In this post, you’re going to learn exactly how to create and implement an effective digital marketing strategy, step-by-step.
So, if you want to learn how to use digital marketing to grow your traffic, this strategy guide is for you.
What is a digital marketing strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is a plan of action that describes how to use one or more online marketing channels to reach your target audience. It has a list of steps and specific digital marketing goals.
Having a digital strategy is important because it will help you orchestrate the different online marketing strategies so that they all work towards achieving your business goals.
Together with his team, they will make sure that every marketing activity is part of your digital marketing plan.
How to create a Digital Marketing Strategy
These are the steps to follow to create an effective marketing strategy.
1. Specify measurable business goals
The first step in creating a digital marketing strategy is to specify your business goals. In other words, to determine what you want to accomplish with digital marketing.
Any goals you set have to be measurable and well-defined. Everything in a digital marketing campaign is measurable (from start to finish) and you need to take advantage of this and form a digital marketing plan that has specific milestones and targets.
Some typical goals are:
While the above is a good starting point, they are still vague. A better version would be:
Raise brand awareness by:
Increase organic traffic by:
Here is an example to understand this better.
A typical step could be, “Publish 3 new blog posts per week”, which needs to be broken down further to specify which/topics keywords the blog posts will target and what would be the expected outcome in terms of traffic increase.
Experienced digital marketing specialists know that this is not always easy to calculate because digital marketing is a dynamic industry and changes all the time. But, having a detailed plan will help you adjust your strategies so as to get closer to your goals as possible.
The bottom line is that you need to have a digital marketing plan to follow and not start running campaigns on different channels without knowing what you want to achieve. It goes without saying that your plan has to be realistic, taking into account the competition and complexities of your industry.
Also, to be able to analyze data and make informed decisions, you first need to track it correctly and accurately so, having a good analytics system in place is more than essential.
2. Identify your target audience
The second step is to identify your target audience. In other words to specify in detail who you want to target with your campaigns.
Some marketers, place this as the first step in the process and this is not wrong. What is certain is that this is an exercise you need to perform in the early stages and before finalizing the next steps of your marketing strategy.
What does identifying your audience means? Specifying in detail the characteristics of people that might be potentially interested in your offerings.
In your audience identification, you should include things like:
Learn as much as you can about your audience
The exact details depend on the industry you’re in and the products/services you are trying to promote.
A good way to start crafting your buyer personas is to analyze the data you already have available.
Digg into your Google Analytics reports, Facebook audience insights, Google Ads reports, and start creating your customer profiles.
3. Understand users needs and search intent
Once you know the profile of your target customer, the next step is to use different techniques and try to understand their needs and how they express this when searching for information using a search engine or a social network.
There are two ways to approach this process. The first method is to take the typical digital sales funnel and identify what your customers might need at each stage.
Digital Sales Funnel
The second method is to take the different customer profiles created above, and come up with a separate sales funnel for each.
This is my recommended method because it makes it easier to set up and run dedicated digital marketing campaigns for each customer profile.
Let me give you an example to understand this better.
So, by analyzing each buyer persona separately, you can come up with a more accurate plan of how your content, products, or services can help them solve their problems and needs.
In the digital marketing world, the needs of users are expressed through search queries. When a user types a search query in Google, it has a specific intent and if your content/products or services do not satisfy it, your digital marketing strategy will fail.
That’s why it is important to perform keyword research from the very beginning and capture all topics, keywords, and phrases throughout the buyer journey, from awareness to conversion.
Social media networks don’t reveal the ‘searchers’ intent’, what happens then?
It’s true that users browsing Facebook may not have a specific intent in mind but they have a particular profile.
To increase your chances of targeting the right type of audience, you can analyze the profile of your search visitors (using Google Analytics) and using custom audiences to find matching audiences (Lookalike Audiences) on Facebook.
Always use any available data that you have as your starting point for research. The results will be more accurate than using data that is external to your website.
Resources to Learn More About Digital Marketing
The next strategic step you need to make is to create a library of content assets. You know your audience and their needs, now it’s time to create various types of assets to use in your campaigns.
A digital asset can be a blog post, infographic, image, video, podcast, cover image, logo, and anything else you can publish on your website or social networks.
In the digital marketing world, this is what content marketing is all about. Content marketing is important because it’s the process used to decide what kind of content to create, when, and where to publish it.
I prefer to execute this step in the beginning and before running any campaigns because it’s more efficient to have a pool of content assets ready in advance rather than having to do this every time you’re about to start a campaign.
When you follow the steps in the order described in this guide (set goals, create customer personas, identify needs, and search intent), then you have all the information you need to work on your content assets.
It’s also easier to assign the content creation part to the different members of your team to work in parallel.
Content Marketing Strategy Plan
5. Start with SEO as early as possible
A strategic decision to make that can positively impact your digital marketing efforts is to start with SEO as early as possible.
SEO is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies but it has a caveat. It takes time to work.
Unlike other digital marketing strategies, when you start an SEO campaign, it may take 4 to 6 months to generate any results. This is a long time to wait so most marketers tend to focus on other digital channels first (like Facebook Ads, Google Ads).
That’s a good approach but the common mistake is that they forget about SEO and only re-visit SEO after they realize that they cannot build a successful digital marketing campaign based solely on paid advertising.
So, a better strategy is to allocate a portion of your marketing budget from the very beginning on SEO related tasks. In parallel, you can start working on your paid campaigns and other channels.
This way, you’ll reach a point sooner where most of your traffic and sales will come from SEO and rely less on paid ads. In business terms, this means an increase in revenue and profit and this is exactly the goal of a successful digital marketing strategy.
How to get started with SEO
SEO is a huge topic. Search engines take hundreds of parameters into account before they decide which webpages to show in the results for a particular query.
To make it easier to handle, SEO can be broken down into three main sub-processes: Technical SEO, On-Page SEO, and Off-Page SEO.
Each process is responsible to optimize your website for a number of parameters that will eventually lead to higher rankings and traffic.
SEO is important because the majority of search traffic is distributed to websites that appear in the first 5 positions of the search results. So, if you want to get traffic from search engines, you need to appear in the top positions for search terms related to your business.
The best way to get started with SEO is to follow a step-by-step approach:
Step 1: Review your technical SEO and make sure that search engines can access and index your content without any problems. This is important since any issues at this stage will be catastrophic for your efforts.
Step 2: Optimize your content for search engines. In Step 4 above, you will create content that satisfies the needs of the user. Before publishing, you need to make sure that it’s SEO optimized.
This means, giving the right signals to search engines (through your titles, descriptions, headings, etc) to help them understand your content better.
Step 3: Promote your website and content. One of the most important SEO ranking factors is how other websites on the Internet ‘think’ of your website. If other relevant websites trust your website and they express this through a backlink, this is a strong signal to Google that your website deserves to be on the top positions.
If SEO is something that you haven’t done before for your website, the best way to approach this is to add it to your digital strategy and assign this task to SEO experts.
You can also use the resources below to learn more.
6. Explore paid advertising channels
When you start an online business, you know in advance that a large portion of your marketing budget will be allocated on PPC marketing (paid ads).
But, not all PPC platforms are the same. Based on your previous analysis (steps 2 and 3 above), you need to choose which platforms are more suited for your audience.
You can use the table below to get an idea of how the user profile looks for the most popular social networks.
Social Media Platforms Demographics.
For example, if you have an eCommerce website selling directly to consumers (B2C) then Facebook is probably a good choice. If on the other hand, you are targeting Business executives, then LinkedIn is more appropriate.
Run Pilot Campaigns First
The best way to find out which platforms to incorporate in your digital marketing strategy plan is to run pilot campaigns.
A pilot campaign will not waste your budget and at the same time, it will give you enough data to make an informed decision. A common mistake made by digital marketers is to blindly allocate all their budget on one channel because it’s the trend without testing or considering all of the available channels they can use.
Here is a list of the most popular advertising platforms you can use to reach your target audience:
Facebook Ads – ideal for all kinds of businesses. Works better for B2C. The best platform to raise brand awareness.
Instagram Ads – suitable if you want to reach a younger audience.
Twitter Ads – Business oriented. Great for informing your community of updates.
Linked Ads – Strictly for business-related advertising. Use it to reach decision-makers.
Google Ads – The most reliable platform to get targeted traffic to your website through paid search ads.
Google Display Ads – Use it for retargeting purposes and to reach your audience in the various Google products (YouTube, Gmail) and thousands of websites that participate in Google AdSense.
Bing Ads – Not as powerful as Google but a good alternative to get more search traffic to your website.
7. Use email marketing segmentation and automation
The end goal of a digital marketing campaign is to generate more revenue for a business. But in order to get to your ultimate goal, you first need to consider micro-conversions.
Micro-conversions are actions taken by users that are part of the funnel that leads to sales.
For example, while one of my goals is to sell my digital marketing course, an intermediate goal is to get people to subscribe to my email list (micro conversion).
I consider this an important step because I know from my statistics that a large percentage of people that subscribe to my list, will eventually convert.
The same concept can be applied to any business or product. You need to give incentives to users to sign up for your email list and then send them personalized emails that will help them make the final decision, which is to convert by buying your products or services.
An important element to make this work is segmentation and automation.
With email segmentation, you segment your list into groups of people that share the same interests and send them customized content.
For example, people registering to my list to download the SEO Checklist will get different email content than people who register to receive my posts updates.
If email marketing is a new concept for you, then you can realize that it involves a lot of work and that’s where email automation comes into play.
Here is a visual example of how email automation works.
Email Marketing automation example.
With email automation, you can orchestrate the whole process to run without intervention and manual work. Your job is to set up the automation campaigns, monitor their performance, and take corrective actions.
In addition to micro-conversions, email marketing is a great way to raise brand awareness and build a community around your brand. This is something that can positively influence the performance of all your digital marketing campaigns.
Resources to Learn More About Email Marketing
A complete digital marketing strategy should not only take into account the traditional online marketing channels but should also cater to new digital marketing strategies that rise to the surface.
To be more precise, at the time of writing this post, there are a number of new channels that you can explore like:
These channels are new and most probably less competitive than established channels. This means you can get better results at a lower cost.
Will these help your strategy? The only way to find out is to test them by running pilot campaigns (as explained above).
9. Use retargeting and personalization
So far, all of the above strategies are related to how you can reach more people but it’s equally important to follow up on users that already know your brand, but are not yet customers.
This is known as ‘retargeting’ or ‘remarketing’. With retargeting, you can show specific ads to users that visited your website (or social network page) but did not convert.
How Remarketing Works
It’s a very powerful technique that has higher conversion rates and less CPA (cost per action) than other marketing techniques.
The ‘marketing rule of 7’ (established in the 1930s by marketers), states that prospects are more likely to convert if they see or hear an ad, at least 7 times.
Unsurprisingly, it is a rule that is applicable today, and remarketing is the way to implement this.
The most popular platforms to run remarketing campaigns are Facebook and Google Display Network.
The concept is simple. You connect your website with Facebook and Google by adding a piece of code provided by the platforms.
You then create custom audience lists that include the people who visited your website but did not convert.
You then create campaigns and ads that are shown to these users as they browse Facebook or visit other websites on the Internet.
To make remarketing more effective, you can also add the element of personalization. Instead of treating all visitors as one group, you can add rules to show different ads to people based on the actions they took on your website.
For example, you can create a retargeting campaign for people that added an item to their shopping cart but did not checkout. To give them an incentive to come back and finish the process, you can offer them a discount via coupon code.
As a matter of fact, retargeting should be a strategy to include in your digital marketing plan from the early stages. This way you’ll maximize the return for any money spend on paid ads or SEO.
10. Work on conversion optimization
Another area that needs to be part of your overall marketing strategy is conversion optimization.
I can tell you from experience, that 90% of digital marketing campaigns focus on how to get traffic and forget about conversion optimization.
What is conversion optimization? In simple terms, conversion optimization is the process to follow to optimize your website so that a higher percentage of your visitors will perform the desired actions.
This starts with your website design, content, landing page optimization, email signup forms, shopping cart, checkout process, and other elements that contribute (directly or indirectly) to conversions.
One of the techniques to use is A/B testing. By applying a/b testing principles you can measure the effect on conversions by carefully changing parts of your website or sales funnel.
I’ll not go into the details on how to perform A/B testing or conversion optimization (you can follow the links in the resources below to learn more), but from a strategic point of view, it’s important to add conversion optimization activities in your digital marketing plan.
Here is an example of how a conversion optimization plan looks like:
Conversion Optimization Plan
You can add it as a step to be executed as part of a single campaign or as part of your general strategy review process.
What I advise my team to do is to review conversion optimization after a campaign is considered to be optimized in terms of traffic.
In other words, it’s better to try and optimize your campaign to get as many visits as possible with the lower cost and then start testing different landing pages, messages to see which one performs better in terms of conversions.
As a rule of thumb, when doing A/B testing, you should focus on specific changes so that you can accurately measure their effect on conversions.
Resources to Learn More About Conversion Optimization
11. Evaluate and revise your strategy
Digital marketing is a highly dynamic industry. ‘Rules’ change all the time and it’s extremely important that you evaluate and revise your digital marketing strategy to stay current and relevant.
The best way to evaluate your campaign is to do it based on KPIs and other metrics. The most important metrics for any kind of digital marketing campaign are:
If you have a good analytics system in place and can track these for every campaign that is part of your strategy, then it will be easier to make informed decisions.
Don’t forget that part of your evaluation should be to look for new channels you can add to your strategy.
It’s always a good idea to take a look at your competitor’s strategies and identify which of their strategies you can include in your marketing mix.
A digital marketing strategy is a plan that describes in detail how to use various digital marketing channels to grow your business.
To create an effective digital marketing strategy, you start by defining your goals. Then through research, you identify the characteristics and needs of people to target with your campaigns.
Once you have this information, you translate that into content marketing assets, having always in mind the ‘intent’ of the user. Creating the right type of content that can satisfy the user’s needs, it’s a critical success factor.
Then you start with SEO. SEO is the most effective digital marketing channel but it’s not the fastest one. While waiting for your SEO to generate results, you can start testing paid advertising channels by running pilot campaigns.
Once you figure out which channels are more likely to work for the satisfaction of your business goals, you concentrate on those.
Besides generating traffic to your website, you also need to incorporate other strategies for converting traffic to customers such as email marketing, retargeting, and conversion optimization.
At regular intervals, you should evaluate and revise your strategy to include new traffic sources and trends.
Call Swift at (216)339-6041
The term “retargeting” has been the buzzword of the digital marketing world in recent years. You might have heard all the praises: ROI, incredible conversion rate, and there are even marketers that swore by retargeting as the most effective advertising method nowadays. However, what is retargeting? In this guide, we will discuss the basics of retargeting, and how to easily set up your retargeting campaign in no time at all.
What is Retargeting?
First, we should clarify the common misconception regarding retargeting and remarketing. Although they are related to each other, retargeting is not necessarily remarketing, and vice versa.
The term “remarketing” refers to the marketing efforts targeted to the same prospects again and again. When you see the same restaurant ads repeatedly on those billboards beside the road, that is remarketing.
Retargeting, on the other hand, is a new form of remarketing for the digital world. With retargeting, we are shown repeated online ads on the same traffic for a dedicated time. While retargeting is fairly new, it has grown to be the biggest aspect of remarketing in recent years. Generally, there are three main applications of retargeting:
Since retargeting is technically a form of remarketing, we should first understand the benefits of remarketing. Let’s take the classic iOS vs Android debate, for example. No, we are not going to discuss which one is better, however, there is a high likelihood that the one you prefer is the one you are more exposed to.
If most of your friends are using Android phones (and they recommended it to you, consciously or subconsciously), you are more likely to be an Android user. The idea is, we are more likely to enjoy what we are familiar with.
So how do we build on this with retargeting? Let’s use another example. Let’s say you just browsed on Amazon for a new TV set. Then, for whatever reasons, you decided to stop looking for a TV set that day. A proper retargeting campaign might target you, and when you later on opened your Facebook later that day, a TV ad shows up, effectively reminding you to buy that TV.
If you are familiar with the marketing funnel concept, you might understand that with every step of the buyer’s journey, the possibility of a conversion will be smaller. Retargeting, in essence, is an effort to optimize the chance of conversion in each funnel stage.
Retargeting is also a very effective tactic to build brand awareness, while a study by ComScore suggested that retargeting can increase site visitation by a whopping 726%.
How Retargeting Works
There are two popular ways to run a retargeting campaign: through Google Adwords or Facebook Ads. There are other platforms that offer retargeting services, but considering the size of Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, they should be your first choices.
Retargeting works mainly with the help of a code snippet in the form of a cookie in your customer’s browser. The cookie will then collect their information and based on that gathered data, you can then target those visitors with your promotion.
How about targeting your competitors’ audience?
The best method is using keyword-targeting. Here, you can target a certain keyword related to your industry while excluding your own visitor. This is a pretty reliable method, especially if you are in a competitive industry.
The second, and arguably the easiest method, is to use social media: for example, we can target those who have followed or liked our competitors.
Setting Up Google Ads Retargeting
Google Ads offers a built-in retargeting feature, so you can set up a retargeting campaign easily following these steps:
After you’re done, simply copy and paste the retargeting cookie code into the HTML body tag of your site.
There you have it, you’ve set up a Google Ads retargeting campaign!
Setting Up Facebook Ads Retargeting
Facebook Ads are even easier with less necessary steps and Facebook will walk you through every step. Here are 3 things you will need to know before starting a Facebook Ad Campaign, but you can set up your campaign easily through the following steps:
First, click on ‘Tools’ in your ad manager, and select ‘Pixels’
Enter your domain name, and Facebook will walk you through all the necessary steps. You will then get your retargeting cookie code snippet.
The biggest benefit of the retargeting campaign is higher conversions in each stage of your funnel. It is specifically targeted for those who have shown interest in your brand, product, or your niche, so you know they are shopping.
While the concept of retargeting and code snippets might be confusing at first, it is actually quite easy to learn as Google and Facebook have taken the necessary steps to make this comprehensive system easy to operate. However, it takes years of experience to understand where to invest marketing dollars to get the most return, that’s where B2B marketing consultant can help your business on creating content, generating demand, and enabling sales using budget with maximum efficiency.
FACEBOOK GOOGLE ADS PIXE REMARKETING
In need of a web design company to create a sleek and attractive modern website?
We’re experts at designing you a visually striking website across all devices. Our mastery of design principles results in beautiful UIs and well-organized content layouts. From the second your users land on your website, they’ll be in awe of the marvelous design that greets them.
We’re not happy and won’t rest until your website is a lead-generation that converts.
In need of a web design company to create a sleek and attractive modern website?
Why Swift Digital Marketing Is a leading web design company?
An Eye for Beauty.
We understand that websites need more than stellar UX to be successful. Our design know how empowers us to appreciate what colors, balance and shapes work together in harmony to produce a truly aesthetic web experience.
In addition to design savvy, we offer you expertise in vital areas that guarantee website success, like SEO, UX and CRO.
Our team offers you comprehensive web design services that run the gamut from ideation and design to successful launch and revenue acceleration.
Dedication to Lead Generation. The most important goal of any website is to generate leads. At Rise, we understand that better than anyone, which is why we focus on perfect SEO, UX and CRO to turn your website into a lead-generation machine.
Building a user-friendly and lead-generating website is complex because it takes meticulous planning and successful execution. Our expert team’s tried, tested and true site-building process ensures a high-quality build that’s within budget and meets deadlines, every time.
A Full-Service AgencyWhen your needs extend beyond your website, we’re still able to help. Our skilled team members also specialize in:
Call (216) 339-6041 To Begin Your Design with Swift Digital Marketing Agency
Just like your personal identity makes you uniquely you, your brand identity is the special sauce of your business that sets you apart from every other Tom, Dick and Harry, Inc. on the block. And your brand identity design? It’s what shapes your company.
But what exactly is brand identity? What does it have to do with design? And how do you shape a strong brand identity that takes your business to the next level? Here’s the breakdown:
Table of Contents
What is brand identity?
What does the term brand identity mean?
Brand identity is the collection of all elements that a company creates to portray the right image to its consumer. Brand identity is different from “brand image” and “branding,” even though these terms are sometimes treated as interchangeable.
The term branding refers to the marketing practice of actively shaping a distinctive brand. Brand is the perception of the company in the eyes of the world.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Let’s say you are a middle school student. As an awkward pre-adolescent, you want to be perceived as cool and get invited to sit at the best table in the cafeteria. But you can’t just force other people to have that image of you. In order to develop this brand, you need to do some work.
So you make sure you watch the right YouTube channels so you always know the latest meme. Maybe you start working on your free throw. And cultivating on an impression of Mr. Archibald, your science teacher. These actions are the work you’re putting towards develop your desired image; they’re your branding.
Finally, you need to make sure you look the part. You save up your money to buy the new Adidas shoes everyone covets. You get a new haircut. You try out for (and join) the basketball team.
Those tangible elements—the shoes, the haircut, the team membership—that’s brand identity.
Your brand identity is what makes you instantly recognizable to your customers. Your audience will associate your brand identity with your product or service, and that identity is what forges the connection between you and your customers, builds customer loyalty, and determines how your customers will perceive your brand.
How to develop a strong brand identity
Know who you are. Before you know what tangible elements you want to make up your brand identity, you need to know who you are as a brand.
A colorful, playful & fun brand identity design by pecas
Who you are as a brand is made up of a few key elements:
These elements are what define your brand, and before you start building your brand identity, it’s important you have a clear understanding of each.
If you’re having trouble figuring out who exactly you are, don’t sweat it. Sometimes, all you need is a simple brainstorm to help you get clarity on who you are as a brand.
You can also check out this awesome branding workbook from consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. While this workbook is geared towards personal branding, the strategies will work for any type of business model.
Once you’ve locked in who you are as a brand, it’s time to build the identity that will bring your brand to life and show who you are to the people who matter most: your customers.
Design: the foundation of your brand identity
Just like your Adidas built the brand identity of your middle-school-star-athlete persona, your design is what will build the brand identity of your company.
Your corporate design assets are the tangible elements that will determine how your brand is perceived. Things like your logo, your packaging, your web design, your social media graphics, your business cards and the uniforms your employees wear.
In other words, nailing your design = nailing your brand identity = building a successful business that’s an accurate representation of who you are as a brand.
So, how exactly do you nail your design and build a brand identity that will take your business to the next level?
Developing your brand designBefore you start creating your design assets, you need to start from the ground up and lock in the basics of your design structure: the building blocks of your brand identity.
The building blocks you’ll want to determine before you create your design assets include:
TypographyTypography refers to—you guessed it—the font (or type) you choose for your branding materials. It’s particularly important to choose logo fonts and brand fonts wisely. There are four major types of typography:
The typography you choose will say a lot about your brand, so choose your fonts wisely.
A brand guide with brand colors by ludibes
Next up is color. People—your potential customers included—have psychological ties to different colors, and using branding colors and logo colors strategically can have a serious impact on how your brand is perceived by your audience.
Here are what the colors of the rainbow (plus a few extras) can do to help your brand identity:
Form/ShapeWhen it comes to your designs, you also want to think about form and shape. This subtle but effective element that can be used to reinforce the desired reaction from your customers: so, for example, a logo that is all circles and soft edges will inspire a very different reaction from a logo that’s sharp and square.
Here’s how different forms can shape your brand identity (pun intended):
Designing your brand identity
Your brand identity is made of many elements. Once the building blocks of your design are created, it’s time to work with a designer to bring your brand identity to life and translate who you are as a brand into tangible design assets you can use in your marketing.
Your brand identity can be expressed in any number of elements. Depending on the nature of your business, one asset or another may be more or less important.
For example, a restaurant should put a lot of thought into their menu and physical space. A digital marketing agency, however, needs to focus more on their website and social media pages.
Common elements of brand identity include:
Logo design is the cornerstone in your brand identity. When working with your designer, you want to aim for your logo to tick off the following boxes:
You also want to make sure that your design partner delivers your logo in multiple formats (like a black and white version or multiple sizes) to ensure you always have the logo you need—and that each is in line with your brand identity.
Learn more on how to design the perfect logo.
Your website is one of the most representative aspects of your brand identity. Especially if you’re running an online business or a digital product, your customers will definitely check your website out before deciding to do business with you. Your website is where your brand identity should come through in full force.
Learn the building blocks of effective web layouts.
Rose Finch gin bottles designed by sikarame. lIf your product is a physical one, then product packaging is key to attracting the right customers. Whether you’re thinking about the bottle of a cold-brew beverage, or the mail you’ll send to your customers who purchased clothes from your ecommerce business, don’t underestimate the value of good design in improving the experience – and driving both loyalty and repeat purchases. Packaging is an awesome opportunity for your design to shine.
Business cards. If you’re doing any sort of business development (and who isn’t), you’ll want to stock up on business cards. A well-designed card offers the chance to reinforce a positive opinion of yourself in the eyes of potential clients or customers. When it comes to business card design, keep it simple: your company logo on one side of the card and your key personal details on the other side should suffice.
Learn how to design the perfect business card.
Email is a great way to engage your customers and drive business. But most people are at inbox overload, so if you want to grow your business via email, you need the right design strategy to set yourself apart from the clutter. Think about the purpose of the email.
Are you trying to make a personal connection? Then keep it short, sweet, and simple. Are you trying to educate? Then format it well so it’s easily readable and scannable and add a few images to make it pop. Are you trying to tell your customers about a new clothing line you launched? Make a few stunning product images the focus.
Create a brand style guide
A brand style guide is a must to preserve your brand identity.Once you’ve got your design assets, you want to make sure they’re used in the right way, which is why you’ll definitely want to create a brand style guide. This document—which outlines your design assets, when and how to use them, as well as any design do’s and dont’s for your brand—will ensure that any future design is in line with your brand identity and generates the right perception with your audience.
Consistency is key to create a strong brand identity. You wouldn’t want your brand to look totally different on social media than it does on your website. That would confuse customers and make your brand feel less trustworthy and professional. So, make sure to always stick to a brand guide that covers all the different elements of your brand identity. That’s what is going to enable you to build brand recognition and brand loyalty in the long term.
Brand identity in a nutshell…
Your brand identity is what sets you apart from the endless sea of competitors and shows your customers who you are and what they can expect from working with you. And if you want your brand to be perceived in a positive light, it’s crucial that you nail your brand identity and create designs that accurately portray who you are to your customers. And now that you know how to nail that identity, it’s time to start designing.
Web design is unique because it takes both a designer and a user to make it work. After all, the whole purpose of putting a design on an interactive medium like a computer is so that users can, well, use it. Interaction is also a good measure for how engaged a site visitor is because if they’re interacting, they’re paying attention. Good interactive web design will compel the user to engage with a website, scroll down and consume more content, to navigate to other pages, to share with a friend and, of course, to click that call-to-action button.
One of the challenges interactive web designs face is that there are so many ways a user can interact with a page, and even more ways that the page can respond. Some interactive designs will create a seamless user experience, giving the user feedback and directing them on what to do next. Some will be less obvious, the responses mismatched to the user’s action, or worse, nonexistent.
In order to learn how to tell a good interactive website experience from a bad one, we’re going to take our lessons from the pros. Here, we’ve compiled useful tips for interactive web design by rounding up some of our favorite examples and discussing what makes them work.
1. Take advantage of loading screen time
Loading can be one of the biggest obstacles to the web browsing experience. A business can put so much money and effort into building an outstanding, beautiful website, but if it takes more than two seconds to load, research has shown that the visitor becomes exponentially more likely to leave before seeing any of it. It’s fair to assume that users experience loading as a negative experience.
But loading screens can also be an opportunity. If you have the user’s attention, why not make the most of it? These moments provide an unexpected and, therefore, extra special opportunity to impress users through animations. They’re a novelty chance to show off brand personality and engage and excite users. Often, these animations actually give the user a sense of progress with a loading bar (or something similar) to demonstrate how much time remains before the user accesses the next page.
Ideally, these loading screens offer users something to do, such as a game to play while they wait, which creates a fun, interactive experience.
The point is that loading doesn’t necessarily mean a negative experience for the user. They don’t even have to only be quick and painless—sometimes, they’re the most exciting part of a website.
2. Organize information through animated scrolling
Scrolling is one of the simplest and most intuitive interactions that a user can make. But just because the user might not think about scrolling, doesn’t mean the web designer shouldn’t be! There are plenty of ways that designers have capitalized on scrolling animations to give the user a sense of dynamic movement throughout a website. Let’s go over some common ones.
A popular technique has been to trigger specific animations to activate as the user scrolls through the website. It’s pretty magical in bringing visuals to life and it creates the illusion that the page the user is accessing is actually being built up, in real time, in response to their interaction.
Parallax scrolling (aka asymmetrical scrolling)
A similar technique that has been gaining traction is parallax scrolling. This type of movement involves say two objects on a screen moving at two different speeds, as the user scrolls down the page. The result is a simulation of 3D depth of movement, as foreground objects usually move faster than background objects.
Scrolling page transitions
And finally, designers can use full page transitions, in which the traditional smooth scroll is replaced with either a jump to the next screen or a wholesale page change. This can create a dramatic effect, introducing not only new page elements but sometimes an entirely different color scheme, making the website feel brand new with every scroll.
Overall, these scrolling animations give users important feedback on their interaction—letting them know that they’ve just entered a new section of the website and should expect a change in the type of information being delivered. In short, they provide clear hierarchy and organization in an impressive, interactive package.
3. Breakup vertical movement with sliders and carousels
Carousels are so-called because they condense website content into rotating sections that the user can cycle through, much like the turnstile motion of a real-life carnival counterpart.
They are becoming more common on websites due to the increasing popularity of swiping interactions in mobile apps. Because they are essentially a form of horizontal scrolling, they provide the user a much needed break from the endless monotony of vertical scrolling.
But this is not the only reason why you might want to break up vertical movement. As we mentioned earlier, users tend to associate downward scrolling with progressing to a new part of the website. Carousels and sliders, on the other hand, allow web designers to incorporate more context to each section, since the user isn’t technically leaving them.
This means rather than cluttering the page with all the necessary information at once, carousels collapse site elements into more bitesize segments, allowing the user to cycle through them bit by bit.
This works best when the content is similar in format, so group together either product images, profiles or customer testimonials etc. They’re also useful for showcasing variations, such as products that come in different colors. In terms of animating these carousels, styles range from straightforward left-to-right transitions, to card shuffling, to a rotating wheel animation that’s reminiscent of retro viewmaster slides.
4. Blow up the navigation menu
Like swiping, hamburger menus are another common trend of mobile/app design that has made its way onto desktop websites. Even if the hamburger icon itself is not present, users are generally familiar with the idea that the navigation does not need to be displayed at all times. Users know that it’s there and that they can interact with it when needed. Hiding the menu can give the rest of the web page space to breathe and at the same time, the menu’s reveal is yet another interactive web design opportunity.
Since users are now choosing to pull up the menu, many designers are answering that call with navigation that takes over the entire screen. This allows for big typography, descriptive images and snazzy hover animations.
Going big with menu interaction makes sense: navigation is all about control. The user is effectively steering the ship and emphasizing the menu helps the user visualize the weight of their power over the page. All in all, menu designs are staying hidden until needed, at which point they become larger than life. If you ask me, it’s a nice change from the grey top-of-the-screen, nested lists of yore.
5. Replace forms with user questionnaires
One of the most onerous parts of interacting with a website is entering information. Users are generally wary of giving out their information on a website. The best way to mitigate this is by making the process less like filling out a form at the doctor’s office and more like a get-to-know-you question-and-answer session.
In fact, a prime example of this technique in action has come from tax services like some tax preparation companies who break down tax forms into simple, easy-to-understand questions. This is especially helpful for services that have multiple potential products to sell to a site visitor and need to help narrow down their choices by understanding their needs, tastes, budget, and more.
When it comes to animation in interactive web design, the small movements are what really sell it. And when you consider that the purpose of a website’s animation is often feedback (like letting the user know what they can and can’t interact with or whether they’ve done the right thing), it makes sense that this feedback works best on a subconscious level.
Animations that draw too much attention to themselves can be distracting to the user, overshadowing whatever feedback they were meant to impart in order to show off the animator’s skill. This is where micro-interactions come in.
Micro-interactions are a broad category that describe all of the little ways that a user might interact with a page. Some examples of micro-interactions include hovering over something, closing out of a window, pulling to refresh, and clicking icons such as star ratings, bookmarks, notification bells or add to cart.
In terms of animating micro-interactions, some popular styles include turning a button green, transforming an icon into a checkmark, or an outgoing circle that accompanies a click like an adorable, baby shockwave. The goal is to let the user know that they’ve made a successful change to the page and the design of micro-interactions should be simple and satisfying to this end.
