Category Archives: Search Engine Marketing

Adwords, Facebook, and Twitter Advertising Tips for Small Businesses

Online advertising is an infinitely growing area of expertise that can seem downright daunting to the average business owner. How much money do you need to spend? What platform will help you reach your target audience? How can you do better than your competitors?Adwords, Facebook, and Twitter...

These are all important questions! While they cannot be simply answered in a sentence or two, we can provide you with a starting point for better understanding the best practices of advertising through Adwords, Facebook and Twitter. Take a look!

Adwords

Adwords is Google’s online advertising program and a smart place to start if you’re just jumping into online advertising. Luckily, Google provides a depth of information to help you understand what they offer and how to get started. First, explore their different campaigns and identify which one is right for meeting your goals. Google will then walk you through setting a budget, formatting your campaign and choosing your keywords and placement.

If you’re ready to get a bit more advanced with your Adwords campaign, here are five strategies and money-making tips worth trying. One of the hottest features, and one you’ve likely experienced personally, is Google’s product-specific remarketing. You can advertise the exact product a customer was viewing on your site, allowing you to hit a hot lead and close the sale.

Facebook

Shifting the gears toward social media advertising, it’s only fitting to begin this conversation with a highlight of Facebook advertising opportunities for small businesses. Facebook is one of the largest and best ways small businesses can reach their target audience, build “likes” and push people to their website through social media. But you can also waste a lot of money, too, if you don’t know the basics.

Much like Google Adwords, Facebook has made it simple and straightforward to learn about their advertising options and get started creating an ad. But, also like Adwords, not all campaigns are created equal. You want to create several different versions of an ad (varying photos and test) and test it out before fully committing to your final version. You can track the clicks and then choose the best performing ad to run with.

Instead of creating traditional ads, you can also pay a little bit to boost a post. For example, if you are announcing a new product or promotion via a post on your business’s Facebook page, you can pay to boost this post and several thousand more users for an investment of only a few dollars. But be sure to share a link or call to action to encourage people to visit your website or make a purchase based upon your post!

Twitter

Last but not least, let’s talk Twitter advertising. Start by logging in and exploring your own advertising dashboard. You can see recent and popular tweets with the opportunity to promote them, similar to Facebook. A new addition to Twitter is their conversational ads which aim to make it easier for users to share and promote your brand with the simple click of a call to action button. For small businesses, this may be a good option for you if you want your customers to easily share your products or links to your content. The addition of hashtags makes this an even more powerful advertising tool.

Most importantly, keep in mind that you can dump a ton of money into Twitter (or any type of online) advertising without achieving meaningful results unless you are strategic with the content in your ads. Carefully think through your promotions and include calls to action. You’re paying for people to see your campaign, now what do you want them to do with the information? Be sure you have an answer to this question before you spend any money on Adwords, Facebook or Twitter!

Do you currently use Adwords, Facebook or Twitter to advertise your business or brand? Share what you’ve learned or ask a question by commenting below!

~Stephanie

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Filed under Adwords, Facebook, Social Media, Twitter

Pay Per Click, Impressions, Display, or Text- Choose the Right Adwords Options for Your Business

Google Adwords is a powerful and robust internet marketing tool, but only if you know how to use it. Countless options and advancements continue to roll out, making it challenging to stay on top of the latest trends and to really know all the options that are available to you.

For businesses, there are four basic types of campaigns you can run through Adwords that will help you reach your target audience. Here’s an essential overview of how each of these options work to help you decide which one will give you the biggest bang for your buck!Pay Per Click...

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay Per Click online marketing campaigns (PPC) are pretty much what they sound like. Search engines (like Google) allow you to buy listings that appear in their search results when people search for terms that are relevant or related to what you’re trying to advertise. These listings appear along with the organic, non-paid search results and are denoted with a small “AD” symbol.

PPC campaigns are great because you bid as much as you want to pay and only pay when you receive a click. However, if you’re competing for very popular search terms, another business can easily outbid your budget which will decrease the amount of times your ad appears in search results, thus decreasing the amount of clicks you receive back to your website.

PPC campaigns are a good starting point for businesses just beginning to explore internet advertising. Google allows you to start, pause and stop campaigns at any time, change your keywords and adjust the run-time and your audience as often as you wish.

