Author Archives: helencey

5 Free Google Tools to Upgrade Your SEO Strategy

There’s plenty of place for paid tools in SEO. But if you’re just getting started or lack the budget necessary for fancy tools, there are still many resources available.

In this section, we’re going to incorporate five favorite FREE Google tools, and how they can help you raise your SEO game.

1.Google Trends

Google Trends is used to track the “trends” around search queries. This makes it a great tool for keyword research.

Finding new keywords

When you go to Google Trends, you’ll see a search bar where you can input a broad topic or specific search query. Upon entering your query, you’ll be presented with a trend chart of interest in the query over time.

While this may be useful, the real gems are at the bottom of the page: Related Topics and Related Queries.

By default, these boxes will both be set to “rising.” This means that these topics and queries are currently gaining traction. These are the keywords that you may want to capitalize on quickly, as you could be a first-mover and gain rankings quickly.

Advanced keyword research

Even at a base level, Google Trends is helpful, but you can always take it a step further. Across the top of Google Trends, there is a menu that allows you to specify a region, period, category, and search platforms.

The region allows you to determine where you want to pull search data from geographically. This can be especially useful when working on local SEO projects.

The category allows you to select the category you’re competing in. This is a nice feature for people who offer a service in a specific industry, or who have an extremely common query.

Search platform allows you to refine the data to specific platforms such as YouTube Search, Image Search, Google Shopping Search, and News Search. Search platform modifiers are great for those with an integrated SEO plan.

2.Rising Retail Categories

Though it’s almost impossible to predict what the Next Big Thing is going to be in e-commerce, you can still stay on top of the game with Rising Retail Categories.

This is Google’s compilation of data on retail. On it, you’ll find currently trending product categories and the searches around them, as well as where exactly they’re trending.

As an e-commerce SEO, this can give you a good idea of which products to focus on for the most potential impact.

As an enterprise local SEO, you can use this data to determine which products to focus on in each market.

3. Visual Stories

Google summarizes Visual Stories as “Bite-size visual stories for busy marketers, driven by trending topics and data from Google.”

These stories range from holiday shopping trends to specific industry case studies, and more. They’re interactive slides, each with a few insights or data points.

For example, there’s a Visual Story about the automotive industry. Throughout the story, there are data points shared to give insight into how the pandemic has affected the car-buying process.

These data points don’t just focus on search data, though. This has been a full-on case study by Google. Some insights are shared to address the desires, experiences, and perceptions of the audience.

This information can easily be used to change the user journey, including the things that matter to the customer earlier on. It could also be used to address pain points that hadn’t been previously uncovered, or, on a more basic level, give an SEO an idea of what keywords to focus on.

4.Grow My Store

Grow My Store is a fantastic tool for those selling a product either online or in person. Grow My Store tests sites for Google Identifiers for Successful Online Stores.

These identifiers are broken down into five categories: Product Information, Store Details, Personalization, Customer Service, and Security.

This tool hands over Google’s idea of the must-haves for a product-selling business website. Some of the components included are product reviews, profiles for shoppers, live chat, and HTTPS.

To use Grow My Store, you simply answer three questions: what is your domain, what type of business do you have, and what industry are you in? Once you answer the questions, you will see a preview of your report with your overall score and some data around your industry. To get your full report complete with recommendations, you have to create an account. The report is then sent to your email.

You then get an account where you can create (and track) a checklist of changes that need to be made — according to Google.

In addition, you’ll get customized data and insights based on your industry. To find this data on Grow My Store, in the menu, select “Reach More Customers.” If you scroll down a bit, you’ll find a section with the heading “Understanding industry trends.” Here you’ll be able to choose your industry and specific category to get specific information such as top searches in that industry, top months for the industry, and so on.

5.Test My Site

Another great tool for measuring your site in the eyes of Google is Test My Site. Much like Grow My Store, Test My Site tests for three very specific categories of features on your site. These features are Speed, Personalization, and Experience. Unlike Grow My Store, Test My Site is for any website, not just product-based business sites.

The first report you will get from Test My Site is a mini-report that breaks down your mobile site speed and any recommendations for fixes. There is also a tool to show the potential ROI of speeding up your site.

If you want even more information, which you will, you can sign up to get the full report. The full report is emailed to you and breaks down recommendations and explanations for both marketers and developers.

Bottom line

While Google can often be cryptic about what they care about on websites, they’ve created quite a few resources that can give you insight into what they find important. Using these tools can easily get you a step ahead.

It’s not just about the tools, though. In 2021, data is more important than ever, and who better to get data from than The Giant themselves?

Now, go forth and be excellent — using free stuff!

Why Outsourcing Email Marketing is Important for your business?

Email marketing may seem like it’s just one small aspect of your business that you can DIY. But it carries huge weight because of its return on investment (ROI) potential. According to a survey, email marketing is the leading source of customer acquisition and retention among 80% of small businesses.

Email is a connection you have with customers that can keep them loyal for life, and it takes consistent, high-quality content to keep the connection strong. Businesses that aren’t leveraging expert help from professional email writers won’t benefit from the same competitive edge. 

