DO engage with digital marketing agencies that practice what they preach.
DON’T fall for click-bait and squeeze pages at first glance. Be sure to check the brand out first, visit their social media pages or main website.
DO create an effective online marketing strategy that will focus on your strengths and not just have a finger in every advertising medium around.
DON’T let short term failures discourage your search engine optimisation. Good content is king, and unlike ads, are permanent and will build up your domain authority if done right.
DO investigate why SEO is better than Pay-per-Click advertising in 2017, and how to get a better return on investment in the long term.
DON’T buy links from email scams about SEO and getting on 1st page of Google. Look for evidence and process, how they plan to achieve it, and will it have a negative effect on your ranking instead. Sometimes it really is too good to be true.
DO make sure your website is engaging with users. Is it easy to navigate? Use Google Analytics to monitor traffic flow from page to page and session duration. Are people staying on your site, and why are they leaving? Use call to actions to get an engagement with them before they leave your site.
DON’T think just having a website will let people find you online. To get found on search results, you need to work on your domain authority, content and keywords, and external links from high ranking sites. Google wants to see that your website is useful, fast and easy to use, as well as popular and relevant. You can do this by creating social signals, press releases, guest posts and good on page optimisation.
DO know that Xmedia Digital Solutions can talk you through the different types of marketing and advise on what might be best for your goals.
DON’T believe you will get anything for free. A few recent posts from some agencies promises to waive their fees if they don’t come through with a result. Check their fine print, they are usually covering their costs with your media spend, or are overcharging elsewhere to cover it. You might find a few legit offers, but remember, they need to be doing a lot of work to get you ranking and listed correctly, if they aren’t getting paid, how are they doing it?
DO know there is a difference when it comes to tiered linking strategies, and also to the way content is created. Make sure you use premium English for tier 1 and 2 sites.
DON’T over optimise your links and website content. Google’s search algorithm is getting a lot smarter and will eventually catch you out. Over optimisation can actually make your website rank worse in search results.
DO use White-hat link building strategies. Just like you have rules with search and social advertising, SEO needs to be carried out correctly to ensure there are no penalties.
DON’T forget to target the right audience for a better return on investment. Think 3/67/30. 30% will never buy your product, 67% are researching your product, and 3% are ready to buy now. Focus your online marketing efforts on targeting that 67% audience. With the right content that is helpful and shows your product, service or brand as the best or expert option, you can get more engagement which hopefully leads to better sales and enquiries.
DO research why having a professional website is better than doing it yourself in most cases. WordPress is a great website option, and will allow you to expand in the future. If you are tech savvy, you can create something yourself, as long as you include all the essentials like favicons, metadata, image optimisation, sitemaps, privacy policies and OG data and schema markup for sharing.
DON’T use SEO for short term goals like events, sales and current promotions. SEO is best for long term results, while pay per click advertising is best for short term and instant results. Ask our team to explain why SEO is a cost effective long term advertising solution for your business.
DO research the difference between inbound and outbound marketing.
DON’T forget we are here to help you market your brand. Contact our team for more information or answers to your questions.
Now it’s time to make sure you have your strategy sorted out coming into 2017 and you are prepared to get something back from your marketing spend. If you need to get your website in front of more people, want to dominate Google search or just need locals to be able to find you, contact our team today to get started.
Online marketing firstly, should be referred to as just ‘marketing’ as that is what it is. Approach it the same way you would with television or radio advertising, newspaper ads, flyers and sponsorship – you are looking for a return on investment. Whether that return is new clients or a sale, or perhaps just brand awareness, your marketing efforts online need to have goals and targets.
Spending miserable amounts like $20 or $50 to boost your Facebook posts will do stuff all. Yes, Facebook insights might show you some ridiculous number for ‘social reach’ and then give you a number for engagement, but truth be told, you need to look at what really matters. Did that promotion give you anything back?
Boosted posts need to lead to an increase in page likes on Facebook, more web traffic to a specific page, or enquiries.
