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5 Google Adwords Tips that Turn Clicks Into Customers

Visibility in Google is one of the things you need to do to get more customers. It’s why the Search Engine Optimization industry exists. It’s why businesses fight tooth and nail for every keyword available.

After all, Google’s share in the search engine market is 90.14% around the world. If you want to ensure that your digital marketing effort is productive, you need to prioritise this over ranking on any other search engine.

One of the best strategies is Google AdWords.

Not sure how it works? We’ve got you covered. Here are five Google AdWords tips that will turn your clicks into loyal customers:

1. Choosing Different Keyword Targeting Options

Keyword targeting refers to utilizing keywords relevant to the service or products you offer specifically for ad copy. It’s a system that aims to boost your rankings and ads, and it leans on potential consumers using keywords in their searches.

Keep in mind it’s not as simple as picking a single keyword and then focusing your entire campaign around it. There are different targeting options, which include at the basic level:

  • Exact match
  • Broad match
  • Phrase match
  • Negative keywords

An exact match is what most people imagine when it comes to keywords. You type in “best shoemaker” and your ads will only pop up when someone uses those exact words, in that exact sequence.

A broad match, on the other hand, means your ads will appear when people type in any search using a broad matched keyword such as “shoes”. This means your ad will appear for searches like “best shoes”, “running shoes” or… “horse shoes”.

Phrase match refers to long queries, like phrases or complete sentences, that include the exact keyword. Examples would be “shoemaker in New York” or “how to find the best shoemaker.”

Negative keywords are essentially keyword modifiers. You can add the supplement “horse” so that people searching “horse shoe” won’t see your ads when they type “horse” into a search engine.

2. Choose the Best Landing Page

A common mistake for most people is that they only use their homepage as the landing page for targeted ads.

This is often a bad idea because your homepage doesn’t cater directly to the user queries. It’s a bad practice to let your potential customers clicking through three levels of your site to find the information they want.

If you want to make money with PPC ads, you have to not only bring people to the page, but you have to give them a reason to stay and spend money once they get to the destination. Think about the page your customers will most likely need. In most situations, you might need a specific product page.

For example, if your users search for “blue sunglasses,” you need to make the corresponding product page as the target URL.

The faster you can get them what they need, the more chances you have to convert them.

3. Enable Sitelinks

Doing this means that the bottom of the ad will also show a set of other pages on your website. These high-level links are great when you want potential customers to look for other information and services on your site. Enabling the sitelinks can help get your customers to the places they might want in a quicker, more convenient way, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

If you want to know more about this, Google provides a comprehensive guide that gives a sample pizza store’s site links. You can see the four options it offers which can interest people. Regular customers aren’t likely to go through the same landing link all the time, so the option makes it easier for them to return.

4. Make Use of Reviews to Get More Trust

The most important factor for customers to choose you over your competitors is the customer reviews. When people choose between ads, a lot of customers will pick the website with at least 4.9 stars rating over a business that has no ratings.

Pretty much like the site links mentioned above, your customer reviews are great extensions for your ads. However, doing this requires you to register to the Google Product Search. The reason behind it is that the search engine uses all the reviews it pulled from all over the internet to ensure that the aggregate score is trustworthy and not prone to manipulations of any kind.

5. Geotarget Your Preferred Customers

This tip is one of the most common things you must do to get the most out of your Google AdWords campaign. Despite this, geotargeting is often forgotten and overlooked. It’s vital to target people within your area especially if your services depend on a fixed location, like a local business and the like.

If your business is in Canada, it doesn’t do you good to target potential customers in Korea. Do this properly, and you’ll get benefits like a higher probability of getting clicks and turn those clicks into guaranteed sales.

Bonus: Pause Your Underperforming Ads

The harsh truth is that not all your ads will get you conversions and sales. In fact, basing it on averages, most of them will not perform as well as you want them to. You can optimize all your ads in lots of different ways, but if it isn’t performing well, it won’t be for the time being.

If you continue seeing any significant performance metrics with your ads, you might want to pull it out. It’s not hard to see when the ad isn’t doing too good. Don’t spend money on ads that aren’t getting you any new customers.

You need to ensure that your Click-Through-Rate (CTR) should be at minimum 0.5%. The average of a successful AdWords text ad often sees a CTR at 2%.

Get Google AdWords Tips Today!

Promoting your business with the use of Google AdWords is a great way to get an audience and generate conversions. However, you need to remember all these tips to ensure that you get the money you’re paying for. After all, it’s important to maximize your budget to ensure that you can expand in the future.

