Why Taking A Break is A Good Thing

If you follow my blog (and I sincerely hope you do!) you might have noticed that I left for a long time. A few months to be exact. A lot has happened over the past few months. I became a board member, started freelancing with my first client, and found out I was expecting my second child. Not to mention I’m trying to leave my current job.

It all got to be too much to say the least.

And, having to remember to write or find something to discuss that I was actually passionate about was getting tougher and tougher as the weeks went on. I felt lost and overwhelmed. I needed to step away.

To be honest, at first the break was unintentional. I went two weeks without posting and didn’t even notice just because I was so swamped with everything else. Then, once I did realize what happened, I decided to roll with it. And, in the end, I took a few months off.

The result? I came back strong! Stronger than I thought I would to be honest. As the new year approached and I knew I wanted to get back into the swing of things, it all seemed a bit overwhelming. Would I really be able to handle this?

I’m not going to lie, it took some support and motivation from my family and friends. Then, come the middle of December, I decided to try again. I got back on social, started doing Twitter Chats again (#SEMrushChat and #SEOChat to name a few), and wrote my first article in over 2 months. And… it actually felt really great! I was finally back to my old self and, even now, when I get a little overwhelmed, it feels good to continue my presence and keep going.

So, by now you’re probably wondering why I’m writing all of this. That was a nice story and all, but what’s the point? My point is, I wanted to share a small glimpse into this experience to showcase one thing – it’s okay to take a break. No. Beyond that. Sometimes, it’s okay to do nothing.

As someone who is always looking for the next challenge or always trying to please those around me, I had convinced myself that I had to go non-stop no matter what. I felt guilty that I wasn’t spending time with family, but then guilty that I wasn’t working. My brain was in constant limbo and I didn’t know what to do. That’s why stepping away, even for just a few days, is such a good thing. I truly believe that it can be detrimental to a person’s mental health and overall happiness.

Oh, and don’t worry, if you don’t agree (or are more of a numbers person), here are some stats to prove why even the best of us need a break sometimes:

  • 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year
  • 80% of workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress
  • 54% of Americans who do not have enough spare time say they frequently experience stress

This isn’t meant to be a “preachy” article, but I do want to say one thing. If you are stressed, anxious, depressed, whatever – take a break. For the sake of both you and everyone around you. Step away, take a breather, reevaluate the situation, focus on other things for a bit, and come back ready to take on the world!

“All we need is the commitment to get enough sleep. Take time to recharge our mental and emotional batteries, put away our phones and laptops and tablets regularly, and try to introduce some stress-reduction tools into our lives.” – Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post founder)

So, as the new year gets underway, be sure to make it a goal to make some time for yourself or your family. Work and life are always crazy, take time away to realign yourself and take in the small things. After all, those are usually the most important.

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. 

Here’s How to Get Featured Snippets:

  • 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.

What I’ve Learned During 4+ Years of Marketing

While scouring and researching online to find a new topic to cover, something clicked. I don’t like writing about things (especially on this blog) that don’t interest me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve drafted compelling 10 page whitepapers about the most BORING topics before with no sweat. But, today felt different.

This week felt different.

Nothing snagged my attention and nothing that I could think of really stood out again the crowd. So, I decided to do something a little different (after all, this is my blog and I can write what I want to).

This week, we’re getting “a little” personal, and I’m sharing what I’ve learned so far during my marketing career. Compared to others, I may not have that many years under my belt, but I have learned tons. And, I remember what it was like first starting out, having an idea of what the “real marketing world” is like would have been really helpful. This is why I’m killing (figuratively) two birds with one stone.

What I’ve Learned So Far During my #Marketing Career!

You Don’t Always Start Where You End Up

In very early 2015 I got my very first marketing internship. I was surprised. I had (only slightly) exaggerated about how involved with social media I have been for a few small businesses in town. It wasn’t a lie, but I had only done the work for 3 months, and honestly only really knew just as much as other 20 year olds at the time. But, I did have a degree in media and I knew that I had ideas.

So, I started my journey as a “Digital and Social Media Intern”. I ran and created social campaigns, looked at data, handled PR, created videos, the works! By the end of the year I had created a presence for this company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. And, managed to increase Facebook traffic alone by almost 30%.

Then, after asking for a full-time position, they let me know. I was devistated. But, it turned out to be one of the best things. It taught me that:

  1. That work place wasn’t for me. I wanted to learn so much more and they wouldn’t nurture that.
  2. Social media wasn’t for me. I started out thinking that marketing was very “in a box” but the more I was exposed to what it really was the more I wanted to venture out and do other things.