Here are four reasons to start outsourcing right away:

1.Save Time for Scaling Your Business

Marketing can take up most of the time you spend running your business. To grow, you have to outsource tasks at some point. When you’re not busy with the day-to-day tasks like creating and sending out emails that support your marketing campaigns, you can work on better strategizing your campaigns.

By focusing on your email marketing campaigns at the big-picture level, you can optimize for higher performance on every email you send out. Plus, you’ll have more time for other aspects of your business, knowing your email marketing is in experienced hands.

2.Improve Email Frequency and Consistency 

When you’re doing email marketing on top of all the other tasks in your business, your email list runs the risk of being neglected. If you “ghost” your audience they might forget about you. Email consistency is crucial for building loyalty and trust. 

Outsourcing your email marketing means you aren’t limited to what one person can accomplish. Since you have a team doing the work around the deadlines you set, you can stay consistent no matter what your schedule is like. You’ll be able to plan out your email campaigns for the next several months and have a team member queue emails up to send automatically at scheduled times.

3.Leverage Experienced Email Writers

If you’re not a writer, that alone is a reason to outsource emails. It doesn’t matter if your grammar is impeccable. What it takes to keep readers’ attention is sharp, punchy copy, and writers who write marketing emails for a living have more experience with this. They can improve the written quality of your emails in a way that directly impacts your bottom line.

Besides polishing up your text, a freelance email marketing writer can even make your copy more persuasive, helping you convert more sales through email. All you need to do is provide them the links you need to be included and let them know the goal of each email they’re writing.

4.Make Your Emails Look Professional

Have you ever wondered how to make the beautiful graphics from brand campaigns you’ve seen in your inbox? In addition to having an effective writer, you also want a graphic designer who can put together the best email newsletters. Especially for e-commerce brands, visuals are crucial in email marketing because they can make emails look virtually shoppable.

On Fiverr, some freelancers can design custom-branded email templates. Your team can use these again and again to create more engaging emails that raise your conversion rate. Also, work with email writers who embed media such as GIFs and images into email content to make emails more interesting to read.

Outsourcing Your Email Marketing for Higher Returns

Your job as a business owner is to strategize at a big-picture level. If you’re busy creating content, it’s difficult to see the grand scheme of things and analyze the results of specific strategies. By outsourcing your email content creation, you can focus on creating the most strategic, optimized campaigns. Fiverr Business is a platform that connects you with a virtual talent for your outsourcing needs. Or, to get a quick project done, you can order a gig from the Fiverr marketplace.

Secure Cloud Hosting And Storage For Your Business

When an organization decides to start using secure cloud hosting storage solutions, one of the first questions that usually comes up is how to secure data that is loaded to the cloud. In this post, you’ll know about secure cloud storage for business, and what you should be looking for to keep your data safe.

Secure Cloud Hosting – What To Look For

At a minimum, when shopping for secure cloud storage for business, you should be looking at:

1. How much support the cloud service provider (CSP) can/will provide
2. Levels of encryption
3. Speed (both in terms of accessibility and in upload/download times)
4. Their experience working with companies like yours
5. The cost for the services and support offered

Types Of Secure Cloud Hosting Environments

There are three basic environment types of secure cloud hosting:

1. Private: in-house
2. Public: built and managed via a third-party, and
3. Hybrid: a combination of public and private

The type of secure cloud storage for the business you choose will depend largely on time and resources and the availability of space and personnel to build and maintain storage servers. Because of these factors, many companies choose to partner with third parties to help them with their secure cloud hosting solutions.

Common business models that provide secure cloud hosting include, but aren’t limited to, software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). 

Additional Ways For Keeping Cloud Data Secure

How to secure data is not just about the CSP you’re using, but also how you use it. For example, if you have a single login for everyone on your team to use, that’s not very secure. But, if all of your team members have their credentials, and each person is given only the access they need to specific files, it’s significantly more secure. When using secure cloud hosting it’s a good idea to:

1. Require strong passwords and multi-factor authentication
2. Only give the users that need access the clearance to view the data most relevant to them
3. Utilize a web application firewall (WAF) when accessing your secure cloud hosting to block malicious traffic
4. Encrypt data before you load it
5. Backup data off-site regularly
6. Use website scanning tools

It’s often said that the best defense is a good offense. And, when you have security top of mind, you’re miles ahead of companies who don’t proactively take steps to secure their data.

Why Cold Storage Is So Hot Right Now?

The world is generating and storing more archival data than ever before. That’s why cold storage is the fastest-growing segment in storage. There’s a major disruption underway. As more and more bits are stored, cloud providers are reinventing their architectures with accessible archives to manage all that data.

Why go cold?

As we enter the Zettabyte Age, the more data is stored, the more it costs. The largest pools of data are typically unstructured or semi-structured data, such as video footage, genomics data, or data used to train machine learning and AI use cases. Cold or secondary, storage is less expensive than hot, or primary, storage. It makes sense to store data that is not actively needed in pools of cooler storage at a lower cost.

The biggest consideration is how frequently you need to access the data, or how readily available you want it to be when do need it. Today’s cloud storage service SLAs are based on how often data needs to be accessed and how long a customer is willing to wait. For some cloud providers, data stored in a cooler tier might take five to 12 hours to access, whereas nearline data is stored in a warmer tier and available immediately but at a price.

