If you don’t know the difference between social media marketing and social media advertising, it’s okay to admit it. The distinction can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re new to the social media world or to digital marketing—especially since they’re sometimes used (carelessly) as interchangeable. There is a difference between social media marketing vs. social media advertising, and it pays to know that difference and to incorporate both into your overarching digital strategy.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is a crucial facet of any digital marketing strategy today. It encompasses your business’s online profiles on social media platforms, along with the social media activity of those platforms: posting, liking, commenting, sharing, and so on.
Social media marketing begins with creating company pages or profiles on relevant social networks. The networks that you choose will depend on your industry; B2Bs will likely find LinkedIn to be the most relevant network, since they’re marketing to other business professionals, while home builders and developers might make use of platforms like Pinterest, Houzz, and Instagram to show off images of their homes and properties.
Again, this depends on the platform and your industry. Industrial manufacturers may not have much luck posting photos of their products on Instagram. (Are the insides of factories usually very aesthetically pleasing? No.) But, they’ll have more success posting content about their processes, sharing their blog content, sharing relevant articles and news from industry publications, and posting infographics on LinkedIn.
Twitter is great for sharing links, but because tweets are limited to 280 characters, it’s not the place for longform content.
Instagram is designed for sharing images, and while you can use an image to promote a piece of content, you can’t link from a post directly. You have to include the link in your bio, which might not be the most effective way to direct people to that link.
Why Do Social Media Marketing?
One of the major principles of inbound marketing is bringing your ideal customers to you. Since your ideal customers are using social media—everyone is—having a social media presence is a necessity if you want to draw in potential customers.
Creating a community through social media marketing has some major benefits, like building brand awareness and helping to establish your industry reputation as an authority in your field. Also, it can establish your company as enjoyable to interact with, which can result in people converting to customers when they do need your company’s products or services.
What is Social Media Advertising?
Social media advertising (also known as paid social) involves running paid ads on various social media channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. These can include banner ads as well as native ads and activities like boosting posts or like campaigns. Social media ads are often charged on a pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-impression basis.
You can use paid social to promote content, like a whitepaper or guide that your company or marketing agency has created. You can develop an ad around this content you’re offering, or boost the posts where you shared the content offer. This increases the reach of your content, which can lead to more website traffic and conversions of visitors to leads.
Why do Paid Social?
Promotional posts on social media don’t have a ton of reach on their own and aren’t likely to get a lot of organic engagement. Paid social allows you to specifically target audiences. This targeting is no joke, either. Depending on the platform, you can target audiences by criteria such as location, age, gender, search history, interests and activities, device use, even things like employer or job title.
Since you’re paying either by the number of clicks or impressions (views) your ad gets, you want to ensure that you’re getting the most for your social media ad budget. You do this through targeting, which ensures that only the most relevant people (aka, your ideal customers) see your ads. This makes paid social a high-ROI advertising strategy.
Additionally, the analytics that social media advertising platforms provide you can help better understand your audience and fine-tune your advertisements for better reach, engagement, and ROI.
Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising
Essentially, advertising is a form of marketing that uses advertisements, which are paid notices that appear on public platforms. Not all marketing is advertising, but all advertising is marketing.
Which is Better? Social Media Marketing or Social Media Advertising?
If you’ve read this far, you probably already know what we’re going to say: you need both.
Social media marketing helps you build a community and foster relationships with current and potential customers—it’s a long game.
Social media advertising puts your name/products/services/links in front of people who are looking for what you offer right now.
Both of these strategies can generate leads and sales, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. Using social media for both its organic (unpaid) and paid methods of reaching your intended audience is simply the most effective use of the vast power of social media.
If you’re considering running any sort of PPC or other outbound marketing strategy, you need to be using Google Ads. It’s one of the best digital marketing tools available to any company and when used effectively, can yield huge results for boosting website traffic, generating leads, and making sales.
Here’s the complete guide on how to use Google Ads so that you can take advantage of one of the best advertising tools on the web.
What are Google Ads?
