Digital Marketing

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Digital Marketing Terms Defined

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If you’re new to digital marketing, you may find yourself in a world full of unfamiliar acronyms and jargon. It can seem intimidating, confusing, and even exclusionary. But, most of the time it’s a way for marketers to communicate with each other in the most efficient way possible. Knowing some of what it means can help you as your company enters a digital marketing venture. Below is a list of commonly used terms you will come across in digital marketing, and what they mean. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you can feel confident moving forward with your companies marketing goals.

B2B:

Business to Business refers to business interactions that occur between two businesses. It is the way goods or services are exchanged between two companies. This is usually part of the development or manufacturing of one company’s consumer goods.

B2C:

Business to Consumer is similar to B2B. A business to consumer transaction is when a consumer buys a final product or service from a company for use.

CTA:

A Call to Action is a something on your company’s website that grabs the attention of a viewer and invites them to view another part of your site. It can be something like a banner or button, such as a “Learn More”  button at the end of a paragraph, inviting the viewer to continue reading. In other words, it is a lead or a prompt.

Bounce Rate:

This is the percentage of people who visit one page on your site but leave it without visiting any other page. It is better to retain a viewer’s attention and get them interested enough to visit more of your site.

Blog:

A blog is what you are currently reading. For a business, it is a chance to self-promote. You can put out original content, create site traffic, and grab the attention of potential clients. It’s a good way to interact with your audience by starting a conversation.

Brand: 

In marketing, a brand does not just refer to your logo or tagline. It is identifying what you want the target audiences’ perception of your company to be, and how your company’s voice reflects that image.

ROI:

Return on Investment basically comes down to getting the biggest bang for your buck. You want to see results, and developing a strategy geared towards providing ROI (Return on Investment) is the first place to start.

SEO: 

Search Engine Optimization is the visibility of your site in a search engine’s “natural,”  or unpaid, results. The better your site’s SEO is, the more views it will get from this “organic”  traffic.

SEM:

Search Engine Marketing is the promotion and SEO development to increase site visibility.

UX:

UX is an acronym for User Experience. In terms of digital marketing, this is the experience your visitors will have when they visit your site. User experience takes into account the actions you’d like the user to take and the information you’d like them to obtain. The more they enjoy that experience, the more likely they are to spend time looking at what you have to offer.

While this is not a complete list, it can give you a better understanding of what’s being discussed in digital marketing. In the fast-changing culture of the Internet, and therefore digital marketing, it is nice to have a base of reference to lean back on.

Photo Credit: MrPhilDog

Blogger Outreach: Building Brand Buzz

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If you’re a young brand looking to grow, but don’t have the capital to pay big bucks to get your product out there, word of mouth marketing in today’s terms might just be the right thing for you. What am I talking about? A blogger outreach campaign.

According to Nielsen Media, there are somewhere over 181 million blogs on the Internet with 6.7 million people publishing content on blog sites. That’s a whole lot of blogging going on, and a whole lot of opportunity to create some buzz. Using a blogger outreach campaign as a part of your marketing strategy can be beneficial to create brand awareness and exposure to relevant, targeted consumers.

Why does a message coming from a blogger sometimes have better reach than your marketing message? Trust. 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs, and 61% of online consumers have made a purchase based on a blog’s recommendations (Source: BlogHer). One of the ways that you can utilize this influence is by getting your product in the hands of these bloggers to conduct a product review and post content around their experience with the product. Here a few recommended steps for a successful approach:

Establish your goals: First things first with any marketing initiative it’s important to understand what the goals are for your outreach campaign. Do you want to increase foot traffic to your website, gain a following on social media, build brand awareness, introduce a new product, etc? Understanding this upfront will give you something to benchmark and determine if your strategy was a success.

Find the influencers: Next, establish your criteria for qualified bloggers. You can use Technorati, Alltop or even Google’s blog search to help you locate them. Use tools like Pagerank and Alexa to determine what kind of traffic the identified blogger is getting. This will help you save time in the long run. Why waste energy pitching to someone who isn’t relevant or the end result won’t get your reach.

Establish rapport: You don’t ask someone out on a date before you get to know them. Establish rapport first before you approach. This means following them, engaging with them on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+), commenting on and promoting content that you like (honestly).

Outreach: After you’ve had some time to “get to know” them, you’re now ready to reach out. This is a big step though. Depending on how well known the blogger is they might receive thousands of emails just like yours. Your message needs to be genuine, personal to them, and creative. Something has to make them want to read it. If it sounds like a blanketed message, then chances are you’re just wasting your time. This part of the process does take time, but it’s worth it to put in the extra effort to connect with someone. That’s what will get you noticed. The key is not to be long-winded. Yes, what you’re sharing is great, fabulous and awesome I’m sure, but anything too long might get ignored. Be concise and to the point as far as what you’re asking for them to do.

