- Considering the conversion funnel
- Leveraging Google AdWords, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn Advertising
- Utilizing CRM and email automations.
- A/B testing using user data
- Tips for improving analytics tracking
- Creating content that actually matters
- Google Mobile-Friendly Test– 85% of adult users want to interact with sites on their mobile device. Prevent user bounce rates by checking that your website is mobile-friendly. This not only affects a user experience but also will affect the site’s SEO ranking.
- CallRail– Track phone calls to measure conversions from your search, digital, and offline marketing campaigns. Tools like CallRail also allow you to record and transcribe conversations.
- Google Data Studio– A visual representation tool that allows you to track your key KPI’s and ROI’s. Metrics can be pulled in from various sources like website data, PPC campaigns, organic social media metrics, CRM data, email automation metrics, and more.
- Google Tag Manager– GTM allows you to quickly and easily update measurement codes on your website or mobile app. Once the the GTM code has been added to your website, you can easily deploy analytics, measurement tag configurations, and add triggers that cause the tag to fire when an event occurs.
- Google Analytics– Better understand the users coming to your website. Answer questions like
- How many people visit my website?
- What marketing tactics drive the most traffic to my website?
- Which pages on my website are the most popular?
- How many visitors have I converted into leads or customers?
- Where did my converting visitors come from and go on my website?
- Text Messaging Automation Platforms
- Google Optimize– Test variants on webpages to see how they perform against the current web page.
- Apollo.io– Email scraping software that can help sales teams build lists. Apollo.io provides prospect names, email addresses, phone numbers, LinkedIn profiles, and more!
There’s no doubt that these are tough times. Many businesses are struggling to stay afloat during an economic downturn. For some, keeping their workforce or paying rent are challenges. Fortunately, there is some hopeful news in the darkness.
Facebook and Google are both developing programs for which small businesses can apply. Globally, Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits, while Google is launching $340 million in ad credits.
NOTE: As of the publication of this blog post, some details are still being worked out and applications are not yet being accepted. However, we wanted to share this news with our small business friends and colleagues and point you to ways you can stay up to date as these opportunities develop.
Facebook’s Small Business Grants Program
- SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) can apply for this grant
- Helps businesses keep their workforce
- Helps cover rent and operational costs
- As of April 2, 2020, Facebook plans to begin accepting applications in the coming weeks
Google’s Ad Credits Program for Small and Medium-sized Businesses
- Google is offering SMBs worldwide $340 million in ad credits, which can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across Google Ads platforms
- Ad credits will be available to SMBs who advertise with active Google Ads accounts since the beginning of 2019
- These accounts will be notified in the coming months through notifications within their Google Ads account (check with your digital marketing agency or staff)
- These ad credits will be applicable across the Google Ads platform including Search, Display, and YouTube
- Advertisers receiving ad credits will be notified in the coming months
Click here for information on Google’s Ad Credits Program Small and Medium-sized Businesses
Click here for additional resources from Google on how to navigate your business through the COVID-10 pandemic
As a digital marketing agency, our mission has always been to work closely with our clients as part of the same team. We understand the uncertainty many businesses are experiencing and the difficult or painful choices they are needing to make. The COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout will continue to create challenges but we believe that for our businesses to survive, we must continue to look for the ways up wherever we can: helping our communities and our neighbors, supporting organizations that matter most to us, and keeping each other informed of the help that is out there.
Stay safe and stay healthy, friends.
Okay, we’re all Zooming now. So how can you make your webinar or virtual meeting a successful one? (The basics might just save you.) Here are our essentials.
Like the old days, set yourself up next to your router and hardwire your computer into an internet connection if possible. Hardwiring can be a pain but what’s worse is losing your WiFi connection during a meeting. Don’t tempt fate!
Designate a Co-Host
Even the best multitaskers can get overwhelmed trying to present, engage, listen, and manage the meeting all at once. Ask a colleague to be your co-pilot on the journey.
If you’ve collected cell numbers, text reminders right before the event from your personal phone. There may be a lot going on at home while people are trying to work; a reminder could be very appreciated (and it discourages flaking out).
