer, the client might be better served investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which could have longer-lasting impact.

You would be amazed by the number of organizations — both large and small — who have spent significant $$ and time to launch a comprehensive, user-friendly, informative website, but didn’t realize they needed to implement off-page (behind-the-scenes tags) and on-page (content) SEO tactics in order for their site to be found on Google. Some website developers and designers are well-versed in SEO, others aren’t, and don’t offer the service automatically, or as an add-on when launching a new site.

The above means that a for-profit or non-profit organization may have invested in a beautiful, effective website as far as design, user experience, functionality (interactive tools) and content goes, but they won’t likely benefit from it to the degree to which they could/should. Their site becomes like a pretty little unknown island that no-one knows is there, and therefore, no-one visits. In sum, building their new site, didn’t mean people would come.

Another factor related to lack of visitors may be this. If the products, services, or solutions to problems an organization offers are not ones that individuals are aware of, and therefore, aren’t actively searching on, even the most-optimized-for-search website isn’t going to get a lot of visits that stem from search engine inquiries. If your product or service is a brand new one — think something you’d see on Shark Tank — your target audience may not even realize a product or service like yours exists. Or, particularly, if you’re a B2B (business-to-business) organization, prospective clients may identify an organization like yours by asking one of their contacts or colleagues for a referral.

Both of the scenarios outlined in the paragraph above equate to your organization not being able to rely on “organic search” to drive traffic to your website. But, if you want and need to confirm that individuals aren’t actively searching to find an organization like yours, read our recent post that explains how keyword research can help you figure out whether or not individuals are searching to find an organization with your capabilities.

So, what are the takeaways from everything we’ve shared so far in this post, i.e., how do you ensure “if you build it they will come?

  1. Don’t assume that searchers are searching to find you and/or what you offer. Take the following steps to determine if they are searching to find you, and how.
    • use your Google Analytics data to see what percentage of your traffic is organic (comes to your site as the result of a visitor clicking on a search engine results listing)
    • use your Google Search Console data to see for what search terms, if any, Google is presenting a listing with a link to your website in search engine results, and the # of individuals who are clicking-thru to your site as a result of it being presented
    • conduct keyword research for the specific geographies you serve to determine whether or not a significant volume of individuals is searching to identify an organization likes yours
  2. If the above exercises reveal that the percentage of organic traffic to your site is low (less than 30%), and your website isn’t being presented in search engine results for relevant search terms (keywords), but keyword research indicates a large number of individuals in your geography are searching for the solutions, products and services you offer, then you should optimize your website for search, i.e., implement organic/technical SEO tactics
  3. If keyword research indicates that only a small number of individuals in your geography are searching for an organization with your capabilities, it’s time to consider “push” vs. “pull” marketing. Push marketing is all about putting the idea of your product/service in individuals’ heads and making them aware that a your solution to their problem exists. Display vs. search advertising is just one form of this and this blog post explains the push vs. pull dynamic, but there are many other forms of push marketing, such as an e-mail campaign, print or broadcast advertising, or a direct mail campaign.

Results Communications & Research is always here to make sure your website isn’t an island onto itself, so reach out to make sure it gets the admiring visitors it deserves.

blog, Blog, Blogging, brand promise, content marketing, good will creation, Google Analytics, integrated marketing, keeping up with trends, Marketing Planning, organic SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, social media, staying current, strategic planning, target audiences, Target Marketing, technical SEO, traditional marketing

A Semi-New Name for a Centuries-Old Marketing Practice

Because, in the last several months, I’ve had various fellow marketers talk to me about or take jobs in “content marketing,” or seen them post about it on social media, I thought the time was right to explain this term and marketing strategy in a blog post. Even though I’ve been aware of the term for quite some time because much of my work falls under the content marketing umbrella (particularly SEO, blog writing, social media voice, and Google Analytics data reviews), I haven’t tended to use that term with clients and prospective clients, thinking it might not resonate with them. But, perhaps, the time has come for me to do so. 2019 was called the “year of SEO” by some marketers. 2020 may be the “year of content marketing.”

While the term “content marketing” has only been in use for the last decade or so, and some individuals employ it solely related to digital/online/electronic distribution of information, one of its key premises has been around since at least the early 1700’s — when individuals began promoting products and services via the written word vs. the spoken word. And, that premise is that creating informational, helpful, desired content — which can be used across many marketing vehicles and tactics — will garner customers’ and prospective customers’ favor and loyalty.