Interactive web design is good web design
At the end of the day, interactive web design is what the internet was made for. Out of the many reasons a visitor might have to check out a website, they are ultimately there to interact, not just to find the information they need but to experience it. This is why a website that fails to capitalize on these interactions can easily get lost in competition. The tips we’ve provided here are a great place to start to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Want to get the perfect website for your business? Call Swift at (216) 339-6041.
Work with our talented designers to make it happen.
Get Web Design
A great website shows the world who you are, makes people remember you, and helps potential customers understand if they found what they were looking for. Websites communicate all of that through color, shape and other design elements. Learn how to make your cosmetics website tell your brand’s story.
f you own a business, you need a website. But I’m going to guess as you’re reading an article on how to create one, you probably already know that.
by 2ché for sparkingmatt. What you’re realizing is that while using the internet is a pretty straightforward task, designing, building and creating a website is pretty flippin’ complicated. You want it to look nice. You want it to be easy to use. You want people to be able to find it on Google. You want it to actually help you convert visitors into clients… But how do you do all that? And more importantly, how do you do it right?
Our Ultimate Guide to Web Design will walk you through the process of getting a website step-by-step:
What you need to know to get started
Learn who’s who in the world of web design and development
When you design a logo for your brand it’s pretty easy to hire one person to do the job and have it turn out great. That’s not necessarily the case when creating your website. While there are individuals or agencies out there that offer an end-to-end solution, it’s not unlikely that you’ll end up working with more than one person on your adventure to build a website. Here are a few of the characters you may encounter on your journey:
Web designers are, well, designers. They take your ideas and turn them into a pretty (or badass) mockup that shows what your future website will look like. This is typically done in Adobe Photoshop or a similar type graphics program.
UX (user experience) or UI (user interface) designers focus on how your layout design impacts your users. For example, they’ll help you decide where to put buttons to get more people to click them, or how to structure your navigation to make your site flow as seamlessly as possible. (There is a difference between UX and UI.
This article explains it well.) Oftentimes, there is overlap between UX/UI designers and web designers; if you’re looking to save money, it shouldn’t be too difficult to hire a freelancer that has both skill sets.
Web developers—also sometimes called engineers or coders—are magical folks who have learned to speak computer. They take the pretty (or badass) mockup your designer made and translate it into a coding language so it can be displayed on the web. To further complicate things, there are many different coding languages out there, and most developers specialize in one or a few.
Front end developers specialize in the things we see when we look at a website (e.g. rendering images, text, animations, drop down menus, page layout, etc).
Back end developers on the other hand specialize in what’s going on behind the scenes and are necessary if your website needs to communicate with a database. (If you’re going to have a shopping cart, user profiles, or want to be able to upload any content on your own, you’re going to need a database.)
SEO specialists, content strategists, and copy or content writers may also be experts you want to consult as you build your website. They can help you figure out what needs to go on your site to help the right people find it (via search engines) and decide to buy once there.
Acquire a domain name and hostingJust like if you were opening a brick-and-mortar business, the first thing you need to do when you’re building a website is to rent a location.
When you get web hosting you’re renting server space at a data center, much like this large one in Nevada.
Web hosting is the physical space where the assets for your website will live. All those images and text and databases actually require a physical server to host them.
While you can buy your own and put it in your office/house/garage, the vast majority of people and businesses rent hosting space through a company. Hosting (like rent) is typically paid monthly.
For most businesses it will be in the $5-$20/month range, but could be much higher if you have large data needs. Here’s a list of recommended web hosting companies, but you may want to check with your web developer before purchasing (as they may have a preferred vendor).
Your domain name is what people type into their browser to get to your site (e.g. 99designs.com). Typically it is your business name. To get a domain name, you register it with a domain registrar. You will have to pay a small fee (generally less than $10/year) to purchase and retain the name. Most hosting services also serve as domain registrars; that’s generally your best bet as it’ll be the easiest to setup.
Finally, you will need to point your domain name to your servers which basically tells the internet that when someone types your domain into their browser, it should look on this server warehouse to find the right pictures and text to display. While this process isn’t complicated, it can be confusing.
This is a step you can try to DIY (the support team at your web host or domain registrar can help you) but is also something your web developer can easily help you do.
Think about structure and gather the content for your websiteYour web designer or developer is not going to write the about page on your website or take photos of your products for your store. You’re going to have to provide all of the content as well as provide the general structure of the site.
For structure you’ll want to think about what pages you need, common ones include:
Each of these types of pages will need to be laid out and designed, and each one will need to have content on it.
You don’t necessarily need to have content finalized at this stage in the process, but you do need to have an idea of what content you’ll want on your site and a plan for how you’ll get it. Do you need to set aside time to write copy (or hire someone to do it for you)? Should you hire a photographer to take product photos? You will need to provide all custom imagery (like your logo or photos of your team) for the site, but a web designer can probably help you source stock imagery if you want.
What is stock imagery? (And how to use it right.)
Pro tip: your designer (especially if they have UX/UI experience) may have some great ideas for content and structure you haven’t thought of. It is likely worth having a discussion with them early in the process.
Determine what functionality you need
When someone visits your website, what do you want to happen? Are they just getting information about your product or service, like a phone number or opening hours? Do they need to be able to purchase goods? Is their main goal to read blog articles or learn a skill? Are they filling out a form for a quote? Should they be able to create user profiles and upload their own information?
Your functionality needs are going to determine how you can get your site developed and who you need to work with. They will also have a huge impact on your budget, so you’ll need to have it sorted out in order to get accurate quotes.
Understand what a CMS is and decide if you need one
A CMS (Content Management System) is a database and web application. Essentially, it allows users (like you and your colleagues/employees) to upload content to go on different parts of your site. If you want to be able to regularly edit text or change photos on your website and you don’t know how to code you will need a CMS!
There are a lot of CMS options out there. There are fantastic out-of-the-box options for common use cases (e.g. WordPress for blogging, Shopify for hosting an ecommerce site, Six for building out a profile). But if you need advanced functionality (like you’re hoping to build the next Facebook or Uber or 99designs) you’re going to have to have it custom developed.
How to get your website created
Template sites and builders
Hire freelancers for a custom solution
If you want to have more control over the look and functionality of your site, your best bet is to hire one or more freelancers to help you build it. This is great for getting exactly what you need at a fair cost, but will likely require you to be more hands-on.
We recommend searching through designer profiles to find someone whose style matches what you had in mind. Alternatively, if you want to get lots of design ideas. We’ll help you write a brief. Designers from around the world will read it and send you their ideas for your site. You give feedback to refine the designs, and ultimately choose your favorite(s) as the winner.
Keep in mind you may need to hire both a designer and a developer for your project, though there are some freelancers who do both. Make sure you clarify up front so you can budget (both time and money) accordingly.
Hire freelance designers for a hybrid solutionIf you want a custom look, but don’t want to invest in completely custom development, you’re in luck! It’s possible to start with an out-of-the-box template solution, and customize it with your own unique template.
Note, this is also possible with several other template sites (for example, you can create custom templates or modify existing ones for Shopify or Squarespace) so if you would rather use one of those platforms, that’s also an option. Note that in any of these cases, the design still does need to be translated into code, so make sure you ask if your designer can do that, or know that you will have to hire a developer.
Hire an agency for a custom end-to-end solution
Web design and development agencies are experts at what they do. They will not only be able to guide you to help you make the right decisions, but they’ll be able to take you from wireframe to fully developed site. Of course, all of that comes at a premium cost. This is a great option for companies with complex needs, or those for whom cost is less of an issue.
How to design a custom website in 7 steps
1. Determine what you need and hire a designerHave you got your domain name figured out? Do you know what functionality you need? A list of the pages you want designed? Do you have a plan for gathering all of the custom content you need to fill out your website?
Awesome! Time to hire a designer. To find the right one, you’ll want to look through portfolios. Think about your brand’s personality and determine if the designer is a stylistic match. (For example, do you want something edgy and modern or fun and playful?) It’s generally a good idea to look for designers who have experience in your industry, or with the specific type of site you’re looking for. If you’re a photographer, look for designers who have galleries in their portfolio, if you sell goods, look for one who has experience with other ecommerce companies.
Time to hire a designer
LIf search engine optimization is the process of optimizing a website for search, SEOs need at least a basic understanding of the thing they're optimizing!
Below, we outline the website’s journey from domain name purchase all the way to its fully rendered state in a browser. An important component of the website’s journey is the critical rendering path, which is the process of a browser turning a website’s code into a viewable page.
Knowing this about websites is important for SEOs to understand for a few reasons:
Imagine that the website loading process is your commute to work. You get ready at home, gather your things to bring to the office, and then take the fastest route from your home to your work. It would be silly to put on just one of your shoes, take a longer route to work, drop your things off at the office, then immediately return home to get your other shoe, right?
That’s sort of what inefficient websites do. This chapter will teach you how to diagnose where your website might be inefficient, what you can do to streamline, and the positive ramifications on your rankings and user experience that can result from that streamlining.
Before a website can be accessed, it needs to be set up!
How a website gets from server to browser
Talk to your developers about async!
Something you can bring up with your developers is shortening the critical rendering path by setting scripts to "async" when they’re not needed to render content above the fold, which can make your web pages load faster.
Async tells the DOM that it can continue to be assembled while the browser is fetching the scripts needed to display your web page. If the DOM has to pause assembly every time the browser fetches a script (called “render-blocking scripts”), it can substantially slow down your page load. It would be like going out to eat with your friends and having to pause the conversation every time one of you went up to the counter to order, only resuming once they got back.
With async, you and your friends can continue to chat even when one of you is ordering. You might also want to bring up other optimizations that devs can implement to shorten the critical rendering path, such as removing unnecessary scripts entirely, like old tracking scripts.
Now that you know how a website appears in a browser, we’re going to focus on what a website is made of — in other words, the code (programming languages) used to construct those web pages.
The three most common are:
HTML: What a website says HTML stands for hypertext markup language, and it serves as the backbone of a website. Elements like headings, paragraphs, lists, and content are all defined in the HTML.
HTML is important for SEOs to know because it’s what lives “under the hood” of any page they create or work on. While your CMS likely doesn’t require you to write your pages in HTML (ex: selecting “hyperlink” will allow you to create a link without you having to type in “a href=”), it is what you’re modifying every time you do something to a web page such as adding content, changing the anchor text of internal links, and so on.
Google crawls these HTML elements to determine how relevant your document is to a particular query. In other words, what’s in your HTML plays a huge role in how your web page ranks in Google organic search!
CSS: How a website looks
CSS stands for "cascading style sheets," and this is what causes your web pages to take on certain fonts, colors, and layouts. HTML was created to describe content, rather than to style it, so when CSS entered the scene, it was a game-changer. With CSS, web pages could be “beautified” without requiring manual coding of styles into the HTML of every page — a cumbersome process, especially for large sites.
It wasn’t until 2014 that Google’s indexing system began to render web pages more like an actual browser, as opposed to a text-only browser. A black-hat SEO practice that tried to capitalize on Google’s older indexing system was hiding text and links via CSS for the purpose of manipulating search engine rankings. This “hidden text and links” practice is a violation of Google’s quality guidelines.
Components of CSS that SEOs, in particular, should care about:
Thankfully, there's a way to check whether Google sees the same thing as your visitors. To see a page how Googlebot views your page, use Google Search Console's "URL Inspection" tool. Simply paste your page's URL into the GSC search bar:
From here, click "Test Live URL".
After Googlebot has recrawled your URL, click "View Tested Page" to see how your page is being crawled and rendered.
Clicking the "Screenshot" tab adjacent to "HTML" shows how Googlebot smartphone renders your page.
In return, you’ll see how Googlebot sees your page versus how a visitor (or you) may see the page. In the "More Info" tab, Google will also show you a list of any resources they may not have been able to get for the URL you entered.
Understanding the way websites work lays a great foundation for what we’ll talk about next: technical optimizations to help Google understand the pages on your website better.
How search engines understand websites. Imagine being a search engine crawler scanning down a 10,000-word article about how to bake a cake. How do you identify the author, recipe, ingredients, or steps required to bake a cake? This is where schema markup comes in. It allows you to spoon-feed search engines more specific classifications for what type of information is on your page.
Schema is a way to label or organize your content so that search engines have a better understanding of what certain elements on your web pages are. This code provides structure to your data, which is why schema is often referred to as “structured data.” The process of structuring your data is often referred to as “markup” because you are marking up your content with organizational code.
JSON-LD is Google’s preferred schema markup (announced in May ‘16), which Bing also supports. To view a full list of the thousands of available schema markups, visit Schema.org or view the Google Developers Introduction to Structured Data for additional information on how to implement structured data. After you implement the structured data that best suits your web pages, you can test your markup with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
In addition to helping bots like Google understand what a particular piece of content is about, schema markup can also enable special features to accompany your pages in the SERPs. These special features are referred to as "rich snippets," and you’ve probably seen them in action. They’re things like:
Remember, using structured data can help enable a rich snippet to be present, but does not guarantee it. Other types of rich snippets will likely be added in the future as the use of schema markup increases.
Some last words of advice for schema success:
Tell search engines about your preferred pages with canonicalization.
When Google crawls the same content on different web pages, it sometimes doesn’t know which page to index in search results. This is why the rel="canonical" tag was invented: to help search engines better index the preferred version of content and not all its duplicates.
The rel="canonical" tag allows you to tell search engines where the original, master version of a piece of content is located. You’re essentially saying, "Hey search engine! Don’t index this; index this source page instead." So, if you want to republish a piece of content, whether exactly or slightly modified, but don’t want to risk creating duplicate content, the canonical tag is here to save the day.
Proper canonicalization ensures that every unique piece of content on your website has only one URL. To prevent search engines from indexing multiple versions of a single page, Google recommends having a self-referencing canonical tag on every page on your site. Without a canonical tag telling Google which version of your web page is the preferred one, https://www.example.com could get indexed separately from https://example.com, creating duplicates.
"Avoid duplicate content" is an Internet truism, and for good reason! Google wants to reward sites with unique, valuable content — not content that’s taken from other sources and repeated across multiple pages. Because engines want to provide the best searcher experience, they will rarely show multiple versions of the same content, opting instead to show only the canonicalized version, or if a canonical tag does not exist, whichever version they deem most likely to be the original.
Distinguishing between content filtering & content penalties
There is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty. However, you should try to keep duplicate content from causing indexing issues by using the rel="canonical" tag when possible. When duplicates of a page exist, Google will choose a canonical and filter the others out of search results. That doesn’t mean you’ve been penalized. It just means that Google only wants to show one version of your content.
Learn more about canonicalization
It’s also very common for websites to have multiple duplicate pages due to sort and filter options. For example, on an e-commerce site, you might have what’s called a faceted navigation that allows visitors to narrow down products to find exactly what they’re looking for, such as a “sort by” feature that reorders results on the product category page from lowest to highest price. This could create a URL that looks something like this: example.com/mens-shirts?sort=price_ascending. Add in more sort/filter options like color, size, material, brand, etc. and just think about all the variations of your main product category page this would create!
When we understand what makes their web browsing experience optimal, we can create those experiences for maximum search performance.
Ensuring a positive experience for your mobile visitors.
Being that well over half of all web traffic today comes from mobile, it’s safe to say that your website should be accessible and easy to navigate for mobile visitors. In April 2015, Google rolled out an update to its algorithm that would promote mobile-friendly pages over non-mobile-friendly pages. So how can you ensure that your website is mobile-friendly? Although there are three main ways to configure your website for mobile, Google recommends responsive web design.
Responsive websites are designed to fit the screen of whatever type of device your visitors are using. You can use CSS to make the web page "respond" to the device size. This is ideal because it prevents visitors from having to double-tap or pinch-and-zoom in order to view the content on your pages. Not sure if your web pages are mobile friendly? You can use Google’s mobile-friendly test to check!
As of 2018, Google started switching websites over to mobile-first indexing. That change sparked some confusion between mobile-friendliness and mobile-first, so it’s helpful to disambiguate. With mobile-first indexing, Google crawls and indexes the mobile version of your web pages. Making your website compatible to mobile screens is good for users and your performance in search, but mobile-first indexing happens independently of mobile-friendliness.
This has raised some concerns for websites that lack parity between mobile and desktop versions, such as showing different content, navigation, links, etc. on their mobile view. A mobile site with different links, for example, will alter the way in which Googlebot (mobile) crawls your site and sends link equity to your other pages.
Improving page speed to mitigate visitor frustration
Google wants to serve content that loads lightning-fast for searchers. We’ve come to expect fast-loading results, and when we don’t get them, we’ll quickly bounce back to the SERP in search of a better, faster page. This is why page speed is a crucial aspect of on-site SEO. We can improve the speed of our web pages by taking advantage of tools like the ones we’ve mentioned below. Click on the links to learn more about each.
Images are one of the number one reasons for slow-loading web pages! In addition to image compression, optimizing image alt text, choosing the right image format, and submitting image sitemaps, there are other technical ways to optimize the speed and way in which images are shown to your users. Some primary ways to improve image delivery are as follows:
There are more than just three image size versions!
It’s a common misconception that you just need a desktop, tablet, and mobile-sized version of your image. There are a huge variety of screen sizes and resolutions.
Learn more about SRCSET
1. SRCSET: How to deliver the best image size for each deviceThe SRCSET attribute allows you to have multiple versions of your image and then specify which version should be used in different situations. This piece of code is added to the <img> tag (where your image is located in the HTML) to provide unique images for specific-sized devices.
This is like the concept of responsive design that we discussed earlier, except for images!
This doesn’t just speed up your image load time, it’s also a unique way to enhance your on-page user experience by providing different and optimal images to different device types.
2. Show visitors image loading is in progress with lazy loadingLazy loading occurs when you go to a webpage and, instead of seeing a blank white space for where an image will be, a blurry lightweight version of the image or a colored box in its place appears while the surrounding text loads. After a few seconds, the image clearly loads in full resolution. The popular blogging platform Medium does this really well.
The low resolution version is initially loaded, and then the full high resolution version. This also helps to optimize your critical rendering path! So while all of your other page resources are being downloaded, you’re showing a low-resolution teaser image that helps tell users that things are happening/being loaded. For more information on how you should lazy load your images, check out Google’s Lazy Loading Guidance.
Improve speed by condensing and bundling your files
Page speed audits will often make recommendations such as “minify resource,” but what does that actually mean? Minification condenses a code file by removing things like line breaks and spaces, as well as abbreviating code variable names wherever possible.
By both minifying and bundling the files needed to construct your web page, you’ll speed up your website and reduce the number of your HTTP (file) requests.
Improving the experience for international audiencesWebsites that target audiences from multiple countries should familiarize themselves with international SEO best practices in order to serve up the most relevant experiences. Without these optimizations, international visitors might have difficulty finding the version of your site that caters to them.
There are two main ways a website can be internationalized:
Sites that target speakers of multiple languages are considered multilingual websites. These sites should add something called an hreflang tag to show Google that your page has copy for another language. Learn more about hreflang.
Sites that target audiences in multiple countries are called multi-regional websites and they should choose a URL structure that makes it easy to target their domain or pages to specific countries. This can include the use of a country code top level domain (ccTLD) such as “.ca” for Canada, or a generic top-level domain (gTLD) with a country-specific subfolder such as “example.com/ca” for Canada. Learn more about locale-specific URLs.
Establishing authority so that your pages will rank highly in search results.
LET'S TALK: (216) 339-6041
Let's talk about local SEO without physical premises. Not the Google My Business kind — the kind of local SEO that job boards, house listing sites, and national delivery services have to reckon with.
Should they have landing pages, for example, for "flower delivery in London?"
This turns out to be a surprisingly nuanced issue: In some industries, businesses are ranking for local terms without a location-specific page, and in others local pages are absolutely essential.
I've worked with clients across several industries on why these sorts of problems exist, and how to tackle them. How should you figure out whether you need these pages, how can you scale them and incorporate them in your site architecture, and how many should you have for what location types?
SEO allows customers to find your company easily in search engines, which means more website traffic, more conversions, and more revenue for your company.
Unlike traditional advertising campaigns that target large audiences over a set period of time, SEO empowers your business to reach potential customers while they're actively searching for you, year after year.
For example, when you decide to target a keyword with your content, that content is always available for users to read — essentially meaning they can convert at any time around the clock.
For this reason, SEO online marketing is also a great strategy if you have clients around the world. Time zone doesn't affect the results of SEO since it's strategies are virtually always in place, and always working to bring your business more customers.
That's the ultimate advantage of SEO — you can reach your customer base any time, any day. The customers and leads can keep coming in, even when you're not actively running an ad campaign. Even on holidays!
But that's a pretty big overview. How can you achieve this kind of online growth for yourself?
Swift Marketing Agency is here to help! Our team of experts knows what it takes to create successful SEO strategies. You can call 216-339-6041 or contact us online for help getting started today!
If you'd like to learn more about SEO strategies, you can keep reading below! On this page, we'll take a look at the three most impactful SEO strategies you can use to get more traffic, earn more customers, and close more sales than ever before.
No matter your industry, these SEO strategies can work for you.
How do SEO strategies help your business?If you're not sold on the idea of SEO, let's first talk about how the SEO strategies we talk about can help your business succeed.
One huge benefit from SEO is that you'll be able to improve the ranking of your website's pages in search engine results pages like Google. If you don't rank well in results pages, it's highly unlikely that your target customers will find your website, let alone buy your products and services.
SEO can help get you to the top of search results which means more potential customers will see your website pages, visit your website, and purchase your products.
However, these results don't happen overnight, and in order to see results, it's recommended that you implement more than just one of the strategies mentioned below. In fact, some strategies go hand-in-hand, which means it's difficult to have one without the other.
For example, if you implement multimedia on your website, you'll also need to implement alt tags so that Google is able to read your multimedia. Another example would be if you implement an extensive content plan, you should also be sure to implement multimedia so that your content is engaging and interesting.
When you pair more than one SEO strategy together, you're bound to see results for your business!
How many SEO strategies should I use?
There is no hard-and-fast number for how many SEO strategies you should use for success. And in fact, every industry is different and every specific business needs a different campaign.
That being said, if you're already ranking highly for some of your target keywords, but are looking to rank even higher, your campaign might require fewer strategies to succeed.
The number of SEO strategies your business requires depends completely on your business goals, where your campaign currently stands, and your budget.
1. Content production
Content marketing is one of the most popular marketing strategies today. That's because content is essential to SEO success.
Want to learn about our content marketing services? Watch the quick video below!
The term "content" refers to any text, image, video, or interactive that you publish on your website.
Infographics are collections of visualized data that tell a story.
The idea behind an infographic is that statistics can be broken down into visual, manageable chunks.
Then, you can reorganize those chunks into sections that tell a compelling story.
Most infographics follow a simple template that helps them succeed:
By answering these five questions, you can create an infographic for any industry.
Infographics are ideal for earning links back to your site from credible sources. This boosts your site's overall SEO power since links are a major ranking factor in search engine results.
This content also works well on social media, where users can easily share it with their friends and followers. And once they do, you stand to earn even more links, and you gain a huge amount of brand awareness.
The only downside to infographics is that many companies are already creating them, which makes it difficult to stand out.
But you can stand out by creating a high-quality graphic that uses data, design, and storytelling to form a cohesive product.
Many of the infographics online don't follow these rules, and that's why they don't get great results.
But if you can show your target audience that you're dedicated to quality, you'll earn some form of reward for your work.
But if you can show your target audience that you're dedicated to quality, you'll earn some form of reward for your work.
Downloadable content is one of the best forms of lead generation you can use to earn more from your website.
Like infographics, downloads follow a formula to provide the best value to your target audience.
This process requires a lot more work than an infographic because you have to write extensively about a topic.
Downloads also require visual aids and links to other sources to validate their legitimacy. This takes people away from your download, but it also provides them with supplemental information that helps them get a good grasp on the subject.
You can create downloadable content by exporting information from programs like Microsoft Word or Publisher into PDFs.
That places everything in one simple package so you can post the PDF to your website and gate it.
"Gating" your PDF means placing it behind a few form fields that users need to fill out before getting your download.
The most common form fields used for gating are: Name and Email Address.
Once you have this information, you can add it to your email marketing platform. Then, you can include these users in your campaigns and send them more information based on the download they got from you.
That keeps them in your sales funnel, which lets you help them move towards eventually becoming a customer.
With blog posts, infographics, and downloads, you have a high-quality content strategy that'll help your business grow year after year.
Still, they can't succeed on their own. Your content needs another ingredient to thrive in the SEO world.
2. Keyword optimization
Keyword optimization is essential for ranking well in search engines.
Without it, your content can't rank for search terms related for your business.
Fortunately, a lot of keyword optimization is common sense. When you write with the goal of helping a reader, you'll naturally use the keywords that describe the topic of the page.
Using keywords naturally is crucial, though. If you intentionally use keywords as many times as possible on a page, even where they don't make sense, you'll actually lose SEO power with that page.
At the same time, you don't want to get completely sidetracked by another idea and avoid using your keyword altogether. This can also provide a poor user experience if you go off on a tangent instead of sticking to the matter at hand.
You can prevent both of these scenarios by carefully editing your pages before you post them on your site.
We recommend editing once per piece of content. That's just enough time to find any serious flaws in a piece without overthinking the tiny details.
This way, you can keep the ball rolling, and keep producing more content.
Look for grammar mix-ups, spelling errors, complicated sentences, jargon-heavy paragraphs, and keyword usage.
If anything feels off, change the content so that it's up to your business's quality standards.
This helps your pages rank in search results for the terms that matter to your business.
Keywords aren't only meant for body text, though. By using them on key areas of your pages, you can really help your pages climb in search engine results.
Title tags are the names of your site's pages. They're also the first part of your page that Google reads, meaning they're the first bit of context Google can understand.
This means title tags need keywords. Otherwise, Google won't know when or how to rank your page when someone searches for the corresponding keyword.
This is also helpful for drawing clicks to your site.
After all, if you have a title tag saying "Women's Running Shoes for Sale" and someone just searched "buy women's running shoes," then they know they should click to your site.
Title tags provide opportunities for more ideas than just keywords, though.
Numbers, lists, dates, prices, brand names, power words, and other strategies all contribute to getting more clicks from search engines.
So instead of "Women's Running Shoes for Sale," you could try "33% Off Women's Running Shoes," "Women's Nike & Adidas from $20," and other ideas to get visitors to your site with as few words as possible.
But the title tag isn't the only opportunity you have to get clicks. Fortunately, you also have meta descriptions.
Meta descriptions are one- or two-sentence accounts of what someone can find on your page.
They don't play a direct role in SEO, but they can improve your click-through rate (CTR) by encouraging search engine users to click.
As a result, meta descriptions work as quick sales pitches for each page.
They can cover ideas like:
This isn't an exhaustive list, but it's a great jumping-off point if you're learning about SEO for the first time.
After you have your meta description up and running, you can tweak it occasionally to test what gives you the best CTR.
Maybe it works best for you to start a meta description with a question.
Maybe it's better to lead with your keyword.
Maybe you can get more clicks by using fewer words.
You can supply definite answers to those ideas by creating, tracking, and changing the meta descriptions on your pages.
With your title tags and meta descriptions in place, you're effectively using keywords to promote your pages.
But there's still another SEO strategy you can use to improve your site.
Multimedia is one of the most important parts of SEO.
It makes pages easier to read, engages readers more effectively than text, and keeps people on your site longer.
But there's a catch to multimedia — Google's algorithm can't actually "see" it.
To fix that, you should include alt descriptions for all of your multimedia. These are brief text descriptions of an image, video, or audio clip that Google uses to better understand the page.
Those alt descriptions let you use multimedia effectively for both users and search engines.
With that in mind, most multimedia breaks down into a few different categories.
We'll talk about each of those categories in detail. Images are the most common form of multimedia.
You can use them to break up text to keep people engaged and provide captivating visualizations for readers.
As the header image for this section shows, your images don't always have to pertain 100% to your topic. You can use images for humor just as well as you can use them to make points or add emphasis.
Regardless of how you choose to use images, you're helping your readers with them.
The biggest advantage of images is that they break up walls of text so your site visitors can scan and read more easily.
In fact, this has become crucial since most Internet users don't read much anymore. Instead, they scan a page to find what they want.
If they can't find what they want, they leave.
This makes images all the more important.
By using them at key points on your pages — like the beginning or at major points in the middle — you make it easier for someone to find what they want at a glance.
At the very least, you can make a page more entertaining so visitors can enjoy themselves on your site.
But images are just the beginning. They do a great job keeping your readers engaged — but other formats take engagement a step further.
VideosToday, every Internet-savvy company wants to jump on video as a marketing medium.
Those are huge improvements over text-only content. They're even advancements past text-and-image content.
So why is video so effective?
The biggest advantage is that you can condense entire pages of text into a few minutes of engaging, visualized explanations. All you need is a decent camera, a willing speaker, and editing software.
A lot of companies who experiment with video marketing start by using the cameras on their phones.
This is a great way to get basic product demonstration videos, office walkthroughs, employee interviews, and other videos to use on your site.
It's always a plus to have at least one person at your company who's comfortable speaking to a camera, too. That adds a face to your business that makes it more relatable, and viewers can come to "know" who's speaking.
If you want to add production value to your final video, you can also use editing software.
Editing software can be pricey, but free options exist.
iMovie is probably the most robust free software, and Adobe Premiere is the gold standard of paid products. It's hard to justify spending on video marketing if you've never used it before. But like other marketing strategies, video is an investment.
The more time and money you invest into it, the better your results will be.
Better results mean lots of advantages for your company's website, including more traffic, more conversions, and better brand association. At the end of the day, you can recoup the investment of video marketing by converting viewers into customers.
You'll likely earn your cost of investment back within a year, although your timeframe may vary depending on your company, industry, and other marketing initiatives.
With our team, you'll earn the results you need to grow.
Search trafficRanking is a valuable SEO metric, but measuring your site’s organic performance can’t stop there. The goal of showing up in search is to be chosen by searchers as the answer to their query. If you’re ranking but not getting any traffic, you have a problem.
But how do you even determine how much traffic your site is getting from search? One of the most precise ways to do this is with Google Analytics.
Are you ready to launch your company's SEO strategy?
Areas we serve
Call (216) 339-6041 or contact us online today!
Contact us today to start!
Google and Facebook are two of the most widely used platforms on the Internet. Google garners more than 3.5 billion searches a day, while Facebook boasts 1.4 billion active users each day. Not to mention, each offers advertising services.
What is the difference between Facebook ads and Google Ads, though?
Keep reading to learn all about Google Ads vs. Facebook ads, plus discover which platform is best for your business and various ad campaigns.
Google Ads vs. Facebook ads: What is the difference?
In digital advertising, Google Ads and Facebook ads are the top two ad platforms.
While Google ads appear in Google search results and across websites in Google’s ad network, Facebook ads display across Facebook, Instagram, and other sites in the social media platform’s network. Both platforms offer demographic and behavior targeting, though Google Ads also includes keyword targeting.
What is Google Ads?
Google is the world’s largest and most popular PPC advertising platform. Paid ads, known as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, appear at the top of Google search results.
Where do Google ads appear?
Ads created with Google Ads can get delivered through several networks, including:
When you run a Google advertising campaign, you can target audience or content features like:
Keyword targeting is one of the most popular strategies for Google Ads, especially when using the Google Search Network. If you want your ad to appear in relevant search results, you must choose the right keywords. Your keywords will determine where your ads appear in search results.
To find relevant keywords, you’ll conduct keyword research. Keyword research will help you find relevant keywords for your campaign. You’ll want to stick to long-tail keywords, which contain three or more words, because they’ll drive the best leads for your campaign.
Advertisers will bid on keywords to get their ad to appear in relevant search results. The bid you set is your maximum bid, which is the amount you’re willing to pay each time someone clicks. It’s also known as your cost-per-click (CPC).
Time To Level Up Your Sales
Our long list of services helps you make waves in your industry and increase metrics that matter most - like sales.
What kinds of ads can you create with Google Ads?With Google Ads, you can make a range of advertisements, including:
The ad format you choose will depend on your audience, goals, and offer.
What are Google Ads good for?
If you’re looking to reach leads that convert, Google ads are the best option. These leads know exactly what they want and just need to find the right business to get what they need.
A Google ad can help them choose your business.
They’ll click on your ad and see what you have to offer. If you’re a good fit for their needs, you can earn more conversions for your business. With remarketing on Google Ads, you can even bring back users that previously had an interest in your product or service, but weren’t quite ready to convert.