Nice To Meet You
Making personal introductions before the webinar warms up the conversation and can put people at ease. Take the time to shoot an email not only introducing yourself to the group but also introducing participants to each other. (Example: “Jane Doe and John Smith, you’re both registered for tomorrow’s webinar. I wanted to connect the two of you ahead of time as I think you would both benefit from knowing each other for [specific reason]. If you have the chance to do a quick call with one another before or after our webinar, I think it would be an excellent idea!”)
Say Their Name
Address a person by name before directing your question. This helps to keep the meeting’s momentum going, avoids confusion, and keeps people engaged. Know something about each participant before the meeting begins so you can call out to them individually with specific questions or comments of appreciation. (Bonus: Connect with participants on LinkedIn before the meeting begins to learn about them and ensure you can remain in touch.)
Send out an online survey after the webinar and find out what you could do to improve next time. Ask what topics participants would want to learn more about or what resources they are hoping to see that you haven’t yet shared.
The Power of Snail Mail
Don’t let things end forever with the close of a meeting. Mailing a physical asset either before or after your webinar can be a huge value to your participants. For example, a thank-you note or a printed blog post or white paper. Utilize this great opportunity to mention your next webinar or another call to action.
Twenty-twenty. It sounds futuristic.
In this industry, we see trends and technologies evolving at rapid speed. And with our commitment to education and creating “conversations that change minds,” Symposia has been eager to share with you some of the top digital marketing trends to watch as your organization launches rapid-fire into 2020.
- Influencer Marketing
- SEO and Content Marketing
- Omnichannel Marketing
- Multichannel Conversion Model and Advanced A/B Testing
- Marketing Automation and Personalization
What is it?
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field. [Source]
In basic terms: an influencer shares endorsed content via their social media. This can be hugely effective considering the context is often cushioned with an established trust in the influencer.
Where it’s at:
Despite predictions by some, content sponsored by influencers actually increased by 150% (!) in 2019, with the number of instances of the hashtag #ad to identify paid content more than doubled. [Source]
We all understand that users, particularly in e-commerce, often look for reviews from trusted sources before making a decision about a purchase. Pertinent brands should consider partnerships with influencers and micro-influencers who create authentic connections with audiences, building that trust. “Expect them to increase their investment in 2020, helping to make influencer marketing a $10 billion industry this year.” [Source]
How to implement:
Utilize your customers as advocates, share audio/video content of real people, repurpose your reviews/testimonials, and connect with influencers and micro-influencers to build brand trust. [Source]
SEO and Content Marketing
What is it?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of increasing quality traffic to a website. Content marketing is focused on using valuable and relevant content to drive profitable customer or client action. [Source]
Where it’s at:
In the first quarter of 2019, 49% of Google searches resulted in no clicks; this means nearly half of all Google searches left websites in the dust, missing the chance of gaining traffic. [Source]
Food for thought:
- Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates 3x as many leads.
- Content marketing has lower up-front costs and deeper long-term benefits than paid search.
- 615 million devices now use ad blockers, which means your ads are not being seen by as many people.
- Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than those without blogs.
- Content marketing rakes in conversion rates 6x higher than other methods. [Source]
In November 2019, Google rolled out some major updates to its search algorithm. The updates included the new BERT system, which is designed to aid Google in its efforts to understand the natural language that people use in their search queries.
Google’s efforts to present users with data in rich snippets will drive more informed click-through and will decrease bounce rates dramatically. (Users ages 13-18 consume their content in 40% rich snippets. If this is your audience, take note!) [Source]
How to implement:
Most B2B content marketers would advise you to create content that makes your audience view your organization as a credible and trusted resource. Google’s own webmaster trends analyst John Mueller suggests that “rather than chase the latest SEO trends, it’s more important to ensure a site has fast speeds, useful links, and well-written content.”
What is it?
Plainly speaking, omnichannel marketing is the process of utilizing multiple channels (such as email, social media, etc.) to connect with users at various touchpoints. When done well, this allows you to share a cohesive brand message across many platforms and provide an enhanced user experience, driving users to take a desired action.
