What I Can Do For You As Your Digital Marketer

Throughout the past couple months, I have written many blogs and posted many articles that I believe can help anybody or any startup learn more about the basics of how to market digitally and the importance of it. In fact, just yesterday I read an article about how marketing salaries for great marketers will double in the next five years. It is a growing industry and becoming increasingly more popular in attaining and retaining customers. LinkedIn did a study of the 25 hottest skills in 2014 and four of them are directly marketing related and only getting more popular.

  • #5: SEO/SEM marketing
  • #12: Marketing campaign management
  • #16: Digital and online marketing
  • #20: Channel marketing

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Considering the growth in the industry, why would you not want to hire additional, young marketers like myself? On top of that, the marketing industry as a whole is changing and you need somebody fresh off a degree with the right skills to expand your reach. Eventually, all of marketing will be digital and businesses need to keep up with this since it can be a much cheaper and more effective way. From all my blogs through the past couple months, they offer tricks and techniques to effectively and efficiently do all aspects of a digital marketing campaign.

What can I do for you as your digital marketer?

If you have had the chance to read any of my other blogs, you will realize that I am a very quick learner and understand to an extent lots of parts of  a digital campaign. I understand where we are now in terms of digital marketing and where it will go in the future. Whether it’s knowing how to create great content, designing a website, A/B testing your website, optimizing the website, having a good UX and UI, create solid landing pages, or even the basics of coding, I am your guy. That was just the beginning of the list as I encourage you to read the rest of my blogs to further understand how I can help you.

Up until this blog, I have written 7,517 words covering about 15 different topics. I have shown an interest and a passion for this topic that goes beyond the classroom to just a personal interest which will always increase the amount of time spent and the quality of work in a work setting. Although there haven’t been many views on my blogs yet, I am currently designing my own website which will be up soon and have all my blogs which will increase the views and hopefully help more people understand the topics I wrote about.

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The Growth of Mobile App Marketing and How to Increase App Downloads

As the capabilities of platforms such as smartphones and tablets become more like computers, it only makes sense that there is an increase in internet usage and search platforms. According to the U.S digital future in focus 2014, 56% of U.S digital media consumers constitute the ‘multi-platform majority’ as of December 2013. The U.S mobile app report also by ComScore shares some good data about the growth in mobile app usage as well. One graph I thought was pretty interesting in it was the digital time spent growth driven by apps. In just one year, from June 2013 to June 2014, there was a 52% increase in mobile app minutes spent and a 17% increase in mobile web minutes.

Since mobile apps are becoming increasingly more popular, how do you increase app downloads?  According to this mobile app marketing insights by Google, 26% of installed smartphone apps are used daily and an average user has 36 apps installed on his or her smartphone. Apps are also not most commonly found in the app store, but instead discovered outside the app store. 52% of people are aware of smartphone apps through friends, family, and colleagues. 40% through the app store, 27% through search engines, 24% through a company website, and 22% through TV. So, as you can see, there is a lot of opportunity  in multiple ways to market your mobile app. Since 26% of apps are used daily, having good content and a sustainable business model to retain the traffic is very important in customer retention. Looking further into an article, the best way to increase app downloads is by having search ads. They list out all the different ads that drive downloads and search ads are first with a 50% influence. Social ads were listed at a 49% influence, 47% for banner/graphical ads in apps, 45% for banner/graphical ads in websites, and 43% in video ads. Using any of these techniques will clearly help increase downloads on your app which, with good content, can turn into every day use for the consumer.

This article from the Washington Post talks about the success Starbucks has had using mobile devices for uses such as rewards or payments. The article was written in early January and they said that customers, on average, pay for a purchase using a smartphone 7 million times a week, with mobile payments accounting for just about 16% of purchases. They also have had great success with their rewards program. Last December, the program added nearly 900,000 new members alone. This is also a great way to keep customer retention and usage of their app by having customers go into the app to check their rewards.

The last topic I want to talk about is mobile SEO. Moz provides a fantastic article on building a great mobile site to improve your SEO.

Why is investing in mobile important? Check out this graph of the increase in mobile usage and how it is going to trend in the future.

In fact, Google recently changed their algorithm through their “mobilegeddon” update which gives sites that are more mobile friendly a better ranking. In addition to this for why it is important to invest in mobile is the fact that way back in 2012, 35% of mobile visitors made a purchase on their smartphone.