What are Facebook ads?
Facebook ads are paid social ads that appear in users’ newsfeeds. They’re tagged with the word “sponsored” to indicate paid content. These ads help companies expose their business to interested leads.
Where do Facebook ads appear?
Facebook ads can appear on several platforms, including:
On Facebook, your ads can earn placements in the following locations:
How can you target people on Facebook ads?With Facebook ads, you can target people based on:
These ads operate based on people’s interests and behaviors. Your ads appear in front of people that are interested in your business, products, or services. You’ll help your business connect with the right leads.
What kinds of ads can you make with Facebook ads?Facebook gives you the option to run numerous ad formats, including:
What are Facebook ads good for?Facebook ads are best if you’re looking to gain brand exposure and new leads.
These ads don’t always entice people to convert, but they do get them to follow your page or check out your website. It’s a great way for you to earn more leads for your business because these ads get people comfortable with your business.
A few additional ways (or objectives) you can use Facebook ads include:
How much does it cost to advertise with Facebook ads?Generally, Facebook ads are cheaper to run than Google ads. Facebook ads have a CPC that ranges from a few cents to a few dollars. It all depends upon your industry. Some industries are a little more expensive than others.
Facebook ads vs. Google Ads: How each platform benefits your businessIn the Facebook ads vs. Google Ads, you have to look at the advantages of each platform. While each comes with different options (and costs), they both offer benefits that can help you build brand awareness, generate sales, and more.
Take a look at their perks, and learn more about the difference between Facebook ads and Google Ads:
The Advantages of Google Ads
Here are a few benefits you’ll experience from using the Google Ads platform.
The advantages of Facebook adsFacebook has billions of active monthly users that engage on their platform.
Here are a few benefits you’ll receive by using Facebook ads.
Which is better for your business: Facebook ads or Google Ads?
In the Google Ads vs. Facebook ads debate, there isn’t a clear winner.
That’s because both platforms offer value. Whether your business operates in the business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) sector, you can use Google and Facebook to grow brand awareness, increase online sales, and even generate phone calls, store visits, and more.
The best platform for your business will depend on what you want for your advertising campaign.
Keep in mind, the above dat is only a guideline.
Your business may find that Facebook ads, for example, work well for generating online sales. Or, that Google Ads performs better when it comes to earning more downloads for your mobile app. Every company and their advertising experience, so you may have to engage in some trial-and-error.
Either way, both these advertising options have their perks.
In fact, no rule says you have to choose either Google Ads or Facebook ads. These two advertising programs work well together. As long as you have the budget to run both campaigns, they can work together very effectively.
Three tips for using Google Ads and Facebook ads
1. Launch your Facebook ad campaigns with Google Ads’ data
Whether you have past or zero experience with Facebook ads, you want to use this tip for a combined Google and Facebook strategy. That’s because user data can help your business a better and stronger campaign that drives better results.
Via Google Ads, you can access a ton of helpful data points, including:
This data can help your team refine the targeting of your existing Facebook ads. Or, you can use the information to launch a brand-new and targeted campaign. Either way, Google Ads can help you make data-driven decisions about your Facebook ad targeting.
2. Leverage your Facebook Lookalike Audiences for Google Ads
While Google Ads offers a feature similar to Lookalike Audiences in Facebook ads, you can still use this Facebook-specific tool in your Google ad campaigns. For reference, Lookalike Audiences help you build an audience similar to an existing one.
That means you can find people most likely to have an interest in your products or services.
Since Google Ads includes a range of targeting options, you can update or tweak them according to your Lookalike Audiences data. Even better, you can apply this data to Facebook ad campaigns. For your business, that means stronger ads across each of these advertising platforms.
3. Target every stage of the buying funnelRemember how Facebook ads work well for brand awareness, while Google Ads excel when it comes to securing leads? You can leverage these differences with a coordinated Google Ads and Facebook ads approach.
While your Facebook ads focus on top-of-the-funnel users, your Google Ads can target middle- and bottom-of-the-funnel users. This kind of approach can prevent blind spots or openings for your competitors to target (and steal) sales from your business.
Plus, it can keep your company top-of-mind as users browse the Internet.
Our full-service digital marketing company that specializes in paid advertising campaigns. Our team of over 200 experts will bring their knowledge and expertise to your campaign. We’ll help you create a customized campaign that is unique to your business.
If you’re looking for a company that drives results, look no further than Swift. You can count on us to create a campaign that helps your business grow.
Call us today at (216) 339-6041!
Inbound marketing is a methodology that attracts (versus interrupts like outbound marketing) users with experiences personalized to their wants, challenges, and interests. Strategies like email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and content marketing all work as inbound marketing strategies.
Table of Contents
What is inbound marketing, though?
How did it start? Why does it work? How can businesses use it?
These are all excellent questions, and this inbound marketing guide answers them all. Keep reading to learn all about inbound marketing and get actionable advice for launching your inbound marketing strategy.
If you need professional help with inbound marketing, contact us online or call us at 216-339-6041. You can also browse our inbound marketing services to see how our team can build a successful plan for your business.
The definition of inbound marketing
Inbound marketing refers to any marketing activities that bring people in, as opposed to marketers having to reach out to them. It can also be summed up as any kind of activity that earns attention, as opposed to an activity that pays for it.
Inbound marketing is usually something that was desired by the person consuming it, as opposed to something that was offered or exposed to someone without their permissions or desire for it. This is why you may also sometimes hear inbound marketing called “permission marketing” (a term coined by author Seth Godin).
Examples of inbound marketing
A few examples of inbound marketing are blog posts, podcasts, emails, social media posts, and videos. In contrast, a few examples of marketing that would not be considered inbound—also known as outbound marketing—are commercials, direct mail, and calls.
Do you see the difference?
Inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing. Inbound marketing methods are sought out and consumed by those who have a desire for them, or who are looking for them in their time of need. On the other hand, outbound marketing methods tend to be intrusive, unwanted, or even spammy.
As time goes on, consumers are learning to tune out outbound marketing methods, or are even finding ways to avoid them. For example, when a television commercial comes on, a consumer may simply change the channel. A spam email may automatically be filtered to the “spam” folder, or deleted without being read. Those who rely solely on these methods are finding that they are not as effective as they once were…nor do they provide the desired return on investment.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, gives marketers benefits, builds more trust than commercial.
As mentioned, inbound marketing brings people in, as opposed to requiring marketers to reach out. This is the crucial difference between the two.
How did inbound marketing start?
Along with asking “What is inbound marketing?” you may be wondering how this new form of marketing came to be. Truthfully, inbound marketing has been around for many years, and many companies have been using it—but the term “inbound marketing” was not coined until 2005.
Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of HubSpot, a marketing software company, came up with the term to describe this type of marketing. In 2009, Halligan and fellow HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah, released a book on the topic titled Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.
In addition to creating the term and methodology, HubSpot also developed a flywheel to demonstrate the inbound marketing process. This flywheel grew to encompass not only marketing but also sales and customer service.
The flywheel features three components:
Why is inbound marketing important?Inbound marketing matters to businesses for a few reasons, and the Internet is the biggest one.
We Form Long Term Partnerships
Thanks to the World Wide Web, people across the world can research companies, products, and services in an instant. They can compare your business with competitors in minutes. Not to mention, who they find depends on search algorithms, social media, paid ads, and more.
If your company doesn’t use inbound marketing, you won’t have the chance to reach your audience.
Inbound marketing helps you attract users, as well as earn visibility on the Internet.
That makes inbound marketing an immensely powerful marketing approach. Companies can’t afford to ignore inbound marketing, even if they provide the best product or service because people won’t know that they do because consumers can’t find them online.
Use inbound marketing and you can start growing your business.
How does inbound marketing work?
Inbound marketing does not consist of one single marketing method that draws potential customers to your website. In fact, it consists of multiple marketing methods, all of which are considered inbound.
Each of these methods works a little differently. Some of them may rely on producing content that, like our example above, exists for a consumer’s time of need. Others involve creating a presence on channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And others focus on the optimization of your website to make your content and business easier to find, increasing it in popularity.
Let’s explore the methods that make up inbound marketing in a little more detail.
How you can use inbound marketingYour business can use inbound marketing to accomplish a range of goals, including:
Essentially, you can use inbound marketing to grow your business. In addition to attracting new customers, you can also take advantage of inbound marketing to retain current ones.
Inbound marketing strategies
You have choices when it comes to inbound marketing strategies. Companies can personalize their tactics to their audience, which makes inbound marketing highly customizable.
Five of the most popular strategies include:
1. Content marketing
If you are creating articles, how-to pages, whitepapers, or other content, this is also a form of inbound marketing. Not only do these content pieces make it more likely that someone will find your company when they are searching for you, they also help those who have already located your site feel an affinity toward it. If you regularly product helpful content, you may be seen as a better, more valuable business than one that does not.
There are many types of content that you can produce, from whitepapers to videos to long-form guides. Not every type of content will work for every business. Experiment with your offerings to see what works best for your leads—you might be surprised!
2. Social media
Social media is also another component of inbound marketing. While it can be used to reach new customers or potential leads, it can also be used to grow relationships with existing ones by offering helpful content or great service at the right times.
Blogging for your business is a fantastic way to increase awareness, produce great content for your site, and attract links that have the potential to help your site rank better in search engines. Blogging is also a crucial part of many inbound marketing strategies, since it focuses on the creation of content that people will want to consume.
4. Email marketing
Email marketing may not seem like a form of inbound marketing, but because you must get permission before emailing anyone—you do ask for permission, right?—it appears solidly on the inbound list. Like social media, email is typically used to grow existing relationships by offering something desirable at the right time.
You can use email marketing as an inbound marketing method by offering more than sales or deals in your emails. Why not send out how-tos, content, links to your blog posts, or highlights from social media? Or even highlight a fan or customer of the week?
5. Search engine optimization (SEO)
Yes, SEO — or search engine optimization — is a crucial part of inbound marketing. After all, where would these other marketing methods get you if they weren’t properly optimized, or your site wasn’t up to today’s SEO standards?
If you’re not already familiar with SEO, it’s an important part of online marketing by which your website is optimized to appear more often in search results, or rank higher than your competitors. SEO is the difference between ranking #1 and ranking #10, and what determines which websites take the top spots for any specific search query. You can learn more about SEO on this page.
Without SEO, which ensures your content is as search engine-friendly as possible.
These are just a few examples of marketing methods that are considered inbound instead of outbound.
How to get started with inbound marketing
If you’re looking to get started with an inbound marketing strategy, our advice to you is this: start small. You don’t have to do everything at once, or use every single method we listed on this page. In fact, that would probably be counter-productive.
To get started, choose one marketing method you’re not already doing, and work with your team to set a strategy for it.
Ask the following questions:
Then, launch your method.
Monitor the results carefully for a set period of time. It’s also important to realize that inbound marketing does not often have immediate results: many blogs have to work for months or even years before they see regular readers. However, if you do not meet your goals, you may want to re-evaluate your approach and try again, or even phase that method out entirely.
If you want to add additional inbound marketing methods, be sure that they are added one-by-one, and that you are asking questions like the ones listed above, and measuring your response carefully, each time. By doing this, you’ll be able to have a better idea of what is working for you and what isn’t—and how happy you’re making the people visiting your website!
We hope this page helped answer the question “What is inbound marketing?” for you...and then some! Now that you know more about what inbound marketing is and how it works, we wish you luck in using it on your own website!
Inbound marketing explained
Need help developing an inbound marketing strategy?
As a leading inbound marketing agency, Swift Marketing Service can create a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy for your business. While other firms may simply provide a few services and call it a day, Swift Marketing is a full-service agency that works with its clients.
When you’re ready to experience our web design, SEO, and inbound marketing, we’d love to hear from you! Simply email us or give us a call to discuss what you’d like to accomplish with an inbound marketing plan, and we would be excited to talk to you.
Revenue-driving content marketing services
Content marketing is one of the most powerful digital marketing strategies. With the ability to double website conversion rates, as well as drive brand awareness and website traffic, content marketing is essential to increasing your company’s revenue.
With Swift Marketing Servies as your content marketing services partner, you can expect custom content that follows search engine optimization standards. Even better, you can count on transparency — no hidden fees and no secret strategies.
What are content marketing services?
Content marketing services are digital marketing services that include planning a content marketing strategy and creating, distributing, promoting, and tracking content to achieve specific business goals. Content types include articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, ebooks, and more.
Content marketing services: Our process
It’s what all our clients receive with their Swift content marketing service package.
We even offer custom packages to match your company’s unique needs.
If you’re unsure about which of our packages are right for your business, you can always contact our knowledgeable strategists online. They can offer advice, as well as suggestions, as to whether a basic, aggressive, or market leader plan is right for your company.
Plus, they can answer all your questions about the various content marketing assets, which include:
No matter which content marketing service package you choose, from our basic to our market leader plan, you can expect our team to deliver a competitive strategy and marketing campaign that reaches your company’s goals.
We Form Longterm Partnerships
Over 90% of Swift clients continue partnering with us into year 2 of their campaign.
Speak with Us Today!
Learn more about some of the features of our content marketing services:
1. Content strategy and keyword research
First, our content marketing team will work with your business to fully understand your company, goals, and industry. Then, we’ll help you develop a custom content marketing strategy, designed to help your site content rank in search engine results and convert customers.
A core part of our content strategy is keyword research. By researching the keywords that matter to your audience, our team can develop original and valuable evergreen content that drives high-quality traffic to your website.
How do we know which keywords to choose, though?
As your content marketing service provider, we look at several factors when conducting keyword research, including:
Once we finish our keyword research, we move onto developing a content plan for you.
2. Content development
Next, our services focus on creating a content project management schedule. In this step, we build a content calendar for your strategy. We also establish a deadline for writing and delivering the content to your team for review.
The amount of content we develop depends on your content marketing services package:
During this stage, your dedicated account manager also provides you with a walkthrough of our preferred platform for project management. Feel free to ask them questions, and they’ll be happy to answer and help you troubleshoot any issues.
3. Content creation
A core part of our content marketing services is content creation.
With the expertise of our talented project managers, as well as specialized writers and graphic designers, we create multiple types of content, including long-form content, blog posts, infographics, online guides, voice optimized content, white papers, and more for your company’s strategy.
Every strategy is different too, based on your unique needs.
While a pharmaceutical company’s digital marketing strategy, for example, may focus on awareness and education, an ecommerce store’s may emphasize immediate action. These focuses can result in different content type, like video for a pharmaceutical brand and blog posts for an ecommerce business.
Our team of editors then review each piece of content to ensure it matches your branding standards. Once your dedicated account manager looks over your deliverables, they’ll forward them to your team for feedback.
If you have any requested changes, our team takes care of them fast.
4. Content optimizationsIn addition to our writers optimizing your content for search, your dedicated account manager will too. For example, if you’re launching a piece of long-form content on your website, they create a compelling title tag and meta description for it.
The result is optimized content for not only users but also search engines. By optimizing your content for both parties, we provide your content the best foundation for success — meaning it will not only resonate with your target audience but also rank well in search results.
You'll see content marketing, as well as SEO results with Swift Marketing Team as your content marketing services provider.
5. Content promotion
Content promotion enables you to boost brand awareness, and it exposes more people to your message. As more people connect with your content online, you’ll reap the benefits of increased site traffic, conversions, and revenue.
We can also use paid strategies, like pay-per-click, to promote your owned media across the web. Social media advertising, for instance, is an excellent content marketing campaign strategy for content promotion.
6. Monthly reporting
We don’t stop after creating and promoting your content!
Our content marketing solutions include custom reporting that allows you to monitor your return on investment (ROI) and drive the best possible results from your marketing efforts.
As a part of our aggressive and market leader content marketing service packages, you receive a monthly content marketing strategy report. Your dedicated account manager compiles this report, which includes tons of helpful information you can share with your company’s decision makers.
By partnering with our full-service marketing agency, you don’t have to worry about creating this content. We develop and launch your content marketing strategy for you. Plus, we feature an experienced team of writers with backgrounds in manufacturing, retail, and a slew of other industries.
Keep reading to learn more about the pricing and deliverables for our services.
Why invest in content marketing services?
For businesses that want to reach their target audience with web marketing, content marketing is a must. Even if your company operates offline, the best content marketing services offer value. With a powerful content marketing strategy, you can connect with audiences a few blocks away or halfway around the world.
That connection leads to several noteworthy benefits, including:
Grow your business
Consumers use the Internet for everything, from posting videos of their cats and dogs to finding products for their new home. In addition, 80 percent of consumers use the Internet for researching services or products — and when it comes to local searches, those have increased.
Online visibility is critical, which is where content marketing comes into use. With a strategic content marketing plan and our leading content marketing agency, you can connect with consumers in varying stages of your buying funnel.
Build your brand awareness
Your brand is one of the most valuable things your company owns. It defines your business, as well as contributes to the retention and loyalty of your clients. It also influences their purchase decisions, which is why building brand awareness is imperative.
With our content marketing management services, you can increase awareness of your brand among your target audience. However, it takes time to build brand awareness. This is why content marketing is an ongoing strategy — just like search engine optimization (SEO).
Like SEO, content marketing delivers long-term revenue and brand awareness for your company. With increased brand awareness, you can expect more shoppers to choose your company when they’re ready to buy.
Why? For weeks, months, or maybe even years, you’ve provided them with high-quality, informative content. This quality content has provided value by answering their questions and offering them guidance.
Research also confirms that content marketing is a powerhouse when it comes to brand awareness.
Increase your revenue
Another reason why companies invest in content marketing? Its rising conversion rate.
Better yet, think of your competition. With our competitive content marketing services, you gain a competitive edge in your marketplace. That edge helps your company earn more valuable leads and clients — limiting the growth of your competitors.
The result is a business that’s expanding its market share and revenues.
Reach your target audience
Content marketing also appeals to how modern consumers shop.
When researching a product or service, shoppers read almost 12 pieces of content before purchasing. While some of that content comes from non-competitor websites, such as an industry news site, users arrive on competing sites as they read more.
With content marketing agency's services, you can prevent that.
Our award-winning team will create a personalized strategy that includes not only bottom of the funnel content but also middle and top of the funnel content. That kind of strategy helps you connect with users in the early, middle, and later stages of the buying funnel.
Then, when your target audience makes their buying decision, it’s your company they choose.
Expand your consumer base
Before they buy, consumers want to learn about your business — but in a non-promotional way. In fact, prefer getting to know a company through content, like articles or blog posts.
By considering every step of your buying funnel in your company’s business and content marketing strategy, you have the potential to expand your consumer base. With a bigger following, you can boost the other benefits of content marketing, like increased conversions and brand awareness.
As your partner, you can trust Swift Marketing Team to deliver those perks.
Maximize your digital marketing ROI
With the ability to create a long-term source of revenue for your business, our digital marketing content services maximize your investment. With a bigger ROI, your company can reinvest in your online marketing strategies, as well as expand your business and its services.
While content marketing’s ROI varies, it does deliver better results than traditional marketing.
The best part is that our content marketing services focus on developing evergreen content for your business. This content attracts new consumers on a routine basis and stays relevant over time.
Become an industry leader
When consumers research their next purchase, they search for information from reputable sources. With our content marketing management services, your business will become an industry-trusted source for your niche market.
That kind of reputation lends itself to several benefits, including:
Like earning the number one position on the first page of search results for a high-value keyword in SEO, it takes time for your company to evolve into a recommended resource for the industry. That is why content marketing is an ongoing, long-term strategy.
What do content marketing services include?
Content marketing services involve:
What types of content are used in content marketing?
Content marketing solutions can involve a wide range of content types. Some examples include:
Why use content marketing services?Content marketing services can help your business:
Why choose Swift Marketing Services for the best content marketing services?
It’s a great question, and there are plenty of reasons to choose our content marketing services. Swift is a top content marketing company.
A Partner Businesses Trust
Their focus on ROI and their innate ability to communicate this information in a way that I understand has been the missing link with other digital marketing firms that I have used in the past.
Get started on your content marketing strategy by requesting a free quote online or calling us at 216-339-6041!
There's truly nothing worse than an automated, lifeless email from a company. That feeling of sheer disappointment when you read the robotic text is almost heart-wrenching. You expected so much more.
You never want your customers to feel that way about you. After cultivating a relationship with them, the last thing you want is for them to be offended by an impersonal email.
Though it'd be ideal to hand-craft each and every email you send, it can also be time-consuming and inefficient.
Don't fret, we've got you covered. Below, we'll go over a list of best practices for writing customer service emails, a guide for responding to angry messages, and a collection of the best customer service email templates for a variety of scenarios.
Best Practices for Writing Customer Service Emails Though using a customer service email template will make your job much easier, you should still follow a few best practices.
In fact, the following tips apply especially when you use a pre-written email. They can help you personalize your response so that it doesn't seem canned and strengthens your company's customer retention strategy.
1. Use the customer's name.
This is the first step when reaching out or responding to customers. Using their name in the greeting will make your response feel genuine and targeted specifically to them.
2. Have the customer's conversation history handy.
When responding to a customer complaint or email, it's key to know when and why they've reached out to your company. Have they had this same issue in the past? Or have they only been a customer with you for a short time? This information can help you choose the appropriate tone for your email — whether profusely apologetic or cheery and helpful.
Additionally, if you have the customer's conversation history, you can personalize any template you use by including background information and context.
3. Brush up on key facts about their business or buyer persona.
In a similar vein, skim through the information you have on their business and buyer persona to understand why they reached out. Are they users of your product? Or are they top-level stakeholders at their organization? Do you know why they chose to do business with you? We recommend collecting this information using CRM software.
4. Try to understand their problem inside and out.
When reading over the email, try to understand the problem they're encountering before crafting a response. If you still need clarity, your response would be the place to ask questions.
No matter what, ensure that every email you send is filled with empathy and understanding — even when the customer is angry.
Empathy can help you deal with frustrated customers and decrease the chances that they'll leave you for a competitor. We understand that this is hard, so below, we'll take you through a step-by-step guide on how to respond to an angry customer email.
How to Respond to an Angry Customer Email
1. Respond as soon as possible.
The longer you wait to respond to a customer complaint, the more likely it is that they will take that complaint to a public platform where other consumers can form opinions about your company. It's best to tackle the problem within an hour as this will likely keep the conversation going over email and will reduce the chance of a follow-up call.
2. Apologize for their negative experience.
The first line in your response should be a genuine apology.
No matter how hurtful or unfair their email may seem, it's important to recognize that they took the time to craft a complaint because they had such a negative experience with your company. As a customer service professional, your goal is for none of your customers to have such a terrible experience, and it's the responsibility of your company to apologize for that.
It's also important to acknowledge your mistakes, taking some responsibility for what your company may have done wrong. It's less about proving a point and more about salvaging the relationship with that customer.
In this step, try to choose a tone that's both empathetic and apologetic, but make it clear that you're also eager to help.
3. Explain what may have gone wrong.
Customers really care about getting clear explanations and complete solutions for their problems — not just for their own well-being but for other customers as well.
They care about not letting the same issue happen to others. Offering the customer an explanation for the situation can help them understand that there were unexpected factors in play.
If you explain to them that the situation was a one-time event or rare occurrence — like their package getting lost in the mail or if they're left on hold for an hour — it will help ease the tension and potentially get them to empathize with your company.
4. Provide context for what happened.
Like we discussed above, it's important to understand where the customer is coming from. By looking at their history with your company, you're starting out on the same page in the conversation.
Show that you understand the context for the situation so the customer knows that you're aware of the issues they've faced before. You could say something like, "I see that you've had this problem before, a few months ago." This can help you provide genuine empathy (and not the fake empathy that some customer service scripts can have).
5. Reassure the customer that this won't happen again.
Even if the problem wasn't your fault — say, your logistics partnered failed to deliver the package on time — it's important to reassure the customer that you're doing everything possible to prevent this from happening again.
Whether you're checking in with your product team, retraining your sales team, or revisiting the relationship with your logistics partner, you should indicate to the customer that their angry email has resulted in company-wide action.
This will reassure them that they won't have this experience again and thus make it less likely that they'll leave you for a competitor.
6. Offer an incentive, refund, or discount.
Offering an incentive is a great option when a customer's complaint is so extreme that you fear worse repercussions — or when they specifically demand a refund or free item.
Alternatively, if a customer complaint is reasonable and polite, offer an incentive as thanks for remaining calm and patient with your team.
If a customer's complaint is the result of an error on your end, do as much as you can to offer them a reasonable discount or refund when appropriate. If the customer is completely unable to use the purchase as a result of the error, it's only fair to offer a full refund.
If an error resulted in an order delay or another type of minor inconvenience that doesn't impact the customer's ability to use the product or service, a small discount can buy goodwill with the customer.
If the complaints are the result of a company-wide outage or error that impacted hundreds of thousands of customers, you may not be able to offer them all a discount or refund. Instead, own your mistake, apologize sincerely, and take steps to prevent the problem from happening again.
7. Allow them to respond with further questions, comments, or concerns.
At the end of the email, before closing, always ask them to let you know if they have any more questions, comments, or concerns. You want to show that you're still open to further feedback and it's on them to end the conversation.
The more opportunities you give them to interact with you, the higher the chance that their temper will subside and they will come to respect your company again.
8. Follow up with the customer.
After leaving the path open for more questions, it's critical to follow up with the customer and give them a final status on the resolution of their issue.
Whether it was a delayed package, a product outage, or a bad experience with the website, you want to reassure the customer that you've finished taking the necessary steps to ensure this doesn't happen again.
For example, if the issue was that the package was delayed in the mail, follow up with them in three days to tell them they should've received the product they ordered. Alternatively, you can check the tracking number and notify them that the package should have been left in their mailbox or on their front step.
If the customer experienced a technical malfunction, touch base with them to let them know that your team has finished working on the issue and that the malfunction is resolved.
Best Sample Email for Responding to an Angry Customer
Using the tips above, we've written a sample email that you can use to respond to an angry email from a customer.
I'm so sorry that you had a negative experience with [product, service, or company department]. I've looked into the issue, and it seems that [briefly explain the reason for their bad experience, if applicable].
I've forwarded this issue to [head of the appropriate department], our [person's job title].
In the meantime, I'd like to offer a [discount/refund] for the inconvenience and will be checking in with you in a few days to update you on the status of [issue].
Once more, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. Please let me know if I can answer any questions, and I'd be happy to help!
Don't stop here. Below, we've curated a list of the best customer service email templates for every support situation.
50 Customer Service Email TemplatesTell us about yourself to access the templates.
Hi 👋 What's your name?
Hi null, what's your email address?
And your phone number?
What is your company's name and website?
How many employees work there?
The Best Customer Service Email TemplatesLet's take a look at some of the best customer service email templates you can lean on when in a variety of situations with customers.
Customer Refund Letter Templates
1. Thank You Email Template
Once in a while, it's nice to send your customers a little thank you. After all, your company would be nowhere without the loyalty of your customers. This can be sent in several instances: right after they make a purchase, when you notice it's their anniversary with your company, or when they refer another customer.
In a thank you email, you should never try to sell them something. It's simply an opportunity to show your appreciation.
Thank you so much for referring your friend [Friend's name] to us. I've enjoyed getting to know them and doing business with them. I'm so happy that you've stuck around with us for this long and brought your friend to share the experience with you.
We're lucky to have you. Thanks again for being such a fantastic customer! As a token of our appreciation, here's a [coupon/discount] for you to enjoy.
2. Questionnaire Email Template
There are several kinds of questionnaires you may send your customers. From customer satisfaction surveys to demographics to Customer Effort Score (CES), each questionnaire offers valuable data to your company. Conducting a survey can help you get into the minds of your customers and make effective changes to your service experience.
However, it's easy for customers to see a link to a questionnaire and immediately close the tab. Entice them into taking the questionnaire by mentioning its briefness or perhaps offering an incentive.Pro tip: Consider using one of these "thank you in advance" alternatives for a more polite approach.
Thanks for your recent purchase with us! I hope you're enjoying your [product/service].
I'd love to hear more about your experience working with our team. Please fill out the following survey and give us your honest feedback. I promise it's short, and it'll help improve customers' experiences in the future.
I know your time is valuable, and I appreciate your attention.
<< Attach questionnaire >>
3. Angry Customer Response Email Template
Uh oh. You've got an angry customer, and they want to leave your business. This could have happened for a range of reasons. They might even be angry about external factors and not necessarily your business. Remain calm and think rationally. The worst possible thing you could do is fight fire with fire.
It's okay to take some time to cool down before typing a response. Don't take their email to heart. Sometimes, a customer is so upset that there isn't much damage control you can do. The best move is to wave the white flag and move forward.
This template is best used when the customer has indicated that they're taking their business elsewhere. If the customer is complaining but will remain with your business, you should use template #4.
I am so sorry to hear that you have had such a poor experience that you no longer want to work with us.
Customer satisfaction is always a number one priority for us. I'm deeply sorry that that wasn't clearly demonstrated to you.
As much as I hate to see you go, I completely understand how upset you must feel. I apologize again for any trouble we may have caused you. Good luck with your business, and I wish you all the best.
Let me know if you have any more questions, comments, or concerns.
4. Customer Complaint Response Email Template
Similar to an angry customer, a complaining customer is not exactly a ray of sunshine on your workday. They can be almost worse, it seems, than an angry customer.
Anger can often be displaced or without reason, whereas a complaint is typically well-crafted and based on truth. Incidentally, there's often a greater opportunity of turning a complaining customer into a satisfied one.
Just as they have probably put a good amount of time into writing their email, you, too, should do the same. It's important to remain eloquent and polite, even if the complaint frustrates you.
I am so sorry to hear that [provide a brief summary of their bad experience]. That should never have happened, and I completely understand how frustrating this must be for you. I will relay this message to the appropriate department.
We are prioritizing resolving [the issue they faced with your product, company, or service]. Our team is jumping on that problem right away, and I will let you know as soon as it's fixed.
I appreciate you letting me know about your negative experience. We strive to ensure every customer is satisfied with our business, and I apologize for any way in which we may have inconvenienced you.
Let me know if you have any more questions, comments, or concerns.
5. Customer Service Follow-up Email Template
When a customer reaches out to you for support, that shouldn't be the beginning and end of your interaction. A customer might not be expecting a follow-up, but that's what will make them appreciate it even more.
Plus, it also indicates that your company is dedicated to not merely sales, but also fostering positive customer relationships.
I hope you're enjoying your brand new product. I remember that you were torn between two versions, but I firmly believe you went with the perfect choice for you.
If you're interested, I'd love to hear more about how you're liking the product. Let me know some pros and cons and if there's any way I can be of assistance to guide you through this process. I'm here for whatever you need and look forward to hearing from you soon.
6. Technical Support Email Template
While it's more common for customer support engineers to provide technical support over live chat, phone, or another quicker form of communication, they'll sometimes handle support inquiries over email. Since email is not meant to be an immediate channel for communication, customers may use this method when addressing an issue that isn't urgent.
Email also allows you to get a lot more information about the situation because customers can take their time to write out thorough responses to your questions. Take advantage of this and ask several in-depth questions in a single email to find a solution as quickly as possible.
Thanks for reaching out! I'd be more than happy to help you.
Before we dive in, can you give me a little more context on the situation? When did this issue begin happening? Has it been occurring consistently, or does it happen on and off? Have you tried any solutions on your own?
These questions will help me find a more personalized solution to your problem.
7. Keep in Touch Email Template
It's sad to see a customer go — especially one who has been loyal to your company for a while. Once you've built a real relationship with a customer, the last thing you want to do is break off ties as soon as they decide to take a different path.
You want to show them that, no matter what, you still care about them and want what's best for them. And maybe, just maybe, they'll come back to you in the future.
I'm sorry to see you go. Doing business with you in the past [amount of years they've been with you] has been great. I've learned so much from you and have made several updates to our products based on your thorough, thoughtful feedback. I appreciate everything you've done to make our company the best it can be.
As you set onto a new path, don't forget about us! I'd love to hear about your successes in the future and the exciting growth your company inevitably will have.
Please keep in touch. Good luck with everything!
8. Welcome Email Template
Congratulations! You've got a new customer or subscriber. There's truly nothing more exhilarating for a business. However, as your company's customer base grows larger, be sure not to overlook newcomers.
That's why it's important to send welcome emails. This will help them get acquainted with your company and also show them that each and every individual customer matters to you. Also, this is a good opportunity to shower them with helpful content.
Welcome to [Your company]! I'm so excited to have you join us. We're feeling pretty lucky that you chose us, and I just wanna say thank you on behalf of our whole company.