Aside from cost and accessibility, the third factor is a psychological one. It almost goes against human nature to delete anything in case you might need it sometime down the line. You never know what data is going to be valuable later on.

Cold storage options to date

Until now, most secondary (cold) storage has been contained on either tape or hard disk drives (HDDs), with hot data moving to solid-state drives (SSDs). Today at least 60% of all digital data can be classified as archival, and it could reach 80% or more by 2025, making it by far the largest and fastest-growing storage class while presenting the next great storage challenge.

Tape is less expensive than HDDs but has much higher data access latency so it is a good option for cold data storage. If the value of data is related to the ability to access and mine it, there’s an order of magnitude difference between storing it on disk versus tape.

In other words, data accessibility increases data value. HDDs are evolving to next-generation disk technologies and platforms that enable both better TCO and accessibility for active archive solutions. Advancements in HDD technology include new data placement technologies (i.e. zoning), higher areal densities, mechanical innovations, intelligent data storage, and new materials innovations.

Future cold storage technologies

Hyperscalers, who house the largest pools of data, are looking for the most cost-effective ways to store the ever-increasing amount of data. Thus, new tiers are emerging for cold storage with IT organizations reinventing their archival storage architectures.

With long-term data storage moving to the century-scale mark – data that needs to be stored for 100 years or more – new cold storage solutions are in development, including DNA, optical, and even undersea deep-freeze storage.

As the data generation continues growing at incredible volumes, cold storage will prove integral to preserving that data at an affordable price and with longevity. Storage innovators are creating long-term data storage solutions that make valuable data accessible both in the near term and for generations to come.

5 Straightforward Tips to Increase Email Open Rates & CTR

An email marketing campaign can deliver an ROI of up to 4400%. But it “can” and not “will” provide this return on your investment. To make sure you get a high ROI, you need to increase your email open rates and CTR.

Average Email Open Rates & CTR

First, let’s know the average email open rate and CTR in the industry. According to the survey, the open rate for emails should be between 15% and 25%, while the CTR should be 2.5%. If your email open rates and click-through ratio are lower, implement these practical tips to improve them. Let’s get started!

1. Test Your Email Subject Line

Your email subject line is everything. It determines whether someone is going to open your email or not.

You will need to stand out with your subject lines. But don’t sound too promotional that your emails go to people’s spam folders. For years, digital marketers have created email campaigns by using the same subject line formulas.

Therefore, these common subject lines can be filtered out as white noise. Your primary focus should be to land your email into the people’s inbox and not in spam. Be creative with email subject lines and do the A/B testing.

2. Stop Your Email from Going to Spam

Despite the improvement in spam filters in recent years, they are still not perfect. Even your best emails can get swept into the dreaded spam folder, never to be seen again.  The best way to ensure a high open-rate for your email marketing campaigns is to avoid flagging as spam. Make sure all the recipients have done the double opt-in to receive your emails. Avoid words like “buy,” “discount” or “cash.” 

3. Boost Your Email Sending Score

What is an email sending score, anyway? Well, it’s kind of probability that your email will reach your subscriber’s inbox.
Here are some of the best practices to keep your email from going to spam and increase email open rates:

1. Make it easy for your subscribers to opt-out of your emails
2. Include your location to boost your credibility
3. Don’t go for clickbait but click-worthy subject lines 
4. Avoid spammy words
5. Ask your subscribers to add you to their whitelist
6. Keep your email codes clean
7. Send through verified domain or subdomain and good IP address

These are a few methods you can manually do to make your email friendly to your subscriber’s inboxes.

4. Send the Email to Yourself

Sending an email to yourself first is not only a fantastic idea for your business but the entire email campaign as well. It also helps prove that your email will go to your subscribers successfully. You get to see what your subscribers will see.

Before sending an email to your subscribers, send it to yourself. So, that you can

1. See where it lands in your inbox
2. And make sure everything looks perfect

Put yourself in the shoes of your recipient while reading the email.

5. Write Clear Email Body With Click-Worthy CTA

Small mistakes can shorten your email list. So, be careful when writing your email copy. And use these tips to increase email open rates and CTR:

1. Be clear about your target audience
2. Use clear and actionable language
3. Align your email with your subject line
4. Personalize each email to the perfect level
5. Never sell before your prospect is ready
6. Talk about benefits, not features (obviously)
7. Make use of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) subtly
8. Keep your CTAs clear, concise, and eye-catchy

Bottom line

To sum up, let re-enlist the tips for you here.

  1. Test your email subject lines
  2. Stop your emails from going to spam using
  3. Boost your email sending score
  4. Send the email to yourself
  5. And write clear email body with powerful CTA

These tips and tools helped email campaigns get way better results than the industry’s average. But don’t be disappointed if you don’t get the same turnaround right away. Give yourself time to experiment with A/B testing. And you’ll crush it!

The Best Advertising Strategies for Your eCommerce Store in 2021

Online sales reached nearly $800 billion — 32% higher than the previous year. Most experts agree that the face of online retail has been forever changed by shifts in both the online shopping mindset and technology introduced in 2020.

With shoppers increasingly turning to online retailers for everything from fashion to their weekly groceries, you can’t afford to fall back on the same old advertising and marketing strategies you’ve relied on in the past.

