Categories
Digital Marketing

Macro-Influencer Mistakes: Failing to Engage Your Audience

Reaching macro-influencer status in itself is difficult and time consuming. You have to produce quality content that attracts followers, build your following, interact with your followers, and adapt to a variety of algorithm changes. For those of us who are following those influencers, it can feel like everyone’s doing the same thing – and that’s why many macro-influencers struggle to grab hold of their audience and keep it.

Because influencers get their name from the fact that they influence their audience to do something – whether it’s support a cause or buy a product – it makes sense to work with them when you want to spread brand awareness and grow your own audience.

I’d like to share a story of an Instagram macro-influencer with more than two million followers – Arii. You’d think that with a following that large, she’d be able to market herself as a successful influencer. But sadly, all she can say is that she has over 2 million followers. When she tried to use her “influencer” status to sell t-shirts and launch her online clothing – she found that she couldn’t even sell 36 shirts.

Arii is an 18-year-old influencer with 2.6 million followers. Though the post has since been deleted, she wrote that the clothing company she was working with had rules regarding her first sales, which included selling at least 36 pieces from her line.

The post read: “Hi, it breaks my heart to have to write this post. As ya’ll know, I released my brand. I’ve poured my heart into this drop. For my photoshoot, I flew out a photographer & makeup artist…. & and I planned weeks ahead & was lucky enough to gather some friends who modeled for me…. I rented out a huge photo studio for the day so I could [get] as many shots & video promo shots as I could….Unfortunately the company that I’m working with goes based on your first drop sales. In order for them to order and make my products (even to keep working with them) I have to sell at least 36 pieces (knowing I’ve become super irrelevant, I already knew it was gonna be hard) but I was getting such good feedback that people loved it and were gonna buy it. No one has kept their word so now the company won’t be able to send out the orders to people who actually bought shit and it breaks my heart.

While the situation is sad for her, she made mistakes… and rookie ones at that.

Followers Do Not Equal Customers

The number one rule of business is to make sure you know who your customer is, and then create content that’s helpful and appealing to those customers. Just because someone follows you on social media doesn’t mean that they will ever become customers.

And if you make the mistake of buying followers (I don’t know that she did or didn’t – or how long it took her to amass that many followers) to inflate your numbers and make yourself look good, you’ll definitely lack the targeted fans and followers you’ll need to convert them into paying customers later down the funnel.

By creating content the type of people you want to buy your product or service want, the idea is that you will attract targeted potential customers, who over time, will develop a relationship with you. They will trust your authority and suggestions, thus being more open to the idea of buying products and services you suggest, or products and services you sell.

She fails here because people liking a bunch of selfies doesn’t mean they’ll ever buy anything – especially if you don’t even tell them where to buy the elements of the outfits you’re wearing.

Engagement on Photos Doesn’t Mean You Have a Brand

Looking at Arii’s feed, many of the photos are just her doing whatever. There’s not a cohesive theme. She’s not sharing any of her products. While she does get plenty of engagement in terms of likes and comments – it’s many people asking where her outfits are from, where she bought something, how old she is, or since the deletion of her brand failure post, even giving her advice about how to build a brand online.

She mistook the likes and engagement she got from her followers as liking her aesthetic as the brand. There’s nothing there but photos of herself – nothing that tells you who she is. Nothing of any inspiration, nothing that tells people why they should consider following her and what value she’d bring to their feed.

And though people are taking the time to like and comment, there’s little to no evidence that Arii actually responds to people when they reach out to her. If you don’t interact with your followers, you’ll never build the two-way relationship that’s necessary if you want sales.

There’s not even a bio to explain who she is – just an email address that’s associated with an influencer marketing platform or talent agency, Fullscreen.

Twitter Had a Heyday

Twitter users were quick to point out her mistakes – and though it may seem a bit cruel, they actually had valid points as to why she failed.

Jack Appleby provided this side-by-side look at the photos she shared on her feed, compared to the clothes in her brand.

As you can see, the aesthetics between the two are wildly different. If you can’t see her wearing any of the clothes from her line, why would her followers?

Others, such as now inactive user biculturalfamilia, pointed out that she didn’t do enough to promote it.

Jack Appleby gave us another comparison of her feed, suggesting that while he may have missed her IG stories or promoted posts, it appears that she announced it with a single video, put up an additional video and then claimed she failed 13 days later. The feed shows no photos of her products. Watching the video tells us nothing about the brand, what it is, or even what it looks like.

 

Ultimately, no matter how many followers you have – cultivating a relationship with them and learning who they are is the only way to build a successful online business. I admire Arri’s efforts to build the following, but she’s got a long way to go before she can leverage it as a brand or business.