Even though the focus wasn’t primarily or solely “online” usage at the time (the internet and social media were still somewhat in their infancy), during my tenure as a marketing leader at BMC HealthNet Plan (2008 – 2014), I wrote wellness-related copy that was able to be employed in print ads/advertorials as well as in hard-copy handouts used at events or for other purposes by BMC HealthNet Plan community outreach reps. PDFs of those handouts were then shared on the organization’s wellness section of its website.

The above is a glowing example of content marketing’s basic tenet of sharing information, that target audiences value, across numerous vehicles/tactics in order to retain or acquire audience members as customers. In this case, the target audiences were members or prospective members of the health plan, as well as community organizations or healthcare providers, who might refer them to the health plan.

Integrated Marketing vs. Content Marketing

Related to my initial comment at the top of this post that the key premises and intentions behind content marketing are not new at all, I want and need to speak to the synergies between content marketing and integrated marketing. Both aim to employ similar/the same content across numerous marketing tactics/vehicles to repeatedly expose target audiences to the same, consistent message. But, a key difference to me between the two is that content marketing isn’t just about promoting and creating awareness of a product or services through true “marketing/sales/promotional” messages. It’s about being helpful and creating good will by sharing desirable information that may or may not be directly related to an organization’s products or services (see our discussion of tangential topic blogging).

Loyalty is Priceless

Online/Digital/Electronic Content Marketing Vehicles/Tactics

Since most people who use the term “content marketing” to refer to online/digital/electronic distribution of beneficial content to create brand awareness and loyalty — and ultimately sales or some other desired conversion activity (such as signing up for an e-newsletter, making a donation, or submitting an inquiry about an organization’s products and services) — what are some of the online/digital/electronic vehicles/tactics in which content created for the above purposes can be employed? E-newsletters, downloadable white papers, podcasts, website page content, blog content, social media post content, downloadable e-books, infographics (images that contain helpful, detailed info.) and videos.

Love — Back at You!

The Love-Love Equation

The above list is not exhaustive, but provides a sense of the many primary ways organizations are sharing content electronically/digitally that they believe meets the needs of their various target audiences and demonstrates understanding of those audiences’ challenges and opportunities — all in the hopes of creating a loyal following who will show their “love” back by talking up the organization, purchasing its products, etc.

I, individuals I employ, and my expert connections have extensive experience related to both the creation and distribution of content to support an effective content marketing strategy. I hope you’ll reach out, when and if, you need our help.

dilution, integrated marketing, Results Analysis, Uncategorized

Why Trying To Do It All Will Dilute Your Marketing & Communications Impact

As promised in my most recent blog post about revisiting 2019 marketing activities to inform 2020 ones, I’ll be outlining below the primary digital and traditional marketing tactics that an organization or individual could use to spread the word about themselves in the hopes of generating some “conversions (sales, inquiries, donations, e-newsletter sign-ups, or other target-audience desired behaviors).” But before I get to that, I want and need to address the issue of “dilution” that access to an ever-growing number of marketing vehicles and activities has created.

As the owner of a digital marketing agency and a marketing consultant, I see so many organizations in my niche trying to do it all and have a presence everywhere, as far as promoting their agency/consultancy goes. It has caused me to really ponder that strategy/approach and whether that truly is an effective one — for both me and my clients. Of course, for us marketing agency owners, there’s a fine line we have to walk — we need and want to test various tactics and vehicles, so we can share our experiences with clients, and we also want to demonstrate proficiency, via our own marketing, related to those activities. But, honestly, some activities and vehicles just haven’t generated any kind of results for our firm, and trying to capitalize on each and every one is likely to lead to us not generating effective results from any of them. And, the same goes for our clients.

So, where I’ve landed for my own marketing and that of my clients is this — and it’s very much in keeping with my last blog post — it’s impossible to “do it all” on the the marketing & communications fronts, and to do it well. It’s also very important to regularly (at least quarterly, if not monthly) assess which vehicles are or aren’t generating desired results and to put your marketing $ and time into the ones that are. I equate trying to spread your marketing $$ and energies too far/thin to trying to be a “jack of all trades, and master of none.” We all know trying to offer too many products and services, or trying to be “all things to all men” doesn’t work well from a business standpoint. The same premise holds for marketing.

