The BARE Essentials of Digital Marketing [30 Minute Webinars]

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Welcome everybody this is Rich Brooks and I want to welcome you all to our first all content, no fluff, thirty minute webinars. We’re going to be putting on these webinars about every two weeks on different subjects so we hope that you check them out. Any ones that seem good, make sure you’re here. I’m definitely going to try to get all the content that I plan on sharing done in the first thirty minutes and then if you want to hang around and ask me about any of your own marketing questions afterwards I’d be happy to try to answer as many of those as possible. As the webinar goes on if you have any questions, please just throw them into the questions section and we’ll be answering them at the end.

Alright, so today I want to share with you a framework. And this is a framework that’s hopefully going to take some of the mystery and confusion out of digital marketing for you. A framework to help you develop your own digital marketing audience. This strategy is going to be more effective, take less time to implement, and and will be completely measureable. I’ve been doing this digital agency thing, though they didn’t always call it that, for twenty years. And in the twenty years I’ve been doing it, working with hundreds of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofits, I’ve realized no matter how unique your business offerings are, there are certain things that are true for almost every business that wants to succeed online. You need a website, you need to drive the right people to that website, you need some of those people to contact or buy from you, and you need to measure your results. It really is as simple and complicated as all that. And so today I want to do is take you through a framework that’s going to help you develop a digital marketing strategy for your own business.

Now as everyone saw in the presentations from the slides, we’re going to be talking about the BARE essentials of digital marketing today. BARE is an acronym, it stands for: B stands for build, it’s all about a platform that’s going to turn visitors into customers, then there’s attract, how are we going to get people to our website in the first place? Retain, or how do we keep in touch with people after they’ve left our websites. And finally, evaluate, how do we measure and analyze our results so that we can constantly be improving what we’re doing, putting the focus on things that work and stop doing the things that are just wasting our time.

For those of you who don’t know me I am Rich Brooks and I am the president of Flyte New Media. We’re a web design and marketing company. We work with small businesses and entrepreneurs across North America who are looking to increase their online visibility, drive more traffic to their website, and turn more of that traffic into leads and business. I also run a conference called the Agents of Change, it’s actually a conference that takes place here in Portland, Maine as well as being live streamed across the world, it’s also a podcast. A weekly podcast that’s totally free and you can find that on iTunes or stitcher radio and basically it’s a weekly interview show where we interview digital marketing experts on a wide variety of topics. All about how you can reach more of your ideal customers through search, social, and mobile marketing. I’m also the Tech Guru on 207, which is a news program on the NBC affiliates here in Maine. And earlier this year I wrote a book called the Lead Machine: a small business guide to digital marketing. So that’s kind of a little bit of who I am, let’s get back to you.

Let’s start with the idea of building. We want to build a website that’s going to be effective. So what does that really look like? First of all websites must be mobile friendly. So right now more than half of the world’s traffic is going to the web on a mobile device. That’s less true in America because we have so many laptop and desktop computers around at work, at home, at school. But as I look at my traffic reports, as I look at others’ traffic reports, I’m just seeing the traffic on a mobile device growing. And you definitely don’t want to immediately push away a bigger and bigger portion of your audience, so your website has to be mobile friendly.

Your website needs to be fast. When we first started, twenty years ago, we were very conscious of how fast a site loaded because people were on dial up modems. You know as everybody seemed to get broadband I think we got a little bit lazy about that. But know that we’re also dealing with so many mobile devices, so much wifi, and maybe the connections not as strong as you might want it to be, fast loading websites are becoming more and more important. And as people’s’ attention span shrinks, that’s becoming more important as well.

Your site needs to be nimble. By that I mean you need to build it on a content management system. I myself am a huge fan of wordpress, but whatever content management system you chose, as long as it’s easy to use, as long as you can make updates, so you don’t have to wait around for your web developer, that’s going to be important. Your site needs to be nimble.

And it needs to be designed for results. When I say designed for results what I’m talking about is, design means different things to different people. But if you design your website so people take specific actions on them. So they fill out your contact form, or you design it so their intention is all about joining your email newsletter or downloading something. That’s being designed for results. So you just want to make sure you don’t have some brochureware sitting out there. But you keep someone thinking about how can I get someone to keep moving forward down the sales funnel.

