How To Get Featured Snippets

Recently I did a webinar (one of many over the past month or so) trying to stay up to date and enhance how my content performs. This one happened to be with the great Britney Muller of Moz and she covered, in great detail, the power and tactics behind the ‘position zero’ featured snippet everyone is obsessed with.

Long story short, I took great notes and I wanted to share them with you. Not only did this help me better understand a bit about all the work that goes into unlocking this achievement, but I think the overall premesse can help your content as a whole – even if you don’t get the featured spot. 

  • Pay attention to keywords that resonate with your audience
  • Give Google a helping hand by utilizing modification markups
  • Focus on your content and what you are providing to the reader

The basics on how you can get featured snippets:

Keywords

Like with any content, the key to success starts with understanding your searcher’s intent and the keywords they are most likely to use. With that in mind, know which words you currently rank for. Do you have any owned snippets? If not, which keywords would you like to have them for? This is the first step in building your strategy as understanding where you focus should be not only helps you pin-point goals and keep you on track, but also gives some great insight into how users and Google are viewing your current site and content.

Then, start leveraging what you find. Do some keyword research, no matter how tedious, and see what questions people are asking. What are common areas of interest? What problems do they have that you can solve? Identify these and then work to provide detailed, succulent answers – no willy-nilly responses here. Your responses to these topics and questions need to be lengthy and specific.

Ready to really have your mind blown? To take this step even further you can utilize Google’s Natural Language API to see how they analyze your content. This can help with articles themselves, metas, PDFs, and more to see how content would be categorized, scored, and so much more. 

Markups

I’ve known about keywords, content, and all those things, of course. In fact, I’d say I’m pretty versed on both of these aspects. However, snippet modification markups were something new. Something foreign that I had never heard of or realized was a thing. Well, it is, and they can be super helpful in giving Google a little bit of a hint on what you want. But first, what are they?

Snippet (or structured, in general) markups are:

…code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. – Neil Patel

There are many ways to use structured markups of all kinds, but the ones for snippets help you tell Google what you do and don’t want featured so they can provide the most information. To ensure you are doing this correctly, use the Structured Data Markup Helper from Google. By following the steps you can ensure all markups you want are done – including for featured snippets. But, how do you know which ones to add? Here are the 4 main markups you can use:

  • Nosnippet: to specify you do not want any textual snippet shown
  • Max-Snippet:[number]: to specify the max text length (in character count) of a snippet
  • Max-video-preview:[number]: to specify the max duration (in seconds) of a video preview
  • Max-image-preview:[setting]: to specify the max size of an image preview (none, standard, large)

Content

Here is where the fun begins. Or, at least for me since I love content. However, before we dive in, it’s important to know that there are many different types of snippets you can be shooting for.

  • Text paragraph
  • Lists (probably the most common)
  • Tables/charts 
  • Videos (Google will often splice to the section that answers the question at hand)
  • Accordion (stacking results on top of eachother)

If you are actively trying to go after a featured snippet it’s important you pin down which one of these you want to focus on (hint: this may also help you pick the type of markup you need). Then, you can work on formulating the perfect content, or even updating old content to fit one of these categories while answering questions. 

Now, let’s take things a step further. Great content, especially for featured snippets, isn’t always about just answering the best questions. If that is all it took the competition would be even crazier than it already is. No, in order to win, there are a few other things you need to add to your article or web pages to help them beat out the rest.

For example:

  • Add in a summary or TLDR (ya know, like I try to do at the beginning of my articles)
  • Use answer-type words like, “Here’s how…”
  • Remember page structure and use those common questions within your headers (oh hey, I did that too!)
  • Don’t forget simple math. Be detailed and provide accurate answers. Research has already shown that blogs over the 1500 word mark get more traffic and conversions. This doesn’t have to be the case for everything, but keep it in mind.

Before we end this, I want to point out two more things that will be critical in helping you succeed in your snippet endeavors: testing and monitoring. Not everything you do is going to work correctly, or bring in great benefits on the first try. Thats why, in order to stay ahead, you have to be constantly keeping track of what featured snippets you own, have gained, and lost. Then, start testing! Change titles, headers, markup, keywords, and so on to try and get better results than you did last time. There is always room for improvement, and the more time you dedicate to this the more success you’ll see.

Ppppssstttt… need someone to help your content thrive by using tactics like this? Look no further. Check out my marketing solutions to see how I can help your business!

Digital Marketing Strategy: The Key Elements You Need

I want to talk about digital marketing strategy, but not in the traditional sense. This won’t be all the things your strategy should include – email, content, ads… Because, more than likely, you already know all that stuff. So, then, what will we be discussing?

This article dives into the key elements you need to remember from more of an internal view. What your digital marketing strategy needs in terms of your team’s actions, the strategy set up, and the content itself. Put everything together and you can generate true success.