In sum, as marketers and business owners, if we try to have a big presence and impact everywhere, it will lead to us not having a big presence or impact anywhere. There just won’t be enough time or dollars spent on any one marketing activity or vehicle! Plus, if results don’t show it’s warranted, why put your $$ and energies into a tactic that just isn’t working for you? Not all marketing tactics are appropriate for each and every organization and each industry. Why fish where your target audience members aren’t? If they don’t tend to swim in certain marketing pools, why drop your pole’s line there? 

Possible Marketing & Communications Tactics/Activities

Image Courtesy of Kiwicare.co.nz

Note that some of the below straddle more than one category.

Traditional:

  • Broadcast Advertising (Radio, TV (Cable, Network, Streaming Service) )
  • Print Advertising (Magazine, Newspapers)
  • Direct Mail
  • Sales Hand-outs (Flyers, Brochures, Sales Pieces), Business Cards, Promo/Give-away Items)
  • Transit (Buses, Trains, and Bus and Train Platform/Station)
  • Mall or Other High-Traffic Venue, Such as a Convention Hall
  • Outdoors (Billboards)
  • Public Relations (Reporter Pitches, Press Release Distribution)
  • Events (Your Own Event, i.e., an Event You Created, or Participation in Another’s Such as a Trade Show; Event Sponsorship/Attendance)
  • White Paper Creation and Publication (to Position You As Subject Matter Expert)

Digital/Electronic/Online/Internet:

Networking:

  • Online (Sites Such as Alignable and LinkedIn)
  • In-person (Chamber, Industry, and Other Business and Community Events)

Of course, depending on the size of your organization, some of the above tactics may be outside of your scope because of the associated implementation and maintenance cost, and/or the time that you or your staff would need to be involved — even if you outsource some of the work to a marketing agency like ours. 

We can help you figure out where to best employ your marketing dollars and time in 2020, so reach out for a complimentary brainstorm.

 

Google Analytics, integrated marketing, Marketing Planning, Results Analysis, Setting Marketing Budget, strategic planning, Uncategorized

Why You Should Revisit 2019 Marketing Results to Inform 2020 Activities

I’ve repeatedly shared in this blog and on social media that my firm’s tagline is “Maximizing Results Through Research-Supported Marketing.” I will never encourage a client to start or keep doing something on the marketing front that doesn’t make sense for them, based on available data. Data on which to make decisions can be primary, i.e., a client’s data, or secondary data, i.e., data found online about others’ experiences related to particular marketing tactics or vehicles. On a related note, the end of any budget year — and for many this is the end of the calendar year — is the perfect time to look back at which of your organization’s, if any, marketing activities have worked well for you. That should inform where your marketing $$ would be best spent in 2020. Sounds like I’m stating the obvious. That it’s a “no brainer”, right?

You’d be surprised at how many organizations continue to spend money on marketing activities that either aren’t working for them or regarding which they have no idea if leads, sales, inquiries, or other desired prospective customer or customer behavior — known as “conversions” are being generated. In fact, I was prompted to write this post because I’ve witnessed both the aforementioned scenarios numerous times with prospective clients.

Now more than ever, there are so many (actually too many for this marketer’s taste) diverse marketing activities and vehicles a marketer can invest time and $ in (we’ll be discussing this further in our next blog post). A fresh, new year is the ideal time to figure out which of these have worked in the past and/or might work in the future. Because each organization employs their own specific traditional and digital marketing tactics, we can’t address each & every piece of marketing results data you should look at in this post; however, we will provide some examples below to get you thinking about the types of analyses you should be completing and why.

Even if you can’t tackle this until the new year gets underway, to maximize your 2020 marketing budget, you or your team should:

  1. Conduct a detailed review and analysis of your Google Analytics data to get a good handle on visitor activity and behavior:
    • how/why are visitors getting to your site?
    • what are they doing once they get there?
    • which marketing activities are driving traffic to your site — this particular data set is critical to figuring out where to employ marketing $$ in 2020 — using reports under the Acquisition section of Google Analytics, you can see not only if visitors are coming to your site directly vs. thru organic search (finding you thru a search engine), but you can also see if they landed on your site due to your social media post or profile website links, via e-newsletter links, etc.
  2. If you don’t have a Google Analytics account attached to your website — make it an early 2020 goal to get one set up — you can use visitor data available thru your content management system (CMS)/website platform to look at some of the data above, but don’t expect the data to be as detailed or “rich” as Google Analytics data.
  3. If you’ve been running any kind of online advertising campaigns — whether they be social media, Google Ads, or banner ads — you should be able to employ reporting capabilities within the online advertising tool(s) to slice ‘n dice results.  Or, if you don’t have access to reporting capabilities yourself, ask whomever set up up or from whom you purchased the ads to provide you with detailed reports on 2019 advertising results.
    photo of planner and writing materials

    Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

  4. And, related to the above, even if you did achieve what you consider to be a significant # of ad click-thrus at a reasonable cost-per-click (this varies by the nature of the advertising, industry, whether advertising is business-to-business, or business-to-consumer, etc.) if you didn’t cause enough new inquiries/leads or sales in 2019 to achieve a positive ROI related to your online advertising, then you should revisit your online strategy for 2020.
  5. Using information available in Google Analytics Acquisition Reports or using data available within social media accounts themselves, look at likes/shares/comments of your posts. If you’re not getting any of the aforementioned engagement, on one or several networks, you need to revisit the nature of the posts you’re sharing, and if you’ve already done that a few times, maybe you shouldn’t invest so much time in those non-engaging forms of social media this coming year!
  6. If you send out e-newsletters or e-blasts via Mail Chimp or Constant Contact, use available data in those e-mail service tools to look at results like “open rate” and “click-thru” rate to determine if your efforts on the e-communications front are worth the time and associated dollars.

Need help analyzing available marketing data, want to make sure you have the right tracking tools in place for 2020, or need help figuring out what are the appropriate tactics and vehicles to be included in your 2020 integrated marketing plan? We’re data geeks, and would love to help, so please reach out!

 

blog, Blog, Blogging, Uncategorized

The Many Benefits of Blogging

I guess it makes sense that’s there are a lot of blog posts out there about what else? Blogging. The more organic/technical SEO (search engine optimization) work we do for clients, the more we’re witnessing and truly appreciating the very great influence that an authentic and well-maintained website blog can have on where, in search engine results, a listing to an organization’s website appears. In fact, we often now find — when reviewing our own or our clients’ Google Analytics data — that the top page(s) on which website visitors land or enter a site are blog posts vs. the site’s home page.

You never want to use your blog to randomly store a bunch of search terms (keywords) for which you want your website to be found if those terms aren’t really relevant in any way to the products or services you offer or the solutions you provide. That’s known as “keyword stuffing” and both Google and website visitors will pick up on it. Google will likely ding you for it from an SEO standpoint, and those who visit your site may find it too sales-y or view or it as just plain spammy. That said, regularly creating and publishing topic-specific blog posts that are in keeping with your organization’s mission, the products and services you offer, and the problems to which you offer solutions is a great way to:

  • Include appropriate keywords for which you want your organization to be found in blog post content to enhance and support other organic/technical SEO strategies, such as incorporating those keywords in your page title tags and in non-blog website content
  • Be recognized as someone who understands your target audiences’ “pain points” and who can literally and/or figuratively eliminate or reduce their pain
  • Be viewed as a subject matter expert (SME) or thought leader by both individuals who can directly buy your products and services or engage you for work, and by individuals or organizations who can refer the right target audiences to your organization

blog about digital marketing

In addition to the primary benefits of blogging described above, drafting and issuing honestly-written blog posts at least once every six weeks that are relevant to you and your target audiences, will reap the following benefits:

  • Having great fodder for social media that you can continue to reuse/re-purpose, particularly if most of your blog posts are ever-green in nature, meaning their content never gets outdated. Simply post the link to your blog post on social media with an enticing teaser lead-in to get your social media followers to click on the link and visit your website
  • Creating a block of time in your work life to step away from day-to-day tasks and employ your creative skills. Writing can be relaxing and it also:
    • Reminds you of your expertise, i.e., that you are a SME
    • Causes you to pat yourself on the back for all you know and all you’ve recently learned
    • Forces you to take a stand on a particular topic and recognize what your beliefs are related to it
    • Causes you to understand what makes you different from your competitors

Finally, while, in general (think at least 75% of the time), you want your blog to discuss topics related to the products, services and solutions you provide, you can create good will among your various target audiences and with other individuals or organizations who might refer them, by blogging once in a while about topics that are tangential, but  benefit society/communities at-large. Examples of good will blog topics include:

  • Physical health and mental well-being
  • Safety – including holiday, such as Fourth of July and Christmas tips
  • Benefits of volunteering, mentoring, helping in your community, etc.
  • How and why to be kind to others
  • How to find your passion
  • Ways to balance personal and work life