 

Categories
Digital Marketing

Aligning Your Marketing Strategy with the Customer Journey

For a successful digital marketing campaign, you must align your marketing strategy with the customer journey so that you can reach your audience and then guide them from discovery to conversion. If you’re not working to support the customer journey, you’ll struggle to get conversions – and without conversions, you’ll have a terrible return on your paid media channel investments.

Know Your Audience

Before you start doing anything, you must know your audience. Who are they? What do they want? How much money do they make? Where are they located? What is their gender? Are they a parent? What’s their budget? What hobbies and interests do they have? How does your product or service solve their major pain points? What objections do they have to investing in your product or service?

But more than knowing your audience, it’s crucial to know your audience segmentation. Do some research and planning to determine which product and service is the best fit based on the problems you’re trying to solve. In addition to figuring out the best fit, try to figure out the users that would be the worst fit for your business.

Separate the Buyer’s Journey from the Sales Journey

The buyer’s journey and the sales journey are two different things – despite the fact that many consider them to be the same. The sales team looks at their job performance and taking the best course of action to get users to convert and becoming paying customers. The buyer, on the other hand, is becoming aware of a problem in their lives, researching what to buy, and where to buy it from to solve the problem.

As marketers, we have to figure out who the audience is. However, because customer journey paths can be completely different, it’s important to research audiences in ways that make sense for each user.

Use Audiences Strategically

As people take various turns along their buyer journey, we can use audiences to better tailor our strategies and market to those users. Most of the major advertising platforms offer audience insights tools. These tools let you know how your audience or personas translate to the targeting options available on the platforms.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics offers in-market and affinity data in a broad scope compared to other tools, but it’s possible to add additional layers of demographics for more insights.

Google Ads Audience Insights

Your audiences must have at least 1,000 users in them before the insights data generates. Once you hit that threshold, you can look to see which affinity and in-market audiences your base audience belongs to. Look at your customer lists, the ones who have converted, the high-volume purchasers, and more to get a better understanding about who is part of these audiences.

Facebook Audience Insights

This tool is a good option for creating personas to target. You can identify the top converting demographics and focus on those first. Then segment further by layering other demographics and interests. You can find new interests to target and then monitor performance to finish creating personas, and validate them.

Examine your audience data between platforms and look for patterns. This will help you determine what to test first depending on the persona and where the persona may be in the buyer’s journey. Map the path to purchase so you know what information the users need, the device they typically use, the action you want them to take, and how you’ll measure the success of that action. As you create different actions from each persona, build audiences of the actions to create remarketing audiences so you can continue to guide the user to purchase.

Optimize Your Calls to Actions

Always consider what you are asking users to do. It’s not about what we want the user to do, it’s about what’s best for the user to do in that moment. You’ve already mapped out the path to purchase, but what is action is preventing the users from moving forward. Figure out this out to make sure you have the right content and call to action to keep them moving forward.

Create a chart to find where you have gaps. On the chart, make a list of the funnel stages – awareness, interest, consideration, and action. Then, for each stage identify the call to action, the cost to the user, and the value it offers you. You should have a call to action for each stage of the funnel. Video views are an excellent thing to have at the top of your funnel because you’re not asking for a firm commitment, since that person may have no clue about your brand. This is more effective than asking for a demo on the first interaction, because it gives the user a chance to learn more about your company and brand. However, as the user moves through the funnel, it’s okay to be more aggressive with the calls to action because the user has shown more interest as time moves on.

Use Messaging in Multiple Channels

One of the most important things to remember is that people use multiple channels throughout their buyer’s journey. Users don’t only use Google or Facebook. You can’t force people to use a channel. You must go where your users go. Many channels can be used throughout the funnel, and as you expand marketing messaging through the channels, it’s important to make sure the calls to action match across the channels to ensure you’re sending the same message to users depending on their persona.

Top of the Funnel

At this stage, use interest-based targeting, lookalike audiences, affinity, and in-market audiences, along with other custom audiences to fill the funnel. Exclude the lower funnel targets to make sure your top of the funnel messaging isn’t repeated as customers move through the journey.

Middle of the Funnel

At this phase, you’ll want to go after visitor traffic, repeat customers, loyalists, and anyone who has engaged with social media posts or other mid-funnel content.

Bottom of the Funnel

At this phase, target the people who are abandoning carts, abandoning forms, people who visit high-intent pages such as pricing, and low funnel customer match audiences.

