Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is such a big buzzword. At least twice a month I am approached about doing SEO for an existing or potential client. As we begin to delve into their goals though, it often turns out that what they really want is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
And it turns out that CRO isn’t much of a buzzword even though it is a critical piece of digital marketing. If you want to get more leads through your website, you first have to know if you are getting leads from your website.
If you know how many leads you are getting from your website, we can then look at the number of visitors to your site and, with simple math, calculate your conversion rate:
If you have 100 visitors to your site and get 1 lead, your conversion rate is:
1 (lead) ÷ 100 (visitors) = 0.01 then multiply by 100 for the percentage = 1% (conversion rate)
Sound low? It is. Conversion rates vary widely but if you have a higher than 1% conversion rate, you are doing fantastic.
Now that we have a conversion rate established, we can go about the process of optimizing the conversion rate. There are many things you can test or try. Sometimes it is simply a matter of changing colors on a button or call to action (yes, that might be all it takes). Other things that you can do include:
Removing unnecessary steps (fewer clicks often increases conversion rates)
Creating better / stronger calls to action (CTAs)
Use design to clarify what the next step is
Remove unnecessary CTAs – if they make it to a form page, remove opportunities to click away
Don’t ask for unnecessary information – growing your email list? You don’t need a physical address.
Add urgency to the CTA – “Offer good through Saturday!”
Don’t your CTA lower on the page or even on a different page
Use testimonials – others “tooting your horn” will work better than you doing it yourself
Make sure your page loads quickly – if it is slow to load, people leave
If you have the staff resources to manage it, add a chatbot to your site so you can interact in real time
All of these, and a whole lot more, are ways to increase your conversion rate, increase customer satisfaction and grow your business.
You need to set goals for digital marketing early in the process – not after you have created campaigns or begun implementing tactics. You should consider what you are trying to accomplish – what is the desired outcome of your digital marketing. Of course, for most folks, that is either more business or more leads.
What are the Benefits to Set Goals for Digital Marketing?
Setting goals is a great way to keep track of your progress towards reaching your business objectives. It helps you stay focused on your overall strategy by giving you something tangible to work towards. You can also use it as an opportunity to evaluate where you stand against your competitors. If you’re not sure if you’re meeting your goals, then setting new ones will help you figure out where you need to improve.
Setting goals allows you to see your progress over time which makes it easier to measure your success. This gives you more confidence in your results and increases your chances of achieving them.
It’s important that you don’t set too many goals at once because this could be overwhelming. The best approach is to break down your big goal into smaller, manageable tasks. For example, if you want to increase sales, start with one small task like increasing your social media following or email list size. Once you’ve completed these smaller tasks, move onto another one.
You’ll also find that setting goals will motivate you to achieve them. When you have a clear objective in mind, it becomes much easier to focus on the things that matter most.
Setting SMART Goals
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. These five elements make up a good goal so let’s look at each one in turn:
Specific – Your goal should be specific enough to give you direction but broad enough to allow room for growth.
Measurable – Make sure your goal has a metric attached to it so you know whether or not you’re making progress.
Attainable – Don’t set yourself unattainable goals. Think about what would happen if you didn’t meet your goal. Would you feel disappointed? Or maybe even angry?
Relevant – Be realistic about your goal. Is it really relevant to your business?
Time bound – Make sure your goal isn’t open ended. Give yourself a deadline to hit your target.
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for your goals, here are some examples of common digital marketing goals:
Increase website traffic (e.g. Facebook likes)
Increase brand awareness (e.g. Google rankings)
Increase conversion rate (e.g. signups)
Improve customer service (e.g. feedback scores)
Increase sales revenue (e.g. number of products sold)
Now that we’ve looked at the benefits of setting goals, let’s take a closer look at how to go about doing it.
Step 1: Define Your Goal
The first step in setting goals is to decide exactly what you want to achieve. Start by thinking about your business objectives and then ask yourself the following questions:
Is my goal attainable?
What do I want to achieve?
How will I know when I’ve achieved it?
What does my ideal future state look like?
Once you’ve answered all three questions, write down your answers. Now you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Write Down Your Goals
After deciding on your goal, write it down. If you don’t already have a list of goals, start now! Here are some tips to ensure you make the most of this process:
Start small. It’s tempting to think big, but starting off with smaller goals will help you build momentum.
Break them down into milestones. For example, instead of saying “I’ll increase my social media presence”, say “I’ll post more content on Twitter“.
Add deadlines. Setting deadlines helps you stay focused and motivated.
Once you have your goals and milestones written down and assigned deadlines to them, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
Step 3: Identify Key Performance Indicators
Key performance indicators or KPIs are measurable metrics which show whether your goals are being met. The best way to identify KPIs is to use data analytics tools. These allow you to measure success against specific criteria. Some of the most commonly used KPIs include:
Website Traffic – How many people visit your site per month? What pages get the highest traffic?
Social Media Engagement – Are users engaging with your posts? Do they share your content?
Customer Feedback – How satisfied are customers with your product or service? How much positive and negative feedback do they leave?
Leads / Sales Conversions – How many leads did you generate last week? How many of these went on to become customers?
As you can see, there are lots of different ways to measure success. You may choose to focus on one metric, such as lead generation, or combine several together. Whatever method you choose, be consistent. Once you set out to track key performance indicators, stick to it. Don’t change your strategy mid-stream if you find that one metric isn’t working as well as you thought it would.
Step 4: Measure Progress
You should always keep an eye on your progress towards achieving your goals. This means measuring your success regularly. To do this, you need to assign a percentage value to each KPI.
For example, if you want to increase your website traffic by 10%, you could simply multiply the number of visitors you had last month by 0.1. So if you had 100 visits last month, you’d expect to receive 110 visits this month.
If you’re not sure how to proceed, here are some examples:
Increase Website Traffic by 20%: Multiply the number of visitors you received last month by 1.2. So if you had 1000 visitors last month, you’d receive 1200 in the following month.
Increase Social Media Engagement by 50%: Multiply the total number of likes, comments etc you posted last month by 1.5. So if you had 3000 likes last month, you’d have 5000 in the following month. Remember to take into account any changes in activity over time.
Improve Lead Generation Rate by 25%: Multiply the amount of leads generated last month by 1.25. So if you had 500 leads last month, you’d generate 750 in the following month. Again, remember to take into account any fluctuations in activity over time. If you’re looking to improve your conversion rate, you should use a tool like Google Analytics to monitor your conversions.
Step 5: Adjust Your Strategy
Once you’ve measured your progress, you’ll know what needs to change as you set goals for digital marketing. For instance, if you found that only 1% of your leads converted, then you’d know that you need to work harder at generating more leads.
So now you know exactly where you stand, you can decide whether you need to make adjustments to your marketing plan. Maybe you need to spend less money on advertising or invest more time in social media promotion. Whatever the case, once you’ve decided which areas you need to adjust, you can start implementing them.
Digital Marketing is the process of promoting products and services digitally through online channels. It includes email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media marketing, influencer marketing, display advertising, web development, mobile applications, and much more. The ultimate goal of digital marketing is to promote your product or service in some online fashion. To do this well, you need to set goals for digital marketing.
There are a lot of artists out there. They love to create beautiful campaigns that look and feel marvelous. Sometimes you will see a post or part of a campaign that makes you laugh out loud. That too is a good part of the art.
A picture is indeed worth a 1000 words and some of the best pictures make for artistic digital marketing that takes your breath away. And a video? Well if a picture is worth a 1000, a video is worth far more. Some of the most artistic digital marketing campaigns move you to like, share and comment.
And if digital marketing were a popularity contest, that might be enough.
But bringing in a bit of science to help you with your digital marketing campaign can actually help your business grow.
You remember back in science in high school? You create a hypothesis. Then you do a test. Then you measure the results. Then you draw a conclusion based on that and from there you can create a new hypothesis and let the science keep rolling.
How does that work?
If I create one blog every two weeks for twelve weeks around a new product that we make, and strategically share that on social media I’ve identified as platforms the target customer uses, I can increase sales 10%
Create six pieces of content, keeping it short, interesting, and using images that are not stock images. Post one every two weeks to your blog, share on identified social sites, tagging others and using hashtags as appropriate.
Measure / Evaluate:
Well we found that posts where we focused on our clients got the most interaction and we actually generated three leads as a result of those two posts. We’ve already converted one. One is a bit dicey and likely won’t convert but the other is in the funnel and looking good.
It seemed like the posting frequency was just about right and it really helped to have it all planned out in advance. If we can sustain this program, our sales should increase between 11 and 15% over last year.
That’s one example of how you can conduct a digital marketing campaign with science. What all was used in this example?
Content Marketing – creating unique content and posting it to a blog
Social Media Marketing – posting to social media websites using tags and hashtags to engage others
Conversion Rate Optimization Marketing – determining a conversion rate based on number of interactions that actually turn into business
Other types of digital marketing that should be considered:
Search Engine Optimization
Paid Search Campaign
Paid Social Media Marketing (similar to paid search campaign)
3rd Party Marketing (placing your ads / links on other websites)
Mobile Marketing (includes many of those above plus texting)
Affiliate Marketing (using influencers to promote your business)
The art of digital marketing is an important component but the science of digital marketing should not be overlooked. Over the last couple of years the phrase “follow the science” has been overused and abused. But integrating science into your digital marketing outreach is important if you want to be successful.
Remember, if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. If you take the extra steps beyond the art of digital marketing to get to the science, you will actually be able to measure success as a phase of the campaign ends.
Sometime in the first or second week of November, many business people slowly begin to checkout. It’s time for Thanksgiving and then Christmas and then New Years. It’s not time to close new deals or even to push to the finish on existing deals or projects.
But that is really just an excellent way to waste 1/10th of the year.
If it seems like your prospects or projects are beginning to taper off, here are five ways you can bolster your year and finish strong
Review your website. Things change over the course of a year. Are the offerings / services / products displayed all still accurate? Anything new to add? What about personnel?
Review your calls to action. Whether it is for your website or your social media presence or your online ads, are the calls to action generating action? If not, determine if you need more activity or better calls to action (or both).
Check your traffic. If you have an established conversion rate (XX number of visitors generates X number of leads), is your traffic volume headed in the right direction? If you don’t know or don’t have a conversion rate, then you probably need to revisit #2 above. You should be able to measure visitors on your website, interactions on social media and how your brand and keyword phrases perform in search.
Refresh your digital marketing goals. Social media, for example, can be a powerful tool for connecting with prospects but you need to have a clear plan. And remember, social media marketing is not a popularity contest. It isn’t the number of fans or followers but the quality of the connections and the way you interact.
Hire a digital marketing firm to help you out. Sounds like a self-serving step but pause and consider. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing in your business? If managing your website and your digital marketing is not high on the list, then why not turn to the pros who do enjoy it and are good at it?
Whether you are struggling to hold the line, growing like crazy or somewhere in-between, staying engaged all the way to the end of the year will yield benefits both for 2021 and to launch 2022 off to a strong start.
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.
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.
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?
Send out a nice email inviting your connections / customers / vendors to reconnect.
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.
Make sure you post to your social media AT LEAST once a week and more frequently as you have the bandwidth to do so.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.