EduNotes Blog

Turn Your Digital Marketing Around

What Is The Core Of Your Digital Marketing Campaign?
What is the core of your Digital Marketing Campaign?

The core of digital marketing is your website. It is your website where you have the most control. You can publish content about what you do, what you offer, any special events or sales you have, interact with customers and pretty much whatever else you need it to do.

Other web sites might opt not to share your content or run your ads. Social media sites might change how their advertising works or what you can and cannot post. But you have control over your website.

So that is the starting place. But as you begin to build out a digital marketing campaign, the obvious first step is to set goals for your campaign. And those goals should be clearly defined and measurable.

The following are not goals for a digital marketing campaign:

  • I want to make my site look better.
  • It should have more pictures
  • I want to get more likes*
  • We will have more followers on Facebook*
  • I want a lower “bounce rate”*
  • I want to drive more traffic to my website.*
  • Can we make the pictures bigger?
  • We have a new logo
  • I want to be ranked number 1*

But the ones with asterisks could be turned into defined, measurable goals. What does make a good goal? It needs to be clearly defined so you can actually measure it. Here is an example of a clearly defined, measurable goal:

“We will get three qualified leads each month through our social media marketing campaign.”

Now we have a goal that we can measure and we can begin to lay out HOW we will reach the goal.  For social media, you must provide VALUE to the reader / viewer. You want to capture their attention and move them towards a Call to Action. You often seen tantalizing headlines online like “This Simple Trick Will Close the Deal Every Time”. While they are often bordering on the ridiculous, they keep doing them because they work. We’re not suggesting you go the ridiculous route but you can learn from these to make your headlines, images and content highly enticing and clickable.

The following are good goals for a digital marketing campaign:

  • We will get 10 more likes each week for our corporate presence on LinkedIn which will give us a wider audience each week and from which we will convert three of these into customers each month.
  • We will have 25 more followers on our Facebook account each month and increase click throughs to our website by 10 each month (this should be teased out a bit further even – . . . to our website by 10 and increase ecommerce sales by three customers)
  • People aren’t really going experiencing our site. We will lower the bounce rate and increase engagement so that we get more subscribers to our newsletter.
  • We have a conversion rate of .1% (we get a new customer for every 1000 visitors to our website) so we want to increase our traffic to 10,000 visitors a week so we get 10 new customers each week. We will accomplish this by being ranked in the top 10 for our five best key phrases.

As you can see from all of the good goals, we want to ultimately send visitors to your website and it is from there we need to convert them – whether conversion is making a sale, getting a form filled out, getting another newsletter subscriber or whatever your conversion point is.

So with your website being the center, your first step in digital marketing should be to make sure your site is optimized for conversion and that you are measuring the rate of conversion. With that baseline established, you can then set goals for any other campaigns you create and understand the value they are bringing.

Do you need help setting up your digital marketing? Give EduCyber a call at 303-268-2245 – ask for Brian.

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The Changing Face of SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) continues to mature as a discipline and as it does, the things that one must do continue to change. Some of the work of SEO is quite straightforward and in fact the single most important thing you can do to boost your rankings is to have quality content about what you do.

No search engine will send visitors your way if you don’t explicitly tell them what you do using the keyword phrases that people would naturally use in the search bar to look for a company doing what you do or selling what you sell.

But it used to be all about getting a page to rank. Earlier this year, Google rolled out “passage ranking” which is where Google tries to provide the one passage on a web page that answers the question the searcher has. I guess one example of that would be if you searched for “to be or not to be” you wouldn’t want the result to be the script of Hamlet. You want to get straight to Act 3, Scene 1 where Hamlet opens with “To be, or not to be, that is the question . . . “. And those are the passages that Google seeks to show you for specific searches.

Google’s ability to index pages and understand the content well enough to know that, buried deep in the page is a specific answer to someone’s search is powerful (and a tad scary). But what it really points back to is the importance of having quality content.

Another key to both SEO and user engagement is using a mix of content types. Text, yes, we’ve already addressed that. But having images, videos and perhaps infographics to help illuminate your content will help both getting traffic through the search engine AND in engaging the visitor once they get to your page.  

