Tag Archives: digital marketing

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The Truth About Digital Marketing

Digital, inbound vs. outbound, SEO, web, budgets – oh my! When it comes to marketing, the vast amount of options and ‘things you should be doing’ can seem daunting.

While each option has its place and benefits, it’s wise to look at your unique business and see what makes the most sense for you. This post will take a look at what digital marketing is, how to know if it’s right for your business, and what you can do to make the most of your investment.

What is digital marketing?

‘Digital marketing’ is an umbrella term for numerous tactics used to reach your audience online or in some electronic form. Basically, it refers to any marketing efforts on the web and electronic devices that promote your business in some way.

Digital marketing tactics and examples include:

  • SEO
    • Websites
    • Blogs
    • Infographics
    • Retarget marketing
  • Content Marketing
    • Blog posts
    • Ebooks
    • Online brochures, newsletters, lookbooks
  • Social media channels
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • LinkedIn
    • Instagram
    • Snapchat
    • Pinterest
  • Pay-Per-Click Ads
    • Google Ads
    • Facebook boosted posts
    • Instagram sponsored posts
    • Twitter promoted tweets
    • LinkedIn sponsored messages
  • Email Marketing
    • Email newsletters
    • Social media scheduling
    • Blog subscriptions
    • Follow-ups to site visitors who shared their contact info

 

What is the difference between digital and inbound marketing?

 ‘Wait, isn’t that the same as inbound marketing?’ Look at you with all the smart questions! Digital marketing refers to the number of tactics you can utilize online to attract customers, but it is not compelled to focus solely on two-way communication like inbound.

While they may use some of the same tactics, inbound differs from digital in that inbound is a marketing method that focuses solely on pulling an audience in by providing helpful info (think ebooks, infographics, etc.). Outbound is a push method where marketing messages are put in front of the audience whether they ask for it or not (web banner ads, direct mail, etc.). Digital marketing incorporates both push and pull methods into a strategy.

 

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The lowdown on digital marketing and how to make it work for you:

Digital marketing can be an amazing tool to help businesses reach their audience. However, it’s important to be mindful of how digital marketing plans are presented to you and think logically about what’s right for your business.

Beware of oversold data.

A note of caution: Beware of the companies that are not actually in the business of digital marketing and are just selling plans on the side as an additional service. Oftentimes, these tend to oversell data and numbers that actually hold little weight and can be useless to your business.

For example, if a company comes to you with a retargeting ad campaign plan that shows you can get as many as 100,000 impressions – number of times content is displayed, regardless of whether or not it was clicked – in one month, and convert on average 10% of those, that all sounds great! But if your site gets less than 2,000 visitors a month, this data can be extremely misleading. Oftentimes, unless you have 100,000+ monthly visitors to your website, data of this nature does not apply to you and your business.

Additionally, information on this scale relates best when applied to e-commerce sites that actually sell something. Sites like this are able to ‘convert’ potential customers into paying customers by getting them back on their site to complete a purchase. So how do you increase site traffic, and what if your site does not sell anything?

 

Papers with data and graphs on table.

How to increase traffic to your website.

So, you don’t have 100,000+ visitors to your website and you’re not sure where to go next? We get that. A good place to start is to focus on increasing your site’s traffic organically, in addition to digital marketing, so that both can work more effectively while also setting you up for long-term, sustainable growth.

 

  1. Build site traffic organically
  2. Pay to get people to your site
    • Paid Social Posts
    • Google Ads (formerly AdWords)
    • Retargeting

 

Set your own definition of ‘conversions’.

Conversion rates determine the value of your digital ad, and ‘conversion’ can mean different things for different businesses. Perhaps the nature of your business requires someone from your company to speak with potential customers in order to get their business. In this case, your definition of a conversion could be when someone completes a contact form on your website.

Some types of conversions:

  • Complete purchase
  • Fill out contact form
  • Inquire for ebook or other content
  • Sign up for blog
  • Complete questionnaire or quiz

At Stray Media Group, we primarily work with small- to medium-sized businesses in the country, mostly situated in the Midwest region. We understand the challenges you may be facing in the daunting world of digital marketing and finding the solutions that fit your business best. If you’d like to learn more about how we can build a digital marketing strategy that fits your needs and budget, feel free to give us a call.

Writing a blog

5 Steps to Build a Better Business Blog

Stop making excuses or procrastinating; if you’ve thought about posting regular business blogs or you’d like to sharpen up your skills and increase your posting frequency, the time is NOW!

Why are blogs so important? They:

  • – Improve SEO so you’re easier to find
  • – Give businesses clout to position you as an industry expert
  • – Increase leads
  • – Open lines of communication with customers

Learn how to write a blog for your business with these 5 steps:

Blog Target Audience

Marketing communication is all about your consumer: Who are they, what do they like, what are their goals, hobbies, and interests? Find answers to these questions and formulate customer personas to more effectively connect with your audience.