Impressions (CPM)

Through Google Adwords, you can run a Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) campaign in which you pay for the number of times your ad is shown; however, there is no guarantee that users will click on or engage with your ad.

CPM works through a bidding process similar to PPC. You tell Google how much you’re willing to pay per thousand impressions. This type of campaign is best suited for businesses who are focused on brand awareness, not so much a direct call to action.

Display

The Google Display Network includes all types of ads (text, image, interactive and video) and places these ads on websites that are relevant to what you’re trying to sell. The main benefit is that you’re reaching an audience that is going to be most interested in your service or product.

Display ads go beyond search engines and allow your message to be placed on countless websites where you can reach your target audience even if they’re not specifically searching for your type of business. This type of advertising is ideal for new and non-standard businesses that users may not know to search for. Display ads help you find and get in front of potential customers without them having to first find you.

Text

Lastly, a text ad is the standard type of AdWords ad. Typically, this includes a link to your website and a 2-line description of your product or service. The title of your ad is also clickable to further drive traffic. These ads can appear on Google search results pages and across the Google Network, often with a label that denotes this text as an advertisement.

Text ads must be brief and attention-grabbing. As the name implies, you only have text to draw in your audience and entice them to click on your link. This type of Adwords advertising is best for businesses who have a clear and direct call to action and are not as concerned with building brand recognition.

Try Google Adwords to promote your brand or business. You can go it alone with Google’s help or hire a company to manage your Adwords campaigns for you.

~Stephanie

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Your Jaw will Drop When You Read these Headlines

Oh my goodness. It worked.jaw drop

You actually clicked to this article based on my cliché headline and a blurry pic of a hospital mannequin.

Let’s figure out why.

I just saw a version of the headline earlier today on a sponsored article and wondered, what is it about the secret, the awful, and the surprising that makes us click to read?

According to Psychology Today,

Humans seek out news of dramatic, negative events. These experts say that our brains evolved in a hunter-gatherer environment where anything novel or dramatic had to be attended to immediately for survival. So while we no longer defend ourselves against saber-toothed tigers, our brains have not caught up.

Fast Company suggest several psychological theories that are responsible for getting us to act. Persuaders often tap into ultimate terms.

Certain words carry more power than others. This theory breaks persuasive words into three categories:

God terms: those words that carry blessings or demand obedience/sacrifice. e.g, progress, value
Devil terms: those terms that are despised and evoke disgust. e.g., fascist, pedophile
Charismatic terms: those terms that are intangible, less observable than either God or Devil terms. e.g., freedom, contribution

Headlines that Produce Clicks

The following “you should know better” lines might be helpful the next time you create content for ads or articles. Tell us your favorites.

“TV Host Reveals Real Hair”

Just change up this click-getter for anything.  We want the truth. Here’s another example- SEO Guru Reveals Real Algorithms.

“Epic Prank Pulled on So and So”

You could create an entire video series based on spoofs and pranks. People like anything funny- or not. Are you selling facial cream for a company? Try something like “Her Wrinkle Cream is Not a Prank.”

“12 Things Only People with Lots of Kids Understand”

This headline makes your customer feel smart because he or she is in on the advice. It also appeals to those who want to know more about something they lack. Switch out parents and kids for dog lovers and dogs. Dress up the phrase for writers and work or accountants and clients, etc.

“10 Pumpkin Spice Latte Hacks Every Coffee Lover Must Try”

Again, we want to know your secrets. What lies over there in the greener pastures of hidden hacks? Anything “hacks” shows off your trendy.

“The Weirdest Thing I Saw At My Conference”

The weirdest anything appeals to one’s inner weird. Could there be people weirder than you? Worst yet, maybe the stuff you do is consider weird?  Use the word to harness your targeted demographic with something the audience does or a trait it has.

“This Trick Could Save You Hundreds”

Because most people want to save money and aren’t doing so, show how your product or service will help Christmas to come early this year.

“New Craze Wipes Out Slow Computers”

What is this new craze that everyone else knows about, but I don’t? New crazes are manufactured everyday because phrases like this one bring the clicks.

“Everyone is Voting for” or “The Numbers Prove”

You’ve heard these lines from candidates and they work for products and services, too because basically few people check their facts. If you say it’s true, it must be. Tell the population this enough and it’ll become fact.  Of course, there are a few advertising rules you need to be mindful of and organizations like Truth in Advertising that will expose pathetic claims. The FTC says,

Under the law, claims in advertisements must be truthful, cannot be deceptive or unfair, and must be evidence-based. For some specialized products or services, additional rules may apply.

Eh, such a spoiler, but the industry needs rules. Get familiar with them.

What makes you click and why?

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Filed under Advertorial Writing, Audience, Capturing Audience, Email Campaigns, Introductions, Marketing, PPC, Queries & Articles, Search Engine Marketing, Speech Openers, Words Which Sell

Will SciNet Become the Search Engine Alternative to Google or Bing?

Many people cannot imagine a day without Google as their primary search engine. After all, what would we do without our daily Google Doodle? However, developers are attempting to envision this new world. Many researchers are developing new ways to connect users to the ever-expanding immensity that is the Internet.

Researchers at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology in Finland have developed a new interface that creates a next-level search called SciNet, which utilizes Interactive Intent Modeling. This type of search allows users to add keywords to focus in on what they really want to find. The parent company, Etsimo, is now looking for investors so they can make this new search interface available to the rest of the world.

New Way to Explore Results

SciNet attempts more human involvement in the search process. Instead of allowing Google or Bing algorithms to choose results, SciNet invites the user to choose collections of keywords that guide his or her results.

SciNet calls this interface IntentRadar. Instead of having a search bar and results, SciNet displays results as a radar-like cloud of keywords ranked by relativity. Users drag keywords closer to the center or farther away to create their personalized searches.  This “new” method reminds us a bit of Google’s Wonder Wheel, which was turned into the Contextual Targeting tool.

SciNet will more effectively utilize touchscreen technology while lessening the importance of a keyboard. Users with ill-defined searches will have an easier time crafting their own decision about their results.

“We want to rely on users to make the decision and steer the search rather than only trying to build a search engine that would try to come up with a perfect answer on the first shot,” said Finnish researcher Tuukka Ruotsalo.

New Way to Optimize

Depending on how quickly search interfaces like SciNet catch on, this could mean a complete redesign of the way SEO works. Currently, websites need to provide SEO information that will boost them in rankings on search engines like Google. This is because Google uses this information to guess how well your site will fit the needs of their users.

With SciNet, websites would need to provide more tailored information for the user and less for the search interface itself. This will mean your site will be judged more on the content than on its rankings. While it will still be very important to tailor your information, the playing field will become flatter, allowing smaller sites and more specific results to be displayed to the user.

“Etsimo is data-centric, transparent, un-biased and non-evil. . . . We have no secret ranking algorithms, money doesn’t influence the order of the results and we don’t track your behavior,” reads the company’s website.

This no-tricks way of searching seems to be the next step in researching online. Will your organization be ready for the switch?

~Katelyn

Other Sci-Net Resources:

This Search Engine Wants More Human Input

Interactive Modelling Gives SciNet the Edge over other Search Engines

SciNet Tweets

 

 

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Filed under Queries & Articles, Search Engine Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

How to Build a Content Marketing Strategy across Paid, Earned and Owned Media

To effectively market your content, you must have a strategy that includes the use of paid, earned and owned media. Bombarding your target audience with only paid advertising or relying solely on your owned media such as your website or social media to spread the word creates major blind spots in your overall marketing plan. It also leaves a lot of missed opportunities on the table where you could have reached a broader audience if you had spread your efforts out into all three types of media.Promotion Plan

Before you can sit down and build content marketing strategies using paid, earned and owned media, you must first understand the differences among the three. Let’s take a closer look at what each type of media brings to your marketing strategy.

Paid Media

Most obviously, you can purchase advertising through almost every social media platform. Facebook provides the ability to create highly-targeted ads that appear either in users’ newsfeeds or on the sidebar. You can also promote your tweets or buy clicks on StumbleUpon or Reddit. Carefully consider your target audience and the type of social media that they are most likely to use.

Aside from social media, you might choose to use Google AdWords to boost your SEO or pay for placement on another website or blog. Using all of these tactics can be quite costly to implement. Determine your budget for this piece of your marketing strategy and do you research on what form of paid media will give you the highest ROI.

Earned Media

Out of the three categories, earned media can be the trickiest piece to implement successfully. The simplest reason for this is because you are really not in control. You are asking for other people to share your content because they find it to be of value, but you are not paying them to do so.

Some options for earned media include submitting your content as a guest contributor to a blog or website that’s relevant to your target audience. You should also share the content multiple times and in various ways on social media (sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit, Linkedin and Pinterest are especially effective) encouraging readers to share with their networks. You can also attempt to spark discussion (and sharing) in Linkedin groups. You can also pitch your article to a blogger or professional writer who may be interested in featuring a review or op-ed piece of the article.

Owned Media

Finally and most obviously is promoting your content on the media that you already own and control. This includes your social media, email lists, website and blog to name just a few common assets. This is low hanging fruit that you should always take advantage of as part of your ongoing marketing strategy.

For example, if you publish an article, create a home for this content on your website and publish it on your blog. Then promote these links on your social media accounts (for Linkedin you may consider publishing the entire article on your profile as well). Finally, incorporate some of the content of this article into an email blast to your lists to offer valuable and relevant information tailored to what is likely to interest them. By consistently marketing your content across owned media, you will maximize its impact and fuel your website and social media with fresh, high-quality content that will increase your SEO.

Now that you have a better understanding of the different ways you can promote your content across paid, earned and owned media, now is the time to get started creating your own diverse strategy that uses a little bit of each. Most importantly, remember that even the best marketing strategy still needs high quality content in order to be successful. Provide valuable information and give your readers every opportunity to find it!

How have you build an effective media campaign including paid, earned and owned media? Share your experience by commenting below!

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Filed under Branding, Business Strategy, Marketing, Pinterest, PPC, Reddit, Sales, Search Engine Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Twitter

Ten Alternative Search Engines and Social Media Sites

Alternative Social MediaWe can all name the most popular websites for search and social networking, but what about the countless other options available to us? Some of these alternative search engines and social media sites provide unique benefits that can help you search and socialize even more effectively than the big guys!  Whether you are looking to completely break away from the mega-brands of search and social media, like Google and Facebook, or whether you simply want to explore some new options, here are ten recommendations worth checking out:

 

  1. Blekko

Blekko is an innovative search engine with a clean and modern look. Most notably about Blekko is that it uses an initiative called “slashtags.” This is essentially a text tag preceded by a “/” slash character, which can be used for custom and categorized searches. One of its best features might be its categorized results which help you to quickly hone in on the information that is most relevant to you. For example, search “Nike” and you can narrow results by categories including: quick answers, top results, shopping, shoes, news and more – all to help you find what you’re looking for in less time.

 

  1. SocialMention

If you’re looking for a platform to provide you with real-time social media search and analysis, then SocialMention is worth exploring. This site allows you to search any term and it will provide you with relevant social media results. Additionally, it will also analyze these results by strength, sentiment, passion, reach and top keyword so you can monitor the trend and identify where most of your mentions are originating.

 

  1. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a valuable tool for SEO research. For example, if you want to analyze what content performs best for a particular topic or competitor, BuzzSumo is able to provide you with this type of insight. Enter the keyword you wish to search and BuzzSumo will identify the most shared links on social networks, as well as influencers for specific topics. This is a must-visit for anyone looking to improve their search rankings on the web.

 

  1. DuckDuckGo

It may not be that you have anything to hide, but sometimes you just don’t want your search history made easily accessible to anyone who wants to dig around in your personal life. DuckDuckGo is an anonymous search engine, and while it doesn’t provide you with personalized results based on your search history, it does offer the peace of mind of complete anonymity.

 

  1. Topsy

Calling all Twitter junkies, if you want to easily search and analyze the hottest trends on this particular platform, then you should try this one! Topsy allows you to search by time and place, set alerts, and analyze sentiment for every tweet ever made – seriously. This can result in valuable marketing information like how often a term is tweeted or who is an influential person on a specific subject.

 

  1. GoodSearch

If you want to “do good” while searching the web, GoodSearch has combined both of these elements into a single search engine. How it works is that GoodSearch donates 50 percent of its revenue to charities and schools selected by its users. GoodSearch also helps users identify other “do good” businesses through features like GoodShop, a catalog of merchants that support charitable causes; GoodDining, a year-round “dine out for charity” program; and GoodSurvey, market research surveys that allow people to earn money for their favorite causes. This search engine is powered by Yahoo and on average pulls in 510,000 unique monthly visitors.

 

  1. Wolfram│Alpha

If you have a passion for trivial information and desire instant access to all the world’s facts and data, then WolframAlpha might become your new favorite search engine. This platform is a computational knowledge engine that uses externally “curated data” to answer fact-based questions in a matter of seconds.

 

  1. DogPile

DogPile is by no means new; it’s a tried and true alternative search engine that maintains its appeal because of its powered metasearch technology. Essentially DogPile runs its searches through Google, Yahoo and Yandex all at once and compiles a single list of results. Since each of these three search engines have their own methods for finding information, DogPile provides the advantage of running the equivalent of three searches with the single click of a button.

 

  1. Tumblr

This alternative social media site is growing in size and popularity. It’s an interesting hybrid between a short-form blog and a social networking site. Users create their own blogs and follow other blogs in a similar way to social networks. This platform has built in methods that drive a ton of engagement and visibility to its users blogs. Last year, Tumblr was the fastest growing social networking site even compared to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

 

  1. Path

Path quite literally takes users “off the beaten path” with how they cultivate and interact with their social network. By limiting users to just 50 friends, Path allows users to share videos, photos and personal information with only the people who you know and trust. People’s Facebook networks have grown almost too large and impersonal and Path aims to take the trend back to fewer, but more meaningful communications.

 

So there you have it! Ten alternative search engines and social media sites that are work taking a look at if you desire something new and different. ~Stephanie

 

What other alternative sites have you used and liked? Share your recommendations by commenting below!

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Filed under Favorite Websites, Search Engine Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Tumblr, Twitter

The Future of DuckDuckGo as a Viable Search Engine

Ever since the World Wide Web came into existence, the business of creating the best of the best search engine has been never-ending. When someone asks a question they do not know the answer to, a typical response is, “Why don’t you just Google it?” Obviously, Google has elevated its brand to be a proprietary eponym, a product that is so successful, that has come into general use to refer to the its generic class of objects rather than the specific brand type. Google is trusted by millions of Internet users around the globe.

Duck Duck Go Search EngineSoon though, there may be some new competition in the world of search engines. Instead of saying, “Google it,” you may hear people saying, “Duck it.” This is because DuckDuckGo is climbing the ranks in the search engine business and only time will tell how far it will get up the usage and acceptance ladder.

With so many search engines available, it seems that everyone has their favorite go-to engine for any information they may be seeking. Aside from Google, some of the other top search engines that the average Internet user knows include Ask.com, Bing, Yahoo, and YouTube (of course, it is owned by Google). Even Twitter and Facebook are used extensively for search. So what would make a user of any of these well-known search engines try out DuckDuckGo? Is there something that makes this newer search engine different? Is there something that clearly sets it apart from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and the others? Quite simply, the answer is, “Yes!”

DuckDuckGo has something known as Zero Click Information that provides you with info that goes above the traditional search results. It’s called Zero Click Information because you get what you are looking for right on the search page without having to click on a link unless you need further information. The information you get with this Zero Click technology includes, but is not limited to, a summary of the topic, images, and direct answers to whatever your questions are.

In addition to the perk of the Zero Click, there is also what is known as semantic topic detection. This technology lets the search engine take your questions and quickly sort through all available links, but only showing the topics it detected in your queries. For example, if you input a vague search item such as “apple,” DuckDuckGo actually inquires which meaning you want. Are you looking for information on fruit? Do you need some stats about the company Apple? This allows your search to be better targeted for the optimal results. And perhaps the biggest reason that DuckDuckGo may beat out other more popular search engines in the near future is that it is much less cluttered than other search engines. They have fewer advertisements and their spam is at the bare minimum. Clutter reduction is one of DuckDuckGo’s top priorities.

So, how is DuckDuckGo quacking along? Numbers don’t lie and when it was first introduced on September 25, 2008, the web traffic went up 50 percent in only eight short days. And if the above reasons aren’t convincing enough to convince you that DuckDuckGo is real competition to the other search engine giants, check this out: DuckDuckGo is not putting out a track on you. That’s right.

Duck Duck Go billboard adUnlike its competitors, such as Google, DuckDuckGo has a stellar privacy policy. And unlike other competitors, such as Yahoo, DuckDuckGo does all it can to simplify your search experience. You know how Yahoo and Google add suggested links at the top of your search? DuckDuckGo doesn’t do this. They actually WANT you to find what you need without a hassle. How refreshing is that?

It will definitely be interesting to see where this new search kid on the block ends up…at the front of the class or at the back of the bus.

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