The Do and Don’t list for Online Marketing in 2017

The Do and Don’t list for Online Marketing in 2017

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.

Happy Marketing,

Dave out.

Do not Invest in a Dying Media in 2017!

Do not Invest in a Dying Media in 2017!

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!

Yours in marketing

Dave.

Read this before you start your 2017 Online Advertising!

Read this before you start your 2017 Online Advertising!

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.

With services like Siri, Google Now and Cortana, search terms are more like spoken word rather than specific terms. For example, people are more likely to ask their phone “find the closest jeweller that sells pink diamonds” than they are to just say “pink diamonds“.

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.

Yours in marketing. Dave.

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