You must allow your users to choose the channel they want to convert on. Create identical audiences for each stage of the funnel on applicable channels. Make sure you’re creating identical exclusions so you’re not showing ads to users in areas outside of where they are in the funnel. The more you keep the ad message and audience targeting to the person across each channel, the better chance you have to get the user to progress through the funnel.

Categories
SEO

Getting Ready: SEO During an Economic Slump

In 2008, we saw the stock market crash, suffering one of the largest points losses in history – and holding the record for the largest drop until 2018. For many, starting a business during this time ended up being a mistake, but in the case of SEO and direct marketing, economic downturns make it possible to thrive.

If you’re paying attention to the economics experts, it’s time for a rather significant financial plunge – and it’s impossible at this point, to determine whether it will send us into a recession, or if it’ll just be a momentary slow down that leaves as quickly as it came in. The only thing we know for sure is that eventually, our economy will decline – because it always does. And it will rebound, eventually, because it does that, too.

Why Does SEO Thrive When the Economy is Down?

Put simply, when there’s less money available to invest in your business, you want the money you do have to invest to work harder for you, going further than before. That means cutting the fat and focusing solely on the channels you know are working. When profits are down, you don’t focus on the long term – you focus on generating as many leads and sales as you possibly can, to keep your business in survival mode until the economy begins to climb again. And search keeps those leads and sales coming in, even if it’s not as effective as it is when combined with branding efforts and a long term strategy.

Preparing for SEO During Economic Downturns

Whether you’re working in-house or as an agency, there are things you must do to prepare for any economic slump. Not taking the time to get ready could mean that you’ll get cut, along with the rest of the marketing budget. When the economy starts going bad, the key to keeping all your decision-makers happy with their search marketing efforts is communicating the value you offer, along with effective campaign tracking.

Step one is to make sure that everyone involved is up-to-date on how the campaign is doing. If you’re not currently aware of customer lifetime value, invest in determining that number. Turn to attribution modeling if you haven’t already.

As an SEO expert, you’re only as value as the decision-makers perceive you to be, and ultimately, you’re aiming to make yourself irreplaceable. How do you do this? Communicate your value early, and often, celebrating all wins. Alert decision-makers to the fact that someone offers to come in and do your job cheaper, the results you achieve will more than make up for the additional costs they incur as a result of your employment.

To do this, you must be on the same wave-length with all the decision-makers, and that makes you must agree on what the results are.

Focus on Goal Setting

With a clear definition of what the results are, it’s easier to set your smart goals for what the results will be. Setting the smart goals allows you to become irreplaceable. Setting realistic goals that the decision-makers agree with set you up for long-term success. Get the agreement in writing or via email. If there’s an unrealistic goal request, suggest that it becomes a “stretch goal” and set something that’s more realistic so you’re not pressured into something that’s impossible to deliver.

No Guarantees

Even if you do not hit a goal, you can salvage the relationship by communicating why you didn’t hit the goal and what you are changing in the future. When marketing budgets are being cut because the economy is down, having stated goals with numbers to support them can save your job.

The truth is that the economy will go south. It could happen tomorrow, next quarter, or at some point within the next two years.

But, because the leading economic experts are suggesting it’s going to happen sooner rather than later, it means SEOs need to prepare themselves – and get ready to thrive. Why? What SEO does for a business has a direct affect on their bottom line – and when the work you do improves it, you can solidify your place as a partner to keep your income on steady ground.

But to survive the decline, preparation is necessary. Start setting goals with the decision makers. Come to an agreement on what success looks like. And do the work to serve the client well. Do these things, and you’ll make it through the slump quite well.

Categories
Digital Marketing

Using Google Analytics Events to Track Even More Data

Google Analytics is a highly valuable free tool that helps you learn about the people who are visiting your website and what they are doing while they are there. Over on my agency blog, I’ve written a post about using Google Analytics to track social media campaigns, but this one’s a bit different because rather than focusing on goals, we’re focusing on events – which are used to provide more details about what your users are doing while they’re on your site.

It’s kind of an extension of my post about how to use Google Analytics to improve your SEO. How? Goals are usually tied to actions that affect website revenue, while events track behavior that doesn’t have to do with reaching a certain page on your website. Goals are found in the Conversions report, while events are located in the Behavior report.

By default with GA, you can see how much time people are spending on each page, where they’re coming to your website from, and in some instances, you can also see the keywords they used to find you in organic search. Using event tracking, you can expand it to include even more valuable information to guide your marketing strategy.

Event tracking is a feature that allows you to track and record interactions with various elements on your website that aren’t part of the standard tracking in GA. You can track them manually, or create the tracking code with the help of the Google Tag Manager.

