Author: Master Web Creations

Google Analytics Guide 2017

While there are many analytics guides available, our short guide includes updated instructions and screenshots so you may have your questions answered more quickly and easily. You can also start at the beginning to learn how to set your analytics account up for creating and tracking your website goals, finding important reports and applying filters.

Setting Goals

What are your marketing conversion goals? What did you build your website to help the user do or learn? How effective is your website and your marketing campaign? Where is your traffic coming from?

Think about how you might count a conversion on your website. Now that the user is aware of your business, you’ve got to persuade them that your product or service is what they need and make them feel good about trusting you with their valuable time, attention and patronage. Setting and measuring goals helps you monitor the steps through your sales funnel so you can better adjust your tactics for improved leads, conversions and satisfaction throughout the customer relationship.

A conversion can be a series of actions, or just one action, like visiting a page, submitting a form, viewing multiple pages, or spending enough time to read your post or article. You might also choose to monitor search queries conducted so you may add easier access to a commonly searched term.

To create your Goals, click the Gear Icon and select Goals under the VIEW menu.

Analytics Goals

Then, click new goal button

First, you’ll want to name your goal, so we will walk through an example of setting a Mobile ClicktoCall link to track calls through your website from mobile devices.

  1. Goal description
    1. Name: Mobile ClicktoCall
    2. Type: Event
    3. Click continue button
  2. Goal details
    1. Category goal details button Mobile
    2. Action goal details button ClicktoCall
    3. Click save button
  3. Install the Tracking Code on your website
    1. In your HTML, to make a phone call link, add tel: to the href
       <a href="tel:8007775555">(800) 777-5555</a>
    2. To add the tracking code to your link, add the onclick action, onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘Mobile’, ‘ClicktoCall’])”
       <a href="tel: 8007775555" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Mobile', 'ClicktoCall'])"> (800) 777-5555</a>

You can now add Event tracking to almost any link. Google also offers Goal Types for Key traffic elements such as Duration and Pages/Session. You may set the Goal Value in the Goal details step, based on the stage in your Sales funnel process and how much the sale is worth at that stage.

Monitoring your website analytics becomes even more important when you invest in advertising campaigns – you want to track the reach and level of success and make adjustments along the way, or plan the next campaign accordingly.

Reports

With over 50 reports and options available in Google Analytics, we will cover some of the basics here, but for more training, you can visit the Google Analytics Academy and dive into one of the free courses offered.

At the top of the page, you’ll see the Audience Overview, to the right is the date range filter.

date range filter

You’ll see a line graph with metrics beneath; hovering the metrics will give you a pop up definition of that metric.

audience overview

Beneath the metrics on the Audience Overview page, you will find links to view the top ten of the following reports, which link to detailed report views:

Demographics

  • Language
  • Country
  • City

System

  • Browser
  • Operating System
  • Service Provider

Mobile

  • Operating System
  • Service Provider
  • Screen Resolution

 

Google offers the following report sections in the left-hand navigation:

REAL-TIME Shows the number of people on your site now (within a few seconds), their location, keywords and referring websites, the pages they are viewing, and conversions. We find this feature most helpful when adding traffic Filters to remove your own visits from the results.

AUDIENCE Reports provide insight into audience demographics, new and returning visitors and their engagement levels, and networks, browsers or mobile devices they are using to access your site. Who are your website users?

ACQUISITION This section allows you to evaluate campaigns and referrals to compare traffic sources, site engagement such as bounce rate, pages/session and avg. Session duration, and conversion metrics that you set up in your Analytics Goals. What drove visitors to your site?

BEHAVIOR Reports on your website content, performance, search-ability and interactivity. You’ll want to review site speed, site search and events where applicable. What are the top pages of your website? How can you make your website faster?

CONVERSIONS Offers 4 sub-sections: Goals, Ecommerce, Multi-Channel Funnels and Attribution. For the sake of this short tutorial, most small business will only need to track Goals. Goals reports measure how well your website meets business objectives through conversion tracking, using the Goals you set up earlier.