We recommend staying away from boosting posts here and there randomly, and focusing on Facebook ads with a decent budget. Decent being $200+ and on crafted ads with multiple ad layouts. By having multiple designs, you can target different people. One person might like one image, whilst another hates it. Get both clients by showing them two different images.
Use demographic targeting to narrow down your audience. This will ensure potential customers in your specific niche are seeing your posts and advertisements.
Facebook advertising works, and it offers you multiple options like carousel and video ads, lead forms, and more. Be sure to use the full arsenal to your advantage if going down that road.
Everyone has heard of them, sales funnels, they work and are essential to capture your hot lead and convert it into a sale. Read more about them on Wikipedia.
People clicking on your online ads in Google search, or web banners, or social media links, are obviously interested in what you are promoting, be sure the page they land on gives them no distractions, convinces them further about your brand or product and leads in to a call to action such as buy now, enquire today or download now.
This will push them into taking the next step. If they followed an ad or search result to get there, they were obviously ready to buy.
Look at contextual advertising as the perfect example. You are targeting people looking for a specific product. If Tom is looking for a Toyota Corolla hatch, and was reading a review on the latest model, it wouldn’t take much convincing to click on a link or enquiry form which leads to your brand that sells new Corolla hatches.
Often referred to as inbound marketing, you are digging down to specific niches, and targeting Corolla buyers, with Corolla offers and ads. Same goes across the board with products and services. If you put a service in front of someone looking for that service, they are more likely to engage and buy.
Don’t fall for the cheap website trick. They are cheap for a reason. If you want a website just so you have a website presence, do it yourself with WordPress or Wix. If you are looking to create a business website that is engaging, and works well on mobile and in Google search results, you will pay a premium price.
All the little things count, including user interaction and simple navigation on mobile and desktop, metadata and image tagging, content distribution networks and caching, favicons and Apple icons, tablet and smartphone screen responsiveness, call to actions above the fold and so much more.
A site that is setup well and loads fast on premium web hosting will perform better in search results, we guarantee it.
To put a price tag on it, web agencies offering your sites for under $1500 are misleading. I cannot count how many times clients have gone with cheaper options only to come back in a year to revamp the site and add all those features they should have got in the first place. Sometimes saving money in the wrong place will cost you more in the long run.
Do your research and find out what you need your website to achieve, then talk to your web designer and get answers on how they can make that happen. We do it, so I am sure all the others can too. Prepackaged deals are sometimes priced too good to be true.
Don’t neglect your web hosting either. We include domain registration and web hosting in our website packages, but its not cheap shit hosting. Its hosted on SSD storage drives with super fast DNS which feeds through CDN hosts to ensure fast loading of your website wherever in the world you are accessing it. Like I said, its those little things that are often neglected.
Getting a return on investment for your marketing is essential for any business. Would you buy a newspaper ad in a community paper in another town you don’t operate in? No? Well showing ads to people not interested in your product or service could possibly damage your brand, as well as cost you unnecessary ad spend.
In 2017, target your audience. Investigate the options that will get you a better return on investment. A better return would include more targeted web traffic to your site or landing page, or more web enquiries through Facebook or your website, or perhaps more sales on your ecommerce site.
We advise our clients to focus on content. Being super helpful and useful, sharing what customers are looking for and giving more than you take, is what will help you get brand attention online.
So start a mailing list with helpful guides, or offer a free download of your latest app. List yourself in every relevant online directory, and research apps that people might try to find your service in like Yelp or TripAdvisor. If potential customers are searching for your product or service, they are keen to buy. Be sure they can find your brand!
Set goals for all your ad spends and marketing campaigns. Be sure you are getting something from them. Ask questions if your digital marketing agency is just invoicing you without getting solid results.
Finally, be fussy with your selection of digital marketing agencies. If you have the time and knowledge to launch your own campaigns, sure, go for it. Like most of us though, we need to focus on the core of our business, and getting help with marketing will suit us best.
