5 Tips for Creating a Brand Identity with Your Logo Design

Old Signs featuring logos

Why is Creating a Brand Identity with Your Logo Design Important?

No matter the scale of your business or the target audience you work with, branding plays a pivotal role in your ongoing success. According to research, consistent brand identity across all mediums can raise your overall revenue up to 23%.

While this may seem like an insignificant number at first glance, it practically represents a quarter of your potential customer base. It’s also worth pointing out that 70% of company managers agree that building an audience takes precedent over direct, short-term sales gain.

With that in mind, the first and most obvious step in creating a brand identity is through your company’s logo design. But how do you design a logo that will be timeless and provide just enough information for people to visit your ecommerce site or retail store on instinct? Let’s find out through several important, tried and tested logo design tips.

1. Create a Mission Statements and Goals

It’s important to consider your company’s reason for existing in the first place before the pen touches the proverbial paper. Don’t think about logo design before you as CEO and your board of managers are clear on what the goal and purpose of your company is. A good example of very clean and efficient branding through logo design can be found with McDonald’s.

Make sure that your company’s mission statements, goals and internal culture resonate with the logo design you are about to create. If all you do is create a generic graphic with your name on it, your company will be all but forgotten shortly after.

McDonald's logo

2. Consider the Application

Your logo’s application in real life is a very important factor to consider going forward. For example, if you plan on printing your logo on business correspondences, cards, pens and similar advertisement items, your logo can’t be overly complicated.

Similarly, if your logo will appear in dedicated mobile applications, web platforms and interactive digital content, elements such as gradients, shadows and minuscule patterns are a no-go. You need to double-down on the details and complexity of your logo design in order to communicate the message behind your brand in a clear and direct manner.

logo design ad

3. Use a Limited Color Palette

It’s never a good idea to go all-out with colors in your logo design. A limited color palette that corresponds with your industry, products and target audience is a great way to appear professional and stable as a brand to your company.

However, pinpointing the right color combination for your brand isn’t as easy as it sounds. Professional designers often advise to limit your choice to three or less colors in order to best communicate your intents and branding to the general market. An example of this practice can be found in numerous conglomerate companies but for the sake of argument, let’s take a look at Pepsi.

Pepsi has a limited color palette which stood the test of time despite their numerous logo redesign attempts. These colors have become synonymous with their brand and people often identify blue-red-and-white refrigerators on the street with Pepsi. In order to build this type of brand recognition, make sure that your colors are limited in number and complementary to one another.

Pepsi logo

4. Decide on Logo, Type or Logotype

Depending on how knowledgeable you are about graphic design as a whole, you may or may not know about logos and logotypes. Your brand’s logo design doesn’t have to have the entire company name on it at all. Similarly, you don’t have to rely on illustrations, visual elements or shapes of any kind. Instead, you can write your brand name in a font of your choice, add a small change in the lettering and call it a day.

If you settle for logotype and sell children’s toys and baby equipment, you may not find success on the market. The same goes for legal firms, insurance companies and research companies that choose colorful, illustrative logos which may not seem as serious and professional as they might think. Make sure that your choice between logo and logotype makes sense within your niche.

12 examples of logos

5. Test Before Committing

Last but not least, make sure that you test the waters with your logo design before you commit to it fully. While a logo may seem perfectly adequate and representative to you and your internal staff, it might not do so well in the open market.

Test your logo design in a controlled environment with groups of volunteers, NDAs signed and all. This will help you avoid a massive failure in the public eye if your branding doesn’t represent the industry in the best light possible.

Testing your logo design won’t cost a lot (if anything at all) but it will save you plenty of revenue in the off chance that you have to pull back from the market and rebrand your company. If push comes to shove, you can always find solace in public design competitions in the online market and settle for the one that suits your image.

In Summation – What you need to know about logo design

As you can see from the tips we’ve listed above, logo design is a process that requires careful planning and brainstorming. Don’t settle for mediocrity and look for ways to be original and different from your industry’s competition. Once you reach the point where people take inspiration from your brand’s design rather than the other way around, you will have succeeded in creating a logo design that will carry your company through the years.

This post is a guest blog. Bridgette Hernandez is a content editor at SupremeDissertations and HotEssayService. She has a Master’s degree in Anthropology and is getting her MBA degree from Golden Gate University.

How to Keep Evergreen Blog Content Fresh & Relevant

How to Keep Your Content Fresh

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.

What are the benefits of evergreen content?

Evergreen is defined as “retaining freshness or interest; universally and continually relevant.” When applied to blog content this means simply taking a piece of content that you’ve created, refreshing it with the latest information relevant to your industry and the topic, then re-posting it. There are a variety of benefits for updating your blog content.

No SEO penalty

First, there’s no SEO penalty. I’ve had some clients protest that taking “down” their three year old content will give them a rankings penalty. While it’s true Google does love long-standing websites, Google has the same love for content that’s original and fresh. By updating your existing blog content – but not creating a new page or modifying the original blog’s URL – you can transfer the ‘juice’ or page authority the original blog earned over time while getting the benefits of offering fresh content and relevant keywords. Win-win!

Increases credibility

Secondly, you have more authority in your industry if you’re using the latest terms. In digital marketing, terminology change at a blistering rate. If you’re still referring to something by an outdated term it was called 5 years ago you’re not viewed as having the same credibility as someone who’s using more up-to-date terminology. More credibility builds trust which can lead to revenue.