When learning how to utilize Google Analytics, if you are looking for help, just click the Analytics University icon to pop up the guide for that section.

analytics university screenshot

You should explore the reports and when you find one that you will want to check regularly, click the shortcut link to add it to your menu, or use the email link to send it to a team member.

analytics tab menu

Some of the key reports we highlight for our customers include

  • A month-to-month comparison of Users, Avg. Session Duration, Pages/Session and Bounce Rate. Just select the Date range button, set the date range to Previous month, select the Compare checkbox and select the Previous period. You may need to adjust the Comparison date range to get a full month comparison, depending on number of days in the month.
  • Current month traffic performance snapshot. This is the default audience overview.
  • Key elements by source: Avg. Session Duration, Bounce Rate, Conversion Rate, Pages/Session. To generate these reports, visit ACQUISITION > All Traffic > Source/Medium (or Referrals). This will show you all of the results in a table below the line graph.
  • Conversion Goals Overview by source. To view per session goal values, select ACQUISITION > All Traffic > Source/Medium and navigate to one of the Goals in the Explorer tab.

Explorer tab: Goals

  • Key elements and Conversions by keyword and ad (from linked Google AdWords accounts and Search Console property)
  • Referring websites. Go to ACQUISITION > All Traffic > Referrals
  • A month-to-month comparison of Social conversions by source. Go to ACQUISITION > Social > Overview and set the Date ranges for Comparison.
  • We also periodically review seasonal trends and quarterly comparisons year-by-year, particularly around website redesigns.

Filters

There are a few reasons you may want to use Filters:

  1. Stop ghost/spam traffic from reflecting in your analytics
    1. One filter you might want to use is to filter by country, if you know you do not have any customers outside of the country, or do not want to track that traffic.
      1. Click ± Add Filter
      2. Name your filter, like “US/CA Traffic Only”
      3. Filter Type: Custom Include
      4. Filter Field: Country
      5. Filter Pattern: United States|Canada
      6. Verify and Save your filter
    2. Another filter which may help clean up your analytics is to include only your website hostnames, this also helps track and separate traffic by alias domain names.
      1. Click ± Add Filter
      2. Filter Name: Include Hostnames
      3. Filter Type: Custom Include
      4. Filter Field: Hostname
      5. Filter Pattern (for multiple domain names): (www\.)?(ourwebsite?|ourlocalwebsite|ourotherwebsite?|ouroldwebsite)(\.com)
      6. Tip: Always use a regular expression testbed, like regexr.com before testing and applying Filters.
  1. Stop your own traffic from reflecting in your analytics
    1. Find your ip address if you don’t know it by asking Google search ‘what is my ip?’
    2. Click ± Add Filter
    3. Filter Name: Exclude my IP
    4. Filter Type: Predefined Exclude
    5. Exclude what? Traffic from the IP address that are equal to
    6. IP address: enter your IP address
    7. Verify and Save your filter

There are other guides to filtering ghost and spam traffic, if you find yourself subject to the likes of the notoriously violating SEMALT crawler, but we recommend blocking traffic from those sources in your htaccess file before hiding the traffic from analytics, which may save bandwidth and block potential DDOS attacks.

For more tips, visit the Moz Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics.

Grow your social media followers

12 tips for small business social media growth

So, you’re using Hootsuite, right? And you have your content calendar planned for the first quarter of 2016. But you have such a small following, the content you publish is getting the response of chirping crickets. How do you grow your following and reach your target audience so you can actually accomplish your engagement goals?

Jason Demers of Audience Bloom has 39 social media follower growth tips for you, which we’ve updated and shortened to 12 easy tips for the busy small business owner.
social-media-growth-steps Set 1