Choose an agency that is transparent in what they do, what they charge and what each service actually involves. After all, you are paying for it.
Secondly, be sure that agency can guarantee a positive result. Have they done it before? Have a look through their portfolio, or ask them for past client success stories. A quick indicator for some is checking social media feeds. A good digital marketing agency will have positive reviews, good feedback in posts and comments, and have a half decent page following. Page following can be deceiving though as likes can often be bought and boosted.
Be sure they are staying relevant and not just posting click-bait. Are they responding to comments and posts? Do they respond to page messages? Why aren’t they on Twitter? Is there a photo of the staff on the page? Social media should show a professional, yet personal view of the business.
How does that agency rank on Google search? After all, if they are offering to handle your social media, ads or SEO, shouldn’t they have good results for themselves?
Get a Better Online Marketing Result in 2017
Hopefully these tips have triggered your interrogation mindset and you start asking the important questions. The one thing we really want you to take from this article is that online marketing is marketing. Treat it like your other marketing. Do not believe for a second that its going to be a cheaper option. To get results, it needs budget similar to that of traditional and offline media such as radio and television.
A client of ours last year pulled major money out of his radio campaigns and invested it in an online campaign across search and social media. What he got was measurable results with a better ranking in search results, more interaction on social media and an increase in page traffic.
Online marketing has it’s advantages being the ability to get real time reports on results including clicks and reach, but it works best when tied in with your overall marketing campaigns. Match your flyers, TV and Radio, and newspaper ads with your online advertising and content, and you will get a much better result.
It sounds a bit drastic or overstated, but with the future of ad content online in jeopardy, will your business continue to use it?
We have dropped a lot of banner ads for clients as they focus their marketing budgets on search optimisation, search text based ads and website content. Having found that many banner ads go unseen, and the real winners are AdWords, AdRoll, etc, we are educating clients on using inbound marketing techniques for their online marketing to ensure they get found by their ideal audience, as well as maximise leads.
When it comes to brand awareness, ads can help both sides – good and bad. Some companies go overboard with tracking and followups, and although it may return a high percentage of leads, are they also damaging their brand by being annoying?
With a lot of money being put in to online advertising, should we also consider that many tech savvy users are browsing with ad blockers in place, as well as using search engines like DuckDuckGo, to avoid seeing so many ads while they surf the interwebs?
I believe advertising is here to stay, although we just need to be smarter with the way it is used. If overused and abused, it will die a horrible death in the near future. I love watching the smart advertising that agencies come up with when I watch Gruen.
What is inbound marketing?
Wikipedia describes it simply as “a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization.”
It basically involves creating content worthy of your customers attention and sharing through social media, newsletters and blogging. Rather than throwing paid advertising in everyone’s face, inbound marketing techniques are less intrusive as they show useful content to people that are actually looking for it, meaning in theory, a better lead or engagement.
Think about a mailing list you can sign up for online. Many sales funnels are pushing to get email addresses from visitors before they provide their content. Are you going to stay subscribed to this list, or will you get the content you wanted and then unsubscribe? Many of these emails will stay on the mailing list as majority of signups will not be bothered to unsubscribe. Therefore, from the marketers point of view, its a successful growth of their mailing list. But is it?
What if you didn’t force people to sign up to your mailing list and left it to choice? Would they sign up? Would your list grow?
What? You want to join our mailing list? Sure, just click here.
The answer is yes. Maybe not as fast, but if people are loving your content and what you have to provide, they will sign up for more. Give them an offer along with the sign up and the signups may increase. The difference here is your sign up audience is more attentive to your content as they found you, and not the other way around if that makes sense.
As a marketer, you have to acknowledge there are pros and cons for both inbound and outbound marketing, but when thinking about the future of marketing and online trends, will we see more people shift their spending to inbound techniques?
Which is better?
This is a matter of opinion and depends on your type of business and your audience.