Search ads are a form of native advertising that appears on search engine result pages. When a user makes a query, search ads that are relevant to the keywords used in the query will appear at the top of the page as a sponsored result. These search ads look very similar to the organic search results that appear below them on the page.
Google Display Network
The Google Display Network is a network of sites from Youtube to Weather.com to your local news station’s website that partner with Google and host advertisements. Unlike paid search, these advertisements appear directly on sites in the GDN, in banners, sidebars, etc. Rather than appearing as search engine listings, they appear as clickable images, which you can design.
Google Ads has a lot of great features, including comprehensive and relatively easy to understand analytics so you can gauge the success of your campaigns, optimize future efforts, and measure marketing ROI. You can target very specific audiences and appear in searches for critical keywords, as well as selectively bid on cost-effective keywords and targeting options to maximize your marketing budget and ROI.
Not to mention, Google is the internet. Nearly all online searches in the US are performed using Google, and there are thousands and thousands of sites, local and national, in the Google Display Network. Google Ads will get your ads seen, no question.
Once you’ve entered all of this information, you’ll be ready to start your first campaign.
Create a Campaign
In Google Ads, a campaign is an overarching category containing ad groups. Ad groups are sets of keywords and associated ads.
If you’re creating your first campaign immediately after entering your business information and creating your account, you’ll be taken right to creating your first campaign. If you’ve already created an account, log in to your account and click the + icon on the Campaigns page.
From there, you’ll need to select the network you want your ad to appear on (i.e., search network or display network). Note that you can have your campaign run on both the search and display networks at the same time, or just one of those networks. You’ll also need to set a goal for your campaign (sales, leads, or website traffic are the options Google provides) and name your campaign.
Then you’ll select the locations where you want your ads to be shown. This can be general, like the whole US, or more specific, like the region, state, or city. You’ll also want to select the languages your potential customers speak.
Next, you’ll be prompted to choose a bidding strategy. Since Google Ads are pay-per-click (PPC) ads, each time someone clicks on your ad, you have to pay for that.
Bidding allows you to limit the amount you spend on your campaign for maximum ROI. The interface offers you many different bidding strategies depending on your campaign goals, including maximize clicks, maximize conversions, target page search location, target outranking share, target CPA, target ROAS, enhanced CPC, and manual CPC.
Then enter a daily budget for your campaign, based on how much you want to spend on that campaign.
You’ll then be prompted to enter start and end dates for your campaign, as well as ad extensions.
Ad extensions are extensions of your ad: they allow you to include additional information like an additional sitelink, more business information (like hours or storefront location), or a phone number.
Keywords are the key to effective Google Ads, and effective PPC ads in general. You’ll need to select keywords that are:
The Google Ads platform has a keyword planner that can be useful in generating keywords. Under “Get keyword ideas” you can enter a related website or your product or service, and the keyword planner will suggest possible keywords.
If you’ve already been doing some digital marketing or updating your website, you may already have a keyword strategy in place and have some specific keywords, based on research, that you want to target.
Track and Review Metrics
In the Ads interface, select the tool icon in the top right corner, then select “Conversions.” Then select the + button, then select the type of conversion you want to track: website, app, phone calls, or imported from another system. From there you’ll define and categorize your goals, and add a global site tag and event tag to your landing page to track the conversions.
To review your ad performance, start at the Overview page. You can customize the line chart that appears to show you the data that is most interesting and relevant to you, such as clicks, conversions, conversion rates, and cost per conversion.
The tiles below the chart display useful information and data trends, such as which devices are accessing your campaigns, or your campaign activity today compared to the average number of clicks over the course of the campaign.
If you’re looking at your website traffic for the month and are disappointed by it, know that it doesn’t have to be this way. No matter what your product, service, or industry, there are things that you can start doing today to boost web traffic to your site.
These 5 strategies are proven to boost web traffic and can help you turn around those disappointing numbers.
Write More Content
More isn’t always better, except that it is, especially when it comes to content on your website. The equation is simple: more content = more keywords used = more opportunities for searchers to find you.