Before You Get Started

You must have the GA tracking code installed on your website before you can set up event tracking and start creating events.

To make things easier when it comes time to create the events in the system, make a list of the various elements you want to track. You can track things like file downloads, clicks on outbound links, number of phone calls, video plays, form submissions, and more.

Your event tracking code contains four elements to describe the interaction with your website. These are used in your reports, so you want to be sure you think about your naming convention before you get started. This way, you’ll be better able to analyze the data once it’s collected.

The elements you’ll name are:

  • Category: A required field to name the group of objects you want to track.
  • Action: A required field to name the type of interaction, such as downloading a report or other freebie offering.
  • Label: An optional field that’s helpful for summarizing what the event is about, such as clicks on a navigation menu option.
  • Value: An optional field that can be used if you want to assign a numeric value to your file download, so you can track which files are more popular than others. Just be sure you track which files are associated with which values.

You should also decide whether you want to set up automatic event tracking or manually tag the links on your site. If you have a lot of documents and page elements you want to track, it is helpful to handle it all automatically.

Automatic tagging is handled in Google Tag Manager and works when the following occurs:

  • Users click on links
  • Users submit forms
  • Users hit a certain visit duration or at timed intervals
  • Users click on any type of page element

It’s worth noting there used to be two different ways to set up event tracking on a website for standard Asynchronous Google Analytics (ga.js) and Universal Google Analytics. The Asynchronous Google Analytics (ga.js) method is now depreciated, so any advice referencing this form of tracking should be ignored.

Creating Events in Google Analytics

Manually

With the manual event tracking, you’ll create the code and attach it to the link code on the item you want to track.

The event tracking code for an event tracked link in Universal Analytics looks like this:

onclick=”ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘Category’, ‘Action’, ‘Label’, ‘Value’);”

The code is placed after the href link as shown in this example:

<a href=”www.examplewebsite.com/file.pdf” onclick=”ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘Category’, ‘Action’, ‘Label’, ‘Value’);”>

Where the category, action, label, and value variables are named according to your choices based on your naming convention.

Using Google Tag Manager

If you want to set up automatic tracking, or want to create your own tracking without manually creating the code, the Google Tag Manager makes it easy.

  1. Log into Google Tag Manager
  2. Select “Tags” from the left-hand side
  3. Create a new tag and select Universal Analytics as the Tag Type
  4. Set your Google Analytics Tracking ID
  5. Choose “Event” for the track type
  6. Set your Event Category, Action, Label and Values. You can use Google Tag Manager variable names such as {{click url}}
  7. Set your triggers as required

Make sure you’ve selected the right variables for your event. Create a new tag in the tag manager, changing the track type to event. Configure the tag by filling in your values, and choose the event the tag fires on.

Why Create Events in Google Analytics

Creating events will give you greater insights into your audience and their behavior on your website. With the resulting data, you’ll be better equipped to make adjustments to your strategy and ultimately boost conversions.

Set up custom events to track any call to action clicks, file downloads, and more. This way, you’ll be able to see how people are responding to your calls to action, how many people are taking advantage of your freebies, or which of your digital products are the most popular. You’ll even be able to see when users scroll down the page, when they click on video controls to play, pause, or stop a video, abandon form fields, move their mouse, share content, and more.

The more information you have about what your web visitors are doing on your website – and whether or not they are doing what you want them to be doing, the better you will be able to create a digital marketing and SEO strategy to accommodate their needs. Your website should never be about your business – it should be about your audience and how you can help them. Always seek to provide value and keep the spotlight on your customers.

If you’d like help with learning how to maximize Google Analytics for your marketing campaigns, feel free to get in touch.

Categories
Digital Marketing

What Does Your “About Us” Page Really Say About Your Brand?

Visit any website and you’re bound to find an “About” or “About Us” page. I don’t know about you, but I love reading this particular piece of content. It gives me a great sense of where a company came from, how it was conceived or inspired, and what the overall mission is.

…Except, of course, when it doesn’t.

Some “About” pages are hastily put together; you can tell the business owner or web developer thought it was the least important element of the site.

That’s definitely not the case – and I want to help you understand why.

Why The “About Us” Page is Important

Generally speaking, you have quite a bit of control over the first impression your visitors get when they land on your website. Unless they landed on your page from a Google search, they’ll likely end up on a landing page or even on a shop page. Beyond that, you have no control over where you visitors go next. Your job is to make sure every page is filled with compelling content.

That said, visitors who go to your “About Us” page are looking for something more. These people are looking for details. They aren’t willing to give their money to just anyone. This is the type of shopper who wants to know the story behind the company, or who wants to better understand a brand’s values, before they spend their dollars. What are they going to see when they land on the page they’re looking for?