One important thing on your website is continually increasing conversions at your site. There are a number of ways we can focus on increasing conversions at your site. One is I have a lot of small businesses at my site that want to get the phone ringing more often, but when I look at their initial website, I can’t find their phone number. They explain that it’s on the contact page, shouldn’t everyone know to look on the content page? Yeah, but you know what, we’re busy and we don’t want to go looking for your phone number if we just want to call you because it’s probably going to be easier to click the back button and then find the next person in the search results. So if you want your phone to be ringing, then you need to put that phone number in the top right or left of every single page on your website. You should be making sure that it’s html code, rather than just an image of your phone number because that’s going to make a difference. On a smartphone, if somebody can click on that phone number and call you immediately, it’s going to speed up the amount of time that it takes them to reach you.

Contact forms. I always tell people don’t put your email address on your website for a few reasons. One is that there are just these email harvesters out there that are basically there to capture email addresses off of websites and start selling them to hackers and scammers from around the world and you don’t want to get all that spam. So what I recommend instead is use a contact form. If you’re on wordpress I love gravity forms, I strongly recommend it. But this protects your email address from the harvesters, plus it kind of gives people a little bit of framework so they know what information they should give you to move the conversation forward. I recommend asking as little as you can get away with, which is usually just enough information that you can get back to them. So for Flyte we use name, email address, and phone number. And that just increases the chances that we can follow up with somebody. Most times they still gives us their company name, company address, websites, what they want to talk about, and a whole bunch of other stuff, but that’s all optional. So definitely include contact forms. And the other nice thing about contact forms is you can collect all this data and then automatically have it go to some contact registration or a crm so you don’t have to copy and paste all this information. And we also have an option for people to sign up for our email newsletter when they’re filling out our contact form so that automatically goes to constant contact. There’s a lot of stuff you can do with a contact form you can’t do with just putting your email on your website.

We’re big fans of email newsletters. In fact I believe the next webinar we have scheduled up is all about how to build your email list. So make sure that you have a lot of different opportunities for people to opt-in to your email newsletter.

And then include calls to action. At the bottom of every single page on your website perhaps and a few other places as well you want to tell people exactly where on your websites they should be going or what the next steps are. Like call us for a free consultation or download this y paper or use this calculator to see your savings. Whatever it is, include calls to action to help direct them and guide them to success.

There’s obviously a lot more we can talk about in build, but today we’re just trying to provide this framework.

The next thing is how do we get people to our website once we’ve set it all up?

And when it comes to digital marketing, there’s a few things that are going to really make a difference. Search engine optimization, social media, and digital ads. And I just want to break those down a little bit for you. So search engine optimization is always going to be critically important, especially to small businesses that need to get their name out there. And there’s three areas that you really want to think about when you’re optimizing your website so you can rank higher on google. On page, or how the words on your individual web pages match up with the search that was just done. Off page, which is primarily the number of incoming links from other websites to yours. And then technical issues as well, which we’ll go over.

So to figure out what words people are using at the search engines, we want to do some keyword research. So one of the things I might recommend is brainstorming a bunch of keyword phrases and then using a toll like google adwords, the keyword planner and then just start throwing them in there. Here we have a few keywords we might be looking for; healthcare costs, health insurance costs, health insurance rates, and then google will give us back some information about the number of average monthly searches for those words. So that gives us a sense is anybody actually looking for this. Also how much competition, if we want to do some paid search, but often the competition for paid search has an overlap in organic search results as well. And then if we did want to bid on these words what it might cost. So we can see that health insurance cost is 5400 monthly searches, health insurance rates, only 1500, so health insurance cost might be a better search term for us in terms of what people are looking for. But as we go down further we can see health insurance has a huge amount of monthly searches. It’s a little bit broader so that’s to be expected. Medical insurance however is another one and so we can start to see other keyword phrases that might perform better for us. This gives us a sense of what words people are using for and then these are the words we want to target on our website.