Coding & How it Can Benefit a Digital Marketer

Throughout the past couple months, I have been posting blogs with all the essential basics of strong foundation of digital marketing. Now, I would like to get a little bit into coding and how this can also be a crucial part of the entire process. Before starting on coding, check out this article on all the skills it takes to be a full stack marketer.

So is coding the next must-have skill of the modern marketer? This article from HubSpot says yes and gives reasons why. Code is what lies behind many great marketing campaigns. Websites, emails, apps, and other tools are all made to give customers a better experience and this is because there are smart coders behind the scenes making them work. Here is why coding is a good skill to know for a beginner in digital marketing:

  • Understand the impossible – By understanding code and the structures that bring your sites, apps, and tools to life gives you a good understanding of what is possible in the first place. Understanding code will also help you better understand what tools your designer is using, what other tools are out their, and whether the tool offered to you is right, up to date, and doing what you want it to.
  • Know what it takes – If you don’t know what’s involved in a process, you are not getting the most out of your budget. So, knowing what is involved in building a website, a form, and making a change to an app or navigation site can be very beneficial in getting the most out of your budget. You will then actually be able to have an informed discussion about cost and time frames with the people who implement the ideas. Another important part of knowing what it takes is helping you to decide which company or design partner is right for you in the first place, and will better help you to determine whether they can do what you are asking them to, at the right price, and within the right time frame.
  • Fix it quick – By understanding code, you will know how to make small changes on your own. This can save hours of time and help your budget.

So where can you learn to code? My recommendation would be Code Academy where you are able to learn how to code interactively and for free and not to mention, it has great reviews. Here is one of the first steps of the academy and what it looks like when you first start with just the basics:

After going through each step in the process, you earn badges by completing more advanced steps of the coding process. My experience with code academy was definitely very beneficial in learning the basics of coding. You learn everything from a basicline to adding paragraphs, headings, lists, variables, classes, methods,  and much, much more.  Code Academy can be very beneficial because you are learning through practicing, which is by writing code. Code Academy helps you better understand the basic language of coding which can in turn help with the reasons above as to why I think coding is turning into a very important skill to know. Here is a picture of what you start learning later in the training:

Another website I checked out for this blog was Squarespace which gives you modern, easy to navigate, up-to-date templates for you to design your own website. It is very easy to understand and could be an important tool in getting your business name out there while being able to optimize your content through SEO. Here is a link to my website after fiddling around and making an eCommerce page for about 30 minutes.  For anyone or any business looking to become more searchable, Squarespace is a great way to start. Here are some of the pros and cons I found from using Squarespace:

Pros:

  • Clean interface – Navigation is simple, clean, and structured which makes it easy to find the setting or sections you are looking for.
  • Easy control of SEO features – Squarespace makes it easy to find and change the SEO features you want to have control over. Page-level metrics such as titles, meta descriptions, and headers are all easy to manage to help improve SEO.
  • Fast site speed – With Google making all the algorithm changes lately, site speed has become increasingly more important which is a good thing if you use Squarespace.
  • All Squarespace templates are designed and responsive to mobile devices.
  • There is a built-in blogging functions and a built-in online store.

Cons:

  • It is more expensive than some alternatives and there are no free plans.

SquareSpace Monthly Costs (correct as of 23/11/14)

  • The quantity of templates and extensions are limited.

Overall, Squarespace can be a very important tool for a new business looking to create a sleek, easy to use website that can be easily optimized.

Where Paid Advertising Will Go In The Future

Programmatic and native advertising have become increasing more popular over the last few years and will continue to expand in the future. Marketing leaders have started driving their digital media practices forward by using rich customer data along with algorithmically driven buying platforms leading to the digital advertising dollars having more effect in reaching target audiences.

Before discussing the future of these concepts, your probably asking what programmatic and native advertising actually are:

  • Programmatic advertising – A form of paid media in which all advertising will come to be bought and sold . It is buying specific audiences using lots of data to figure out the right ad, the right person, and the right time. It is the idea that machines will handle all of the process involved in buying media. Programmatic takes multiple data points and makes decisions about what screen an ad should be on, what is the most effective strategy at a given moment, and then lets you handle all the non-manual decisions.
  • Native advertising – This is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed. They match the visual design of the experience they live within, and look and feel like natural content. They also behave consistently with the native user experience, and function like natural content.