  1. Reach out to influencers
    Find your target market influencers, follow them, comment on and share their posts, and tag them in yours. When you gain new followers, follow them back.
  2. Include links to your social profiles & share buttons on your website and in your newsletters
    Make sure your social profiles are easy to find and your website content can also be easily shared. Encourage newsletter sign ups on your social content, and vice-versa.
  3. Share your knowledge – post original, relevant content
    Write timely content that appeals to your target market, but also share some relevant content from others, as in tip #1.
  4. Share popular posts
    Follow others, comment on and share their posts, and tag them in yours. When you gain new followers, offer a thank-you message or access to exclusive content.
  5. social-media-growth-steps Set 2Be engaging and responsive
    Social media is another medium for customer support; answer questions, ask questions and correspond with your audience.
  6. Follow others to engage with
    Part of reaching out to influencers, if someone follows you, follow them right back! Show your appreciation and communicate with them and their audience.
  7. Use hashtags
    User relevant and trending hashtags to attract new followers.
  8. Include images and other media in your posts
    Include quality images that can go viral, attract attention and can be both interactive and educational.social-media-growth-steps Set 3
  9. Optimize your efforts – be active regularly
    Post quality content frequently, at times that garner the most shares.
  10. Add social widgets to your website
    Publicize your social accounts in-store, offering incentives for brand loyalty.
  11. Offer incentives, giveaways and conduct surveys or invite responses to questions
    Post interactive content to encourage customer interaction.
  12. Be fun! Be positive!
    Have fun, be genuine and use tactful humor for an open and encouraging social atmosphere.

Here is a link to our full infographic; share and link back to our detailed article:

Social Media Growth for Small Business

seo tactics

SEO Tactics Every Small Business Should Implement

Most small business owners can easily implement some important SEO tactics to help customers find and engage with their brand.

These tactics can help achieve main strategic goals of improving search results, connect with customers and building authority. They are not all-inclusive, rather they are basic guidelines that form the supporting structure for deeper analysis and planning.

Many of these strategies will fit service business marketing needs, or local small businesses plans.

We’ll start with the easiest-to-implement:

Implement Structured Data

Red Panda
Your website should be optimized for semantic SEO including structured data and snippets. Semantic search seeks to improve search engine result accuracy by understanding intent and contextual meaning and has been implemented at Google with multiple updates. Search suggest is one semantic search method which helps disambiguate some meanings. Structured data helps identify the context of your page topic to better serve the searcher.

For example, if your page keyword is focusing on “Panda”, the website structure and content provides the search engine with additional meaning. On our site, we would likely discuss Google’s algorithm update, “Panda”, but on a Milwaukee County Zoo page, they would more likely discuss the addition of “Dash”, the red panda. This is where structured data becomes a helpful SEO tactic – using additional markup helps provide the context for “Panda” to allow Google to determine whether to serve your page among zoological and biological pages, or among SEO and search algorithm update page results.

  1. BreadcrumbsBreadcrumb Example
    • You should already have a well-structured website navigation and page layout. If not, address the issue as soon as possible. (Hint: your page layout should not be tables, and your navigation is best served up in list format)
    • Google uses breadcrumbs to present page information in search resultsStructured Data Example
  2. Testimonials or Reviews
    • 90% of consumers say positive reviews influence purchasing decision [1]
    • Encouraging and responding to reviews improves engagement and reputationReviews-StructuredDataExample
  3. Schema.org markup
    • Schema markup is structured data that identifies your content and enhances rich snippets used by all major US search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing)
    • While it may not improve search rankings, it can improve click-through rates

More Website Data Tips:

  • Use the Structured Data Markup Helper in Google Webmaster Tools to manually add snippets
  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly using Google or Bing test tools
  • Use the Website Optimization Web Page Analyzer to test your website performance and page speed, or follow these easy tips for WordPress:
    • Keep plugins updated; remove those you do not use
    • Optimize images for the web: use appropriately-sized png files or sprites – try WP Smush
    • Minify CSS and Javascript and enable Gzip compression in Options; Use a Cache plugin like W3 Total Cache
  • For additional guidance, review our Tactics infographic from the SEO Today article.

Optimize and Plan Content

Including a content strategy as part of your marketing strategy will help build relationships, gain new customers, encourage repeat customers and build brand integrity and authority. Some important SEO tactics should be a part of that plan:

  1. Keyword Research
    • Keyword research informs marketing and content topics
    • Comprehensive keyword research targets interest and intent and includes both audience analysis and competitive analysis
  2. Content Development
    • Following your content strategy and keyword research, develop useful content following a style guide.
    • Use a content planning template to set a schedule for consistent, meaningful content
  3. Social Media
    • Form connections with customers by posting engaging content and providing customer support via social networks
    • Use a social media plan template and automated posting tools such as Hootsuite and WordPress plugins to schedule meaningful posts

More Content Tips

  • Quicksprout offers a free tool to analyze your website and compare it to your competitors. Follow the quick guide to perform your competitive content research.
  • Rinse & Repeat: Continue using these SEO tactics to refine your marketing strategies. Keyword research, content development and your social media marketing plan should be monitored and responded to accordingly.
  • Analyze your web and social metrics to see what is going well, or what might need more work.