So as we go ahead and we start creating content for these webpages, we need to keep in mind that every page is an opportunity to rank well in the search engines. So every page should be optimized for specific keywords that we’re targeting. Now google is trying to get us from targeting too heavily on keywords and I completely agree, because a t the end of the day, search engines won’t buy your products, people will, but it’s important to know where search engines are looking so that you can come up in these rankings. So one of the most important places to put these keywords is in your title tag. And here you can see the title tag is infusion therapy services-New England Life Care, New England Life Care being the name of the company, so they’re leading with some of their keywords, in this case the assumption is that their best performing keywords that are descriptive to this content is infusion therapy services. Another place to put it is in the header tags, so we have New England Infusion Therapy Services as well, we want to make sure those words are appearing in the subheaders and also in the body copy too. Then behind the images we can use something called alt tags, so the images in the pages should also have these alt tags that use the keywords that we’re going for. Now again we don’t want to over-optimize pages because google frowns on that, but we want to make sure that we’re making clear that this page is helpful for people looking for infusion therapy services here in New England. And one other key place to put your keywords is in the meta description. So above we saw the page title and the page title usually becomes the big blue link on google search results but then that one to two sentence description that’s underneath that, that’s often pulled, not always, but often pulled from the meta description. So if you’re using a tool like yoast or all in one seo on the wordpress platform, you can actually change your meta description to match up. Just make sure that you’re getting your keywords in there as well too. Now for a lot of businesses your local search results are incredibly important too.I’m sure you’ve seen it, here’s a search for dance studios that I did, I’m not really saying I’m a good or a bad dancer it just happened to be the search I did, and as we can see here the top results are what we call the local search results or it’s often referred to as the three pack or the snack pack. What it is is that map with the top local results and then there’s the more places link we can click on but most likely we’re not going to click on that so it’s really critical that you appear in those top three results and there’s a lot of stuff that’s going to help you get in there, but one of the things that you want to make sure is that your map information, name address and phone number, are identical on every platform; on facebook, on your website, on all of the online directories, and possibly most importantly on the google online business.

You also, if you want to rank well on search engines, need to consider paid search. And why do I say this, well here’s a search on home inspection and as you can see, google has gone away with two column approach to almost always putting everything in one column. And up to four ads can appear above your results, above the organic results and even above the local results. So it may be that the number one organic result for a specific search doesn’t even show up until you start scrolling down the page. And that’s even worse when it comes to mobile searches. So if you really want to ensure that people are going to see you when they do a search for say home inspection, then you absolutely need to make sure that you are investing money in paid search.

Let’s shift over to social media for a second, when I talk about social media I often talk about having different categories. One is social platforms, the other one is social networks. Social platforms are all about getting up on a social stage if you will and there’s a number of reasons why we want this. It helps increase our visibility, it helps us tell our story or perhaps the story of our clients and customers, and it helps with engagement. When I write a blogpost I can get comments back on my blogpost, that’s engagement. You may need to decide which platform you want to be on, there’s a lot of different ones out there. You could write blog posts, this is great if you like to write and if search engine optimization is important for your success. You could try video, video also helps with search engine optimization and you could also get subscribers and a lot of views at youtube. In fact, youtube is the world’s second most popular search engine, that’s another great way if you’ve got products that are demonstrable or if you want to establish yourself as an expert. Podcasts, smaller audience, but very loyal, very intense and this has been a great way for us to grow our brand through the Agents of Change podcast and we’ve gotten hundreds of thousands of dollars in business we can directly attribute to the podcasts we’ve put on. Webinars. A lot of people don’t think webinars are social but I absolutely think they can be social. You can get on the webinars beforehand, like I did a little bit today and chat with people. You can ask questions, you can have surveys. Webinars can be very interactive if you want them to be. And slideshare which is a platform now owned by linkedin, which is basically like youtube for powerpoint presentations. These are great social platforms that help establish your credibility and tell your story.

