Meet the Marketer: Joe Davis

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451 Heat’s Meet the Marketer

Here’s an inside look into the individuals who fuel 451 Marketing’s award-winning integrated communications strategies. This week, we give you our Paid Search Marketing Manager Joe Davis. At 451 Marketing Joe oversees the strategy development and execution of all paid search accounts at 451 Marketing and delivers results, insights, and analysis to the firm’s B2B and consumer clients.

 

You studied meteorology for both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees. What led you to switch over to marketing?

I started my own publishing business in 2004 and learned quickly that marketing is as important as selling a quality product. No one will buy from you if they don’t know you exist, and paid search marketing was the only channel I could afford to get into. After dabbling in that for a while I found myself really enjoy doing that over running a small business.

 

How do you think paid search has effected how businesses operate?

It’s given companies a way to measure performance a lot more effectively instead of hoping that their ads are generating revenue and it’s allowed them to become a lot more targeted to the right prospects.

 

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Being as good as possible while doing as much possible are often conflicting goals, and the business world is too competitive to wait for both, so learning how to prioritize in any job is very important.

 

What have you found to be the biggest challenge in paid search?

Most people who advertise online don’t understand how it works. Even those with a lot of marketing knowledge are typically more familiar with offline marketing methods, so getting clients to see the value you are providing sometimes gets lost which can negatively impact their perception of paid search marketing.

 

What advice would you give to people interested in having a career in search marketing?

It’s a very competitive industry that requires analytical thinking, a certain level of creativity, and is different than most other forms of marketing. It’s not for most people, so find out if it’s for you before jumping in and finding yourself overwhelmed with everything necessary to do this successfully.

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Keeping Up with Campaigns After Check-out

The start of a new year can be a rocky time for paid search advertisers. Contracts come to a close or a new start and everyone has checked out from their holiday shopping carts. Whether you’re starting fresh with a new account or maintaining others, it’s important to keep a keen eye while consumers return to their desktops.

1.)    Poise yourself for traffic changes.

The end of the holiday season can be a slow time for most brands and services. Consumers are focused on the presents they’ve just opened and typically aren’t looking beyond the returns counter for new purchases. The same patterns can be seen in recruitment, B2B, and general service industries. After all, who’s thinking about hiring a new PPC agency when they’re skiing with the family in Aspen or jet-skiing in the Caribbean? About the same amount of people applying for jobs when it’s unlikely they’ll see a response until January.

But low traffic (if you are using the right paid search agency!) shouldn’t last forever. People return from their families and plant themselves in front of their office computers. Once again consumers are logging into Facebook and going about their daily routines with the help of Google.

As you can see below, impressions rise sharply in at least three major industries after their dip at the end of the year. Think clearly and try to predict if your campaigns would be affected by seasonal search. Are your services resolution-worthy like exercise or organization equipment? Brace yourself for a traffic spike. Do you sell Menorahs? Your time will come again next year.

 

 

2.)    Budget is everything.

Now that we’ve established whether or not you should expect increases in web-traffic, you should re-visit your bidding. You don’t want your budgets to stay down and miss out on relevant traffic, but you don’t want your high-budget accounts to inflate too quickly either. Sure, it seems like common sense, but after a month or so of bidding steadily it can be easy to overlook or be unprepared for these changes.

3.)    Prepare for the next spike

Superbowl season can cause unprecedented spikes for brands on local and national levels. Ensure that you have clear communication with clients about their plans for other media this time of year. If they are vying for ad time during the big game, adjust your bids accordingly. You may want to increase your overall budget for the month as well to get extra eyeballs on your brand before game-day. The more awareness you have, the better chance you have to capture a sale.

4.)    Ad scheduling and delivery

As search habits change, so should your ad placements. Low search volume may lend its self well to accelerated ads, but as people return to their workday routines a more even approach might be more desirable. There is no point in burning your budget quickly when more qualified traffic can be captured later in the day. Similarly, you should adjust your flighting to conform to your consumers’  daily routine. If your product requires a lot of research, showing ads throughout the work day may no longer be profitable as consumers have less time during working hours. It’s all about knowing your products and services.

Hopefully these tips can help you navigate your accounts throughout the start of the New Year and prepare for the unexpected.

 

Does Your Site Need SEO Help?

 

When you hire an online marketing or SEO agency, the agency will “audit” your site and look for errors and opportunities to increase your rankings. But how do you know whether or not you need an agency? Pick a few pages from your website and perform your own mini-audit with this checklist:

Headers & Titles

Every page on your site should include a title, a strategically-written meta description, and an H1 header. You could view the source code for the page and search for each of these elements, or you could use a free, convenient tool that does it for you. Here’s how:

  1. Drag this [SEO] bookmarklet to your toolbar.
  2. Navigate to the desired page on your website and click on the “SEO” bookmark that’s now in your toolbar.
  3. You’ll get a pop-up like this:

SEO Bookmarklet

This was pulled from a post about using keywords. The title is relevant and the description makes sense. There’s also only one H1. Yay!

First, look to see that the title and description are relevant to the content on your page. Next, confirm that there is only one H1 present. Without an H1, you’re missing a big opportunity to give information to search engines and readers. With too many H1s, you can create confusion.

Image Alt Text

Alt text is a behind-the-scenes opportunity for you to provide information about your images and your website to the search engine crawler.

How does it work? Even though your website shows something like this:

 New York Skyline

The search engine robots see something like this:

<img src=”new-york-skyline.gif” alt=”New York Skyline”>

If you name your files well and use descriptive alt text, your pictures might start to appear in search results, which could, in turn, drive traffic to your website.

