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What’s Trending in Marketing

Keeping up with what’s trending in marketing is an important way to ensure that your marketing efforts remain up to date. Not to mention that they can provide insight into how you can adjust your marketing strategies in order to improve your results. The only problem is that keeping up with what’s trending in marketing can be quite a challenge seeing as how the online marketing landscape seems to always be shifting.

The following are a collection of articles that we have curated from some of the most notable marketing blogs on the web highlighting recent marketing trends that we think you should be aware of:

1. Noteworthy Marketing News and Trends

The power of podcasting: How to boost your reputation and search engine rankings

Podcasts have exploded in popularity over the past five years, taking on the position that radio once had in our lives. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of opportunity for marketing using podcasts as a result. A recent article about podcasts published on Search Engine Land recommends establishing yourself as an authority within your field through the creation of webinars, video content, a social media presence and more. This helps build credibility so that you’ll have a better chance at being invited onto a podcast. Once you’ve built a name for yourself, you’ll want to pitch podcast ideas that can benefit your SEO efforts to podcast hosts that are relevant to your business.

YouTube’s new TrueView for Reach option makes bumper assets skippable

According to an article by Ginny Marvin on Marketing Land, YouTube recently introduced a skippable option for short-form ads that are called TrueView for Reach, which can be skipped after five seconds; however, advertisers only pay if the viewers watch 30 seconds, the viewer interacts with the ad or the video ends. YouTube has implemented this new option in response to requests for ways to optimize TruView buys based on the different campaign objectives that customers have. One of the beta testers of the TrueView for Reach option, Samsung, revealed that it reached over 50 percent more people at half the CPM (cost per thousand) using the new feature.

Google Switches to Infinite Scrolling Mobile Search Results

Google has switched from having to click from page to page on their mobile SERP (search engine results page) to being able to scroll down infinitely by clicking on a “more results” button. This could potentially change what it means to rank on the first page of SERP according to a recent write up on the new infinite scrolling feature on Search Engine Journal. However, it’s currently in a test phase, which Google will only make permanent based on user feedback.

What other trends are there? Check out these ten ways to use Google Trends to Increase SEO!

2. Growing Your Inbound Marketing

Do You Need to Redesign Your Website?

Your website plays a huge role in your ability to market effectively. If it’s been a while since you updated your website, it may be in need of a redesign. Our own Nicole Wagner did a write up recently sharing some of the signs that a website needs to be redesigned. These signs include poor web rankings, a change in branding, a lackluster conversion rate, an outdated look and a subpar user experience.

Your Company’s Core Values Play a Role in Developing Your Brand Story

Storytelling is one of the most important aspects of marketing. Without it, you’ll have trouble engaging with your audience and connecting with them. We recently published a blog post on developing your brand story detailing how important it is to employ storytelling in order to share what your company’s core values and beliefs are and how that will evoke stronger emotions and build stronger bonds with your audience.

3. Recent Marketing Reports, Updates, and Trends

Pinterest reports 50% gain YoY in SMB advertisers

The Pinterest Propel ad program has been around for a whole year now and it recently reported a 50 percent jump in small and medium-sized business advertisers since it first went live. Pinterest has made a concerted effort to position their platform as an effective tool for advertisers and also revealed that businesses who are using Pinterest Propel are earning three times as many clicks than those who are not — and are even experiencing an average of 15 percent lower cost-per-clicks within the first 90 days.

Snapchat looks to offer new e-commerce options for Discover Publishers

According to a recent post on Marketing Land, Snapchat is currently testing a new e-commerce option on some of its Discover publisher channels. The new feature will allow users to swipe on products within the Discover platform in order to buy them from the Snap Store. Although they are just testing the waters, the company seems to have great ambition for its store’s future potential. Several publishers have revealed that they have tested the new feature and that currently, Snapchat is not taking a revenue share from any of the products being sold so far during the testing stage.

Facebook & Cambridge Analytica: What we know, what they knew & where that leaves us

Facebook has been all over the news as of late due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Considering the fact that many businesses leverage the use of Facebook for their marketing efforts, you’ll want to know where the future of Facebook lies. A recent article on Marketing Land goes into detail about the scandal as well as Mark Zuckerberg’s recent testimony in front of Congress addressing the issue of Facebook’s privacy settings and user consent.

The future of retail is Generation Z-dependent — and martech is the way to reach them

A new generation (Generation Z) is coming of age, and like every generation before them, their buying habits are different. Rohit Gupta explains how important it is for businesses to begin adjusting their marketing efforts to better target this upcoming generation by providing numerous tips. These tips include customizing the purchase journey, connecting through social media, preparing for the use of voice recognition technology, and focusing on convenient shipping options.

mobile marketing techniques

Using a Website Redesign Checklist

When it comes to redesigning your website, there are a lot of different elements you’ll need to address, which is why you should use a website redesign checklist. The following website redesign checklist will help you gather all of the data you need as well as address the most important aspects of your website’s design:

Analyze your current website

If you’ve committed to investing in a complete website redesign, then you probably know what you want to improve. However, you should use analytics to diagnose your site’s issues so that you know exactly what’s wrong. For example, if you’re visitor conversion rate is lower than you would like, look at data such as bounce rates, page load times, CTA click-throughs and shopping car abandonment rates to pinpoint where your issues lie. Other metrics you’ll want to pay attention to include:

  • SEO rankings for important keywords
  • Total number of sales generated
  • Number of visitors
  • Number of unique visitors
  • Domain authority
  • Number of new lead form submissions.

Establish your goals

If you don’t know what you want your website to accomplish, then you won’t know what direction to take your website redesign in. Without goals, you won’t know what to focus on, nor will you know whether your website redesign is successful once it’s up and running. Make sure that when you set your goals, you can tie them to measurable results. For example, if increasing your brand authority is your main goal, then track metrics such as:

  • The number of unique visitors,
  • Time spent on page
  • Social signals (shares, likes and comments)

Determine what works

Just because your current website might have a few issues doesn’t mean that there aren’t elements that work really well. For example, maybe you’re redesigning your site because you want to update its look; however, your content is actually very effective at drawing in visitors and capturing leads. More specifically, you’ll want to make sure that high ranking pages are kept in place. When auditing your site, take note of what you think is successful as well as what needs work.

Analyze your competitors

In addition to auditing your own website, you should audit the sites of your main competitors. Take note of everything you like and don’t like about their site. Your aim shouldn’t be to just copy what they do but to get an idea of what they are doing so that you can create a superior website experience.

Identify your UVP

Your unique value proposition (UVP) indicates exactly what your business does and what makes your services or products unique. A UVP helps you stand out from the competition. You need to know what your UVP is because it will inform all of the content that you create for your website.

Keep buyer personas in mind

Your website should appeal to your target audience. Your visitors need to be able to connect to your brand’s messaging, after all. To make sure that this happens, all of your content should cater to your buyer persona. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer created using the available data you have from current and past customers, such as:

  • Demographics
  • Past purchases
  • Online behavior
  • Motivations
  • Needs
  • Wants
  • Concerns
  • Personal histories
  • Income

Here are the reasons why buyer personas are so important to a business

Map your buyer’s journey

Every visitor that comes to your website is going to be at one of three stages of the buyer’s journey. The first stage is the awareness stage, in which the buyer is seeking information that helps to define their problems or needs. The second stage is the consideration stage in which the buyer defines their problem and is searching for solutions. The final stage is the decision stage, in which the buyer chooses a solution. Your website needs to cater to visitors at every stage of the buyer’s journey in order to attract their attention, keep their attention and, finally, to convert them.

Set benchmark metrics

The goals you set should be general yet measurable. For example, the goal to increase brand authority is a long-term goal that doesn’t end. Because of this, you should set benchmarks so that you can judge your site’s performance. For example, social signals are a good metric for measuring brand authority. You could set benchmarks for how many shares you want to average per blog post by a certain date. If your metrics meet this benchmark by this date, then you know that your redesign is working and you can set the goal posts even further. If you don’t meet this benchmark, then you may need to make more adjustments.

Optimize your site for SEO

Implementing a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is vital to consistently attract new visitors. Google takes into account a variety of factors, including keywords, link juice and social signals. You’ll need to do keyword research to identify unique keywords relevant to each page. These keywords should be used naturally in your titles, headers, body content, anchor text, alt image tags, HTML tags, meta tags and title tags. External links are earned by promoting and linking to your website’s content via social media, submitting your website information to local directories and by writing guest blogs. Social signals are earned by getting visitors to engage with your content, such as by liking, sharing or commenting on it.

