Reviving Digital Marketing

Tough Love Tips for Reviving Your Dysfunctional Digital Marketing

If there's one thing that I've learned in spending 12 years helping more than 500 business master marketing, it's that there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Despite what so-called gurus and experts might have entrepreneurs believe, each circumstance demands unique situational awareness: Regardless whether they're working from scratch or following some premade methodology, marketers have to be constantly on their toes.

Fortunately, outreach doesn't have to be a blind venture into the unwelcoming darkness. Learning from other people's mistakes can make oversights easier to avoid. Why not use some of these tough-love concepts to make wiser marketing choices?

Amateur Marketing Almost Always Falls Short

Feel like a thrifty business champion for getting a relative or friend to build a free web portal? Think it's easy to master Google AdWords with no SEO training? DIY digital marketing never functions the way business owners anticipate, and the small amount of cash they save is rarely worth the longterm revenue potential they sacrifice.

Companies work with digital marketing professionals for a good reason: No matter how clear a business owner's executive vision seems, it takes well-designed, secure, functional sites and brand experiences to convince customers to transact. Companies that settle for anything less suffer because they appear less professional. Tools like AdWords and Google Analytics may be powerful indeed, but when misused, they waste money.

Why not save everyone time by doing things the right way from the start? Although it can be tempting to conserve limited resources as much as humanly possible, smarter marketing expenditures are always more justified than merely trying ideas until something sticks.

Bad Marketers Ignore Their Audience's Preferences

One of the biggest marketing mistakes that business owners make is assuming they fully understand their target users. Even if they have lots of data, experience or intuition to back up their assertions, these leaders commit the fatal sin of not playing to the audience, and this makes it way harder to get the message out.

How do competent advertisers accommodate their adoring public? These tips might help:

  • Research the audience before each campaign to discover common desires and pain points. When using Facebook, Google and other outreach tools, address individual audience segments with thoughtful, keyword-based content that addresses their unique needs.
  • Use UTM codes, which are little bits of extra text tacked onto the end of URLs, to track how people engage with content online. UTM codes can reveal which sites visitors came from, which advertising campaigns and keyword terms they followed, or which kinds of marketing media they responded to, such as social platforms and blogs.
  • Cater to people's device preferences. A prospective customer might engage with a site using their laptop or PC before switching to mobile and eventually wandering back to their computer's browser. Make it easy for them to transition freely by designing a site that offers a uniform cross-platform experience.

The Best Marketing Campaigns Create Interesting Content

Long gone are the dark days of marketing initiatives that succeeded solely on the strength of banner ads and blaring popups. No matter how expertly companies place their keywords on a page or target their social media ads, they can't win without content that makes web users want to engage with their brands.

Fortunately, there's no shortage of ways to make outreach content attention-worthy. A company that sells a cool tech product, for example, might publish a series of blogs that go behind the scenes to explain the inner workings of their devices. Firms that want to make waves on social media might post about topics related to their niches and use clever tie-ins to lead people back to their brands. Discover what consumers have already expressed interest in, and respond with well-crafted marketing materials that scratch their collective itch for knowledge.

Marketers Who Talk At People Instead of Conversing With Them Usually Don't Get Heard

People are more likely to ignore advertisers that shout at, steamroll or talk down to them. Good consumer relationships are a two-way street, so open up a dialogue instead of standing on a soapbox to yell at whoever happens to be within earshot.

It's also way simpler to keep people focused on the message when it's packaged in an intriguing story instead of another boring old ad. Whether this takes the form of an ongoing article series or a cross-platform campaign involving alternate reality games and social media influencers, crafting a tale that takes people on a journey is always a worthwhile pursuit.

Marketing Content Shouldn't Outshine the Main Event

High-impact digital marketing is great, but when the websites that it promotes don't live up to expectations, brands inevitably suffer. Companies that want to attract attention from users must first ensure that they're ready to handle it. In other words, website upgrades, SEO audits and redesigns should all be accounted for in the marketing budget.

Don't think a new site is necessary? Remember that competition is fierce in the digital arena. Companies that want to rise to the top need sites that imbue viewers with a certain level of confidence. Don't skimp on aesthetics, functionality or third-party integrations.

Effective Targeting Doesn't Happen By Itself

Marketing campaigns can be overachievers, and this isn't necessarily a good thing. Ads that only resonate with people who aren't in the demographic, for instance, usually don't generate a positive return on investment, or ROI, regardless whether they produce additional views. Even if an ad is highly visible, it does no good if viewers don't care about what it's selling.