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Reconnecting

Believe it or not, it has been six months since we last connected via email. But all is well in EduCyber land. Yes, both Maki and Brian came down with the virus in the spring so a large part of April we were checked out and focused on healing. But we are back and doing well.

And we are busy. Many existing and new customers are realizing that, should another pandemic occur, it is best to have a strong digital presence to connect with new and potential customers.

If you aren’t one of those whose site we are currently working on and your site is hosted with us, call Brian to schedule your web performance review – he’s at 303-268-2245 ext. 4. We would love to reconnect and to review your website performance.

If you haven’t heard from us in a while, we would love to reconnect. This is a great time, when the weather is good to grab a beer during happy hour or get together for lunch.

Just as we want to reconnect with folks, you can and should be reconnecting with your network in person and online.

What can you do to reconnect digitally?

  1. Send out a nice email inviting your connections / customers / vendors to reconnect.
  2. Schedule an in person event whether it be a workshop, a seminar, a lunch and learn, a happy hour or a party and leverage your web site, your newsletter, and your email contacts to get the word out. This is a good opportunity to partner with others in your network to make the event special.
  3. Make sure you post to your social media AT LEAST once a week and more frequently as you have the bandwidth to do so.
  4. Search for organizations in your area to join – do the online search first. Many membership-based organizations lost members during the pandemic. This is your opportunity to help them out by helping yourself out. Join the right organizations that will help you grow.

Can you think of others? Let us know if you can and we’ll add them (and give you attribution).

In any case, whether it be digitally or in person, take the time to reconnect. You will be pleased to find out that others also want to reconnect and what opportunities arise.

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The End of Cookies: Good Internet Marketing?

Are Browser Cookies A Privacy Compromise Or The Best Part Of Internet Marketing?

Pretty much everyone has heard of cookies. They are those (nasty?) things that track you on the internet, right? It’s just a part of internet marketing, yes?

Well kind of. But they are also those nifty things that once you’ve logged in to a site mean that you don’t have to keep logging in. They are the cool things that mean you are less likely to see ads completely unrelated to who you are and what you like to buy.

A cookie is a small file that can help a website remember who you are – great for online shopping when you put something in your cart and then leave. When you come back, your stuff is still right there in your cart. It can also be used to track you across other web sites or even across all the sites you visit.

Privacy Concern or Just Internet Marketing?

And that is where the trouble lies. Privacy is becoming an ever-increasing concern for folks as they surf the web – it isn’t anyone else’s business what sites I visit.

Now browser developers (like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla, Safari, Brave, etc.) are ending their support for 3rd party cookies to help protect consumer privacy.

What does this mean exactly? No one is sure just yet. As tracking 3rd party cookies goes away, you can be pretty sure advertisers will find new ways to target their market appropriately. And Google certainly won’t lose out as they will still be able to track searches on their search engine and track users who use the ubiquitous Google Analytics tracking for websites.

Does this mean that your privacy is better protected? Not necessarily. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in targeting and delivering ads simply moves the protections to a different level. But this is a step intended to protect consumers.

How it will all play out is yet to be determined but if you are not sure if your site will be affected, contact us.

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Five Hidden Reports in Google Analytics that Every Business Owner Should See

Reports In Google Analytics
Five Hidden Reports in Google Analytics that Every Business Owner Should See 6

Every website should be using an analytics package that tracks what is happening on the website so you can make intelligent business decisions about how web visitors experience your website. Google Analytics is probably the most popular, in part because it is free. But it can be intimidating finding the data from reports in Google Analytics that you need to understand what is happening in your business.

Because there is so much data and because Google is continually updating the package themselves, it is important to know where the hidden reports are so you can get to them. Below are the five reports in Google Analytics every business owner or website manager should be paying attention to.

Before you start looking at reports in Google Analytics though, you need to have enough data to understand what is happening. We normally start with a year to date report – in the top right corner you can select the start date and end date for your reports. If you’ve been using GA long enough, you can even do a comparison to the previous year so you can detect trends that way.

