Web Design

6 Web Design Principles to Increase Conversions

Putting thought into your web design is a must if you have any ambitions to grow your business. While the content that you host on your site and the strength of your SEO strategy will help you attract leads, your web design will play a big part in your ability to convert leads. Keeping that in mind, the following are seven web design principles for conversions:

1. Use A Responsive Design

If you’re not using a responsive design, it means that although your website may load properly on desktops, it may not be displayed correctly on smaller screens, such as those on smartphones and tablets. If your website doesn’t load properly on a smartphone, it will require the user to not only scroll up and down but also left to right — and to zoom in and out. Few mobile users will have the patience to deal with a site like this, which will lead to a significant bounce rate. Use a responsive design so that you don’t lose your mobile leads.

2. Ensure That Your Pages Load Quickly

Even if your site does load properly, few visitors will have the patience for pages that load slowly. It should take no more than one to two seconds for your site to load. If it takes three or more seconds, you’re in trouble. Leads will get frustrated and will likely abandon your site. Test your page speeds to ensure that they load quickly.

3. Don’t Include Too Many Choices

Too many choices can make it difficult for visitors to figure out what they want or to find what they’re looking for. For example, a navigation menu is a great addition. It lets visitors find your blog, contact page, product page, etc. However, if you fill up that navigation menu with dozens upon dozens of links, it becomes overwhelming. Not only will it actually be more difficult for visitors to find what they’re looking for, but too many choices requires them to commit more of their time to make a decision. To capture leads, you need to help guide their decision making–offering too many choices does the opposite. Keep it simple.

Why are call-to-action phrases so important? Learn more by clicking here!

4. Use Negative Space

The visual design of a page should be kept relatively simple to prevent visitors from becoming overwhelmed. The last thing you want is a page covered in text, links, images, videos, and more. This makes it hard to find anything amidst the clutter. To avoid this, make sure that there’s plenty of negative space throughout each page. Negative space helps reduce clutter, gives your site a clean and elegant look, and makes your page easier to scan.

5. Choose Colors Carefully

The way you use color is psychologically important. Colors evoke different emotions and reactions from your visitors. For example, blue indicates trust, which is why it’s a color often used for CTA buttons. However, the colors you choose should reflect the content on your page as well as your brand in general. Just make sure you keep your colors consistent and that you don’t go overboard using colors. You should stick to a few main colors and their variations. Typically, it’s best if you choose one color along with a second that offers some contrast.

6. Use An F-Layout

Studies have shown that the attention of users is focused in an F-pattern. This means that when they first come to a page, they will be most focused on the top left and top right parts of your page. This slowly diminishes as they work their way down, which means the bottom right of a page gets the least amount of attention. Designing your pages so that they display information in an F-layout is therefore a good way to ensure that the information you want to convey is consumed by your visitors. For example, having the bulk of your content on the left side, positioning important links on the top right side, and then adding your CTA to the bottom left will create an effective F-layout.

The design of your website is essential to not only keeping your visitors engaged, but to keep them on your website for as long as possible. The longer you’re able to keep your visitors on your site, the better of a chance you have of converting them. These are six web design principles for conversions that you should consider implementing.

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earned media vs paid media

Inside Adwords: Exploring The Differences Between Smart Display Campaigns & Custom Intent Campaigns

The use of PPC (pay per click) advertising can be beneficial for countless reasons. Not only are PPC ads a great way to bring in more traffic, they are incredibly cost-effective and are particularly useful for trying out new keywords or copy. It’s why Google AdWords continues to be popular with advertisers. Let’s take a closer look inside AdWords to discover some of their newer PPC options, including their smart display ads and their custom intent ads.

Inside AdWords’ Smart Display Ads

Smart display ads are ads that are automated by Google. This helps to make creating display ads much easier since all you’ll need to do is submit your creative assets (such as images, headlines, subheaders, and copy) along with your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) goal and Google will determine what the best possible combination of these elements are in order to meet your CPA. Google will also automatically find placements for your ad.

There are a number of advantages to creating your ads this way. For example, benefits include:

  • The ability to test out different ad elements for other ad campaigns.
  • Test ads that haven’t been working to see if any elements are salvageable.
  • Find new placements.
  • Spend less time optimizing and managing your own ads.

However, it’s worth noting that there are a few drawbacks. Namely, you’re giving up a lot of control over your ad. For example, you can’t bid down, you can’t exclude placements, and you don’t have control over the devices your ads are placed on.

What’s New With Google: How Your Web Page Speed Effects Your SEO and Adwords Performance

Even though you do give up some control, what makes smart display ads worth using is the fact that Google will automatically test out different elements of your ad to find the best possible combination.