Then there’s social networking. We’re thinking about facebook, twitter, and linkedin here. These networks or these platforms allows us to engage our audience where they are, promote what we’re doing, and drive traffic to our website. Now we don’t have time today to get into all of the social media websites out there, but it’s impossible not to mention facebook. Facebook is probably the social media network that most small businesses are going to use because almost everybody seems to be on this. This is just a social media page for Split Rock Distilling. Now where I really find the best results in facebook is with the ads. And we see this time and time again with our clients ever since facebook changed their algorithms so that you aren’t reaching as many people organically, facebook ads allow us to reach almost any group we want to. There’s a number of different ways they allow us to do it. We can target our ideal customer because they have such great data on everybody. If you want to reach women who are looking to move in the next three to six months in Des Moines, facebook knows who those people are and you can advertise to them. You can also take your email list or your customer database and upload it to facebook and advertise to that audience or advertise to everybody but that audience. You can also say to facebook hey I’ve got all these people, I know all these people, I’d like to find other people like them. Facebook will create a look-alike audience and allow you to advertise to that audience as well. Facebook and partnering with some other organizations out there know so much about us, about our customers, yeah it’s a little bit creepy as a human being, but as a marketer, it’s pure gold. So if you’re looking to reach people on facebook, then you definitely need to be budgeting some money for facebook ads.

And then there’s just every other platform. There’s twitter, there’s linkedin, and there’s pinterest, and there’s instagram, ad then there’s even special ones like how and I’m sure you have some in your industry as well. I’ll say this for every other platform, follow your audience, go where they go. If they’re not on twitter, then you don’t need to be on twitter either. Engage with them there. They’re there to connect with people and sometimes brands, there’s no reason not to engage there. And then advertise. All platforms have their own individual advertisement platform. Whether it’s twitter ads or promoted pins or instagram ads through facebook, there’s just a lot of different ways to ensure you get in front of your ideal customers.

Now we’ll shift over to email or retain. Basically what we want to do here is to stay in front of our audience after they’ve left the website. Seems impossible, right?  But yet it’s so critical that we need to stay in front of people because they come to our website they must be in the information gathering mode and then they move on and we can’t just hope they’re going to come back. So how do we make this change? First of all the biggest area is in email marketing. We need to drive people to sign up for our email newsletter. If we get them to sign up to our email newsletter they’re giving us access to the most valuable property on the internet, which is their inbox. Even during this short presentation you’re probably missing hundreds of tweets and thousands of facebook status posts. All these things that are going to disappear forever, most likely, but all the emails that made it into your inbox are going to stay there. This is just one reason why it’s so important, it’s such a valuable part of the internet, your customers inbox. If they give you permission to be there, you’ve got a real opportunity to sell to them. So obviously one of the goals then is to get as many qualified people to our list as possible. We’re not just trying to get people on our list, we’re trying to get the right people onto our list. So what are some tactics we can use to really build our list? Certainly there are things like the very annoying, but very effective pop-up window. There’s things like sticky footers and sticky headers and these work surprisingly well. I didn’t think this was going to work, but when I looked back and saw how so many people signed up for our email newsletter on Agents of Change, the number one driver was the seemingly innocuous, quiet sticky banners at the bottom of all of our pages. Also if you get a blog, a blog is a great way to generate more subscribers and some of the ways we’ve tried to make this more attractive for people is we show the number of other people on our header, so you see some social proof there. We give people the specifics of what they’re signing up for, we’ve got a quote from an industry influencer, and then we have a very obvious button. Thanks to our friends over a t leadpages we’ve discovered that the highest performing tool is not to show that you want somebody’s email address, but just have a one-click button that then opens up a pop-up window that then asks for their email address, or in our case their name and their email address to get them to join. That seems to convert art a higher rate. And then we have also included a number of value ads on our blog. For example here is a blogpost we wrote recently called Does your SEO Suck a 13 point checklist. And we included in multiple spots in that blogpost if you don’t want to read the whole blogpost or if you want the checklist in an easy to use format, just download it here. And that of course is behind an email registration.