We’ll be discussing:

  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Creating Engagement and Connecting with your Audience
  • Marketing Integration
  • Data Analysis

Now, before you start thinking, “what the heck do these things have to do with digital marketing?” I want to take a second to make a point. The performance of your campaign is not dependent solely on awesome graphics and well written articles. Sure, they help (tons). But, in the long run, what can make or break your performance is how you present, create, and learn from these strategies. 

So, let’s dive in.

Collaboration

I could point you in all directions to various articles I’ve written over the past year about teamwork and collaboration. But, I’m going to keep talking about because it seems to be the one thing that some agencies and teams still don’t get. Your team has to work together in order to get the best results out of everything you create. 

I don’t want to ramble on and on about this, so let’s just take a look at the data.

  • 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as “very important”
  • 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures
  • 97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project

The proof is in the pudding. Err… stats. Collaboration matters. But, why? What benefit can you get by bringing different members of the team together? Well, first, it takes away some of the stress of the tasks being on just a few people’s shoulders. But also, it creates ideas, increases communication, holds people accountable, and can be the cause of things like creativity. 

Engagement

“Content is king” is a tired and old saying IMHO. The content you write doesn’t matter if you aren’t able to make it engaging. This can be done in a variety of ways by being informative, using great photos, GIFs, videos, or even venturing into podcasts. But, the point it, no matter how well you write or how well optimized a post might be, if your audience isn’t wanting to engage in the content in some way, your campaign won’t work.

Let’s back this up.

  • 65% of Americans think the content they find on the web is “hit or miss” or “unreliable.” (you don’t want to fall into this category)
  • 54% of customers think companies need to fundamentally transform how they engage
  • 80% of customers expect consistency when interacting across multiple departments

So, most customers don’t get good engagement even though they crave it. This is where your content and campaigns need to flourish. Create brand identity, interact on platforms, connect ideas, and allow your customers to also have a voice by simply asking them. The smallest things can make a huge impact, especially when most companies are missing out, and you don’t want to be one of them.

What makes a great #DigitalMarketing Strategy? Hint: it’s not all about the content!

Marketing Integration

Piggy-backing a bit off a point I made in the last section, your campaigns have to be consistent. You can promote the same things in unique and different ways, but be sure they all connect to one another. Going even further, make sure they are talking to each other.

This is something you should do with all of your marketing anyways since 87% of retailers agree that an omni-channel marketing strategy is critical or very important to their success. Meaning, you need to be everywhere that makes sense for your customers whether that means 2 platforms or 10. But, the question is, once you have these channels, how can you ensure they are all integrated?

Create marketing integration by:

  • Feature other profiles on social media (“Follow us here!”)
  • Provide links to your website
  • Generate email lists
  • Provide social links and sign up on website

These are just some of the basics. But, the important thing to remember is to create an easy way for everyone to be able to find you no matter where you are and ensure that these messages have a cohesive brand behind them.

Data Analysis

This is an easy one. I shouldn’t have to tell you that you should be tracking specific campaigns with the help of UTM codes and more while gathering weekly or monthly analytics to measure success. However, I also know that, due to time or other resources, this doesn’t always happen. 

But, tracking these metrics is important.

  • 90% of enterprise analytics and business professionals currently say data and analytics are key to their organization’s digital transformation initiatives
  • Data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result

In addition to these stats, metrics help you do one important thing – learn. Not every campaign or strategy is going to be a success *gasp*, and that’s okay. Instead of scratching your heads though when this happens, you can look to see where it went wrong. Of course, finding specifics may be difficult, but if you can pin-point which audiences loved and hated what you presented then you can take that information to be better prepared for next time.

So, let’s recap. Creating a great digital marketing strategy isn’t about WHAT you have, it’s about HOW you use it. Knowing the best ways to collaborate, engage, integrate, and measure can help take your campaigns up a notch to not only succeed but help you grow and get better at making strategies that work.

Got the time but not the ideas? Check out my marketing solutions to see how we can work together to both strategize and implement digital marketing tactics unique to your business.

Making Your Site Optimized for Mobile

Mobile. Is. Everything.

If you’re a small business, or even a large corporation, who has put mobile on the back-burner, your time to act was 10 years ago (if not more). Ever since those little devices we carry around were capable of accessing websites, you should have been looking at ways to optimize your site for the best mobile experience possible. But, I’m going to guess you probably weren’t.

That’s okay! Now, is as good a time as any especially since earlier this year Google, the leading search engine, finally announced and put into action their “mobile first indexing”. This is:

…how Google crawls and indexes the web. Instead of looking at the desktop version of the page, Google looks at the mobile version of the page. In more simple terms, Google is crawling and indexing your web page based on how it renders on a mobile phone versus a desktop computer.