Inside Adwords’ Custom Intent Campaigns

The custom intent audiences option now offered by Google AdWords provides a more accurate way to target consumers who are looking to make a purchase right now. It’s the equivalent of being able to walk up to a customer who is browsing items inside of a physical store and engaging with them. Using custom intent audiences, you’ll have a much better chance of closing a sale since the audiences your ad will be targeting will be looking to buy something that’s similar to your product or service.

For example, if you’re marketing an airline service and want to target customers who are going on vacation, you could set your customer intent to target people who are looking to go on vacation in Hawaii. Not only can you target potential customers searching for flights to Hawaii on Google using keywords like Hawaii vacation or flights to Hawaii, but you can also reach them on YouTube while they are watching Hawaii travel videos.

Adwords’ Custom Intent Makes Finding Your Audience A Breeze

Using the custom intent audience feature is easy. When creating a display ad, simply select “target” and choose “intent.” You can then choose either ‘DIY” which allows you to combine links and topics in order to pursue customers who are most likely looking to buy what you are selling, or you can choose “Auto-generated,” which leaves the work to Google’s machine learning technology in order to create audiences that are exclusive to the data of your brand based on inference.

When creating your new audience, you’ll name the audience, enter any keywords or URLs that are related to your target audience, and then create it. Based on the custom audience you’ve created, you’ll be provided with useful information like estimated reach, associated keywords, and potential audiences according to phrase.

Although the custom intent audience feature can be extremely useful in reaching customers who are looking to buy immediately, it’s worth noting that this feature is only valuable as a short-term strategy. If you’re looking to nurture leads over the long-term, using this feature is not the best option.

Choosing Between Smart Display Ads and Custom Intent Audiences

When looking inside AdWords to determine what the best PPC option is for you, you need to figure out exactly what you’re goal is. If you’re trying to boost sales short term, then using the custom intent audience feature can be quite valuable. When it comes to smart display ads, there’s much more that you can use them for, whether it’s attracting more long-term leads, finding new places to reach your target audience, or identifying what elements of your ads are the most effective to help with future ad campaigns.

17 SEO MYTHS YOU SHOULD LEAVE BEHIND

How To Strike A Perfect Balance When Writing For Search & Writing For Brand

Writing content can be tricky. Implementing the best SEO practices is important in order to help attract organic traffic to your site in order to read your content, but you should also make sure that your SEO efforts don’t detract from the quality of your writing–it needs to be of a high quality in order to engage those visitors, after all. Finding that perfect balance between writing for your brand and writing for SEO is no easy task. The following are a few tips on how to maintain that perfect balance:

1. Do Your Keyword Research

If you do the proper amount of keyword research, then you shouldn’t have to worry about trying to include the keywords you’ve chosen into the content you’ve written. If the keywords you chose were relevant to the content you wrote and vice versa, then odds are those keywords will be naturally used as you are writing your content and you won’t have to worry about going back and adding in keywords in potentially unnatural or repetitive ways that could lower the quality of your content.

2. Using Keywords In Your Headers

You don’t need to add keywords to each header you use. Your headers don’t just tell readers what the following content is going to be about–they also need to help incite reader interest. A lot of the time, adding keywords to your headers can make the header seem bland. Use keywords in your headers when the following paragraph is the meat and potatoes of your content. When it comes to the concluding header, worry more about creating a header that leaves a lasting impact than about finding a way to include your keyword.

Are Keywords Still Required To Increase SEO Rankings? Click here to find out.

3. Know Where To Use Keywords

While you should use your keywords in the body of your content in a natural way, you should also make sure to include it in your title, meta title, meta description, and image alt text. This will make your content more easily identifiable for Google without potentially affecting the quality of your actual content.

Keywords aren’t the only way to write for search. Add relevant backlinks throughout your content. However, if the links don’t add value to the experience of your readers, then don’t add them–you’ll just frustrate your readers and clutter up your content with anchor text.

5. Don’t Overdo It

First of all, keyword stuffing is going to be penalized by Google, which is why you should try to keep your keyword density below two percent. Secondly, you should read through your content to get a feel for how it sounds. If any of your keywords sound out of place, then they’re affecting the quality of what you’ve written. Additionally, if it feels like the keyword is being repeated too often within a short span of space, it’s probably dragging the quality down.

The content you write serves many purposes as far as your inbound marketing strategy goes. It can help increase your search rankings, thereby boosting organic traffic and bringing in more potential leads. It can also help your readers to engage with your brand. However, this requires you to both write with your audience in mind as well as with SEO in mind. These are just a few tips that will help you maintain that perfect balance between writing for your brand and writing for search.