Earn Links

To earn links, follow the content planning section tactics, modifying your goals. Don’t target social shares as a marketing goal – focus on gaining target customers and customer loyalty by encouraging content loyalty and engaging with your customers. Here are some link earning tactics to aid your small business marketing strategy:

  1. Build your reputation online and off
    • Offer your expertise online via forums and social engagement
    • Market your online presence using traditional media: print, radio (based on your customer profile and industry, of course)
  2. Encourage reviews or invite testimonials
    • Ask your most loyal customers for reviews or testimonials
    • Monitor your online reviews and respond as quickly and appropriately as possible
  3. Do local SEO

More Brand-Building Tips

  • Rinse & Repeat local SEO tactics: Be sure to update your name, address, phone as soon as the change happens and monitor your local SEO annually.
  • Monitor your brand and reviews and continually encourage your customers to engage both online and off.
  • Run contests and offer valuable freebies (this can vary widely based on your business type but you can get ideas by looking at other similar businesses, whether they are direct competitors or not).
  • For more information on link-building and how we help our clients, visit How We Help Clients Earn Links and Gain Credibility.

Did you find these tips helpful? Have a question or suggestion? Let us know! Share the slide deck, like or comment below.

Having trouble with your website marketing or local SEO? Contact us to talk about it; we offer consultation and we can give you a quote for managing your website, marketing or social media.

How We Help Clients Earn Links and Gain Credibility

 

Recently, we published “SEO Today,” which describes the evolution of SEO tactics, what is important today and why. It is refreshing to see others also writing similar detailed articles targeting a particular tactic. Jason Corrigan of Kissmetrics recently published a story on Entrepreneur about modern-day “Link-Earning” – formerly referred to as link building.

Relevant Content

In the SEO Today article, we mention that Keyword relevance has evolved to search query relevance, and that you gain relevancy surrounding search queries by the content on your page, and the content of other pages that link to your page, compared to other websites’ page content, and their content relevance to the search query.

Master Web Creations works with our clients to develop relevant content that reaches audiences seeking information related to the product or service our client offers. In some cases, these are static pages optimized with calls-to-action. In others, these are short blog posts with photos.

Corrigan’s article so eloquently describes how today, links are earned and not built. He says, “Business owners are tasked with the responsibility for creating relationships with relevant thought-influencers that offer high quality content to online consumers.”

Do you see what he did there? He provided a direct example of how this works: create meaningful, share-able content at Kissmetrics, which is shared (or re-published) on entrepreneur.com, which is shared on Facebook, which is shared here… which builds the author and the publishers page relevance and credibility for such search phrases as “how to gain link credibility.” His article at Kissmetrics is currently the number 1 search result at google.

In terms of thought influencers, the small businesses we serve may have local community or industry resources online that consumers utilize. Where beneficial, we encourage clients to participate. Sometimes for small businesses, this is limited to having a business listing, or an enhanced business listing.

Earning Links

In MWC’s SEO today article, we also talked about how social media plays an important role in marketing and customer service.

 “Incoming links should evolve naturally as part of your marketing strategy as you build your online reputation”

We recommend building your brand identity and online reputation as part of your marketing plan to connect with customers and gain brand advocates both on and off the web. In Corrigan’s article, he also talks about gaining links similarly to building real-world credibility. You must build experience in your realm to gain votes, be it a political office in the real world, or a consumer website seeking better SERP results.

What this usually means for our small business clients is that increased connections with target customers builds brand integrity, both on and offline. Managing social networks helps keep track of the success of your marketing strategy and allows for immediate response to inquiries and interest levels, in turn building trust. We work with our clients to help keep that connection through periodic shares, social platform updates and content development.

Corrigan included a useful graphic of the three A’s of content ranking which illustrates the relationships between relevancy, credibility and originality. It is something like this, but you could view the original work as well.

link-earning 3 A's graphic

He recommends using this chart to evaluate the incoming link. For example, when submitting your listing to a directory:

  • Alignment: Does this directory reach your target audience?
  • Authority: Is this a credible website?
  • Authenticity: Was this website built for users or for spiders (i.e., search engines)? If you’re not sure, does it really interest you, is it easy to use and find information?

Master Web Creations now offers automated local listing services to increase citations, enhance your incoming links and optimize your local presence. Find out more about our local seo services and check your local citations for free on our website.

Similarly, when we develop and publish meaningful content for our clients:

  • Alignment: Does this content answer a question or solve a problem and apply to the target audience?
  • Authority: Will this help build up the brand trust and business authority by being a knowledgeable resource? Is this content being published to places where many users are interested in this type of content?
  • Authenticity: Is this content unique, or does it answer an old question/problem in a new and more thorough way than any others before it? Is it designed for the audience or is it just stuffed with useless keyword phrases that mean nothing to the reader?

We also offer content development and website design, always optimizing for search engines.

robot poster

A CSS-Only Poster of the 3 laws of robotics

 

Here, at MWC, we are quality enthusiasts – we don’t just put out a message to make noise. We strive for meaningful and engaging communication, from content to presentation to delivery method. Do you need help with your marketing strategy? Do you have a specific question on a tactic you’re using or would like to try? Add a comment or contact us directly, we would love to hear from you and help you.

We’re also CSS-fun – check out the CSS3 Poster on the right. What’s fun is the fact that it uses no graphics (the link to the CSS page is at the bottom of the post), and similar to the sub-title, its 3-law-safe. 

Local seo banner

Local SEO For Beginners

It is so important now to optimize your small business website for local search results.

Google serves up local search results based on your IP address. This is part of semantic search, introduced as a theory 14 years ago, and implemented by Google over the course of the last three years. Semantic search delivers search results that are more meaningful to you, for example, if you want a coffee shop or cafe to meet someone in tomorrow, you probably don’t need to see a cafe 4,000 miles away. Just type in “how many miles to Paris” and find out – Google knows where you are and will tell you precisely how many miles to Paris, with a map to get you there – all based on your IP address.

The data provided by your website, in your website, and data provided by other websites, including social signals, tells Google where you are, and what you’re about, so that they may include your coffee shop website in search results for users in your area.

schema-example

A few things you can do to ensure this are:

  1. Claim your profiles!
    Depending on your region, certain local sites are more popular than others are. Check the Moz guide, or just search for your business and a few local competitors to see what local listings you have out there that need to be corrected.The Best Local Citations by City - Moz
    One of the most important part about claiming you profiles is ensuring accurate listing information (referred to as NAP – Name, Address, Phone). Claiming your profiles will only help you if the NAP on your local listings and citations match that of your website (as defined in point #3 below). This is also your opportunity to work on points #2 and #5 below – if available, ensure that the link to your website is correct and working.
  2. Gain citations
    Citations occur as links to your website, or information about your company or brand – this includes social. Ensure that you have claimed your business pages on each social network you intend to participate in. It may be a good idea to snag your business name on that platform that you don’t think you’re likely to use in the future as well, so you can ensure your NAP is correct and the link to your website is working and correct.
  3. Use semantic markupSearch results of markup data
    Google refers to semantic markup as ‘rich snippets’ and ‘structured data’. For your local business, you should use schema.org to identify your business name, address, and phone number – you can include additional business data from awards to hours to you specific business type, as well.
    The easiest way to add markup to your WordPress website is to use a Schema plug-in, such as the Organization Schema Widget. You can also add a browser extension to check your output, such as the Microdata/JSON-LD sniffer for Chrome.
  4. Ask for Reviews
  5. Monitor and gain more citations quarterly

Last but not least, you should review the Local SEO Checklist by Synup, which they have kept updated this year, and will walk you further through each of these steps and more.

If you’d like assistance, certainly, MWC can claim and update your profiles for you, but it is important that you, the business owner, be a part of the process, so you can own your listings, authorize them via phone call, postcard and text message, as each individual service requires.

SEO Tactics - Then & Now

SEO Today

SEO is no longer:

  • meta tags
  • keywords & page analysis
  • link building

It is and should be part of your marketing plan to include:

  • A website platform with SEO tools
  • Keyword research for content writing and advertising
  • Social Media Management

 

SEO has evolved from what it once was and branched off into focus areas. SEO once included modifying site elements called meta tags, measuring keyword elements such as proximity, weight and relevance, and building incoming traffic permanently with links from external sources to build rank.

SEO Today - Site Elements

These ideas have matured though their premise remains the same. Meta tags remain important, including:

  • page title,
  • description,
  • keyword.

New site elements of importance include structured data, such as breadcrumbs, testimonials and vCards. Google ignores the keyword meta tag completely and now no longer displays your description in search results, while other search engines still pay attention to legacy elements. Google is transitioning to the semantic web, so semantic markup is also important – this includes structured data and snippets.

SEO Today - Keywords

Content remains as important as ever but this SEO element has evolved to a user element.

Your site content is an important marketing tactic and should be written to maintain audience engagement, not to satisfy whatever speculated measurement of keyword usage SEO speculators have determined as target goals for every business.

Relevance is no longer a measurement of concern but relevancy in relation to the search query is. Formerly the keyword relevance of your webpage was measured by how many times your target keyword phrase was repeated on your page. Now, Google measures the relevancy of your web page in relation to the users keyword search by the content on the pages that link to your page, in comparison to other pages with similar links and surrounding content. So far, your own site’s content still counts in this calculation, which is why breadcrumbs are important and why keyword research is still relevant.
A second important part of this relevancy is social signals – the more advocates you have that mention your brand, the more relevant your page will be to answer a user’s search query.

SEO Today - Online Reputation

This is the new “Page Rank” – do you connect with customers and gain brand advocates on and off the web? This is where social media comes to play an important role in customer service and marketing. Build your brand identity and online reputation as part of your marketing plan and use a content management system such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or DotNetNuke, with important SEO elements built in (or added on within 2 clicks). Link building as a service is extinct. Your incoming links should grow naturally as part of your marketing strategy, and as you build your online reputation.

Understanding current SEO tactics will help develop your marketing strategies in the new year, boosting your organic signals by maintaining best practices. Master Web Creations offers tips on building customer loyalty and building your small business marketing campaign or contact us to help manage your content or social accounts.

Here is a link to our full infographic; share and link back to our detailed article:

SEO Tactics - Then & Now

What is Responsive Web Design

What is Responsive Web Design?

There are more devices now than desktops searching the web for information and services. Every device has a different screen resolution size. Screen resolution is measured in pixels, as the number of pixels wide by pixels tall. For example, most current televisions support high definition screen resolutions, for example, at 1920 X 1080. So, a responsive website will have a slightly different appearance to fit on larger resolution devices, such as your home television or WebTV, or smaller resolution devices, such as your Smart phone or any other small mobile device, and anywhere in between.

screenfly-desktop screenfly-mobile-samsung-galaxy3 screenfly-tablet-ipadmini

 

Users are accessing websites from mobile phones as small as 320 X 480 or projecting them at higher resolutions than wide screen TVs.

A responsive website will respond to the device screen size by serving up the proper layout and navigation. For example, a website with a row of home page widgets will instead display in a column on a smaller screen size, as well as having different sizes for the widgets and text so your important content can still be read and scanned by the human eye.

What is a widget? Is it like a doohickey or an app?

 

Sorry – it is neither. A widget is a part of your website which displays a small piece of content whether static or dynamic, but from your WordPress or other Content Management System platform, you can control where it displays – on all pages and posts, on your home page, or any combination of the three, with additional customization and control available as necessary at the template level, or through CSS.

Having a responsive site, or mobile site, or adaptive site is becoming increasingly urgent in this world of portable devices especially in the small and local business realm, to drive traffic, help maintain your brand identity and build a connection to your current clients and future advocates. A responsive site design can be easier to maintain as opposed to other types of services which may need to be updated separately.

More information on adaptive vs responsive design can be found at TechRepublic’s article : What is the difference between responsive vs. adaptive web design?

Build and Measure a Small Business Marketing Campaign

Some Tools you may use:

  • Your existing business plan or marketing plan marketing-plan-thumb
  • Social Media Networks (any of: Google plus, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Reddit, Foursquare and a social media management tool like HootSuite)
  • A CMS such as WordPress or Drupal, with social media and content analysis plugins
  • Email Marketing platform such as MailChimp
  • Analytics tools: web analytics such as google analytics, email marketing platform analytics, facebook analytics, pinterest analytics, call tracking analytics or other sales analytics such as Salesforce

Step 1: Gather Data for your Action Plan

Using your business plan, create your marketing plan, or if you already have your marketing plan, use this guide to review or revise it. Your marketing plan should define your customers and competitors and identify a plan to overcome business weaknesses or challenges in the Situation Analysis. Your Marketing Strategy should identify at least an annual, measurable business goal and the 4 P’s (Product, Price, Place and Promotion), to identify the 5 W’s of targeted marketing (Who, What, When, Where, How). You may ask, what about ‘Why?’. The Situation Analysis already addressed this. Using the 4P/5W, your action plain contains your Marketing Tactics.

personasExample: You identified your target customers as educated middle class working couples in the tri-county area who value longevity, family and simplicity. These target customers are on Google Plus because they are experts in their fields, perhaps engineering or technology, and/or they are on Facebook to maintain family connections. Your product or service can be expensive in the home upgrade and remodeling industry, which requires thought and reflection from consumers during the decision making process. Your best marketing approach is through brand awareness with information, focusing on value and quality to appeal to your potential customers’ intelligence and values. Now we are going to plan the message and the method.

Step 2: Connect

First, you will need to be where the customers are. Recent research shows that consumers expect businesses to have a social presence for providing customer service, information, and connecting with the customer on their grounds. You will need to establish a social presence, a social media policy, engage with your customers and monitor your social metrics. Many small businesses may prefer to hire a social media manager to ensure that the social messages and content are appropriately formatted and support business marketing, sales and customer service initiatives, as well as having the responsibility for monitoring, engaging, responding and reporting to the business owner.

Second, you will need multimedia to quickly gain attention and deliver the main part of your message in a matter of seconds. This means to write headlines or titles that answer search queries creatively, meaningfully and sensibly. You will need to provide more content types than just text; information can be quickly absorbed through images as well as video. Create sharable content to develop your reputation.

Third, your message must be cohesive – you are not selling a product, you are forming an emotional connection by developing a company identity and sharing your passion. Your tone and message should deliver your company story through content and interaction, after all, you are a human with a personality, and you run your business; your goal is to gain trust. You will be building awareness and reinforcing brand loyalty as well as maintaining reputation.

Establish message cohesion through planning:

  • daily social messages should support your current business initiatives,
  • weekly website updates should be posted to your social platforms,
  • monthly newsletter should lead to your website and your popular social content,
  • seasonal or annual traditional marketing methods (print, radio, trade show) should be measurable and lead to your website or otherwise broadcast on social media platforms,
  • videos should be cross linked and broadcast on your social media platforms
  • search and online/website marketing campaigns should also follow all of the above.

Step 3: Follow a Timeline

The Content Grid v2 Eloqua JESS3

Establish a plan and use a calendar of events according to your budget. Many marketing campaigns often run in 90-day cycles, but to build your increasingly important brand reputation and business personality, you must monitor your online reputation and social data and your messages must have meaning. Brands gain their power through users (online) and customers (offline) who share their passion for your product or service with others; and you gain advocates through interaction. Your messages will reach farther and wider through identity optimization – online, this digital personality trail particularly effects Google ranking and the future semantic web.

Once you establish your marketing timeline and launch the campaign, your analysis should focus on the conversions from each lead source. Measuring ROI from social media messages may not be clearly identifiable in an old-fashioned, reportable manner, but new social metric tools can identify which messages are the most engaging, or garnish the highest click-through rates.

The most important part of marketing is measuring: metrics reveal whether marketing tactics are successful in reaching goals. Monitoring the digital analytics weekly and monthly determine whether the campaign is on track toward success.