We can complicate that a little by adding that your search engine ranking will increase the more you use keywords in unique instances in your content (i.e., the more blogs and pages you have on a subject, the higher your ranking for the related keywords).
But aren’t people’s attention spans shrinking? I thought no one read anymore?
Here’s the deal: people aren’t necessarily reading all of your content. They’re skimming it. The more content you have, the more they’re going to get out of it, since they’re only seeing and digesting less than a third of the words on the page.
Plus, it establishes authority for your organization—the more you have to say about something, the more it seems like you know what you’re talking about.
Get Active on Social Media
Social media is one of the best tools for reaching potential customers and leads. Everyone (or nearly everyone) is using at least one form of social media, if not several.
For those reasons alone, not to mention the advertising, sharing, and engagement capabilities of these platforms, social media is a critical part of any digital strategy, and for increasing traffic to your website.
So, first of all, have a social media presence on all of the platforms that are relevant to your industry, whether that be LinkedIn and Twitter or Instagram and Houzz. Ensure that your website URL is in your bio (Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest) or in the designated profile field (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Houzz) so that people can find it.
You should also be using your social media to promote your content. Share your blog posts across your social media channels so that followers and their followers can read, like, and share them. You can also refer users to relevant content when they have questions about your company, products, or services. Those shares will bring users directly to your content on your site, boosting traffic.
Use Mobile-Friendly Design
Mobile-friendly design or mobile-responsive design is web design that accommodates different types of devices and different screen sizes, as well as the differences in the way that internet users interact with websites on different devices.
A website with mobile-friendly design will have pages that adapt to various screen sizes, ensuring that design elements and text scale to the appropriate size for the screen they’re displayed on and that text, buttons, menus, etc. are readable and usable.
Additionally, internet users searching on mobile are going to have different behavior than those using computers. They’re less likely to read long content (scrolling thumb is realllll) and they’re also less likely to complete long forms.
So, you may want to consider how your content presents to the mobile user, as well as shortening or autofilling forms.
Over 60 percent of searches are performed on mobile devices, and, according to HubSpot, 63 percent of people expect a mobile-responsive website design. What this means is that website visitors want to view your site on their tablets and smartphones. If they can’t, you’re going to lose their attention and they’ll navigate away from your site.
More to the point though, mobile-friendly design is crucial if you want to boost web traffic. Why?
The answer won’t surprise you: Google’s algorithm.
Since 2015, Google has been using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for mobile searches. In 2016, Google began mobile-first indexing, meaning that rather than the desktop version of sites being what the algorithm uses to determine the value of the content to the user, mobile pages are indexed first.
People are using Google all day, every day, everywhere.
That means that people, all day, every day, everywhere are seeing Google ads. And that’s why they work.
Google ads are a simple, comprehensive, and targeted way to reach your desired markets and direct them to your website and landing pages. Whether through paid search or the Google Display Network, Google ads can drive traffic to your website.
Write Guest Blogs
Guest blogging is the practice of writing blog posts that are featured on other blogs in your field or industry.
You might be thinking, Why should I write content for someone else’s blog and boost their SEO and web traffic when I could post it on my blog?
Well, guest blogging:
Builds credibility—By being invited or allowed to guest blog, you’re having other industry professionals vouch for your knowledge and experience.
Reaches new audiences—The site you’re guest blogging for might have a greater or slightly different audience than your blog, and by writing a guest blog, you’re reaching a new audience for whom your products and services are relevant.
Gets your site a link—The site you’re guest blogging for is going to include some information about you, the guest blogger, and your organization. This will include a link to your site (or it should!). Google takes into account the number of inbound links to your site in search engine ranking, and higher search engine rankings equal more web traffic.
Doesn’t preclude similar content on your own site—Obviously, you can’t just copy one of your existing blogs and send it to another site as a guest blog, or they’ll get penalized for duplicate content. But what you can do is write on the same subject as a guest blog you wrote on your own site. Make sure the wording and formatting are fresh, but the ideas conveyed can be reimagined and posted.
More content to promote on social media—just because it’s not on your blog doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote it through your social channels. Your followers may find the content interesting and useful and choose to engage with it and with your company.
While you’re at it, you should have guest bloggers on your blog as well. The benefits of guest bloggers on your site include:
Building credibility by linking to other, credible industry professionals
More content and unique instances of keywords
Outbound links to reputable, relevant sites
Social sharing of the content by the author, amplifying your social media activity
Tried everything and still not seeing a traffic boost? Let’s chat. Inbound marketing is our thing, and we’re experts at driving the right, qualified traffic. We’d love to see how we can help.
The goal of every business is to sell something to someone. Whether it’s a product, service, or information, the business has something that it provides to its customers, for a price. For that reason, it seems like the point of sales strategies and marketing strategies are the same—to sell that thing. But in reality, the purposes, goals, and methods of sales and marketing strategies differ, by necessity.What is the difference between sales and marketing strategies, and why does that matter to your company?
What is the purpose of marketing strategies?
Marketing is what you do to reach potential future customers. It can be outbound marketing, which entails pushing your product/service/message to your audience through things like advertising, or inbound marketing, which includes bringing people in through content strategy and search engine ranking. At any rate, marketing’s purpose is to get your information in front of possible clients. To accomplish those things, marketing teams strive to:
Reach target audiences through various forms of marketing, including social media, PPC, content, and more, tailored to those audiences’ unique needs.
Provide visitors and prospects with information about your company’s products and services that is tailored to their stage of the buyer’s journey, their goals and challenges, and their specific pain points.
Provide the sales team with marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
Analyze and evaluate marketing efforts for effectiveness and return on investment (ROI).
Provide reports and analytics on the ROI of marketing efforts to relevant stakeholders.
What are the goals of marketing strategies?
As you can see, the goal of the marketing strategy isn’t to make sales. Particularly in the B2B world, there aren’t many cases of a person seeing an ad and deciding then and there to buy. Instead, it’s to reach potential customers and raise their awareness of your products, services, and company, and the benefits of all of those to them.
They’re not going to answer calls or email, and they’re going to (pun very much intended) lead you on. Good marketing filters out those bad prospects and provides the sales team with leads that are vetted, a.k.a, MQLs.
What is the purpose of sales strategies?
It seems like the goal of any sales strategy is pretty straightforward: make sales. While that is a goal, sales strategies are so much more complicated than that. Sales teams are tasked with managing relationships with prospective customers and guiding them to a purchase decision. In order to do that, sales teams must:
Connect with leads and prospects through various sales practices, including quote requests, pitches, demos, etc.
Provide prospects and leads with information relevant to their pain points and needs that helps them make a decision about purchasing your company’s products or services.
Determine whether marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are ready or eligible to become sales qualified leads (SQLs).
Guide new clients through the purchase process.
Why do sales and marketing strategies need to align?
Because if they don’t, you’re wasting time, money, and resources. You’re going to have a low ROI on both your sales and marketing efforts, and you’re going to be missing out on potential leads, sales, and revenue.
How do sales and marketing strategies work together?
How exactly your sales and marketing teams begin working together and collaborating on strategy is going to be unique to your situation.
Sales and marketing alignment looks different for a company with already established in-house sales and marketing teams than for a company with no marketing team at all (or no marketing team, yet—we can help with that!) or for a company with sales and marketing teams spread out across various locations.
To align your sales and marketing efforts, communication between your sales and marketing teams is crucial. This ensures that sales has input on the kinds of marketing content that will be useful, that common goals are created, and that everyone is speaking the same language and understanding each other’s terminology.
How can a CRM help sales and marketing strategies align?
Something else that’s necessary for cohesion between sales and marketing is that both teams are using the same tools and technologies effectively. Customer relationship management software (CRM) is one of the best ways to facilitate easy communication between sales and marketing teams and to move leads through the marketing/sales funnel.
Sales and marketing strategies have different goals, but when you put quality strategies from both teams together, you can see some seriously positive results for business growth. If you’re looking for help building quality sales and marketing strategies we can help.
There are some general best practices for modern web design, which you may already be aware of. But there are also some web design best practices for home builders to implement in their website design to ensure that their sites are reaching their ideal clients and converting them to leads.
Images of gorgeous homes are going to be attractive to your website visitors, since what they want to see, and ultimately, what they want to purchase, are gorgeous homes.
Good photos of the homes you build should be the center of your design, and your content should support that, rather than the other way around. Plus, images are easy to share on social media platforms, which is the new word-of-mouth.
Social Media Integration
Ensuring that your site integrates social media can increase the buzz about your homes and can make your site more user-friendly. People are going to want to share images of your homes via social media.
Make sure that you not only have those attractive, high-quality images, but also social sharing buttons. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Houzz are all possible mediums that visitors might use to share your photos.
Additionally, if your company is on any of these social media platforms (and it should be, especially Houzz!) they should be integrated into your site so users can easily navigate to your company’s profile on any of those platforms so they can engage with you there.
Any site in 2019 needs to be mobile-responsive. More than 60 percent of all web searches are done on mobile devices, which means that there’s a big chance that your website visitors are looking at your site on a smartphone, tablet, or other small screen.
If your site is difficult to navigate for mobile users, you’ll miss out on a lot of valuable mobile traffic. Google penalizes sites that aren’t mobile-friendly, and mobile-friendly sites are easier for users to share, getting your name in front of more potential future clients.
Quick Loading Time
Since people are going to be visiting your site on mobile devices, on the go, a quick load time is essential. While your visitors are going to want to see gorgeous images of your homes, they don’t want to wait for tons of pictures to load.
Explain Who You Are and Why You’re Different From the Competition
If there’s something you can do to ensure that your site isn’t just generating leads, but quality leads, it’s to explain who you are, what you do, and why your company is different from the other home builders in your area.
Your niche and market need to be clearly outlined on your website. If they’re not, you’re going to miss out on calls from your ideal clients—and get a bunch of calls from people who aren’t good fits for the homes you build, such as people outside of your location or looking for a home that’s not in your price range.
If you’re a luxury home builder in the Grand Rapids area, make sure you specify that clearly on your site in a place that’s impossible for site visitors to miss.
Calls to Action
Calls to Action (CTAs) are crucial design elements for home builder sites. Why? Because you want visitors to your site to take action… by getting in touch with you. CTAs make it easier for people to do just that.
CTAs are usually bright-colored buttons that invite website visitors to click on them. They usually have text that asks a user to do something specific, like “Request a Quote” or “Schedule a Consultation.”
Landing pages are pages where a visitor “lands” after clicking on a CTA or a digital ad. It restricts their navigation options and allows the visitor to complete a form with their contact information in exchange for information that you provide them.
That information needs to be something of value to your visitor, to make giving you their contact info worthwhile. Things like ebooks and guides offering information about “How to Design Your Dream Home” or “Everything You Need to Know About Home Design,” motivate visitors to convert by completing the landing page form.
Landing pages are a critical design feature for home builder websites because they can help you:
Convert qualified visitors to leads
Direct visitors to information relevant to them
Build your authority and credibility by providing valuable information to visitors
Track where visitors are coming to your site from
Capture analytics that you can use to determine marketing ROI and optimize your digital marketing efforts
Also, explain your process. Prospective home buyers are going to want to know how you build homes, how long it takes, and what else they should expect before they will put down any money on their new home.
Content definitely matters, on any site, and we’ll always say that, but content shouldn’t be the centerpiece of your home builder site. Images and calls to action are going to be center-stage on your site, so don’t write 2,000 word essays for each and every page.
Using good SEO practices and keyword optimization are essential, of course. But long blocks of text are going to turn away site visitors who don’t need to read in so many words that you build homes—they need to see what your homes look like, and know how to request a site plan or pricing.
As a home builder, your website is your digital portfolio—it’s what potential clients look at to see if your houses are what they’re looking for. If you don’t have a stunning website that’s image forward, let’s chat. We can build you a site that’s not only beautiful but also functional.
And if you’d like to know more about our experience with home builders and real estate developers, be sure to check out the case study below: