Digital Marketing For The Layperson

By this point I shouldn’t be surprised but, these days I often find myself dumbfounded by some people’s struggle to comprehend the simple nature of our industry. Fear of the unknown seems to be driving much of the confusion and I suppose a lot of it comes from generations with little to no exposure to computers in their youths but, it amazes me nonetheless.

I am a “Gen X’er” so, I was a part of the very first generation to have computers in the classroom and the first to have video game consoles in the home. Growing up in what is now the Silicon Valley might have given us an advantage over other schools throughout the country but I am grateful for the early start.

I know some very intelligent, capable, successful people who simply cannot wrap their heads around digital marketing and, I know some folks with below average intelligence who oversimplify what we do and as a result, are equally impossible to talk to. Even though there are plenty of books, blogs and video tutorials dumbing down what we do for mass consumption, I am going to attempt to explain the basics of what we do, in my own words. Bear with me.

Search Engines

Unless you’ve been in solitary confinement at a C.I.A. black site, you’ve probably heard of Google so, let’s start there.

Think of Google like an interactive phone book but, instead of flipping through pages, you type in keywords (relevant to what you’re looking for), into a search bar. After you click the search button, you’re going to see a list of results, some consisting of names, numbers, and locations of either people or businesses (non-business related searches will also pull up the appropriate results). If the information you are seeking displays on the page(a business’ phone # and/or address) you’re golden, if not, you may have to click on links to be taken to a page that has the information you’re looking for. It’s really that simple. On most search engine result pages there are 3 sections: Sponsored ads, local results and organic results, to the untrained eye, they are all the same but there are some important differences.

Sponsored Ads:

These are PAID ads but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t click on them. I have heard countless people say something to the effect of “everyone knows those are paid ads so I don’t click on them”. Really? That is one of the most absurd arguments I have ever heard. Do you also refuse to buy anything you see in a tv commercial, radio ad or print ad because the advertisements are paid for? I didn’t think so. Nobody is trying to “trick or deceive you”, sponsored ads are clearly marked and they are placed in positions on the page that search engines know to get the most activity.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Google makes 97% of its revenue from sponsored ads (Billions) so, they are going to position those ads in most strategically advantageous places, the same way advertisers choose certain audiences, programming, publications, markets and time slots when advertising on T.V., radio, and print.

Example:

Local Results:

The “Map Section” as it’s commonly referred to, usually only consists of local results based on a geo modifier used in a search query (name of a town, city, county, state, province, country or continent) or based off the users location, as it’s perceived by the device being used to search with (laptop, tablet, phone. etc). Improve your ranking in this section with a service called Local SEO, a valuable and affordable service we offer. Listings in this section are not pay per click.

Example:

 Organic or “Natural” Results:

These results are not paid for and appear where they do through a number of factors, mostly outside of your control. Google’s always changing algorithm ultimately decides how the results are ranked but there are things you can do that will help over time. Keeping the same URL helps, having updated, relevant content, blogging regularly and having a current, mobile and user-friendly site will go a long way. Although usability is far more important than appearances, good aesthetics certainly don’t hurt.

 

Display Ads:

Google Display Network is a group of more than 2 million websites, videos, blogs and apps where your ads can appear. Display Network sites reach over 90% of Internet users worldwide*. With the Display Network, you can use targeting to show your ads in particular contexts (like “outdoor lifestyles” or “cnn.com”), to particular audiences (like “young moms” or “people shopping for a new sedan”), in particular locations, and more.

 Here are some examples of ad shapes you might recognize:

Large Rectangle 336×280

 

 

 

160×600 Skyscraper


 728×90 Banner

 

 

 

Feel free to email us with any questions about digital marketing.

 

Cheesy marketing joke of the week:


A SEO copywriter walks into a bar, bars, tavern, pub, pubs, public house, Irish, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor…

Sorry, that was not fair to SEO professionals My apologies, apology, apologize, best apology, how to apologize, really sorry…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Minutes

 

 There are many things one can do in 15 minutes like, make a grilled cheese sandwich, change a tire, brew a pot of coffee, troll your least favorite celebrity on social media or, dissolve a dead human body in a large, schedule 2 plastic tub full of hydrochloric acid. Personally, I prefer a shallow grave and a bag of Lye but, I digress.

For business owners, 15 minutes of free time can be hard to find but, by taking a few minutes each day, you can help improve your company’s online presence and, without spending a dime.

 Your Website: Updating specials, sales, events, products, employees, services, charitable endeavors, changes in contact info and/or any other relevant information doesn’t take long and can be very helpful to visitors on your site. If you do not have the ability to make changes to your site, I recommend getting a CMS(Content Management System) like WordPress that allows you to make edits without the need for a web developer. If you are in the market for a new site, give us a call, we build in WordPress.

Facebook: With over 2 Billion users, Facebook has become a valuable platform for businesses and whether or not you spend money on FB ads, updating your company’s page regularly is a great way generate awareness, interest, and revenue. Just like with your website, updating specials, sales, events, products, employees, services, charitable endeavors, changes in contact info and/or any other relevant information is a good practice to be in.

Yelp and Google reviews: I cannot overstress the importance of responding to online reviews, the good and the bad alike. Thanking happy clients/customers who took the time to write a positive review is just good business and responding to bad reviews is equally, if not more important. Any PR professional will tell you that you must respond to damaging allegations, accusations or public criticism, simply put, if you don’t tell your side of the story, somebody else will tell it for you. Bad reviews can hurt your bottom line, and many times they are embellished or outright fabricated so, telling your truth is crucial. If you are dealing with a reasonable person and you are willing to work through their grievance, sometimes you can get them to remove or update the review. Make time to regularly check and respond to reviews. Many businesses have unclaimed Yelp listings but taking control of your page is not difficult, you cannot respond if you don’t have administrative access to your listing.

Check Your Local Listings: If you Google your company name and location, you should see relevant results going down the first page, click on any company listing and make sure the information is correct, many times it is not. Incorrect information like hours of operation, contact info and location can cost you money. Your business is listed hundreds of places around the internet, if you don’t have the time or the desire to monitor them all, I recommend taking advantage of our Local SEO service, it’s more than affordable and incredibly valuable for any business.

If you are so busy that you cannot find the time for any of these suggested tasks, you are a perfect candidate for our services and you should give us a call @ 866-609-3483

Until next week……

 

Cheesy marketing joke of the week:

How do you get people to notice you online?

 

You have to really make an impression.

 

Imagine, if You Will…..

 

Imagine, if you will, Rod Serling introducing an episode of the Twilight Zone which focuses on the strange disappearances of poorly marketed websites, where do they go? The Twilight Zone? or just the back pages of Google? This is a reoccurring theme in our radio ads because it is a reoccurring theme in our industry. The voice actor we hired for the Unsolved Mysteries ad, Brad Curtis, will be voicing Serling for us and I look forward to working with him again, he is such a pro.

Now, think of Jack Bauer interrogating an unscrupulous SEO writer or a shady marketing consultant who has hijacked or poorly marketed someone’s website, and because nobody can find it, Jack is threatening the suspect with bodily harm (broken fingers, to be exact) if he doesn’t disclose it’s location. Things with this ad could get dicey for airplay given the theme of torture, not to mention Jack’s yelling and he will definitely be using his signature catchphrase(or word in this case) “Dammit”!!! I hope we can slip this one past the goalie, I don’t think it will be a problem though, given everything else we’ve managed to get away with;-)

Who can forget the lead character Bryan Mills, from the hit Liam Neeson movie, “Taken”?! Now imagine him delivering those now famous lines to a similar type of individual, bad SEO writers, slimy web developers and crooked marketers will be reoccurring villains in several of our ads, as they are in business.

Think of Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise going back in time to modern-day Earth to save small businesses from economic collapse, only to turn around go back home because they fear the primitive peoples of our planet after learning of so many businesses not even having the common sense to market their sites on Google. This will likely be an exclusive audio track for our website because there too many characters that need be included and we cannot do this iconic show justice within the 60 second time limit required for airplay, I’m guessing this will end up being 2 to 4 minutes in length. Love of this show is something our company president and I have in common so, I know it will be good…..at least to us.

Picture a mother disowning her son at Mother’s Day dinner because she learns that her boy, whom she thought she raised right, has not and doesn’t plan to market his business’s new website. This may raise some eyebrows, depending on which line we end the ad with, some of them are harsh(and funny) but, there will be elements of it that everyone with a mom can relate to and just might find funny. The 60 second time limit might make this challenging as well but, I am confident that we can do it.

Now imagine Fox Mulder and Dana Scully performing an autopsy on a dead website, trying to figure out what happened to it. Was it abducted by aliens, probed and left facedown and naked in a cornfield or was it just bad marketing? Stay tuned to find out.

As a fan of the show, I admit to sometimes binge watching Forensic Files, the narrator’s voice makes every detail sound sinister and intriguing. A parody of this show would be another great candidate for an IDP radio ad, it might have to be a website exclusive, given the time constraints, and it will be a huge challenge to do the show justice with just 60 seconds but, we’ll give it the old college try.

These are just some teasers, some free samples, if you will, of some upcoming and future radio ads we will be producing at IDP Studios. We’ll be posting the finished ads to our various social media accounts and attaching them to blogs on our website as they are completed.