The core elements of the “About Us” page need to answer these six common questions (hint: you learned about them in school):

  • Who – Who are the main faces behind the brand? What’s your experience?
  • What – What are you doing?
  • When – When did the brand launch? What’s your history?
  • Where – Where are you located? Where can people buy your offerings?
  • Why – Why should a customer choose you? What sets you apart?
  • How – How do you do what you do? How will you deliver the end product?

Throw in some great visuals, like a short video and some colorful photos, and you’ll be cooking with fire. Anyone who visits your “About Us” page is genuinely interested in your brand. Consider this page an important part of your relationship building efforts.

How to Improve Your “About Us” Page

Now that you know how important your “About Us” page really is, it’s time to take a closer look at what you currently have on your website. This page needs to be informative, establish credibility, and let people know you’re trustworthy.

So how can you make yours better?

Introduce Yourself

If someone were to introduce you at a party, what would they call you? Introduce the people behind the brand — first and last name. Pseudonyms are fine here; plenty of people use them and some businesses models demand more privacy than others. Just don’t leave people wondering who the mystery people are behind the brand.

Establish Your Voice

This isn’t exactly the page where you want to place a piece of tight-knit, SEO-friendly copy. Let your personal voice shine through in the writing.

Don’t get all corporate on your reader! Use humor, if appropriate. Let people get to know you a little bit.

Publish a Photo

This is optional (sort of). Choosing to post a photo of yourself (or you and your co-founders) is great, but I do understand that some people get more than their fair share of personal critique when they share stuff like that on the internet. Use discretion and make the decision that feels best, but don’t be too hard on yourself over it.

People love being able to match a face with a name. If a personal photo doesn’t work, use a real photo of your office building, workspace, or products. No matter what, do your best to avoid stock images on this particular page.

Talk About Your Why

You hear this often – especially online. People want to know what motivates you, whether it’s your family, a charitable cause, or something else. Your why appeals to people’s emotions and adds to the human element of your company.

Incorporate Social Proof

Yes, you can (and should) showcase your awards, positive reviews, and even media mentions. Allowing the public to see these things isn’t bragging. Social proof shows people you have a great reputation and helps build trust. You can certainly have a separate page for awards, but at least some should appear on the “About Us” page. Link from here to the full page if you’d like to showcase more.

Don’t Forget Your Customer

They’re what this is all about, right?

Let your potential customers know what you can do for them. Make sure your “About Us” page gives them a bird’s-eye view of your capabilities. What can you do for them? How will you make their lives easier? Do you have statistics that can backup your claims? Offer specific, measurable, statistics that prove what you can accomplish on behalf of your customers.

Don’t Be Too Modest

In other words, get over your hesitation to talk about yourself. Be proud of your accomplishments and what you’ve done with your business. The more fun you have talking about yourself, the more relatable your description of your business will be. Your personality will shine through.

They key to an amazing “About Us” page is to remember your inquisitive visitor. They aren’t on this particular page because you forced them there (or at least I hope you’re not). They’re on this page because they have chosen to learn more about you, your history, and your amazing story. Leave the fluff out, but don’t get too self-absorbed. Don’t throw up a simple paragraph or worry about making this page sound super professional and “corporate.” Give your potential customers a glimpse into the soul of your business. They’ll appreciate your honesty and transparency, and you’re almost guaranteed a new fan!

Categories
Social Media

11 Easy Social Media Graphics Tools for Businesses

As a business owner, you know the importance of having creative content on hand for your social media pages. That said, it isn’t always affordable to hire an outside social consultant or graphic designer — especially in the early stages. The good news is there are a ton of easy-to-use, effective online graphic design tools and apps to help. Here’s a few of the most popular to help you outshine the competition.

Canva

Canva is an incredibly popular tool, and for good reason. This drag-and-drop platform is simple to use, with dozens of pre-sized templates available for all of your social needs. Need something a little different? Start with a blank slate and create a custom size before you start exploring the images, frames, and features.

Canva is primarily free, but you can upgrade to a pro account or simply pay by the piece for embellishments as you use them. The a la carte method usually costs around $1 per piece. Upload your own images, use the ones Canva provides, or mix and match. It’s easy to create pieces that consistently match your brand or specific campaigns.

PicMonkey

Another great tool you can use to create complete social images is PicMonkey. It’s also free for the base, but you can upload to an inexpensive paid account for around $5/month. PicMonkey is an especially useful tool if you like creating collages with a series of products, staff photos, or even customer generated images.