Focuses on what customers care about

In any given industry there are a certain number of core pain points and solutions. By re-visiting an older blog that performed well and updating you’re focusing on what your prospects and customers care about. being more efficient with your existing content.

Of course, if you have to update the URL, be sure to setup a 301 beforehand to make sure readers go to the correct blog (we can assist with this).

How do you identify evergreen content?

When identifying ideal content to make evergreen, re-read the blog then ask yourself a few basic questions to see if it passes the fresh test. Is it still relevant to my customers and industry? Was it a popular blog at one time? Are the terms and keywords still used by customers today? Can it be easily updated without changing the URL?

Here are 4 time saving tips to help you decide which content to update and which to leave alone. 

Avoid time-sensitive topics

For example, take care not to evergreen your time-sensitive content. Don’t bother updating a blog about that conference you attended 3 years ago or the major industry news that broke 2 years ago. While blogging in support of conference attendance or breaking news is part of a sound content marketing strategy, they are no longer fresh or relevant to your audience.

Choose content that your readers loved

Think of the most influential content you’ve made. A quick way to remember what resonated the most is to check Google Analytics on your prior blogs and short list topics that were well-received, shared often and read a lot over time. Remember that blog post you made about when that important regulation changed? What’s stopping you from going back and covering how that’s impacted your industry? You can always link to the older breaking new blog as a reference, but it’s not worth updating the original content as it’s no longer breaking news.

Update your terminology and search terms

In many industries, buzzwords and keywords change a lot. The keywords your old posts were optimized for could be outdated terms that aren’t being searched anymore. For example, in June 2018 Google’s paid search platform Adwords was refreshed and re-branded as Google Ads. The best performing search terms and meaning behind a lot of our own posts focused around pay per click marketing have changed. To stay relevant, we are running our own spring cleaning initiative to review old posts and update keywords as necessary.

Think ‘how-to’

Other content topics to consider are any how-to blogs you’ve written in the past. Your customers are always interested in learning how to do something whether it’s learning how to maximize their purchase or how to use it in conjunction with something else.  Update your how-to to the latest and greatest version and readers will find value from your post. For example, we wrote a how-to for Google Ads to help our readers navigate their way around the new interface. Readers always need to get started or get better at things!

Need some helpful guidance around content marketing?

If you’ve read all this and are feeling a little overwhelmed around how to keep evergreen blog content fresh, don’t worry, we can help. Email me to set up a conversation about what state your site’s content is in, and we”ll share how we could help.

Ethan Dennett is an Account Manager at Stikky Media. Contact him at ethan[at]stikkymedia.com

Why backlinks are more relevant than ever in 2019

why backlinks are more relevant than ever in 2019

It has been confirmed by Google that quality content and links are two of the three most important factors for ranking SEO. While quality content is vital to success in organic search, it’s only half the battle. In this blog we’ll walk you through the other half of your strategy – off page SEO, the foundation of which are quality backlinks. We’ll explain back links, how to get them, what a healthy link profile looks like and walk through some of many reasons backlinks are more relevant than ever in 2019.

Quality content and backlinks are a match made in SEO heaven

So, you have finally decided to create great searchable content that answer the user’s questions. A couple more posts here and there and a dash of on-page search engine optimization for good measure. You took our advice and have created a blog that directly ties in with your eCommerce store. It’s beginning to pay dividends as you start to rank for profitable search terms and see quality traffic increase. Have I done enough, you ask? Well, you’re on the right track but content alone doesn’t mean your site is going to consistently rank well. In fact, if you look across your industry by simply googling your products or services, you’ll find a lot of sites like yours ranked above you that also have those same qualities. What are they doing differently? They’ve got quality back links and more domain authority. Keep reading for tips on how to increase in both areas.

What are backlinks? Why are backlinks more relevant than ever in 2019?

Backlinks, also known as inbound or external links, are HTML hyperlinks that point to a specific web address or URI. These interconnect different sites and are basically considered as the currency of the internet. They act as reputation similar to the number of followers you have on Instagram and Facebook and subscribers on YouTube. And because we all thrive through our reputation, backlinks are more relevant than ever in 2019!

Backlinks tell Google how important your ecommerce site is and that it should rank it higher than other similar sites. It really is a measure of popularity and authority. Like if you go on a trip to a different city, and having asked multiple completely unrelated strangers where the best breakfast place in town is. They all answer Mama Bear’s down at the Boulevard. Then it is pretty likely you would choose that over the Uncle Bob’s place you passed by a block ago. That is what links do for SEO and that has been true ever since Google’s search engine became available.

Backlinking is one of the legitimate ways of increasing your Site’s domain authority (DA). By getting backlinks from sites with already high DA, you are essentially telling Google “this site is legit and you should rank it better.” Think of it as getting a restaurant recommendation from a professional chef as opposed to a stoner you met on the subway. Who are you more likely to believe?

Consequently, for the same reasons as above, backlinks will also increase the page authority (PA) of the exact page being linked to. Every time a backlink is made to a specific page on your site, that page will increase in authority and as more and more pages gain authority, your domain will also increase in authority. DA is basically an aggregate of all your PAs. If you just created a new page on your site or domain, that page will have a PA of 1 even though your domain could have a DA of 80. That page simply hasn’t been ranked yet because there are no external links linking back to it. You can help increase the rank on that page by linking to it from pages with higher authority from your own domain.