Focus on marketing content that connects with the most relevant audiences. For instance, when creating an AdWords campaign, business advertisers should use negative keywords to filter out searches that don't match their target users.

Marketing Campaigns Rarely Come Out Perfect on the First Try

Feeling confused about why a particular campaign isn't living up to its potential? Outreach, like most other business projects, demands continuous improvement.

Marketers who want their efforts to be fruitful never stop working to refine them. For instance, advertisers can use Google Ads' Quality Score ratings to get a good idea of how their campaign keywords perform. Facebook's relevance scoring offers similar information. Audiences are fickle, so it's vital to take advantage of all available feedback.

Marketers That Track ROI Waste Less and Profit More

From a business perspective, return on investment is probably the most reliable indicator of a campaign's success. No matter how viral a marketing video goes or how many page hits a social media post gets, ads need to produce sufficient revenue to sustain themselves as well as turn a profit. If they don't do both, then refine them soon or ditch them.

Getting the Ball Rolling in Real Life

Recognizing that it's time for a marketing shakeup is just the beginning. Serious firms take it further by putting these principles into action with the help of an expert.

What makes a good marketing agency partner?

People's experiences with different marketing agencies vary widely. Nonetheless, there are a few common factors worth thinking about while judging the options:

  • All good marketing is founded on market understanding. For small businesses, this often means getting to know the neighborhood or locale where most clients originate. When picking agencies, it's always a good sign if they have real-world storefronts or physical presences in the target region.
  • Applicable experience trumps all else. Agencies must have proven portfolios of their prior work. In addition to checking out pictures of the ad campaigns and business sites built by each prospect, always take the live versions for a spin. Test out how they function, look and feel to get a more intimate understanding of the agency's work.
  • Ratings aren't everything, but they do mean something. Whether they involve SEO audits, social media integrations or rebranding campaigns, digital marketing projects require time, effort and strong business relationships to evolve healthily. Agencies that accommodate different business models and genuinely care about providing a good client experience are a lot easier to work with. Those with the greatest number of 5-star reviews are generally safer bets.

Did these tips help bring successful marketing philosophies into clearer focus? Subscribe for more insightful pointers that could make it easier to reach audiences.


facebook-advertising

Using Facebook to Advertise Your Business? You May Be Doing it Wrong

There are many ways to market your business online, one of the most common methods being social media. When it comes to social media platforms, Facebook is one of the largest platforms. However, there are a lot of business owners doing everything they can think of on Facebook to market their business but often see no positive return on investment.

There could be plenty of factors to consider when it comes to marketing with Facebook. Often times, a business owner might believe that all he has to do is post an update to his page and make periodic "boosts". This is a common mistake for people who are new to marketing their business on Facebook.

Our recommendation is this; Only "boost" posts when you don't have time to create an ad. This is where the Facebook Ad Manager comes in.

Understanding the Facebook Ad Manager Platform

As mentioned before, most business owners feel that "boosting" their posts is an effective way to advertise on Facebook. However, having a full understanding of the Facebook Ad Manager will allow you to create a highly targeted and highly effective Facebook ad campaign.

Ads Manager is your starting point for running ads on Facebook, Instagram or the Audience Network. It's an all-in-one tool for creating ads, managing when and where they'll run, and tracking how well your campaigns are performing.

One of the biggest advantages of advertising on Facebook is that you can advertise on any budget. This is very useful for people who are a little tight on money while trying to start their own business. However, it is not just the cost-effectiveness of advertising but also the methods of gathering information and targeting that make advertising on Facebook so effective for business owners. Facebook helps you find the best types of people to advertise to so that you can achieve very high conversion rates.

4 Reasons Why You Should Set Up a Facebook Ad Account

1. The Power of the Facebook Pixel

The Facebook pixel is one of the tools that can prove to be beneficial to your marketing on social media. The pixel is code provided by Facebook that you place on your website. It helps you track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads based on collected data, build targeted audiences for future ads, and remarket to qualified leads - people who have already taken some kind of action on your website.

2. Create Lookalike Audiences

This is one helpful tool for conversions. The Facebook Pixel is very helpful with this. Lookalike audiences are used by taking a look at the customers that are already visiting your site and gathering information such as likes, demographics, and other traits in order to help you find similar people. This can make it easier for you to expand your reach and gain new customers.

3. Create Custom Audiences

This is slightly similar to Lookalike Audiences. Basically, you look at your current set of customers and build an audience based on your customers. Simply take your current customer email list and upload it to Facebook so that it can use the data for targeting. Once you have created your Custom Audience list, you can develop and target your ads to this group of customers you have built. For those of you that may have small audiences, one of the things you can do is test different aspects of your marketing in order to find the methods people respond to the most.

4. Custom Conversions

With Custom Conversions, you can track events on your site without having to change the Facebook Pixel code. This feature enables you to track your conversions and perform optimization techniques without having to add new code to your site. You are also replacing conversion data on the pages you have set up. In order for this to be effective, you already have to have the Facebook pixel embedded on your page.

In Summary

If you're running a business of any size, you are probably not going to have time to handle all of your own marketing. Fortunately, there are digital marketing agencies that are available for you to get in touch with. We know of one you might want to consider :)

 

There’s a lot of information here to consider but help is available if needed. Business owners with any questions or who need help on any part of their quest to build a powerful social presence can contact our team at Coastline Marketing Group. We offer a wide range of digital marketing solutions that can help position your business for success.


website-design-salinas-monterey

3 Things You MUST Consider Before Building Your New Website

For the last couple of decades, you've been told that you must have a website for your business both to improve your bottom line and to build a brand.

Still, recent studies show that as many as 46% of all small businesses in the U.S. don't have a website. When asked why they didn't have a site for their business, one common explanation given was that they had developed a website at one time but had received little to no benefit from it.

Developing a website is easier than ever today with the wealth of online tools, content management systems, and web development agencies available. But blindly developing a website for your business isn't likely to result in a successful online presence.

Blindly developing a website for your business is like sitting down at a piano to play, and for most of us, wondering why you can't play as well as Mozart.

A quality website that helps build a brand, maintains a low bounce rate and achieves a strong conversion rate will do much to enhance your bottom line. Such a website, however, isn't tossed together quickly using a free, commercial drag and drop utility. A quality website requires careful planning and consideration before it ever goes live.

How do Websites Benefit Small Business?

The internet is where the consumers are. Small businesses remain open without all of the overhead costs of traditional business. Additionally, giving the ability to market products and services to a global audience. The internet is an invaluable tool for the business owner who learns to use it wisely.

Statistics show that there are currently over 4 billion internet users worldwide. The average American internet user is online an average of 24 hours per week. That's a lot of people connected to the internet who just might be looking for products or services that you offer. And each year sees an increase in the amount of global ecommerce spending.

So once you decide to develop a website, or try again, where do you start?

What 3 Things Must Be Considered Before Building a Website?

Before getting started on the work of developing a website, there are 3 things a business owner must do.

1. Decide on a Strategy

The first question you should ask is what is the objective of your proposed website? Will it be a store where customers can buy your products and you ship to them? If we're dealing in digital goods, perhaps your store will be set up so downloadable digital files are available after purchase. Perhaps you offer a service or information online and you require a website that will allow customers to sign up for a paid subscription to receive your information or services on an ongoing basis.

You must be very clear in understanding the role the website will serve for you and it can serve more than one. A website done well can be your online presence 24/7 to the world, providing information and a way to contact you with any questions. It will also serve a primary purpose whether as an online store, an information site, or subscription service. You just need to be very clear in defining its primary function.

Once you've determined what purpose the site will serve, you need to determine what action you would like for your visitors to take on it. You definitely want them to find and purchase your products and services. If you can also provide fresh, relevant content of value to your audience, your site can be a source of information and an authority within your area of interest. You likely want them to sign up for your newsletter, fill out a form to contact you, or use social media functions on your website to share your content.

2. Focus On The Message:

Your message is a crucial part of developing a website. It's important to know and understand what your message is and how to best present it to the world.

Humans are social creatures of habit. In communication either personal or written, you tend to examine the speaker in a given conversation and you subconsciously try to determine what their intentions are. Are they trustworthy? Are they similar to you?

There is a foreground message you offer. If you sell pool cues and you write a blog about the top 10 pool cue brands, then the 10 brands listed are an example of your foreground message.