How can you tell if your images have alt text?

  1. Easy: Hover your mouse over the image. If there’s alt text, it will appear.
  2. Intermediate: Use that same search bookmarklet to check whether any images on your page have alt text.

SEO Alt Text     3. Advanced:

        a. Press Ctrl+U to view the source code for the page you’re on

        b. Press Ctrl+F to open the search dialogue

        c. Search for .jpg, .gif, or .png to locate images. Then look for a nearby alt=”some phrase” to see if there is alt text present. You can also look to see whether the filename is descriptive, because a good file name never hurts.

How Shareable is Your Site?

There are two parts to shareability. First, do you have buttons on your website that make it easy for your visitors to tweet about you, post your site to Facebook, or even pin one of your images to Pinterest? If not, you could be missing out on great social sharing opportunities.

Second, figure out if each page is worth sharing. Would customers find it useful? Do you provide relevant information? Not every page needs to be a content-rich resource, but all of your pages should meet a customer need and be worthy of being passed along.

How Does Your Website Look to Other People?

Open your website in other browsers. Resize the window. Visit your site from an iPad or Android device. Check to make sure that your website looks good on every platform that your customers are using. If your website adjusts to different sizes and forms, then you’re in great shape. If it doesn’t, you might want to consider a more responsive design.

Analyze your Competitors

How does your web traffic compare to your competitors? One easy way to figure out is to use a browser toolbar built for SEO. SEOBook’s is free and easy to install. There is a ton of data available on the toolbar, and it can get overwhelming. I recommend just paying attention to the Compete Uniques and SEMrush Traffic Value numbers (the blue/green circle and the red sun.) There are no hard and fast rules here; everything is relative. If your numbers are similar to your competitors’, then you’re probably on par with your industry in terms of web traffic. If your numbers are lower, you can assume that you have room to grow your web presence

 

Here’s a traffic comparison of two of Boston’s major newspaper sites

If your site falls short in any of these areas, it might be time to get help from the experts. Remember, this was just a mini-audit. Professional site audits check every page of your site and include a number of other vital SEO factors.

 

Written by Stephanie Beadell, Master of Science in Mass Communications major at Boston University Dec 2012.

How to Use Keywords to Optimize your Website

How do you want new customers to find you on the web? What words are people likely to use when they search for your company or for the products you offer? Your answers to these questions are your “keywords,” and they are integral to building an effective online presence. Here’s how to generate a keyword list and optimize your site in 5 easy steps:

 

Step 1: Think like a Customer

Brainstorm a list of terms that people might use to look for you or companies like you. Put yourself in the mind of a potential customer and get creative. Include short terms, long phrases, location-based queries, and questions.

 

It’s important that you make your list first, before turning to the internet’s keyword tools. Why? Because no tool can ever know your business better than you do. You know what products your customers care about. You know your region and its nicknames. You know which of your products or services are the most important to your business’ growth.

 

For best results, have a coworker or friend make a list, too. They may think of things that you forgot. Brainstorm until you have a very long list, group similar terms and phrases together into categories, then prioritize the categories.

 

Step 2: Use the Power of the Internet

Use GooglesKeywordTool to see how your keyword list compares to the keywords that people actually search for. Focus on one keyword category at a time. Look at the top box to see how many searches each of your keywords get, and use the bottom box to find related keyword ideas. Add to, subtract from, and re-prioritize your list to incorporate your Keyword Tool findings.

 

Step 3: Revamp Your Website

Look at your website to see how well you make use of keywords. Do you use them in your headlines and in the body of the page? Does the purpose of your page match what customers are searching for? Update your titles, headlines, and body copy so that they include your high-priority keywords. Make sure to write in a customer-friendly style; your goal is to make your site morerelevantandusefulforthem.

 

Of course, including keywords in your headlines and enhancing body copy will also help the Google robot know what your page is about, but you should never write for Google. Writing for Google often ends up in “keyword-stuffing,” the activity of cramming keywords into your page to a point that it doesn’t make sense and looks spammy. Google punishes keyword-stuffed pages. Writing for customers is a much better, strategically-sound approach. After all, the people at Google are striving to make their algorithms think more like people do, so it makes sense for you to focus on people, too. (Not to mention that Google has told us again and again to think about user experience when we optimize our sites.)

 

Step 4: Update Your Ads

Look at your advertising. Optimize your PPC ads to include your new keyword list. We’ve already written5 TipstoWriteBetterGooglePPCAdCopy, so I won’t repeat all of the rules here. Just remember to use keywords in your headlines and be mindful that your customers want the ad they click on to match the page they land on. Now that you’ve gone through all of these steps, you should have that covered. You’ll be reaching the most customers with the most relevant pages. It’s a win for them and a win for you.

 

Step 5: Track Your Changes

Monitor your results. Use Google Analytics to see if your changes and updates are working. Here are a few easy metrics to check:

 

  • Unique Visitors: You want this number to increase. In this case, it likely means that more people are finding your site in searches and clicking through to it.
  • Time on Site or Pages / Visit: More is usually better. Sometimes, though, a high Pages per Visit number could mean that customers are clicking around, unable to find what they’re looking for. Use your best judgment here.
  • Bounce Rate: Bounce Rate is the percentage of people who click to your website and leave. Generally, bounce rates should be low (but there are always exceptions.)

 

Use this keyword exercise to better understand how your customers are using Google so that you can update your site to better meet their needs. Your customer-centric, long-term business strategy will be rewarded with better rankings and more visitors!

 

Written by 451 Marketing intern, Stephanie Beadell,  Master of Science in Mass Communications major at Boston University Dec 2012.