Where it’s at:
Omnichannel marketing was huge in 2019 and while it might seem like a trend that could get left in the past, it’s actually more relevant than ever. Organizations are learning where their leads are, how those leads use particular channels, and how they to trust and respond to a solid message.
Statistics show that brands using three or more channels in an automation workflow can generate great results:
- Engagement rate: 18.96% on omnichannel vs. 5.4% on single-channel
- Purchase frequency: 250% higher on omnichannel vs. single-channel
- Average order value: 13% more per order on omnichannel vs. single-channel
- Customer retention rates: 90% higher for omnichannel vs. single-channel
Agencies and SaaS companies are providing handy tools to manage multiple channels more efficiently. Although it is becoming easier to manage an omnichannel strategy, it can still be a challenge without the right strategy or management system.
How to implement:
So use a consistent voice that is seamless across channels, even physical channels, and ensure your strategy is cohesive across those channels. Strategy will save you.
Multichannel Conversion Model and Advanced A/B Testing
What is it?
Multi-touch attribution is a method of measuring your marketing success which evaluates the impact of each touchpoint in driving a conversion, thereby determining the value of that specific touchpoint.
Where it’s at:
Today’s buyer journeys span many devices and touchpoints before resulting in a conversion. In order to optimize campaigns and create more customized consumer experiences, marketers need to understand which touchpoints and messages a consumer came in contact with that resulted in a positive action. The goal is to understand where to devote spend, devoting funds to similar campaigns and diverting funds from those that were ineffective.
Multi-touch attribution models have become important for marketers, especially those looking to measure the impact of digital campaigns. This is because they provide a more granular, person-level view than traditional aggregate methods such as media mix modeling.
One of the top benefits of multi-touch attribution is that it provides visibility into the success of touchpoints across the entire buyer’s journey. This is critical, as consumers are becoming increasingly adept at avoiding marketing messages.
How to implement:
Marketers must take steps to customize their messaging to meet consumers on the right channel at the right time. The granular data offered by multi-touch attribution enables this, helping marketers to identify audiences across channels and determine those users’ specific marketing desires. In addition to helping marketers improve the consumer experience, multi-touch attribution also helps marketers to achieve higher ROI for their marketing investments, illuminating where spend is most and least effective. This can also help to shorten sales cycles by engaging consumers with fewer but more impactful marketing messages.
Marketing Automation and Personalization
What is it?
Marketing automation is the use of software and technologies designed to more effectively market on multiple channels online and automate tasks, saving time and, when paired with a killer strategy, presenting the right message to the right person at the right point in their journey.
Where it’s at:
An increasing number of marketers are beginning to realize the enormous value and potential of marketing automation. More than 51% of companies are now implementing some type of marketing automation, with 58% of organizations planning to in the near future. [Source]
Consumers are demanding relevant experiences from the brands they interact with. They expect brands to know their likes and preferences, and come up with intelligent product recommendations that are worth their while.
How to implement:
Personalize, track, remarket! Know your potential customer.
For example, e-commerce users demand personalization and want to be able to browse a physical store, view products on social media, and purchase online. Use tracking to learn what they want, use remarketing ads to remind them you have what they were looking for.
If you’re not keeping up with their demands, someone else will.
Here’s to diving into all the exciting things for 2020.
The Strange & Confusing World of AttributionHas there ever been a time where you are combing through your Google Analytics numbers and you notice that your direct traffic seems far higher than any of the other traffic coming to your website? I know it has happened to me on plenty of occasions; and before I really understood the ins and outs of attribution, I never could figure out why.
What is Attribution?Digging through data can be an extremely arduous process with a lot of potential headaches, especially when you can’t definitively determine the source of your numbers. When you log into your Google Analytics account and see that massive amount of direct traffic, the first thing you want to know is “why?” and “where are all of these people coming from?” Those two questions make up the biggest parts of why attribution is so important when reading data. The dictionary defines attribution as “the action of regarding something as being caused by a person or thing.” When thinking about this in regard to digital data, tracking who is coming to a website, and where they are coming from, attribution simply means knowing exactly what channel brought in a user.
Why Does it Even Matter?This question is the most obvious, but also the most important, when thinking about attribution as a whole. Because at the end of the day, every digital marketer needs to know why attribution is so critical to understand. Let’s go back to the direct traffic I was talking about earlier. When we see direct traffic in our Google Analytics data, we don’t really know what that means or where it came from. Even when you click into the traffic to see where exactly the users are landing on your website, you still have no idea where they came from. As you can imagine, if you are running a massive AdWords or Facebook Ads campaign, it is extremely important to you to know if one of your ads is what brought a user to your site. If you don’t know where they came from, you don’t know where to spend your advertising money to help bring in more users. This is where different types of attribution models start coming into play.
Deciphering the DataIn order to best understand exactly where your website traffic is coming from, you can use a number of different attribution models depending on how you want to view your data. Inside of Google Analytics, there are seven different default attribution models: Last Interaction, Last Non-Direct Click, Last Google Ads Click, First Interaction, Linear, Time Decay, and Position Based. Each of these models has a very specific purpose and can be used to weight the importance of the traffic flowing into your website. Digital marketers will want to choose a model based on the goals of a specific campaign. Let’s break down each model and how to best use them. Last Interaction: this model is fairly self-explanatory, in that the last thing a user touches/clicks/interacts with before getting to your website is given 100% of the credit for bringing them to you. Using Last Interaction: this particular model is not used very often in Google Analytics just because of the fact when using this model, a massively high percentage of your website traffic will be credited as direct. In a marketing situation, that is never very helpful because we always want to know exactly where website traffic is coming from. Last Non-Direct Click: this model is almost identical to the Last Interaction model with the exception of, you guessed it, direct traffic. Using Last Non-Direct Click: if you are still interested in what the last known campaign or interaction a user had immediately prior to visiting your site, you can use this model to help filter out all of the direct traffic. This model is usually best used in situations where you are seeing a fairly quick conversion cycle. Last Google Ads Click: this model is also fairly self-explanatory. If you are running a Google AdWords campaign, the attribution model will give 100% credit to the last ad campaign the user clicked on. However, this won’t give you any information about other interactions a user may have made after clicking on your Google ad. Using Last Google Ads Click: since AdWords has such a clear cost per click available, this model can help you see the return on the money you spent on a particular AdWords campaign. First Interaction: the same as Last Interaction but instead of focusing on the very last interaction a user had before getting to your site, it focuses on the first. Using First Interaction: for all intents and purposes, this model is the default for people who want to know how exactly a user heard about their business. Seeing exactly where people are first hearing about you is critically important to building a brand or business. Linear: this model gives equal credit to all interactions that a user has during their journey to your website. Using Linear: this model can play a big role for any business that has a typically long conversion cycle, because over that long period of time you want to make sure you know each and every interaction a user has so that you can fully understand their entire journey to your website. Time Decay: this model will give the most credit to the interaction that occurred most closely in time to when the conversion or sale on your site happened. Using Time Decay: this model works similarly to the linear model, but will give far less credit to interactions with campaigns that occurred further away from when the actual conversion or sale happened. Position Based: this model gives 40% of the credit to the first interaction a user had, 40% of the credit to the last interaction a user had, and splits 20% of the credit between all of the other interactions a user had prior to coming to your website. Using Position Based: if you like the idea of knowing how a user first heard about you while also knowing what potentially finally brought them to your site, this is exactly the model you want to be using. Custom: once you feel like you really have an understanding of how each of the default attribution models work, but they all leave you unsatisfied and sad inside about their limitations, you can create a custom attribution model right inside of Google Analytics to help you design whatever kind of model you would prefer to use.
A Brave New WorldNow that you know the ins and outs of attribution models, you can start to gain a much better understanding of where the users on your website are coming from and what they are seeing to help them decide on choosing your website over someone else’s. Understanding attribution is a giant leap forward in your marketing knowledge and will propel you into an entirely new world that didn’t even seem possible before. “Where do I start?” is a common question heard among the ranks of would-be entrepreneurs and small-to-medium businesses. Although many believe that a business plan or strategy is the place to start, these documents outline actions that should only be created after you’ve identified your purpose. A purpose is an individual’s or organization’s reason for being. It is a clear intention that identifies the audience to be served and why. A purpose defines what is truly unique about an individual or a company. It is about this time when people start thinking or even saying “Well, our purpose is to make money,” and the discussion ensues. Money is a result. It is not your purpose. Companies who take the time to clearly define their purpose, outline a plan to support that purpose, and define goals with metrics that measure performance against the purpose, are the ones who are profitable. In fact, a 10-year study of the financial health and growth of 50,000 brand conducted by Millward Brown Optimor, showed the top 50 brands were focused on pursuing their purpose ahead of profit, yet they outperformed the S&P 500 by 400% over this 10-year time period. A compelling purpose is the path to purchase. Back to “Where do I start?” Whether you are an individual or an organization, your path to purpose will require the use of your rear view mirror as well as your clear vision, looking forward. There are three things you need to do to start your journey.
- Gather Stories – To uncover your purpose, draw upon defining moments and examine them to find the connections. The more specific the memories, the better. Rediscover the details, feelings within the conversations, the lessons learned – these will offer clues to why you are successful. The more stories you recover the better, because that will provide more data from which to start identifying recurring themes. If you are finding your company’s purpose, enlist a diverse group of employees and ask them to provide details about their memories of your company at its best. Focus on the stories that made the biggest impression on your life or in the business. Try to gather at least 10. Jot down enough detail so you can convey the stories to a group that is assigned to look for connections.
- Identify Themes – If you are working on a company purpose, assemble a small group to review the stories. This team should work together to probe for more details. As you share the stories that were gathered or identified, themes will start to emerge. You may see connections that you’ve never realized before. As the process unfolds, one or two recurring themes will start to rise to the top. You’ll be thinking “that’s it.” Be prepared to tell your story. Storytelling humanizes and adds emotional appeal.
- Draft and Refine Your Purpose Statement – The themes that emerged in the storytelling session will be the basis for your Purpose Statement. This is a simple statement that is clear, actionable and focused on others, using positive language. It looks something like this: WE EXIST TO (your contribution) SO THAT (the impact you’ll make).
- Think of your best day. What happened? What made it so good? Did you help others? What makes it stand out?
- What was a day at work where, at the end of it, you could say, “I would have done that for free”? What about that experience did you love?
- What was an experience that taught you a valuable life lesson or changed the way you look at the business?
- What has been a pivotal moment in your life or your business when you realized nothing would be the same again?
- When was a specific time you collaborated on something that was impactful?
- What was something you did or the company achieved that makes you feel proud?
- “Connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.” – Southwest Airlines
- “To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” – Starbucks
- “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (everybody is an athlete).” – Nike
Your digital marketing agency deserves a red card if…
- You don’t have ownership of your web domain and hosting. (I mean, they’re yours, right?)
- You’re missing a username or password to ANYTHING. (If it’s yours, you should have access.)
- You’re unable to measure your ROI using the ad campaign’s data. (The data should hold the answers to your questions, be they “How many phone calls did we receive?” or “How many users took action?”)
- Someone created a Facebook page for you then pretended you didn’t need an advertising budget. (You have a car, great. But you need gas to drive it.)
- You’ve never actually seen your Google Analytics and you don’t know how to log into it. (Again – if it’s yours, you should have access. You should be also educated on why it’s important.)
- You’re preached to exclusively about vanity metrics such as Facebook page likes. (Likes are nice, but do they translate to sales/leads?)
- You’re told what’s good or bad for SEO by someone who isn’t an SEO expert. (Hint: Designers and developers are rarely SEO experts.)
- You can’t easily edit your webpage content yourself without advanced training, or worse – you have to pay your developer for every update. (Check your contract. You probably shouldn’t have to beg or pay extra for necessary maintenance.)
- Your email newsletter and website are not mobile friendly. (Mobile first. Mobile first. Mobile first.)
- You’re told that “Display and Search are enough. You don’t need a Remarketing campaign. (Someone visits your website but doesn’t take the action you want? Get them back with Remarketing.)
- You hear something resembling, “We’re a news media company but we’ve also mastered the Internet.” (They haven’t. Work with the specialists.)
- Someone just offered to rent you an unvetted email list. (There are a number of reason this is a bad idea, including being harmful to your IP reputation or email deliverability.)
- The followers you’re attracting don’t look like potential customers, donors, stakeholders, or supporters. (See an expert immediately to fix your audiences before you spend more money on reaching the wrong people.)
- You don’t have a Facebook pixel or Google Adwords remarketing script on your site. (This applies regardless of whether you’re currently running ads, as this is a critical step to take for any future ads to succeed.)
- You’ve never discussed the importance of a CRM (customer relationship management) software. (For many organizations, its CRM is its brain. Kind of crucial.)
Bonus Warning Signs…
- Your digital creative is being made with InDesign or some other program that’s designed for print instead of digital. (ProTip: We recommend using Sketch!)
- You’re not using Google Tag Manager or Google Data Studio. (Google Tag Manager allows you to track countless events and actions. Google Data Studio is the customizable, easy-to-use way to manage your analytic reports. Also, they’re both free.)
- You see the WordPress plugin “The Divi Builder” being used. (This means the code sucks. Unless you were charged less than $2,000 for your website, you were probably ripped off.)
1. Show a Real-Life Version of the BenefitsIf your leadership thrives on real-life examples and data, this could be a great solution for you: Skip your morning latte for the next few days and put that $10 you saved to good use! Take a look at your recent Facebook posts and determine which one has performed the best. Enter your personal credit card information into Facebook’s ad platform to promote that awesome post. Set up your targeting the best you can; you’re not an expert – yet. It doesn’t have to be perfect to see the kind of results that will create impact and help you convince your boss. Run the ad for the amount of your skipped lattes. (A big sacrifice, we know, but it will be worth it.) After the ad has run its course, take a screenshot of the promoted post [see below] and show your leadership. Make sure to note the “organic” (unpaid) reach and how it compares to the “paid” reach you gained from a simple ad. Note how many more users in your target audience were reached with just a little boost.
2. Get Real About the CostThis is where we take a straightforward look at cost. Have a heart to heart with your leadership about the value of your efforts. Take your entire fan base across all your social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) and multiply that number by the percentage of organic (unpaid) reach you’re likely to have. Let’s be generous and say that’s 10%. This tells you how many people you’re “reaching for free” with each social media post. Now take it a step further. How much are you paid hourly and how long does it take you to create the perfect post? You should be able to determine just how “free” that organic reach really is. Each headline, each graphic, each blog post – creating great content requires time and money. We suddenly see that “free” reach isn’t so free after all and, perhaps more importantly, we see that the cost of “paid social media” is less than we thought. What does it mean to better reach your target audience? Look at it this way: You could design the perfect billboard for your brand and place it on a highway. But if your target audience isn’t driving on that highway, your efforts have been essentially wasted, costing you time and money. In Conclusion The world is filled with varying degrees of experience and understanding of Digital Marketing as an industry. This is one of the reasons why education is a core value of Symposia Labs. Support empowers. When a social media manager is trusted and provided the right tools for paid social, an organization can learn quickly the power and growth that’s possible. Welcome to Symposia Labs’ Whiteboard Fridays! In episode 1, we explore website contact forms and some tips to maximize their use on your website. Have questions? Drop us a line.
The BasicsHow does the form look?
- Does it match the look and feel of your website? Make sure the form is legible!
- Make sure there aren’t too many fields – don’t overwhelm the user by asking for unnecessary information.
- Make sure the user knows what will happen when they click submit! Will they receive an email? A phone call? A free download?
- Make sure you know who is getting the forms! This is a common place for a disconnect, so make sure you have a good internal process.
- Will users receive automated responses or an automated “drip feed?” What if they receive a personal response- does that supersede automation? (Make sure you phone or in-person communication doesn’t add confusion with an automated series.)
- If form responses are going into a single person’s email, make sure there is redundancy so that employee turnover or even just vacation are covered.
- It’s very helpful to have a CRM that sorts leads if you get over a certain amount. We use Insightly.
- Dealing with spam: have a captcha requirement on the form to minimize spam, but make sure it’s not too confusing for actual users to understand.