That’s why we’re here today. To give you the information you need to make changes in your eCommerce business now. To create more effective advertising strategies before your sales start to fall behind your predictions and profit goals.

Some of the strategies we’re going to discuss today you may have heard many times before. That doesn’t mean they’re too basic for experienced eComm heads like our members and guests.

Why? Because we’ll be presenting them with our advanced eCommerce Fuel twist that you’ve come to know, expect, appreciate, and love.

So without further ado, here are four advertising strategies that will hopefully see your online store healthier and happier than ever by this year’s end:

Content Is (Still) King

Content is possibly the best strategy for advertising to your target audience with just the right information they need at just the right time.

The face of content is changing, thanks in large part to social media — and that’s where a bit of the tried and true advanced thinking expected by our members comes in.

Content marketing can do five things for your target audience, and each has a different effect on you, as the person behind the business. It can:

Educate, setting you up as the go-to expert
Engage, positioning you as a community leader
Empathize, establishing you as a “friend” and fellow “traveler”
Encourage, making you a source of inspiration and a thought leader
Entice, putting you in place as the go-to supplier for your products

Typically, and historically, eCommerce businesses have used content solely as a marketing strategy at the top of the sales funnel. Businesses use it to inform and engage prospective customers. They show how their product can solve the buyer’s problem.

Content marketing, however, should follow the buyer through the funnel — even after the sale. As an advertising strategy, content marketing can reach the buyer wherever they are in the buying process.

In the middle of the sales process — guides, case studies, emails, or online courses can show the customer how to use the product, how others have used it, and show off benefits like ease of use.

At the bottom of the funnel — social media testimonials, customer stories, and video reviews can be used to persuade the buyer to make a purchase.

Customer-created content is one of the best advertising strategies out there, after all. Word of mouth advertising is worth more to prospective buyers than all the pay-per-click, direct mail, email marketing, and other paid advertising campaigns combined.

Taking Your Show on the Road with Local Advertising

How far-reaching was your last advertising campaign? Did you simply rely on your email list, your social media, and some on-site advertisements? Strategies that exclude the old-fashioned in-person opportunities leave money on the table.

Every brick-and-mortar small business knows that the more people you can reach with your ad campaign budget, the more successful it is likely to be. And just because you have an online business, doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself to only using online advertising.

Other forms of local advertising for the eComm small business include:

1. Pop-up stores in public places like parks, fairs, and street festivals
2. In-person product demos
3. Free workshops/makeover sessions/seminars
4. Customer meet-ups — sponsoring a live event or “shopper’s party” for loyal customers and “special guests”

Going local allows you to answer questions, dispel misinformation, and show off your products in their best light.

Getting out and meeting your audience is an effective growth and sales strategy. Advertising the event can be as simple as announcements on your social media. Encourage your followers to “come on down” and “connect with us.”

Opening the Conversation — Customer-Connectedness

You may think of connecting with your customers as a one-sided issue — your business uses its social media to “talk to” your audience.

What happens in many cases is the business ends up talking at them instead of engaging in real conversations. They tell or teach, or worse — sell. All. The. Time. No real communication occurs.

How you may wonder, can talking with customers and prospects be utilized as an advertising or marketing strategy?

It’s simple. Eventually, customers become your brand ambassadors, doing the bulk of the advertising and reaching out to you. Engage in enough conversations via social, forums, SMS texting, and in-person events to turn customers into a friend as well as a source for your products.

We are social creatures and getting to know the people behind the companies we support is important. We go from feeling like just a customer to a family member. Connecting with customers is another strategy you simply can’t afford to use

Follow-Up Advertising: Keeping Them Coming Back

Did you know that a large majority of small business owners — both online and off — don’t engage in any form of follow-up marketing or advertising?

They instead spend all their time, effort, and energy on drawing in new customers, making new sales, acquiring new leads.

And yet, study after study shows that this strategy is flawed in so many ways. Here are just a few of the inherent problems:

1. Converting a new customer costs 6 times more than making a sale to an existing customer.
2. The likelihood of making a sale to a new customer is between 5 and 20%, while it’s between 60 and 70% for an existing one.
3. Loyal, repeat customers are worth 10x their initial purchase over their lifetime.
4. 62% of customers feel content helps foster customer loyalty.

A follow-up content strategy involves more than just a “holiday sale” or “new product” email. You can use any or all of the following content in a follow-up, customer loyalty-building strategy:

1. Resource lists of other content that can help get the most out of a customer’s purchase
2. A monthly “preferred customer” newsletter with after-sale product info and discounts
3. Preferred customer events like invitations to pop-ups and connection events, exclusive AMAs via Zoom, and virtual “private shows” of new products and product lines
4. Personalized content such as thank you cards or emails, birthday cards, customer anniversary recognitions, and shout-outs to top monthly or weekly contributors to your social media

Using any one of these advanced ideas for advertising your eCommerce business will more than likely increase your sales. Utilizing more than one strategy will increase the likelihood that you’ll keep those sales numbers high.

5 Trends that can Shape Your Content Marketing

Your content is the foundation of all your digital marketing efforts. It can make or break a marketing campaign. Content acts as a connection between your customer and your brand. And connecting with your audience with authentic content will increase your results exponentially. Content Marketing is the creation and distribution of content to achieve your business or marketing goals. It can help build your brand, spread awareness about your brand, get website traffic, and drive sales.