We call linking within your own domain internal linking and it works in the same way as backlinks. They can be used to make a logical map on how your website should be navigated and will help the web crawlers, as well as the visitors, follow the trail you have set within your own domain. If you already have a page that is ranked high due to backlinks, what you can do is add internal links towards pages that need it. You do this naturally, of course, and should not force it. Avoid the perception that Google thinks you are gaming the system and make sure any internal links fit within the natural ebb and flow of a page’s content.

How to create a healthy link profile

Google and other search engines are actually very smart. You cannot just spam your link anywhere and everywhere. This will not increase your score, in fact you get penalized for it. Once upon a time, this was the case. You might have seen comments on YouTube or older blogs that are just links to other sites. These are remnants of that bygone era where link quantity mattered over link quality.

Google will penalize your domain if the links to it are bad. That is why it is very important to create a healthy link profile. Your profile is the overall assessment of the total inbound links pointing to your site. It isn’t just the quantity of links that are considered, in fact it all depends on the quality and relevance. Are they spammy, meaning a lot of links coming from a single source? Or are they diverse, meaning many links coming from different sites relevant to your niche? Did you pay for them or earn them? The answer to these questions and more will help contribute to the overall health of your backlink profile.

If the search engine sees that you are spammy with your backlinks or there are a lot of them coming from sites with low domain authority, then your own DA could take a hit, otherwise those backlinks will not really count. That is why it is very healthy to keep track of your backlinks and try to remove those spammy backlinks using Google’s Disavow Link Tools. Disavow those links that are hurting your site!

Qualities of a healthy link profile

  • Links are earned – the links we want are organically acquired links. We get them because other people genuinely like your content and are therefore linking to it to either prove a point or simply to point their readers and followers to additional quality content related to the topic. So if you can provide great content, people will naturally link to it.
  • Links from sites with similar topics – links coming from similar websites or the same niche are seen as healthier. It means engagement in the community and it ties in nicely with the one above, that they are earned. It will be seen as weird if your ecommerce store that sells and blogs about apparel gets multiple mentions from a gardening blog.
  • Links that send qualified traffic – as we have established, Google’s algorithm is quite smart. It has one sole purpose, and that is to give users what they are looking for. Naturally, it will be watching out for black hat methods that are trying to play the system. One of these black hat methods involve bots and zombie computers that behave very “nonuser-like.” Those links will be rendered useless or might even penalize your own DA.

We have only just scratched the surface of link building for the purpose of increasing DA and PA, and the ultimate goal of increasing traffic and revenue. There is so much to discuss and so many legitimate ways of getting high quality backlinks. There are also a lot of tools out there, free or otherwise, that could help with checking the overall link profile health of your site. Request our free Ultimate SEO Guide to learn more about some of these great tools. Of course, you could get this and more as part of our SEO services. Contact us and our experts are happy to help you out.

4 Reasons your eCommerce Store Must Have a Blog

4 reaons why your ecommerce site must have a blog - Stikky MediaThe e-commerce space is getting more competitive every year and even obscure niches are now seeing some degree of saturation as entrepreneurs try to enter untapped markets. Therefore, it has become more important to differentiate yourself from the thousands of shopify stores and other competitors. One of the best ways to differentiate is by maintaining a blog with consistently high quality content. In this blog we’ll cover 4 reasons your e-commerce store should have a blog.

Blogging can be very beneficial to an eCommerce site, especially one that caters to a particular niche. The blog can cover a lot of ground within that niche and the blog topics would tie in nicely with what you are selling. You get the added benefit of SEO through more content to rank, as blogging is a very powerful way to generate site traffic, then get more revenue as a result.

Facebook ads and Google Ads PPC campaigns might help with traffic, but they can be expensive to maintain. They also take a major percentage of your budget. When people are on Facebook, they are not always there to go shopping. So if they are hit with ads for a product that they are not really looking for, it can be annoying for them and it might even give a bad impression of your brand. Blogging, however, is an easy and free way to generate engagement and put your brand out there. And if you serve ads for a blog topic with genuinely good content, that would be more welcome compared to trying to shove a product down the user’s throats.

4 reasons your e-commerce store should have a blog

SEO perks

It has been proven that the way a lot of people use google is by asking questions. That is the reason why you have sites dedicated to answering questions like Quora and Answers.com. Often people would search how to do something before buying anything related to the topic. If your blog can provide those answers well and then point the users in the correct direction to buy the products they need, then you would have given value to your customers. Blogs are also very easy to link and share as opposed to landing pages or product pages. Blogs can generate organic and natural links especially if the content is of high quality. By generating more traffic, you are increasing the odds of having your leads convert into paying customers.

Customer evangelism

As proud as we are of our SEO and PPC digital marketing services, word of mouth is still considered as a very strong marketing strategy. By giving your customers exactly what they want and need from a trusted source, you are on your way to getting life-long customers who believe in your store and your products. These customers are likely recommend your store to people they know and maybe even share their good experience on social media. This is especially true if you provide a solution to a problem that they know others are having as well.

Messaging Freshness

You can only promote your products so much in advertisements before they become stale and people really just ignore them because due to overexposure. By promoting your blog instead, you will be bringing fresh flavor to your customers especially if the post is of a very relevant and timely subject. This can work differently depending on the niche of your store, but the basic premise still holds.

Blogs represent a compelling opportunity to tell your brand’s storyBlogging - tell your story | Stikky Media Blog

There is only so much you can say in your about page. A blog is more natural when it comes to storytelling. You want your customers to empathize with your brand, to feel a connection with it because it helps to define them. It can serve as a medium to share your successes, your failures and eventual triumphs, and it will make the customer feel as if they are part of the ride.

Blogs go beyond your products – explore the how, why, where, when your customers use your products

As an example, say you are in the urban garden niche. You and a competitor both have similar products, and your e-commerce sites are both well optimized with good product descriptions, call to actions, and nice pictures to round it off. But both sites have no blogs yet. You can set your store apart by imparting practical knowledge to your customers by offering a how-to blog utilizing the products you are selling. You can address the reasons why customers would need to purchase your products and how they can get the most of it.

Perhaps offer a comparison between models and how each differ based on its area of specialization with specific examples. Get feedback from customers via the comments on your post and develop a mailing list keeping customers and prospects informed of your latest updates and product releases. By having a blog, your e-commerce customers will be engaged even more than your competition because you’re adding value to their experience doing business with your firm. In addition to the additional traffic you’ll receive due to ranking blogs organically through well-executed SEO, your customers will get more out of their purchase. This increases the likelihood they’ll stay loyal and make repeat purchases, leading to additional revenue, testimonials and a stronger brand in your niche.

Blogs can elevate your firm from simply an option to the de facto choice in your niche

Your blog is your way of proving to your customers that you are an expert in your industry, that you know what you are doing and what’s best, and that you stand behind the quality of your products and services. This is the same reason why Stikky Media is maintaining this high-quality blog – because we want you to know who we are, what we’ve done in the past and what we can do in the future. This is how we continue to provide our clients with the greatest possible value.

If you want to develop a rock solid content strategy, get an audit of your existing strategy or want to explore our other services like search engine optimization or pay-per-click advertising, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Even if you’re not ready now, we’d encourage you to keep in touch on social media. Our expert team is at your service, ready to provide great content and value.

How reducing bounce rate yields more eCommerce revenue

How reducing bounce rate yields more eCommerce revenue

What is a Bounce Rate? Why Should You Care? In this blog we will walk through bounce rates with a focus on optimizing for conversions. You’ll learn the questions that will help you better understand why people leave your site quickly as well as the powerful business benefits of reducing your bounce rate.

Google Analytics defines bounce rate as the percentage of single-page visits where the person left the site without doing any other interaction. It is a measure of the percentage of people who land on your website and fail to do anything else such as click on a menu item, or follow any internal links leading to other pages on your site. What we can get from this is that the visitor was not interested because they either did not find what they were looking for, there were technical issues like error messages and slow loading of the page, or that the site is not user-friendly or professional-looking. All of these things can be a contributor to bounce rate being high. A high bounce rate for an eCommerce site means that you get fewer conversions.

Why did the visitor leave so quickly?

But checking if a visitor came and went without doing interaction is a very simplistic way of looking at this metric, this could only be the tip of the iceberg. Yes, the person did visit only one page. Yes, that person left without doing anything else. This are all true, but there are also other factors that we need to be aware of in order to know why the visitor bounced. Objectively looking at the bounce rate and trying to randomly fix the site from top to bottom is like giving your car a hot new paint job because it does not start. You could be wasting your effort if you do not know what exactly to fix.

Consider these questions:

  • What was the visitor’s intent?

The intent is very important as it lets us know why the person came to visit. In our case, it could be to check a product out, and not necessarily buy it. The common online shopper will do a lot of browsing before committing themselves into buying a product especially if that product costs an arm and a leg. In such cases the shopper would compare between different competing products to see which one is better quality-wise or the better deal. In cases where you are seeing a high bounce rate in a specific product page, the visitor could just be looking or didn’t find your offer compelling enough. If that potential customer has previously visited the site and left their email address, we can then run a follow up email campaign offering discounts, free shipping, or even freebies to make them return and make a purchase. As you can see, there are still opportunities to convert bounces into sales. But for unique first-time visitors that bounce, we can take that as a learning opportunity. And with proper information regarding the source of the visitors, we can formulate targeted solutions.

  • What source did the visitor come from?

The source of the traffic also has an impact to our bounce rate. All traffic actually contributes to increasing or lowering the bounce rate for your site. If the visitor engages with the site, then that will lower the bounce rate, but if the visitor left without doing anything else, then that increases the bounce rate. This knowledge can help you learn more about your site optimizations and marketing campaigns. For example, if you did a Facebook PPC campaign to funnel visitors to a specific page and you see a high bounce rate, then the obvious conclusions would be that the PPC is targeting the wrong audience, or that the page just doesn’t engage them.

  • What sort of page did the visitor land on?

We have discussed that the bounce rate is a bit iffy when it comes to telling the whole story and it is up to us to decipher why the bounce rate is what it is. Knowing the function of a page where we are sending traffic to makes a big difference in our understanding of the increase or decrease in bounce rate. Take a blog for example, when a visitor arrives on the page, the intent is to read the blog and in most cases the visitor will navigate away or close the tab outright. This is the definition of a bounce; the user didn’t do anything other than read the blog. But this is not a bad thing because that is the nature of that page, sure it would have been better if the visitor read some other topics, but at the end of it the page served its purpose so an increase in bounce rate here is not detrimental. Now what if traffic is being sent to a product page that is meant to engage and convert a visitor? Then in this case an increase in bounce rate surely paints a negative picture for the product or the way that it is listed.

The answer to the above questions will help paint an overall picture of the state of your eCommerce site and will help you target your efforts on the correct areas.

What’s a good or bad bounce rate? It depends…

But how do we know what’s a good or bad bounce rate? According to Google Analytics, these are the industry standards, so if you fall within these numbers, your site should be well in the green. We must root our expectations in reality, after all.

Benchmark Averages per page/site type:

  • Ecommerce and Retail – 20-40%
  • Content – 40-60%
  • Lead Generation – 30-50%
  • Blogs – 70-98%
  • Service Sites – 10-30%
  • Landing Pages – 70-90%

As you can see, blogs have the highest bounce rates simply because of their nature. People find a blog about a certain topic and then leave once that curiosity is satiated. E-commerce and service sites have the lowest because people really do need to browse these sites, so if your eCommerce site is seeing high bounce rates, you need to do something quickly.

Reducing bounce rate can increase revenue

At the end of the day, conversion is really what we are aiming for and bounce rate can be one of the most relevant metrics you should be optimizing for in your eCommerce site in order to get visitors to convert, we need to get them engaged, that means optimizing the site to provide the needs of your chosen audience.

Tips for decreasing your bounce rate to improve e-commerce conversions:

  • Optimize your product listing by giving great product titles and descriptions. Having professional looking images and life shots of the products help greatly in convincing customers.
  • Make your site user-friendly. Make navigation easy, especially with regards to finding products. A very big turn off for visitors is if the search and advanced search functions do not work well. Make sure that the search function allows users to find relevant products even if they do not know exactly what to type in the search bar.
  • Make the checkout process easier and streamlined. Sometimes, this can make customers abandon their cart, especially if they already got frustrated with some other quirky things about the site.

Doing these optimizations will help to ensure that targeted traffic are not bouncing but are actually engaging, giving a high probability of conversion. In conclusion, even though there is another side to the story of bounce rate, in the context of eCommerce, smaller is better.

Need to optimize conversions to grow e-commerce revenue? Stikky Media can help.

Want to know how you can reduce bounce rate and increase engagement and conversion further? Read our case studies then give us a call and have our conversion optimization experts help you!

Why Facebook no longer resonates with GenZ (and what does)

GenZ Marketing TipsWant to learn how to market to the movers and shakers, the trend setter – the elusive 20 something year old? Who better to tell you than Ethan Dennett –  the 20 year old member of the Stikky Media team. Read on for GenZ marketing tips and considerations for reaching this unique audience – in Ethan’s own words.

The modern advertisement industry started in conjunction with the development of modern psychology. The idea that the average person could be suggestible enough to buy a coca-cola was groundbreaking to advertisers.

How to reach young trend setters on social media – without annoying them

Today, one of the hardest markets to advertise to is the trend setters. Young people in their 20s who are members of Generation Z have already experienced intense marketing, and are very able to identify marketing techniques. We have been advertised to our whole lives; lots of young people can view certain ads as offensive. I’ve heard friends say: “How dare Company A think they can psychologically manipulate me! I won’t be using their products anymore.” It’s not only becoming harder to break through the mess of ads these kids see daily, but it’s becoming easier to piss them off with too personal ads. It’s not a good business decision to spend money on losing customers.

Still, you have to consider that people don’t want to be advertised to. During the holiday season, Google ramped up its ads for the Google Home Mini. I hate these ads with a burning passion. It feels like the voice was digitally altered to pierce my thinking. Naturally, every time I hear it I immediately turn the volume off on my computer. Google wasted a lot of money on me this season.

Be honest and upfront – or risk getting mocked

So, where does this leave us in our quest to reach the young market? It leaves us walking on eggshells. That is my first piece of advice – young people are much more perceptive than their parents, and they will see through basic attempts to “fit in.” There’s actually a subreddit (r/fellowkids) making fun of companies that fail to be “fellow kids” in a guise of advertisement. If you want to reach these young people, your ads need to be honest and upfront; you need to walk on eggshells.

Choose the right social media platform – it may not be what you think

My next marketing tip is to consider what platform to use. You probably only thought about either Facebook or Instagram – and if you did, you’ve failed at being a fellow kid! Young people today really don’t care about Facebook or Instagram like they did 5 years ago. The age of showing off and putting up personal posts for friends to see is over. Young people mostly hate how their friends act on social media, and thus turn to another site: Reddit.

Think communities, not image filters

Reddit should not be considered traditional social media, because it’s not. Reddit is about communities and individual interests, it’s not about how cool you look with that blue filter. It’s a very personal site, that is also very anonymous.

It’s a very fine line between what is a normal ad and what is personally invasive. For example, I follow a page called r/digitalnomad, and I just saw an ad about being a digital nomad. I can live with that, after all it’s not hard for the company to choose to advertise to users of the page. What I don’t like to see is my search results showing up. I looked on Facebook for headphones over the holidays, and now my Reddit feed is filled with headphone ads — not cool.

What really matters when marketing to GenZ?

There’s a difference between effective and non-effective advertising. The difference is solely in how the consumers perceive your ad. You don’t want to sound creepy and you don’t want to show up on r/fellowkids. Basically, you want to let the consumer feel in control. I am in control of whether I follow r/digitalnomad and get likewise ads, but do I want to be repeatedly advertised to after looking for Christmas gifts once? No, ads like that make me feel out of control and misunderstood.

Understand which approaches work – and which are too transparent

My recommendations are to throw away some of the traditional psychological approaches in your ads the odds are that young people won’t fall for it. If you want to reach young people it’s very easy. Advertise on Reddit and be honest. We love that site, and we understand that advertisement is needed to keep the site running. Young people will be receptive if they feel good about your method.

For example, I’m a huge cyclist, and bike to work everyday. Not once have I seen a bike advertisement on Reddit, so how could I best be advertised to? I would not respond well if I left a comment on a post about pedals and started to see ads about pedals. However, because I follow a couple bike pages, I know I’m going to get ads. If you were to reference say r/bikecommuting in the ad, I would feel much better about the pedals, and why you think I might want them.

What I’m trying to say, is that the consumer today wants to know why they are being advertised to they want clarity. If you can find your target demographic and honestly present your product to them, and the product is good, we’ll buy it.

Ethan Dennett is an account manager at Stikky Media. He enjoys helping our clients exceed expectations on their digital marketing campaigns. If you need help reaching GenZ or any other audience through digital marketing, contact us.

How To Combine Email Marketing and Social Media

How to Combine Email and Social MediaAs a marketer or business owner, you may find yourself thinking about which digital marketing channel to invest your budget in. You have a wide variety of tools at your disposal including email, content marketing, and social media, so choosing the best one for your budget and for your organization can be challenging.

If you are looking for strong ROI, you might choose to devote a portion of your resources to email marketing. If, on the other hand, you have limited resources and are not in a hurry to increase your sales or profits, you might go solely with social media.

Can’t decide? The good news is that you don’t have to choose between email marketing and social media—the two channels work best when used together. You can maximize your email marketing strategies by integrating them with your social media campaigns and vice versa.

Email and social media may seem like two entirely different marketing channels, but they actually have a lot in common. Both of these channels provide you with the opportunity to increase traffic to your website, build relationships with new customers, maintain these relationships and earn your customers’ loyalty, and of course, significantly boost your company’s ROI.

3 Ways to Combine Email Marketing and Social Media for the Strongest ROI

So, how exactly do you merge the two platforms together? There are plenty of strategies that you can try, but there’s no need to worry. It’s not as daunting as it seems. Here are some examples.

  • You can leverage social media to cultivate your email list by adding social media share buttons to your email messages.
  • You can encourage your email list to follow your social media pages by sending them irresistible offers.
  • You can align the messages in your emails with your social media posts by using the same branded hashtags.

Want to know more about how to combine email marketing and social media? Contact us and we’ll be happy to chat.

This was a guest blog courtesy of our friends at CampaignMonitor

Headz Case Study

Meet Headz.ca

Headz.ca delivers high quality mail order marijuana, referred to as sacrament, across Canada. Their dedication to their customers and aspirations of significant growth in both brand awareness and revenue, they are on a mission to become the largest and most successful mail order medical marijuana company in Canada. With our help, they’re well on the way to being exactly that.

Challenge

In the fall of 2017, Headz approached us with a myriad of digital sales and marketing issues. After our conversation where we uncovered what they were struggling with, it was clear they needed help across the board. They had a basic existing wordpress website but it had little traction on major search engines and low traffic numbers.

Indeed, there was no tracking set up, which meant they didn’t have good visibility into what their customers were searching for, buying and what would draw them back for more. This was showing up in ecommerce revenue, which was not strong at just $800/month. They were having trouble attracting and retaining customers at a consistent rate.

The Headz team knew this was not sustainable and things had to improve-fast​.

After several productive conversations, we mutually agreed improvements were needed in two areas:

  • Implement a strategy for attracting and engaging members
  • Grow traffic through search and paid advertising along with email marketing
  • Grow ecommerce sales to rastafarians by converting traffic

What We Did

Tracked Visitor Behavior

The first step to measuring success is defining your starting point. Headz had not been tracking any website behavior prior to engaging with us which meant they were flying blind in terms of where visitors were coming from,what pages they were visiting and how long they were staying. To rectify this, we installed Google Analytics in the fall of 2017 to establish a baseline.We then enabled ecommerce tracking to provide specific data around what visitors were buying, what they weren’t and other quantifiable trends that could be useful to the Headz team.

Optimized for Search

Now that we had tracking set up, the next step was to get visitors to the website and convert those visitors into customers through search engine optimization. Our SEO work had two main components: city-specific landing pages and optimized product pages.

Search-Optimized Canadian City Landing Pages

Since Headz delivered their sacrament all across Canada, it was important to expand the brand beyond a local British Columbia audience. We did this by creating over 100 SEO-optimize city landing pages, with one dedicated to major communities in each province across Canada. To attract attention we used bold images representing each community as part of a slider for each city page. We also included any relevant discounts.

Once the pages were set up, optimized with the right metadata andsubmitted to Google, we monitoring Google Search Console for errors andomissions. We made sure Google was able to easily access, index and rankeach page.

Optimized Product Pages for Search

The most important element that contributes to the success of a product page is a well-crafted title and description.
We collaborated with the Headz team to make sure each and every product was showcased elegantly through well-written meta descriptions.
Clear pricing, customer reviews, related products and a call to action to purchase the product made it easy to purchase on their website.
One of the most important aspects of this process was to be sure products could be added and updated with ease by the client. Woocommerce integration from inside WordPress was the ideal solution for this.

Paid Advertising on Bing Setup

Headz was a great candidate for paid search ads, which prompted us to setup a Bing campaign for them.

Engaged Community through Affiliate Program & Product Newsletter

Now that visitors were coming in and being tracked through our efforts, it was time to engage them to keep them coming back and buying. We did this by creating an attractive affiliate program for members offering discounts and commission to members in exchange for promoting Headz products on their own websites.

Of course, we didn’t stop there. Using MailChimp, we designed and launched a twice-weekly newsletter of featured products that went out to both customers and affiliates. This provided a great way to showcase what’s on sale, discounts and the newest products. The objective was to both grow awareness and grow consistent revenue through ecommerce sales. As weexplain in the next section – it worked!

Outcomes

From the growth in website traffic, member engagement, SEO ande-commerce revenue, the outcomes were nothing short of spectacular.

Website Traffic Up Exponentially with Low Bounce Rate

Starting with website traffic, in a very short amount of time we saw rapid increases. New visitors were coming and coming back, and converting into customers. As shown in the graph to the right from December 2017 when tracking was implemented through August 2018 visitors were already viewing 75k page sa month, with consistent month over month increases and improvements in all major web analytics categories. In spite of this incredible increase inactivity, the bounce rate remained low, which is a sign of successfully targeting our audience and keeping their interest.

What was very exciting to see was visitors were not just coming via desktop but also on their mobile and tablet devices. Indeed, the latter two had very impressive click rates and ranking positions on Google, as discussed below.

Impressive SEO CTRs – up to 10.8%

The city-specific landing pages discussed earlier were a rousing success, with the vast majority achieving a first page rank on Google quickly. Headz was truly growing as a brand known to rastafarians all across Canada from British Columbia to the Atlantic provinces.

However, while ranking well is certainly impressive on it’s own, getting people to click is the really powerful outcome to pay attention to. From December 2017 through the end of August 2018, the Headz.ca CTR was anastonishing 7.1% on mobile and 10.8% on tablet!

Even the desktop average of 3.4% is impressive across nearly half a million impressions. Of course, this is a direct reflection of the talent and experience of the Stikky Media team.

8700% Increase in Affiliate Membership

To put the growth rate in context, when Headz engaged with us, they hadjust 69 users. In less than a year, they now have 10,000 engaged users thatread their active newsletter which goes out twice a week. We know they’re engaged by the open and click rate which have been consistently outstanding, another strong indicator of success​.

Paid Search – 14:1 Revenue to Spend Ratio

During a three week stretch in July 2018, DSP traffic (pops and domain redirects) accounted for almost half of the site traffic and was the top traffic source. The ROI was astonishing. For approximately $100 in spend they’ve made approximately $1400 in revenue over 15 transactions. Bing Ads search traffic was more modest, accounting for $270 in revenue for about $250 in spend.

However it’s important to remember that each customer is worth more than a single transaction – i.e. their average lifetime value (LTV). This means each customer should be worth multiple hundreds of dollars with each transaction size being about $100 – the free shipping cut off.

1250% Increase in E-Commerce Revenue Per Month

Last but not least, we we’ll look at Headz.ca e-commerce revenue growth.

Initially, Headz was bringing in less than $1000 per month when theystarted working with us. After less than a year, they’re bringing in six figures monthly, a 1250% increase in revenue / month! In fact the e-commerce numbers are truly eye-popping with a 2.64% conversion rate, and an impressive average order value across more than 4,000 transactions.

With revenue trending up, a growing and engaged community, we couldn’tbe more proud of the results Headz has seen. We certainly can’t wait to seewhat’s next!

United Alliance Services Case Study

United Alliance Services Case Study

Read UASC Case Study - Stikky MediaSince 2003, United Alliance Services Corporation (UASC) has offered occupational, health and safety consultation and training throughout the New England, Tri-state and  Mid-Atlantic regions. Through unitedallianceservices.com, UASC​ provides a wide range of workplace safety classes and training, safety audits and resources to assist clients with health and safety regulatory compliance.

However, in 2017, after a website redesign by a different company a serious website issue emerged. UASC experienced a precipitous drop in traffic. The problem was twofold: it created a poor user experience with hundreds of broken links and hurt UASC’s search engine rankings. This was a major concern because 90% of UASC’s business is driven through their website, making this drop devastating to their business.

Stikky Media stepped in and rapidly diagnosed and fixed the issue, restoring website traffic and putting the site back on track for sustainable growth.

Read the full United Alliance Services case study (PDF) to learn more about their significant digital marketing challenge and how we resolved it.

 

 

Getting Dynamic with Google Ads

Getting Dynamic with Google Ads+Ad Writing Automation

The inevitable switch from Google AdWords to the new Google Ads is here; since October 18th 2018 the new Google Ads experience has fully replaced Google AdWords. This is the third in a series of three posts on the new Google Ads with a focus on utilizing Google’s dynamic ad features. The other posts focus on 4 tips and tricks in Google Ads and outlining campaign creation, reporting and optimization in Google Ads. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Ads we recommend you read both of those posts, which will get you up to speed in no time.

The new Google Ads experience is all about automation. From reporting to recommendations, Google has put a lot of work into doing the heavy lifting for advertisers, allowing us to get more strategic with our media buying. So it’s no surprise that Google has taken this automation further with the ability to dynamically create ads, on-the-fly, that are tailored to a Google user’s specific search.

While these features may not be unique to the new Google Ads experience – a Google search for ‘dynamic search ads’ yields results dating back to 2014 – these features are much more prominent in the new Google Ads interface. Therefore, now’s the time to learn about what they are and how you can leverage them in your own Google Ads accounts.

Dynamic Search Ads in the new Google Ads

In a nutshell, Dynamic Search Ads allow advertisers, especially those with larger websites and sets of products/services, an easier and more scalable approach for creating ads, while maximizing relevancy for the end user. Advertisers provide their URL or list of landing pages, along with a bit of descriptive text for ad creative (sans headline) and Google does the rest dynamically based on the user’s specific search query.

An example that Google provides is a large hotel in a big city. Rather than creating a campaign and ad groups in the traditional way, with numerous keywords and multiple ad sets for split-testing, the advertiser would instead provide the URL for their hotel (or one or more preferential landing pages) and a bit of ad copy. When the user’s search query matches with the dynamic ad, Google then cobbles together a headline and pairs it with a landing page that it deems to be most relevant to the search term. Not only cool stuff but also extremely useful for us: this ultimately frees the advertiser up for getting more strategic with their media buying rather than spending time on setup, leverages Google’s own AI to create relevant ads for us, and allows us to leave work early for the ever-popular Friday After-Work Beers.

How to Enable Dynamic Search Ads in the new Google Ads

Here’s a breakdown of how to enable Dynamic Search Ads for a new campaign:

  • Create a new campaign and select the Search network
  • One of the first things you see in the Settings menu is titled Dynamic Search Ads. Click into it to expand it and check the box up near the top to enable Dynamic Search Ads
  • Plug in the domain of your site. Alternatively you can create a Page Feed in the Shared Library to provide Google Ads with the URLs you want it to select for your landing page. For simplicity we recommend providing your URL, but if you want to create your own page feed you can download the CSV file to do so here.

That’s it! You’ve now enabled Dynamic Search Ads in your campaign. But you’re not done yet; we’ve still got a bit more to do before Google starts dynamically working its magic.
Enable Dynamic Search Ads

How to Set Up Dynamic Ad Groups – no keywords required!

After opting into Dynamic Search Ads, you’ll be taken to the ad group creation screen. From here you can either create your dynamic ad group for your ads, or you can bypass this and create the ad group later once the campaign creation process is done. Either way, you’ll need to create a dynamic ad group at some point if you want to run these ads. But don’t worry: creating a dynamic ad group is about as easy as enabling Dynamic Search Ads.

When creating your new ad group for your campaign, select Dynamic for the ad group type from the drop down menu (if Dynamic doesn’t appear you still need to enable Dynamic Search Ads in the campaign settings). What follows will be a list of ad group targeting types that you’ll be choosing from. It’s important to note that this targeting is based on the specific pages you want Google to be creating your ads around and sending traffic to.

There’s three types of targeting to choose from:

  • Categories recommended for your website – Google Ads will essentially group your site into different categories based on its content, and you can choose which of those categories you want to target with your ads. For our site we will choose categories based around our service offerings – SEO, PPC, Social media etc.
  • Specific Web Pages: You’ll provide Google Ads up to 20 URLs to target, or create rules for targeting for your web pages
  • All web pages: For advertisers who want to target every product and service offering on their website, across every web page

Set up a Dynamic Ad Group - Stikky Media

Once you’ve saved the website targeting you’ll then create your ads. This is one of the coolest features of Dynamic Search Ads. Up until now, writing and testing ad creative has been one of the most onerous tasks in Google Ads. However with Dynamic Search Ads Google actually writes the headline, the path for your URL (i.e. everything that comes after the first slash) and picks your ad’s destination URL (based on the targeting you selected above), thus doing all the heavy lifting for you.

Google is pulling all of this information from your website’s content and the specific search query that the user typed in and it’s all done near real time, so that the end user has no different experience than if they were served a traditional search ad. Have we mentioned that we think this is pretty cool? All you need to provide Google Ads is a couple 90 character descriptions. After creating you can preview it, create a few more and save them to your account and that’s it, you’ve created a dynamic ad group for your Dynamic Search Ad campaign – no keywords required!
Preview Dynamic Ad Group - Stikky Media

Understanding Dynamic Ad Reporting in Google Ads

Reporting for your dynamic ad groups in Google Ads is pretty straightforward. Much like how clicking into a standard search ad group would display numerous keywords for your reporting, you will instead now click Dynamic Ad Targets to see the targets you’ve selected for your ads. For our example we would see the specific Stikky Media service offerings that we’ve selected to promote, such as social media marketing. On the reporting screen you’ll see all the familiar metrics, including clicks, conversions and cost, and you can of course change the columns that you want displayed.

Much like keywords, if you find any of these targets not performing well for you there’s an option to add them as category negatives from the reporting screen. Simply click the Negative Dynamic Ad Targets menu item near the top of the screen, click the plus sign and plug in your negatives. Also much like the keyword report you can see the actual search terms that triggered your dynamic ads. Click the Search Terms menu item next to the Negatives and view which terms have triggered your ads, along with associated metrics. We’re seeing a CTR of 2.94% for one of our dynamic ad groups, compared to an overall search ad CTR of 1.30%. Not bad!

Dynamic Ads reporting - Stikky Media

We’ve covered Dynamic Search Ads, dynamic ad groups and how reporting works for these features. Now it’s time for you to log into your Google Ads account and start experimenting with these cool features and seeing how well they do against your standard search ads. If you’re like us you might be surprised to see a substantial lift in performance!

Want to Take your Pay Per Click Campaign to the Next Level?

While a DIY mindset is a great way to approach pay per click campaigns, with the digital media industry changing constantly, augmenting your team with knowledgeable experts can makes it easier to outpace your competition. There are a lot of subtle nuances that can make a big difference.

If you need help optimizing your next pay per click campaign read more about our paid search marketing services. Of course, if you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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