The obvious reports of Audience Overview and Acquisition Overview are not the topic for today – but they are important reports you should review. We’re going to look at the five hidden reports that can unlock the secrets of how people are using your website.

Reports in Google Analytics:

  1. Events Overview. Found under the Behavior tab, this report reveals specific actions that users take on your site including if they clicked a “mailto” link which is typically used to send you or someone at your organization an email. If you have pdfs or other downloadable files you can also see how many (and what) they downloaded. If your site is coded properly for clickable phone numbers, you can also see how many people clicked to call. And you can also see how many people clicked a link on your site that took them elsewhere.
  2. Outbound-link Report. Closely related to the first report, the Outbound-link Report can reveal where people go when they leave your site. This report is found under Behavior -> Events -> Top Events -> Outbound-link. From here you need to look for Primary Dimension (between the chart at the top and the data below) and click on Event Action. Lots of sites, for example, have their social media icons on their site. This report can show you how many people actually click those links. Or if you have referral partners or members and there are links to their sites, you can show them how much traffic you are sending their way.
  3. Mobile Overview. This report can be found under Audience -> Mobile. It is critical to know from a design or usage perspective, what device visitors are using when they visit your site. Is it a computer? A tablet? A phone? What is the breakdown on these? If you look at your website a lot on a computer, you might think it is working pretty well but then find out that your users are mostly on their phones. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on the wrong medium. This mobile overview report can save you from making that mistake.
  4. Queries Overview – this report and the next require that you have connected your analytics to the search console but if you have, ooo boy do you get some good data. The Queries report is found under Acquisition ->  Search Console -> Queries. This delightful report shows you not just what is happening on your site but what Google understands about your website. You see the terms that people have actually searched for when Google thought that a page on your site is what people are looking for – this is called Impressions. This doesn’t mean someone clicked to your site, just the number of times the site showed up somewhere in Google results. You can also see the number of clicks – from Google to your site – which leads to a click through rate. This report also shows you the average position of your site for that search – hint: if you aren’t in the top 10, you probably aren’t going to get many clicks.
  5. Landing Pages Overview. This is the juiciest report you will find. Much like the Queries overview, it shows the number of impressions, the clicks, and the average position. In most instances, your home page is the top page signified by “/”.  You will be able to see how many impressions the home page received and how many of those turned into clicks. The interesting part is you can then click through to see what terms people were searching for when your homepage appeared. This report, in particular, can reveal a lot about how both Google and visitors see your site. If the terms don’t match what you do or what you offer, you might need to rethink and rework your page or site.

Don’t get lost in the data. There is a lot and Google has recently released version 4 of their analytics which will likely change how to access these reports in Google Analytics. But do pay attention to the data. If you don’t you might find your site is not helping you grow. To get a complete understanding of your digital marketing, you need this data.

And if your site isn’t helping your grow or you are troubled by the results you see in any of these hidden reports, we’re only a phone call away at 303-268-2245.

Because we are the power behind your website.

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What Every Business Owner Needs to Know about Web Hosting

Recently, a friend looking for cheap hosting reached out to me and said the important things to know about web hosting seem to be disk usage and inodes and could I help him understand that?

I replied that in most cases inodes are not nearly important as several other factors. Here are the things I shared with him that every business owner should be aware of regarding their hosting.

What you need to know about web hosting:

Backups – Every site should be kept up to date. Every once in a while, an update will crash your site. If you have good backups, it is simple to restore the last backup and get the site up and running. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, you may need to go back several days or weeks. So make sure you know how long your backups are in place for.

Uptime – There are still some web hosts that struggle to keep their servers up – especially the kind that are in your friend’s basement – but even larger, more reputable firms can have problems. Our servers by contrast, were up five 9’s last year: 99.9992% of the time. You should look for a firm that is AT LEAST four 9’s: 99.99% of the time up.