Therefore, keeping yourself up to date on Content Marketing trends and designing your content strategy with these trends in mind is always a good idea. So, let us have a look at some key Content Marketing trends that can help you shape your content strategy 

  1. Authenticity and Transparency
  2. Create Visual Content
  3. Brand Storytelling
  4. Ads as a Part of Content Marketing Strategy – Content Advertising
  5. Aligning Social Media with Content Marketing

Authenticity and Transparency

Content Marketing is all about providing value to your audience by educating them. In doing so, you communicate a sense of authenticity and transparency through your content, building trust towards your brand. Hence, authenticity and transparency are the two most important factors that help add value to your content.

The best way to provide value through Content Marketing initiatives is to create content that:

  • Aligns with your overall message and mission.
  • Helps your target audience accomplish their goals.
  • Makes your audience comfortable engaging with your brand in the future.

Now, let us go ahead and understand “Why do readers respond to transparency?”

There are two key elements that transparency affects – Value and Trust

People value content mainly for its usefulness and transparency helps make the content more useful. By providing high transparency like personal examples and experiences in detail, you help the reader see your advice in action. When your content is backed by personal stories and experiences, it adds value to what you are trying to convey. It moves you from an advice-giver to a credible source of information and real solutions.

And then there’s trust. When people read a product review or case study, their skepticism radar is at high alert. Hence, earning a reader’s trust is not an easy task. But transparency goes a long way when it comes to building trust with your audience.

Now, coming to “Why readers respond to authenticity?”

Honesty and authenticity build trust for your Content Marketing efforts simply because authenticity cannot be faked. It requires a commitment to delivering through on promises and engaging in an honest level.

Your audience expects you to be reliable. Instead of just talking about your products or services, the key to drawing in an audience is to create reliable content that they can relate to. Providing authoritative content in an honest way builds a foundation for your current readers and potential future connections. 

Your brand will always work better with authentic content as your audience will stick around because they know they are learning only what’s real and reliable.

Create Visual Content

People do not like reading anymore. Videos, on the other hand, are the way people like to see content these days. Most people prefer visual content rather than text because it is easier to consume and understand. To make the best of this favoritism, brands are continually thriving to incorporate videos into Content Marketing. Include more visual content in your content strategy, be it infographics, photos, videos, or memes, take your pick and start creating. 

When it comes to visual content, videos will continue to dominate. According to a study by Cisco, videos will constitute 82% of online traffic by the year 2021. This indicates the increasing importance of videos for Content Marketing. What makes video content so popular among brands is its ability to deliver varied content in a captivating form. Videos can be used to drive awareness about your brand or feature the inspirational journeys of your customers. Video content makes the audience connect with your brand even more. The important factors to remember while creating visual content are 

  • Be engaging and unique
  • Be relevant, and 
  • Make sure your content is mobile-friendly. 

So, if you haven’t already started using video content in your Content Marketing strategy, this is the right time for you to start. The secret to success is experimenting with new things without becoming immediately addicted. Try and test new formats and mediums, but also be willing to ditch them soon enough, in case they do not work for you. The only thing that matters is that your content has to provide value to your audience.

If you have already been working with long-form content, it could be beneficial to test out shorter, bite-sized formats, like Instagram and Facebook stories. Or if you have been focussing on shorter video content, try testing longer-form content that can rank well in search, increase traffic, and offer SEO benefits. Take time to plan out a solid content strategy that attracts your ideal customers, serves your current audience, and works towards your broader goals. 

Brand Storytelling

We all know the power of stories. They add color, humanity, life, and meaning to our communications. Now, imagine blending a beautiful story into a Content Marketing campaign. The undeniable power of stories gives your marketing the ability to attract an audience. Storytelling gives your content life and makes it relatable, understandable, and personal. It is a big topic for marketers. Stories engage people, and people tend to remember them more than almost anything else.

Brand storytelling Content Marketing is the art of developing a narrative about your company which makes it easier for your audience to relate to who you are and what you do. It engages customers on an emotional level, so they see dealing with you is the right choice for them. Brand storytelling is about sharing your experiences and how you engage with your customers. 

How to create your brand story?

Understand Your Customer – Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and understand the challenges they face. Remember to make your story customer-centric and advertise your product as a product that helps them change it for themselves.

Be More Than What You Do – It’s important to give your potential customers a compelling reason to buy from you. You need to give them a value-based reason why they should turn to you.

Be Honest – Your story needs to be authentic even if it sometimes means talking about your failures. An underdog story is more appreciated than a fake successful one.

Ads as a Part of Content Marketing Strategy – Content Advertising

Content advertising means creating content to promote it through paid distribution channels. Depending on the purpose of your content and the potential audiences, you can use a variety of paid channels to get your content out there. This can include paid social, PPC campaigns, sponsored placements, and any other type of paid promotional opportunities. The idea here is to combine digital marketing and Content Marketing under one umbrella to drive sales.

When it comes to ads, the takeaway is to brainstorm what makes a person click on your ad? What does a customer expect from your brand? Once you have a clear picture of this, you’ll be able to devise the ad copies that your brand needs.

Here are the key points to keep in mind for Content Advertising-

  • Know your audience.
  • Set your business goals precisely.
  • Always invest in quality content.
  • Repurpose concepts from top-performing organic content.
  • Experiment with new ad formats.
  • Conduct A/B testing for results.

Any content format can be created as part of a content advertising campaign. For instance, you could create a whitepaper focusing on common problems in the industry and promote this through paid social ads. Moving forward, let us have a look at some of the advantages of content advertising.

The biggest advantage of content advertising has over organic Content Marketing is that it doesn’t rely on search or discoverability. That means if you’re paying to promote your content, you don’t have to worry about appealing to a wider audience, or trying to appease the SEO gods to make an impact. You just need to find your audience and use whichever distribution channel suits your requirements.

Another advantage of content advertising is that it enables you to zero in on laser-focused topics that may be considered too niche to succeed organically. It means you can find specific points and tailor your content to meet the needs of your customers. 

Remember, leveraging user intent and understanding the pain points of consumers in your conversion funnel is crucial to the success of any content advertising campaign. Make sure that your content is going to the right people, with the right offer, at the right time. 

Aligning Social Media with Content Marketing

Content marketing and social media complement each other. Here are a few elements that apply both to Content Marketing and social media marketing. To succeed in your content and social media marketing strategy, you must address them in both- 

  • Objectives
  • Buyer personas
  • Product 
  • Editorial plan

What are the Aligning Objectives in Content and Social Media?

  • Help your audience understand the subject matter specialization.
  • Entertain your audience with fun and relevant content.
  • Educate your audience on new best practices.
  • Convince your audience to buy your product with strong content.

To turn your business goals into social media goals, you first need to convert them into the marketing equivalent, then the Content Marketing equivalent, and finally into social media marketing. 

Social media is the prime vehicle on the Internet that drives your content in the right direction. It has many reliable platforms that you can use, which means you are not driving your Content Marketing vehicle on just one street. Social media can engage your targeted audience, give you a global publishing platform and reach out to a broad audience to establish brand awareness.

You must align with social media to make your Content Marketing campaigns a roaring success. This alignment needs some planning and strategy. 

Companies need to get creative and enthusiastic about spreading their content to the right people. Don’t let your investment in content marketing go to waste by sitting on some of your most valuable marketing assets.

The best 5 proven Ways to Increase Your Website Traffic in 2021

The five tips and tricks for increasing your website traffic include on-page SEO, the creation of shareable, linkable content, technical SEO, social media, and advertising. These tips can be categorized into three traffic types: organic traffic referral traffic, and paid traffic. Each source type is unique and can be increased using various strategies.

Organic Traffic

So, let’s start with organic traffic – Organic traffic that comes from a search engine where a user will “organically” discover your site in the results of a search results page. Organic traffic is most directly affected by SEO.

So, what is SEO? SEO, search engine optimization, is one of those fancy acronyms that some marketers throw around to make themselves sound super smart. Essentially, SEO is simply improving your rankings for various search terms on search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

On-Page SEO

The first element of SEO is On-Page SEO or simply optimizing your page or blog for visibility in search. A few tactics that can be implemented to achieve on-page SEO include optimizing content, URLs, and internal links.

When you decide to optimize your content for the benefit of on-page SEO, the number one rule of thumb is to include your main keyword in the first 100 or 150 words of your content, as search engines, specifically Google, have a short attention span and will hone in on the words that show up first. In addition to your keyword’s early appearance, it also needs to be repeated to ensure your chosen search engine knows exactly what your content topic is.

Similarly, you’re going to want to include your keyword within your URL. This combined with a concise URL is going to enhance your on-page SEO. When it comes to internal linking, you need to establish what your most important content is, the content you think brings the most value. This content will need to be linked repeatedly so your customers can easily navigate to said content.

Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO is the second area where you can make a big difference in your organic traffic. Generally speaking, Off-Page SEO is mostly comprised of gaining links to pages on your website from other sites on the internet. In contrast to On-Page SEO, this type of SEO gives you very little control, as it’s not a change you can make directly to your website. You can ask your buddy to link your latest blog post to their website, for example.

Enhancing your off-page SEO is going to move your web page up in the search engine rankings. The primary factor incorporated into successful off-page SEO is backlinks.

Backlinks are the foundation of off-page SEO. Unlike internal links that link to another piece of content within your website, backlinks link from one website to another. To increase backlinks to your website, write guest blogs for other businesses, format your content into a popular backlink format: infographics, list posts, quizzes, and create compelling content that others will want to link back to. One way to do this is to search for a popular industry topic and read the first one that pops up in your search engine results. Now, take this topic and write content that is 10 times better.

Technical SEO

Simply, Technical SEO is everything that doesn’t fall under the umbrella of on-page or off-page SEO. The primary goal of technical SEO, similarly to off-page and on-page, is ensuring you have a highly ranked website and heavily trafficked content.

To improve your technical SEO, you’re going to want to focus on your website, both the structure and ease of navigation. When you build your website, you’re going to want to be sure you are following a “flat structure.” This means that all of your website pages are a few links away. Search engines analyze your website structure in this way: the more clicks, the less important. You want your content to be organized and easily accessible by both your customers and search engines.

Referral Traffic

Traffic can come to your site directly from other sites, whether that’s a mention in a news article or a tag in a social media post. Referral traffic is valuable because you can assume a level of trust has been built by the site that referred a potential customer to you. In many cases, referral traffic has the beneficial side effect of increasing your SEO, in the form of a backlink, as mentioned previously.

Social Media and Other Referral Sources

According to the statistics, social media now accounts for about 3.6 billion users worldwide. Despite the warnings that documentaries, such as Netflix’s The Social Dilemma, exude in regards to the dangers of social media, people are going to continue to use the platforms and use them religiously.

No matter who your target audience is, they are likely going to engage on one social platform or another. Provide value teasers on your company’s social media platforms. An example of a value teaser would be an Instagram story with a copy surrounding a new product your business is planning to release. Within the story, you can include a link to a blog post and THAT is where you will reveal what the actual product is.

Social media can move your audience from the platform they spend hours on each day to your website in one click, generating website traffic quickly, 89% of marketers see social media generating more exposure for their company. Other referral sources include overall backlinks, guest posts, press releases, and influencer marketing to name a few.

Paid Traffic

Paid traffic speaks for itself, as it’s the traffic you have garnered from advertising promotions your business has paid for. The most notable form of paid traffic is advertising.

Advertising

Although advertising costs money and has the potential to eat into the revenue you are generating from website traffic, you can control the amount of traffic to a large degree. Plus, you don’t have to wait for other organic factors. So, there’s a weighted pro-con relationship going on here.

A few great advertising tools include Google Search Ads, targeted ads on social media, and banner ads. When you search for a certain term within Google, the first few results are bound to be ads. Your business can pay to show up in this format; while it’s costly, it does get you to the top of that results page.

Targeted ads on social media are those that appear after you talk to your friend about Cheetos and a Cheetos ad pops up on your Instagram page. Ok, not exactly. Your phone isn’t listening, but it is watching what you search and purchase. If you decide to leave Cheetos in your cart, a targeted ad is likely to pop up within your feed.

Banner ads are also referred to as display advertising, as this type of advertising is image-based. These are ads you can pay for to be displayed within a web page, usually a web page that your ideal customer base visits frequently. These ads can easily be linked back to your website.

And there you have it! A few tips and tricks that are sure to help your business generate more website traffic and move to the renowned first page on Google. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need some help along the way, feel free to reach out and book a consultation.

10 reasons why you may need a digital channel strategy?

Where do you start if you want to develop a digital marketing strategy? It’s still a common challenge since many businesses know how vital digital and mobile channels are today for acquiring and retaining customers. Yet they don’t have an integrated plan to support digital transformation and company growth and engage their audiences effectively online.

So, if you don’t yet have a strategy, or maybe you want to review which business issues are important to include within a strategic review, we’ve set out the 10 most common problems, that in our experience arise if you don’t have a strategy.

You’re directionless

Companies without a digital strategy (and many that do) don’t have a clear strategic goal for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones. And if you don’t have goals with SMART digital marketing objectives you likely don’t put enough resources to reach the goals and you don’t evaluate through analytics whether you’re achieving those goals.

You won’t know your online audience or market share

Customer demand for online services may be underestimated if you haven’t researched this. Perhaps, more importantly, you won’t understand your online marketplace. The dynamics will be different from traditional channels with different types of customer profiles and behavior, competitors, propositions, and options for marketing communications.

We’ve got marketing tools to support your research and planning. Our popular competitor analysis module in our RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path is packed with templates and matrixes to review the relative performance of your key competitors. Plus, find out more about your audience’s intent with our Google keyword planning tools.

All our marketing training will support you and your team to build a winning marketing strategy to reach, convert and retain more customers and accelerate your ROI from digital marketing. Sound good? Take your next steps to a winning strategy by getting started today.

Existing and start-up competitors will gain market share

If you’re not devoting enough resources to digital, or you’re using an ad-hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, then your competitors will eat your digital lunch!

As a member of Smart Insights, we’ll keep you updated on the latest trends and innovations in your sector. So you can stay ahead and not fall behind.

You don’t have a powerful online value proposition

A clearly defined digital value proposition tailored to your different target customer personas will help you differentiate your online service encouraging existing and new customers to engage initially and stay loyal. Developing an omnichannel marketing strategy is key to this for many organizations since the content is what engages your audiences through different channels like search, social, email marketing, and on your blog.

You don’t know your online customers well enough

It’s often said that digital is the “most measurable medium ever”. But Google Analytics and similar will only tell you volumes of visits, not the sentiment of visitors, what they think. You need to use other forms of website user feedback tools to identify your weak points and then address them.

You’re not integrated 

It’s all too common for digital marketing activities to be completed in silos whether that’s a specialist digital marketer, sitting in IT, or a separate digital agency. It’s easier that way to package ‘digital’ into a convenient chunk. But of course, it’s less effective. Everyone agrees that digital media work best when integrated with traditional media and response channels.

That’s why we recommend developing an integrated digital marketing strategy, so your digital marketing works hard for you! With your integrated plan in place, digital will become part of your marketing activity and part of business as usual. 

Digital doesn’t have enough people/budget given its importance

Insufficient resources will be devoted to both planning and executing e-marketing. There is likely to be a lack of specific specialist e-marketing skills which will make it difficult to respond to competitive threats effectively.