This blog here discusses three key trends about programmatic advertising that are shaping the industry and will have more effect in the future for media buying:

  1. Budget increases: As more major brands are starting to do more paid advertising online, there is more competition and therefore, budget increases. Major brands will have huge goals for programmatic spending in the future.
  2. Growth in TV-land: As programmatic advertising is becoming increasingly more popular, the buzz about programmatic TV is taking hold and the future could see a new generation of ad tech committing to solving that problem for advertisers.
  3. Laser focus and cross-channel: Individual-based targeting is becoming more of a realistic idea and is where the industry is heading. More vendors will start to make cross-device, individual targeting a top priority.

Speaking of the laser focus idea, this article by Adweek describes how private programmatic will nearly be a $8.6 billion industry by 2016. As more and more premium advertisers migrate their ad dollars to digital, I would highly recommend for them to do private programmatic advertising. With this, they are able to set up direct relationships, just like traditional marketing, while still being able to embrace the technology that delivers digital ads in nanoseconds and targets campaigns to individual web users. A few examples of premium advertisers that have already started doing some private exchanges for it’s online ads are Cadillac, Tory Burch, and even CBS.

Native ads are also becoming increasingly more popular. This article from HubSpot explains 9 successful examples of native ads and how the concept is growing in the future. By 2018, spending on native advertising is expected to reach $21 billion! Crazy to think about because just a few years ago, native advertising wasn’t very popular and was just considered a fad. In the article, HubSpot describes on what they think, are the nine best examples of native advertising in 2014.

Another example is Taco Bell’s Live Mas campaign. What they did was post pictures that gave Taco Bell a “laid back, unobtrusive, even amateurish in the photography sense, giving Taco Bell an approachable, fun feel and making them almost a lifestyle brand.

Here are some stats about native advertising which is another reason for it’s recent growth and what will be continued growth in the future:

  1. 25% more consumers were measured to look at in-feed, native ad placements more than standard banners.
  2. Native ads registered 18% higher lift in purchase intent than banner ads.
  3. Consumers looked at native ads 2% more than editorial content and spent the same number of seconds viewing.
  4. 32% of the survey respondents said the native ad “is an ad I would share with a friend of family member” versus just 19% for display ads.

This article from business insider further discusses how native advertising will continue to grow in the future. Here are a few reasons for this growth and what will receive more growth in the future:

  • Native ads perform better than traditional display.
  • Consumers hold a generally positive attitude toward native advertising.
  • Social-native ads, including Facebook news feed ads and promoted tweets on Twitter, will draw a majority of native ad revenue between 2013 and 2018.

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Google AdWords and What You Need to Know

Google AdWords is a tool that anybody can use looking to increase traffic. It can help you with your PPC campaign and also help you to learn how to use the right keywords. If your thinking right now, I don’t need to do page search, then check out my previous blog and you might change your mind. A key benefit of online advertising and SEM is that it allows you to show your ads to the people who are most likely going to be interested. You can also reach potential customers on multiple devices including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Here are some key benefits of AdWords and how they might help your business:

  1. Target your ads – AdWords allows you to reach reach the audience you want to reach through different ways of targeting:
    • Keywords: Words or phrases relevant to your products and services which are then used when customers search for those terms.
    • Ad location: Show your ads on search engines, commercial sites, or personal sites.
    • Age location, and language: Choose the age, geographic location, and language of your customers.
    • Days, times, and frequency: Show your ads during certain hours or days of the week, and determine how often your ads appear.
    • Devices: Your ads can appear on all types of devices and you can even choose which devices your ads appear on and when.
  2. Control your costs – AdWords lets you control how you spend your money and there is no minimum. This lets you choose how much you want to spend per month, day, or even ad. You also only pay when someone clicks your ad.
  3. Measure your success – With AdWords, you are able to know if someone clicked your ad, or even clicked your ad and did something valuable like purchasing a product, downloading something, or even phoning in an order.
  4. Manage your campaigns – AdWords makes it very easy to manage and monitor accounts. The even offer a desktop app called AdWords editor, which allows you to quickly and conveniently make changes to your account.

In order to learn more about the certification, check out the AdWords fundamentals to have a better understanding to be able to pass the exam.

Before you are convinced that AdWords will help you, check out this article that may make you think twice. A lot of times you will have to pay for tons of clicks you have been getting, but won’t be able to get sales out of the deal. It is very important to have a website that is clear and not difficult to buy. Navigation should be easy and clean and the site should load quickly while showing the products or services prominently. Using AdWords to get prospective customers to your site is just square one, having good content and being optimized mobilly is becoming increasingly more important.

Overall, if AdWords is used correctly, you should be able to increase traffic first and foremost and follow that with increased conversions.