If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some key mobile stats:

  • Mobile ads accounted for 63% of all digital ad revenue in 2018
  • Google drives 59.16% of all mobile search traffic
  • In 2019, 92% of Facebook’s advertising revenue comes from mobile

Long story short – mobile has to be a priority for you site to be successful. But look, I get it, it’s complicated and how do you optimize for mobile anyways? Well, that’s what we’re about to cover!

3 Ways to optimize your site for #mobile

Design

It all starts with design. In fact, you could argue that all marketing in general benefits and works off of great design. Without great colors or graphics, or even the right font how would you grab your audience’s attention so quickly? Well, the same can be said about mobile. How your site looks when viewed from any mobile site matters.

And, this doesn’t just mean iPhones. It should be noted that when considering design, be sure to “inspect” the page and change the format of the display. Is it responsive to different sizes? What happens to the page elements when you stretch or shrink the size?

Some other things to consider are:

  • use breaks and content stacking
  • font size
  • button size
  • Image optimization (check size and render time)

Speed

I once read that the human attention span is now comparable to that of a gold fish. I’m not sure if it’s completely true, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was. In a demand society we want what we want, when we want it – which is now. That means the speed at which your pages and site fully loads is critical.

In fact, most sources say that is your page takes over 3 second to load people are more likely to drop off. Now, that seems a little excessive, but it’s true. So, when looking at mobile, make sure elements, caching, etc. is set up to provide the fasted experience. Some of my favorite speed testing tools are:

User Experience

I talk about user experience all the time (sorry, not sorry). As a marketer and SEO it’s one of my main concerns, and I center a lot of strategies on how the user will interact/experience them. The same goes for mobile. Your site, content, and even speed can be top-notch, but it means nothing if the overall experience is lacking.

Wait, hold the phone. Aren’t all of those things connected to user experience? Yes, but it goes well beyond that, especially for mobile.

Creating a great experience through your mobile site also means:

  • optimal navigation based on user behavior (most popular) and functionality
  • providing 30×30 pixel space for touch screen tap points
  • minimal site content (don’t give them tons of small words to try and read)
  • reducing required inputs on the user’s part
  • consistency and brand

If you aren’t thinking about mobile, you need to be because that’s where your customers are. Today, there are 2.71 billion mobile phone users. You NEED to be catering to them, and your site NEEDS to be prepared.

Need help looking over your mobile capabilities? I can help! Head on over to my marketing solutions page to learn more.

Combining Digital and Traditional Marketing

“Video killed the radio star…”

This might be a super catchy song from the 70s, but it’s not very accurate. Truth is, video did not kill the radio star. In fact, it helped him expand his audience and grow success, and you can do the same.

The idea is to get digital and traditional marketing working together. One isn’t killing the other. Instead, when implemented correctly, they can build each other up to become even more powerful.

In this article, I’ll be looking at both digital and traditional so you can understand how they both differ and what strategies you can utilize. Then, you’ll see what it takes to combine them both for true marketing success. Let’s get started!

Digital Marketing

Most likely you know exactly what digital marketing is. But, it can be defined as:

The marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.

Going digital has helped companies advertise to broader audiences and create connects with their customers. Used correctly, it’s extremely beneficial in formulating your business. Building your website is usually one of the first things you do when you’re a young start up. And, in an expanding tech-focused world, this is important. As the years go on, not having a digital presence makes you obsolete. You simply can’t compete with your competitors.

Every industry and business is different, but there are certain digital strategies you should be utilizing no matter what. They include:

  • Social Media. Be sure to find the channels that are right for your culture and what you are selling. You don’t have to be everywhere at once.
  • Digital Ads. People hate ads, but they are still a successful tool. Prioritize budget and results when finding out where and how you should be using ads.
  • Optimization. Speaking of websites, just having one doesn’t cut it anymore – it has to be great. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, search, and your user then you aren’t going to win.

Here’s what you need to do to better understand how to combine #digitalmarketing and traditional #marketing!

Traditional Marketing

Traditional is so old school. Except, it’s really not. How we are doing traditional marketing and media has changed, but it still brings in results. Traditional marketing is:

Any type of promotion, advertising or campaign that has been in use by companies for years, and that has a proven success rate.

However, this usually refers to print. Things like billboards, mailers, posters, and more. At first glance this does seem out dated. But, it doesn’t have to be. By using these “old-fashioned” techniques in a new and exciting way, you can revolutionize the way you use traditional marketing to attract your audience and increase sales.

Some of the best strategies are:

  • Direct Mailers. These are great to use for current customers. It can make them feel special that you are reaching out to tell them about a deal or event in a unique way.
  • Radio. Using local radio stations can be a great way to enhance brand within a new market area. This is something that almost all the locals listen to.
  • Billboards. Want to reach a new audience outside your usual target? This could be the answer. Billboards allow you to reach tens-of-thousands of people every day and can help you expand.

Combining the Two

Now that we’ve discussed what both of these are, it’s time to understand how to combine them into a cohesive strategy. This helps them build and grow off each other to create optimal results. Which, can only mean one thing – marketing integration.

This is:

An approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise.

Here are some steps to make this happen:

  • Know your audience. I say this all the time, but seriously, you need to understand your audience and their specific demographics. This will help your business know how and what needs to be integrated.
  • Do a SWOT. For each type of marketing strategy you want to have work together, know their strengths and weaknesses while also being aware of any key threats that may sabotage your efforts.
  • Know your goals. In marketing in general, do not do anything without first knowing what your goals are. What are you trying to accomplish with this campaign?
  • Do the work. Now it’s time to really thing about the true strategy. How can you ensure that people on digital can receive your mailer? Or, that people that see the billboard can find your Twitter page?

The key when thinking about marketing integration is getting these two facets of marketing to talk to each other and ensuring that your audience is able to find and benefit from both.

Need some consulting to help with this for your business? Check out what marketing services I have to offer and how I can help!

4 Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business

What is your business without marketing strategies? More than likely, when you first started out you had a whole plan on ways you could network and talk with your audience. And, like most, you peaked interest. However, just like with anything, business has a way of hitting a plateau. 

So, how do you get past the slump? How do you get your audience interested again? More importantly, how do you continue to grow your business? All great questions, and I’ve got the answers.

Grow your business with these 4 #marketing strategies:

Video

Content may be king, but video is where the money is. Meaning, even though you should be utilizing all forms of content (and really, you should), most of your time needs to be invested in video. However, this doesn’t mean making tons of small clips, nor does it mean rushing to get promos out. Investing time in video means creating content that works. Even if you put out only 1 video a month, make each one of them better than the last. Research, create, edit, test… all these things help you utilize video in a new way so that you can take advantage of this content and reap the benefits.

Video Stats You Should Know

SEO

Search Engine Optimization. If you’ve been following along, you most likely have heard us mention this a few times in past blog posts. Truth is, SEO is the easiest way to grow your business – no joke. Why? Because it’s free. No money spent on programs or any of that jazz. If you have a site, you just need an SEO plug in (depending on your host) and Google Analytics to track your data. And guess what, those are free too!

Think of it this way, Google provides billions of search results every day. If you are able to optimize and come up for some of those top results, imagine the growth you could see. And, the more work you put into it, the more it pays off. 

SEO Stats Just For You

  • SEO can drive a 14.6% conversion rate.
  • 18% of organic clicks go to the page on the first position
  • The number of search engine users in the US was 213.6 million in 2014

Ads

Okay, so I’m going to mention paid methods just once in this article. It’s true ads can be tricky, but it’s also true that if used in the right way they can be extremely effective. It also depends on where you use ads. Not every company will succeed by using Google or Bing ads, test out social ads as well! Then, understand content and budget. Every platform has its own guidelines. Look into what performs best, how you should be setting up ad spend, etc. 

Ad Stats

  • Businesses make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in AdWords
  • 43% of new customers buy something they saw in a YouTube ad
  • 97% of social advertisers choose Facebook as their most useful social media platform
  •  25% of people who see a social ad, will then respond by visiting the store or website

Lead Nurturing

Last, but most certainly not least, you need to understand lead nurturing as it relates to email campaigns. Even if someone just downloads a resource or signs up for a newsletter, it’s your job to then nurture them and push them down the funnel as a way to get that sale. Email is one of the best ways to do this. Once you have their information, it’s up to you to provide. What content do they need next? Have they visited other aspects of your site? Is it worth reaching out to them for a call? Email isn’t just a way to communication or content distribution. It aids in elevating your current contacts so that you can continue to grow.

Email Stats to Be Aware of

  • Active email accounts are expected to hit 5.6 billion
  • 40% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are most critical to their content marketing success
  • More than 50% of subscribers check their personal email account more than 10 times a day
  • Segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue

So, there you have it – 4 easy to implement marketing strategies to help your business grow. Need more insights into how to implement these strategies for your business? See how I can help!

Creating A Killer Email Marketing Strategy

Many say email is dead. I disagree. Email is probably more alive than ever before, and here’s why.

Email is, or should be, your key driving force to lead nurturing. This is how you move contacts down the funnel and continue to engage with them – building brand awareness and finally getting that sale.

I know what you’re thinking, ” That sounds all fine and dandy Stevie, but how do I DO that?”. Well, let me show you. In this article I’ll be diving into the specifics so you can learn more about:

  • Organizing Your CRM
  • Creating A Customer Journey
  • Engaging With Your Audience

#Email isn’t dead! Here’s how you can create strategies that work:

Separate Your Audiences

I’m not going to beat around the bush with this one. If your contacts and CRM aren’t organized correctly, your email campaign isn’t going to work. Simple as that.

The reason is, you can’t just send out the same message to everyone. All your contacts are at different levels of the marketing and sales funnel, so you want to make sure you tailor the emails you send to each of those specific groups.

For example, a blog subscriber isn’t interested in taking a free demo. They don’t know enough about you. However, they might be interested in your free webinar or printable.

Ensure that, within your CRM, you know where people lie. Did they just subscribe? Are they interested leads? Maybe they’ve downloaded a case study and are ready to be walked through your services. Having a grasp on this and separating these individuals from each other is key to ensuring that your emails get opened, clicked, and generate conversions.

Create Engagement

After you understand how your contacts should be classified and what you need to be sending them, it’s time to actually create the email. But, is the content you provide promoting the engagement you need? In order to be sure, this is what to keep in mind:

Tip: Need some inspiration? One of my favorite tools for browsing different emails is Really Good Emails. Go check ’em out!

A Catchy Subject Line

Here’s the thing, unlike other interactions, people have to open the email first in order for them to read it. What does that mean? The initial contact, through the subject line, has to peak their interest and curiosity. If it doesn’t stand out amoung the possible hundreds of other emails they have, it’s going straight in the trash folder.

Counteract this by getting them involved first thing. Ask questions, name the thing you’re offering, tell them what to do. Make them want to click and see what else you have to say.

Content that Connects

You’ve heard me ramble on before. “Content, content, content!” But seriously guys, it’s so important to nail!

The content within your email needs to get them to read and eventually take action (more on that later). That includes both written copy and images. Here’s the thing though, you have to understand what to include and when.

Every audience is different. Some like photos, some don’t. Some like long text, others prefer to get to the point. But it doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Want to know why? Because you are in that same industry. More likely than not, you’ve been in your customer’s shoes before, and you know what they like. So, why not use that to your advantage? Then, as you build an audience and collect email data, start A/B testing to perfect your strategy.

The Hook

Hook, line, and sinker! Just kidding, I don’t know how to fish. But what I do know is how to get your email contacts to convert. Three words – Call to Action.

Your imagery and content can be on point, but no one will convert if you don’t tell them what to do.

That sounds silly, they should already know to just contact you, right? Wrong.

Leads don’t want to take an extra step in order to get in contact with you, or download your awesome white-paper. They want a one-click-and-done approach. Or, at most, to put in some info and have you call them. Why should they have to pick up the phone and give you a ring? Hint: they shouldn’t.

Instead, make the next step you want them to take simple and easy. Provide a link or a button, or even put the form right there in the email so they don’t have to go anywhere else. The more precise your action, the more willing they are to take it. And, we all know what that means *whispers: “More sales!”*.

I make this all seem pretty easy. But look, I get that it’s not. It takes testing and adjusting and more testing and so on to really get everything perfect. And then, the intention of your audience changes and you have to start all over again. But, that’s not a bad thing. You should always be looking at how you can perfect your systems.

Email isn’t dead, you just have to implement it right.

Understanding Account Based Marketing

Account Based Marketing is the latest and greatest! Okay, that’s not entirely true. ABM has been around for a while, and is a tactic that a lot of companies use. But, it is pretty great, despite the fact that it seems many people still haven’t heard of it (you’re missing out, let me tell ya).

What is account based #marketing anyways? Here’s how to find out:

Just for reference:

Sounds pretty awesome right? Well, wait until we get into the details. You’re going to want to hear more! Within this article, I’ll break it down by explaining what ABM is and how you can implement this strategy within your own company.

lead generation banner

What Is Account Based Marketing?

Let’s start with the basics. Account Based Marketing (or, ABM as all the cool kids say) focuses on viewing customers and your audience in a new way. Your strategies need to do a complete 180. This isn’t about appealing to individuals or creating personas (we’ve all created a “Karen” before). Now, you’re seeing people as actual companies and treating them as an organization. How you market to them needs to not focus on the qualities of each person, but rather, how that business performs. What are their needs? Company information? Interests?

This is especially crucial if you are in B2B as these companies have a multi-layered audience. Sam Balter from HubSpot put it perfectly:

…address the needs of an organization by connecting with all of the stakeholders within it. That’s one reason why it works so well in B2B — oftentimes you have to work with five or more stakeholders in a given sale.

Tactics You Need

Now, let’s get into the stuff that really matters – what you can do to make this work for you. First, it’s important to realize that the fundaments of this type of marketing are just like any other. You need to research, find your audiences, create killer content, and choose your outlets. Seems pretty simple right?

However, the difference is in how you perform these tasks. Remember, you aren’t treating these audiences like you normally work – you are treating them like the whole market or a large company prospect. This means the target, funnel, and nurturing process all have to be slightly different. Here’s a quick run-down.

Working together with sales (this is important!), learn about key aspects like business size, market behaviors, and profit or budget. Then, cater the content. Again, you’re casting a wide net here while also taking into account the specifics of all the different targets you have discovered. This means tailoring everything to that specific “organization”. Think of it as trying to make the deal or get buy in.

Next, how do you plan on getting these companies to see your content? If you’ve targeted individuals before, your first answer might be Facebook or even Twitter. But with ABM, that isn’t always the case. This really all depends on what is best for the specific organization or even “role” (HR, for example) you are trying to attract. Look at the different types of audiences on each of the different platforms. What do they look like? Are they business focused? Are they mostly professionals? Find out what you can and make the decision based on which outlets features more of your target.

If you’re in B2B, account based marketing is something you need to be discussing and implementing within your company – simple as that. Not only because it makes sense (I mean, that is what business to business is), but the benefits are numerous. One major word of advice – involve your sales team. Believe it or not, they may know more about your current audience than you realize, and the information they share could be critical to the success of your campaigns. In fact, if your marketing and sales teams aren’t talking to each other, you might have some bigger problems on your hand. But, that’s for another article.

Need some help implementing this marketing strategy for your business? I’ve got your back! Fill out my contact form for a consultation!

SEM for Beginners: Understanding Search Ads

SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is often confused with its counterpart SEO, Search Engine Optimization. However, the two couldn’t be more different. Besides the fact that they both use keywords and search queries as their basis of marketing, they each require unique strategies in order for them to be a true success. Okay, so what is SEM?

SEM is classified by any marketing on the SERPs (search engine result pages), mostly ads. The most common outline looks a little something like this:

  1. An advertiser bids on keywords with the amount they are willing to pay for a user to click an ad
  2. The engine ranks advertisers based on their bid and relevance to the search
  3. The best matching ad appears alongside the user’s search results

However, there is more to SEM than just bidding a budget and writing ad copy. In this article, we’ll be discussing the basics of SEM and strategies you can use within your own campaigns including:

  • Ad Rank
  • Audience
  • Campaigns
  • Optimization

Ad Rank

Ad rank is exactly what it sounds like – the way Google, or any other search engine, ranks ads in order to classify their position on a SERP. Think of it just like you would with SEO. Google sees your ads, takes certain factors into account, and then places (or doesn’t) your ad on the proper page. Sounds pretty simple right? Well, as with anything that has to do with search engines, it’s not.

Major ranking factors include:

  • Bid amount
  • Expected CTR
  • Landing page user experience: what does the page you are sending them look like?
  • Ad relevancy
  • Ad format
  • Quality Score: the 1-10 rating that is reported for each keyword in your account calculated by estimating the quality of your ads and their associated landing pages.

Rule of thumb, if you want your ad to rank well, follow the ad guidelines. This differs depending on search engine. However, most are opposed to certain wording, graphics, links, and more. Be sure to read through these and understand what is acceptable when formulating your ads.

Knowing Your Audience

I’ve mentioned before just how important knowing, understanding, and relating to your audience is. But, no where is it more important than with SEM. Why? Because of the money. You are placing a bid and setting a budget in order to place these ads, shouldn’t you be sure that they are hitting the right people?

The good news is there are a variety of tools to help you dive into what your audience looks like and what you can do to cater to them. And, even better, you can use these tools in other aspects of your marketing strategy as well!

Google Surveys

  • Test consumer insights
  • Uncover customer mindsets
  • Probe for audience thoughts on existing or past campaigns

Google Trends

  • Answer key brand questions
  • Gauge consumer search behaviors
  • Confirm hypotheses about audience interests
  • Share audience interest over time

Google Shopping Insights

  • Understand consumer awareness and mindshare for a product, from national down to city-level insights; Insights is currently available for the US market only

Google Correlate

  • Find queries that follow a similar search pattern, thereby uncovering insights that might not otherwise be visible.

Setting Up Your First Campaign

Here, I wanted to provide a step-by-step overview of how you can set up a campaign and any key elements you should be aware of. As always, these should be dependent on your specific business. Everyone is different and it’s important to test and adjust to find what works best!

Also, it should be noted that the below instructions and tips are specific to Google and AdWords. These may differ slightly depending on the platform you are using.