Once people are on your list, you want those emails opened, read, and acted upon and a big part of this come down to the subject line. What exactly is going to get someone to open your email? I’ll tell you what’s not going to work: December Newsletter. That’s the dullest possible subject line ever. Instead you want to give them a reason to open your email. Maybe it’s about an obvious benefit, like free shipping this month, or 20% off this month. Other times it could just be something really of interest to  them growing their business or it could be what we call opening an information gap so there’s a question or something raised in the subject line that they just have to find the answer to so they’re going to open your email. Another thing that’s going to help is who the email is from. Now there’s a lot of people out there that say it’s important to have a person’s name on the email because people are more likely to open an email from a person, rather than a brand. I see the logic there but then again if your brand is more well known than your marketing person, then I would actually recommend that you go with the company name. And lastly, it has to be mobile friendly. By that I’m just talking about the number one activity on mobile devices is often reading email. If your emails are being delivered to a mobile device and they’re not mobile friendly, people are just going to delete them. There’s a lot of evidence, I think 77% of people, won’t read an email or will just delete it out of hand if it’s not mobile friendly and they open it up on their mobile device. You also need to have a clear call to action. Emails these days are not supposed to be long. They’re more about getting somebody out of their inbox and back on to your website or landing page. Have a very clear call to action so you can get them out of where they are and then into where you want them to be.

The other main way you can engage with people after they’ve left your website is called retargeting. If you’ve never done this, or you don’t know what it is, you’ve probably at least experienced it. You go to amazon and you’re looking for a space heater and you see a bunch but you don’t buy one and you go over to facebook and suddenly you’re seeing ads for space heaters. Then you go to Fox news and there’s an ad for space heaters and you go to CNBC and there’s another space heater and then you go to your friends blog and there’s another space heater, that’s retargeting. When people come to your website, we can drop a little cookie on their browsing and follow them all around the web continuing to show them ads. This has been incredibly effective and shows a really strong ROI. You can do it through something called adroll, which works on a bunch of different platforms or you could do it specifically through facebook, or even google now. What I like about the facebook retargeting now is that since so many people might use one computer at work and then they might get on their mobile device, then they might get on their tablet while they’re watching tv, since facebook knows who you are since you’re logged in to use the platform, it can always show you these ads regardless of where you are. That’s really important as well, and now google is starting to roll out the same sort of service as well so retargeting is going to get even more creepy and more effective as time goes on and if you can’t get somebody to sign up for your email newsletter, the next best bet is to retarget them.

The last thing I want to talk about today is evaluate. And this is such a critical piece that people miss. Very often when I’m doing a live presentation I’ll ask everybody to raise their hand if they got google analytics, and 90-95% of the hands go up in the audience. Then I say, okay keep your hands up if you’ve checked your google analytics in the past week and about 90% of those hands go down. This is the thing about google analytics, it’s incredibly powerful, but it doesn’t work if you don’t go there. It’s just like having a pair of jogging sneakers that you don’t use, you’re not going to get fit that way. You need to actually use google analytics to any benefit from it. There’s so many reports and we’re definitely going to do a webinar specifically around some of the most important reports in google analytics. But at a bare minimum , it can teach you how many people are coming to your website, whether that number is increasing or decreasing, how they found you, what are their favorite pages, where are they going to, did they fill out your contact form or sign up for you email newsletter, where is your best quality traffic coming from, and a whole bunch of other information as well. I can’t say enough about making sure google analytics is installed and then using it to really understand your marketing.

You can take it a step further with some of the heatmaps and scrollmap tool out there. These are usually paid tools, unlike google analytics. This is from crazyegg so we see some heatmaps and scrollmaps to the left. We can kind of see where people have been clicking on different pages on our website and on the right we can see how far down the page people are scrolling before giving up. So this will also give you a lot more information about how people are using your website.

And of course there’s a lot of other places to get metrics as well that are equally important. You can see things in facebook insights, twitter ads, and of course your email. Newsletter provider should also be providing you with great metrics as well. When you combine all of these tools together you can really start to get a good picture of how people are using your website and what elements of your digital marketing are most effective.

So again, everybody’s business’ are different and the individual things you do within your marketing are going to change from company to company but if you focus on building a website that turns visitors into customers, attracting people there through search, social and digital ads, staying in front of them or retaining their attention with email newsletters and remarketing, and then evaluating your results with google analytic, crazyegg, and all the social media platforms and email platforms out there you are going to be successful. You’re going to be generating more leads at your website, which is ultimately the goal.

My name is Rich Brooks. I work with Flyte New Media and we help small businesses and entrepreneurs grow their business and generate more leads online.

If you need any help with developing or implementing a digital marketing strategy, please contact us today!