Reasons Why You Should Have Paid Search In Addition To SEO

First off, we should now understand how SEO and link building can be a big contributor in increasing traffic to your web page. In addition, paid search, or SEM, can also be used to see a big increase in traffic and conversions. Before discussing SEM in a little more detail, first check out this beginner’s guide to paid search from our friends at, you guessed it, HubSpot.

For today’s blog, I am going to cover:

  • What paid search is
  • How it works
  • Reasons why you need paid search
  • Strategies for successful paid search
  • Companies with successful SEM

So first off, what is SEM?

SEM is a term used to describe the various means of marketing a website by using search engines, this entails both organic SEO and paid search strategies. Organic search is based on the unpaid, natural rankings which is determined by the search engine algorithms. These types of searches can be optimized with the SEO practices I talked about in my last blog. Paid search allows you to pay a fee to have your website displayed on the search engine results page when someone types in specific keywords or phrases in the search engine. The search engine results page, or SERP, will display the ads you create to direct viewers to your site, and the fee that is payed is based on either clicks or views of the ads. Organic and paid both appear on the search engine, but in different places. Here is a picture of how the paid vs organic links are set up:

According to HubSpot data, over 70% of people click on the organic results, while there are still 30% that are likely to click on the paid links. Although the number is relatively low compared to the organic search, it can still be a powerful tool for increasing your companies online presence.

How does paid search work?

Paid search includes three elements, keywords, ads, and landing pages. If you are using Google AdWords for example, which I would highly recommend studying for and passing their AdWords certification exams, you start by giving them keywords which will tell Google where to display your ads when people search for those keywords. The overall goal is that when someone clicks your ad, they will be a converted customer by being directed to your landing pages rather than just your home page. Overall, paid search comes down to these three items:

  1. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Bidding – All this means is that you don’t pay for your ad being displayed, but you pay it when somebody actually clicks on your ad. In order to determine how much you pay for click, Google uses an auction-style bid to set their prices. Using the picture above as an example, the top paid results will be given to the highest bidder, then as you scroll down the page, each company pays less and less.
  2. Quality Score – Google also uses an algorithm called quality score in determining a companies relevance to the keywords that searched for. It looks at how closely your keyword relates to your ad and how closely tour ad relates to your landing page content. Google actually checks your landing pages to ensure that you are not just buying keywords and directing traffic to irrelevant pages.  The quality score is rated on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the lowest rating and 10 being the highest. So there is times where even though your company may be paying less per click, you are actually going to be rated ahead of a company paying more because of the relevance of your ad.
  3. Keyword Match Types – Since there are an infinite number of ways to search for an item, Google has 3 keyword match types that you can use to give them more specific instructions for when to display your ads. The y are:
    1. Exact match – If a keyword is set to exact match, Google will only display your ad if the search term includes that exact keyword, with the words in that exact order.
    2. Phrase match – If a keyword is set to phrase match, Google will display your ad if the search term contains the same order of the words, but may also contain additional words.
    3. Broad match – If a keyword is set to broad match, Google will display your ad when the search term contains any or some combination of the words in your keyword, in any order.

Why do you need paid search?

Although SEO can be very helpful in increasing traffic, here are four reasons why a paid search campaign should be used as well:

  1. Organic rankings are volatile – One day you can be on top of the organic search rank, the next day you could be gone. With Google AdWords, your rank is going to be consistent.
  2. Twice the visibility – Even if your SEO is on point and you are listed on the first page, why not double the visibility and add paid click to your marketing campaign.
  3. Increase click-throughs – Like I said before, 30% of many, many clicks through Google are through the paid search so having some paid links will definitely increase traffic.
  4. Increase probability of conversion – By increasing traffic, you will most likely increase conversion, especially if you get an exact match keyword.

What can you do for a successful paid search campaign?

Here are four tips, again from our friends at HubSpot, that can help you with a successful paid search campaign:

  1. Determine how much your’re willing to pay for a lead or conversion – By using some sort of metrics to determine how much a customer is worth to you, will help you determine how much you are willing to pay to get the top amount of traffic you are willing to pay for.
  2. Identify which organic keywords drive traffic and convert on your website – Finding out which keywords drive the best traffic will help you to get better web pages that better support your keywords as well as being able to tell Google AdWords what keywords to use.
  3. Constantly monitor keywords and set match types – If a keyword is not related to your product or service, it is going to be a waste because although you are getting more clicks, you will not get more conversions. It is important to monitor your keywords on a regular basis that are always related to your business goals.
  4. Don’t do it alone – If you don’t have time or are unsuccessful, there are many agencies and services that can help maximize your paid search campaign and to get you going. Many services will only charge you based on program performance as well.