From a personal point of view, I would suggest companies focus on inbound marketing and primarily awesome content on their websites. The web is overwhelmed with ads and shit content. Lets start making great websites, focus on amazing content and useful guides, and allow people to make their own decisions in terms of newsletter signups and site navigation.
Although from a business point of view, your competitors are using online ads that stalk your potential customers, shouldn’t you do the same?
Once people start noticing that they are being flooded by ads and clickbait, will they make a conscious change to avoid more of it by using ad and tracking blocks? Will the money we spend on online ads reach a smaller portion of the online world as people avoid ads?
Will people realise? I mean, many are going straight to the source for the news like Trump on Twitter, rather than just believing the news stories…
It may not be a noticeable difference in 2017, but change is on its way, although we cannot guarantee the outcome. For now, your ad spend may still be beneficial to your brand, but what will the future bring?
I will definitely be interested to see what will happen. But I am also a bit bias, as we focus on website content and SEO link building through contextual links. I personally hate popups on exiting a site, although have used it on our own sites in the past. This site for example, xmediads.rocks strives to provide information and explanations of services for readers, and engagement comes from those interested in taking on website changes, SEO or advertising.
Content is still king, and sometimes ads can help get more people seeing that content, but in the end, it is up to you what you invest your marketing budget in. My vote is SEO!
Whether it is your product or service, or an affiliate sale you are pushing, getting noticed online is your way to a better bottom line.
Travel bugs and passive income enthusiasts like Pat Flynn show that there is money to be made online, and having your website is just the beginning. Pat has used blogging and podcasts to great advantage to get his brands created. Even sites like his affiliate security guard training and food trucker site use SEO, specifically article content that shows him as an authority in his field, and creates viral-like content sharing and linking.
In 2017, we are seeing more searches being made directly from smart devices, as well as through apps like Yelp rather than Google, and search terms being closer to spoken word. It is time you researched how people are looking for your product and service, and where, and ensure your brand is showing up.
Why are Links and Content so Important?
Search engines like Google and Bing need to deliver to their user the most relevant content to the entered search term, as well as ensuring the site they are sending the user to is safe, not-spammy, and a hub of information.
They judge this criteria using complex algorithms. Don’t try and understand them, but know that to get found online, your website needs to contain useful information including, your contact details and services, location details, a good description of what you do and who you are, and adequate use of keywords and phrases in content, tags and metadata.
Years ago it was common to limit the amount of outbound links from your site, and focus on internal links and links to your sites from higher ranking sites. In 2017, Google is looking for information hubs, so having a good mix of internal content and links to useful sites helps. Having a blog with helpful guides and updates is great, while links to authoritative sites like Wikipedia and gurus in your field help too. Think about it from a search engine point of view. Your site needs to offer the most information for a user that will help them with their search enquiry. If Google or Bing believe your site contains helpful information as well as links to sites where you can find more targeted information, it will send the user there. If other people are linking to your site as a point of reference or authority, you will rank better as search engines believe you are an expert in your field. The bigger an expert you look, the better you will rank. Of course, there is a lot more to it, but this is the basics.
Search engines penalise sites that are spammy, and look to be over optimising. To avoid this, build really useful content that people will want to read. Focus on the user, and include lots of helpful information. Keep your link anchor text natural with around 10% containing your keywords. Also ensure your website loads fast and has caching enabled and images optimised. All this will help you avoid search engine penalties and rank you better in search results.
2017 is all about mobile devices. Make sure your site performs on small screens too!
Our SEOBOT website helps you create content if you do not have time to create your own. It can also drop links and citations on high ranking websites leading back to your site. Our link building packages use a tiered linking structure to both avoid penalties on your website, as well as building a natural link layout. This structure looks a bit like that of a viral piece of content, with a combination of social signals and links. Find out more about SEOBOT at https://seobot.com.au
How to get found in more Places
The most important advice I can give you is to research your ideal client. Find out as much as you can through feedback or purchase reporting. Where did they hear about your brand, where do they live, what are their interests, how old are they, and all those personal questions.