There is also a background message which is the "reading between the lines" portion of what you're saying to your audience. What is your audience looking for? They are trying to discern what type of people you are or what type of business or organization you have. The background message is incredibly important because if there are any doubts about you, your business, or your intentions, the visitor will immediately leave your website.

Considerations

You should make time to consider the impression you want to make and what you'd like for your audience to take away from visiting your site. You need to consider the message you want to convey carefully and develop your website around that. Once that's established, You need to ensure all of your communications carry that message.

Some questions you might want to ask:

  • What are your values?
  • What words could be used to describe your business? (Dependable, efficient, energetic, friendly, insightful, responsible, and more.)
  • Which type of people are in the audience you want?
  • What needs does your business serve for this audience?
  • Which problems do you intend to solve for your audience?
  • What do you think your audiences expects from your business?
  • How can your business best connect with the audience you want?

3. What's Your Marketing Strategy?

When it comes to talking about online marketing strategies and search engine optimization (SEO), many would rather not have that conversation. Isn't it enough to build a website with a clearly defined objective and a solid message for your intended audience?

No.

Just having a website, even if it's an incredible website, isn't enough. The audience you want has to be able to find it. The best way for them to find any product or service online is through the search engines.

SEO is a set of techniques used to improve your chances of being found within the search engines when users go to find a product or service you offer. It goes hand in hand with content marketing, social marketing, and email marketing, all effective ways of building an audience and your bottom line.

Many business owners throw their hands up at this point for many reasons. They don't understand what SEO is and expect immediate results when they try it. For that reason, they don't think they have time to be on social media platforms 24/7 to drum up business. They may know a little about how email marketing basically works but not all of the details.

Business owners should understand that marketing strategies are the key to successful online business and they include the following.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is all about increasing your business website's visibility on the search engines. It includes a number of components from creative to technical in building awareness of your site on Google, Bing, and more. Yes, it requires knowing what the search engines expect from your website from readability to structure. Yet in making the website easier to use and understand for the search engines, you're doing the same thing for potential visitors.

The more traffic you receive, the greater the number of conversions. It should be understood that SEO techniques don't work overnight but over a period of time. When it's done correctly, it's absolutely worth any invested time and resources.

Mobile Marketing

More than half of all search engine queries are made on mobile devices and that number is only expected to increase. With more than half of your intended audience on mobile devices, it then becomes vital to ensure your planned website will be formatted for mobile devices.

Often called "responsive website design", mobile optimization means your website looks good and functions well across all devices. Being optimized for mobile is also crucial to your SEO efforts. As of Google's July 2018 update, they switched from rewarding websites optimized for mobile with better rankings to penalizing any site that's not optimized for such. Since Google is the largest search engine on the internet, mobile optimization becomes even more crucial.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the consistent use of fresh, relevant content of value to your intended audience. It's the online creation and sharing of content like blogs, social media posts, video, and more that offers value to your audience without being an advertisement.

Using our pool cue website example, you might offer a blog on your website. Include articles about proper care and storage of cues, pool techniques, troubleshooting, and more. The idea is to offer content that stimulates an interest.  All the while, without being too obvious that you want them to buy them from you.

The content used for this type of marketing gives them a reason to return to your website even if they don't always intend to buy something with each visit. The search engines love such content. This technique allows you to build a reputation as an authority in your given area of interest.

Social Media Marketing

While it's not the overnight success tool some claim, social media marketing has great potential in cultivating an audience on social media. Content is also important here. If you employ content marketing, you already have what you need.  It can be modified to suit the individual platform. There's a learning curve here in understanding each venue and its rules. The great opportunity to increase your brand visibility, reputation, and traffic will be more than worth the time spent.

Email Marketing

Many think of email marketing as old marketing news but it's a very effective and inexpensive method to use. You collect subscribers from your website and social media platforms.  You use them to send simple mailings to remind people about your website and what it has to offer. It's an invaluable tool to use if you have a sale or special offer. You want to quickly inform your targets.

In Conclusion

Unless there's a compelling reason why you don't need more business, developing a website is vital for your business. Your website represents you online and it's important to present the best site you possibly can.

There's a lot of information here to consider but help is available if needed. Business owners with any questions or who need help on any part of their quest to build a powerful website can contact our team at Coastline Marketing Group. We offer a wide range of digital marketing solutions that can help position your business for success.

 

phil fisk digital marketing consultant

Article by Phil Fisk
CEO Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.
SCORE Monterey Bay Chapter Chair