Provide incentive: Be prepared to offer them something in return. What are you going to do for them that gives them a reason to even respond? Are you offering a complimentary product, are you willing to sponsor/fund a post? Sometimes bloggers (especially with greater reach) will only participate if you’re willing to provide a financial investment. It’s important to know upfront if that’s something you’re willing to consider. And if not, it’s good information to know and could be useful in the future.

Follow up: So you’ve sent your message. Next requires follow up, but make sure you’ve given the appropriate time to respond. Pay attention to automatic messages. If you get something stating, “Due to a high volume of emails,” you have to take into consideration that if might take them some time to even see your email. Wait a week. A lot of bloggers won’t engage until the follow up response. Planning your blogger outreach campaign well in advance will help allow for the turn around time it sometimes takes to get a response.

Support content creation: Once someone has agreed to participate, make it as easy for the blogger to develop his or her content. Provide them with information about the product. Is there a unique backstory about how it was created? If so, make sure to share, consumers care not only about the product, but a good brand story can help capture someone’s attention. Are there specific product features or benefits they need to know? The blogger may not know these intimate details so make sure you include. Many times bloggers will take their own photos of the product, but sometimes supplying additional imagery helps to support content. They may be featuring one product style, but if you want to show the breadth of a product line, that can be communicated through an additional photo.

Track your results: So your product has been featured, it’s time to track your results based on what you established as your goals. Monitor your website traffic, social media following and engagement. Make sure to thank the blogger for their efforts, you could be establishing an ongoing relationship with a blogger that may be interested in featuring your product more than once as you introduce new styles, limited edition collections, etc.

Be prepared for the negative: Something to keep in mind with this type of program though is you don’t have complete control in the process. You have to be prepared to hear the negative. There’s always a possibility your product won’t be a hit with everyone. It may mean the product isn’t right for them or it could be an opportunity for improvement based on some honest feedback.

Consider alternative outreach opportunities. Blogs are not the only platform brands have an opportunity to conduct outreach. Each social media platform (Google+, Twitter, Instagram) has influencers that create a potential for you to connect your brand with consumers. An interesting Instagram example was one carried out by shoe brand Puma. With a goal to increase their followers, the brand reached out to influential Instagrammers and sent to events (even some overseas) equipped with a camera to document “awesome places that shoes take you.”

Another unique example is how Audi utilized Twitter. After a raving Audi fan created a hashtag, #WantAnR8, around her desire to acquire an Audi R8, the brand made notice and gave her an Audi for the day to experience, document and share with her Twitter community. Audi promoted the event via twitter and encouraged others to do the same, resulting in a giveaway of eight more R8s. What’s interesting about that example is that the consumer created the opportunity, Audi was just smart enough to be listening.

The more unique the approach, the greater opportunity your outreach will standout in the crowd and gain a following. Start by considering what platform for outreach might be appropriate based on where your customers are spending their time online.

photo credit: Mylla
modified by Shout Out Studio

Creating The Right Digital Marketing Campaign

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Ever heard the phrase, “you are what you eat?” Well, in the world of brand communication and marketing you are what you tweet, sell, walk, talk, help, share, look, and so on. Creating a cohesive marketing campaign strategy is important for communicating a brand that knows who it is. Being consistent with your message, even if just across a market segment or range of time helps customers and potential customers understand what to expect from your company. That better understanding can help increase engagement and build trust.

So how do you get started creating a strategy that effectively melds the right message and voice across different channels?

Let’s explore, shall we…

1. Define Your Goals

Whether a seasonal campaign or long-term brand awareness building, you should start by documenting goals for big wins and 1 or 2 secondary wins. Only when you know your Point B can you plan your path to get there from Point A.

Start at the high level and broad, then drill down into more detail. Some common goals may be to increase audience size and engagement on a particular social platform or increase online sales by X% through a certain quarter of business. Or possibly improve conversion rate on your website. read more

Content Marketing

Content Marketing Matters of the Moment

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When you spend your days working as a marketing consultant and content creator, you can only imagine the number of articles, tweets, blog posts, white papers, newsletters, email communications… (need I go on) read on a daily basis. For some, it could be overwhelming, but for me, it’s what I live for and love… scouring for good content, thought-provoking ideas, and inspiring marketing. So with that said here’s my list of Top 5 Content Marketing Matters of the Moment. This is what’s been on my mind…

1. How Much Personalization is Too Much?

A little while back I read a HubSpot article addressing the question, “How much personalization do you want as a marketer and a consumer?” The subject still lingers with me as I watch the industry continue down a path of personalized content. Through advances in technology and with the use of analytics, online experiences are more customized than ever. My music lists are curated based on previous listening sessions, news content is tailored to what I was reading last, ads are targeted at the products I’ve browsed, but the devil’s advocate in me can’t help but wonder when does it all remove the fun of discovery? Will I ever get back to being a blank slate consumer where I freely decide what is for me?