Optimize your site for mobile use 

Many people use their smartphones and tablets to browse the Internet. This means that your website will need to load and display properly no matter how small the screen size is. The easiest way to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly is by using a responsive design. You can check to see if your current site is mobile-friendly by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Just type in the address for each webpage and it will determine how mobile-friendly it is.

Find opportunities for conversion

Calls-to-action should be used on every page to encourage visitors to convert. Without calls-to-action, visitors won’t know what you want them to do. Not only should you use relevant CTAs on every page, you need to offer something of value to visitors in return for opting-in. Depending on your what your business offers, this could include downloadable eBooks and white papers, email newsletter subscriptions, product discounts, free trials, free consultations and more. Unique landing pages should be crafted for every call-to-action that focus on the visitor’s needs, your UVP and how what you’re offering can benefit them.

Implement a content strategy

Whatever your goals are for your website, their success will depend on your content strategy. You need to provide high-quality content that is relevant to your buyer persona’s needs and concerns and that is informative, helpful and unique. The best way to do this is through a website blog. Additionally, you’ll need to regularly publish new content to keep your audience engaged and to make sure that they return to your site. While writing good content is important, you’ll need to market it as well. An important part of your content strategy is establishing exactly when you publish your content (it should always be on the same day at the same time) and where and how you promote your new content.

Continually improve

Don’t assume that once you’re done with your website redesign that you’re finished. A good website design is one that is always being improved. You should track your metrics and make adjustments to your design whenever needed. If you meet your goals, you should establish new ones. Move your goal posts further so that your website can continue to grow and improve. Additionally, you should always be uploading new content to keep your website fresh, thereby maintaining or improving your search engine rankings.

Want more resources on how to redesign your website? Click here!

Are Keywords Still Required To Increase SEO Rankings?

Although the use of keywords no longer has the power to increase SEO rankings the way they once did, they continue to play an important part in online marketing strategies.

SEO has evolved greatly over the years, to the point where it’s almost unrecognizable to what it was just a decade ago. Google has continuously updated its algorithm to make its search results more accurate and relevant, and they’ve cracked down on the abuse of keywords to artificially boost web rankings. These days, Google uses over 200 factors to determine search rankings; however, keywords still play a vital part. The following are three ways that keywords are still important to your SEO rankings:

Identify Relevancy

The use of high-quality keywords can help Google to identify what your content is about so that they can their SERP (search engine results page) more accurate. It’s important to use good keywords, such as long-tail keywords that are backed up by semantic keywords. This helps prevent Google from mistaking your use of keywords for similar keywords in subjects that are not the same.

For example, if you write a blog post about the best apples (as in the fruit) and your keyword is “how to choose the best apple,” Google might mistake this for the company Apple. Visitors who come to your site looking for information on new Apple computers are going to be annoyed and will leave immediately, thereby increasing your bounce rate, which will affect your rankings. The stronger your keywords are in regards to relevancy, the more accurately Google will rank your content.

Match User Intent

Knowing what your target audience is searching for will be very beneficial, not only in building your own keyword list to match their search queries, but to use those keywords in content created to match the user intent. Basically, the use of keywords and content created to match the user intent of the keywords your audience is using will put you in a greater position to fulfill their needs at whatever stage of the buying journey they are at. If they click on your page and it’s exactly what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to stay on your site for a longer period of time and to engage with your content, resulting in higher rankings.

Learn how to drive website conversions during each stage of the buyer’s journey! 

Attract Higher Quality Leads

Overly broad keywords will bring in traffic, but it won’t necessarily be your target audience. Bringing in empty traffic doesn’t do anything for your site if your visitors don’t have interest in your brand. By using stronger keywords that are more specific, you’re more likely to attract visitors that match your buyer persona.

While you might think that doing this could limit your web traffic, this may not be true. More specific keywords are likely going to have less competition than broader keywords, which means you’ll have a much better chance at ranking higher. For example, you’re not going to rank very high for “apple” for obvious reasons, but you’re more likely to increase SEO rankings with a more specific keyword, such as “best tasting apples in Sacramento.”

Keywords aren’t the only thing that you should be focusing on as you attempt to increase SEO rankings, but they still play a very important part in your SEO strategy. In fact, although they may not be as defining a factor in your rankings as they once were, you could argue that they play an even more important part in your inbound marketing campaign as a whole. For more professional advice on how to create an effective SEO campaign, contact us at Stevens & Tate today.

17 SEO MYTHS YOU SHOULD LEAVE BEHIND

Website Redesign Tips

Once you’ve decided to redesign your website so that your business can remain competitive, you’ll want professional website redesign tips to help ensure that your new website design will be effective. Without one, your site is likely going to continue having some of the same problems it currently has. Redesigning your website without a plan is basically like doing temporary repairs and hoping that they will hold up.

Questions to ask when planning your website redesign

If you’re in search of website redesign tips to figure out what you need to change, then you’ll want to start by asking yourself key questions about your current website design. The following questions will help you understand where your current website’s issues lie and how your website can be improved.

What do you think needs work on your website?

If you’ve identified the need for a website redesign, then you should have some idea of what areas of your current website need work. However, you should still go through your entire site to see if you can pick up on anything that you think needs to be addressed. Pay attention to:

  • How long pages take to load
  • How easy it is to navigate
  • Whether your links are working
  • Whether visitors are engaging with your content
  • Whether your content is outdated
  • What kind of impression you have of the site’s look

What do visitors think about your website?

Your visitors often have a better perspective on how functional your site is to use than you do. In fact, some of the best website redesign tips you can get are from your visitors. Pay attention to some of the common questions that your visitors are asking concerning your website. You can also look at what your visitors are searching for most in your search bar. For example, if they are searching for your contact information, then your contact page may not be as easy to find as it should be.

Why Your Website Redesign Would Benefit From An Inbound Marketing Strategy

What is your website’s main goal?

You should have one main goal, whether it’s generating sales, increasing brand authority, converting leads or spreading brand awareness. This goal will help guide you when it comes to making your website design choices and will give you something to benchmark your site’s results against.

What are your competitors’ websites like?

One way to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t is by taking a look at the competition. Spend some time going through one of your competitor’s websites. It’s often easier to judge another website objectively than it is to do so your own. You’re likely to notice that your more successful competitors have the more effective website designs. Take note of some of the things you like about their site as well, such as the layout, features or some of the pages they have that you might not.

How often do you update your website?

You should be updating your website regularly, even if it’s just to post weekly blog content. If you’re not, it could be because your current website is just too difficult to update. Fortunately, there are content management systems (CMS) available that makes it easy for anyone to update a website, whether they are technically proficient or not.

Want more resources on how to redesign your website? Click here!

website redesign inbound marketing strategy

website redesign process

Do You Need to Redesign Your Website?

If your website has sat untouched for more than a few years, then there’s a good chance that it might be in need of an overhaul. Your website should be continually bringing in new leads, increasing your brand awareness and establishing your brand authority. If your website isn’t currently doing these things, then you’re not only limiting your ability to grow; you’re also helping your competitors as a direct result.

Signs you need a website redesign

If you’re wondering if you need a website redesign, then you’ll want to look for specific signs that show your website is in need of improvements. The following are some major signs that your website could benefit from being redesigned:

Your brand has undergone change

It’s not uncommon for a company to undergo a change in branding. This can happen if the company changes ownership or has changed direction; for example, to concentrate on a more niche market or to target a different audience. If your brand has changed, your website needs to reflect this. Keep in mind that your brand identity consists of much more than just your offerings or your logo. It’s your company’s narrative. Brand storytelling is how you get your audience to connect with you and to relate to you. Because of this, it needs to be prevalent throughout your site.

Your website ranks poorly

Every website receives rankings from Google. These rankings determine your site’s exposure on Google’s search engine results pages (SERP). Google uses its rankings to ensure that its users are provided with search results that are relevant and of high quality. The higher your ranking is, the more exposure you’ll have to people searching for topics relevant to your site. If your site ranks poorly, it means that you’re getting little exposure. This will also limit how much traffic your website will receive. Your redesign needs to implement the best practices of search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure a strong ranking.

Here are ten ways to use Google Trends to increase your SEO

Your website user-experience needs improvement 

Some of the factors that influence your website’s user-experience include how long it takes your webpages to load and how easy your site is to navigate. If your pages take too long to load or your visitors don’t know how to find what they are looking for, they’re likely to leave. Additionally, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s going to affect the way that your site is displayed on mobile devices. A lack of mobile optimization makes it difficult for mobile users to browse through your site.

Your website could improve its conversion rate 

If the ratio of purchases and opt-ins to your number of visitors is lower than you would like it to be, then there’s likely an issue with how your site is addressing each stage of the sales funnel. Your website should nurture visitors at every stage, whether they are looking for information about your company or product or whether they are ready to make a purchase. You should also have calls-to-action that are relevant to each page and that help drive your leads to convert.

Your website could use an updated look 

Aesthetics matter. The look of your website is going to leave a big first impression on your visitors. Consider the look of some of the websites you use on a regular basis. Today’s websites have generally moved to a cleaner and more elegant look.

You don’t regularly update your website

Your website generates all kinds of useful data you can leverage to improve your website’s design and adjust your marketing strategies. By implementing a growth driven design model, you can continually update your website based on your website data, which you can gather using analytics. This will also allow you to focus your resources on areas where it will benefit your brand the most and to adjust strategies that aren’t working.

Want more resources on how to redesign your website? Click here!

25 Must Haves To Drive Lead Conversion Rate

digital marketing tactics

5 Digital Marketing Tactics For Senior Living Communities

More and more seniors are becoming tech savvy, using smart phones and tablets to communicate with family and friends. They also use their smart devices to do their own research on where they want to live and how they want to do it. This is one reason why digital marketing tactics are critical for senior living marketing.

Digital Marketing Tactics for Senior Living Communities

Your website is one of your most important assets. It’s where consumers are going to find out more about your company. The place where you build trust. Where you show your leadership in the senior living industry. It’s where they can get more information about your community.

With your website in place, what digital marketing tactics should you employ?

  1. Blogging

Blogging offers you the opportunity to provide your audience with useful information while positioning you as a trusted expert. You can use your blog to provide useful information like how to downsize, how to stay healthy as you age, how to find the right senior community and how to find work as a senior. High-quality content keeps people coming back.

Check out these tips on How to Have a Successful Blog

  1. SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) works to get your community’s website found by the search engines. It is done with keyword placement, quality content, and a dynamic website. The more you have of all three, the better your SEO results will be.

  1. Social Media

Social media allows you to engage your audience. You can share tips, post links to new content, or share testimonials. Facebook offers a place to share as well as a place where potential residents can make queries or learn more about your community.

  1. Email

Email lead nurturing allows you to make your community more attractive to people who have expressed interest. You can share community events, resident highlights and interesting tidbits to show how involved and engaged the residents of your community are. That makes it more attractive to those considering moving in.

  1. Online Advertising

Online advertising positions your brand in front of anyone seeking information on senior living communities. In fact, as they search for that kind of information, your name pops up. It can give you highly qualified leads almost instantaneously.

These tactics will help you position your senior living community. You can grab the attention of seniors as well as their loved ones and care providers.

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The Battle of Search Advertising vs. Social Media Marketing

Juliana Casale | September 30th, 2014 | iMediaConnection

Media spend on marketing, particularly online, continues to rise in 2014. As CMOs gain confidence in their ability to generate revenue through digital channels — especially mobile — they will continue to invest time and resources into online methods of driving user acquisition and retention. According to the chief marketing officer council’s eighth annual “State of Marketing” report, 54 percent of marketers plan to boost their budgets in 2014, focusing on the following approaches:

That last percentage may be surprising to most digital advertisers, since Google (71 percent global search engine market share) has been the online marketing industry standard for the past decade. According to a recent reader survey run by Ad Age, “Respondents ranked the search giant as the best ad platform for ROI, and its video channel, YouTube, fell fourth behind Facebook and Twitter.” So, why wouldn’t a brand invest solely in the digital channel that provided the highest return on investment? Here are a few reasons.

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Google Analytics and Social Interaction Tracking

With the popularity of social sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Google Analytics has added Social Interaction Analytics. When using Google to search for something, you may have noticed the +1 box that appears next to the displayed results.

You can even see these +1 boxes on the Google Adwords ads that can show up with your search results. Google Analytics tracks how often someone clicks on these boxes.
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