Anatomy of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

Anatomy of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

If you’ve ever used the internet, you’ve seen a SERP.

SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are the pages that return a list of web pages in response to a query you enter into the search engine. You’ve seen them on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and even Ask Jeeves, if you’ve been on the internet for a while.

For the most part, we as consumers don’t give SERPs a second thought. They return the answers and the web pages we’re looking for — so we get on with our day. But as digital marketers, SERPs play a huge role in everything we do.

We need to know how SERPs work, so we can optimize our strategies to get on the first page as much a possible. So, whether you’re new to digital marketing, or are looking for some insight about ranking highly on SERPs, this blog will offer a complete breakdown of the anatomy of a SERP. We’ll tell you what everything is, how it got there, and what that means for you as a marketer. Let’s get started with a basic query anyone might type in:

Let’s say you entered “how to open a coconut” in Google’s search bar.

You’ll end up with a page like this after you hit the enter button. This is your SERP.

serp-how to open a coconut

It’s a list of results a search engine has pulled together to offer you the best possible answer to your question. Let’s look a little closer at this particular page because it’s returned some interesting results.

The first thing you see on this SERP is the “snippet” Google has published at the very top of the page.

What is a Snippet?

A snippet is a piece of content that a search engine pulls off of a webpage in an attempt to answer the user’s query immediately.

Usually, a snippet comes from one of the first page SERP results. Let’s take a closer look at this snippet:serp-snippet-how-to-open-coconut

This is an example of excellent SEO at work. Food Network is obviously a huge platform with tons of ranking authority, but they’ve done a good job of optimizing for this specific query by titling their page “how to break down a coconut.”

Google recognizes that this page title is very similar to my query, and thus returns Food Network’s short, one paragraph answer in a snippet.

This is a big win for Food Network. A first-page ranking and a snippet callout will drive major traffic to their site, especially for a common search query like this one. (This specific query is searched about 14,800 times a month.)serp-search-results-number

Suggested Queries, or “People Also Ask”

Next up on the SERP, you’ll see Google’s suggested queries based on the one you just entered. If you’re not seeing the answers you wanted, you can choose one of those other questions, and the dropdown will offer up a different snippet.serp-people-also-ask

These “people also ask” suggested query snippets are great places to get ideas for blog posts that will rank well, and they’re a wonderful place to rank. For example, HealthfulPursuit took advantage of the key phrase “opening a coconut in 7 simple steps.”

They rank highly for that specific key phrase, and since it’s a very targeted phrase — telling people how to open a coconut, step by step — they’re going to see qualified traffic. Any consumer who didn’t find enough information in the first snippet Google provided can scroll a little further down the page to find a perfect breakdown about opening a coconut.

Finally, you’ll see the rest of the results on the SERP. All of the videos and the suggested web pages displayed are organic results for this query.

You might notice something odd about this SERP. Can you guess what it is?

There aren’t any ads.

Why?

It’s likely that “how to open a coconut” is just too general a search term for any company to spend money on. It doesn’t signal any buyer intent and actually shows that the consumer probably already has a coconut. They just need help opening it. There’s little incentive for anyone to buy anything here unless you had a coconut-specific machete company, I guess.

Let’s look at the SERP for my query, “where to buy a coconut,” instead.

serp-where-to-buy-coconutThis is a search query with significantly more intent. I searched “where to buy a coconut”, which signals to Google that I might be interested in actually buying a coconut. So, this SERP looks much different than the previous query.

I’ve only included the top part of the first page on purpose, to call out: 1) the ads, and 2) the local search results.

Search Engine Ads

We’ve all seen Google Ads before. It’s not really a revelation, but it is important to see how ads show up in SERPs if you’re considering making paid advertising a part of your outbound marketing strategy.

The ads shown on this page are all display ads — they display an image of a product, and link over to the site where you can purchase the product. Advertisers have to pay to get this placement, but Google also plays a part by selecting only the ads it thinks are most relevant to this query to display. Click To Tweet

Why do you care?

Because this a perfect example of how search engine advertising works, and how you can do it well. Google Ads appear at the top of SERPs and display the products most relevant to the user’s query.

If you want to have ads that appear first on relevant pages like this, it’s important to consider the users’ intent when bidding on keywords, and make sure that every phrase you bid on is relevant to what you’re offering.

Local Search

The last component of SERPs I’m going to talk about today is local search. Though local search results do appear under ads, they tend to get the most clicks, no matter what.

They’re specifically relevant to each unique user. When I searched “where to buy coconuts” Google offered me results that were close to my immediate proximity.

It's important to remember that SERPs do a lot more than just find you the best answer to your question. They also try to populate results that are specific to you personally. Click To Tweet That means that every time someone searches “where to buy coconuts”, the results will be different based on their specific location.