Getting Started

  • Select campaign settings: go to “campaigns”, hit the campaign ad type, choose to add goals, enter your website URL, give it a name, go to additional settings to make adjustments to devices and other customizations, go with the default t start things off to see how it performs, choose your location, set languages, go onto bidding and budgeting and opt out of ECPC, choose a standard delivery method, optimize ad rotation, default ad scheduling until you get a clearer picture, leave dynamic search ads alone, wait to set up campaign url settings until you have good data to start tracking
  • Create ad groups
  • Create ads
  • Review ad group

Finding Your Keywords

  • Go to the Google Ads Keyword Planner
  • Search for words or phrases related to your products or services
  • Narrow down your list by conducting research on how often words are searched, etc.
  • Look over suggested bid estimates for each keyword, so you can determine your advertising budget
  • Save these to your plan so they are ready when you go to launch your campaign

Picking Keyword Match Types

  • Broad match shows your ads based on keywords and close variations like synonyms and misspellings.
  • Broad match modifier shows your ads based on the broad match, but excludes synonyms. (+)
  • Phrase match shows your ads based on exact phrases and close variations.(“”)
  • Exact match shows your ads based on exact keywords and close variations. ([])
  • Negative match shows your ads based on searches and site visits that exclude keywords. (-)

Parts of Your Text Ad

  • headline
  • URL
  • Path fields (optional): There are two optional “path” fields, which can hold up to 15 characters. Part of your display URL, they are placed after your website’s domain to give readers an idea of the content they’ll see upon clicking your ad.
  • Description
  • Highlight what makes you unique
  • Use a CTA
  • Include sale terms
  • Match your ad to your keywords
  • Match your ad to your landing page

Ad Extensions

  • These help with visibility, performance (10-15%) and offer more value
  • Extensions show with your ad when: 1. The extension (or combination of extensions) is predicted to improve your performance. 2. Your ad’s position and Ad Rank is high enough for extensions to show. To show extensions, Google Ads requires a minimum Ad Rank.
  • You can find an overview of the complete ad extensions you can choose from HERE

Optimization Strategies

Okay, so now you have the run down on how to set up your ads and what should all be included. But, how do you make them work their very best so you can get the most bang for you buck? Once again, it’s all about optimization. Even if this isn’t SEO, you still have to adjust your ads to fit not only the needs of your audience, but Google as well. After all, it still crawls, ranks, and indexes your ads – just on a different level.

So, here are some optimization tips and tools to get your ads seen:

  • Continue to edit and refine your ads, show your best ads most often, and organize your ads into better ad groups
  • Look at keywords, targeting and reach to reach more people who are interested in what you offer
  • Always be monitoring and adjusting bids and budget to get more impressions and clicks or improve your Ad Rank
  • Collect data for about 6 months before using the google assistant to ensure that the data it uses is accurate
  • Bid Simulators: you can simulate the impact of all kinds of modifications, things like changes to your Max. CPC bid and its impact on the costs or numbers of clicks, impressions, or conversion value.
  • Campaign drafts and experiments: test and measure the impact of changes to an existing Search campaign.
  • Ad customizers: allows you to customize your ads (with the insertion of a little piece of code), so that they adjust based on the type of search being performed, where it’s occurring, or even the date, time of day, or day of the week!
  • Pay attention to the Search Term Report and the Auction Insights Report, they can be key components to your ad success

SEM, just like SEO, takes time to perfect. Your first ad campaign may very well be a flop. It’s all about learning, testing, and adjusting to ensure that your ads are not only set up correctly in the eyes of the search engine, but also offer something of value to the customers you are targeting.

Need help with your SEM strategy? I may have some experience in that field (if you couldn’t tell). Fill out my contact form for a meeting and free consultation!

5 Ways to Improve Your Website Copy

Content is important in every aspect – social, email, you get the point. But, no where is it most important than where it should all be housed. Your website. And, I’m not talking about blogs and resources (although those are obviously important as well). Beyond that, it’s time to shed some light on the most important thing on your website, and that’s the actual page copy.


This is literally the bread and butter of your site and what ultimately draws people in. Without great copy, your conversions and business suffer. So, making sure to master this element is crucial.


We’ll be looking at:
⦁ Skimmability (if that’s even a word)
⦁ Focusing on the user
⦁ Communication
⦁ Generating a conversation
⦁ Test, test, test

Get To The Point
Anyone else have a mother who never listened? No, just me? Well, I’ve heard “get to the point!” multiple times, and when it comes to writing copy it’s no different. No one wants to read an essay when trying to learn about your products or services. They want the important stuff, a few key details, and that’s that. Get on with it already!

Tip: To make this process a bit easier, focus on outlining each page. What topics will be covered and what is vital information? Then, shoot for a few paragraphs (spaced out across the page) and keep it short.

Focus on The User, Not You
It’s not you, it’s me. Except, ya know, the opposite. Rule of thumb when it comes to writing site copy – say “you” (as in, referring to the visitor) more than you say “I” or “We”, etc. Sorry to say, but no one really wants to know about you, they want to know how you can help them. Focus on recognizing and solving their issues instead of discussing your history or story. That’s what other networks, such as social media, is for.

Tip: View your visitor as a hero within a story. They are so awesome and now have a huge problem to solve. How will your tech or service help them get back to normal?

Make it easy to understand
Listen, not everyone is as technically savvy as you, and all that industry jargon is going to get your no where. Instead of trying to impress people with acronyms and big words, just give it to them straight. Make what you do and how you do it easy to understand and comprehend in the minds of the average person. It’s the easiest way to get people on board to picking you as their solution.

Tip: Give steps, examples, and more to help other’s see how your product or service can be used by/for them. Make a connection in the sense of spreading easily absorbed knowledge.

Be Conversational
No one likes to be talked at. They want to be talked to, as if they were having a conversation with you face to face. The same can be said when it comes to your website copy. There’s no reason to be overly professional. This can give off a snuddiness or cocky attitude when it comes to your product or service. Be friendly and conversational. Act like your visitor is just another one of the guys (or girls, or somewhere in between)!

Tip: Having trouble really knowing how you can amp up the conversational tone in your writing? Write like you talk. Use “And”, “But”, or “Or” at the start of a sentence (I do). When it comes to great site copy, some grammar rules don’t apply. Blog content, though, is another story depending on your audience.

Never Stop Evolving
I may not have mentioned it much in past articles (don’t worry, it’s coming), but one thing that any marketing strategy needs is testing. Ads? Test. Social post? Test. Images? Test. What about site copy? Yes, test! Change up wording in certain areas and see how your page performs. This is a great opportunity to really dive into brand, tone, personas, and more. You may learn more about not only your business, but your audience as well.

Tip: Testing is when it’s time to become one with your analytics. Any pages not performing well? Try changing up the copy. Or, have a scrool depth goal that is suffering? See if you can add in a CTA or fun copy to keep people interested. Like anything in marketing, understanding what is working and what isn’t only better sets you up for success in the long run.

Website copy, strategy, analytics? Yikes! I know it can be overwhelming. But, that’s why you have me! Or, more accurately, that’s why I’m here to help if needed. Fill out my contact form to get started on your consultation.

What it Takes to Create A Content Funnel

I’ve talked about how to expand on your content and how to create the best content quite a few times. However, one key aspect that hasn’t been covered yet is probably the most important – creating the strategy with the help of a content funnel.

Before any content is created, it’s important to understand the different personas of customers/clients you have and what each level of the funnel looks like for them. Then, you can decide what type of content (including title and even an inspire link) should be present at each of these stages.

In this article we’ll be discussing:

  • Each element of the content funnel and the strategies to incorporate
  • Different types of content to utilize
pillar pages banner

Awareness and Attract

First thing’s first, in order to eventually get the lead, you need to make sure that your target audience is aware of you. In order to do this, you have to create content that will attract and engage with them as a way to get them interested in your product or service.

This type of content is referred to as TOFU (Top of the Funnel). Here are some types of content this might include:

  • Quizzes
  • Calculators
  • Infographics
  • Stats
  • Question-based blog articles
  • Videos

Tip: This is where you get to have fun! Showcase your brand, mission, and products/services in an engaging way that will get attention.

Evaluation and Research

Next comes the evaluation aspect. This is when a qualified lead (someone who meets your sales criteria) has discovered your brand and decides that they want to know more. They may also be researching other companies during this time so it’s important to ensure that the content you create stands out in this area.

Content that caters to those still researching and wanting to know about your brand is called MOFU, or Middle of the Funnel. This consists of:

  • Printables
  • Whitepapers
  • Checklists
  • Worksheets
  • Assessments
  • e-Book
  • Guides
  • Templates

Tip: This is where it is really time to show your stuff! Be as informative and authoritative as possible.

Convert

Now that you got them interested, it’s time to finally convert those leads into actually clients or customers. During this stage, it’s important to really push for that final step. Think of it this way, they love your product and what you have to offer so now it’s time to show it in use so they can really understand how all the moving parts work.

During this final stage, focus on what is called BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel) content. This consists of:

  • Buyer’s Guides
  • Case Studies
  • Testimonials

Tip: Note that this section may not be applicable to your product. Most B2C companies are able to only do TOFU content or unique variations of MOFU. Sometimes, simple awareness is all you need to make the sale!

Nurture

Lastly, I wanted to hit on nurturing. It’s true that, for the most part, this may only be applicable to B2B companies. However, it is such an important aspect that it garners some attention.

During the nurturing stage is when you start to implement what is known as the “flywheel” (no, not the company). This is when you treat customers as if they are new prospects. This would be starting them at the very top and labeling them as an “opportunity”. Why? Because, now that they are customers, you can focus your efforts on engaging, showing your work ethic, and hopefully upgrading them to more services.

Obviously, you won’t be able to do this with everyone, and it may not be something that your business needs. However, if you happen to be in the B2B scene, you may need to think about nurturing your leads.

Tip: Setting up newsletters and specific email work flows based off services and needs of your customers is a great way to start nurturing. Learn more in my article about email marketing automation!

Need help understanding how to best utilize your content? Heck, need someone to write content for you? Fill out my contact form today for a marketing consultation!