What are some companies with successful SEM?

  • This article here shows how Amazon put in the money and time for a successful SEM campaign. They spent nearly twice as much on Google AdWords per month than the next largest PPC retailer and it worked. In 2012, their success set was 48% larger than Target’s, which was the next busiest PPC marketers. As you can see from this picture, the clicks were much, much higher than all their competitors.

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  • Here is a list with another 5 companies definitely a lot smaller than amazon who had success with paid search advertising as well. One of the companies, National Parts Retailer, was able to overcome the recession in 2008 and expand from a small business to a large one through PPC.

In the end, having a good mix of SEO and paid search can be extremely important in the expansion of your company and success. Once again, I would highly recommend learning Google AdWords since this is a tool that can help you with PPC and learning to use the right keywords. AdWords can help you get to the top of Google through your paid search and should be used by any company looking to to get more traffic, increase conversions, and therefore expand.

SEO & Link Building: Ins & Outs & Why You Need It

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the best way to help improve traffic to your webpage. Before I go over how it works and why you need it, check out this beginner’s guide from Moz which will fully help you understand why SEO is so necessary. SEO is using techniques to improve your website rank higher in organic search results. In turn, it is making your website more visible for people who are looking for your product.

So how do search engines work?

Search engines think that if a site, page, or document is popular, then the information must contain a lot more valuable content. Instead of the popularity and relevance of a website being determined manually, the search engines employ mathematical equations to sort the relevance of each web page, then rank the order of their popularity.

Why do you need SEO?

This other article from Moz should tell you everything. Building a page with perfect keyword targeting is crucial in improving your rank with search engines.  In the article, they use an example of a website that sells home ware products that had issues with it’s site structure and on-page targeting. Their category and sub-category pages heavily lacked term targeting. So, getting appropriate tags of the right amount of keywords onto each webpage was quick and easy and not to mention, helped a lot. They also made their title URL’s clean and friendly and added internal links. After adding their implements, check out their actual Google analytics results of traffic to their web page:

Once the changes were made, the traffic went up heavily and proved to be beneficial towards clicks and visits.

How can you be successful through SEO?

  • Keyword usage and targeting are the most important and can be vital in increasing your rank. The entire science of information retrieval is based on keywords so in your webpage tags, make sure the words that your target audience will search for are there. It is important not to abuse keywords as this can end up lowering your rank.
  • Usability, user experience, and content also can affect search rankings. Here are 4 traits that sites have with a good layout of these three items:
    1.  Easy to use, navigate, and understand.
    2. Provide direct, actionable information relevant to the query.
    3. Professionally designed and accessible to modern browsers.
    4. Deliver high quality, legitimate, credible content.

For more information on the keys to success, really check out in full the beginner’s guide by Moz. Another key for SEO success though is through link building, where Moz also provides a beginner’s guide.

So what is link building?

Link building is the process of getting external pages to link to a page on your website. This is a great tactic to use in SEO search engines use the links and if you have more links out there, your content is more valuable and will allow you to rank higher. In short, the search engines do not just look at the content of the web page, they also look at the number of links pointing to that page from external websites and the quality of those websites that link to yours.

How do you link build?

Although there are a number of ways to link build, here are a few ways to get external websites to link to yours:

  • Content creation & promotion – create compelling content that people will want to reference and link to.
  • Submissions – Submit your news to press releases and submit your site to directories and other things of that nature
  • Reviews & Mentions – Put your product, service, or site in front of influential bloggers.
  • Links from friends and partners – Get people you know to help you out.

How can link building help your business?

Although link building is very time consuming, it can be very beneficial. Here are a list of reasons on how link building can benefit your business:

  • Building relationships – You can network with some key influencers in your industry and build long lasting relationships.
  • Sending referral traffic – A good link from a highly visited website can lead to an increase in traffic as well.
  • Brand building – Good link building can help build your brand and establish your name.

For more information on link building and the good and the bad, check out the beginner’s guide from Moz. Moz is a company that offers inbound marketing tools that can vastly help improve your reach to prospective customers. Their pro subscription offers over 12+ tools including Moz analytics, social, branding link building, content marketing efforts, and various tools to track and improve your SEO most importantly. Inbound marketing has grown into the most efficient and effective way to reach your target audience that Moz has a product that offers great value for the price.