Still want to increase your SEO? Here’s how to do so using Google trends.

17 SEO MYTHS YOU SHOULD LEAVE BEHIND

How AI Marketing Effects SEO

For years, artificial intelligence (AI) was mere science fiction — an idea with unlimited possibilities. As technology has advanced, AI has developed to the point where it’s not only implemented throughout our everyday lives, but it’s become so commonplace that it’s beginning to be taken for granted. For example, virtual personal assistants, such as Siri and Alexa, movie recommendation services, and smart cars are all known quantities.

One area in which AI is currently upheaving the status quo is in the online marketing world. The emergence of AI marketing over the past few years is already changing the way businesses market their brands — and for the better.

How AI Has Affected SEO

Traditionally, search engine optimization (SEO) was based on a handful of factors, from keyword use to link building. Google and other search engines would use algorithms to rank content based on these factors. However, the introduction of marketing AI has changed the way Google is able to rank content. AI marketing software allows for the collection of valuable user and website data and analysis in real time. Take for example Google’s RankBrain.

Google introduced its RankBrain AI marketing software a few years back with the aim of more accurately identifying high-quality, relevant content for its search engine users. It has become their third most important ranking factor in their overall algorithm. It works by being able to accurately analyze queries in real time and returning relevant search results even if the exact keyword phrase used in the search doesn’t appear in the content. It does this by scanning website content and identifying related terms and concepts that make it relevant to the query. This means that there no longer needs to be an emphasis on forcing keywords into your content to make sure that Google identifies what your content is.

The use of marketing AI has also ushered in the ability to perform voice searches. Consumers are increasingly using voice search features via their virtual personal assistants, such as Alexa, to find what they are looking for. One of the reasons voice search is possible is because of how advanced AI marketing software is able to determine context without specific keywords. As a result, you will need to focus more on user intent in order to position yourself to be found by voice search. Fortunately, you can use AI software to collect and analyze user data and website data in order to identify what that user intent is.

The Future of AI Marketing

Considering how marketing AI has already changed the SEO landscape over the past few years, it’s not difficult to predict that there’s going to be even more change on the way. The following are a few ways in which marketing AI is likely going to change the way you market your brand in the near future:

No more keywords

RankBrain has already shown that AI is advanced enough to be able to infer meaning from certain words to help supply its queries with relevant content. AI is only going to get smarter in the future, which means soon enough, it will be able to scan content and determine relevance to user queries without having to identify specific keyword phrases or phrases that are similar to those used in queries. This will become even more necessary as voice search becomes more prominent since while users have been trained to perform searches using keywords, they rarely speak naturally using keyword phrases. This means that instead of competing with keywords, you’ll have to focus on just creating good content that is relevant to your audience, thereby placing even greater importance on your audience’s user intent.

Are there ways to increase SEO? With the help of Google Trends, anything’s possible!

Deep user intent

When you look at some of the more popular websites that rank high on Google’s SERP, it’s not uncommon to see sites like IMDB or Wikipedia. One of the reasons for this is not only because they provide high-quality content relevant to a lot of user queries, but they have a lot of supporting content as well that users continue to read, resulting in visitors staying on their sites for a longer time. This means that when identifying user intent, you’re going to have to take a more holistic approach to the buyer’s journey by considering every stage. By creating content based on user intent at every stage of the buyer’s journey, visitors will be more likely to stay on your site and look through more pages. There’s no doubt that in the near future, AI will begin taking into account how websites address the intent of visitors at every stage with its supporting content.

Automated content creation

Keeping in mind how advanced AI is likely going to be able to identify high-quality, relevant content based on the entirety of the content and not just a handful of keywords, it’s not that far of a stretch to predict that AI software will soon be able to create content for businesses as well. Right now, AI-created content reads like it was produced by a robot — but many believe that it will be able to create natural sounding content in the near future.

The use of AI marketing has already begun to improve the quality of search for users around the world. It’s never been easier for people to find what they’re looking for. Although you will need to adapt to the growing impact that AI is having on the inbound marketing world, doing so shouldn’t be difficult. As long as you focus on creating high-quality content for your target audience, you will find it much easier to adapt than those who were solely focused on earning high search rankings.

17 SEO MYTHS YOU SHOULD LEAVE BEHIND

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

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.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

What’s New With Google: How Your Web Page Speed Effects Your SEO and Adwords Performance

Speed has always been a factor in defining both organic rankings and AdWords Quality Score. However, Google’s most recent change, which comes into effect in July, shifts this focus somewhat; speed will now be a key ranking factor in mobile searches.

For companies that already advertise to prospective customers on mobile devices, or who have organic search presence, there are numerous elements of their online presence that need to be checked, tested, and, where appropriate, changed. Knowing how to optimize your mobile site for speed will make all the difference to your search engine rankings.

The Importance of Testing Site Speed

The changes are going to make knowing the speed of a mobile site essential. Many tools permit site owners to determine their page speed to see whether enhancements are needed. Most of the tools that are available to test speeds are free and do not require administrator access to the website in question. That means that companies can check their competitors’ sites as well as their own.

Adjusting Mobile SEO Strategy for Google’s Speed Update

The benefit of Google announcing the change six-months before it comes into effect is that it gives companies time to undertake the necessary checks and make appropriate changes.

One such change that companies should consider is switching to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). An AMP works by altering the source code of the website, thus directing the standard HTML page to a minimalist version of itself, the hosted AMP page. As AMPs are still so rare, they load exceptionally quickly. In initial Google testing, AMPs reduced load time up to 85%.

Click here to find out how to measure your audience with Google Analytics

Local search should not be ignored, either. A Google Mobile Moments Study revealed that 40% of mobile searches have local intent. Companies also need to be aware that mobile search engine users enter queries differently than desktop search engine users; mobile queries tend to be much shorter.

Leveraging Search Console is a fantastic way to check in on a site’s usability. Using the following options under “Crawl Errors” can make a significant difference to usability:

  • Smartphone tab – permits users to recognize any crawl errors that might be burdening their mobile pages
  • Fetch on Google – allows users to see how crawlers view the site and adjust accordingly
  • Mobile Usability report – tells users precisely which pages have mobile usability issues, as well as the nature of the issues.

How Will Google’s Speed Update Impact Your AdWords Account?

The Quality Score algorithm, the algorithm that determines how much users pay per click to serve an ad on the Search Network, is heavily influenced by landing page experience. If a company’s site does not load quickly and does not convey beneficial information, the company will either end up paying a premium or realize that they are unable to serve an ad at all.

The AdWords documentation recommends five ways to affect positive change regarding a site’s landing page experience:

  • Include relevant, compelling content
  • Be recognized as trustworthy
  • Make navigation simple and effective
  • Reduce load time
  • Make the website faster

In Conclusion

Failing to consider the new speed update will negatively affect a website’s ranking and, in turn, adversely impact the ROI of the business it showcases. AdWords users need to ensure they optimize for load time and landing page speed, and not just in terms of relevance. Companies should also contemplate making a move to AMP, ensure that their intent is on point, and make the most of the power of Search Console and page speed insights.

Integrating Social Media & SEO Efforts For Enhanced Search Engine Results

Mobile Market

Ten Ways to Use Google Trends to Increase SEO

Most people love free SEO tools. Google Trends is one of the most underused free tools; it is a place marketers can use to get their finger on the global pulse. Increase SEO using Google Trends in the following ten ways.

1.    Start Big and Narrow Down

The latest Google Trends dashboard is much simpler and allows you to explore various topics before narrowing down. Therefore, begin by entering a broad or all-encompassing keyword and then drill down. For example, the Worldwide feature allows you to focus on a certain market geographically. The word umbrella will peak at different times depending on the location. You can also filter your search by time selection and category, enabling you to increase SEO by targeting a wider region.

2.    Use Specific Search Options

Get advanced insights using options like image search, Google Shopping or news search. Digging deeper into your queries can increase your chances of identifying a new trend. You can also click Rising to see the top keywords.

3.    Context is Key

Google Trends operates in a relativistic manner. Today’s results are not compared with popular trends; rather, with the prior keywords you entered, meaning results vary according to various factors like timeframe. Therefore, never overlook the context and avoid personal blind spots when trying to increase SEO.

4.    Target by Location

A cursory use of the tool usually focuses exclusively on keywords. To get the most relevant results, incorporate location into your mix. Focus on specific and relevant regions and sub-regions.

Check out this similar article about SEO

5.    Trend Predictions

It is easy to identify trends that leave a trail, but that is not very helpful as most marketers are using that data. Predict trends to gain additional insights. Identify potential trends by filtering according to specific countries or categories. Today’s  health story may not be a headline on Google Trends; however, it may help you spot topics to watch out for.

6.    Use Long-Tail Phrases

It may be difficult to rank high on the SERPs for a phrase like “Caribbean Cruise”, but you can make it to the top of the search results using a long-tail variation of this phrase.

7.    Use Top Chartsincrease SEO

Click on the Top Charts icon on the upper left to view Google’s version of Billboard Top 100. Do not confuse it with the trends most individuals are seeing. You can sort between Most Searched and Trending to glean more relevant information.

8.    Video Optimization Data

For example, if you posted a video on YouTube about how to avail discounts on Caribbean cruises, you can switch from web to YouTube search to explore related topics and queries. You can also sort by Rising or Top to capture more YouTube traffic.

9.    Cyclical Trends

If you are optimizing your wedding boutique, even a simple search will reveal that most weddings do not compete with holidays. With some aforementioned strategies, you can determine a few additional keywords to carefully direct your future posts to better handle each cyclical trend.

10.    Avoid Misreading the Trends

Advanced and sophisticated use of Google Trends allows you to move a step or two beyond your current insight to determine if there are any blind spots. For example, never trust one snapshot to tell you the whole story; instead, get a broad view of different timelines to figure out what else is happening.

17 SEO MYTHS YOU SHOULD LEAVE BEHIND

increase SEO

Advertising Agency Trends

The world of the traditional advertising agency is gone. Today, clients want agencies that truly embrace all forms of advertising, both traditional and digital. Smart agencies know this and stay on top of the trends in marketing and sales that will have the most impact for their clients. Let’s look at a few trends that are hot and here to stay.

Native Marketing

If there is one trend in advertising that is going strong and will remain strong for years to come, it’s native marketing. Blending advertisements smoothly with surrounding content has been around for decades. Doing it in new and innovative ways in the digital marketplace is what is driving the current growth.

Business Insider predicts that native advertising will hit $21 billion next year (2018). In 2013, spending for native advertising was $4.7 billion. That translates to a 445% growth in just 5 years.

The beauty of native advertising is that it’s very unobtrusive. It organically blends into the user experience.

Marketing Automation

Let’s face it. The world of marketing is a bit cutthroat with so many companies vying for consumer attention. Trying to bring a brand to the forefront and keep it there requires a solid set of tools that collect data, provide analytic tools and does a lot of the work for you. That set of tools is marketing automation.

A marketing automation platform gathers pertinent information on what visitors are most interested in, which pages they visit most, and what changes as they go further down the sales funnel. This information offers critical insights to what the target audience needs at each stage of the journey. All of that information can help an advertising agency develop highly focused ad campaigns

5 Benefits of Marketing Automation 

Content Marketing

Content marketing is becoming more sophisticated and more personalized. It starts with web pages providing basic information. Adding elements like video and infographics enriches the experience.

Gathering information with marketing automation allows for personalization. Certain areas of the web page can provide content drawn from the visitor’s profile. Marketing apps take that to a whole new level with interactive content experiences, completely based what is known about the visitor.

This increasing sophistication of content marketing is going to demand more sophisticated options from advertising agencies.

Personalized Marketing

Consumers expect personalization and they value it. It goes back to the days when a shopkeeper knew the names of all his customers. “Hi, Mrs. Jones, how is your oldest son doing in school?” “Hello, Mr. Gonzalez. That car part you wanted just came into stock.” The personal connection builds trust that cannot be replicated.

That personal touch is becoming the norm when it comes to marketing. People respond better to email offers that include their name and refers to what interests them. When they log 0nto a site like Amazon or E-Bay, they like the fact that they get recommendations based on their browsing and purchase history.

Closed Loop Marketing Analytics

Smart marketing means know who visits your website via SEO or marketing efforts. Analytics tracks which web pages a visitor visits. It tracks how often the visitor comes back and what most interests him/her. Analytics may track when a visitor becomes a lead. It can even track some parts of the lead’s journey to becoming a buyer. But, does it track what converted that lead into a buyer?

That is what closed loop marketing analytics track. This type of analysis helps marketers understand which effort ends up in sale and which effort did not. It highlights the most effective marketing efforts and which ones need attention.

From an advertising agency perspective, it can show you which ad campaigns had the most impact and which ones did not.

Continuous Website Improvements Based on Data

Most companies do a major website redesign every few years. The problem with just a major redesign is that once it’s done, it’s done. Nothing major will change until the next redesign 2-3 years in the future.

A new approach, rapidly gaining popularity, is a web design based on continuous improvement. Instead of rolling out a completely outfitted website that takes months to build, it starts with a streamlined, well-designed core based on tightly focused goals and objectives for content, design and development.

When that new website goes live, it starts gathering user data, linking it to marketing/sales effort. The data shows what is working and what is not. That data is what drives the next wave of improvements, often done on a monthly basis. This cycle of analyzing data, making improvements and gathering data can go on forever, continuously improving the website and its effects on marketing/sales.

Staying on top of major marketing trends is critical for any advertising agency. These trends impact client advertising directly. Which trend do you think will have the most impact in the coming year?

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers