Whether you're a digital veteran or an online newbie, every business nowadays needs to have some kind of digital strategy (if you don't have one yet, consult our article on why you need a digital strategy). Every year, it becomes increasingly clear that if your potential clients cannot find you online, you might as well not exist. How do you ensure that you can grow your business with the power of the web? With a good digital strategy that's adapted to the times, of course.
For our first post of 2014, we would like to give you some ideas on how to review, reassess and adapt your current digital strategy to a field that changes faster than most people can keep up with (that's why we're here!). If you don't have an online strategy yet, consider this a basic guide to building one for 2014.
Strategy basics: Look at your goals
A good digital strategy uses your business goals as a starting point. Without clear business goals, you can't really come up with good digital goals that support your business in the way you want it to go. Here are some examples of goals and how digital strategies can help.
Increase traffic to your brick-and-mortar business
If you have a business with an actual storefront, one of your goals probably is to increase the amount of people who walk into the door. You can do this in many ways: a more attractive storefront, street signs and traditional publicity. But the digital realm can also be useful to you. Just think of Yelp recommendations, UrbanSpoon reviews and TripAdvisor comments and how these influence whether people are going to visit your store or not. Ignoring these review sites can come at a big cost to your reputation, both online and offline.
A good digital strategy for this goal includes regular monitoring of review sites and answering promptly to comments and complaints. It also, of course, requires you to have a website of your own (get one if you don't) where people can look up more information about your business and your products or services. It may also involve keeping a good presence on social media as well as paid advertising on appropriate online channels.
Increase traffic to your website
If your business is exclusively or mostly online, then the equivalent of more traffic through your doors is more traffic to your website. Digital marketing provides many tools to increase traffic: paid advertisements, an informative and well-maintained blog, guest posting and a good presence on social media. Cutting through the noise of the web gets more and more complex every year, but there are tried and true ways to cut through the noise: good engagement with visitors, content with great value, an e-book or speaking at conferences.
Exploding your website traffic requires a perfect storm of social media engagement, interest from influencers and having a strong, original message. How are you going to achieve this in 2014?
Increase online sales
This goal is often related to increasing traffic to a website–but increased traffic doesn't always mean increased sales. Sometimes a website may have many visitors who give up because the buying process is too complex, or the calls to action are not clear, or your payment process does not seem secure enough. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is it easy to buy something on my website? Can someone buy a product with a few clicks or does it require a long process that might discourage new customers? Try buying one of your products and assess the process.
- Are visitors asked to take action early in the process? After they are on your website, can they clearly know what you have to sell? What are my calls to action and where do they appear in the buying process?
- Does my website seem trustworthy? Would someone who has no prior knowledge of the company or the product feel safe buying from me?
These are only a few ideas, but these should get you thinking about your sales process and how it might affect your overall performance.
Launch a new product or service
If your goal for 2014 is to launch a new product or service, the most important thing to do is to reach and attract the people who are most likely to buy it. In this case, building a buyer persona and developing an outreach strategy will help you find the right audience for your new product or service. Add to this the basic strategic points mentioned above, and you have everything you need to attract clients and sell your products, both online and off.
New online tactics: go where the people are
There are millions of websites on the web. How do yo get people to come to yours? Here are some tactics to adopt to get the most out of the new trends in digital marketing.
- Get a Twitter account and monitor it closely. People who contact businesses on Twitter expect a near-instant response. Never leave your Twitter followers hanging.
- Get on Pinterest. One in three American women are now on Pinterest. That's not counting men, or other countries. Getting on Pinterest is becoming as essential as a Facebook page.
- Change your Facebook approach. As Facebook changes, so must you. Facebook now rewards a high number of social reactions–likes, comments and shares. Make content that provoques reactions to take full advantage of these new parameters.
- Write more. Content is the uncontested driver of traffic. Writing more, and on various outlets (guest blogging, Medium, Huffington Post, etc.) in addition to your own blog will help bring more eyeballs to your website. If you don't have time to write more, we offer copywriting services.
- Send newsletters. Email newsletters are still the best way to contact customers. The strength of a business (especially online) is not evaluated by the number of visitors but by the number of email subscribers. If you don't have a newsletter yet, it's the right time to start one.
These are a few tactics to adopt for the coming year–things change fast and a new channel can appear, but these are basic techniques to help maximize the return on your digital efforts.
Online tracking: hunt for data
Tracking specialists would tell you that this is the age of data. Although we wouldn't necessarily want to live in a world that's all data all the time, it's important to keep an eye on your traffic and sales data to make the most of your digital strategy in 2014. Here are some basic tips to get you acquainted with data this year.
- Get to know Google Analytics. Google Analytics is your friend. It has tons of interesting data on your website traffic and visitors. If you're not sure where to start, consult Google's guide or contact us for some one-on-one training.
- Keep social media statistics. Most social media channels will provide some stats for their users, but there are more sophisticated tools out there that can help you track follows, likes, shares, tweets and pins.
- Set goals. It's not everything to know how to read data: you must decide what data is important and what numbers you want to see change. Setting specific traffic or data goals can help focus your online marketing efforts.
Once you know your way around the graphs and tables provided by Google and other online tracking tools, it's easy to get a glimpse of how your business is doing. You cannot effectively implement a digital strategy without keeping an eye on the numbers. If you're not too good with that stuff, we can also keep track of your numbers for you.
Is 2014 your best online year yet?
With these ideas and tips, you're well on your way to making 2014 your best online year yet. Focus your efforts towards specific goals and see your online marketing objectives met–and even surpassed! If you need help with any part of your strategy, don't hesitate to contact us for expert digital marketing advice.
What are your business goals for 2014? How do you integrate digital marketing in your general strategy to help reach these goals? Share your ideas, thoughts and tips in the comments!
Image by Sean MacEntee
The great thing about digital marketing is that everything is available at the touch of a mouse, even the help for doing it well. There are many resources online that can help you with your digital marketing. I have listed a few below that I believe are of great quality and can help your business conduct effective digital marketing whether it be creating content or understanding and using your analytics.
Digital marketing resources:
Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik: An excellent analytics blog written by Avinash Kaushik who is an author, digital marketer, Google Evangelist, and a Co-founder of Market Motive.
Google Webmaster Tools: This site provided by Google will help you to optimize your website so that is easily searchable when using the Google search engine.
Smart Insights: Smart Insights is a great resource for when you’re ready to take action. They “share actionable marketing advice to help develop your business and personal marketing skills.”There are free downloads available on their website that take you through step by step processes to help obtain your digital marketing goals.
Convince and Convert by Jay Baer: They call themselves “social and content accelerators”. This blog is a great support tool for social media and creating great content for your own company. Convince and Convert is ranked as the world’s #1 content marketing resource. Jay Baer, the president of Convince and Convert has been involved in digital marketing since 1994 and was named one of America’s top social media consultants by Fast Company magazine.
I hope you find these resources as helpful as I do!
Image attribution: DigitalRalph
In 2007, Avinash Kaushik wrote the definition for digital analytics as:
“Digital analytics is the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your business and the competition to drive a continual improvement of the online experience that your customers and potential customers have which translates to your desired outcomes (both online and offline).”
The words Avinash Kaushik’s wrote in 2007 ring true today, in 2019, just as they did in 2007. Despite the many changes that have occurred in the digital marketing world since then, the basic concepts behind digital analyses are still applicable.
The digital analysis basics here are: the customer is at the center of the marketing concept and, a customer can start their purchase journey at any point along their decision path. Also, a marketer’s job is to anticipate where customers will appear and what messages they need to hear.
Google Analytics is integral to achieving the last point mentioned above. It is how digital marketing experts learn what customers are saying and how they are behaving.
Google Analytics is used to collect, analyze, and interpret behavioral data. The derived interpretations are then used to make business decisions regarding what should be done online to understand and connect with customers.
Measure Data with Google Analytics
Businesses need to be looking at both quantitative and qualitative digital data in 2019. This is done by using sophisticated analytical tools, like Google Analytics. Businesses also need to be measuring the outcomes determined with that data and implementing a continuous improvement process.
This may sound like a lot of work, because, well…it is! But, now that the internet has become the first point of contact for all customers (B2C or B2B), understanding your customer’s online behaviors has become critical.
How so? Well, consider the fact that 87% of Canadians made online purchases in 2018. What that statistic means is: almost everyone in Canada is shopping online. Therefore, understanding and utilizing generated data regarding your website is critical for businesses to be successful.
Fortunately, Google Analytics can assist with that. The software tool improves your chances of success by collecting data about your customers from all of your online platforms: websites, mobile applications, and social media. This information makes it plain to see where things are going right, going poorly, and, where adjustments are needed.
Google Analytics for Continuous Improvement
In the Google Analytics course, it concludes that a cyclical approach to improving your digital marketing strategy is very useful. The steps for this approach are: measurement, reporting, analysis, testing, repeat.
If your business objectives are solid, the rest should be a breeze (so to speak). You want to be consistently reviewing your measurements and analyzing whether they are in line with achieving the goals you set.
Then, you want to test those metrics to see what to do next. Finally, you should repeat the process and implement any changes that need doing.
Analytics is the Key to Your Bottom-Line
No matter what analytics system you are using, the bottom line is that you should be using one. Your business needs to have an online presence, and you need to have a way of tracking your efforts.
Clearly define your business objectives, then use Google Analytics to test those objectives. Use the digital analytical data to determine if your business’ aim is in line with your customer’s wants and needs. As the picture of customers needs unfolds, adjust your objectives accordingly, and test again.
Learn more about how Google Analytics can benefit your business; contact us for a free 14 point digital marketing assessment.
Stikky Media is looking for a front-end web developer with tag management and analytics experience to join our fast-growing team.The ideal candidate is able to use their web development skills and their familiarity with digital marketing to perform website technical and SEO audits and implement the recommendations.
- Audit developed websites for correct code implementation and advise clients and/or developers on improvements.
- Define user behavior tracking systems and methodologies.
- Coordinate tags, tracking parameter implementations.
- Translate business user needs into technical requirements for implementation.
- Develop and enforce implementation standards and frameworks for other front-end web developers to follow.
- Use and advocate the use of web standards and best practices in tagging methods.
- Excellent understanding of website/internet technologies
- Implementation of digital analytics and marketing technology solutions
- Able to work within a team with diverse skill sets
- Good communication skills
- Solid analytical skills
Google is continually keeping us on our toes, and not just in the arena of digital analytics and IoT. Entertaining us with their daily doodles and hiding “easter eggs” is part of the fun-side of Google that we all enjoy. Here are some of Stikky Media’s favorite tricks we found in Google’s magic hat.
Do a Barrel Roll.
One of the first “easter eggs” released by Google, “do a barrel roll” is a popular Google search trick released in 2011 and, is still active today.
To experience an authentic Google-style barrell roll, type the words “do a barrel roll” into Google’s search engine. Hit enter and watch your screen do a 360-degree turn!
With a clever click of an icon in Google search, Marvel comics’ super-villain Thanos can release the power of the Infinity Gauntlet directly on your screen!
To feel the power of the Infinity Gauntlet:
- First, type the name Thanos into the Google search query and hit enter.
- Second, click on the Infinity Gauntlet icon located on the right-hand side of the screen.
Watch as the words mystically disappear from your screen as the magical gauntlet’s powers “whoosh” about. The trick will finish in about 30 seconds. To replace the missing text, simply click on the Infinity Gauntlet icon a second time; the search page will magicaly return to normal.
Green Hill Zone
Enter the words “Green Hill Zone”, aka the first level of the iconic 1991 video game Sonic, into Google for a fun throwback to the classic Sega game.
This Google trick is similar to Thanos, as the icon of the game, a blue hedgehog, is responsive when clicked on. Click on the Sonic the Hedgehog icon to hear the ear-splitting tone made legendary in the early ’90s. Keep the fun going by clicking the icon a total of 25 times to see Sonic become powered up.
Roll a Dice
Google the phrase “roll a dice” into the search engine for a virtual dice throwing experience. You can choose from several different die styles and combinations. Click on the blue “roll” button to initiate the dice rolling.
An easy way to play any number of dice related games on the fly!
Type in the word “askew” into your Google search bar and watch your screen shift slightly down and to the right, essentially, going askew itself.
This one’s a Google oldie, but still a goodie. 🙂
A quick entry of the words “Pac-Man” and you’ll be playing the classic arcade game in seconds.
Enjoy the rush of being chased by pastel-colored ghosts, without running out of quarters!
Want to see Google colored circles jerkily move there way down your page while you try to click on them? Then search the words “Zerg Rush” for a fun and quick challenge.
Red and yellow circles will descend down your screen, erasing all the text, then migrate back up to form 2 uppercase“G”’s.
This Google easter egg pays tribute to another classic video game. This time, it’s the 1998 strategic game Starcraft.
Google has some pretty amazing tricks up their sleeve, some are for fun, but many are extremely useful too. Here are a few perks from Google, for anyone to use, just by making simple queries:
If you need quick access to do some number crunching, say, when it’s time to split a bill, double-check receipt charges, or figure out tip amount, Google is there to help!
Enter “calculator” into your Google platform and a handy-dandy calculator will pop up.
Language barriers can be broken down with Google’s translator services. A wonderful tool to use when traveling or, in other language-restrictive situations. Google translator, like almost all things Google, is quick, easy-to-use, and powerful.
Enter your UPS, USPS, or FedEx tracking number into Google for a quick update on your package’s location. How handy is that?
We love having fun with today’s tech trends! Want more relevant info and fun tech tips? Check out our blog!
Stikky Media is looking for an experienced Online Marketing Manager to join our growing team. The ideal candidate possesses exceptional analytical, technical and communication skills to successfully develop and implement digital marketing strategies that drive business results for our clients.
- Work with the Stikky Media team to create and lead digital marketing campaigns, including SEO/SEM, newsletter and social media campaigns.
- Build strong client relationships
- Measure and report performance of all digital marketing campaigns, and assess against goals (ROI and KPIs).
- Stay up-to-date with emerging technologies and provide recommendations for adoption where appropriate.
Requirements / Qualifications
- Experience with on-page and off-page SEO
- Solid knowledge of website analytics tools such as Google Analytics
- Experience with A/B and multivariate experiments
- Experience identifying target audiences and creating appropriate digital campaigns that engage, inform, and motivate to drive conversions
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Establish best practices in digital marketing
- Strong analytical and project management skills
Nice to have: Experience in setting up and optimizing Google Ads, Bing Ads and web coding
Are you considering a subscription to a premium SEO software platform? Comparing Moz vs SEMRush?
In this blog post, we provide an overview of SEO strategy and review the tools Moz Pro and SEMrush Pro can offer to deliver it.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of strategies that can help qualified customers find your website… by helping their search engines find you first. Search engines retrieve information on behalf of people, but their abilities and their limitations are different. SEO can help you understand and respond to the particular ways that search engines perceive your website, as they crawl your pages, extract important pieces of the code, and add them to a massive index for future reference.
SEO strategy has been demonstrated to significantly improve ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). Top positions on SERPs will deliver more traffic to your website and lend prestige to your business. SEO is available to improve your website’s ranking, so why not take full advantage? (more…)
As a digital marketer, you analyze a variety of email metrics on a regular basis. Some of these metrics include:
Open rate. This is the percent of recipients that opened your email campaign. Say you sent a welcome email to 200 new subscribers and 50 of them opened it. That means your email’s open rate is 25%, which is a good metric for a majority of industries.
Click-through rate (CTR). This is the percent of recipients that clicked on any link or linked image within your email. For example, you sent out an email with a linked image to your list of 1,500 subscribers and 150 of them clicked on the link. Your email would then have a 10% CTR.
Unsubscribe rate. This is the percent of recipients that clicked on the unsubscribe link in your email after receiving and opening it.
These are all basic metrics that every marketer includes in their email analytics toolbox. But what about an email metric that plenty of marketers might not measure, let alone even know about – like click-to-open rate?
In our practical guide, we’ll explain what this key metric is, what’s a good click-to-open rate and why understanding CTOR is is important to the success of your next email marketing campaign.
It’s that time of year again – spring is just around the corner and it’s time to open the windows and start spring cleaning. Just as “less is more” applies to spring cleaning old household item you no longer want or need, it’s also applicable to blog content on your website. In this blog we’ll walk through the benefits of “going evergreen” and how to identify content worth updating to keep your blog fresh and relevant.
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Here at Stikky Media we have a great relationship with the Google Ads team, and one of the perks is that we get calls from the team whenever new features are rolled out. We got one such call when Google AdWords switched over to Google Ads, and as well as getting the rundown on the new Google Ads experience we also received a few great tips that we thought you’d want to know about. Keep in mind a couple of these tips are only available in the new Google Ads interface, so before you read on make sure you’ve switched to the new Google Ads Experience, and if you’re not sure click that link to learn how to tell the difference between the two.
And the top four Google Ads optimization tips for 2018 are (drumroll please):
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As you know, the digital marketing world is a big, fast-moving place. It seems that every channel evolves every day. So one of the biggest parts of any digital marketer’s job is to keep up with headlines in their area.
At North Studio, a number of people work on SEO, but it is mostly my specialized area of knowledge, so it’s my job to keep up with trends, best practices and updates by Google.
Recently, Google has released major updates to their antispam algorithms. However, the biggest headline was the update to the Penguin algorithm.
Mastering the art of the call to action is essential to inbound marketing success. After all, you want visitors to click on your gated content downloads or to try your product or service. But getting the copy just right can be quite a challenge–I must admit I’ve been grappling with finding the right copy for some of our own calls to action
So I’ve been looking around at what experts are saying about the best landing page call to action techniques and best practices to help me craft better buttons and graphics for us and our clients. Here are 10 insights I gleaned from my readings all across the web. (more…)
After a summer full of sun, fun and maybe summer work for some students, it’s now time to head back to the classroom and hit the books. There’s little I personally like more than the back-to-school time of year, despite the fact that I’m no longer a student. I love the warm sweaters, new books, changing leaves and especially: learning new things.
I would like to share some of my knowledge and wisdom for business and marketing students beginning their degree or returning for another year.
You will learn lots of information and skills in university, but, if you don’t master these 5 basic skills, you will likely have a hard time succeeding in today’s fast-paced marketing world.
Writing is the most essential and most useful skill you will ever develop as a marketing professional. Get your writing skills in order.
The ability to communicate using the written word has many, many purposes. Purposes that go far beyond your boss being able to understand your emails. Good writing, as it turns out, is a plain, good, life skill.
According to research, those who write well have a better chance of getting promoted in their chosen profession. Why? Because writing well means having the ability to communicate well.
Communicating well is essential to becoming successful at marketing.
In marketing, writing well will be beneficial to you as you will probably be asked to write blog posts, prepare presentations, and build proposals or reports. Without a well-developed foundation in writing, completing those common tasks required in the field of marketing could be difficult.
2. Basic Web Design
Being able to manage a website is another essential skill for future marketers. Although people in the marketing team are seldom asked to build websites from scratch, it’s useful if you know the following basic web design skills:
- Format and update content.
- Correct small errors.
- Manage plugins in your CMS (Content Management System).
A little ability with HTML and CSS can give you that little extra boost you need to get hired, too, so take that web design course if it fits in your schedule.
3. Social Media Management
Because it’s still considered recent, social media is not yet taught in most business schools though some programs are emerging. Whether you’re looking for a social media degree, certificate, or even an online refresher from a site like Udemy, there are plenty of opportunities to level up your skills. The ability to manage a social media stream and use it as a communications/PR/marketing/customer service tool is increasingly important.
And if nothing else, your personal Twitter account counts as “social media management”. Showing you can maintain a consistent personal brand voice and produce content that engages followers is what matters for employers.
Tomorrow’s marketer is as much at ease with data manipulation as he or she is with creating visuals for a campaign. Marketing initiatives are now so tied to analytics data that it’s hard to do one without the other.
I know, I know, not everyone’s a numbers person (I’m the first one to admit that), but being able to manage both the creative and the qualitative sides of a marketing campaign is going to be essential as everything moves towards the digital space–even TV ads.
It can be a little depressing to be a student today looking at job numbers: fewer and fewer students end up with full-time, permanent jobs when they graduate.
But those who do usually have something special: they spent some time learning how to network effectively and used these skills to make their way into a job. Networking is one of the most fundamental soft skills you need to learn for success in the business world, and the earlier you do so the better.
Networking can be done in person, of course, but there’s also plenty of ways to do it online too.
Ready for the new school year?
With a focus on the 5 essential soft skills (as well as your grades, of course), you have a better chance of succeeding in the marketing world!
Any digital marketer worthy of his or her name will tell you that email is still the best and most reliable way to connect with your customers. What’s better than getting directly into their computers and phones?
Guy Steeves of Constant Contact presented a useful talk about e-newsletter marketing, and why it’s still the “sexiest new social media app” (direct quote) around. Here are the highlights of his presentation. (more…)