Ironically, my next internship was also is social media. And, I still do social to this day. However, I have since gone to do far better things. That next internship pushed me into SEO and Growth marketing, and now I manage an entire marketing department. I have a passion for inbound, growth, SEO, and content. I love data analysis and I’m actually really good at it!

It amazes me all the time that this all started almost 5 years ago working with a company to grow their social media. Crazy right?

Agencies and In-House Are Completely Different

In my short(ish) time in marketing I’ve worked both in-house and agencies, and I’ve done in-house FOR agencies. Basically I’ve covered it all. This has it’s obvious benefits as it means I can adapt and have worked through a variety of problems. But, one thing that never ceases to amaze me is how different these two platforms are. And, I prefer agencies if I’m honest.

First, let me say this – every company is different. For example, the agency I work with now is very slow paced. However, that isn’t the norm. In fact, it is usually the other way around. Agencies are full of energy, collaboration, and fast-paced days, while in-house companies sometimes take a longer time to get things out the door.

Personally, I like things a little more fast-paced. I enjoy have a list full of things to-do. And, more importantly, I enjoy being able to cross each one of them off. Moving from this type of environment to one where a simple web fix can take weeks made me realize just how much I love being in a high-stakes environment.

Now, don’t get me wrong, life is all about balance, and you need some down time to relax. But, I much rather have a continuous list of things than only have 2 days worth of work, ya know?

Any Environment Can Be Toxic

When I really got into growing my own brand earlier this year, I hate to say it, but I was naive. I had followed a few marketers on Twitter, etc. for guidance and thought leadership. However, the more I immerced myself in the community, the more people I followed, the more I realized it wasn’t all sun-shine and rainbows.

This community that I thought was helpful and knowledgable was full of racism, sexism, assault, and just plain rudeness. It took me by surprise and I wasn’t sure what to think of it. But, then I realized that was the minority.

Seeing this helped me understand that “bad” things exist even in the most innocent of places, but that doesn’t make the place as a whole “bad”. So, I filtered who I followed and supported those who were trying to be positive. This was one of my biggest lessons so far, and it’s something I try to remind myself of every day.

There you have it, a few things I’ve learned so far in marketing. Probably not what you expected, but I plan on continuing this. I want to share my experiences along the way of becoming my best self within an industry as vast and as competitive as this one.

Stay tuned for more updates. And, if you’d like to work together, head on over to my solutions page to see all that I can do. Tootles!

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!

Server Side Rendering Vs. Client Side Rendering: What’s The Difference?

I’m going to keep this short, sweet, and simple. If you have a lot of content, most likely you have a CMS (content management system). Some have these in-house and others move hosting to a completely different platform that is better equipped to handle the traffic and server load. This is where client side and server side rendering come into play. The questions is, what’s the difference, and which one is best for you?

So, in this article, I’ll be diving into both of these to give you the run-down. That way, you can decide which one is best and why there is such a big difference between the two.

Heard of server side rendering? What about client side? Here’s what you need to know:

Server Side Rendering

Server Side Rendering (SSR) is, in short, a technique for rendering a normally client-side only single page on the server and then sending a fully rendered page to the client. Think of it like a drag and drop. The server is grabbing one thing from your site and sending it to the client – like a middle man. The benefit in this, however, revolves around the performance of the page. This not only includes your side, but on the client side as well. Pages are faster and usually interactive in record time for that first interaction sequence.

Other benefits include:

  • Improved SEO as bots are able to crawl these better
  • Faster load times (initially)
writing website copy

Client Side Rendering

Client Side Rendering (CSR) involves Javascript. More specifically, instead of receiving content directly from the HTML document, users receive the JavaScript that then renders the site using the browser. This is actually a newer method of rendering as Javascript continues to be more involved in sites. Although this process does make time to interact quicker (but can drag down overall page speed since it loads the whole page rather than in pieces like with SSR), it can have an influence on how bots crawls your site.

That being said, here are some key benefits:

  • Incorporates lazy loading
  • Rich interactions
  • Easier deploys

Truth is, both have their pros and cons. It all depends on what your goals are for the page and website as a whole. You may only care about speed and not SEO. Or, the complete opposite. However, if you want the best of both worlds, that is also possible.

By making your initial first page load (meaning, the very first time a page loads when someone visits) structured through SSR you are able to get that faster, initial load time while also ensuring that crawlers can search the site well. Then, for any secondary pages, CSR can be implemented in order to help faster render and reload time. It’s a win-win.

So, what do you think? Have you decided which one is best for you? Either way, it’s a tough decision and knowing your goals and objectives for your site helps you get there.

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!