Stay tuned for more debauchery…..

 

 

Web Analytics: Why You Need It & What Ideal Positions Can Offer, Part 3

 

This post is Part 3 of a three-part series.  To get caught-up, see Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

 

Part Three: Ideal Positions’ New Reporting Suite!

Ever since Ideal Positions began offering Read-Only Access to Google AdWords accounts there has been a tremendous amount of feedback, both positive and negative.  The positive feedback was expected; many business owners find the level of transparency that Ideal Positions offers to be a breath of fresh air when compared to other providers they have tried in the past.  Providing access to Google AdWords directly ensures that the data is completely uncorrupted by any conflicts of interest, which can only be a good thing!

Admittedly, we may have been a little short-sighted in that we didn’t anticipate a common negative reaction to this level of transparency: Google AdWords reporting isn’t the most user-friendly, easy-to-use interface.  We know that many of Ideal Positions’ clients enjoy the services we offer partly because those clients don’t have to worry about navigating or monitoring the labyrinth that is the Google AdWords Web Interface.  So, in an effort to provide greater transparency, I must admit that we may have fallen a little short of the mark by over-complicated the reporting process.  As an Internet marketing agency, Ideal Positions isn’t afraid to admit when we may have made a mistake, and I believe that fact serves to further accentuate the level of transparencey and honesty you get when working with us.

In light of this experience, Ideal Positions is proud to announce a new, custom-built in-house reporting suite that is significantly easier to use than the Google AdWords reporting!  Our staff is really excited about all the hard work our developers have put into designing this new reporting suite, and we’re excited to enhance our clients’ experience by providing the metrics they care about the most in a simplified, easy-to-view format.  This new reporting pulls data directly from Google Adwords and bing Ads, so it is still 100% unadulterated.  Data is pulled automatically using  existing features available in Google AdWords and bing Ads, combined with custom software built by Ideal Positions’ in-house developers.  There is no data entry involved, and as such there is no room for typos or other “human error.”

 

What Data is Available in the New Reporting Suite?

Using the new reporting suite, you will be able to view the total number of clicks (how many times your ads were clicked on), the total number of impressions (how many times your ads were viewed), and the Clickthrough Rate (CTR) from Ideal Positions’ service, broken-down by keyword and by search engine.  With nearly two years of feedback from clients that have had access to the Google AdWords accounts that Ideal Positions uses to advertise their websites, we believe that this will be just enough reporting to be of value to our clients without over-complicating the reports to the point of obfuscation.  To see how these clicks are performing once the user gets to your site, Ideal Positions recommends the use of Google Analytics.

In addition to providing reporting for the Google AdWords account that Ideal Positions uses to drive traffic to your website, the new reporting suite will now allow you to see how many clicks and impressions you are receiving from bing Ads!  Better yet, the reporting for both Google AdWords and bing Ads is now available all in one report.  You will no longer need to contact Ideal Positions to get a traffic report for bing Ads, that data is now available all in one place.

 

New Reporting Suite Will Launch in Q1 2014

At the time of this publication, Ideal Positions’ new reporting suite is almost ready for prime-time.  To get early access when the new suite launches in Q1 of 2014, like Ideal Positions on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or add us to your circles on Google+.  More updates will follow in the coming weeks and months.

 

Lead Attribution and The Future of Ideal Positions’ New Reporting Suite

Reporting on clicks, impressions, and Clickthrough Rate is only the beginning.  Over time, Ideal Positions plans to integrate automated lead attribution into the reporting suite, giving our clients even more direct access to metrics that specifically measure how many phone calls, contact form submissions, newsletter signups, downloads, and online purchases that are directly attributable to Ideal Positions’ advertising services.

We’ve already set the wheels in motion to begin offering advanced call tracking using Google Analytics and Ideal Positions’ new reporting suite beginning in 2014.  Using dynamically-generated phone numbers, combined with custom-built landing pages expertly designed just for Search Engine Marketing, Ideal Positions will be able to track roughly how many phone calls you receive from our service, and even show which keywords were most responsible for generating the phone calls.  This data can be used over time to refine the allocation of advertising spend to the avenues that generate the most revenue for our clients.

Additionally, we plan on integrating contact form submission tracking into the new reporting suite, also beginning in 2014.  For those of you that get more form submissions than phone calls, this system will play a key role in reporting roughly how many submissions are directly attributable to Ideal Positions’ services, and the data can be reported right there in the new reporting suite alongside the rest of your campaign performance metrics.

Over time, we hope to create a one-stop reporting system for our clients to use that will provide the same level of transparency that Ideal Positions has become known for, while keeping a refreshing level of simplicity that will save advertisers both time and money.