To get you settled, I wanted to share with you some of our best resources so you can make the most out of your experience with us. Subscribe to our blog [add link] for some great tips and knowledge to be successful in your industry. Check out our Instagram [add link], Facebook [add link], and Twitter [add link] for your daily dose of industry news, advice, and behind-the-scenes looks.
If you're interested in learning more about your product, feel free to contact me or anyone else on our support team at any time. We're always here to help you in any way we can.
9. Account Manager Introduction Email Template
It can be tricky to send out that first email as an account manager. Your new client has probably been speaking with one or more other employees at your company and has gotten relatively acquainted with them.
As you will be working directly with them from now on, it's important to develop an even stronger relationship with them that will continue into the foreseeable future.
Make it clear that you will be their direct contact from now on. You can take on a friendly, more comfortable tone. You want them to know that you're someone they can trust.
I'm [Your name], and I'm very excited to be your new Account Manager at [Your company]! I've heard great things about you from my teammates, and I'm hoping they've said some good things about me, too.
My role will be to guide you through anything you need. If you ever have questions, run into problems, consider an upgrade, or anything at all, I'm the one for the job. We will be working closely together, and I'll be helping you navigate your new product.
I'm looking forward to meeting you. Do you have a few minutes this week to chat?
10. Account Manager Transition Email Template
As much as you might love your company, you may get to the point where it's time to move on. Once you get a job offer that you can't refuse, it can be difficult to relay it to your employer, but even harder to tell your loyal customers.
It's essential that you keep your clients in the loop about this change. Since you have been an integral part of their professional lives, they should be notified of your leave. This will help them prepare for the shift, as this change will affect them, too.
After eight incredible years at [Your company], I'm excited to inform you that I have just accepted an offer to move on to [New company]. This new role will be an important player in advancing my career, and I couldn't feel more grateful for the opportunity.
However, that means that I will no longer be your Account Manager here. I have enjoyed watching you grow and cheering on your successes. Working with you has taught me so much, and I will carry this knowledge on to this next chapter in my life.
Luckily, I have an incredible replacement for you. [Replacement's name] is an outstanding Account Manager and a dear friend of mine. [She/he/they] has been working here for [amount of years] and has a lot to show for it. I genuinely believe you two will get along well and that [she/he/they] will be a huge support for you.
They will be emailing you in the next couple days with a warm greeting and plans for you to meet. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it.
Thank you again for being a great client for [amount of years]. I wish you all the best!
11. Free Trial Email Template
If you notice a prospect who seems interested in your products but fails to make a purchase, don't sweep them under the rug. This is a perfect opportunity to mention a free trial.
Prospects might be curious to learn more about your products but nervous to show their cards when they haven't gotten a chance to fully interact with your company. By offering a free trial, you're gaining the prospect's trust. Additionally, once a customer gets acquainted with a product during a free trial, it's harder to turn it down.
I noticed that you seemed interested in [product name] on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. I'd be happy to guide you through the different options.
If you're interested, I want to extend an offer for a free trial, as it can be tough to commit to a product from a mere description. Our free trial lasts 30 days and lets you navigate all premium features. It's a great chance to see which product is right for you and how much it can benefit you and your clients.
If you're interested, email me back or give me a call. I can talk you through all the details and get you set up.
12. Renewal Reminder Email Template
So, your customer purchased an annual subscription to your product? Great.
However, it's hitting 350 days, and they haven't mentioned any interest in renewing their subscription. Yikes.
That's the perfect opportunity to send a renewal reminder email. There's a high possibility they simply forgot. Or, it could be that they're on the fence about it. Either way, a gentle reminder could steer them in the right direction.
I hope everything is going well with you and that you've had a great year navigating your product.
I noticed that your annual subscription is expiring on [date of expiration]. Are you interested in renewing your subscription? If you're weighing your options, I'd love to chat further with you to help you come to a decision. If you'd like to upgrade to a new product, we can discuss that, as well.
I look forward to hearing from you.
13. Customer Referral Email Template
Now that you've built a solid relationship with a customer, it's about time to ask them (nicely) for a referral. If they've had a very positive experience with your company, it's natural that they'll want the same for their family, friends, and colleagues in similar fields.
I'm so happy to hear that you're having a great experience with [product/service/company department]. Helping our customers help their customers has always been our goal.
Since I've loved getting to work with you these past few months, I was wondering if there was anyone you know who might benefit in a similar way? It would be a pleasure to help them achieve their goals.
I'm looking forward to it!
14. Customer Review Request Email Template
If you've worked with a customer for a while and helped them achieve results with your product or service, you may want to ask them to review your product, service, business, or you personally.
Reviews help increase ratings on review sites, which are one of the most trustworthy ways prospects research companies or products before making a purchase.
Timing-wise, it might make sense for you to send this email within a chain you've already started with the customer about the good results or a successful project you collaborated with them on. You can either copy this template directly into a chain, or use the exact wording to start a new thread from scratch.
If you sell a physical product that your customer personally uses, you might reach out 10-15 days after the product is delivered to ask them how it's going.
I hope you're having a great week so far! I saw you've started [details about how they're using your product] — it looks like you've achieved some impressive [details of the results they've achieved]. How are you enjoying working with the tool?
If you have any feedback or questions, don't hesitate to give me a call or shoot me an email, and I'll help you out!
If you'd like to share your experience using [Your company's tool], here are our pages on [review site] and [review site], where you can give us a rating and share your feedback to help other customers like you.
Thanks for your time, and give me a call if you have any questions!
Customer Refund Letter Templates
Here are a few useful customer service email templates that you can use for refunds.
15. Refund to Customer Email Template
Sadly, some customers are going to return your products.
Don't worry, it's not you. But it's also not them. They aren't upset or frustrated like the customers above. They simply don't enjoy the product or find a good use for it.
For instances like this, it's good to respond to a refund with an email expressing that there are no hard feelings and that you hope to do business with them again in the future.
I've processed your refund, and you should expect to see the amount appear in your bank account in the next couple of business days.
I'm sorry to hear that you didn't love your new product. I completely understand that it isn't for everyone.
If you're still on the search for the right choice for you, let me know. I'd be happy to talk you through some of our other options and see if any of them feel like a good fit. Thank you for your time and for giving us a try.
I hope to connect with you again in the near future.
16. Product Exchange Email Template
Fortunately, not every unhappy customer will ask for a refund. Some may regularly purchase your product, so they know that one poor experience doesn't represent your brand.
However, that also means they know what to expect from your product and will still be upset that it didn't perform up to their standards. They won't be angry enough to churn, but they will expect you to make things right. This is where this letter comes in handy.
Thanks for letting us know about this faulty product. We'll do our best to assess the problem and determine exactly what went wrong with your [product name].
In the meantime, please accept this replacement product that I've personally assessed for performance.
We'd like to offer our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. We hope you continue to enjoy using our product and we are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Please feel welcome to contact our support team at [phone number], or reply to this message and we'd be more than happy to help.
17. Product Discount Email Template
When it comes to refunds, not every company has the same policy. Some may not offer product exchanges or full compensation for specific products or services. Others may require proof of purchase to issue a refund and can only provide store credit without it.
For these cases, your business may offer a small promotion so the customer will have a discount the next time they shop at your store. It's not the refund the customer is looking for, but it's better than leaving them empty-handed.
Thanks for reaching out.
Unfortunately, we can't offer a refund at this time. According to our policy, [policy description + explanation of why the policy is in place].
I've checked with my manager to confirm this policy, and while we can't offer a full refund, we can provide you with a discount of [discount amount] for the next time you shop in our stores.
We sincerely appreciate your understanding in this matter. Please feel welcome to reach out to me with any questions you may have and I would be more than happy to help.
18. Customer Apology Email Template
In some cases, your customer service team won't be able to provide any type of refund or discount. This can lead to an awkward or stressful situation with the customer, especially if they feel like your company is in the wrong.
While you should personalize every apology, this message can be a baseline to work from when you need to take responsibility for your company's work.
Thank you for providing us this feedback.
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused and we appreciate your understanding in the matter. We know that [problem] has prevented you from achieving [customer's goal], and that we have fallen short of your expectations.
I have relayed this feedback to the rest of my team and can assure you that this mistake won't happen in the future. That said, if there's anything else that I can help you with at the moment, please feel welcome to reach out and I would be more than happy to help.
19. Return of Overpayment Email Template
Depending on your business model, customers may have to pay for a product or service upfront and are reimbursed later if they paid more than they needed to. This either requires you to send them a check or wire the money via a direct deposit.
Regardless of how it's transferred, customers will want to know where this money is coming from. While they'll be happy to accept the return, they'll be dubious of its origin if you don't notify them ahead of time. You'll also want to take credit for this refund as it shows your intention to provide an honest transaction.
For these cases, you can use this letter to alert your customers of an overpayment.
Thank you for your recent payment of [payment amount].
Upon review of your transaction, we've determined that the amount you have paid is more than what was required for this product or service. The actual amount that was due was [payment amount], thus leaving you with a credit of [credit amount]. Please find a [check amount or notice of deposit] enclosed in this letter.
We strongly believe in providing an honest experience for our customers and can assure you that we are working constantly to prevent potential fraud. We hope this message resolves any concerns you may have about this transaction and are more than happy to answer any additional questions.
20. Refund Notification Email Template
There are times where customers are eligible for a refund, but just don't know it. While you shouldn't be eager for them to return products, it'd be dishonest not to notify customers when they qualify to do so.
This type of proactive customer service builds trust with your customer base and creates a delightful support experience.
We hope this message finds you well.
We are reaching because you qualify for a refund for your purchase of [product name]. This refund is eligible for [period of time] and can be initiated by calling or messaging our customer service team.
Please feel welcome to reply to this email with any questions you may have and I would be more than happy to help.
21. Refund Status Email Template
To avoid any hiccups in the refund process, it'd be helpful to let your customer know the status of their refund once it's en route to their account.
If you'd prefer to refer to your company in the plural form, simply swap the "I" for "We."
I'm reaching out about the refund you initiated on [date].
Your refund has been deposited into your card ending in [last four digits of card]. You should see the amount credited to your account in about 3 to 5 business days.
If you don't see the refund in your account, respond to this email, and I'll look into it for you. In the meantime, please let me know if I can answer any additional questions — I'd be happy to help!
22. Refund Not Received Email Template
If your customer hasn't received a refund and reached out to you about it, you should act as if you're responding to a customer complaint: with empathy, sincerity, and clear intentions to resolve the problem.
Most of the time, the delay is on the bank's end. In this instance, gently remind the customer that a few more business days may pass before the refund is processed.
I'm so sorry to hear that a refund hasn't been deposited into your card ending in [last four digits of card].
I've contacted our accounting department to look into this issue for you. A refund has been issued, but it may take a few days for your bank to process the funds.
While we work on the delay on our end, I've created a ticket in our system to keep you updated on your refund status. We'll try to resolve the problem as soon as possible.
I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused. In the meantime, feel free to reply to this email with any questions or concerns, and I'd be happy to help.
23. Out-of-Policy Refund Email Template
Sometimes, customers reach out for a refund when they're past the date of eligibility.
You have the option of offering store credit or giving them personalized support for getting the most out of their new product.
Thanks so much for reaching out about order #[number]. I'm so sorry the product hasn't worked out for you.
Because more than [number of days] days have passed since the date of purchase, you're no longer eligible for a refund.
However, I can give you store credit for your purchase. Alternatively, I can set up a meeting with our customer success department so that you can get the most out of your product.
Let me know which option you'd prefer. If you have any questions or concerns, I'd be happy to help.
Create a Strong Customer Experience Using Customer Service Email TemplatesUsing email templates will help you effortlessly master every email conversation and promote strong relationships with your customers. Provide personalized solutions, connect with your customers, and retain their business without needing to write every email from scratch.
The email templates above will help you create a winning customer service strategy — all while saving time and effort for your team.
Customer Retention Don't forget to share this post!
Many businesses find social media overwhelming — there are so many networks available, and they’re always adding new features for you to learn and integrate into your plan.
If you don’t have a full-time team of social media experts at your disposal, your success depends on creating a simple and sensible strategy that fits your resources and goals.
By the end of this guide, you'll know how to develop a social media strategy that'll not only drive traffic but will also quell that overwhelming feeling you get anytime you open Instagram or Twitter.
What is a social media strategy?
Your social media strategy is your master plan for how you create, post, and engage with your social media content.
It encompasses your social content guidelines, posting cadence, social media marketing campaigns, creative plans, and engagement strategy.
Why You Need a Social Media Strategy
The top three challenges that social media marketers face include reaching their audience, measuring ROI, and reaching business goals.
Crafting a social media strategy can help tackle these challenges and more. Social media strategies also equip you to set goals and guardrails, track their performance, and tweak your benchmarks over time. Without a starting point, you can't measure what's working and how to shift your activity to hit your goals.
A social media strategy also helps you set expectations for broader team involvement and get everyone aligned on what they should (and shouldn't) do on your social networks.
How to Create a Social Media Strategy
Let's unpack how to start building a social media strategy from scratch.
1. Define your target audience. If you haven’t already identified and documented your buyer personas, start by defining the key demographics of the audience you’re trying to reach — age, gender, occupation, income, hobbies and interests, etc.
Consider their challenges and what problems they're solving daily. Focus on no more than four types of people that represent the majority of your buyers. Don’t get hung up on the exceptions or outliers, or you’ll never get started!
2. Start blogging
Fresh content is the linchpin of a successful social strategy, so commit to creating new, quality content on a consistent basis. Compile a list of common questions from prospects and commit to addressing these questions with at least one new blog post per week.
3. Create educational content.
Create downloadable content like ebooks, checklists, videos, and infographics that address your buyer’s pains. If your content is truly helpful, people will likely share it on social media and extend your reach.
4. Focus on a few key social channels.
Most startups and small businesses don’t have the bandwidth to establish and sustain a quality social media presence on every single channel. It's also overwhelming to learn the rules of engagement on a bunch of different networks at one time.
So, start small. Research key networks to learn where your target audience is spending time and focus your effort on building, nurturing, and sustaining a community there before moving on to another channel.
5. Develop a recipe card to guide you.Social media isn’t an exact science (and doesn't work the same for every business or industry). To see results for your business, establish a consistent posting and engagement schedule.
Develop a reasonable recipe card — one you can actually stick to and get your team to follow. Set goals for your posting and engagement frequency and hold yourself accountable to following your recipe.
6. Measure your results.
There are countless things to track on your social media channels. Start by looking at how much traffic your social accounts are driving to your website or blog.
Watch your posts to see what people are responding to, and look for trends related to particular topics or keywords that generate more interest than others. Once you get an idea of your average traffic and post performance, set goals for key metrics and keep a scorecard to measure your progress.
Be sure to choose metrics that are easy to gather - if it's too time-consuming to track, you'll fall off the wagon! Examples of simple metrics (to start with) include net new fans and followers, number of interactions, and visits to your website from social.
7. Adjust your tactics.Social media won't start working overnight. It takes time to build a following, establish your brand, and start seeing results. Experiment a bit to find the right combination of channels, content, and messaging that works for your audience.
Over time, you’ll be able to adjust your recipe card, content, and personas based on the information you’re gathering — which will help you fine tune your strategy and generate more consistent results.
Social Media Marketing Strategy
Social media is a multipurpose business asset. It connects you with your audience, and it also promotes your products, services, and brand. Both functions are equally important.
Building a social media strategy for marketing is a bit different than the process we discussed above. How so? For example, your benchmarks and goals may be more specific to metrics you track for other marketing efforts.
When using social media to market your business, ensure the experience on your social networks is a positive, consistent one. All imagery and content on your social media accounts should be consistent with those on your website, blog, and other digital real estate.
Pay close attention to any questions or comments your audience posts, and be quick to address those (as that engagement could make or break a conversion or purchase).
Lastly, align the content you post and how you post it with marketing campaigns you're running on other channels (e.g., email or ads). This brings us to our next section ...
Social Media Content Strategy
Content is the crux of any social media strategy. Without content, you can't engage with your audience, promote your products, or measure performance.
The somewhat fleeting (and brief) nature of social media may lead you to believe that you don't have to plan its content as much as you do for, say, your emails or blogs. That's untrue. Social media content may not be as static as your landing pages or blog content, but it's still equally important for engaging your audience and representing your brand as a whole.
For that reason, you should also have a social media content strategy. This should include:
For more on creating a content strategy for social media, here's a helpful video by HubSpot's Aja Frost.
Social Media Strategy TemplatesSocial media is overwhelming; I get it. Starting your strategy from scratch is even more overwhelming, which is why we developed 10 free social media templates to help.
In the free download, you'll receive:
Time to Get SocialStill feel like social media is overwhelming? That's OK; I'm not sure that feeling every fully fades. You can certainly diminish it, though, by leveraging the tips in this guide and the free templates above. Remember: Tackle one social network at a time, prioritize your audience, and focus the content that works. You'll see results and traffic in no time.
Social Media Strategy Don't forget to share this post!
Want to grow your TikTok reach? Wondering how to boost your organic content?
In this article, you’ll discover how to use the TikTok Promote ad feature to amplify your content and reach more people.
What is TikTok Promote?
After months of testing, TikTok has released its new Promote feature, which allows you to promote your organic videos to reach new audiences. This is exciting news for anyone looking to find their target audience without their organic reach getting penalized or shadowbanned. TikTok may even reward those who hop on the new trend quickly.
Similar to Facebook Boost, TikTok Promote is a tool for advertising to people on the platform. It allows creators, businesses, and influencers of any kind to push posts out to a larger pool of consumers. This feature can help you grow your community on TikTok by connecting with more like-minded audiences in a cost-effective and straightforward way.
For this type of campaign, you can only promote public videos with original sound, or a sound specifically created for commercial purposes. (There are more than 100,000 free-to-use sounds available in the TikTok library.) The Promote feature isn’t available for videos containing copyrighted sounds.
Here’s how to set up a new video campaign to promote an organic video and analyze its performance.
1: Choose a Goal for Your TikTok Promote Video CampaignThe first step in creating a Promote video campaign is setting a specific goal based on your overarching business objectives. You have three options: more views, more website visits, or more followers.
If you’re trying to reach a larger audience on TikTok to get the word out about your business or offering, choose More Views as your goal when setting up your campaign.
This goal will get more people to watch your video, boosting your potential for higher engagement on your post and profile. If consumers like what they see, they’ll be more likely to engage with additional posts, follow you, and maybe even check out your website to learn more.
More Website Visits
Promote offers you an option to guide people straight to your website. If this is your goal, choose More Website Visits for your campaign. When setting up your ad, you’ll enter your website URL and select a call to action (CTA) button. CTA options include Shop Now, Learn More, Contact Us, and Sign Up, among others. This feature works similarly to Instagram’s swipe-up feature.
If your main objective is to grow your TikTok following and community, choose More Followers. Increasing the size of your audience can also help you reach other goals like boosting engagement, as long as you target people truly interested in your business. Having a more significant following will also give you a larger community to market (and eventually sell) to.
If you’re a new business, new to TikTok, or haven’t successfully grown an audience on the platform, growing your following could help you create a solid foundation to build from.
Identify Organic TikTok Videos to Promote
Now that you’ve chosen a goal for your campaign, it’s time to identify the best video to help you reach that goal. You can choose any TikTok video you’ve created as long as it’s an original, public video without copyright issues.
Get Expert Social Media Marketing Training from the Pros. Want to get ahead of the competition or learn how to diversify your strategy?
Learn from dozens of the industry's most trusted experts, rub elbows with other smart marketers, and take your marketing to the next level during this 3-day event in sunny San Diego, CA.
Try to choose a video that has already performed well organically. The video should also authentically show off your brand. Using your most popular content—the video with the most reach and engagement—is a logical way to reach and engage more people. You’ll gain views, traffic, and followers on top of the organic engagement you’ve already earned.
To find your top-performing TikTok videos, start by visiting the analytics section of your account. Simply tap on the hamburger menu in the top-right corner of your TikTok profile. This will take you to your settings.
Next, click on either Business Suite or Creator Tools and then Analytics.
The first screen you’ll see in your TikTok analytics is the Overview tab, where you can view account data ranging from the last 7–28 days.
Note: You can download data if you use the desktop version instead of mobile.
To dig into the analytics for your TikTok videos, click on the Content tab. Here, you can view your posts from the past week and see which ones are trending. Click into a specific video for deeper insights like total play time, total views, average watch time, and audience information.
Identify your most popular TikTok content in terms of views, reach, play time, total watch time, and engagement (likes, shares, and comments). Your top-performing video has the best chance of performing well through promotion.
3: Set Up Your TikTok Promote Video CampaignTo set up your campaign, you can use either the Promote button on a post or go through TikTok Business Suite.
Using the Promote Button. To start setting up your campaign with the Promote button, you have a couple of options.
The first way to access Promote is to go directly to the video you want to use and tap on the three dots near the bottom-right corner of your screen.
Tap the Promote button to begin setting up your campaign, starting on the “What is your goal?” page.
The second way to access Promote is via your settings. Tap on Creator Tools and then Promote. Next, choose the video you wish to promote and select your goal.
If you chose More Website Visits as your goal, you’ll enter the URL of your landing page and a CTA to encourage people to click.
Next, choose the audience you want to target. You can select Automatic for TikTok to choose for you or Custom if you have specific preferences.
Lead the Social Charge Instead of Playing Catch Up
“What now?” everytime a social platform changes or the market shifts?
Get a look at where the social media marketing industry is headed—before it happens—with insightful trends analysis delivered weekly.
Let the Social Strategy Club be your secret competitive advantage.
If you customize your targeting audience, you can select a gender, age range, and interests. When making selections, think about who you want to reach. Are they interested in a product like yours or a form of entertainment that relates to what you sell?
Let’s say, for example, that you sell hiking shoes for people in the U.S. Your audience is comprised of avid travelers, digital nomads, and adventure-seekers. They’re active, most of them have a dog, and they love trying a good beer in a new city (or small mountain town). They also love the simple life and are primarily female, working from home, and in their mid-20s to mid-30s.
You could make the following selections for your target audience:
After you’ve customized your audience, tap Next to set a budget and duration for your campaign (how long you’d like to run your promotion).
If you have an Android device, you’ll need to add payment information before submitting your ad for review. If you’re an iPhone user, you can recharge your account with virtual coins. TikTok Coins are the app’s currency that you can purchase using real money. The value of these coins changes over time, but you’ll see how much they cost when you’re ready to buy.
Finally, tap on Start Promotion. Once TikTok approves your campaign, it’ll begin running.
Using TikTok Business Suite
Using Business Suite to set up your promotion is very similar to using the Promote button. If you have a business account, you can navigate to Settings and Privacy > Business Suite > Promote. Then follow the same process described in the previous section to set up your ad.
4: Analyze the Performance of Promoted TikTok Videos
During and after you run your promoted TikTok video campaign, you can check its performance. To view the analytics of your post, tap on the three dots in the bottom right-hand corner of the post. Then tap on Analytics. You’ll see this screen filled with the data from your video ad:
Here’s a rundown of what each metric means and how it pertains to your ad’s performance.
Analytics for Website Visits
If your goal is to drive traffic to a landing page on your website, you can measure referral traffic through TikTok. The Promote tool allows you to track the number of people who visit your website by clicking on your link.
To view these analytics, go to Settings and Privacy > Creator Tools > Promote. On the Promotions page, tap on See Details.
Insights for Video Views
If your goal is to increase video views, you should primarily focus on monitoring views and reached audience. You can also calculate your post reach percentage to determine what percentage of your audience saw your post.
Here’s the formula:
Post reach percentage = (Reached audience / Total number of followers) x 100
As you run future campaigns with the same goal, you can begin comparing each post’s performance in terms of views and reach.
Follower Growth Rate
To find the analytics for your follower count, go to Settings and Privacy > Business Suite > Analytics. You’ll find analytics for your entire account in this section, including engagement metrics, follower information, and content data.
If your goal is to grow your following, focus on the graph on the Followers tab. It will show you your total number of new followers, the growth rate, and demographic information.
You’ll also gain insight into what countries your followers are from and their activity (which times and days they’re most active on TikTok). Studying these analytics can help you optimize future campaigns and posting times.
Marketers can experience numerous outstanding benefits by investing in TikTok and its new Promote feature. Jumping on the latest trend just might push you ahead of competitors who haven’t yet taken advantage of the opportunity.
TikTok Promote could be an effective way for you to spread brand awareness, gain new fans for your business, and send leads straight to your website.
Don't forget to share this post!
Let's say you're tracking the performance of your pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns. After all that hard work and PPC strategizing you put toward improving your performance grade, how's the traffic looking? Is it a steep climb, or are you unimpressed with the result?
Some of us come off as natural all-star rock climbers, while others are left frigid, timid, and stuck to the crevices of the wall.
What's the secret? As with most things: proper training. And if you don't have any, don't worry -- there's still hope.
Below, you'll learn how to run a PPC campaign on a few of the most common platforms, followed by five tips for how to maximize your campaign's performance.
How to Run a PPC Campaign
1. Choose a platform for your PPC campaign.Your first step in running a new PPC campaign is to decide on which platform to run it. Google Ads are perhaps the most popular PPC campaign among today's marketers, but did you know social networks like Facebook and Twitter also offer pay-per-click advertisements?
Here's how each of these common ad platforms work.
Facebook Ads allow you to place "sponsored" posts on the newsfeeds of users who identify with specific audience characteristics set by you, the advertiser. Using this platform, you can choose your ad's objective -- including brand awareness, website traffic, and store visits -- your target audience, budget, and ad format. Facebook will then place your ad on the newsfeeds of users who match your choices, and charge you every time this ad is clicked.
Twitter Ads work similarly to Facebook Ads. Using Twitter's PPC ad platform, advertisers can choose between eight different advertising objectives -- including app installs, new followers, tweet engagements, and website traffic -- as well as their target audience for the ads they run. Twitter will then "promote" your post on the newsfeeds of users who match your choices, and charge you every time this ad is clicked.
Google Ads allow you to pay for high-ranking real estate on Google's various web properties -- including search engine results pages (SERPs). Your campaign can take the form of a Display Ad, a Search Ad, an App Ad, or a Video Ad -- the latter of which places your video on YouTube.
These PPC campaigns allow you to set your ad budget, customize your audience, and/or commit to groups of search terms on which you want your search result to appear. Google then charges you each time this search result is clicked.
For the purposes of explaining how to run a PPC campaign, we'll focus on Google Ads in the steps below.
2. Choose a type of ad to invest in.Each platform described above will give you options for the type of ad you want to pay for clicks on. On Facebook, for example, you can choose between a single image, a single video, or a slideshow to be your ad's main asset. On Google, your ad options are:
Banner ads can appear anywhere in the Google ecosystem, such as Gmail, YouTube, and similar domains within Google's "Display Network."
This ad type is what you most likely associate with PPC. A method of search engine marketing, Google's Search Ads show your chosen landing page in the form of a hyperlinked search result when users enter specific search terms. You can choose these search terms when setting up your Google Ads campaign.
Ads help to promote an app you've developed for sale on Google Play, the company's app marketplace. Using this ad type, Google automatically synthesizes each ad's artwork using the contents of your app's download page. Google then runs these ads in your chosen languages and locations. App Ads can appear across the Google ecosystem, including Google Search, Google Play, and YouTube.
Google's Video Ads appear across YouTube and certain Google partner platforms. Advertisers can run their video ads before, during, or at the end of various videos that share a similar audience with the advertiser.
3. Determine your ad budget and bidding strategy.
Your PPC campaign budget will dictate how much you're willing to pay for the clicks you get on your ad placements. On Google Ads, you'll set a daily budget, whereas platforms like Twitter and Facebook will have you select the increments you want your payments to be in.
So, for example, if your marketing team is allotted $1,000 for PPC, you'll first want to find out how many campaigns you're running. Let's say that number is eight, which would theoretically make each campaign worth $125. Having determined how much of that budget is available to each campaign, you'll then divide this number by the number of days you want this campaign to run. If you want it to run for 14 days, your daily budget would be roughly $8.93/day.
However, there is another element of budget-setting in the world of PPC: Not all topics and audiences are equal in value. This means certain interests, audience segments, and especially search terms will cost different amounts per click.
Most PPC platforms have "auction" systems that help you decide how much your audience criteria will cost you. In turn, you have several bidding strategies available to you to help you make the most cost-effective purchases for your campaign. On Google Ads, these bidding strategies include:
4. Customize your target audience, interests, location, and search terms.In any PPC platform you choose, you have ability to choose who you want your ads to reach. The "who," in the context of Google Ads, includes your audience's location, interests, apps they use, and of course the searches they perform. You can also create custom audiences each with their own "custom affinities" and "custom intents" to help you further tailor your PPC campaign to the right people.
Once you've established your target audience, you'll top it all off with specific search terms, whose SERPs you want your ads to appear on (this is assuming you're creating Google Search Ads). Be careful how many keywords you choose for each ad. Contrary to what Google Ads might suggest, the more keywords you choose to place an ad on, the higher the chance you'll wind up in front of the wrong audience.
Start with just one or two keywords that are high in search volume and match the intent of your target visitor (we'll talk more about intent in step 6, below).
5. Organize your campaign into "ad groups."Assuming you're creating Google Search Ads, you'll take the keywords you selected in step 4, above, and put them into "ad groups." If you're creating PPC ads on Twitter, you'll use a similar campaign framework.
In each ad group, you can further customize the search terms associated with that ad to be sure your ads are appearing in front of the people who are most interested in your content. For example, instead of simply selecting two keywords that both sound alike and have high monthly search volume, you can parse the specific words within your search terms and set your ad to appear in any search engine query that contains those words. Here's an example of both scenarios:
A Bad Ad Group
If your PPC ad is promoting the sale of ice skates, you might start with the search term "ice skates." Then you discover the search term, "ice skating," and decide to add it to your PPC ad. The second search term, "ice skating," weakens the ad group. Why?
While "ice skates" appeals to those who are looking for ice skates to buy, "ice skating" stretches your audience to include those who might be looking for ice skates, ice rinks in their area, or even instructions on how to start ice skating -- searches that don't apply to your target audience and therefore limit the chances you'll find interested customers among the people who click on your ad.
A Good Ad Group
If your PPC ad is promoting the sale of ice skates, you might start with this search term and decide to branch out into other search terms that include this term, but carry different or additional wording.
For example, using Google Ads features like Modified Broad Match, you can also pick up searches like "skates for ice rinks." Using Phrase Match, you can pick up searches like "ice skates for hockey." This way, you can diversify your ad with more search terms without sacrificing the interests of your audience.
6. Identify and design landing pages that match the intent of each search term.It's not a good idea to make the destination of your PPC ad your website's homepage. This only serves to confuse your visitors and, ultimately, scare them off. Whether you choose from an existing webpage on your domain, or design a new one, make sure you're sending your visitors to a destination that helps them find what they're looking for. This is known as "intent match," and search engines like Google take it very seriously.
Let's go back to our "ice skates" example from step 5, above. If someone searches for "ice skates," clicks on your ad, and they're taken to a page on your website offering ice skating lessons, you haven't matched the intent of their search -- even if this page is set up to convert visitors using a signup form for paid skating lessons. These people are looking to purchase ice skates, not lessons. Therefore, a better destination page for this ad would be a product browsing page with all of your available ice skates listed and optimized for purchasing.
7. Track your PPC campaign's performance in context of your larger marketing initiatives.The platform on which you're running your PPC campaign will have an analytics dashboard where you can track how your ads are performing. Take full advantage of it -- here, you get to see the fruits of your labor. This includes the traffic you're receiving to your ad's landing page, how much you're spending, and even how well this traffic is converting into leads or revenue.
With this data, you can find out if you're getting the bang for your buck. But don't be afraid to consider a more holistic view of your PPC ads' performance, as well. By integrating your Google, Twitter, Facebook, or even LinkedIn ad campaigns into your company's marketing software, you can associate these PPC campaigns with the rest of your marketing initiatives -- helping you determine how the business is performing as a result of your paid efforts.
1. Include "negative keywords" in your PPC campaign.Just as there are keywords and search terms that dictate where each PPC ad you run will appear, there are keywords that you can specifically omit from your campaign. These are called "negative keywords," and they prompt your ad platform to avoid placing ads on results pages that are produced when a user enters these search terms.
In the example group of search terms, above, an advertiser on Google Ads has elected to place their ad on the SERPs of the search terms, "blue tennis shoes" and "running gear" -- but not "blue running shoes," "shoes running," and "running shoes." This allows the advertiser to avoid audiences who are searching for these products, since they're looking for something similar but that the advertiser doesn't actually sell.
Learn more about how to select negative keywords here.