As a member of Smart Insights, you’ll have access to strategy and planning tools including performance and digital maturity benchmarking, and regular marketing data reports, so you can keep track of your position in a competitive landscape.

The Truth About Website Hosting Costs

Every website needs a hosting plan. Some plans start below $1 per month. Others are over $2,000 per month! To make matters even more complicated, there are more than 300,000 web hosting providers on the market today. Trying to find the best web hosting plan for your site without overpaying can feel like an impossible task. 

This guide will teach you the truth about web hosting costs. We’ve identified the top costs associated with web hosting and how to evaluate those costs as you’re shopping around. By the time you finish this post, you know what you need and what you should pay for a hosting plan that meets your needs.

Web Hosting Type

The type of web hosting plan you select will have the most significant impact on the price. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but generally speaking, here’s the order listed from cheapest to most expensive:

  • Shared web hosting
  • Cloud web hosting
  • VPS (virtual private server) web hosting
  • Dedicated web hosting

Depending on the hosting provider, cloud hosting and VPS hosting might be switched. There’s a significant price gap between each type of web hosting. The starting price of a dedicated server is roughly 20 times higher than the shared starting rate. 

Unless you’re expecting huge traffic surges out of the gate, the vast majority of new websites should stick to a shared plan. That’s the best way to save some money, and you can always upgrade down the road as your site grows. 

Contract Length

Generally speaking, you’ll need to commit to a longer-term contract to get the lowest possible rate. This is one of the best ways to save money on web hosting costs, especially as a new customer. 

Depending on the provider, plans are typically offered in 12, 24, 36, and up to 48-month contract terms. Month-to-month web hosting isn’t very common. So expect to commit to a year, at a minimum. 

Renewal Rates

Locking in a long-term contract also helps you avoid renewal rates. It’s standard practice in the web hosting industry for providers to offer low promotional rates and then jack up the prices when your contract renews. 

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like they aren’t upfront about it. But most people don’t think about the costs they’re going to incur three or four years down the road. Some providers double, triple, or even quadruple your rate upon renewal. 

Hosting Resources

Every web hosting plan allocates a certain number of resources to your website. While this might vary slightly from one provider to another, here’s a basic overview of what to expect:

  • Bandwidth – How quickly your server can transfer data. 
  • CPUs – Central processing units to handle all the requests on your site. 
  • RAM – Short-term memory for processing multiple requests simultaneously. 
  • SSD Storage – The maximum allowed size of your website.

Setup Fees and Site Migrations

Most web hosting providers offer free setups. This is especially true with entry-level packages, like shared hosting plans. However, if the provider needs to take in-depth steps to get you started, you might incur some setup fees. 

Setup fees are more common at the dedicated server level, where providers need to physically add hardware components based on your plan requests. 

Domain Registration

Normally, I wouldn’t mix domain registration and web hosting. It’s usually in your best interest to get your domain name from a domain registrar and your hosting package from a web hosting provider. That said, new websites can bundle the two, especially through Bluehost. All new Bluehost customers get a free domain for one year with a web hosting subscription.

It’s cheaper long-term to get your domain directly from a registrar. Bluehost’s domain renewal rates will be a bit higher. But overall, the added cost is pretty marginal. Most new website owners will just find it easier to bundle everything under one roof, as opposed to using different platforms for a domain name and hosting plan. 

Security

There are a handful of different security measures that should be added to your site. I’m referring to things like network protocols, spam filtering, malware scans, firewalls, and more. But you can get additional security directly from your web hosting provider. 

At a minimum, every web host should be offering you a free SSL certificate. That’s become an industry standard, and I wouldn’t recommend any host that charges an extra SSL fee. 

Managed Support and Server Maintenance

Managed web hosting has become increasingly popular over the years. The term has different meanings depending on the plan and provider you’re using, but in short, a managed web host will take care of all the server operations behind the scenes. This typically includes setup, maintenance, server monitoring, support, updates, and more. Alternatively, high-traffic websites could consider a managed WordPress plan. 

Package Extras

Every web hosting provider makes an effort to sign you up for as many different services as possible. Navigating through upsells is just part of shopping around for web hosting. With that said, you can skip the vast majority of add-ons and upsells offered by web hosts, especially the ones that aren’t directly tied to web hosting. 

Downtime

Downtime is an indirect cost of web hosting. It’s not something that you’ll see on your bill.

But every time your site goes down due to a server crash or network error, it costs you money. The type of website you have and your monetization strategy will dictate exactly how much money you’re losing. 

You can use uptime monitoring from Pingdom to see how different web hosts stack up with each other. 

Don’t just look at an uptime guarantee from a hosting provider and assume you’re in good shape. Those guarantees typically come with all types of contingencies. If they fail to meet the uptime agreement, you’ll just get credit off of a future bill. 

Always look at reviews to see what real people have to say about the uptime reliability of different web hosting providers. Frequent downtime can be costly long-term. 

Conclusion

Your total cost to host a website will depend on several different factors. I’ve identified the top ten costs associated with web hosting above. As you can see from this list, it’s fairly easy to keep hosting costs low if you understand what to look for. 

Bluehost is a favorite way to save money on web hosting. So if you sign up with them, you’re on the right track. You’ll even get a free SSL certificate and free domain name.

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