A woman standing in a crowd waving.

This will help you choose topics, guide your writing style and find the best avenues to promote your content. You spend valuable time writing excellent content, so make sure it speaks to the leads you are trying to generate!

How to choose a blog topic

You have identified who you want to speak to, now it’s time to choose something to write about. Keep your business blog conversational and not entirely product- or service-oriented.

Potential clients want a solution to a problem – not to be bombarded with messages about your product or service. Keep your content focused on topics that offer useful information that adds value to the lives of your customers.

A person drawing black business graphics.

 

How to write a blog headline and intro

Content is surely king these days when it comes to a marketing strategy. We live in a Game of Thrones-esque world where there are more kings than you can count, with more and more popping up each day. In order to conquer the content world, you will need an epic headline and an intro that not only grabs attention but keeps the readers wanting more. Using numbers, keywords, and exciting verbiage is key – tell them why they must read this article!

How to organize a business blog

You’ve figured out the who and the what, now it’s time to write, organize, and condense your content so it is easy to read and retain.

Start with research. You’re well versed in the products and services your business offers, but it’s also helpful to research what others are doing and search for industry updates. This allows you to see how you stand out from the competition and helps you find new, unique, and interesting ways you could connect with potential clients or solve their problems.

A person typing on a laptop, the screen shows a WordPress blog.

After research, organize your information for optimal readability. Try breaking up the information into 3 to 5 sub-topics that would be most beneficial to the reader. This helps to keep your blog full of valuable information but organized in a way that the viewer can easily retain.

Remember to keep it short and sweet. Your blog doesn’t need to be a novel with every last feature and benefit, just something to answer potential clients’ questions and get them interested. A good starting point to go by is a maximum of 1,000 words but remember every blog goal is unique so do what works best for you.

Posting and promoting a blog

Once you’re done writing, the fun begins! It’s time to take a break, delete the blog from your brain for a bit (at least a few hours!), and focus on something else. Giving yourself a little time to refocus will allow you to have fresh eyes and reassess what you have written, reorganize, and edit better.

It is paramount that your content flows well and doesn’t contain grammar and spelling errors, which can reduce the blog’s credibility. Always allow an outside set of eyes with grammar and spelling strengths to take a second look and make necessary proofreading corrections.

Two people sharing an Apple laptop.

After that, you are ready to post and promote. Writing your blog is only half of the equation; in order for potential clients to see and benefit from your content, it is vital that you choose where the best place to reach your target demographic is, both online and through your active social media platforms.

We get it – building and writing a business blog can seem like an extremely daunting task when you aren’t one of the few who loves to write, but not having a blog can be a business marketing killer in this modern research- and consumer-driven market.

Let us check this task off your to-do list with our team of professional content creators, who love to write engaging and shareworthy content. Meet the team today by getting hold of us at 701.757.2000.

SEO tips for your website

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve your SEO

It’s essential. It’s complex. It can be overwhelming. A search engine optimization (SEO) strategy has a lot of moving parts, but the most important thing is to just get started.

Here are 5 things you can do right now on your website to improve your SEO.

 

Computer showing a loading bar

Speed It Up

Upload times are a big factor. When your website loads slowly, you miss out on conversions. Even having a one- or two-second delay can cost you a chunk of page views.

Remove or optimize large file size items to boost up your load time, and get your developer in the boat with some more in-depth changes.

 

Structure your URLs 

Give your URLs titles specific to the content on the page. Having a random series of characters does nothing for your SEO, isn’t memorable and looks less clean.

Rather than default to “www.yourwebsite.com/p=1&,” put yourself in an SEO state of mind and opt for something like “www.website.com/SEOtips”.

 

Image Name Game 

Make your photo titles, descriptions and alt tags reflect what content is presented on the page to help boost your results. Renaming the file name itself with keywords from your page will help here, too.

 

 

Create Great Content 

All of your SEO efforts are wasted if you don’t start and end with great content. Writing relevant, rich content that resonates with your audience is one of the most important pieces of SEO.

 

Update Often

Your website should be updated frequently to improve your results. It’s not a “set it and forget it” type of marketing tool. Sites like Wikipedia are always ranked so high because they are constantly updating their material. Take a page from their book and keep your content fresh with regular updates.

 

 

Although these 5 tips only begin to scratch the surface, they are things you can do now to get started on improving your SEO. SEO is a long-term commitment – be patient and persistent, and you will see results.

Ready to dive in deeper? There are resources available to you that offer a more in-depth look at your website, so you can discover SEO opportunities and implement them. Learn how our team of experts at Stray Media Group can help.

 

Traditional VS Digital Marketing

Marketing Smack Down: Traditional vs. Digital

When it comes to your marketing strategy, how do you know where your efforts and budget will be best spent? With countless options available in both the traditional and digital marketing worlds, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons of each to determine what will be best for your unique business and budget.