Security – Hackers and others with ill-intent are constantly probing just about every website out there, looking for security holes and other ways to attack. I’ve heard business owners say things like “Well that isn’t important for us, there is nothing private or important on our site.” After a discussion about the ways that hackers can hijack a site to serve porn or other illegal or illicit content, these same business owners begin to ask me questions about enhanced security for their site. There are several things to consider for security. Among these are:

  1. Does your site have an SSL certificate that shows it is secure (does the url start with https://? If so you are good. If it starts with just http://, you need help!)?
  2. Do only the people who need elevated access to the site, have it? If there are accounts for former employees or vendors you no longer use, the accounts should be removed lest they be compromised.
  3. What kinds of security scans are performed routinely? As new vulnerabilities are discovered regularly, your website should be scanned daily or at the very least weekly.

PCI Compliance – If you conduct any kind of ecommerce directly on your website, you need to make sure your site meets the “Payment Card Industry” compliance standards. The standards here also change regularly as the industry matures and as the bad guys become more sophisticated. So you need to make sure your web host has your back.

Hidden Charges – Does your web host provide a low low price for hosting and then nickel and dime you for every little thing? That can get annoying really fast. “oh, you want an ssl certificate? We can certainly do that for $25. Oh, you another email account? $10 / month. Oh, need more bandwidth, $20 / 100 MB / month.” And so on. The key is to be prepared if you go the low end route to know how much each item will cost and is the host inexpensive or simply cheap?

Support – How does support work? Can you only open an email ticket or an online chat or can you talk to a real human being about your real issue?

For each of these items, there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer – it is just important that you, as a business owner or website maintainer, knows about each of these so that when determining your hosting you can make informed choices.

And, as always, if you have questions about this, please give Brian a call at 303-268-2245

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Web Hosting Unraveled

There are lots of different web hosting levels. You can pick the web hosting company that most fits your needs and budget.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer that likes to geek out on all-things-technology, you can use an inexpensive host like GoDaddy or BlueHost. If you are focused on growing your business, you will want to find a managed hosting solution that will work with you, taking on all the parts you either don’t know about or don’t have the time to deal with.

At its most basic level, web hosting is simply reserving space on an Internet-connected server where the files and data that make up your website are. These files are then served up whenever someone visits your site. Here are some of the key terms you should know:

Choosing The Right Web Host

DNS: Domain Name Servers. This is where your domain name is managed. If you have, for example, mail through G Suite, there will be records that tell the internet where to send any messages going to that domain to find the G Suite account. If you have a VPN into your office, there might be records that tell the Internet where to find that location. And there will be records telling the internet where to find your website.

IP Address: There are now two types of IP addresses – IPv4 and IPv6. The v4 address is probably something you have seen before. It looks something like this: 211.39.43.12. As these numbers began to run out, v6 was created and has a combination of letters and numbers to expand the range that can be used. But in both cases, a Domain Name Server is used to translate an IP address into a domain name. For example, our website IP address is 69.16.227.153. DNS is used so that you don’t have to remember the address but can instead just use educyber.com to get there.

MX Records: These Mail Exchanger records are used to tell the internet how and where your email is handled. They might tell folks to go to Google if you use G Suite, to Microsoft if you use Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365).  And it is important to get all your mail records set correctly so you can send and receive messages.

Firewall: A well-configured firewall will go a long way towards blocking hackers and others with ill intent from even getting close to your site. It also picks up / records all kinds of information that business owners like – what IP addresses are accessing the site (understanding the geographic location of users) as well as being able, in some cases, to identify the specific user

Email: There are lots of possibilities for 3rd party email handlers like G Suite, Microsoft 365, and others but you can also have your email hosted through your web host. While not as full featured as the 3rd party services, it is usually included or much less than the 3rd party options. With email you can Track Deliverability (to see whether a message was received or not), set settings needed for email like SPF and DKIM as well as create and remove accounts, reset passwords, etc.

So how do you choose the right web host? If you are a startup on a shoestring budget, you may want to go the DIY route with a HostGator or BlueHost solution. If you are growing and want to free up your time to focus on growth and connecting with customers or training staff, then a managed solution is probably a better fit.

EduCyber is pleased to offer a managed webhosting solution. When it comes to websites, many business owners struggle with keeping their website current or just making simple changes. We have the staff and the resources to keep your site at its best, taking all the pain out of managing your website.

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