2. Content Marketing Applies to You Too

Many brands get confused and think, “Oh content marketing is for someone else. What stories do we have to tell?” Sometimes that takes a little bit of an effort to discover for some brands more so than others. We often spend time with our partners talking about what their buyers and consumers want to know in order to determine what type of content is relevant. And other times we just simply ask! One category that hasn’t fully embraced content marketing opportunities is the restaurant category. The whole aspect of food is social and shared. Granted for some brands it may not be appropriate, but without a doubt some of the best content marketers out there are food service brands like Chipotle, and my personal favorites Sweetgreen and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. What makes them so successful with content marketing? A compelling brand story at the heart of it all. Spend time crafting that and you’ve got something to share.

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How to Deliver a More Concise Online Message

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Let’s get to the point.

Editing in writing and design is often the most critical step. In this age of instant information, instant access, instant gratification, here today gone yesterday attention span, it’s important to be concise with your communication.

Helping companies, and ourselves, get a message across we often find the need to streamline large blocks of copy. Even when there’s consensus that it should be done it can still become a laborious task where pride and feelings can become the defendant of sentences.

It’s easy for all of us, in the middle of a writer’s high, to fail to think about how we ourselves engage and buy online. Our time is precious. Our attention spans short. Our desire for the right information, right now, is great. Yet when it’s our turn to hit the keys, one more paragraph is no problem.

What if we could approach the online communication process better right from the beginning? What if thinking inside the box, a box, helped us to develop better content?

Here are some thinking and doing tips for delivering a more concise online message: read more

Great Marketing is About Storytelling

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Once upon a time…

We met with a prospective client recently on another disaster recovery project. All the usual suspects were present in the form of the story: great company, great brand, incredible product and an unbelievable, crappy, digital presence.

But here’s the part we want to get into…

The owner has a friend who they referred to as, “a programmer who said that they could build the website.” Now at first blush, there may not seem to be anything wrong with that but after cogitating (word of the day) on that for a while it hit me. Websites are not about programming; period. They’re about storytelling.

So embrace that fact and think about the people you would want to create and tell your story; think about your reaction to someone who says I’m a programmer and I can build your website. Let us clarify right here that there are programmers who are great storytellers, but the primary skill for developing a great marketing program of any kind is the storytelling capability. That trumps technology of the delivery mechanism every time.

So to help if this happens to you we’ve put together a small list of things to ask anyone who says they can “build your website.” Top five things to ask someone who wants to help with your website. read more

Test Driving the New Google Databoard

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The internet has blessed us with many things. New ways to communicate across distances. The ability to tour a city or building on the other side of the world. Opportunities for new business ventures, avenues for invention, enhanced celebrity obsession and copious amounts of cat videos.

And Insights. Data at our fingertips. With a little smart searching and a lot of compiling you can build a case for or against nearly anything thanks to the internet.

The folks over at Google decided, you really shouldn’t have to waste all that time. They’ve compiled insights for you via Google research studies and have made them available to you at the new Google Databoard. There are only a few studies available currently, all based around mobile usage and trends, but you’re able to sift through the studies, drill down into topics and curate data points to create your own infographic. read more

Google Analytics Made Easier

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For those of you who know the power of the Google Analytics dashboard, you can skip to the next paragraph. For the rest of you, Google Analytics has the ability to create customized dashboards which provide a fast detailed look at any set of data you want. While it can be a bit “wonky” to create them they are well worth the effort if you’re trying to get a quick look at any subset of information and invaluable in understanding your audience.

Or if you don’t want to create your own, there are places on the webernet that you can also find pre-packaged dashboards which can be directly imported to your GA.

We have found a few of these to be especially effective and use them frequently…

Site Performance – Go get it

This is a great option for showing how your site is actually performing from a time-to-load standpoint. It also shows metrics for performance in each browser.

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If you aren’t measuring you’re wasting your time…Twitter Analytics

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Let’s start with a brief bit of context. I hated statistics in college. I did everything possible to avoid it as a subject area and it bored the hell out of me.

Skip forward a whole lot of years and I now love statistics. They are the benchmark for measuring creativity and the effectiveness of any digital marketing efforts.

Seem like a non-sequetor? It’s not. Shout Out’s whole approach to marketing is based on a simple model:

Plan/Create/Execute/Measure/Refine/Repeat

This combines the left brain/right brain, creativity, and measurement, in what we believe has become read more

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How to Find Your Blog Writing Confidence

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Maintaining a blog on your business website can have some super cool benefits but getting started can be scary for some people. When you blog you are vulnerable, you are putting your thoughts out there for the WWW to see. Of course, you are going to get stuck in the middle of a great thought, critique it and lose confidence. It happens. Here are some thoughts to help you build your blog writing swagger. read more

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