This is important for you if you have a brick and mortar business that encourages foot traffic.

If you do, you should make sure you’ve claimed your business on search engines, and work hard to boost your website’s SEO so that you’re ranking well for local search results like these. The more Google associates you with your location, the more you’ll show up organically for relevant searches in your area. (Want to know more about local search? We got you.)

SERPs are an integral component of any digital marketing strategy. You need to know how they work, so you can leverage them for the best traffic, whether it’s from paid or organic search results. We hope this little guide gives you a bit more insight into the anatomy of a SERP. If you’ve still got questions, we’re here to help!

Leave us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. And if you’re looking for more digital marketing support, just let us know. We’d love to offer any advice or guidance you need to grow your business and your brand.

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What Makes A Good Website? [Hint: It’s Not Design]

What Makes A Good Website? [Hint: It’s Not Design]

Before we get started, I promise we’re not throwing shade. We love designers, and we know that a beautiful website goes a long way to establishing authority and building trust in any business. That said, what makes a good website is not design.

What makes a good website is functionality.

When it comes to digital marketing (which is what you’re doing if you’re building a website) your website is a tool. It matters that it looks good, but what’s more important is that it functions as a tool — driving new traffic and leads to your company, and helping your sales and marketing teams close new deals.

So, if your website is a digital market tool, then what makes a good website? Here are a few of the key components that add up to a quality website that will work for you, even when you’re off the clock:

Quality CMS

If you learn only one thing from this blog, please let it be this: DO NOT have a developer custom-build you a website from the ground up.

Yes, they can do it. And yes, it might be a wonderful website.

It will never compete with the searchability and support that a more traditional CMS (Content Management System) can offer.

unmaintainable-codeA developer might be able to design you a fantastic custom website. The problem is that if it’s custom-built, and doesn’t make use of a convenient, sustainable CMS, when that developer leaves for a new job, retires, or wins the lottery, it will be very difficult to change or update your website. With a custom-built site, only the developer will know how the site works, is built, and how changes can be made, which means your site is now effectively dead in the water.

Beyond that, CMSs offer some very attractive benefits, like SEO ranking power, immediate translation, security, and more.

Let’s back up for one second — what is a CMS?

A CMS or content management system is an application that allows you to publish and manage content on the web.

You’ve heard of WordPress? What about Joomla or Drupal?

All are very famous CMS platforms. We use WordPress, for a lot of key reasons.

You don’t have to choose WordPress, but you should use a reputable CMS to build and manage your website. Why?

A CMS supports a variety of website templates, it should include intuitive publishing and content management options, it allows you to easily format your website content however you please, and it’s customizable. Essentially, it’s the first building block of a quality website. It’s the foundation that your excellent website will be built on, which is why you need to choose a quality one to start with.

We cannot stress enough the importance of using a quality CMS to support your website. Click To Tweet

A CMS helps you keep your website secure, and it makes it sustainable. Choosing a reputable CMS is investing in the future of your website. The CMS will always be there, and it will always be simple to update, change, and alter as your business grows and changes too.

Mobile Responsive and Quick Load Time

Your website has to keep up. If users have to wait for your site to load, or if they can’t view it on their phones while they’re in line at the sandwich shop, you don’t have a good website.

Start by choosing a website theme that’s mobile responsive. Mobile traffic makes up more than half of all the internet traffic around the world. Believe us when we say it’s important.

If your website automatically resizes to fit any screen, seamlessly, you never lose a potential client for something as silly as, “I couldn’t read your site.”

this-is-your-customer-on-slow-load-time

In the same vein, your website has to load quickly. More than 50% of web browsers will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load the landing page. That means, no matter how beautiful your website is, if your consumer can’t see it in 3 seconds or less, they’ll never see it.

It’s easier than you’d think to improve load time. One simple solution is to just minimize image sizes on your site. We use a plugin called Smush to optimize and compress all of the images on our site, ensuring that our site both looks good and loads quickly too.

Blogging Capability

We’ve gotten through most of the technical aspects of what makes a good website. For all intents and purposes, the thing is built. But now you have to get people to come to your website. Blogging is the first, easiest way to do that.

Any good website should have blogging capability. When you can publish blogs to your website, you can create a steady stream of content to draw new traffic in. A blog is important for a number of reasons:

  • Regular posts help you rank for strategic keywords
  • You can share your content on social media platforms, engaging more potential leads
  • Blog posts help you teach and delight new leads with quality, relevant content that draws them through the buyer’s funnel.

The more regularly you blog, and the more regularly you share those blogs, the more traffic your site will see. Click To Tweet The more traffic your site has, the greater its opportunity to live up to its potential as a digital marketing tool for your company.

When your site is seeing regular, qualified traffic, you can convert that traffic with great content offers and landing pages, collecting contact information and helping your sales and marketing teams close new deals. That all starts with your website’s blogging capability.

SEO-Friendly

So, we’re making a good website that functions as a tool to convert leads and close deals, right? Right.

Well, SEO, or search engine optimization, is a key factor for any good website’s functionality.

Search engine optimization is the process of, well, optimizing, your website to attract the right attention from search engines like Google. When Google knows your site exists, then it will share you with potential leads who have a relevant interest in what you’re selling.

A website that is SEO-friendly has:

  • Content that’s written for target keywords. (You should do some keyword research to figure out what those keywords are first)
  • On-page SEO, like site titles, title tags, social media sharing buttons, and more.
  • Relevant, keyword-optimized alt tags.

This is a very paired-down explanation of SEO, so if you want to know more about how to actually optimize your site, head here.

The point, for the purpose of this blog, is that SEO is another way to make sure your site is getting plenty of the right traffic. The more optimized your site, the more likely you are to see high-converting traffic that cares about what you have to say.

A Digital Marketing Platform

In the end, a good website is one that functions as your company’s digital marketing platform. It should be the hub for any digital marketing effort you make:

  • Digital ads should lead back to a landing page on your website
  • Social media posts encourage followers to check out your blog
  • SEO efforts bring new, qualified traffic into your website
  • Your blog converts new visitors into leads
  • Content offers convert those leads into sales opportunities

And that’s why we say that what makes a good website isn’t design, it’s functionality. While a great website will also feature quality design, what your website looks like shouldn't be your top priority. Click To TweetInstead, focus on how your website can help your company close more deals, and grow overall. If it can do that, then you know you’ve made a good website.

And if you’re looking for a little help building a website that delivers leads? Get in touch with the Evenbound team! We live and breathe website design for inbound marketing, and we’d be happy to offer up a few pointers to help you improve your site for better performance.

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Marketing ROI 101: Setting Goals and Calculating Your Marketing Budget

Marketing ROI 101: Setting Goals and Calculating Your Marketing Budget

If you’re like any other marketing department we’ve ever talked to, your boss wants to know exactly how much your efforts are contributing to the company’s overall sales. You probably also know that proving that number isn’t as easy or as straightforward as you’d like.

Too often, companies put pressure on the marketing department to track every single outbound marketing dollar spent to a lead generated or a sale closed. And because marketing does things like create brand awareness and foster positive relationships, that can be difficult to quantify. That’s why we use an ROI Model to calculate the budget and ROI of the marketing campaigns we create.

When you take a good hard look at your marketing investment as a whole, and you have clear goals for your marketing department, it’s actually not impossible to calculate your marketing ROI. And we’re going to show you how to do it, using an ROI Model. First, definitions!

What is Marketing ROI?

All spelled out, Marketing ROI stands for Marketing Return on Investment. That is, how much money you make off of your marketing campaigns, minus how much those marketing campaigns cost you. Check out an in-depth definition of ROI in this Digital Marketing Glossary.

What is an ROI Model?

If you want the textbook answer, “a Return on Investment Model is a comprehensive, customizable model that allows you to input your project assumptions and quickly understand potential returns.”

In English, an ROI Model is a method of calculating not only how much you need to spend to generate a certain amount of income, but also how much traffic, how many qualified leads, and how many sales you need to close on each month to reach that goal.

Your marketing ROI Model is a simple, 4-bullet point statement that outlines your company’s business goals, while also outlining specific goals for each your sales and marketing teams.

Your marketing ROI Model shows everyone exactly how your sales and marketing teams are going to complete your company’s overall growth goal. It clarifies expectation for both teams and helps you calculate exactly how much you need to spend on your marketing budget to achieve your projected goals.

Your superiors want to get the word out about your company, but they also want specific, measurable reports about how your marketing efforts are contributing to the bottom line. We get that.

This ROI Model will help you figure it out. It’s what we use to help our clients measure ROI and determine a marketing budget that can deliver legitimate growth. This is how it works, in 4 simple steps.  

Step 1: Know Your Customer Lifetime Value and the Value of New Sales

How much does the average new client deliver your company in sales? 

This number is important because you can use it to figure out how much you’re spending to market to that person, relative to how much you’re making on them. That’s your marketing ROI right there. So, before you go any further, figure out on average how much revenue you make from a new client. Then figure out how much you make in the lifetime of your relationship with a customer.

When you know how much revenue you generate from each client, you can figure out a reasonable amount to spend on your marketing budget.

Step 2: Set Your Goals

Goal setting is the first step to actually developing a solid marketing budget. And when we talk about goal setting, we’re talking about the whole company.

What are your company’s goals for the next year? Do you want to grow by 10%? Do you want to close a certain number of leads each month?

It’s important to set these goals and make sure everyone in your company understands them. This way, everyone can work toward this singular goal, together. With an overarching company goal set, the rest of your sales and marketing team goals will fall into place.

Step 3: Use A Digital Marketing ROI Model

Alright. Now you know how much a new client makes you, and how much you need to make in the next year or month. Let’s get to the Digital Marketing ROI Model.

Ours functions like a funnel, starting with the traffic your site sees per month and moving down from there to determine the number of closed sales you need to reach your monthly revenue goal. Let’s use an example to help clarify this.

Acme Corp is a manufacturer of anvils, rockets, explosives, and magnets. Last year, Acme Corp made 22 million dollars, which was flat from the year before. Let’s take a look at the ROI model we’d use to calculate the best marketing budget for their goals.

First, we need to know what their goals are, and how much revenue a sale brings to their company:

Goals: Acme Corp wants to grow their company by 5-10% this year.

Value of a New Sale: $25,000

Average Customer Value: $200,000

With this information, we can figure out how much income Acme Corp needs to generate each month to reach that 5-10% growth goal. From there, we can work backward to determine exactly how much site traffic we need to drive to achieve that goal.

Given Acme Corp’s goals, we’ve determined that they need to generate $375,000 in new revenue a month.

With an average new client sale price of $25,000, that means they need to close on 15 new sales each month.

Now, Acme Corp has a strong sales team, who works to close on an average of 5% of their marketing qualified leads. If Acme Corp closes on 5% of their qualified leads a month, they need 300 leads to reach that 15 sales per month goal.

Let’s work back one more step to figure out how much traffic Acme Corp needs to bring in 300 leads per month.

They have an average traffic conversion rate of 3%.

That means they need to bring in 10,000 site visitors per month. Believe it or not, we’ve just figured out Acme Corp’s entire Marketing ROI Model. Here’s what it looks like all condensed into 4 simple bullets.Acme Corp ROI ModelIt might be only 4 bullet points, but it’s still a lot of info. We’ve just built out Acme Corp’s ROI Model to grow their business by 5-10% in the next year. This ROI model accounts not only for their marketing budget but also for their monthly marketing and sales goals.

The Acme Corp marketing team needs to bring in 10,000 visitors per month, and they need to convert 3% of those visitors into qualified leads.

The sales team is responsible for converting 5% of those leads into sales, to ultimately deliver on Acme Corp’s growth goal of 15 new sales or $375,000 in new revenue per month.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly for the purpose of this blog, Acme Corp is spending just 5% of their total gross income from new sales on marketing. That adds up to $18,750 per month or $225,000 a year.

To some, that might sound like a lot. It’s important to know that this is a fairly conservative marketing budget estimate.

Many companies, especially those with aggressive marketing campaigns dedicated to increasing brand awareness, spend anywhere between 12 and 20 percent of gross revenue on marketing efforts. Even a standard marketing budget for a company that's well placed in its market tends to spend between 6 and 12 percent of gross revenue on marketing. Click To Tweet

In the grand scheme of things, 5% isn’t actually all that much to spend on your marketing budget, but that’s where your marketing strategy comes in, bringing us to the very last step:

Step 4: Invest Your Marketing Budget Wisely

You’ve completed your Marketing ROI Model. You know how much traffic you need to pull in, and how many leads you need to convert to meet your growth goal, and you know exactly how much you want to spend to do it.

It’s important to remember that while this ROI model can give you a good picture of how much you should be spending to get the right results, you have to be investing in the right marketing tactics to see actual results.

Where you allocate your marketing budget is what will make or break your ROI Model. Your marketing and sales teams have their goals, but if they don’t have the tools and training necessary to meet those goals, you won’t see your ROI Model realized, and you’ll probably end up spending more than the budget you allocated to reach your growth goal.

If you don’t have landing pages, are working with a website from 1995, or aren’t strategically targeting your paid advertising campaigns, you’re probably not going to see the results you want from what you’re spending on marketing.

That’s where the inbound marketing methodology and things like keyword research, buyer personas, and content calendars come in.

If you've calculated your marketing budget carefully using an ROI model like the one above, but aren't seeing the results you planned for, there's probably a breakdown in your marketing strategy somewhere. Click To TweetTalking to a professional can help.

We hope this blog helps your sales and marketing teams align to reach your company’s growth goals, and gives you a good starting spot for determining a realistic marketing budget.

Marketing ROI, marketing budgets, and especially inbound marketing strategies are kind of our jam, so if you have any questions about anything we covered in this blog, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

And if you want to grow your company by 20% in the next year, we can help. Growth marketing is kind of our thing, so if you’re interested, let’s chat.

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23 Digital Marketing Terms You’ve Always Wanted Explained

23 Digital Marketing Terms You’ve Always Wanted Explained

Digital marketing has a language of its own. It doesn’t matter if you’re a digital marketing guru or new to the ‘biz, this is an industry that’s full of constant change, and that means new words, acronyms, and theories all.the.time. We’ve created this list of 23 digital marketing terms to define some of the terms we get asked about the most often. Take a look for a refresher, or to help you get started if you’re just getting into the whole digital marketing thing:

Digital Marketing General Terms

We know you know what these mean, but here’s a refresher just in case.

CRM – Customer Relationship Management Software

This is software that companies use to track the interactions they have with each customer. Every CRM functions a little bit differently, but you’ve probably heard of big names like Salesforce and HubSpot. Essentially, this software helps you keep track of each client, lead, and potential client.

Your CRM should help you catalog each conversation you have with a client, and it should keep you informed of your client and leads’ activity on your website. Have they spent a lot of time on particular pages of your website? Are there key content offers they’ve downloaded? Maybe they’ve interacted with a chatbot on your site.

A quality CRM keeps track of all of the interactions your clients and potential clients have with your website, your marketing team, and your sales team, helping you provide the best service possible. Learn more about CRMs here.

ROI – Return on Investment

If you’re in business, you’ve heard the term ROI before. You know that old saying, “you have to spend money to make money.”? Your ROI, or your return on investment, is essentially that calculation: how much money you make by spending money on a marketing campaign.

ROI is typically expressed as a ratio or a percentage, and it’s calculated by subtracting the cost of a marketing campaign from its net profit, then dividing that number by the original campaign cost. A visual formula for ROI looks like this:

ROI = (Profit - Marketing Campaign Cost) / Marketing Campaign Cost Click To Tweet

Let’s say you spent $1 on a marketing campaign. (Bear with me, we’re going for easy math here.) Let’s also say that campaign earned you $5 in sales. For every $1 spent on marketing, you earn $5 in sales. Your ROI ratio would be 5:1.

For my percentage people, in this example, you’re spending about 20% of your revenue on marketing. That’s fairly average. You’re making money, but you’re not doing anything crazy or exceptional. An extraordinary ROI is closer to a 10:1 ratio.

Optimization

“Optimization” is undoubtedly a digital marketing buzzword. In the digital marketing industry, optimization means applying learned metrics and analytics to a marketing campaign to improve it.

For example, let’s say you’ve been blogging for a year now. You write blogs that focus on three categories: relevant industry news, informational how-to blog posts, and company updates.

When you look at your marketing analytics, you see that your company update blogs have no traction on social media, are the least read pages on your website, and have a very high bounce rate.

You might “optimize” your blogging strategy by minimizing the number of company update blogs you write, or by taking out that blog category altogether.

You’re using metrics and analytics to improve or “optimize” your blogging campaign. Thus, you are using optimization to increase your blog’s potential to convert visitors and leads.

Lead Generation

Lead generation is another digital marketing term that’s used all.the.time. The term lead generation means bringing new, qualified potential customers into your marketing and sales cycle.

Typically, lead generation is used in the context of describing a digital marketing effort. For example, blogging and deploying pay-per-click advertising campaigns are both digital marketing efforts that work to increase lead generation. That is, they work to draw more qualified potential buyers (um: leads) into your website and sales cycle.

B2B – Business to Business

This is an acronym we use constantly but rarely explain. It simply means a business that sells to other businesses, rather than to consumers.

Good examples include industrial manufacturers or companies that sell a service (like digital marketing companies).

A manufacturer who produces lug nuts is considered a B2B. They develop a very small part of an automobile, and they sell that part to another manufacturer, like Ford or Dodge, who sells to the consumer.

It’s a little trickier to market B2B companies than B2C companies because their ideal buyer isn’t a person, it’s a company. Some digital marketing companies (like us) have taken this challenge to heart, and focus the majority of their time and effort on implementing and optimizing campaigns for B2Bs.

B2C  – Business to Consumer

These are more traditional companies who sell directly to consumers. We mentioned above Ford and Dodge — these are manufacturers who sell to a consumer, rather than another manufacturer. More common examples would be grocery stores and online clothing retailers.

Digital Marketing Terms: Inbound Marketing

Alright, now that we’ve covered some general digital marketing terms, let’s look at a few that are specific to the inbound marketing side of digital marketing. If you don’t know what inbound marketing is, read this first.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is a key concept behind the inbound marketing methodology. When you nurture a lead, you’re interacting with them in a positive way that leaves a good impression of your company. The more of these lead nurturing interactions you have, the further you draw that lead through the sales cycle. Stellar lead nurturing shortens the length of the sales cycle and delivers qualified customers more quickly.

Relevant email workflows and timely, helpful follow-ups are examples of lead nurturing actions.

Check out our blog, What is Lead Nurturing?, for more info on this one.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is the process of changing and improving your website for the best possible search engine ranking. Writing content that addresses specific keywords, implementing a mobile-responsive website design, and ensuring your website has a fast load time are all examples of search engine optimization tactics.

Anything you do to make your website function better and provide a more user-friendly, informative experience for web browsers is considered SEO.

CTA – Call To Action

A call to action is a tool you use on your website, or in your digital advertising campaigns to entice consumers to take an action. In an ad, the call to action might be to click over to your website. On your website, a call to action might ask a visitor to sign up for your newsletter.

Typically, CTAs take the form of a button. When a consumer presses the button and takes the action to visit your site, download your content offer, or sign up for your newsletter, they’ve completed a conversion, and have moved one step further through the sales cycle.

Landing Page

A landing page is any page on your website where a visitor lands after clicking over from somewhere else. Typically, when marketers refer to landing pages, they’re talking about a page on your website that has been designed to capture a visitor’s contact information.

For example, if you’re running a digital advertising campaign, your ads will take anyone who clicks on the ad offer to a specific page that contains a form and a call-to-action that will capture a motivated visitor’s contact information.

Learn more about what a landing page is, and how to make yours work.

Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a fictitious characterization of your ideal buyer.

Let’s say you’re a home builder that works in the higher market of custom home building and design. One of your buyer personas might be a doctor in his late 50s who is married and whose children are moving out of the house to pursue a college education.

To create a full buyer persona for this doctor, you would look at the pain points, challenges, and goals of this person, and write a very specific narrative for him to help guide your marketing decisions and target that person in the future.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a marketing strategy that’s most often associated with the inbound marketing methodology. Any content you create that functions to be helpful to your ideal client or buyer persona is a part of your content marketing strategy.

People most often think of a blog when they think of content marketing. And this is true: your blog is an integral part of your content marketing strategy, as it offers up helpful information that’s targeted to keywords you know your ideal clients is searching.

That said, a blog isn’t the only part of a content marketing strategy. Your content marketing strategy includes any content that works to draw in new, qualified leads and potential clients. That means video development, social media marketing, guest blogging, and even email newsletters are considered aspects of a content marketing strategy.

Digital Marketing Terms: Outbound Marketing

In case you haven’t heard, outbound marketing is making a comeback. When done properly, outbound marketing functions to draw in qualified leads to your website quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, outbound marketing is also chock full of acronyms and digital marketing terms that you might want explained. Here are a few of the most common outbound marketing terms that benefit from explanation:

KPI – Key Performance Indicator

KPIs are essentially all of the metrics you see results for from digital advertising campaigns. When an ad campaign ends, and Facebook or Google shows you the results of your campaign, most of the highlighted numbers in that report — like bounce rate, click through rate, cost per click, cost per impression, etc — are key performance indicators. KPIs can be any type of analytic, and in fact, most of the rest of the digital marketing terms in this section are key performance indicators.

CPC – Cost Per Click

How much you pay each time someone clicks on your digital advertisement. This is a KPI, and you’ll see it on reports for every digital ad campaign your company runs. Typically, you’re looking to run ads that have a low cost-per-click, unless your ads are highly targeted. If you’re showing ads to only a very small group of highly-qualified consumers, you might be willing to pay a little more for their clicks.

CTR – Click Through Rate

Click through rate is another metric that indicates how many of the people who saw your social media post or digital advertisement actually clicked on the link, and made it over to your site or the intended landing page.

Click through rate isn’t just for digital advertising. It’s also used in other digital marketing applications, like email marketing. An email’s click through rate refers to how many recipients clicked on a link in the email, and made it to a web page or took a desired action.

CPI – Cost Per Impression

One impression represents one time your ad was displayed on a website. Your cost per impression is how much you pay each time your ad is displayed. This metric doesn’t tell you anything about whether or not a user interacted with the ad, but it can give you an idea of how much reach the ad had. Impressions can help build brand recognition by getting your name out there, even if no one clicks on your ad. If you’re trying to build brand awareness, this is an important KPI.

CPA – Cost Per Acquisition

CPA or cost per acquisition is a metric that tells you how much it costs to acquire one customer. Cost per acquisition is calculated for advertising campaigns by dividing the total cost of your campaign by the number of conversions.

This is an important, high-level metric. CPA can tell you what the ROI of an advertising campaign is, and will show you if your ads are returning enough value. If your CPA is very high, you might consider changing or tweaking your ad targeting tactics.

Bounce Rate

A bounce rate is the number of people who immediately navigate away from your website or landing page after clicking on an ad or a link. A high bounce rate means that your visitors are probably not finding what they’re looking for on your site.

You can lower bounce rates by making sure your landing pages are specific to each ad you create, and by ensuring that your website and blog is full of informational content that makes sense for your industry, product, or service.

Remarketing

Ever shopped for something online, only to find that the next time you went to Facebook you saw hundreds of ads for that same product popping up left and right? That’s remarketing at its finest. Remarketing is an ad tactic that’s used to draw in customers who have already been to your site, but who have not yet made a purchase.

Digital Marketing Growth Terms

We’ve covered most of the FAQ terms that you hear when you talk about digital marketing. But there’s still one category left that we’d like to cover: digital marketing growth terms. Growth marketing is new, but it’s slowly increasing in popularity. Unfortunately, like most marketing methods, it has a few weird terms that you wouldn’t hear anywhere else. We’re going to try and explain them:

HubSpot

HubSpot is a CRM software, and company. The company acts as a resource for marketing teams and companies interested in the inbound marketing methodology. The HubSpot CRM is a powerful software that integrates your marketing and sales’ teams efforts to help you provide the best possible service to new leads and existing clients.

We wrote a whole blog called What is HubSpot? if you want to know more.

Marketing and Sales Alignment

This is one of those buzzwords (buzzphrases?) that marketers use constantly. But what does it mean?Marketing and sales alignment refers to the process of getting your marketing and sales teams to communicate and work towards one common goal, instead of functioning as silos. Click To Tweet Digital marketing and growth agencies make it their business to train clients on how to align sales and marketing teams for an effective, efficient sales cycle that helps companies grow.

ABM – Account Based Marketing

Account based marketing is a marketing strategy used primarily by B2B companies. It was developed to solve the specific challenge that B2B’s face trying to market to companies, rather than individual people

ABM focuses a B2B’s marketing efforts on a clearly defined set of target accounts — your ideal accounts, the types of companies you’d like to work with all the time — usually in the same one or two markets. ABM relies on highly personalized marketing campaigns that are created to speak directly to those ideal accounts’ specific pain points and challenges.  

Sales Enablement

At its most basic level, sales enablement is the process of empowering sales teams with content, guidance, and training to market and sell more effectively. Click To TweetThe term means different things to different industries, but for digital marketing, people usually refer to sales enablement when they talk about equipping sales teams with traditional marketing training.

For a long time, sales teams focused on making sales and making sales alone. Today, we’re realizing that companies can be more effective as a whole when sales reps also know how to nurture leads and provide helpful content to prospective customers. Training and empowering sales teams to sell, market, and nurture leads is what we call sales enablement.

We hope this little vocab list helps clear up any digital marketing term confusion! If you have any more questions about digital marketing terms or digital marketing in general, we’d love to help. Get in touch whenever is convenient for you.

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8 Content Creation Tips to Boost Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

8 Content Creation Tips to Boost Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Content creation. One of the easiest, cheapest ways to get your company name out there. For some reason, it usually ends up being the most difficult, too.

As a content writer, or as the person who writes the website, blogs, or content offers for your company, you probably already know that content creation is hard. There’s just no getting around it. Whether you’ve hit a wall coming up with new topics, or you’re struggling to keep to a regular writing schedule, it’s tough to continually put out quality content that you’re proud of, and that gets the job done.

If you’re at a point where you’re feeling stuck, here are a few tips to jumpstart your content creation, in a way that also helps boost your inbound marketing strategy.

#1 Write What You Know

The first, and best tip for any writing endeavor, whether you’re blogging, writing a content offer, or even writing the next great American novel, is to write what you know.

When you’re writing about something you’re interested in, and have a breadth of knowledge on, your writing is going to be more engaging and targeted without you even trying.

If you’re a B2B, write about your product and how it solves problems in industrial manufacturing settings.

If you’re a home developer, write about your community — that’s what people care about and want to know before they consider moving.

The point is, don’t try to write something just to rank for a keyword or key phrase. While that’s also an important aspect of content creation, it’s more important that your content is honest, true, and meaningful. That’s what will keep people engaged and coming back to read more.

#2 Turn to your Pillar Pages for Inspiration

We all get stuck. Every content writer on the internet has thought at one point: there's nothing else to say about this topic. Click To Tweet

Luckily, we’re usually wrong.

When you’re stuck like that, your pillar pages are a great place to turn. After all, you wrote them to be a comprehensive overview of your key products, services, and methodologies, right?

Let’s hope so.

Examine your pillar pages to see which sections could benefit from a little more information, an example, or further clarification. Then, write that blog.

This tactic helps you expand your company’s overall content marketing strategy too, as the blog you write to support your pillar page can become a new subtopic. By linking properly, you can help boost traffic to that pillar page.

#3 Head To a Topic Generator

This is not a perfect fix, but it can help get the creative juices flowing when you’re having trouble thinking of content ideas. Topic generators are usually simple bots that string together words, phrases and questions to come up with a blog topic or title for you. Usually, the ideas they come up with are generic and boring, but they’re also a pretty good place to start.

If the topic generator gives you “10 Myths about Penguins”, spin that to fit your company in a way that’s more engaging. “10 Unbelievable Myths About Industrial Manufacturers”

Or something like that.

Again, not one-stop fix, but a good place to go for a little inspiration. We like Answer the Public and HubSpot’s Blog Idea Generator.

#4 Check the Keywords

If you have a few content ideas in mind, it’s good to check out the keywords. Which of the topics you’re considering has the highest search volume, and the lowest competition?

I use the Keywords Everywhere tool, and Neil Patel’s new UberSuggest to determine which keywords have the most potential, and to see which phrases my competition is already ranking for. Then, I can hit the best key phrase topics with some great, engaging content.  

Tools like these will give you a better idea of what to write, and more importantly, how to frame it.

They help you discover the intent of consumers — what they’re looking for when they search your topic keyword — which helps you write content your ideal buyer wants to read.

#5 Glean Ideas from Coworkers

If after using all of those tools you’re still stuck — hit the water cooler.

Ask your coworkers what some of their biggest frustrations are with clients. (It doesn’t matter what your company does, your coworkers will always have client pain points.)

Can you turn those frustrations into a blog post or content offer that could solve the frustration?

Let’s say your sales team gets frustrated when leads come to them without understanding the full range of products you offer. Creating a content offer or PDF download that lists out all of your products with a short description of each could solve this problem.

That PDF could be entered into a marketing workflow for MQLs, ensuring those leads have the right information before they’re transferred over to sales. Or your sales team can direct leads to that offer when they realize they don’t know about all of your available products.

Problem? Solved.

Your coworkers, especially those who work directly with clients, will also have a good idea of the questions your clients ask all the time.

You can take those FAQs, and turn them into blogs, or even a longer FAQ page or PDF download that clients can be directed to when they have questions.

#6 Think About your Target Buyer Persona

With a few topics finally in mind, it’s time to get to the actual writing process. For most content writers, getting started is the hardest part. I like to give myself a little extra prep time by considering my target buyer personas.

Who are they? What are their pain points? What interests them in their day-to-day life? Is there a way you can make your blog post or content offer hyper-specific to their needs, wants, and business goals?

It’s always helpful to include examples in your content that speak to a specific situation that your target buyer might encounter. This makes content more immediately and obviously useful to them, which boosts conversions.  

#7 Write an Outline — Seriously

If you’re a content writer, you’ve heard it a thousand times — write an outline.

Probably less than half of us do it less than half of the time.

If you’re like me, you might feel like structuring a blog post outline is a waste of time. You’re probably going to change the structure and layout when you finish anyway. But, an outline has a very significant purpose: it keeps us on track.  

Writing an outline helps shorten the time it takes you to write a blog. Click To TweetIt also makes it easier to come back to writing if you’re interrupted by another task or a meeting. With an outline in place, it’s easy to see where you left off, and what you still need to write.

Even if you only start with four or five bullet points, it breaks up the work you have to do into smaller sections, making it easier to get started. And really, getting started is the hardest part.

#8 Block Out Time

Like I just said, getting started is the hardest part of content creation. It’s tough to work up the energy to write a full-length content offer or pillar page — they’re intimidating.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is just block out time, sit in front of your computer, and write. Make sure your coffee is next to you, turn off those Slack notifications, and shut the world out. Deep work is real.

If you’re thinking, “There’s no way I can block out hours on my schedule!” think again.

Schedule a meeting with yourself for a few hours on a day when your calendar isn’t already full of meetings. Make it public or don’t, but make sure the time is reserved for your content creation.

Studies have shown that it's harder to get into writing and other creative projects than it is to start smaller tasks like emailing or posting social media content. Click To Tweet Dedicating a bit of time to write a tough piece of content ensures you have the brain space, and the uninterrupted time necessary to get the whole thing done, and done well.

Content creation really all comes down to time. Time to research potential topics, time to research each topic’s keywords, and then time to write, edit, and refine each piece of content.

We hope these tips helped break that writer’s block! Content creation is key to a quality inbound marketing strategy, and while it can be difficult and frustrating at times, the payoff of qualified leads makes it worth it.

If you’re struggling to keep your content marketing strategy running, or if you have questions about content creation, let us know.

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