Adobe Spark

With Adobe Spark, you aren’t just limited to still images. You can also create videos, animated social posts, and even full website pages. This is an incredibly useful tool for businesses who want to create branded stories incorporating different types of visual content. Start with the free version and then consider the individual plan ($9.99/month) or the team plan ($19.99/month per license).

Snappa

Have you ever looked at a gorgeous image in your social feed and wondered why you can’t get your text overlay to look as nice over the images behind it? Snappa is the solution you’ve been waiting for. This app is specifically designed to help with text design, placing a great deal of emphasis on help you get your background images and text to pair together just right. You’ll be able to darken or color the photo and alter some of the other effects, creating perfect balance.

Placeit

Ever wonder how designers make it look like their own website is on a screen within a photo? Apps like Placeit make it easy for you to create that effect on  your own. Placeit offers a wide variety of templates for both video and photos. You’ll use your own URL to grab a screenshot to insert into the image. The app does the rest!

Pablo by Buffer

Buffer created their own social media image editor, which is a great tool for anyone, but especially if you are a Buffer user to begin with. Their tool is packed with royalty-free images free for use, or you can upload your own stock choices or personal photos.

Pablo’s resizing tools are also super compared to most other sites. You’ll just have to adjust your text overlays to make sure everything is properly aligned. Or, you can use their free Chrome extension and make it even easier to use. Simple. Free. Easy!

Word Swag

WordSwag is a super fun mobile app you can use on any smartphone (and yes, that means it’s iPhone and Android compatible). There is a small cost — $3.99 for Android or $4.99 for iOS. Use it to upload images of your own; then, choose from a wide variety of text templates to create something entirely new. It’s perfect for creating gorgeous quote images or even those (hopefully) viral memes with thousands of reshares. All you have to do is create your design and upload them to your social platforms.

Piktochart

Do infographics make you drool? We love them, but in many cases they do require a bit of an investment in both time and money. Look no further than Piktochart. This app is available for free, but you can also upgrade to a Lite version ($15/month) or Pro ($29/mo). The range of templates varies greatly, so you’ll want to consider the amount of artwork you want to create on a monthly basis as you choose. Start with the free version to test it out, though!

Over

Trying to figure out how to keep your Insta stories moving along? Over helps you get your design work over with (pun totally intended) and makes it easy to upload graphics with shapes, graphics, and text. Use it to drive your stories towards a more professional look and feel. The base version of the app, only available on iOS, is free; the Pro version is $9.99/month.

Skitch

Not every image you create has to come from an original photo. Skitch is an amazing tool that lets you capture screenshots. Use them individually or collage them together to create a gorgeous panorama of images. Circle important pieces of information, blur sensitive text, or add colorful overlays. This app’s annotation features leave a lot of room for creativity.

Desygner

Desygner (we see your clever name!) is well-known for its ease-of-use on both desktop and mobile devices, though you can still use it on the web. It’s easy to use and, like so many other apps, offers a stunning library of free images you can incorporate into your designs. Everything can be customized and rearranged, from text to layers. This app is free and can be upgraded for $6.95 for additional templates and features.

There are dozens of incredible apps out there – but sometimes, that’s exactly the issue. Figuring out which works best often comes down to trial and error. Experiment with as many as you’d like and then consider investing in the upgrades only if they really work for you. Remember – the point should always be to make work easier and more efficient (not increase costs and add more tasks). With tools like these, social media graphics will be easier than ever to manage and make.

Need more help than an app can provide? Hey, we get it. Social media marketing is hectic! Reach out to us here at the office to explore how we can help.

Categories
SEO

14 of the Best Tools for Auditing Your Website’s Performance

Websites aren’t “set it and forget it” marketing tools. They need constant attention, ranging from technical function to the regular review of content. Speed, storage, SEO, and content relevancy are critical to ensuring that the right person sees your content at the right time — without becoming frustrated by endless loading delays.

In fact, a few short months ago, Google revealed their intention to start penalizing sites with slow speeds. That leaves you, the website owner or developer, in a perilous position; what if your message never makes it to your audience simply because your website’s performance suffers?

The best option for ensuring success is to partner with a professional consultant or marketing agency like Sachs Marketing Group. In the meantime, here’s 14 helpful tools to help you get started. 

Google Search Console

This is a free tool offered within the Google Webmaster app. It’s easy-to-use, which makes it great for those who are new to website management and auditing. However, Search Console only offers very basic information about page-load speed, broken links, and general errors in your HTML markup. While Google Search Console is a great place to start, you must switch to something more advanced as your business grows.

Screaming Frog

Admit it — just the name alone is intriguing, right? Screaming Frog is a tool that emulates search engine crawlers. This tool looks for technical errors that will impact your SEO, including duplicate content pages, canonicalization errors, metadata issues, and more. The free version limits you to 500 pages, but that should be more than enough for smaller and newer sites.

SiteAnalyzer

This is another free tool, allowing for up to 20 website checks per month. (You must upgrade to the paid version for more.) SiteAnalyzer reviews 50 separate parameter settings, including SEO, content, design, performance, and accessibility. Each section will receive a score, and the dashboard will let you know which items need attention while flagging the critical items for immediate review. This is an excellent tool, but there is one major drawback — it does not work well for multi-language sites.

MySiteAuditor

This is a helpful tool for agencies as it can be integrated onto a website and used to generate leads. MySiteAuditor is based on Google’s algorithms. While its features offer deep checks, much like the other tools on this list, it also completes extra keyword reviews to further enhance your SEO strategies and efforts.

Moz Crawl Test

The Moz Crawl Test tool works brilliantly for combining website functionality and SEO into the same neat little package. It’s great for identifying redirect issues with your server, and for finding problems that are preventing the search engines from crawling your site on a regular basis. Like the others, though, it isn’t foolproof – you still need to interpret the results and apply the appropriate fixes.

SEOPTIMER

SEOPTIMER is a Chrome extension you can download, install, and use from your browser. It takes a few seconds for it to crawl your website; then it passes along handy suggestions for improved SEO. SEOPTIMER is unique in that it provides information on SEO, usability and performance while analyzing site security and social integrations. If you use this tool to analyze your site, you can also download white-label reports loaded with helpful information.

HubSpot’s Website Grader

This tool is amazing for analyzing website metrics. HubSpot’s Website Grader looks at all elements of performance, mobile readiness, SEO, and security. Missing your SSL certificate? The grader will let you know. You’ll receive a score between 1 and 100 along with a detailed report with suggested updates.

SEMrush Site Audit

One of the best features of the SEMrush Site Audit tool is the historical analysis function. This browser-based tool saves reporting information after each crawl. You can then track what changes you’ve made and run a comparative report to identify exactly which revisions helped and which hurt. Use this auditing tool to identify (or even reverse) negative SEO influences.

Woorank

The free version of Woorank is limited (you can only run a certain number of reports), but it’s still useful. It analyzes website data and provides you with several presentation, creation, and slide organization options. It’s best for entrepreneurs or agencies who need to present clients with statistics or monthly reports.

Alexa Site Audit

Yes, Alexa…the one and only Amazon audit platform. She can turn on your lights, play music, and even conduct a SEO audit for your website, if you’re so inclined. Alexa Site Audit lets you schedule audits and then prompts you to review them – so you never forget to take action on a negative evaluation or performance. Afterward, Alexa will issue a report highlighting opportunities to improve best practices, suggestions for solutions, and tips for prioritizing your updates.

BuzzStream

BuzzStream is a great tool for monitoring your site’s link building efforts. It lets you monitor whether links pointing to your site are active or not. It also tracks communication and customized emails sent out to site owners. Use it to create and issue custom emails from within the platform or use the search function to find industry-related sites to approach.

Benchmark Hero Solution

Running an e-commerce site? Benchmark Hero Solution works well for managing online stores. It reviews your product pages to make suggestions with helpful improvements for both traffic and conversions. You’ll receive a site audit, a report comparing your site to top competitors, and a list of action steps. Best of all? It’s free.

DeepCrawl

DeepCrawl’s performance reports contain a ton of detail. It can also crawl hundreds upon thousands of pages at a time. Your dashboard highlights your domain’s overall score, page-loading times, and a myriad of other useful details that can help you make informed decisions about how to move forward. Use DeepCrawl to manage your entire SEO team, creating, assigning, and managing tasks right from the dashboard.

Check My Links

Check My Links is a simple tool for web designers that crawls internal and external pages to make sure they’re working. It’s packaged with plenty of capability; use it to review link-rich pages or quickly find which links on a page work and which are broken. Make corrections as needed before you make new pages go live.

There are dozens of great tools you can use to analyze your site’s performance. These are just some of the most promising on the market right now. Take advantage of some of the free options and trials before committing to a tool for the long-haul. No matter which you choose, you’ll be pleased with how easy they are to use and how quickly you are able to improve your site’s performance.

Categories
SEO

7 Keyword Research Tips for Marketers

It doesn’t matter if you are marketing for a large national brand, a small local business, or a privately owned blog that’s just looking to gain a little bit of traction. One of the first things you need to do before starting any sort of campaign – paid or organic – is keyword research.

While we’d all like to think we’re naturals when it comes to marketing, keyword knowledge really does require research. The information you find will help you to better utilize the keywords that are actually relevant, as opposed to terms we thought or hoped were relevant but really aren’t helpful at all.

To help you wrap your head around this complex topic, I’m going to go over the basics and then touch on a few more advanced strategies. I think you’ll really get a lot of use out of this!

Understand What Keyword Research Is (and Isn’t)

Keyword research is basically the work you do to determine what words people are commonly using in the search engines to find content like yours. A well-developed keyword strategy will have a set series of keywords for each of the relevant topics for a business website. While these keywords are used in both paid and organic campaigns, they may also be used to help you name product features and generally optimize your website as well.

Keyword research is not simply sitting down and brainstorming a list of terms that relate to your content, product, or service. You’re an expert in your field, so you are already familiar with common terms that relate to what you have to offer. Those common terms are usually not what the average person types into Google.

Plan Your Keyword Research

When you start your keyword research, your goal is to identify what words you are already ranking well for so that you can understand their position. You also need to identify which words you’d like to rank for in the future, but aren’t succeeding with right now.

The keywords you end up with need to be sorted into three main categories. The first is organic terms that help with search engine visibility. The second is the low-hanging fruit you want to improve upon. And last, but not least, are the keywords you’d like to use in PPC campaigns because they aren’t getting the search engine visibility you’d like yet.

Choose Your Tools

There are dozens of keyword research tools on the market today, but sometimes the best ones are the free ones offered right at the source. The Google Keyword Planner is offered within the AdWords dashboard and is considered one of the best places to get started. You can use it to create keyword lists, groups, traffic forecasts, and plenty of new keyword ideas. This is a great tool to use if you plan on incorporating both PPC and organic SEO at the same time.

Moz’s Keyword Explorer, Market Samurai, SEMrush, and Keyword Tool are also useful tools for keyword research. Some can be used in conjunction with Google’s Keyword Planner. This is especially useful if you need to find more long-tail keywords to incorporate into your campaign.

Utilize Google Suggest

Not sure where to start with your keyword research? Simply start typing a keyword into the search engine and see what comes up in the dropdown box of suggestions from Google. These are real options based on things that already exist on the web, so they’re worth paying attention to. You can use these terms to jumpstart your keyword research and to create new content ideas for your website pages.

Don’t just rely on exact phrases or phrases that start with the phrase you are typing. For example, I could type “best Philadelphia” and get results like best Philadelphia restaurants, best Philadelphia cheesesteak, best Philadelphia suburbs, best Philadelphia museums, and so much more. You need to drill down further to get at the real meat.

If you want to expand on those options, try typing “best _ in Philadelphia.” You’ll likely get some similar results, but you’ll also see different options as well, like best pizza in Philadelphia, best brunch in Philadelphia, and best breakfast in Philadelphia. You can insert the underscore in different spots in long-tail phrases for a wide variety of results.

Look at Your Competitors

You really need to understand what your competitors are doing in order to rise above them. Try using Keyword Planner to spy on what those in your niche are doing – especially those that always seem to be doing well. Just swap in your competitor’s URL instead of your own to get ideas from the keyword tab. You can also use the group ideas tab to get a better idea of what topic themes you should be building upon.

Focus on the Seasons

The term “seasonality” generally refers to the time of year your business does best. In terms of keyword research, it involves finding ways to make common terms that are incredibly competitive a little more viable for your business. For example, let’s say you are marketing coffee beverages.

What type of coffee beverage can you market during the cool winter months as opposed to the hot summer months? What recipes work best for each season? Different seasonings and flavors are more popular at different times of the year, but not just the meteorological seasons or the holidays. What groups of people focus on coffee consumption throughout the year (think freelancers, office workers, etc). What long-tail keywords would help you to focus your coffee product towards specific groups or seasonal events?

Explore Branded Keywords

Believe it or not, branded keywords do pretty well on Google. You don’t necessarily need to be a major brand to take advantage of this type of keyword creation. For example, if you sell running shoes you might search for keywords based on specific brands, like “Saucony running shoes” or “Hoka running shoes.” When you search for those terms you’d hope the big brands rank on the first pages, but you may just find a lot of smaller stores who carry their products are ranking very high as well.

Keyword research takes time, but if you do it right, it will help you to create a wealth of usable, searchable, popular content for your website, PPC campaigns, and organic marketing strategies. Never be afraid to experiment with or change up your keyword choices. While some keywords are standard go-to phrases, others may change month-to-month or season-to-season. Stay on top of your research, and don’t be afraid to reach out when you need a little help.