 

 

Local Search Optimization

Studies show that optimizing your website and online marketing campaign are increasingly important, especially where your location matters. In a Nielsen study in 2006, 73% of consumers preferred to find products and services using search engines because they felt they were over-exposed to advertising. Yet, 76% of consumers feel their shopping habits are influenced by advertising that they encounter once a year. The point is to have a balanced marketing strategy that ensures your potential customers will find you. Local SEO includes both organic and paid SEO practices. Some important points below are also made in The definitive guide to local seo by the Search Engine Journal:

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  1. Maintain Consistent Local Profile Listings. Specifically, your local listings should all match exactly the form of your Name, Address and Phone (NAP) in the footer of every page of your website, preferably address information consistent with your Google Local information.
  2. Having a plan for maintianing your online reputation is paramount to local businesses success. In the 2006 Nielsen Group study, 93% of consumers report that an online consumer review could influence their purchasing decision.
  3. Include location information in digital form via meta tags, microdata markup and kml files.
  4. A quality website earns consumer trust. In the Nielsen Group study in 2006, 77% of people were more likely to make a puchase from a quality website of an unknown business than a poor website from a familiar business.
  5. Check up on your status monthly. You should aim to acheive new citations, socal referrals and reviews regularly.

 

 

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Enter SoLoMo

The term may sound ridiculously trendy, but it is a short and simple way of describing the convergence of Social, Local and Mobile marketing and the technology involved. Consumers are SOcial, LOcal and MObile: devices, apps and services collect and compile consumer geo-location data to deliver highly accurate results and relative content.  Local search has evolved and shares elements of Social Media marketing tactics and results. Primarily for brick and mortar businesses, social-local-mobile marketing includes registering with location-based services such as yelp and foursquare, which rely on your physical business address to drive traffic (almost literally) to your door or digital page. Many business services can still focus on the points of Local Search Optimization, and complement their marketing efforts with a mixture of mobile capability and social media skill, even without a storefront.

 

Master Web Creations can help manage your local search optimization campaign and guide you towards maintaining your online reputation. We are a widely local SEO and website service company serving many different types of client needs.

Website Performance Statistics

Website analytic software tells you how your site is performing through important user metrics. These are quantifiable data that measure website marketing success. There are many analytic programs available that offer most of these statistics but for brevity, we will demonstrate using the Google Analytics user interface.

The first metric to familiarize yourself with is BOUNCE RATE. This is the statistical measurement for customer retention and indicates where website and marketing problems need addressing. It is the percentage of visitors that land on your site and leave your site from the same page and indicates that the information on the page does not meet their needs. You should view the traffic sources from Non Paid search results, Audience demographics, Mobile, Referrals and Content to determine which part of your website has the biggest problem.

The second metric that is a good indicator for website success is Average Time on Site. This is not a reliable independent measurement of user activity because there may be users with attention issues that iwll leave your page open while doing other things. This also depend supon the amount of information you have available and the types of media you serve up to your website customers.

The third metric to monitor is Pages Per Visit, which is a good measure for visit quality as it indicates targeted traffic and quality content. You can check your traffic sources, and bounce rates to determine website or marketing element to optimize.

Website performance goals in Google Analytics

Setting up goals that track visitor activity provides better measurements for potential customer conversions. Strong conversions could include the ordering process for your ecommerce site, or page visits in a particular order, for example, from your service page to your contact form, for service businesses. You can set goals for website or marketing improvements based on current metrics, for example, if part of the problem is that your are unable to keep the visitors attention after 5 – 10 seconds, you can create a goal to set a minimum requirement for what you believe makes a solid lead or conversion. You can put yourself in the customers shoes, develop a scenario, such as:

  • you are researching a particular product or service and want to know price, procedure or place
  • you heard about this company or website and you’d like to know who runs it, how it operates (or how long) and where they are located

How long does it take you to accomplish those tasks? That is how long you have to convert a dormant browser in to an active client/purchaser, and that is the time you should set when you create your goals. You can also hire a usability firm to conduct user testing which will aid in goal setting.

Finally, it goes without saying, that the number of unique visits provides all other data. If you run ad campaigns online such as on industry websites, local ad space or search marketing, you should familiarize yourself with other metrics such as referrals, and campaigns. Your ad campaigns should also provide important metrics such as click through rates and conversion rates to measure the success of your search marketing.

We’ll cover mobile, social and paid marketing measurements in future articles. In the meantime, if you’d like more information or a consultation feel free to contact MWC or we will answer your questions directly.

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Master Web Creations
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