We basically want to find out as much as possible. Why? Because lets say they listen to the radio a lot, you might think radio advertising is the ideal choice. But if they listen to community radio or channels like Triple J, you may miss them when you advertise on commercial radio stations.
Where did they find you? They may have found you online, although not necessarily on Google search. Perhaps they used an app on their mobile like Yelp or TripAdvisor to search for your product or service.
Bottom line is, if you know where your customer is most attentive to product placement ads and listings, you can ensure that you are listed in those places and focus on building rank to out-rank your competitors in that listing.
Try something different every now and then with your advertising. Think outside the box. Perhaps a sports event or festival might be full of your potential customers, see if you can advertise or sponsor the event.
Xmedia Digital Solutions is helping clients just like you this year connect with their audience through social signals, creative content and press articles, as well as website optimisation and rank building. If you would like a piece of the pie, or get the basics sorted on your web presence, get in touch and lets talk about an online strategy for your brand.
It has been an eventful year in terms of marketing, especially online with big changes to the Google search algorithm, use of ad-blockers and the way people search for products and services. Before creating your strategy for advertising in 2017, there are a few things you need to consider.
Where are your Customers?
We all rely on clients and consumers of our products and services, and when it comes to connecting with them online, we need to research our ideal audience, and assess the way they find us. While for years we have said that Google search is the essential location to get found, we know now that consumers are using mobile devices more as well as apps like Yelp and TripAdvisor. This means that simply showing up on Google will not guarantee you get found by your customers.
Its a bit like radio advertising. It is no good advertising on commercial radio stations when your ideal or most likely potential customer is listening to their own private playlist or hanging out with Triple J. It becomes a wasted investment. Same goes with your online ads. You might be showing your ad to thousands of people, but are they buying?
Focus on your product and the people who have bought it so far. How have they found you? For example, our services have always been through referrals and social media, so we invest time and money in connecting with people through email and social media content. If your audience is looking for you or your service, you need to ensure they can find you.
Many consumers now search on specific applications such as Yelp, TripAdvisor or local searches. This means that you need to be across all media associated with your product or service, and control what is being seen – contact details, reviews, feedback and possible negative content.
Is SEO really worth the money?
The short answer is yes. It is. SEO or search engine optimisation once meant getting you to page 1 of Google search. It still kind of does, although smart digital agencies are doing the research and including local content as well as citations to service finders such as the before-mentioned Yelp and TripAdvisor apps.
It needs to be more about inbound marketing than outbound marketing. Rather than throwing your brand out there to any one who will listen, throw it in front of the people who are looking and eager to buy or connect.
In recent SEO campaigns for our clients, we have been focusing on location based content, links from reputable sites in related fields, and blog posts that target a specific audience. This will not only help you get found on specific search apps, it will also still create relevant links that will improve your ranking on Google search. Its a bit of a WIN-WIN situation.
Is SEO a better investment than Pay Per Click?
Both have their merits, although for a long term investment return, SEO is the clear winner as it builds on trust and reputation through quality article content and links on reputable sites. Pay Per Click will create almost instant traffic, and can be very targeted, although will stop instantly when your budget runs dry. Another nail in the coffin for online ads is that more people are starting to use ad-blocking software to stop seeing pop-ups and banner ads. Google is even going so far to avoiding sites that have automatic pop-ups, especially on mobile devices.
It comes down to user experience as well. Take off the business hat for a minute and think about your online travels. Do you click on banner ads? Do you hate those video ads that just start playing, will you click on the Click-Bait looking ads on top of search results? What do you trust more, an organic listing on search or a directory, or an ad that is a paid placement?
SEO means listing your business in the right online local directories, creating content that makes you an authority in your field, sharing of posts to create popularity and links, social bookmarking and user generated content. All the things that search engines like Google are looking at to determine rank. Just like a viral piece of content, if your brand is trusted and popular, or at least looks that way, it will rank better.
In investment terms, this mean focusing on creating helpful and shareable content, guest blog posts about your services, press releases about what you offer, and local listings where consumers can find you. These are permanent and quality links and brand association that will stay even if your budget for one month or two drops.
Consistency is key, and although your budget might look like a roller-coaster ride, keeping a minimum SEO campaign in place is paramount to helping you rank better. Not only does it help rank, it will increase your traffic flow as it builds more links to your site, and helpful articles about your product or service.
We usually recommend our clients use a reasonable mix of the two, although with ads being kept strictly to text based search ads. With a campaign that targets your ideal audience’s search terms, we can deliver traffic that is more likely to engage with your website or brand, which ideally will increase your business’ bottom line.
Getting found in 2017
A lot will change in 2017, and how people find or search for you is one of them. With Google search focused on mobile consumers, and search terms looking more like sentences, we will need to rethink keyword strategies and campaign targeting.
It is all about anticipating what your ideal customer will do. Are they tech savvy or will they find you in a newspaper ad. No matter where they are, you need to be sure your brand shows up when they are looking for your product or service. How you do it depends on you.
Hopefully this article has given you some ideas for how you will run your marketing campaign in the new year. I would love to hear your opinions on the changes in search, your use of ads and SEO, or what you plan to do in 2017 with your marketing.
As the year 2016 draws to a close, the term ‘Internet Marketing’ will be remembered by many business owners and shops as the one thing they need to do better next year, but will it still be a ‘thing’ in 2017?
According to David Walter from a leading Hunter Valley web design and marketing agency, the term ‘internet marketing’ should be left in 2016.
“It (internet marketing) is no longer seen as another form of marketing for a business. Just as TV and radio fall under the one banner of marketing or advertising, so too will web based marketing” said Mr Walter.
With more business owners finding the need to advertise online as well as their offline efforts, Mr Walter believes we should do away with the term internet marketing and focus on web based advertising as what it is – marketing and advertising.
“Why shouldn’t we count web advertising in the same category as TV and radio? It is just as essential, if not more, in this day and age. With web based spending by consumers on the rise, along with product and service searches on mobile devices becoming the normal, businesses need to include web advertising into their marketing and advertising strategies, alongside the normal media.”
In a recent talk given by Mr Walter, he explained how he believes that in 2017, business owners will need to focus on their marketing budgets and targeting their correct audience. To do this he suggested researching the current buyer or user of your brand, and analysing their habits. Do they listen to mainstream radio? Are they attentive during commercials on television? Are they looking online for your type of product or service?
Research has shown that people looking for your product or service are more likely to buy, whilst people who see your advertisement somewhere might recollect seeing it, but not necessarily be moved to take action. Mr Walter, in his talk, suggested utilising a new form of SEO.
SEO, a term thrown around a lot throughout 2016 and earlier, stands for search engine optimisation. It relates to improving your organic ranking in search engines online such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.
David believes that more and more searches online are being carried out on mobile devices and not always through a search engine like Google. Someone looking for a good restaurant nearby might use the Yelp application whilst others searching for accommodation might look through TripAdvisor or AirBNB. The point he makes is that businesses should identify where their audience is looking and ensure your brand is showing up firstly, and secondly is attracting positive user generated content like reviews and feedback.
While SEO will help you get found on local and national search results on search engines like Google, some digital agencies miss the mark when listing businesses in the appropriate online directories and applications. David tells his audience to confirm with their marketing team or digital agency that they are finding the right listings and search terms for their brand, and ensure they are not wasting money on optimising something that will not help improve their return on investment, such as web advertising that gets blocked by their ideal user.
David Walter owns and manages web marketing agency, Xmedia Digital Solutions, and has been helping business owners since 2009 do more with technology and the web. He is open to explaining his opinions in the field of online advertising in more detail and can be contacted through his business’ website. As a digital marketing guy would say, just Google it!