2. Use the "Iceberg Effect" to gain more control over your PPC campaign.The search terms that you end up paying for and the keywords that you're actually targeting don't always line up the way you want.
Too often we see the "Iceberg Effect" in action, where miscellaneous search terms below the surface are tacked onto keywords that we think are working properly in our ad campaigns. It gives us an unhealthy search-to-keyword ratio that might look something like this:
Not being in control of all those search terms? Not ideal. With a search term to keyword discrepancy ratio of 132:1, it can be challenging to continually improve your clickthrough rates and lower your cost-per-click averages.
How do you gain control of this icy situation? We use something called Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) to shoot for a 1:1 ratio of search terms to keywords, allowing for more control over the entire ad group.
Here's what a non-SKAGs search term report might look like:
It's not that any of these search terms are bad, it's that each search term has a different conversion and sales rate. And by keeping them as search terms and not turning them into keywords, you will never be able to control them to take your PPC campaigns to the next level.
So what does a search term report look like if we use this granular PPC tactic and use SKAGs?
Everything in the search term column matches the keyword column. With the SKAGs tactic, you can get super granular and isolate one variable at a time, which means you have more control over your entire PPC account.
And with the ability to lower your search term to keyword ratio to 1:1, you can take it one step further and do the same from keyword to ad. When this happens, you're able to increase your clickthrough rate, which in turn:
3. Keep tabs on conversions vs. sales.
With your PPC tactics now upgraded, your PPC campaigns should be driving up conversion volumes and making you more money. But do you know which keywords, audiences, or placements are actually making you money?
If you don't track the components of your campaign and attribute them to your sales, you might be missing out on where to focus your efforts. By implementing Google's ValueTrack parameters you can automatically track data within URLs when your visitors convert.
When you tie your hidden field sales tracking back to your CRM, you can find out specific details about which leads are making you the revenue (doesn't apply to ecommerce). Hidden form fields can reveal to you things that happen during a conversion, like which landing page URL your conversion came from, where the visitor is located, or what keyword they typed in.
You can also do this with manual UTM parameters. Here's an example of how on the surface, you would think Keyword #1 is converting better:
Keyword #1 has a lower cost-per-conversion.
Here's an example of what hidden field sales tracking can reveal to you on a deeper level:
Now Keyword #2 looks better, right?
Although Keyword #1 has a lower cost-per-conversion, Keyword #2 has a much higher sales rate, which is making you more money. See the benefits of tracking the sale vs. the conversion?
Knowing these types of details can help you understand where you should be crediting your sales success, so you can be more aggressive in bidding on those keywords, audiences, or placements. With this PPC tactic, you can ease up your budget on the areas that aren't contributing to sales, and allocate to the areas that are.
4. Gauge your visitors' intent on the CTA temperature scale.Not all PPC visitors come through to your landing pages with the same conversion intent.
Typically, those that come through from display tend to be colder, while visitors that come in from search tend to be warmer. Here's a visual we've learned works well across the multitude of client verticals we service:
There's a temperature scale that varies depending on visitor origin. Knowing where your visitors come from can help you immensely when it comes to matching your call-to-action with their temperature in the conversion funnel. We recommend testing out various CTAs to match the intent temperature of your visitors -- after all, a small CTA tweak could've made all the difference.
Here are some ideas to make your offer more relevant to your visitors:
In short: the warmer your visitor's intent the warmer the CTA can be. Traffic that comes in from the display network will likely respond to colder CTAs, since those visitors are in the awareness stage.
5. Use micro PPC conversions to break down the larger conversion into smaller pieces.As you know, the more granular and detail-oriented you can get with you PPC campaigns, the more control you can have over the success of them.
When it comes to conversions, you can break down your larger macro conversion into micro conversions to figure out where your issues are.
An effective way to figure out which part of your PPC campaign is causing the conversion bottleneck is to analyze the micro conversions. Let's say that you're running some new Facebook campaigns but for some reason, no one is converting. If you knew, however, that visitors spend an average of four seconds on your site/landing page, then you know that your Facebook ad targeting may be off. Instead of thinking it's the ad or landing page that needs some tweaking, it could be your targeting instead.
Here are some common types of micro conversions we use to analyze the path towards a conversion:
What can each of these common micro conversions tell you about your landing page? Let's break it down:
By isolating micro conversions you can zero in on where exactly the conversion friction is located, which can help you alleviate the issues quickly and reach your larger conversion goal.
Whether it's addressing the Iceberg Effect, tracking your sales vs. conversions, testing CTA temperatures, or analyzing your micro PPC conversions, each of these PPC tactics can have a significantly positive impact on the performance of your campaigns.
And the best part, there's a good chance your competitors don't even know about them.
Now it's your turn to up your PPC performance game. With these useful PPC tactics, you'll be climbing your performance incline to the top with utmost ease.
PPC Don't forget to share this post!
Social media management is a core part of digital marketing. Leveraging social media allows brands to engage with audiences, create and publish relevant content, and access a whole world of potential new customers.
With the right tools and knowledge, you can unlock the audiences—and huge marketing potential—of each social media platform.
What is social media management?
Social media management is the process of creating, publishing, and analyzing organic (unpaid) and paid content on social media profiles to support business objectives.
Business objectives can include earning sales, growing an audience, or increasing customer engagement.
Managing social media includes engaging with audiences and influencers on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. It can also include tracking your social media performance against competitors.
While some companies were initially slow to include social media in their marketing strategies, the ability to reach enormous audiences on networks like Facebook (which has over 2.32 billion active monthly users) makes it impossible to ignore the platforms’ commercial potential.
Businesses now use social media to manage and nurture relationships with customers by responding to reviews, and informing and entertaining their audience with tailor-made content.
Why is social media management important? In the United States alone, as many as 295 million people use social media; that’s around three-quarters of the total population.
Companies that effectively leverage social networks in their marketing plans can be rewarded with a growing audience and strong customer engagement. One of the most effective ways to manage social media is to run a mixture of paid and organic marketing campaigns.
Paid social media (think ads) is a great way to get your brand message in front of new audiences. The algorithms deployed by social networks can make it difficult to reach new profiles with unpaid content. Paid ads can also be used to amplify your organic content such as videos or blog posts, or promote an offer that is converting well for you on other marketing channels.
Organic social media campaigns may not be as potent as paid social for reaching new customers, but it’s an excellent method for maintaining strong customer relationships and nurturing your audience. Organic social can be especially effective when content is published regularly.
Studies suggest that, in many cases, posting once or twice per day is optimal for an organic social posting cadence, depending on the platform.
If your content is high quality and published regularly, your audience is likely to stay engaged and rely on your content as a source of updates, information, and entertainment.
Content can also help build trust and position your brand as an authority.
A busy social media schedule with multiple profiles on multiple platforms invites complexity. It’s important to work efficiently across a variety of social tasks, and accurately measure the ROI of your social media campaigns to ensure your budget is not going to waste.
As managing social media for business can be a time-intensive process, many companies choose to automate their tasks with social media tools.
Social media tools can be an affordable and effective way to manage your profiles. Tools facilitate more efficient workflows by automating or reducing time-consuming tasks, like scheduling your content. They can also provide valuable insights that help you execute better campaigns, analyze ROI, track audience engagement, or check on your competitors’ social media performance.
What social media management tools are available?
There are a wealth of social media management tools available for social media scheduling, tracking, and more. However, you’ll benefit by working with a toolkit that tackles each part of your workflow.
There are many social media tools that can help you manage your social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, Google My Business, and LinkedIn.
You can plan, deploy, and measure the performance of your entire social media strategy, all in one place. The toolkit is designed to manage multiple profiles for multiple businesses with an easy-to-read dashboard.
Tool 1: Social Media Ads
If you’re looking to market to new audiences and break through the barriers presented by social media algorithms, then a great way to start is with some ads. The Social Media Ads tool helps you build and launch ad campaigns for Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook Audience Network.
The intuitive interface makes creating a new campaign easy. Select your objective (reach, traffic, or conversions), set your budget, schedule, bidding strategy, then choose your placements, and you’re ready to launch your campaign.
The Quick UTM option makes accurately tracking your campaigns a breeze. Simply generate UTM codes with the name, source, medium, content, and term parameters of your ads with the click of a button.
With Performance Report, you can check 46 different metrics for your published ad campaigns. Review each of your ad’s strengths and weaknesses to quickly discover optimization opportunities. Scale your good ads or fix those that need a bit of extra tweaking.
Create & Manage Ad Campaigns with the Social Media Ad Manager
Tool 2: Social Media Poster
Social Media Poster benefits content creators and others managing a busy content schedule. Draft and schedule content or post directly to Facebook (business pages), LinkedIn, Instagram, Google My Business, Pinterest, and Twitter from the tool:
The friendly calendar interface provides a clear view of your content schedule and easily creates an automated queue.
You can find out the most effective times to post, or set up RSS feeds to get a stream of inspiration and ideas for your own content.
Scheduling large batches of content is also easy. You can bulk upload your existing content calendar from a CSV. To save time, edit images, or add UTM codes to any hyperlinks in your posts directly in the editor without having to switch in and out of the interface.
Tool 3: Social Media Tracker
The Social Media Tracker lets you dive into your competitors’ performance metrics so you can quickly see where you’re winning, and where opportunities for improvement lie in your social strategy.
Compare your engagement and growth rates to those of your competitors on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram Business, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, then quickly generate PDF reports to share with clients or managers.
Social Media Tracker also lets you see which hashtags your competitors are using in their campaigns. Use the Twitter Mentioners report to monitor customer interactions and see how often your brand is being mentioned versus your competitors.
With this report, not only can you see which brands and topics are hot, but you can also be ready to react quickly when you need to manage potentially difficult situations, such as concerns or complaints.
Track Your Competitors’ Social Media with the Social Media Tracker
Social Media Monitoring
Social media monitoring is the process of listening to what your existing and potential customers are saying about your brand and your competitors online.
When you understand your audience, it allows you to create and publish content that’s strongly aligned to their needs and desires—and this content is likely to perform well.
With our social media toolkit, taking a comprehensive approach to social media becomes easier.
Manage profiles across multiple platforms, keep your audience engaged with a regular schedule of relevant content, and compare your competitors’ performance to ensure that you’re not falling behind—or missing an opportunity to outdo them.
Don't forget to share this post!
If your ecommerce business isn't offering your customers multiple ways to make payments online, you're leaving money on the table.
While there's no way to escape some transaction fees and currency fees, there are ways to reduce payment processing costs and receive payments online for free.
In this post, we'll talk about the software options available today for accepting free online payments as well as details about how to actually go about accepting those payments.
But first, let's review some additional reasons you'd want to use a payment processing software.
Why should you use payment processing software? Here's a look at some of the advantages payment processing software will bring to your business.
Convenience is one of the main factors that influence conversion rate. The more steps a customer has to take to make a payment, the more likely they are to abandon their purchase and go elsewhere.
Payment processors can transfer most payments between shoppers and sellers instantly. On the other hand, transfers to and from bank accounts can sometimes take 24 hours or more.
Many payment processors are brands that are globally recognized. If a customer already uses payment software, they're more likely to trust your payment system.
Payment processing companies add an extra layer of protection to online transactions. You can set limits, flags for activity on your account, and sometimes even a time frame to recall payments.
With payment processors, you'll have access to your account online and can manage your contacts, recurring payments, and other account activity via desktop or mobile.
Top Online Payment Processing Providers
Once you've developed a strategy for accepting payments online, you'll need to decide which payment processing provider to use. Here are seven of the most popular options:
Price: 3.49% plus $0.49 per transaction (as of August, 2021).
PayPal is one of the most trusted and widely recognized payment processing companies. It's free to join and they provide all the tools you'll need to integrate PayPal payments into your website and set up a secure payment gateway for visitors. Additionally, comprehensive coverage makes the platform a good choice for international companies.
Price: 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.
Stripe offers a wide range of options for online businesses such as customizable checkouts as well as subscription management and recurring payment features. Stripe supports all major credit cards, mobile paying apps, wallets, and more.
Price: 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.
Square entered the payment processing space by introducing a dongle that sellers could insert into a mobile phone to accept credit card transactions.
They've since expanded their software to cover all the major payment processing options and have included some useful tools for online businesses as well as high-street stores.
You can even create a basic website for free and integrate all of their point-of-sale (POS) solutions at the same time. They also have paid options for a custom website.
4. Google Pay
Price: Google Pay doesn't charge any fees — merchants only pay transaction fees as usual with credit/ debit sales.
Google Pay has a payment tool for businesses, websites, and apps. Google Pay's APIs work to create a delightful checkout and payment experience for your customers.
If you use Google Pay on your website, you'll gain secure and easy access to hundreds of millions of cards saved to Google Accounts worldwide so customers can pay for your products safely and at the touch of a button.
5. Apple Pay
Price: Apple Pay doesn't charge any fees — merchants only pay transaction fees as usual with credit/ debit sales.
Apple Pay can be used on websites, in stores, by app, and via Business Chat or iMessage. It allows Apple users to quickly and safely input contact, payment, and shipping information during checkout.
Rather than having your ecommerce customers look around for their credit cards, Apple Pay allows them to checkout at the click of a button within apps and websites. On a website, an Apple users will simply click "Apple Pay" as their payment option, confirm the payment with one tap (via their iPhone, Apple Watch, etc.), and they're good to go.
6. Venmo For Business
Price: 1.9% plus $0.10 of the payment.
Venmo For Business is a mobile payment software and app owned by PayPal. You can choose to allow users to pay via your mobile app or your website.
You can set up a business profile on Venmo so users can quickly find your profile on the app. And if you add Venmo to your website, it'll appear as a payment option right next to where it'll give customers the option to pay with PayPal.
Once a customer selects the Venmo option at checkout, they'll be directed to their Venmo app to complete the transaction. The Venmo payment option can be added to any of the pages of your ecommerce site that would also show the option to pay with PayPal, including your product pages, shopping cart page, and checkout page.
Price: 2.38% plus $0.25.
Helcim is an online payment solution for ecommerce businesses — you can choose to start an online store from scratch or add a payment solution to your current website.
The easy-to-use and secure online payment system integrates on your website, shopping cart, billing system, and/or app, thanks to Helcim's API. In addition to in-app and via website, Helcim works over the phone, in person, and by invoice, and it integrates with your accounting tools to save you time when it comes to bookkeeping.
Next, let's cover the steps involved in receiving payments online for free.
How to Accept Payments Online for Free
1. Create a secure online payment gateway.
There are a couple of ways you can approach creating a secure online payment gateway. You can hire an outside developer or use your website development team to create a bespoke gateway. Or, you can use third-party software.
Setting up a secure gateway is essential. You're also putting automated processes in place, which will save time on manual processing, especially as you scale your business and handle more transactions.
The more payment methods you make available within your payment portal, the wider the audience, and the easier it'll be for your customers to send you money.
2. Facilitate credit and debit card payments.
Although it may change as mobile payments become more prevalent, using debit/ credit cards is still the most popular way people pay for products and services online. You can easily facilitate accepting card payments through established payment providers such as PayPal or Stripe. These will accept the most-used credit cards worldwide -- Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
3. Set up recurring billing.
If you offer subscription plans or ongoing monthly services, the most efficient and reliable way to invoice and receive payments is via recurring billing. Most of the major payment processing software also includes recurring billing features. For example, Growth Marketing Pro built an SEO tool that charges subscribers on a monthly basis and they used Stripe to set this up.
Sites like Paysimple also offer a suite of tools to set up custom, automated recurring billing if you already have a payment processing system in place.
Using automation is essential. It removes most human error and the stress of keeping track of invoicing and payments.
Your customers can commit to recurring payments with just a few clicks, and you won't have to worry about manually managing your customer base.
4. Accept mobile payments.
These days, people are often more likely to have their phones on hand than debit cards — plus, mobile payment apps are more convenient than ever.
For instance, Apple Pay has quickly become one of the most popular mobile payment systems in the United States. With an estimated 43.9 million users, you'd miss out if you didn't accept Apple Pay.
Google Pay, Venmo, and PayPal also have mobile apps with a decent market share.
5. Accept cryptocurrency payments.
If you're okay with handling cryptocurrencies, it's a way you can extend your reach to a broader online audience. Sites like Bitpay provide all the tools you need to accept crypto payments online, send invoices, request payments, and receive money on the go-through apps.
Because they're a decentralized exchange, cryptocurrencies offer some unique benefits for businesses. You can accept payments from anywhere in the world without incurring currency exchange fees or bank handling fees. There's also a reduced risk of fraud.
6. Use email invoicing.
Email invoicing is a proactive way to request payments. You can share a payment form through email or add a link redirecting the recipient to a payment portal. However, there are a couple of issues with this method: Email isn't the most reliable form of communication, and customers can have trust issues making payments via email.
Expect a failure rate, but it's a vital part of payment processing for a lot of businesses.
7. Accept electronic checks (eChecks).
To accept eChecks for payment, you need a form where the user can input their information, which you can see using payment processing software. It's basically a way to pay by check online. It's a quicker and more reliable way than sending a paper check through the post, so offering this to your customers will make the process run smoother.
Start Accepting Payments Online For Free
No matter which payment processing software you choose, the most important part is making it easy for the customer to pay. And the more ways they can pay, the more likely your customers will follow through on a purchase.
Ecommerce Sales Don't forget to share this post!
Marketers, can we be honest with each other for a second? On a scale of 1-10, how much do you really understand the world of paid advertising?
Although 45% of small businesses do some form of online advertising, pay-per-click is still a concept that eludes many of us.
As a marketer, PPC is a skill that you should have in your tool belt — or at least have a basic understanding of.
This guide will help you grasp pay-per-click marketing in its entirety. To start, we’ll begin with the benefits of paid advertising and then get into some key definitions that you’ll need to know.
What is PPC?
Pay-per-click, or PPC, is a form of advertising that allows you to pay a fee to have your website on the search engine result page (SERP) when someone types in specific keywords or phrases to the search engine. The SERP will display the ads you create to direct visitors to your site, and the fee you pay is based on whether people click your ad.
When done right, PPC can earn you quality leads. If you can create a seamless user journey (which you’ll learn how to do later in this piece), it could mean a massive ROI for your PPC efforts.
Pay-per-click advertising is most common in search engine results pages, like Google or Bing, but is also used on social channels (although CPM is more common).
If you’re wondering where you can find pay-per-click ads, they’re the results you see before and to the right of the organic search results. For instance, check out the ad that came up in my search for "cards.”
PPC Terms and Definitions
What’s a marketing channel without a few acronyms and a little jargon? If you’re going to enter the paid advertising space, there are a few terms you should know. Below, we review the main elements of a PPC campaign, ranging from broad to the more specific.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
The objective of all forms of digital advertising is to rank for a target keyword, which you can do in several ways. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to any digital marketing (paid or unpaid) done on a search engine, like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
SEM is an umbrella term that encompasses both paid advertising and search engine optimization, that is, ranking organically for keywords. It’s important to note that not all PPC occurs on search engines — social media has PPC ads, too (think: Facebook Ads).
CPCCost-per-click (CPC) is the amount that an advertiser pays for each click on your ad. CPC acts as your bid in an auction that determines where your ad will be placed. As you can imagine, a higher bid equates to better ad placement.
You set your CPC at the maximum price you are willing to pay per click on your ad. What you actually pay is determined by the following formula:
This value determines the position of an ad on a search engine results page. It’s equal to Maximum Bid and Quality Score. Quality ScoreThis is the score that search engines give to your ad based on your clickthrough rate (CTR) — measured against the average CTR of ads in that position — the relevance of your keywords, the quality of your landing page, and your past performance on the SERP.
Maximum Bid. This is the maximum you're willing to pay per click on your ad. You can set your CPC to manual, where you determine the maximum bid for your ads, or enhanced, which allows the search engines to adjust your bid based on your goals. One of these enhanced options involves bid strategies that automatically adjust your bids based on either clicks or conversions.
CPM (Cost per Mille)CPM, also known as cost per thousand, is the cost per one thousand impressions. It’s most commonly used for paid social and display ads. There are other types of cost-pers… like cost-per-engagement, cost-per-acquisition (CPA), but for the sake of preserving your mental space, we’re going to stick with clicks, a.k.a. CPC.
CampaignThe first step in setting up your PPC ads is determining your ad campaign. You can think of your campaign as the key message or theme you want to get across with your advertisements.
Ad GroupOne size doesn’t fit all. That’s why you’ll create a series of ads within your campaign based on a set of highly related keywords. You can set a CPC for each ad group that you create.
KeywordsEach ad within your ad group will target a set of relevant keywords or key terms. These keywords tell search engines which terms or search queries you want your ad to be displayed alongside in SERPs. Once you determine which keywords perform best, you can set a micro CPC specifically for keywords within your ads.
Ad TextYour keywords should inform your ad text. Remember, your Quality Score is determined by how relevant your ad is; therefore, the text in your ad (and landing page, for that matter) should match the keyword terms you’re targeting.
landing page is a critical piece of your paid advertising strategy. The landing page is where users will end up once they click your PPC ad. Whether it’s a dedicated webpage, your homepage, or somewhere else, make sure to follow landing page best practices to maximize conversions.
Best PPC PlatformsNow that you understand the PPC basics, I’m guessing your next question is: Where should I advertise? There are dozens of online spaces where you can spend your coveted ad money, and the best way to vet them is by taking a close look at your potential ROI on each platform.
The most popular advertising platforms are effective because they’re easy to use and, most importantly, highly trafficked. But for a smaller budget, you might consider a lesser-known alternative to these key players.
When choosing a platform, some other things to consider are the availability of keyword terms, where your target audience spends their time, and your advertising budget.
Here a non-exhaustive list of some of the top PPC platforms. Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords)
How many times a day do you hear the phrase “Let me Google that?” Probably more than you can count … hence why Google Ads is the king of paid advertising.
On average, Google processes over 90,000 search queries every second, giving you plenty of opportunities to target keywords that will get your intended audience to click. The downside is that keywords are highly competitive on this platform, meaning a larger ad spend.
The perks of using Bing Ads over Google Ads is a slightly lower CPC at the expense of a larger audience, of course.
Facebook AdsFacebook Ads blend in with other posts on the platform.
Facebook Ads is a popular and effective platform for paid ads (more commonly used as CPM than CPC), mainly due to its specific targeting options. Facebook allows you to target users based on interests, demographics, location, and behaviors.
Also, Facebook allows for native ads, which means ads are introduced and blend into the social feed. Not to mention, you can use Facebook Ads to advertise on Instagram as well.
AdRoll is a retargeting platform that advertises to people who have already visited your website. For instance, say someone read your article on cheese making. You can retarget them on other sites they visit with display ads that advertise your online cooking classes.
While retargeting is possible with Google Ads, the benefit of using AdRoll is that it can display ads on Google and social media sites, which gives you more opportunities to capture clicks or impressions, depending on your goal.
RevContent focuses specifically on promoting content through PPC. It has the same impact as a guest post, where your content is displayed on an external site, except it’s in the form of an ad. You still bid on keywords, and your advertisement is displayed next to content relevant to those keywords. With this platform, you’ll reap the benefits of a low CPC and highly engaged traffic.
How does PPC work?
Pay-per-click, PPC, is a paid advertising model that falls under search engine marketing (SEM). With PPC, the advertiser only pays when people interact with their ad through impressions or clicks. With that explanation out of the way, now let's look at some benefits of PPC ads.
Benefits of PPC
1. PPC ads are cost-effective.With PPC ad campaigns, you have complete control over how much you’re willing to spend. Since you only pay when visitors click the link leading to your website or landing page — with a high chance of conversion — you’ll be getting your money’s worth.
2. PPC ads produce fast results.Although organic ranking is great, it sometimes takes months or even years to get on the first page on SERPs. If you’re a startup or small business, you likely don’t have the time to wait for the effect of organic, social, or direct traffic to kick in. That’s where PPC ads come in. With optimized PPC ads, you can shoot yourself to the top of the SERP within hours of launching your campaign.
3. You can easily control and test PPC ads.It’s easy to control the keywords you’re targeting, ad placement, or budget with PPC ads. You can also run A/B split tests with different ads to identify the one that produces the highest return on investment. You can then scale the ads that do well until it no longer produces desirable results.
4. PPC ads allow you to target your ideal customers.With PPC ads, you can skip right past cold audiences to target a warm audience that’s ready to buy your products and services. You can bid on keywords that solution-aware personas would search for online. Aside from keywords, PPC ads also offer targeting options like past online activity or demographics.
Another excellent use of PPC ads is to create retargeting campaigns targeting visitors who didn’t purchase after landing on your site.
5. Algorithm changes have little effect on PPC ads.Between the numerous Google algorithm changes and the 200 ranking factors, trying to get free traffic from search engines is a bit unstable compared to PPC advertising.
With PPC ads, you don’t have to worry about algorithm changes but instead focus on how well your campaigns perform.
6. PPC ads help you rank even with low domain ratings.Keywords have become increasingly competitive. This makes it more difficult for a business with a low domain authority to get into the top rankings on a search engine or in front of its target audience on a social platform.
With PPC advertising, you can quickly rank for keywords your audience is searching, irrespective of your domain ratings.
7. Data from PPC ads can improve your SEO strategy.You shouldn’t ditch all your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts altogether — your paid advertising should complement your SEO strategy instead of replacing it.
When people search for your keywords, you know their search intent and can display the most relevant ad to your audience. This means more clicks and a greater chance of conversion.
SEO vs. PPC
SEO refers to the process of optimizing your website to rank high and gain free traffic from search engines. On the other hand, you’ll have to pay for clicks with PPC. Although different, businesses see the best results when they align SEO and PPC in their marketing.
PPC vs. CPC
PPC and CPC are not technically the same thing. PPC refers to a style of marketing that includes paying for advertisements. CPC, or cost-per-click, refers to the amount of money you spend on a single click on your ad.
How to Build a PPC Campaign
Now that you understand the benefits of PPC and have your key terms, let’s dive into crafting a quality PPC campaign using Google AdWords or some other platform.
You don’t need to tackle these items step-by-step, but you will need to work through each of them to ensure that you create an effective marketing campaign.
I know I said that you don’t need to do these things in order, but you should do this step first. Without parameters, you risk your ad being untargeted and ineffective.
You want to put your ad campaigns into the context of your ultimate business goals. Consider how your paid campaigns will contribute to those goals. Then, think about what you want to accomplish with your ads — whether that be visits, sales, brand awareness, or something else — and how much you’re willing to spend to achieve that goal.
Your ads should encompass a few things:
Create Goals and Goal MetricsYour campaign goals will give you something to show for your ad spend as long as you determine how you will measure those goals. Your goal metrics should not be confused with your campaign metrics, which we’ll discuss below.
Let’s touch on some common PPC goals and how to measure them.
Brand awareness is how familiar your target audience is with your company. It might be a good idea to look into display ads for this goal so you can supplement your copy with engaging imagery. You can measure brand awareness through social engagement, surveys, and direct traffic.
Lead generation is the direct result of having a relevant and engaging landing page to follow your paid ad. Since you will create a separate landing page for each ad group, you should be able to easily track lead conversions either in the Google Ads interface via a tracking pixel, or through UTM parameters.
Offer promotion is great if you’re running a limited-time offer, product or service discount, or contest. You should create a dedicated sign-up page or a unique discount code so you know which users came from your ad.
Site traffic is a great goal if you have high-quality content throughout your website. If you’re going to spend money getting people to visit your site, you want to have some level of confidence that you can keep them there and eventually convert them into leads.
Choose Your Campaign Type
You don’t only need to know where you’ll advertise but also how. There are many different types of paid advertising campaigns, and the one you choose depends on where you can reach your audience. That isn’t to say that you can’t advertise through various means; you can also try a combination of campaign types as long as you’re consistently testing and revising.
Search Ads are the most common type of PPC and refer to the text ads that show up on search engine results pages.
Display Ads allow you to place ads (usually image-based) on external websites, including social. There are several ways to buy display ads, including Google Display Network (GDN) and other ad networks.
Social refers to any ads that you see on social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. You can pay to show up in your target audience’s social feed or somewhere else within their profile, depending on the platform.
Remarketing can use either cookies or a list of contacts that you upload to target people who have previously engaged with your company through some action. That action could be filling out a form, reading a blog, or simply visiting a page on your website.
Google Shopping is most effective for ecommerce sites. Your ad — including image, price, and a short product description — will show on a carousel on a search page based on your target keywords.
Perform Keyword ResearchEach ad group you create needs to be assigned a set of keywords to target — that’s how search engines know when and where to display your ad. The general rule of thumb is to select between one to five keywords per ad group, and those keywords should be extremely relevant — your Quality Score depends on it.
Select keywords that are closely aligned with the specific theme of your ad group. If you find keywords you want to target that fall outside of one theme, you should create a separate ad group for them.
It’s important to note that you’re not stuck with the keywords you start with. In fact, you should closely monitor your keyword list throughout your campaign — eliminating those that don’t bring in the types of visitors that you’re looking for and increasing your bids on those that do. Do your best to select the most relevant keywords, but don’t feel pressured to get it 100% right the first time around.
Set Up Google Analytics and Tracking
Google Analytics is free to use, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t install it on your website. The tool provides insights into how your website is performing, how users interact with your pages, and what content is attractive to visitors. The information gathered from Google Analytics can be used for PPC and beyond.
Best Practices for a Quality PPC StrategyYou didn’t think we’d let you spend your hard-earned money on advertisements without providing some best practices to follow, did you? Of course not. We want to make sure you succeed with your next PPC campaign. So, let’s get into some PPC strategies that will help you maximize your efforts and your budget.
As a note, we’re going to dive specifically into paid search ads (those little guys you see in search engines) here.
PPC Ad Copy
Bidding on targeted keywords will get your ad in front of the right people; good ad copy will get those people to click on your ad. Like your keywords, your ad needs to solve for the intent of the searcher — you need to give the searcher exactly what they’re looking for and make sure that is clear through the words you use.
Search ads are comprised of a headline, a URL, and a short description, and each of these has limited character requirements to follow. To make the most of this space, make sure your ad copy does the following:
Landing Page Best Practices
Arguably the most important element of PPC (after your ad copy) is the page that you send leads to after they click on your ad. This page needs to be highly targeted, relevant to your ad, deliver what was promised, and present a seamless experience.
Why? Because the point of your landing page is to convert your new visitor into a lead or customer. Not only that, but a high-converting landing page will improve your Quality Score, leading to better ad placements. There’s nothing that will diminish PPC profits like a poorly crafted landing page.
What should a PPC landing page include to increase conversions? Glad you asked.
A/B Testing Your PPC Ads
As a marketer, you’ll rarely throw something out to your audience that works without testing it. PPC campaigns are no different. A/B testing is as critical to your paid ad campaign as is every other element. The goal of testing your ad is to increase both your clickthrough rate and your conversion rate.
The good news is that ads comprise just four parts that you’ll need to test: headline, description, landing page, and target keywords. Minor tweaks to just one of these elements can significantly alter your results, so you want to make changes one at a time so you can keep track of where improvements come from.
Since there are many variations that you could test one at a time, it’s a good idea to list out all the potential tests you can run and prioritize them by most significant impact. Finally, you should allow your ads to run long enough to gather the data you need and test them early enough, so you don’t waste budget on a poor-performing ad.
Maximizing Your ROI
At a high level, maximizing ROI on your ad campaigns means considering customer lifetime value and customer acquisition costs, which will help you determine how much is worth spending on a new lead and how much of that spend can come from paid advertising.
To get more granular, we need to talk inputs and outputs, that is 1) lowering your input (cost per lead [CPL]) and 2) increasing your return (revenue).
There are a few factors to keep an eye on that will affect both, so let’s break it down.
Ways to Decrease Inputs
Ways to Increase Revenue
Google allows you to tailor your audience so you save marketing dollars and get in front of the right people. You can upload a customer list so that you don’t waste money on people who have already bought from you.
Google also has options for prospecting audiences. For instance, In-Market Audiences employs user behavior tracking to put you in front of prospects who are in the market for a product or service like yours.
You can also increase your bid for more relevant subgroups within your target audience — a practice called layering audiences.
Bid Adjustments. Bid adjustments allow you to increase or decrease your bids based on performance. You can even make these adjustments based on different categories, like device, demographics, language, and more.
For example, if a keyword isn’t performing as well on mobile as on desktop, you can add a negative bid adjustment so that when someone searches your keyword on mobile, you’ll bid X% lower than your normal bid.
Custom Ad SchedulingYou can set up ad scheduling in Google Ads to display your ad only during specific days and times. This can cut down on ad spend and improve relevance for your target audience.