In addition to regularly writing our own blog posts, clients can and do engage us to ghost-write their blog posts for them. Whether you’re just looking for our help getting started and with creation of a blog editorial calendar, or you’re looking for someone to serve as your blog voice, we’re always available for a complimentary chat.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the benefits of blogging, particularly anything we may have missed!!!

online advertising, Quora, Uncategorized

My Quest To Use & Understand Quora’s Ads Manager Tool

If you’re not familiar with the Q & A site, Quora, check it out! It’s a great place to get answers and respond to both personal and business questions. Not only can you establish yourself as a subject matter expert (SME) by responding to questions, you can also purchase advertising to be served up to audiences who might be in need of the products or services you offer — based on the questions they are asking and topics they are reading.

I figured the easiest way to not forget, and, therefore, be able to accurately document the good, the bad, and the ugly of my first attempts at implementing an ad campaign using Quora’s ad manager tool, was to start a draft of a post about my experiences and add to it as I went along with my ad campaign implementation, so here goes.

The Ugly

Before reaching out to Quora Customer Support for help, I attempted to use the Ads Manager tool on my own, but could make no headway (a button never appeared to allow me to save any work, nor did I receive any kind of prompts to move forward). I now believe that had something to do with the fact that I use Chrome as my default browser because  when I switched to Internet Explorer I was able to save my work. At least with my particular computer and Chrome browser set up, I wasn’t able to scroll down in the tool to see what I needed to see and have access to what I needed to have access to.

Despite switching the browser I used to access the Quora Ads Manager tool to Internet Explorer, and being able to, then, edit/add a campaign, when I tried to add/edit an ad set (equivalent to a Google Ads ad group) under a campaign, I wasn’t able to save my work or select my targeting. I got those red circles with the lines thru them — indicating “STOP” — whenever I hovered my mouse over the various targeting options.

Soooooo, I had to reach out to a Quora Ads rep once again, and that’s when I learned that the third item listed under “The Bad” section below was getting in my way of moving forward. However, even after a call with the rep where I seemed to be able to use both Chrome and/or Internet Explorer to make revisions to my campaign, I found that neither of these browsers were allowing me to do all I needed to do in Quora, and I eventually had to use Mozilla Firefox. Yup, crazy but true!

The Bad
1) when you set up your campaign start date and time, it is only available in Pacific Standard Time, so you need to calculate what your desired start time or end time would be in Pacific Standard Time when you set that up.

2) Unlike with Google Ads where you can spend as little as $1 a day, you are required to spend at least $5.00 a day.

3) Once you set up an ad set and pick a primary targeting option (see options below contextual, audience, behavioral, and broad), you are stuck with that targeting option, unless you want to delete your ad set and start all over again.quora primary targeting options.png

4) Each time I finished entering my ad copy, images, and logo for a particular ad, I would see a preview of my ad to the right of the fields where I added them. The preview of the ad included a box with a check in it that said “capital.” I kept trying to launch the ads, but kept getting an error message that I needed to do something related to this checked-off capital box, but whether I left it checked or unchecked, and then hit the “apply” button, I could not seem to get my ads approved for launching. Huge sigh. I kept getting the message that “an ad revision was required.” So, here I go again, reaching out to the Quora ad rep. What it came down to is this — Quora doesn’t like and won’t approve a lot of capitalization in ads.

5) Unlike other “Ad Manager” online tools, such as Facebook’s and Google Ads’, an agency, such as ours, can’t implement an umbrella management account under which it can set up/add, and then run and manage client ad campaigns. An outreach must be made to customer service when a client account needs to be added to an agency’s account.

The Good

Unlike Google Ads, Quora encourages the use of punctuation at the end of a statement, so you can use ! and ?, something Google frowns on, and doesn’t normally approve in search text ads.

Customer service is ready and willing to help when you need it!

I did finally get my ads launched and running on Quora. I decided to go with “keywords” as my primary targeting option, and ads, such as the one below, now appear alongside questions and answers related to keywords such as “SEO” and “SEM.”

results quora ad

Stay tuned for future updates via new blog posts that elaborate on how my new Quora ads fared, as well as a more in-depth discussion about targeting options available in Quora.

In the meantime, please feel to reach out with any Quora questions — because, hey that’s what Quora is all about — answering questions.