Traditional Marketing

What is it?

Traditional marketing’ – also referred to as ‘outbound marketing’ – is the oldest form of marketing. This method relies on one-way communication to share a message with an audience.

Examples include:

  • Print – print ads, magazines, newsletters, brochures
  • Direct mail – post cards, catalogs, fliers
  • Broadcast – radio, TV

Pros and Cons

Pros of traditional marketing: Traditional marketing allows you to reach a high number of people with your specific message or promotion. This can be an extremely efficient way to blanket an intended area or audience with what you have to offer.

This method of marketing also provides you with the opportunity to give potential customers something tangible to touch and feel, physically connecting them with your brand. When done well, these materials can give them a great impression of your brand that will have a long-lasting effect.

Cons of traditional marketing: Because it relies on one-way communication, this method of marketing is more direct and less personable, lacking the ability to establish a trusting relationship or an open dialogue with potential customers.

Generally speaking, traditional marketing tends to be more expensive overall than digital alternatives, and the platforms on which many of these materials are featured – such as newspaper and cable TV – have seen a steady decline over the years.

 Digital Marketing

What is it?

Digital marketing’ is the newer kid in town. This umbrella term encompasses all of your online marketing efforts and is heavily focused on fostering two-way, open communication with existing and prospective customers.

Examples include:

Pros and Cons

Pros of digital marketing: An online presence is a must in today’s world. Everything from the way people shop to how they work has shifted to the digital side. Digital marketing allows you to take advantage of this by connecting with people where they are. Plus, with digital you are able to better target your audiences and drill down to people’s likes, dislikes, online searches, demographics, location and more.

Digital marketing is an extremely cost-effective method because it does not rely on the production of tangible pieces, such as magazines or brochures. In addition to the cost to produce and promote digital content being substantially less than traditional methods, the results generated from your digital spending and efforts are more quantifiable.

Cons of digital marketing: The extremely rapid pace at which digital marketing methods and best practices evolve is enough to make one’s head spin; what was hot at 1 p.m. may not be so hot at 2 p.m. This fast-paced flow requires businesses and marketers to continuously and diligently research, test, and implement the latest and greatest to stay relevant.

Because digital marketing focuses on two-way communication, building trust and relationships with people, businesses have to be immensely attentive and cautious. Solid customer service has always been essential to the well-being of a brand, but with today’s digital world one disgruntled customer can publicly shake up your brand’s world in seconds flat. Authentic and helpful responses in a timely manner are essential.

 

Balancing the Two
Overall, the whole point of marketing is to connect with people at the right time and place. These two methods do exactly that, each in their own uniquely effective way.

An important and still relevant component to a well-rounded overall strategy, traditional marketing will always continue to serve an important purpose for businesses. The key to success here is to ensure you’re using these tried-and-true methods to the best of their ability – know what mediums your audience uses and craft your message appropriately for the platform on which it is shared.

On the flip side, it has become evident in recent years that your marketing strategy must include a digital/online presence to stay relevant and ensure that potential customers can easily find you. Meeting people where they are, helping them easily find you, and being a useful resource will prove beneficial to your business, regardless of your target market or industry.

 

Looking for some guidance as to what your marketing strategy should include? We recognize that every company has its own services, audience, and goals, and that it is essential to understand that what’s best for one business won’t always be right for another. Our team is here to help you craft the perfect plan of action. Get hold of us today to discuss how we can help you build and implement it.

 

SEO & SEM 101

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) have been, and still are, two BIG terms in the world of digital marketing. Knowing more about SEO and SEM, and integrating the two into your marketing strategy, will bring your business substantial results.

The purpose of both SEO and SEM is pretty simple; they help increase or “optimize” your online presence and bring more users to your website or social media page.

SEO is optimizing your website through key words to gain natural search engine results or “listings” on Google, Yahoo, etc. SEO promotes organic, or unpaid, search results. If SEO is done right, you will have a big competitive advantage in the digital space.

For instance, let’s say you are a women’s clothing retailer in Grand Forks, North Dakota. To boost your SEO results, you would sprinkle your website with key words like “fashion,” “Grand Forks,” and “luxurious clothing” because that is what a lot of people would search for to find you.

SEO is a part of SEM, which is paying search engines, like Google, to list you at the top of their search results when a user searches related words. For example, if you have a bakery in Fargo, North Dakota, you would pay Yahoo to list you at the top of their results when a user would search “bakeries in the Fargo area.”

With SEM, you will also use tools such as Google ADWords and other pay-per-click resources to help boost your standing in search results.

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SEO and SEM have many layers. It takes time, patience, and consistency to see big results. Whether you are a small mom-and-pop shop or a large online retailer, SEO and SEM are essential when you want to promote your business online.

Is this still a lot to take in? If you want to optimize your website but don’t know where to begin, SMG can lead you in the right direction with expert help in SEO and SEM.

 

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