Sitelink Extensions. Sitelink extensions allow you to supplement your ad with additional information. For instance, if you’re running an ad for a seasonal promotion at a local store, you can add a sitelink extension to display your store hours and location. These extensions take up more real estate on SERPs and, therefore, stand out. Not only that, but they play a role in improving your Ad Rank.
Conversion tracking monitors how your landing page is performing via a tracking code that you place on the page where people land after completing your form (usually a “Thank You” page). By enabling this feature, you’ll be better equipped to make adjustments that can improve your conversions.
Keyword Monitoring. Don’t let too much time pass before you check how your keywords are performing. You can place higher bids on the keywords that are creating the best results for your campaign, and “defund” or eliminate others.
Match Types. Match Types in Google Ads allows you to choose how closely related you want your ad group to be associated with a search team. There are four match types: broad, modified broad, phrase, and exact match. Google will display your ad in results according to your selection.
For example, if your keyword phrase is “how to catch geese” and you select “broad match,” then Google will display your ad for queries that include any word in your key phrase in any order, including “geese catch” and “geese catch how.”
Negative KeywordsA negative keyword list tells search engines what you don’t want to rank for, which is equally as important as what you do. You might know some of these upfront, but likely you’ll determine these keywords by what isn’t performing so well within your campaign.
Social Media Ads
Although CPM is more common on social platforms, social media sites do offer PPC that works similarly to search engine ads in that you set a budget and bid on ad placements.
The difference is social media ads can show up directly in your news feed on most platforms, decreasing the effectiveness of ad blockers. Social platforms, like Facebook, let you set targeted demographics and target people based on interests. While paid search is more keyword-focused, paid social broadens into a demographic focus, leading to more ways to target your persona.
Social media has two paid ad functions that are critical to ad success — retargeting and Lookalike Audiences. Retargeting is remarketing to people based on site visits or manually uploaded contact lists. Lookalike Audiences reviews the people on your marketing list and creates an audience that parallels your list, expanding your potential target. Paid social also allows for a wider variety of ad types, like images, videos, text, and more.
PPC Management and TrackingPaid advertising is not “set it and forget it.” You need to manage and constantly monitor your ads to ensure that you’re reaching optimal results. Management, analysis, and tracking are crucial to a PPC campaign because they provide you with valuable insights and help you create a more effective campaign.
What is PPC management?
PPC management covers a wide range of techniques, including creating and adjusting goals, split testing, introducing new keywords, optimizing conversion paths, and shifting plans to reach goals.
Managing your PPC means looking at your strategy and ad spend. On the one hand, it means iterating on your plan to optimize keyword effectiveness. On the other hand, it means thinking about how to allocate resources to specific keywords and how to adjust those resources to maximize ROI.
A good management strategy also pays attention to providers — like search engines, social platforms, and ad networks — to monitor changes and updates that could affect paid campaigns.
Overall, PPC management is a hefty undertaking, which is why investing in solid PPC management tools could be a great idea.
PPC Tools and Software
With all of the variables that you need to track, PPC management tools should make things easier. You can opt to monitor your ads within the platform, but if you’re looking for additional assistance and organization, a robust, easy-to-read spreadsheet or sophisticated software that gives you insight into your ad performance is vital.
If you plan to go the software route, there are some features that you want to look for: multi-user support, cross-platform management, A/B testing, scheduling, reporting, and ad grading.
Here’s a list of some popular, highly-rated PPC software and resources. PPC Metrics to TrackMetrics are everything (but you already knew that). Here are some key metrics to track within your PPC campaign.
Clicks refer to the total number of clicks you receive on an ad. This metric is affected by your keyword selection and the relevance of your ad copy.
Cost per click (CPC) measures the price you pay for each click on your ad.
Clickthrough rate (CTR) is the percentage of ad views that result in clicks. This metric determines how much you pay (CPC). CTR benchmarks vary by industry.
Impressions are the number of times an ad is viewed. Cost per mille (CPM) is determined for every thousand impressions. Impressions are most relevant for brand awareness campaigns.
Ad spend is the amount you are spending on your ads. You can optimize this by improving your Quality Score.
Return on ad spend (ROAS) is the ROI of your ad campaign. This metric calculates the revenue received for every dollar spent on ads.
Conversion rate refers to the percentage of people that complete the call-to-action on your landing page and become a lead or customer.
Cost per conversion refers to the cost to generate a lead. This is calculated as the total cost of an ad divided by the number of conversions.
Quality Score (QS) determines ad positioning, so it’s an important metric to keep an eye on.
By paying close attention to each of these metrics, you can increase the ROI of your paid campaign and spend less for better results.
Go Paid! Whether you just started your business yesterday or have been around for decades, PPC just might be the boost you need to get an edge on your competition — or at least ahead of them in the SERPs.
Applying the lessons found in this guide about building a PPC campaign and the best practices for a quality PPC strategy would set you well on your way to improving your website’s traffic and conversions.
Have you ever double-tapped an image on Instagram, reacted to a video on Facebook, or clicked a search result in Google, only to realize afterward that it was actually an ad?
Maybe you never realized it was an ad at all — you just thought it was a cute picture of a dog.
More than ever, ads can be contextual, relevant, targeted, and helpful in ways they never could before. In short, ads today are content.
But the online advertising landscape is changing.
New platforms, ad types, and targeting capabilities are popping up all the time.
Let's dig into everything you need to know about online advertising across ad platforms for social media, paid search, display, and native advertising.
If you're only interested in learning about a certain type of online advertising, you can use the table of contents below to navigate to each section.
How to Advertise Online
93% of all online interactions start with a search engine, and with those odds, you can catch the attention of the audience you want through online advertising.
There’s plenty of ways to advertise your business strategically. Think about who you’re trying to reach when you start. Ask yourself “What target demographic am I advertising to?” and “How can I place my product or service offering in front of my target?”.
The answer is to see where your target demographic spends the most time online. Research their most frequented social media channels and most searched keywords. You can take this information and translate it to organic and paid marketing.
Not all online advertising has to cost money, people can find your business organically through social media marketing. Making a business page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even TikTok can capture people’s interest through engaging posts and content.
Now if you want to use pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, most social media offers business pages the ability to pay a fee to promote posts/ads within the interface. Or if you are looking to advertise on a search engine for targeted keywords, Google Ads or sixads can guide you through the process of payment and execution.
There are three key ways that digital advertising can help you improve the performance of your organic marketing efforts.
With digital ads, organic performance can benefit from:
The goal of any ads strategy should be to get a positive return on your investment, which comes down to whether you're getting more revenue out of the ad campaign than the cost you're putting in.
How can you determine what your ad spend should be to get the most return on your investment? To start answering that question, we'll need to understand the bidding system used by the ad networks.
A bid is the maximum amount of money you're willing to pay for the desired action on your ad. If it sounds like an auction, that's because it is an auction. Ad networks have a limited amount of ad space, and to determine whether or not your ads are shown to your target audience, they run an auction to see how much each advertiser is willing to pay for ad space.
Just like in an auction, the highest bidder wins. Let's say you bid $10 for a click on your ad, and the next highest bidder only pays $5 for a click.
Each ad network will only make you pay the lowest amount possible to win the bid. In this example, you might be willing to pay $10, but in reality, you'll only have to pay $5.01 to win the bid. Winning this "auction," in addition to the overall quality of your ads, will determine how your ads are displayed on the different ad networks.
At this point, you might be thinking, "Okay, I get how the auction system works. But how do I figure out how much I should actually spend to see a return on my investment?"
My advice is to work backward from your revenue to determine what your maximum bid should be.
Use this equation:
Lifetime Value (LTV) x Average Lead-to-Customer Rate x Average Conversion Rate
Your LTV is how much a customer is worth to you throughout their relationship with your business. The average lead-to-customer rate is the rate at which your leads become paying customers. And your conversion rate is the rate at which new contacts convert on your content offers by filling out a form.
Combined, these metrics show you how much you should spend on your paid ads to break even.
Let's say that you want to use digital ads to promote your new content offer. You're going to need to know what your maximum ad spend should be to see a positive return on your investment. Assume that you know the following about your business:
Types of Online AdvertisingNow that we know more about how to advertise online, let's dive into the various types of online advertising.
Social Media Advertising
Every month, there are nearly 2.5 billion active users on Facebook, 1 billion on Instagram, and 330 million on Twitter worldwide.
Whether it's to chat with friends, stay connected to people across the globe, or for business and networking purposes, consumers are on social media for a multitude of reasons — and marketers know it. Because of the sheer number of active users on these platforms, advertising spend invested in social media channels is at an all-time high. Social media advertising across the world is projected to exceed $8.5 billion this year.
Advertising on social media comes with many advantages. You can:
Let's take a look at eight popular social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok. We'll cover the audiences and ad types available on each one.
1. FacebookFacebook is the most widely used social media network. Almost 2.5 billion people around the world use Facebook. That's more than 30% of the world's population.
With so many people using Facebook, you're almost guaranteed to be able to reach an audience that's relevant to any type of business. That's where one of the most powerful features of advertising on Facebook comes in: audience targeting. The targeting capabilities on Facebook are unmatched by any other social media network.
There are three types of audiences that you can target on Facebook:
Facebook's advanced targeting can be used to target your ads to the most relevant audience — and even tap into new audiences you'd otherwise never reach with organic content alone.
Advertising on Facebook includes a range of ad types, including:
Photo ads are great for sharing collections of image content. Video ads are great for product explainer videos and branding. Story ads allow you to use a combination of photo and short-form video content.
Personally, my favorite way to advertise on Facebook is with lead ads because they give you the best of both worlds: sharing visual content and generating leads all at the same time. Facebook Lead Ads allow you to capture lead information without directing people out of the Facebook platform.
No matter your business' size or industry, you can use lead ads to find potential customers who are likely interested in your products or services. With lead ads, you provide a helpful piece of content that encourages viewers to sign up for a newsletter, receive a price estimate, or request additional business information. In return, when the viewer fills out the form, the business receives a new lead.
Another way to advertise on Facebook is through Facebook Messenger.
Facebook Messenger is a separate messaging app that comes with its own advertising opportunities. Facebook Messenger is the go-to messaging app in countries including the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Other messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat are the more popular choice in countries throughout South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Across the world, 20 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses every month on Facebook Messenger. Ads play a big part in initiating conversations on Facebook Messenger.
There are a few different ways you can use Facebook Messenger as part of your advertising strategy.
All of these ad types come together to encourage your audience to kick off conversations with your business. They can be used to get in contact with a sales team, request more information on a product, or even share other content like blog posts or ebooks.
My favorite way to advertise on Facebook Messenger is retargeting. Retargeting ads in Facebook Messenger are a great way to start targeted conversations and send personalized offers and content.
Sponsored messages allow you to advertise to people who have already interacted with your business in Messenger. This is a great way to re-engage your audience in a personalized way.
You can also advertise on Instagram through the Facebook Ads Manager. Instagram has over 1 billion monthly users globally. That's a little less than half of the number of users on Facebook. The majority of users are between the ages of 18 and 34.
There are three ways that you can advertise on Instagram:
I recommend taking the third option and creating custom campaigns for your audience on Instagram.
Instagram has similar ad types to Facebook, including:
By far, the most interesting ad types right now are ads in the Explore Tab and Shopping Post ads. People using Instagram Explore are exploring their interests and discovering new content creators. Ads in Instagram Explore are a great opportunity to put your brand in front of a new audience.
Shopping Post ads allow you to include a tag that shows the product's name and price within your image. Clicking on the tag takes your prospects directly to a product page where they can purchase the item — all without leaving the Instagram app.
3. LinkedInThe LinkedIn platform has over 660 million monthly active members worldwide. Users on the platform are largely made up of working professionals which makes LinkedIn a great place for B2B (business-to-business) advertising. LinkedIn is the go-to platform for working professionals, which provides B2B advertisers a large audience pool to reach.
Plus, the advantage of advertising on LinkedIn is its unique targeting capabilities. On LinkedIn, you'll have access to unique targeting criteria that isn't available on other platforms.
You can target users on LinkedIn by unique demographics, including job title, job function, and industry. Maybe you only want to advertise to potential customers at the director level who work in customer service within the recruiting industry. LinkedIn's targeting capabilities make that possible.
Plus, with the option to include lead gen forms in your LinkedIn ads, LinkedIn can be a lead generation machine. This will allow you to not only reach a very specific audience but drive leads without directing them outside of the LinkedIn platform.
The most interesting ad type of LinkedIn is Message Ads. Message Ads allow you to send direct messages to your prospects to spark immediate action.
How to use LinkedIn Message Ads:
But a word of warning: Don't send too many Message Ads to the same people or it will come off like spam. And, make sure the messages sound authentic – if you were writing a LinkedIn message to a friend, what would you write in it?
If your Message Ads are too stiff, they'll come off as spammy, too. Remember: This channel is a one-to-one conversation. Direct messages are sacred spaces – if you're going to advertise there, you need to be extra careful about taking the time to make your Message Ads feel personal and relevant to your end-users. Make sure you're delivering value to them in a way that feels authentic.
Digital advertising is less common on Twitter because organic reach is still a significant driver of a brand's performance on Twitter. This is very unique to Twitter – but even so, ads can still deliver strong results depending on what your goals are. Twitter has over 330 million monthly users globally. The majority of users are between 35–65 years old.
Advertisers have discovered a few niches that have high engagement on Twitter: B2B and e-commerce. Many B2B companies are using Twitter as a digital marketing tool, and Twitter users are known to spend a lot of money online. This makes advertising specifically to these audiences a great strategy.
Twitter breaks down its ads into five goals:
All of these can work together to help you grow your audience on the platform and convert users into customers.
Pinterest is a unique social media platform with 300 million users who are highly engaged and predominantly female. Some people say that Pinterest is the only platform where users actually want to see ads from brands they love because Pinterest is all about visuals.
How to advertise on Pinterest in four steps:
Pinterest is great for businesses relying on photography to sell their products and who have a female target buyer persona.
YouTube is the second largest search engine, second only to Google, with over 2 billion monthly active users. Ads on YouTube appear before and during other YouTube videos or as a stand-alone promoted video that's displayed after performing a search.
Since you can target demographic information and interests, you can serve your videos to specific relevant audiences already watching videos from similar brands or on related topics.
Snapchat's 218 million users are predominantly made up of people between the ages of 18–24.
Snapchat offers a few ad types, including story ads, sponsored tiles in Snapchat Discover, and augmented reality (AR) lenses.
Snapchat's ad types feel pretty similar to the advertising options on Instagram. What really makes Snapchat unique is the augmented reality lenses. AR lenses are sponsored by a business to create interactive moments that users can use and share with their friends. It might be hard to believe, but in this example from Dominos that pizza isn't really there — that's the AR lens at work.
One of the newer — and most popular — players in the social media advertising world is TikTok. TikTok is all about creating short, creative, and oftentimes funny videos. TikTok has exploded in the past few years and has reached 500 million monthly users.
Advertising options are still limited; they are mainly geared towards driving awareness. TikTok doesn't hyperlink posts to websites and only recently started allowing advertising, so businesses advertising on TikTok focus on boosting brand awareness rather than leads or traffic.
Promoting TikTok videos allow brands to build awareness with a young target audience. Most of the posts you'll see on TikTok are aimed at getting laughs. From a brand perspective, you'll want to create videos that are funny and align with other content on the platform. Think of things like dance challenges and memes. This type of content is the most effective.
Paid Search AdvertisingPeople searching online are looking for something specific and will click on the first result they believe is going to be the most helpful to them.
You might be thinking: "I already appear in organic results on search engines. Why should I pay to advertise too?"
Well, there are three key reasons:
Paid search advertising allows advertisers to capture the attention of their audience in a more targeted way than with organic search alone.
Search ads allow you to anticipate the wants, needs, and desires of your potential customers and serve ads to them that are highly contextual. Over time, the analytics of your search ads can help you analyze and improve those ads to reach even more people.
But how does Google know how to deliver the right ad to the right person? That's where keywords come into play. A keyword is one word or phrase that someone uses to describe what they need in search. Advertising on search platforms takes the targeting capabilities available on social media platforms, like demographics and location, and layers it with the addition of keywords.
When a Google user types a query into the search field, Google returns a range of results that match the searcher's intent. Keywords align with what a searcher wants and will satisfy their query. You select keywords based on which queries you want to display your ad alongside.
Keyword research is just as important for paid ads as it is for organic search. That's because Google matches your ad with search queries based on the keywords you selected. Each ad group you create within your campaign will target a small set of keywords and Google will display your ad based on those selections.
Let's say Mary is moving to a different house and is looking for a home mover. So she goes into Google and types "who are the best movers." By searching "best home movers," she's going to see results for advertisers that targeted keywords like "moving companies" and "top-rated movers."
Search engines also consider your intent when choosing the types of ads to display.
In the example above, search ads were the most helpful resource. But what if you're looking for a location-based business, like a coffee shop? In Google maps, you might see “Promoted Pins” like these, shown in purple on the map and in the search results on the left. Promoted Pins are a great way for businesses to attract customers to their business based on location.
What if you're looking to make a purchase? Well, Google might show you a different kind of post to match your intent, such as Shopping Post Ads.
In this example below, Google shows you shopping post ads for the keyword "buy snowboard." Since my query includes the word "buy," Google knows that I'm interested in making a purchase, so I am shown ads for products I might be interested in.
So how do you select your keywords?
Keywords typically fall under two categories: brand and non-brand.
Brand and non-brand keywords play a role in your digital advertising strategy. Brand keywords help you protect your brand from your competitor's ads.
If you don't run ad campaigns for brand keywords, you'll leave your business vulnerable to losing website traffic to the competition who is bidding on your brand keywords. Non-brand keywords still have a role to play, too. Non-brand keywords allow you to reach new audiences unfamiliar with your brand.
When it comes to when your ad is displayed, you don't just want to pick a certain group of keywords and have the ad shown only when those keywords are entered into the search engine.
This is where match type comes in. Since there’s an infinite number of ways that people can actually search for one term, Google gives you three match types to choose from: exact match, phrase match, and broad match. You can even use a broad match modifier and exclude negative keywords to optimize where your ads are delivered.
Let's take a look at each match type:
Google vs. Bing vs. Yahoo
There are a few advertising platforms out there for search, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo. But Google is by far the most used search engine out there. With 3.5 billion search queries a day, over 71% of the total searches made daily around the world are done on Google. Google brings in six times more searches every day than Bing and Yahoo, combined.
But this doesn't mean you should entirely rule out advertising on these other platforms. In some cases, you can achieve impressive results with a smaller ad spend on Bing and Yahoo than you could on Google since there is less competition from advertisers.
My recommendation is to dig into your organic traffic to identify if Bing or Yahoo make up a significant amount of traffic for any given keywords or topics. This might indicate that advertising for those keywords on Bing or Yahoo could be profitable.
Regardless of where you advertise, the good news is that advertising on all of these platforms more or less work and look the same. So knowing how to advertise on one will make advertising on the others easier.
Publishers like BuzzFeed and The Dodo produce content that snowballs in popularity on social media almost every day. And they make money by helping other brands do it, too. Brands will pay these publishers to craft posts and videos that follow the publishers' formula for virality. They also pay publishers to distribute this sponsored content to their massive audience through social media and their website.
When you pay for a publisher's native advertising services, you'll be able to leverage their editorial expertise and audience reach to help your brand tell captivating stories to a bigger and better viewership. And each publisher is going to support different ad formats and creative types.
During the creative process, you'll collaborate with publishers to craft sponsored content that covers one of their main topics and looks like a regular piece of content on the publisher's website.
This way, even though your post is technically promotional, it won't disrupt their audience's browsing experience. They'll enjoy reading your post and won't feel like you or the publisher are advertising to them. This exposes your work to a huge, engaged viewership and attracts new followers to your brand.
Native advertising creates a symbiotic relationship between publishers and brands. Publishers who do sponsored content right reap the benefits of another revenue stream and gain more audience trust if they promote a native ad from a trustworthy brand.
For brands, collaborating with prominent publishers can unleash unprecedented amounts of creativity to help them win over the publishers' audience and boost engagement — as the click-through rate on native ads far exceeds traditional. For example, T Brand Studio, the New York Times native ad business, crafted sponsored posts that captured as much engagement as some of nytimes.com's highest-performing articles.
To find the optimal native advertising opportunities for your brand, try using StackAdapt or Nativo.
Display ads are a controversial topic in the digital marketing community. For almost 25 years, advertisers have abused them by tricking internet users into clicking misleading ads — some malicious display ads have even infected people's computers with viruses. It's easy to see why people have developed banner blindness and can't stop downloading ad blockers: display ads have the reputation of being intrusive, distracting, and irrelevant.
On the other side of the spectrum, though, display advertising technology has advanced to the point where ad networks can leverage data and machine learning to offer advertisers more effective targeting strategies and consumers more relevant ads.
Ad networks like Google Display Network and Facebook's Audience Network are the leaders in the banner ad renaissance. They can display your ads to the right target audience at the right place and time. And if you want more control of your advertising, they'll let you decide where to place your ads. Below, we'll cover each ad networks' features and targeting capabilities:
1. Google Display Network
When you use Google's Display Network, you can design visually appealing ads and place them on over two million websites and apps, YouTube, and Gmail.
You can also build new audiences by targeting people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service and remarket website visitors just by importing a list of their contact information.
If you don't want to build out your ideal audience or deal with bidding, you can let Google Ads do it for you. Its automated targeting and bidding features can identify your highest-converting audience for the best return on investment.
Display ads can be most effective when retargeting an audience that's already familiar with your brand.
2. Facebook's Audience Network
With Facebook's Audience Network, brands can expand their Facebook ad campaigns and use the same targeting data they use on the platform to advertise on a huge collection of websites and apps.
Brands can place native ads, banner ads, full-screen ads, in-stream video ads, and rewarded video ads (for example, "Watch this video ad to get more tokens!") on the network's websites and apps that their Facebook audience frequently visits.
This type of advertising can be particularly effective for mobile games, like in the example below from 5agame who was able to attribute 80% of their revenue through their rewarded video.
Now that you know about all of the digital ad types that are available, the next step is to learn how to leverage the right ads for your business to achieve your goals.
Digital Marketing. Don't forget to Share This Post!
An effective marketing strategy underlines business growth, and often its very existence. From meeting the target audience's needs and helping you build brand loyalty to determining the right prices for your products and services, the right strategy maximizes your chances of making it in the business world.
Marketing Strategy DefinitionA marketing strategy is a company's long-term plan of action that aims to promote its products and services and gain a competitive advantage.
Don’t confuse marketing strategy with a marketing plan, though. The main goal of a marketing plan is to attract new customers and turn them into loyal buyers. As your marketing plan should be firmly rooted in your company's value proposition, it helps you to market your products or services to consumers in a more compelling way.
Marketing Strategies vs. Marketing Plans: What's the Difference?
While marketing strategies and marketing plans both play a crucial part in your business's success, there are several important distinctions between them to keep in mind.
The main difference between the two concepts is that a marketing strategy is a long-term idea, while a marketing plan typically deals with short-term issues.
Marketing strategies tend to encompass a company's mission as a whole, including what they stand for and what they hope to achieve in the future. Meanwhile, marketing plans normally cover the various logistics of marketing campaigns, such as specific types of data and market research.
Your company's overall strategy will help inform your marketing plan, which means it's crucial to make your strategy as comprehensive as possible.
Understanding Marketing Goals and PlanningNow that you understand the basics of a marketing approach, you need to start mapping out your business's marketing goals.
First, take the time to define the following core aspects of your company:
Think of Google. The brand has always been pretty transparent in communicating the key company mission — “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.” This is precisely what they do, and this global idea underpins every innovation and addition across the company’s products and services.
This aspect can be tied to your company mission. For instance, Volvo Cars has always been known as a car brand that cares about the environment and safety. Hence, their overall business operations (think of their recent move into direct-to-consumer carsharing) are underlined by the principle of building a circular economy.
If you’ve set your mission and company operation right, you’ll be able to better define why people should choose your product over others. They may want to buy Apple products because they like to be viewed as “thinking differently”, or they might choose a Cos dress because they are environmentally conscious.
Customers today have no shortage of options when they decide to make a purchase, so businesses need to make an effort to set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd.
Once you've defined all of the above aspects of your business, you'll know what makes your company unique. Your goal now is to communicate that uniqueness to your customers so that they think of your business first.
How to Create an Effective Marketing Strategy
Once you are able to define what is understood by a marketing strategy, it's time to begin forming a powerful strategy for your business.
The beginning of the strategy-building process can be daunting for many business owners. To help take some of the guesswork out of the process, we've divided the standard marketing strategy into three different components., which should help you build an efficient strategy one step at a time.
1. Competitive Strategies
The main purpose of a marketing approach is to gain an advantage over your competitors.
As you form your company marketing strategy, be sure to think about how your business can create a competitive advantage in order to succeed.
4Ps AnalysisTo get some idea of your rivals, run a simple 4Ps analysis for competing products. The 4Ps framework is typically used for internal marketing strategy purposes, but you can use it to outline the key features of your competitors: product, price, place, and promotion.
Initially, you have to define:
If you want to evaluate your product’s market stance against the competition, the SWOT framework should do, as you will analyze both the internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) and external ones (opportunities and threats).
The Market Explorer Tool
You can also turn to the Market Explorer tool. Its Growth Quadrant will instantly reflect how your market positions stack up against the competition, showing all the key market players’ growth dynamics and current market share:
If you top up your SWOT analysis with insights from the Market Explorer tool, you will have a clear understanding of your current market positions and future outlook.
Get insights →2. Growth Strategies
A successful marketing plan will enable you to expand your business in various ways. To directly support this growth, you need to determine how you want your company to grow in the long run. This is where growth strategies come in.
Growth strategies, also known as product-market strategies, aim to increase your market share and persuade more customers to invest in your products or services.
A common example is the Ansoff Matrix, a tool used by many companies to plan and develop their marketing strategies for growth.
The matrix itself looks like a grid where you place each market strategy and start your assessment:
STP Marketing Model Another helpful tool you can use to reinforce your growth strategies is Segmenting, Targeting and Positioning (STP).
This audience-focused model helps you prioritize propositions and deliver marketing messages that are relevant to your target audience.
The basics of the STP model:
Think of car brands.
Each company has a unique selling point, yet they all have different offers for different audiences. Volvo is generally associated with safety, hence, they appeal to safety-conscious audiences that may want a family car (SUVs) or a luxury sedan (S90). Meanwhile, Audi, while still being a safe car brand, typically appeals to speed-conscious drivers who like to get a sports car feel while driving a city car. So, this is how essentially one product can be positioned and perceived as completely different based on the STP Marketing Model.
BCG MatrixTo further accelerate your business's growth, consider using the BCG Matrix also. By helping you determine when to invest in products and when to discontinue them, the BCG Matrix lets you optimize your products so that you can retain existing customers and attract new ones. This post reveals all the ins and outs of the BCG Matrix, as well as revealing where you can unearth all the necessary data.
3. Attitude StrategiesIt isn't enough to simply plan for your company's growth. The most successful businesses also identify the method of growth, which is determined by attitude strategies.
When determining your company's method of growth, you have two main options: Growth Method Acquisition and Organic Growth.
Growth Method Acquisition involves the acquisition of one business by another business. Think of the time when Facebook acquired MSQRD. This app that had advanced visual tech for video was supposed to supercharge Facebook’s other acquisition, Snapchat. This is what Growth Method Acquisition looks like in practice.
Organic Growth, on the other hand, does not include any acquisitions. Instead, this growth method refers to an increase in sales that occurs through the company's own resources. You can trigger this kind of growth by:
Keep in mind that there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. No matter which type of growth you choose, it's crucial to ensure that it matches up with your company's unique goals.
Grow Your Business With a Powerful Marketing Strategy
There are numerous ways to help your business grow, but one of the most powerful tools that you can use is an effective marketing strategy. These steps can help you get started on forming a strategy that brings out the best in your company. By taking the process one step at a time, you can expand your customer base, boost your revenue and steer your business towards lasting success.
Don't forget to share this post!
For some marketers, Google Discover is not part of their digital marketing toolbox. Whereas some are using it to grow their business, this content marketing tool has gone unnoticed to others. But Discover is a remarkable source of web traffic for marketers. It can help you build your brand authority faster.
The software lets users conduct searches faster and find engaging topics. However, the best part is that it allows you to find what you are searching for without performing a search. As a component of the Google search engine, it uses your previous search history to show your related materials that you might love.
In consequence, content marketers are using the Google application to drive increased traffic to their websites. The renamed Feed produces more traffic because Google developers optimized the software and customized it for mobile devices.
But, note that the rebranded Google Discover is not Google News. These two are different. Here is everything I am going to cover:
Google News vs. Google Discover, What are the Differences?Google news allows consumers to discover trending stories and suitable materials of what is happening globally. The major news feature presents results for a searcher's news topic based on his search query.
But Google Discover shows consumers information of interests that engages users without them searching. Also, when using Discover, it gives you the ability to customize your content of choice. You can quickly do that by following topics.
Nonetheless, for your marketing content to appear on Discover, it should be of top quality with your web pages index by Google.
What is Google Discover?Google Discover is an updated Google Feed that offers web content to consumers following their search history. The software recommends information before you even perform a search. In other words, you will find fascinating subjects without entering a keyword.
For this, Google described the new Discover in three crucial shifts. The shifts are:
So, the Discover feed allows you to discover recent topics and content about your interest. Here is the rebranded Google Discover below:
Image via Google
A closer look shows you that developers personalized the Feed for mobile devices. You can essentially customize your Feed to display only your content of choice. To make it happen, tap the header of any content you find interesting.
Once you do that, Google Discover will start showing you exciting, relevant content. Additionally, by following your choice of content, you will only see related materials from that point onward. But you can stop following topics by tapping the "More" button at the right corner below your mobile screen.
When you tap the "More" button, scroll a little down and tap the "Your data in Search" to see your search history. From there, scroll down to delete items that no longer interest you.
So, because Discover can drive massive web traffic to your website, it should be an element of your digital marketing strategy.
Why Should You Care About Google Discover? Where are several reasons
Why Discover matters to your online business. But we will consider a few of them.
Did you know? Google Discover is a search engine platform that also offers you a space to organize interesting content pieces you find across the web. This space is called "Collections." You can add web pages that fascinate you, including products, and other vital content pieces.
Also, you can invite others to contribute to your collections. But what is cool is that the Google application also functions as an analytic tool that helps you measure the traffic you are getting from the Discover platform.
Google also called the reporting tool, "Discover." It allows you to view and gauge web traffic that is coming from Google Discover. Thus, the data helps you define the content that performs best─those that drive the most traffic and those that are not performing.
From there, you can update the under-performing materials and replicate the ones generating results to improve SEO and drive more traffic. That is why Google noted that they added the new Discover report feature to Google Search Console to give users helpful information that provides answers to some pressing questions.
Some of the new Discover report data are:
These pieces of information will help you enhance your content strategy and Google rankings. So since all search engines love engaging content, optimizing for Google Discover is important because it represents this trend. It provides users personalized, engaging content.
8 Secret Ways to Optimize for Google DiscoverIn this article, you will discover the eight secret ingredients that will help you optimize your content for Google Discover.
1. Strengthen Your Content Quality
Content is the essence of digital marketing, so without content, your marketing effort will be a waste. But it doesn't mean that you should publish any piece of material. For instance, tin content is less substantial and will add no value to your readers.
So if you continue to publish these types of materials, you will hardly appear on Discover, and you will gradually lose your readership. If your articles barely answer your readers' queries, and your competitors offer them something better than what you are offering, It is logical to say that your competitors will win their loyalty.
Similarly, Google Discover gives consumers relevant, engaging content. Be it articles, blog posts, videos, and more. Your posts must be highly-informative because Discover is programmed to offer users quality materials.
For this, when creating content for publishing, or updating old blog posts, use trending data, current statistics, and marketing strategies to amplify your articles. Use more long-tail keywords, semantic keywords phrases, high-quality images, and illustrative graphics to optimize your post.
Also, try to understand user intent—the search terms your marketing personas will likely search on Google. Make a list of related keyword terms and use them to strengthen your content.
Ensure that it has all the essential components that will glue your readers on the page. For example, use rhetorical questions to capture readers' attention from the start. A rhetorical question does not require an answer. Instead, it is a ploy used to influence readers into thinking about your message. Content marketers also use this writing style to emphasize important points.
Using this approach will help you increase:
A survey by Swift of 1,200 marketers in 39 countries revealed some exciting results. Among other things, the content marketing statistics for 2020 show that several marketers are struggling to create engaging content.
Source graphic by Swift. According to the survey results, producing quality content is one of the biggest challenges for businesses.
As a consequence, if you fall into the above categories, it will be difficult for Discover to pick your content. But you have two available options that can help you.
They will help you create top-quality content for humans and search engines. In fact, top influencers and content marketers are using freelance writers to create marketing content for their blogs and other marketing channels.
To back this claim, the Swift 2020 research results show that the top content format for 86% of businesses is blog posts. 53% of these marketers are outsourcing their content writing activities.
Graphic by Swift
So if you can't write, outsource writing jobs to freelance writers or learn to do it DIY.
2. Use High-quality Visuals
The rebranded Google Discover underscores the need for more visual content. It means that to increase your odds of showing up on the platform, you should create more quality visuals and optimize them appropriately.
Google pointed out that Discover content could rank on searches due to the quality of material and the link between consumer's interest and the content. For this, you should do two things to boost your content ranking on Google Discover:
Furthermore, replace thumbnails with large images. Why? Because Google stated that large pictures perform better on Discover cards. Please, consider these statistics as reported by Google:
All thanks to high-quality large photos. But ensure that your photos are at least 1,200 px wide.
3. Create Exciting Videos
The new Google Feed will make your content more irresistible to consumers if it has quality visuals. Additionally, since videos have become more prominent in recent times, Discover is centered on visual materials.
Therefore, produce different types of videos that will engage your target market and solve their problems. I advise you to look at your top-performing blogs and create videos from them. These content pieces are already generating more social media engagement and ranking on Google and other search engines.
So, transforming them into video content will help improve website engagement, SEO ranking, and appear on Discover.
For inspiration, you can produce the following videos:
The concept is to enable you to produce compelling video materials your audience can't resist. Ultimately, consumers prefer to see more videos from marketers they support.
According to research by HubSpot, more than 50% of customers want to see more videos than other content types. It means that the more quality videos you create, the more your chances to appear on Google Discover.
4. Observe Google's Content Policies
Google made clear that if you want Discover to pick your content and show it to searchers, you must comply with their content policies. The Google guidelines include "Search Quality Rating," which covers Page Quality (PQ)" and "Needs Met (NM) ratings."
Screenshot via Google
The heads up means that any post you publish should abide by the Google News guidelines.
This step does not mean that your content will appear on Google News. Instead, it indicates that if Discover picks your content, it observed Google content policies and could make it to Google News.
Therefore, ensure that the blogs you publish conform with Google publishing policies to improve your likelihood of appearing on Discover.
5. Tell Your Community to Add You on Google Discover
Discover software is remarkable with fascinating capabilities. Do you know that the application software lets you choose what sources of information to add to your collections? Yes, it does! It allows you to select the topics of interest you want to follow.
But your target buyer may not know that he can add you to his topics of interest or collections unless you tell him. That is why you should inform your community of readers to add you to Google Discover. In this manner, when you publish a post or when Discover selects content from your blog, they will get notified.
It is like a call-to-action on your website. Visitors may not take your desired action without a call-to-action. Similarly, if you don't tell them, they may not add your blog on Discover.
How to Add Exciting Topics to Google Discover
Adding your interests to Discover is a straight-forward method. As an example, I add Swift to my list of exciting topics. Here is how to do it:
Open the software and enter your focus in the search bar. For this article, I searched for Swift. See the screenshot below. So by the addition of Swift, I will get updates from Swift through Google Discover.
However, your results page may not reveal the "+ Follow" button. My search result didn't show the tab. So I scrolled a little down and found it, as you can see on the screenshot. Similarly, if you enter your topic or blog on the search and don't see the follow button, don't stress. Just scroll down a little, and you will find it.
When you see the button, tap the "+ Follow" to start following a blog or topics that excite you. After you tap the follow button, the (+) sign will adjust to a checkmark (✓). The checkmark means that you are now following the topic or publication.
For this reason, when there is a new post from the Swift blog, Google Discover will show me the article. This helps to boost traction with existing readers.
Even without backup data for this, you agree that when more people add your blog to Discover, it will signal Google that your content pieces are helpful and relevant to your readers. It will boost your search engine ranking and cement your position on Discover.
6. Optimize for Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)
Why should you optimize for Google Accelerated Mobile Pages? Because AMP is ideal for enhancing website user experience (UX). So, as you may know, improved user experience is a Google ranking factor. Hence, Google developers designed AMP for speed.
A web page that loads faster helps in improving UX, which increases consumer satisfaction. Put differently, if your site is not up to speed, it decreases your search ranking, and your chances of getting picked by Discover become slim. It contributes to why people leave your blog for your competitors.
Therefore, optimizing for Google Accelerated Mobile Pages is vital if you want your posts on Discover. It is for this reason that the Discover report feature on the Google Search Console (GSC) offers you comparison options for AMP and non-AMP data.
From your search console, you can measure the AMP and non-AMP data, respectively. So, optimize your website for AMP to boost UX and appear on Discover.
7. Publish Evergreen and Trendy Content Frequently
Earlier in this article, I stated that Google Discover displays both fresh and evergreen content that is relevant to the searcher's query. These results follow the user's past search history. It helps users keep up to date with what is trending in the industry.
Discover will show both the trending content and evergreen materials that relate to your search. Also, Google Discover presents the evergreen materials to engage, solve a problem, and entertain the reader. Whereas, popular posts engage the reader and keep you aware of the latest happenings.
Interestingly enough, it is a win-win marketing strategy. Because when you create news-worthy, evergreen content pieces, Discover will pick and present it on relevant search results. As a consequence, you will increase traffic to your site, improve brand awareness, generate targeted leads, and make more sales.
8. Conduct Competitor Research
Why conducting competitor research is vital. If, after everything your post is not on Discover, it would be wise to perform competitor research to know why Discover is overlooking your content.
Try to figure out:
Your data will help you understand users' behavior and why Discover selects your competition over you.
Do You Want to Appear on Google Discover?
Now that you understand what Google Discover is and how to optimize for it, apply these tips to improve your odds of appearing on the platform. The more you boost your content quality, the better your chances. So keep implementing and testing to pinpoint what works best for you.
Are there other tips you can add that will help our readers? Please, tell us in the comments!
For your reference, we compiled a list of the 100 top trending Google searches and most Googled questions from our database of 20 billion keywords.
This list of top trending searches is being regularly updated every quarter for the most up-to-date information.
If you want to try your own Google searches, our Keyword Magic Tool or Google's Keyword Planner will help you to find keywords for your strategy and campaigns.
Top 100 Google Most Searched Terms Globally Keyword
Average Apr – Jun 2021
Search volume is the average number of times a specific search query is entered on a search engine per month. In this study by search volume we mean an average number of monthly searches for the last 12 months.
Top 100 Google Most Searched Terms in the US Keyword
Average Apr – May 2021
Average Apr – Jun 2021
1. facebook 151.0M 151.0M
2. youtube 151.0M 151.0M
3. amazon 124.0M 124.0M
4. weather 101.0M 101.0M
5. nba 33.0M 68.0M
6. home depot 64.3M 55.6M
7. gmail 61.8M 55.6M
8. walmart 43.0M. 55.6M
9. google translate 45.5M 37.2M
10. yahoo mail 45.5M 37.2M
11. yahoo 37.2M 37.2M
12. target 40.3M 30.4M
13. restaurants 33.0M. 30.4M
14. ebay 30.4M 30.4M
15. fox news 30.4M 30.4M
16. food near me 30.4M 30.4M
17. restaurants near me 27.7M 30.4M
18. google maps 24.9M 30.4M
19. hotels 23.5M. 30.4M
20. nba scores 19.3M 30.4M
21. amc stock 9.3M 30.4M
22. instagram 30.4M 24.9M
23. translate 30.4M 24.9M
24. amazon prime 24.9M 24.9M
25. weather tomorrow 24.9 M24.9M
26. starbucks 34.6M 20.4M
27. mcdonalds 29.6M 20.4M
28. costco 26.9M 20.4M
29. best buy 25.4M 20.4M
30. lowes 24.9M 20.4M
31. usps tracking 22.7M 20.4M
32. craigslist 20.4M 20.4M
33. espn 20.4M 20.4M
34. zillow 20.4M 20.4M
35. you tube18.5M 20.4M
36. spanish to english 20.4M 16.6M
37. cnn 18.5M 16.6M
38. news 16.6M 16.6M
39. traductor 16.6M 16.6M
40. food 20.8M 13.6M
41. walgreens 20.8M 13.6M
42. calculator 20.4M 13.6M
43. bank of america 17.0M 13.6M
44. twitter 15.1M 13.6M
45. wells fargo 15.1M 13.6M
46. dominos 13.6M 13.6M
47. facebook log in 13.6M 13.6M
48. macys 13.6M 13.6M
49. netflix 13.6M 13.6M
50. maps 13.6M 13.6M
51. indeed 12.4M 13.6M
52. trump 11.4M 13.6M
53. covid vaccine near me 18.0M 11.1M
54. cvs 13.9M 11.1M
55. etsy 13.6M 11.1M
56. hotmail 13.6M 11.1M
57. autozone 12.9M 11.1M
58. fedex tracking 12.4M 11.1M
59. kohls 12.4M 11.1M
60. msn 12.4M 11.1M
61. aol mail 11.1M 11.1M
62. shein 11.1M 11.1M
63. speed test 11.1M 11.1M
64. ups tracking 11.1M 11.1M
65. dogecoin 10.1M 11.1M
66. gas 9.3M 11.1M
67. google flights 9.1M 11.1M
68. southwest airlines 9.1M 11.1M
69. dr. wu lien-teh 5.6 M11.1M
70. walmart near me 5.0M 11.1M
71. gas station 22.7M 9.1M
72. google docs 17.0M 9.1M
73. taco bell 12.0M 9.1M
74. dollar tree 11.4M 9.1M
75. pizza hut 11.1M 9.1M
76. roblox 11.1M 9.1M
77. sam's club 10.5M 9.1M
78. old navy 10.1M 9.1M
79. usps 10.1M 9.1M
80. grocery store 9.9M 9.1M
81. airbnb 9.1M 9.1M
82. capital one 9.1M 9.1M
83. linkedin 9.1M 9.1M
84. omegle 9.1M 9.1M
85. paypal 9.1M 9.1M
86. american airlines 8.3M 9.1M
87. donald trump 7.6M 9.1M
88. lakers 12.9M 7.5M
89. irs 11.4M 7.5M
90. burger king 9.3M 7.5M
91. fedex 9.3M 7.5M
92. ikea 9.3M 7.5M
93. hentai 9.1M 7.5M
94. pinterest 9.1M 7.5M
95. credit karma 8.3M 7.5M
96. chipotle 8.3M 7.5M
97. discord 8.3M 7.5M
98. dow jones 7.5M 7.5M
99. facebook marketplace 7.5M 7.5M
100. mlb 7.5M 7.5M
Find keywords for your business
1. what to watch 9.1M
2. when is mothers day 3.8M
3. when is fathers day 3.4M
4. what is my ip 3.4M
5. what dinosaur has 500 teeth 3.2M
6. how to delete instagram account 3.1M
7. where does vanilla flavoring come from 2.3M
8. what time is it 1.8M
9. how to screenshot on mac 1.7M
10. when is father's day 202 11.7M
11. where am i 1.5M
12. how many ounces in a cup1 .3M
13. when is mother's day 202 11.3M
14. how many weeks in a year 1.2M
15. what song is this 1.2M
16. what the font 1.0M
17. how many ounces in a gallon 1.0M
18. how to lose weight fast 882.0K
19. how are you 823.0K
20. when does senate vote on stimulus 757.4K
21. when is memorial day 2021 740.8K
22. what time is it in california 673.0K
23. how many liters in a gallon 673.0K
24. how many ounces in a pound 673.0K
25. what is love 673.0K
26. how to delete facebook account 673.0K
27. when is mothers day 2021 647.5K
28. what is the factorial of hundred 637.8K
29. where does vanilla flavouring come from 637.4K
30. what lies below 634.0K
31. what is the meaning of 632.0K
32. is ariana grande married 611.4K
33. what is critical race theory 601.7K
34. when is the next full moon 591.0K
35. is today a holiday 591.0K
36. how to tie a tie 591.0K
37. how many grams in an ounce 591.0K
38. how to download youtube videos 591.0K
39. what is 100 factorial 578.8K
40. when are taxes due 2021 566.7K
41. how long to boil eggs 557.7K
42. how old is queen elizabeth 555.7K
43. how many countries in the world 550.0K
44. what is the weather today 550.0K
45. how to solve a rubik's cube 550.0K
46. how to draw 550.0K
47. how old is bernie sanders 528.0K
48. who called me 516.7K
49. when calls the heart 489.7K
50. how old is donald trump 486.3K
51. how to pronounce 483.3K
52. what day is it today 483.3K
53. what is today 483.3K
54. how to earn money online 483.3K
55. who won yesterday ipl match 481.1K
56. what is mean in math 456.0K
57. how many people are in the world 450.0K
58. what is the 450.0K
59. how many 450.0K
60. how to deactivate facebook 450.0K
61. what does 450.0K
62. what is cryptocurrency 447.3K
63. who is kits mom bachelor 441.8K
64. is reddit down 441.3K
65. when is eid 2021 435.5K
66. when will senate vote on stimulus4 28.1K
67. what is the meaning 422.7K
68. how to screenshot on windows 422.7K
69. how many cups in a quart 422.7K
70. how to delete snapchat account 422.7K
71. why are flags at half mast today 411.3K
72. when is ramadan 2021 407.7K
73. when is mother's day in 2021 403.3K
74. where i can find happiness 400.3K
75. how many quarts in a gallon 395.3K
76. who is the richest person in the world 395.3K
77. what is a verb 395.3K
78. what is the time 395.3K
79. how many oz in a gallon 395.3K
80. what time is it in the uk 395.3K
81. how many seconds in a day 388.0K
82. when does summer start 382.0K
83. when is easter 380.0K
84. what if 373.0K
85. what time is it in hawaii 373.0K
86. what is computer 373.0K
87. how many days in a year 368.0K
88. what we do in the shadows 368.0K
89. what is an adjective 368.0K
90. how to make money online 368.0K
91. how to lose belly fat 368.0K
92. what is a noun 368.0K
93. how many centimeters in an inch 368.0K
94. how much 368.0K
95. how to lose weight 368.0K
96. when is eid 366.0K
97. how old is the queen 366.0K
98. how to register for covid vaccine 364.0K
99. what to mine 354.7K
100. how to take a screenshot on a mac 345.7K
The Top 100 Most Googled Questions in the US Keyword
Average Apr – May 2021Average Apr – Jun 2021
1. what time is it 5.0M 3.7M
2. what to watch 4.5M 4.4M
3. when is mothers day 3.7M 2.5M
4. when is mother's day 202 11.3M 891.7K
5. what dinosaur has 500 teeth 1.1 M 1.3M
6. how many ounces in a gallon 1.0M 1.0M
7. when is memorial day 2021 946.5K 647.5K
8. how to screenshot on mac 911.5K 882.0K
9. where am i 911.5K 882.0K
10. when is memorial day 900.5K 620.5K
11. when is fathers day 873.0K 2.2M
12. when are taxes due 2021 836.5K 566.7K
13. how many weeks in a year 823.0K 823.0K
14. how many ounces in a cup 823.0K 823.0K
15. where does vanilla flavoring come from 817.5K 565.2K
16. when does senate vote on stimulus 757.4K 509.9K
17. when is father's day 2021 710.5K 1.2M
18. how to delete instagram account 673.0K 673.0K
19. what is my ip 673.0K 673.0K
20. why are flags at half mast today 562.0K 404.8K
21. how many ounces in a pound 550.0K 550.0K
22. what time is it in california 550.0K 550.0K
23. what song is this 550.0K 591.0K
24. when is mothers day 2021 550.0K 372.7K
25. what lies below 545.3K 383.7K
26. how old is bernie sanders 500.0K 483.3K
27. what time is it in australia 500.0K 415.3K
28. what time is it in arizona 500.0K 415.3K
29. how old is queen elizabeth 479.0K 374.3K
30. how to lose weight fast 450.0K 450.0K
31. how many grams in an ounce 450.0K 450.0K
32. is today a holiday 450.0K 450.0K
33. when is the next full moon 450.0K 450.0K
34. who is kits mom bachelor 441.8K 441.8K
35. when will senate vote on stimulus 428.1K 296.4K
36. is ariana grande married 416.5K 332.6K
37. how long to boil eggs 409.0K 395.3K
38. how many cups in a quart 409.0K 395.3K
39. how old is donald trump 409.0K 422.7K
40. how many quarts in a gallon 409.0K 395.3K
41. how to tie a tie 409.0K 395.3K
42. how many oz in a gallon 368.0K 368.0K
43. how many liters in a gallon 368.0K 395.3K
44. what is the weather today 368.0K 368.0K
45. when is easter 366.8K 255.5K
46. how did dmx die 356.8K 246.9K
47. when does the senate vote on stimulus 343.9K 234.2K
48. what day is mother's day 334.5K 227.0K
49. what is mean in math 334.5K 259.7K
50. what time is it in hawaii 334.5K 345.7K
51. how many seconds in a day 307.0K 249.7K
52. how many cups in a gallon 301.0K 301.0K
53. how many tablespoons in a cup 301.0K 301.0K
54. how many teaspoons in a tablespoon 301.0K 282.7K
55. how many feet in a mile 301.0K 301.0K
56. when calls the heart 301.0K 225.3K
57. when are taxes due 301.0K 203.4K
58. why are flags at half mast 292.5K 208.5K
59. what is memorial day 288.6K 203.4K
60. is jennifer love hewitt on 911 really pregnant 281.1K 281.1K
61. what is critical race theory 280.0K 593.3K
62. where is sugar bowl 2021 280.0K 186.7K
63. did dmx die 277.7K 186.1K
64. what is april 24277.7K 185.8K
65. how many square feet in an acre 273.5K 249.3K
66. how much house can i afford 273.5K 264.3K
67. what time is the super bowl 2021 270.3K 180.2K
68. how old is joe biden 266.5K 300.3K
69. when does summer start 266.5K 300.3K
70. when is easter 2021 262.0K 188.2K
71. what time is the kentucky derby 2021249.8K 166.7K
72. how many steps in a mile 246.0K 246.0K
73. how many people are in the world 246.0K 231.0K
74. how many ounces in a quart 246.0K 246.0K
75. how many oz in a cup 246.0K 246.0K
76. how to screenshot on windows 246.0K 231.0K
77. how to write a check 246.0K 246.0K
78. what time does walmart close 246.0K 264.3K
79. what time is it in the uk 246.0K 246.0K
80. what is the weather 246.0K 231.0K
81. what is today 246.0K 246.0K
82. what is cinco de mayo 245.3K 166.8K
83. how to boil eggs 233.0K 210.3K
84. how to buy safemoon 233.0K 166.4K
85. what is cryptocurrency 233.0K192.0K
86. which wich 233.0K 222.3K
87. what happened to dmx 230.0K 156.0K
88. who is the most powerful doctor in the world 229.3K 158.9K
89. what did meyers leonard say 225.0K 225.0K
90. how to solve a rubik's cube 223.5K 231.0K
91. how to take a screenshot on a mac 223.5K 216.0K
92. how many grams in a pound 223.5K 216.0K
93. where am i right now 223.5K 231.0K
94. who is the richest person in the world 223.5K 204.0K
95. what is ramadann 221.0K 152.3K
96. where is my stimulus check 218.0K 170.0K
97. what is non binary 214.3K 197.8K
98. how to hard boil eggs 205.5K 173.7K
99. is reddit down 205.5K 237.3K
100. how many days in a year 201.0K 189.0K
Don't forget to share this post!
Think of your social media content strategy as your blueprint for your business's success across social platforms. If you don't take the time to put together a solid strategy, you will find that your social efforts lack direction and don't deliver the results you expect to see.
You need to dedicate the time and resources to plan your approach, map out exactly what you want to achieve, how you will get there, and how you will measure the impact that your efforts have on your goals.
But it isn't always easy to know where to start, especially if you have never put one together before.
In this guide, we will walk you through a proven 7-step process to developing a social content strategy from scratch, specifically looking at:
Continue reading, and you will learn a simple but effective process that you can use to plan your social content and take your growth from your chosen platforms to the next level.
Why You Need a Social Media Content Strategy? Strategy is underrated.
Sure, you might get away with posting something every day on your social channels without ever giving much thought to what you are posting, or more importantly, why.
But this isn't going to drive growth or real, impactful results.
You will not acquire new fans and followers or convince these individuals to visit your website or convert into a customer or client by blindly posting whatever you feel like pushing out that day. That is just not how it works.
You need to know what you want to achieve to figure out how you will get there. And this is what a strategy is.
When you can craft a strategy that maps out the route you need to take to meet your goals, your chance of achieving these massively increases. It also helps everyone involved to focus their efforts, something that, in itself, can help to improve performance and returns.
Social media should be a channel that drives sales and inquiries; it is not just a vanity channel. But for this to happen, you need to have a strategy that everyone on your marketing team works towards.
How to Develop a Social Content Strategy in 7 Simple Steps
The reality is that developing a social content strategy is easier than you probably think.
And following a proven process can help you define your goals, create and publish content to a schedule that is right for your audience, and measure your efforts' impact.
Keep reading to learn how you can do this in just 7 simple steps, including a look at the tools you should be using to make the whole process that little bit easier.
1. Setting Goals for Your ContentHave you ever heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals?
It is important that you start creating every strategy by knowing what you want to achieve, as this will help shape the path you take to make this happen. Otherwise, you are working blindly. And that is not very strategic at all.
Without goals and KPIs, you will also not be able to measure the effectiveness of your efforts.
Setting goals is all about having an indicator of success that allows you to determine your social strategy's ROI.
If you are not familiar with S.M.A.R.T goals, these are goals that are:
Your social content strategy should start with goal-setting, as this is something that will help to shape the following steps in the process.
Having clearly defined goals means that you can align every piece of content, and every post that you publish, with these.
2. Know The Profile of Your Audience and When You Should Post
Knowing your audience's profile means that you can tailor your content to talk directly to these people.
After all, taking a targeted approach is almost always more effective than trying to engage too wide of an audience with a single strategy.
Knowing the times when your audience is the most active on each channel can also help you to generate an increased level of engagement by sharing your content at the right time. And the great news is that you can gain these insights from your main social channels.
Facebook Insights provides an absolutely phenomenal amount of data on your audience, and if you are not already using this to inform your social efforts, then you need to dive deep into the tool.
Head to your Facebook Business Page, and you will see an 'Insights' tab on the left-hand menu:
From here, you can gain a wealth of data around the performance of your page. But, for the purpose of putting together a solid strategy, you need to head to the 'people' tab where you can see information around who your key audience is:
Next, head then to the 'posts' tab to gain an understanding of the times and days when your audience is most likely to be online:
Unfortunately, Twitter deprecated its powerful audience insights dashboard earlier this year. However, you can still use the Analytics tool to gain some insights into your own Tweets' performance.
Head to Twitter Analytics and hit the 'Tweets' button at the top of the page:
On this page, you can see the days when your recent Tweets have performed the best:
While this isn't as useful as Facebook Insights, it can help you to spot patterns of the days when your Tweets are the most likely to perform to the best of their potential. We will have some upcoming tips on how to get more insights on each of the social platforms.
If you are a B2B marketer, LinkedIn can give you a phenomenal amount of insights about your audience and those who follow your company page.
Head to the 'analytics' tab on your company page dashboard and navigate to 'Followers.'
From here, you can access insights on:
However, when it comes to understanding your audience, the 'follower demographics' section is insanely valuable, helping you to understand the exact profile of those who follow your page.
You can also gain insights into your audience on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. However, the most powerful insights are those that we have walked through above.
3. Choose the Right Social Platform(s)You don't have to use every available social platform.
Let's repeat that — you don't have to use every available social platform.
In most instances, it makes sense to focus your efforts on the platforms where your audience is active and likely to engage with your business, rather than spreading your time and content too thinly across every available platform.
You will no doubt already have a good idea, by this stage, as to the platforms where your audience is the most active, but we recommend choosing a couple of these and executing a really solid strategy.
Trust us when we say that you will see far better results doing this than trying to be present everywhere.
As a general rule of thumb:
Facebook is effective for both B2B and B2C businesses, with support for a whole load of different content formats, ad targeting options, and users. There are very few businesses that should not include Facebook as one of their core channels.
Twitter isn't for every business, due to the platform's fast-moving nature and the fact that it is still very much based around a simple Tweet format. However, it is the perfect customer service platform for businesses that deal with high volumes of support and service queries.
LinkedIn is perfect for B2B service businesses and is the perfect place to position individuals and companies as experts through a content strategy based on thought leadership and a strong focus on editorial content.
Pinterest is a favorite amongst eCommerce retailers and owners of businesses that are easily promoted visually.
YouTube is the world's second-largest search engine, and pretty much all sectors can benefit from the platform. However, you need to be prepared to consistently publish engaging video content, something that not all businesses are set up to do.
Instagram is often the first or second-choice platform for B2C businesses that have access to (or can take) engaging photos and images and engage their audience. It is usually of lesser-importance to B2B businesses.
TikTok is the newcomer to the social scene, and there are plenty of examples of brands winning big on the platform, but the format and nature of the content isn't for everyone. It is perfect for lifestyle-focused B2C brands.
4. Plan Social Content and Choose Formats
Once you have chosen the main social platforms that you are going to focus your efforts upon, you need to plan out your content and the formats that you are going to create.
And our guide on 15 Social Media Content Types (with examples for ideas and inspiration) is a great starting point to inspire you to create awesome content that resonates with your audience.
A great starting point is to map out the key messages that you want to share with your audience (ideally mixing sales-focused product or service posts with educational, information, or inspirational content), alongside the formats that you can create content around.
You need to balance different formats to ensure you are getting your key message across effectively, and some of the more popular ones that we recommend include:
Don't rely on a single content format if you truly want to drive engagement from your audience, but be sure to balance the time needed to produce each different piece with the importance of maintaining a consistent publishing schedule.
5. Create a Content Calendar
Once you have started planning out your content, you need to set up a content calendar that your team can use for organizational purposes.
And this is important for a simple reason; it keeps you accountable.
Once you have set a publishing schedule and mapped it out on a content calendar, you have made a commitment. And this is often what is needed to keep your efforts focused and on track. It also helps you work with other teams to complete goals.
For example, if you know in 2 weeks, you are launching a new campaign and need graphics, your content team and graphics teams can both view the calendar and ensure tasks are done on time.
And creating a content calendar couldn't be easier to assign your social content with your wider digital marketing campaign:
Just make sure to keep your calendar updated so your whole team can use it as a reference point.
Get into the habit of adding in your planned social content and sticking to it; this is often the motivation that most marketers need to keep on track.
And let's not forget that committing to regular social publishing is one of the main drivers of success. It is hard to stick to, and very few do. But this means that those who keep on track are typically the ones who gain a competitive advantage.
In terms of how frequently you should be posting on each platform, we recommend a baseline schedule that looks like this (depending on the platforms you are using):
6. Publishing Your Content
Publishing your content on social media can be a time-consuming task.
And that's why many marketers choose to schedule their content in advance, making it easier to block out time each week to create your content and have it automatically post across your platforms at the time that you deem to be the most impactful.
Start by connecting your chosen social networks:
Once you have connected your channels, you will be able to schedule posts across each of these to have shares go out at your chosen time.
We recommend setting aside a regular time in your calendar each week to schedule your social content for the coming days. Again, this keeps you focused and on track to consistent publishing.
7. Analyze and Measure Your Content's PerformanceRemember the goals you set when mapping out your strategy?
You need to track your content's performance against those goals; otherwise, you won't know how successful your efforts are. But how you track this very much depends upon the goals that you set.
We talked about ensuring that each goal is measurable, and this is where you should have identified what you will measure success as and how you will do it.
If you have set a benchmark for your performance, you can easily identify which posts are exceeding this.
We recommend analyzing the performance of your social efforts on a weekly basis and measuring these against the goals and KPIs that you set.
If you are on your way to achieving your goals, great. If not, a weekly check-in on progress means you are able to make adjustments and improvements to your strategy to get things back on track.
Don't underestimate the power of putting together a solid social content strategy.
It is your roadmap to success, and having a clear plan of action that can be communicated across your team and key stakeholders and time invested in putting this together is time well spent.
Just be sure to follow a clear process, know your goals and checkpoints, and maintain a consistent approach to publishing great content!
Don't forget to share this post!
Brands need a video marketing strategy — this idea isn't new. What has changed is how important video has become on every platform and channel.
Video is no longer just one piece of your overall marketing plan. It's central to your outreach and campaign efforts … especially your social strategy.
Video has absolutely dominated social. Swift Digital Marketing Research shows that four of the top six channels on which global consumers watch video are social channels.
Why is this important? If you aren't creating video, you're likely falling behind. But don't fret. For most videos, the more simple and raw it is, the more authentic the content seems … and that's what really matters to your audience.
Better yet, video production is more cost-effective than ever — you can shoot in high-quality, 4K video with your smartphone.
Regardless, between camera equipment to lighting to editing software, the topic of video marketing can still seem pretty complicated. That's why we compiled this guide.
Continue reading learn everything you need to know about video marketing strategy, or use the links below to jump to a specific section.
Video marketing is using videos to promote and market your product or service, increase engagement on your digital and social channels, educate your consumers and customers, and reach your audience with a new medium.
Why should you focus on video marketing today?
The last handful of years saw a surge in the popularity of video as a content marketing format.
Specifically, in 2017, video rise to the top of your marketing tactic list. Video as a tactic was likely streamlined by your creative team as a one-to-many awareness play, with lots of focus on expensive production and little analysis to show for it.
2018 and 2019 transformed video from a singular marketing tactic to an entire business strategy.
Today, video is a holistic business approach, meaning video content should be produced by all teams in a conversational, actionable, and measurable way.
More than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands … more than any other type of content.
Video on landing pages is capable of increasing conversion rates by over 80%, and the mere mention of the word “video” in your email subject line increases open rates by 19%. 90% of customers also say videos help them make buying decisions.
But video hasn't only transformed how businesses market and consumers shop; it's also revolutionized how salespeople connect with and convert prospects and how service teams support and delight customers. In short, video is incredibly useful throughout the entire flywheel — not just to heighten brand awareness.
Video can be a versatile tool for salespeople throughout the entire customer buying journey, and it can do much more than increase engagement. Backend analytics also help salespeople qualify and prioritize cold or unresponsive leads.
According to Gary Stevens, head of research at HostingCanada.org, "retargeting our website visitors on social media has led to a 47% increase in visitor value site-wide." The granularity of video analytics on platforms like Facebook is one reason why, in 2018, 93% of businesses reported getting a new customer on social media thanks to video.
The options are also endless for service teams — onboarding videos, knowledge-based videos, meet the team videos, support video calls, and customer stories are just a few ways that video can create a more thorough, personalized customer support experience.
Lastly, according to Swift Research, consumers and customers actually prefer lower quality, “authentic” video over high-quality video that seems artificial and inauthentic.
Video is within reach for businesses of virtually any size — team and budget alike. 45% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content strategy in the next year. Will you join them?
The 12 Types of Marketing Videos
Before you begin filming, you first need to determine the type of video(s) you want to create. Check out this list to better understand your options.
1. Demo Videos
Demo videos showcase how your product works — whether that's taking viewers on a tour of your software and how it can be used or unboxing and putting a physical product to the test.
2. Brand Videos
Brand videos are typically created as a part of a larger advertising campaign, showcasing the company's high-level vision, mission, or products and services.
The goal of brand videos is to build awareness around your company and to intrigue and attract your target audience.
3. Event Videos
Is your business hosting a conference, round table discussion, fundraiser, or another type of event? Produce a highlight reel or release interesting interviews and presentations from the gathering.
4. Expert Interviews
Capturing interviews with internal experts or thought leaders in your industry is a great way to build trust and authority with your target audience. Find the influencers in your industry — whether they share your point-of-view or not — get these discussions in front of your audience.
The video above is more than just a surface-level interview, it's a deep-dive with an industry expert offering concrete takeaways for viewers interested in creating viral content. Don't be afraid to get tactical with your interviews — your audience will grow from your hard work.
5. Educational or How-To Videos
Instructional videos can be used to teach your audience something new or build the foundational knowledge they'll need to better understand your business and solutions. These videos can also be used by your sales and service teams as they work with customers.
6. Explainer Videos
This type of video is used to help your audience better understand why they need your product or service. Many explainer videos focus on a fictional journey of the company's core buyer persona who is struggling with a problem. This person overcomes the issue by adopting or buying the business's solution.
7. Animated Videos
Animated videos can be a great format for hard-to-grasp concepts that need strong visuals or to explain an abstract service or product.
8. Case Study and Customer Testimonial
Your prospects want to know that your product can (and will) solve their specific problem. One of the best ways to prove this is by creating case study videos that feature your satisfied, loyal customers. These folks are your best advocates. Get them on-camera describing their challenges and how your company helped solve them.
9. Live Videos
Live video gives your viewers a special, behind-the-scenes look at your company. It also draws longer streams and higher engagement rates — viewers spend up to 8.1x longer with live video than with video-on-demand. Live-stream interviews, presentations, and events, and encourage viewers to comment with questions.
10. 360° & Virtual Reality Videos
With 360° videos, viewers “scroll” around to see content from every angle — as if they were physically standing within the content. This spherical video style allows viewers to experience a location or event, such as exploring Antarctica or meeting a hammerhead shark. Virtual reality (VR) allows viewers to navigate and control their experience. These videos are usually viewed through devices such as Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard.
11. Augmented Reality (AR) VideosIn this style video, a digital layer is added to what you are currently viewing in the world. For example, you can point your phone's camera at your living room and AR would allow you to see how a couch would look in the space. The IKEA Place app is a great example of this.
12. Personalized Messages
Video can be a creative way to continue a conversation or respond to someone via email or text. Use videos to record yourself recapping an important meeting or giving personalized recommendations. These videos create a delightful, unique moment for your prospects and can drive them further down the purchase journey.
How to Make a Video for Your Business
There's a lot that goes into making a video. This section will walk you through the detailed process of creating and publishing a video for your business. Grab your camera and follow along.
1. Plan your video.
Before you set up, record, or edit anything, start with a conversation about the purpose of your video. Why? Every decision made during the video creation process will point back to your video's purpose and what action you'd like your audience to complete after watching it.
And, of course, without a clear purpose agreed upon by your team, you'll find yourself in a whirlwind of re-shooting, re-framing, editing … and wasting a lot of precious time.
There are typically a lot of players when making a video. How can you ensure they're all aligned?
Create a questionnaire using Google Forms or SurveyMonkey and pass it along to the stakeholders of the project. This way, you can ask the same questions of everyone and aggregate your answers in one place.
Who's your target audience?
What buyer persona are you targeting? This may be a segment of your company's typical buyer persona.
What's the goal?
Is it to increase brand awareness? Sell more event tickets? Launch a new product? Ultimately, what do you want your audience to do after watching the video?
Where's the video going to live?
On Facebook? Behind a landing page form? You should begin with one target location — where you know your audience will discover the video — before repurposing it for other channels.
What are the creative requirements?
With your budget, skills, and resources in mind, think about the creative roadblocks that might arise. Do you need a designer to create lower third graphics? Are you going to create an animated video or a live-action video?
What will constitute success for the video?
Choose several key performance indicators that correspond with your video goals — or hop down to the chapter in this guide on measuring and analyzing video.
2. Script your video.
There's a time and place for videos to be off-the-cuff and completely unscripted. You have tear-jerking documentaries, vlogging rants, and, of course, the holy grail: cat videos.
That being said, most business videos need a script.
If you skip this step, you'll find yourself editing more than you need to, releasing a video longer than it should be, and probably losing your audience along the way.
Start writing your script the way you would begin a blog post — with an outline. List out your key points and order them logically.
Do all of your drafting in Google Docs to promote collaboration and real-time commenting. Use the “Insert > Table” function to adopt one of television's traditional script-writing practices: the two-column script. Write your audio (script) in the left column and insert matching visual ideas in the right column.
Don't make the viewer wait until the final seconds to understand the purpose of your video … we promise they won't stick around. Similar to a piece of journalistic writing, include a hook near the beginning that states the purpose of the video, especially for educational and explainer videos.
Notice, in our example below, that we don't let the audience get past the second sentence without understanding what the video will be about.
As you begin creating videos, you'll notice a key difference between video scripts and your typical business blog post — the language. Video language should be relaxed, clear, and conversational. Avoid using complex sentence structures and eloquent clauses. Instead, connect with your audience by writing in first person and using visual language. Keep the language concise, but avoid jargon and buzzwords.
Following the “Little-Known Instagram Hacks” example, note how a section from the original blog post could be transformed for video by using fewer words and relying on visuals.
Most video scripts are short … probably shorter than you think. Keep a script timer handy to check your script length as you write and edit. For example, a 350-word script equates to a video that is nearly 2 minutes long.
Words on paper sound a lot different than they do when read out loud. That's why we encourage organizing a table read of your script before you start filming. The point of a table read is to smooth out the kinks of the script and nail down inflection points.
Have a few people (writer and talent included) gather around a table with their laptops and read the script multiple times through. If you accidentally say a line different than what the script prescribes, think about why and consider changing the language to make it sound more natural.
3. Understand your camera(s).Too often the fear and uncertainty of equipment keep businesses from trying out video marketing. But learning to shoot video doesn't have to be overwhelming.
It's likely you have a great, easy-to-use camera right in your pocket: your iPhone.
Shooting with Your iPhoneBefore filming with your iPhone, ensure your device has enough storage. Also, don't forget to enable your iPhone's Do Not Disturb feature to avoid distracting notifications while filming.
Once you open the iPhone's camera, flip your phone horizontally to create the best possible viewing experience. Then, move close enough to your subject so you don't have to use the zoom feature — it often makes the final video look pixelated and blurry.
Shooting with Prosumer and Professional Cameras
While iPhones are great for filming on the fly or becoming acclimated with video, at some point you may feel ready to graduate up to the next model. With all the digital cameras on the market, there are a ton of choices to pick from. Below we've identified a few options to simplify your search.
The first choice you make will be between purchasing a “prosumer” camera and a professional camera.
Prosumer cameras are considered the bridge between basic compact cameras and more advanced cameras. They're perfect for someone interested in creating more video but want the option to just press record. Most have a fixed lens to keep things simple.
Professional cameras, like DSLRs, give you fine control over the manual settings of shooting video and allow you to achieve the shallow depth of field (background out of focus) that people rave about. While they're primarily used for photography, DSLRs are incredibly small, work great in low light situations, and pair with a wide range of lenses — making them perfect for video. However, DSLRs do require some training (and additional purchases) of lenses.
ApertureAperture refers to the size of the opening in the lens. Like a human eye, a lens opens and closes to control the amount of light reaching the sensor. Aperture is measured in what's called an f-stop. The smaller the f-stop number, the more open the lens is, while a larger number means the lens is more closed.
This is where you can begin to see how the three factors of the Exposure Triangle work together. When you have a low-lit situation, for example, you may choose a lens that can shoot with a low f-stop to let more light into the camera and avoid making the shot too noisy with a high ISO.
If you're just starting out with manual video settings, don't be overwhelmed. Understanding the ins and outs of the Exposure Triangle takes time and a lot of practice. Here are two tips to beat the learning curve:
While aperture, shutter speed, and ISO may be the three main pillars of manual photography and videography, there is a fourth piece of the puzzle that's just as important: white balance.
White balance tells your camera the color temperature of the environment you're shooting in. Different types of light have different colors. For example, incandescent bulbs (like what many people put in a lamp) have a very warm color. The fluorescent lights (if you're reading this in an office, look up) are a little bit cooler. Daylight is cooler yet. Before you begin shooting, you have to adjust your camera's white balance according to your setup.
To help you understand the importance of setting your white balance, consider the difference between these two photos. The environment is lit with yellow fluorescent lights. You can see how the appropriate setting looks natural, while the daylight setting adds a blue tint to the scene.
Focus isn't one of the key settings of shooting, but it's definitely important to keep in mind. With a DSLR, you have the option to shoot with autofocus or manual focus. It depends on the camera and lens you have, but typically autofocus is not the most accurate.
4. Set up your studio.
When you begin building your in-office studio, the purchases can add up quickly. Not only do you need a camera, but the more you read, the more you realize you need tripods, lights, microphones, and more.
Take a breath. With a little bit of know-how, building your studio doesn't have to be overwhelming. There are plenty of cost-effective choices and DIY hacks to make sure your videos look top-of-the-line.
Always shoot with a tripod. It should go without saying, but the handheld method you use for your Snapchat story isn't going to cut it. Tripods will ensure you maintain a steady shot and not break any expensive equipment in the process.
Along with the tripod, stock up on camera batteries and SD cards. Recording video will cause you to run through both much quicker than taking photos.
If you've begun testing out your camera's video capabilities, you've probably noticed that it has an internal microphone to record audio … don't use it.
If you set up your camera at a reasonable distance from your subject, you'll quickly learn that the internal microphone isn't powerful enough to adequately record audio. Instead, you should begin investing in a few pieces of quality sound equipment.
When you're shooting with your iPhone, there are a ton of microphone options that are all easy to use and decently cheap. For example, the Movo MA200 Omni-Directional iPhone microphone will give you a plug-and-play solution for capturing audio on the fly.
Opinions vary greatly among sound engineers on the best method and equipment for recording audio with a DSLR. You've likely seen many videos that use a lavalier microphone — the small piece that clips below the collar of the talent's shirt.
Lavaliers come in both wired and wireless options. However, lavaliers can be a bit obtrusive both for the talent (who has to have a wire threaded down his or her shirt) and for the viewer (who has to see a microphone for the whole video).
Instead, if you know you're recording in a controlled environment (like a conference room in your office) we suggest recording with a shotgun mic. They're reliable, remain out of the shot, and record background noise in a natural-sounding way.
The Zoom recorder will allow you to record audio separately on an SD card and adjust the gain for the environment you're shooting in.
5. Prepare your talent.
If you have experienced, confident actors in your company, you're lucky. Video talent is a rare resource. But with a little bit of coaching (and a fair share of nervous laughter), you can help your teammates thrive in front of the camera.
No matter if it's your first video or your fiftieth, remember that getting in front of the camera is scary. Schedule plenty of time and give your talent the script early — but make it clear they don't need to memorize it.
Instead, place a laptop below the eye-line of the camera. Break the script into short paragraphs and record it section by section until you capture a great take of each. If you plan in advance when the final video will show b-roll (supplementary footage or screenshots), you can have your talent read those lines directly off the laptop like a voice over.
During the shoot, your job goes beyond pressing record. First and foremost, you need to be a coach. Balance critical feedback with support and be quick to give encouragement after each take. This is why conducting a table read during the scripting process is so important: It's easier to give feedback when there's not a camera in the room. Remember, be a little silly during the shoot or your talent will be on edge and uncomfortable — and it will show in the footage.
But while you're maintaining the fun level on set, remain vigilant. It's your job to pay attention to the little things, like making sure all of the mics are on or noticing if the lighting changes. Record each section many times and have your talent play with inflections. When you think they've nailed the shot … get just one more. At this point, your talent is already on a roll, and options will help tremendously during editing.
Finally, circle back to the beginning of the script at the end of your recording. Chances are your subject got more comfortable throughout the shoot. Since the beginning is often the most crucial part of the video, record that section again when they're feeling the most confident.
There are some films that are simply beautiful. It's not the story or even the picturesque setting. In fact, the scene might take place in the dingiest of sets, but somehow each shot just feels right.
That's the power of composition. When objects appear where they should in the frame, the quality of your video increases exponentially.
For video, the rules of composition are similar to what you may have learned in a photography or art class. First, consider the rule of thirds — the idea that you can create a sense of balance by imagining the canvas with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. Key elements should occur at the intersection of these lines.
For example, if you are shooting an interview or a how-to video, the subject's eyes should align with the top horizontal line around one of the two intersections. For this “talking head” shot, you can also improve your composition by leaving enough (but not too much) headroom. This is the empty space above the person's head.
One of the best ways to improve the look of your video is to include b-roll. B-roll is the supplementary footage included as a cutaway. This might include shots of a customer service rep talking on a phone, a designer editing your website, visuals of your office, or even screenshots of your product. The key with b-roll is to make sure each and every piece enhances the story.
When you're collecting b-roll, include a mix of shots from varying angles and distances. In fact, film professionals use different names to describe these variations.
As practice, try telling a story with your b-roll and planning out a shot sequence. For example, your subject might open a door from the hallway, walk into their office space, sit down at their desk, open their laptop, and begin typing. Seems simple, right? But a shot sequence showing this 10-second scenario might consist of six or more different b-roll clips.
Here's where the final lesson of composition comes in: continuity.
Continuity is the process of combining shots into a sequence so that they appear to have happened at the same time and place. A key part of continuity is making sure any ancillary objects in the scene — for example, a cup of water on a desk — stay in the same place (and have the same amount of water) throughout all of the shots.
The other part of learning continuity is match on action. For the scene described above, you'd want to record the subject opening the door and walking in from both inside and outside the room. In post-production, you could then flip between the clips at the exact right time to make the cut seamless.
6. Shoot for the edit.
When it comes to video, some are better at shooting while others are better at editing. Whatever side you claim, you should understand the process and pain points of each.
For instance, as the person behind the camera, you may believe you collect ample footage and ask all the right interview questions. But to the editor, you may actually be shooting too much of one type of shot and missing out on some that would make their job easier.
Filmmakers teach a valuable lesson here: shoot for the edit. By remembering that the footage you record will be edited later, you can make smarter decisions and save countless hours in the editing room.
The first step in adopting a shoot-for-the-edit mindset is remembering to leave a buffer at the beginning and the end of each clip. There are called handles and can save editors from the headache of cutting too close to an important shot.
In the section on preparing talent, we discussed how to record your script in short sections. If the editor were to stitch these sections together side-by-side, the subject's face and hands might abruptly switch between clips. This is called a jump cut, and for editors, it poses an interesting challenge. Thankfully, this is where b-roll comes in handy, to mask these jump cuts.
Example of a jump cut
As a producer, your job is to capture plenty of b-roll to make sure your editor never runs out. Create a shot list of more b-roll ideas than you think you'll need and mark them off as you record them.
To mask jump cuts, you can also shoot with two cameras, especially if you're recording an interview without a script. Camera A would be the traditional, straight-on shot. Camera B should be angled 30 to 45-degrees to the side and capture a distinctly different shot. The editor could then flip between these two views to make the cut appear natural.
A note about shooting with two cameras: Your editor will need to sync the footage between the different views. To help them do this, clap your hands loudly in the view of both cameras right before you ask the first interview question … yes, just like an old fashion clapboard. Modern editing software has auto-sync features, but this loud clap will help you initially line up the clips.
Finally, mark your good clips. Even if you're recording a scripted video, you might have to record each section 10 or more times. Once your subject nails the take, wave your hand in front of the lens. That way, the editor can scrub directly to this visual cue and save time on footage review.
7. Organize your footage.
Yes, file organization is boring. But when video editing, it just might save your project.
On your external hard drive, you should create a separate top-level folder for each project. Within this folder, there should be a prescribed set of “buckets” to store your video footage, audio, design assets, and more. Create a template project folder that you can copy and paste for each project using the image below as a guide.
When you import your footage from your camera, place it in the “footage” folder on your hard drive.
Even with a perfectly organized external hard drive, you're not yet out of the weeds. You need to back up your files (and maybe even back up your backup files). It's not uncommon to have an external hard drive for everyday work, another external for backups, and a third set of backups in the cloud via Dropbox or Google Drive.
8. Edit your video.
Okay, you've filmed your video footage. Congrats — you're halfway there!
Now it's time to talk about editing. We get it, video editing can be confusing. It's easy to feel overwhelmed at first, especially when you see software price tags! Luckily, there are many options for video editing based on your skill level, operating system, and budget. There are even free programs and mobile apps! Let's go over a few options.
Intermediate: Apple iMovie
iMovie is Apple's video editing software. Compatible with Macs and other iOS devices, iMovie is simple, user-friendly, and free on all Apple products. iMovie allows you to create and edit your videos by cutting together clips, adding titles, music, sound effects, basic color correction, filters, and special effects.
The program even provides helpful templates that simplify the editing process. The platform supports high-quality clips like 4K video footage and makes it easy to share your work directly to a video hosting platform. Limited access to advanced color correction and editing features mean it isn't commonly used by professionals, but iMovie is still a great option if you're just starting out.
Advanced: Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro is a leading video editing software program used by amateurs and professionals alike. With a customizable interface and numerous advanced editing tools, the platform is often called the industry standard for video editing and has been used to edit major Hollywood movies like Gone Girl and Deadpool.
Premiere makes it easy to collaborate with other editors, organize your material, and sync with other programs in the Adobe suite like After Effects and Photoshop. The platform supports high-quality footage (4K and higher) and includes advanced, built-in color correction and grading tools that set it apart from cheaper or free options like iMovie.
The only downside to Premiere is the cost. A year-long subscription to the latest Premiere Pro CC comes in around $240. If you're new to video editing, you may want to experiment with a cheaper option like iMovie or Adobe Premiere Elements before investing in the Premiere Pro. On the fence? Check out some Adobe Premiere Pro tutorials here.
9. Choose your music.
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about video? I'm guessing the actual video footage. While it's important to concentrate on your video footage, don't forget to factor music into your overall plan and budget.
Music is a powerful tool that can alter your video's mood and tone — just watch the videos above! Choosing the right music often makes the difference between an amateur project and a professional piece of content. When used properly, it can help keep your viewer's attention, evoke emotions, and define your overall editing style.
Next, consider your audience and the overall mood for your production. Are you targeting a small audience that will appreciate the newest, underground hip-hop track, or do you need something that will appeal to many demographics? Are you creating a practical product tutorial or an upbeat event recap? Be sure to choose music that enhances the overall tone of your video.
In addition to considering your audience, be sure to contemplate the purpose of the music. Do you need background music or something with real impact? Will you be narrating or speaking in the video? If so, don't let the music get in the way of your content. Sometimes the best music is the music you don't remember at all.
After you've determined the type of music you need, it's time to start analyzing potential songs. Consider the song's pacing. Songs with a steady rhythm are easy to change to suit your video style. Hoping to include your favorite, Top 40 hit?
Try to choose simple songs that are easy to loop. If you're looking for an instrumental song, be sure to find something that was recorded with real instruments. Songs made with digital samples can make your video feel unprofessional and out of date.
Finally, consider adding intro and outro music. Intro and outro music, or bookends, can serve as a theme for your content. These are a great choice if you don't need music throughout your entire video. Bookend music can help set the tone for your video, naturally split your content into chapters, and leave your viewers feeling they had a complete experience.
While some videos feel unfinished without background music, others just need a few tunes to tie the project together. Pay attention to videos that have a similar style to see how others utilize music.
10. Record your voice over.
You have your video footage and music — now it's time to chat about voice overs. A voice over is the separate video narration that's not spoken by the speaker on-camera. Voice overs are an effective tool that can help make your content more relatable, emotional, and fluid.
It's important to remember that video audio is just as important as video visuals. The good news is that you don't have to be the next Don LaFontaine or hire a professional to record a great voice over. Below are a few tips to capture audio on a budget.
You're ready to publish your video. You shot the footage, edited it together, added music and a voice over, and exported it for the web. Now it's time to get your video online so your audience can start viewing, sharing, and engaging with it.
You have several options for hosting videos online, and in this section, we'll talk about some of the best ones.
YouTubeWhen you ask your friends which online video platform they use, the answer you probably hear the most is YouTube.
YouTube is the largest video hosting platform and the second largest search platform and second most visited website — both after Google.
Every single day, people watch over five billion videos on YouTube. It's also free to upload your videos to YouTube and optimize them for search.
In addition to its massive audience, YouTube offers several other features that make the platform a good option for hosting your video. Because YouTube videos are hosted on individual channels, the platform allows you to build a dedicated audience of subscribers. Users who follow your channel are more likely to see additional videos you upload.
Within your channel itself, you can also organize videos into playlists, making it easy for your audience to search within your content.
As a social platform, viewers can engage with your videos by liking and commenting on them, providing you another chance to interact with your audience. YouTube also offers a variety of advertising options for more sophisticated targeting.
Although YouTube offers the benefit of reaching a large audience with no cost to upload and host videos, there are several downsides to the platform. While video ads can be a great tool for promoting your own content, the number of ads on the platform from other advertisers can detract from your viewer's experience.
YouTube is also (surprise, surprise!) highly addicting. 83% of viewers prefer YouTube over any other video platform. Once viewers are on the platform, they usually stick around to watch another video … or 20. This can make it difficult to drive traffic back to your site from the platform. Despite these barriers, YouTube is a great platform for hosting videos and growing your audience.
VimeoIf your friends didn't answer your earlier question with “YouTube” then they most likely responded with Vimeo, the second largest video hosting platform.
Vimeo's audience is significantly smaller (715 million monthly views) than YouTube's, but there are still many benefits that make it a favorite for content creators and viewers alike.
Among these is a simpler, cleaner, user interface that makes it easier to navigate the platform. Unlike YouTube, Vimeo has very limited ads and commercials that would otherwise detract from your viewers' experience. Videos on Vimeo also tend to be higher quality than on YouTube, and the audience on the platform is likely to be more professional.
Vimeo offers several different premium account options to better suit businesses. The premium accounts provide additional storage, advanced analytics, customer support, player customization, access to lead generation tools, and much more. In addition to premium accounts, Vimeo also partners with businesses to produce quality marketing content.
If you're looking to showcase high quality, artistic content, Vimeo might be the platform for you. Its engaged audience and beautiful aesthetic make it a great place to host creative videos. However, if you're focused on quantity over quality and increasing your reach, you may want to explore other platform options.
Vidyard is a video hosting platform built specifically for businesses. It's not just another option to store and manage your videos; instead, it allows you to become a fully video-enabled business. Here's what we mean.
These days, we know posting your video to YouTube isn't enough. You need channel-specific video content for Facebook and Instagram, not to mention for your website. Enter: Vidyard. The platform allows you to publish and update to all of these places from a central location.
From this portal, you'll find all sorts of viewer insights. Discover what types of video content your audience likes and how they watch their videos. Then, channel those insights directly into your marketing automation software or CRM. For example, if that prospect you've been monitoring views your latest case study video, you'll be notified straight away.
One of the coolest features of Vidyard is the ability to personalize videos with the viewer's name or company directly in the video design. This is a creative addition as you begin working video into your marketing and sales strategies.
How to Create a Video Social Media StrategyWe've learned how to create high-quality videos for your business. Now, let's make sure those videos fit within each social network's best practices.
Creating and posting videos on social media should always help you drive toward your existing marketing goals.
For example, if your goal is to get more people to download an ebook, you could create a short teaser or how-to video and post the full link to the ebook's landing page in the copy of your social post.
Let's drill down into best practices for each social network.
Promote a new blog post, engage with your audience, or even drive viewers to a landing page with Twitter videos. When teasing a blog post or piece of content on Twitter, always keep your video short and sweet – brevity is a core factor on this channel.
Short clips that are easy to consume tend to perform the best. Try pinning your video to the top of your profile for some added exposure.
If you want to get a little more experimental with using video on Twitter, you can try making short, custom videos to engage with your audience. These highly personal, one-to-one response videos are an awesome way to make your brand more human while building personal connections with your engaged followers.
Facebook and Instagram
When you walk onto a bus or train for your morning commute, how many people are scrolling through their smartphones to see the news and content they've missed overnight? Pretty much everyone – but not everyone is wearing headphones.
For this reason, make sure your video works with or without sound. BuzzFeed is the master of silent auto-play — just take a look at their Facebook page. The reason their silent auto-play strategy works so well is because of this rise in mobile video views and the way people scroll through and consume content on social media. They often post quick recipes or quick how-to’s, often with easy-to-follow imagery or helpful text to describe what is happening.
Facebook also favors longer videos in their newsfeed algorithm. The goal with this shift is to better surface videos that are most relevant to the viewer.
So what does this mean for you? Don't panic; this just confirms what we already know is true. Creating the "right" content for your audience is more important than churning out it out for the sake of it.
Secondly, upload videos directly to Facebook. Facebook continues to make a compelling case for uploading your videos natively to the platform — the primary reason being that your content will be seen by more eyes.
Brand awareness videos that are light-hearted and entertaining tend to perform well on Facebook for this very reason – their algorithm takes into account a user's previous video-related actions when determining what videos to show them on subsequent visits. Make a video that's super relevant to your audience, share it on Facebook, and see what type of engagement you can drum up!
Lastly, grab attention instantly... and keep it. Did you know that Instagram was the first social channel to initiate silent, auto-playing videos? It's true! Shortly after, Facebook followed suit, so it's safe to say that catering to this type of video when creating content for social media is the way to go. It might seem daunting to try and grab someone's attention so fast and without sound, but here are a few best practices you can use to make things easier:
On YouTube, post with a specific strategy in mind. Think of YouTube as a giant library of video content where people go to either educate themselves or to be entertained. YouTube reports over 1 billion unique users per month – sounds like a social media gold-mine, right? Well, sometimes, yes.
There are, however, a few questions you should ask yourself before going forth with posting every video you've ever made to your YouTube account:
Establish and grow a dedicated channel of subscribers by creating informative, educational content that is in high demand, and you'll start to see some real success!
Live Video: Facebook & Instagram
While Instagram's traditional features let users record short video clips and post them online afterward, new live features on Facebook and Instagram take a different approach, allowing users to post live video streams of what they're doing at that very moment.
When you’re setting up videos for Facebook Live or Instagram Live, make sure you’re following the steps in the first section of this guide. If you do this, you’ll have much higher quality live videos, which will set you apart from other live videos being shown. In addition to these steps, we have a few more things to keep in mind.
Keep in mind that your live video will be broadcast from the platform (Facebook or Instagram) itself, so that's where you'll be promoting your broadcasts primarily. Do some research on your Facebook/Instagram audiences to find out when they're most engaged with your posts.
Even if some of your followers miss out, the app will save your videos to the app by default (although you can delete them manually if you want to), and they'll be available for viewing by your followers after the fact.
As for the length of your video broadcasts, remember that most people's attention spans are fairly short — especially on mobile. If your broadcasts aren't captivating from the get-go, users will likely stop viewing your stream.
Spend time coming up with a compelling title.It's vital that your title describes what your video is and why people should either tune in now or replay your stream later (up to 24 hours). Here are a few styles that make effective titles:
Respond to comments live.
One of the coolest features on Facebook is that people who are watching your stream in real time can comment and "like" the broadcast (which show up as hearts, like on Instagram). Other viewers are able to see these comments and the number of hearts your video has. Acknowledge or even respond to these comments out loud on the live broadcast to encourage engagement and make the experience feel like more of a two-way conversation.
Experiment with use cases.
Since Facebook and Instagram Live features are still relatively new, there aren't solidly defined ways to use it, especially for brands. This is a unique opportunity for you to experiment with different ways of using it and what type of content your audience likes most.
Facebook Live lets you analyze a few key stats you'll want to keep track of while you're figuring out what works. Once your video ends, the app lets you see how many live viewers you had, how many viewers replayed your video, and how many hearts your video received (this number updates automatically as users continue "liking" your video from the time it ends until it expires).
Considering the time, money, and resources involved, video marketing can't be an impulsive guessing game. Instead, you need to create a comprehensive video marketing strategy that applies to every facet of your flywheel. This means thinking in the context of the inbound methodology.
The inbound methodology is the marketing and sales approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful. Each video you create should acknowledge your audience's challenges and provide a solution. Looking at the big picture, this content guides consumers through the journey of becoming aware of, evaluating, and purchasing your product or service.
In the following sections, we'll cover the types of videos you should create for each stage in the image above. To start, plan to create at least two videos for each. Don't forget to include call-to-actions to help lead your audience through their purchase journey and into the role of "promoter." Over time, you can improve based on conversion rates and the content gaps you discover.
Attract The first step of the inbound methodology is to attract — or turn strangers into visitors. Consumers at this stage are identifying their challenges and deciding whether or not they should seek out a solution. Therefore, the videos you create should empathize with their problems and introduce a possible solution in your product or service.
Ultimately, the goal of this kind of video is to expand reach and build trust. Because you are looking to garner shares for your video, it'll likely be more entertaining and emotion-evoking than educational. But, you should still provide enough information to associate yourself as an authority on the topic.
Examples of videos in the “attract” stage include snackable social videos that show off your brand's personality, thought leadership videos that establish you as a source of industry news and insight, brand films the share your values and mission, or explainers and how-to videos that provide relevant tips for solving your audience's pain point.
Let your brand values and personality be your north star(s). Finally, because these videos can live on a variety of channels, keep in mind the strategies of each platform. For example, a Facebook video might have a square aspect ratio and text animations for soundless viewers.
Now that you've attracted video viewers and website visitors, the next step is to convert these visitors into leads. With most inbound marketing content, this means collecting some sort of contact information via a form. Video can aid this process by visualizing a solution to the buyer's problem, whether that's before the form on a landing page or as the offer itself. Overall, the goal of this kind of video is to educate and excite.
"Convert" videos may include a webinar filled with tactical advice, product demos sent via email, landing page promotional videos, case studies, or more in-depth explainer and how-to videos. For example, while an "attract" video might provide a quick tip for nailing a sales pitch, a "convert" video could be an animated explainer video that breaks down the inbound sales methodology.
You've attracted a new audience with your videos and converted the right visitors into leads. Now's the time to close these leads into customers. Yet, as important as this stage is, "close" videos are often the most overlooked by marketers and salespeople.
At this point, the consumer is weighing their options and deciding on the purchase. Therefore, the goal of this kind of video is to make your audience visualize themselves using your product or service — and thriving. There's a reason 4X as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. Videos are able to display functionality and leverage emotions in ways a product description never could.
Great "close" videos include testimonials of customers with relatable stories, in-depth product demos, culture videos that sell viewers on your quality of service, or even personalized videos that explain exactly how your product could help their business
A purchase may have been made, but there's still a lot of video can do to leverage the post-conversion stage of your flywheel. During the "delight stage" of the inbound methodology, your goal is to continue providing remarkable content to users that makes their interaction with your product or service as incredible as possible.
It's also in hopes that they'll tell their connections about their experience or up-sell themselves. Therefore, the goal of this type of video is to encourage your customers to embrace your brand and become brand evangelists.
Your first opportunity to delight comes directly after the purchase. Consider sending a thank you video to welcome them into the community or an onboarding video to get them rolling with their new purchase. Then, build out a library of educational courses or product training videos to cater to consumers who prefer self-service or simply want to expand their expertise.
Defining Your Goals and Analyzing Results
At this point, you know how to create a video and where to host it. You're ready to get started, right? Not quite. Before you dive in, you need to define your video goals and identify the best metrics for determining whether you've accomplished those goals.
Before launching any marketing campaign, it's important to determine your primary video goal. This could be to increase brand awareness, engagement, or even conversions for a free trial. It's crucial to pick out just one or two goals for each video. When you define more than that, your video will seem unfocused, making it difficult for viewers to determine what they should do next.
When thinking of your goals, be sure to keep your buyer persona and target audience in mind. How old are they? Where do they live? What are their interests? How do they typically consume media? What stage of the buyer's journey are they in?
All of these questions can help determine what type of video you should make and where you should post it. For example, if your target audience is not familiar with your company, you probably want to make a video that focuses on brand awareness before producing an in-depth, product video. You'll also want to host your video on a site that already has a large reach, like YouTube.
Next, let's talk about metrics. Understanding these will equip you to define and measure your success and set your goals. When you post a video, it's easy to get obsessed with one metric — view count. While view count can be an important metric, there are many others that may be more relevant to your campaign.
Finally, what about your video social media marketing strategy? How do you measure that?
Measuring performance on each social media platform provides valuable information, especially to determine whether video really is the right content type for your audience on each platform.
Across all platforms, in addition to the metrics above, be sure to measure views over time to determine the life of your videos. You may find that videos need to be refreshed every few weeks, or months, in order to stay relevant with your audience. You also want to always be tracking and comparing engagement of your videos. This will help you determine which topics encourage the most sharing, and therefore will have a higher and longer lifetime value.
Ready, Set, Action!I'm guessing you're feeling a little overwhelmed right now. Don't worry, you're not alone. Video editing and marketing can seem daunting at first, but with a little practice and patience, you can easily produce high-quality content that is unique to your brand.
With 71% of consumers watching more video online than they were a year ago, brands can no longer ignore their growing popularity. Thankfully, creating great content has never been easier!
Try turning a written blog into a video or create a product tutorial. Using video to showcase information in a new, interesting way is sure to interest and delight your audience. Pick up a camera, start filming, and watch your engagement levels increase. It's time to make video a key part of your marketing strategy!
Video Marketing Don't forget to share this post!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.