There are other Google AdWords tips to consider, like integrating your Adwords account with your Google Analytics. It might be a long road ahead, but all of it is worth getting more revenue from your conversions.

Do you need help with a better online presence? Contact us today and we’ll help you get started!

What is a Facebook Pixel? How Retargeting Can Transform Your Marketing

Facebook pixel. What is it anyway?

For a not-so-savvy marketer or internet user, it’s easy to assume the Facebook pixel is some kind of photo editing or sharing tool. After all, the word “pixel” is commonly associated with images.

But that’s wrong. So, what is Facebook pixel?

At the most basic level, Facebook Pixel is a tracking and analytics tool that advertisers can use to measure the effectiveness of their ads and better advertise. It’s easy to collect data based on your website visitors’ actions to improve your current and future advertising.

Without further delay, this post is going to define the pixel tool, and we’re going to show you how Facebook ads retargeting can benefit your marketing campaigns.

Let’s get right to it!

What Is Facebook Pixel?

As noted before, the Facebook pixel is a tracking and analytics tool that you can use to gauge the performance of your advertising and create better advertising. It contains a code, which you put on your website.

When visitors complete actions on your website, the code triggers and reports the action. This allows you to know when customers take action, and this will help you in your future retargeting efforts.

This tool gives you more accurate conversion rates. As such, you can create custom audiences for future leads based on your current web traffic.

Why You Need the Pixel?

There are several reasons why you need to use pixels to improve your Facebook ads. The pixel provides visitor data that you can use to refine your ad strategy. Keep on reading!

1. Track Your Conversions

Do you want to know what actions lead to most conversions? The pixel allows you to monitor visitors’ interaction with your site after viewing your ads. It gives you data for both mobile and desktop activities.

This is particularly important for those visitors that view ads on mobile but switch to desktop to make their purchase. This data can help you improve your ads and website to boost your conversion rate.

2. Create Targeted Audiences

Still, the data can help you identify the interests, demographics, and likes of your visitors. With this data, it’s possible to create targeted audiences. Typically, you can target people with the same interests and likes as your current visitors.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that you can choose specific visitors and advertise to them. Instead, the custom audience is based on the shared behaviour. This can be people who visited a particular page on your website or those who visited a while ago and have not returned.

You created your audiences independently from the existing ads. When creating custom audiences, you can choose a time frame of 1 to 180 days to define when targeted people last visited your site.

3. Improve Your Ads

Pixel also helps you to measure the success of your ads based on the direct results. You can view your conversion rate and the number of sales to determine to determine how your visitors use your website.

This, in turn, can help you improve the quality, effectiveness, and performance of your ads. The data allows you to target people who are most likely to take action once they see your ads.

4. Remarket Your Ads

Taking advantage of your existing website visitors can help you rake in huger sales numbers. That’s what remarketing is all about. It allows you to target your ads to people who have already visited your website before.

In this case, you can narrow down to specific ads or products. For example, you can show people the exact products they viewed or abandoned they last time they were on your website.

This capability allows you to reignite their interest in the product or other related products.

How Retargeting Using Pixel Can Help You

The critical point in online marketing is that every visitor that comes to your site usually has an interest. Sadly, some never call, email, or even fill out your forms. You don’t need to leave such visitors in the dark thanks to retargeting.

Here is how retargeting can improve your online marketing efforts:

1. Enhances Engagement

Retargeting allows you to reconnect with your past visitors. You can create custom audiences based on the pages they visited. Be sure to tailor the retargeting content to suit their needs. It’s also advisable to target people based on the categories they prefer.

This way, it’s possible to boost your engagement by 100 percent or even more.

2. Raises Conversion Rates

Improving the conversion rate is the most common goal when marketers start retargeting. You can have enough traffic, but your visitors are not converting as you wish.

This is because you’re struggling to entice your visitors in a meaningful way. With retargeting, you can bid on those people who showed interest in specific areas of your site. For example, if you’re a retailer, you should focus more on those who abandon the cart than those who browse and leave.

This way, you can be sure to capture their interest again and get them to take action.

3. Improves Brand Awareness

Have you ever paid attention to your branded search keywords volume? If not, a large branded keywords volume means you have people who are interested in your company and products or services. As such, it’s easier to convert such people into actual customers.

You can invest heavily in SEO to boost your traffic, but not many people can know you. With retargeting, you can see an increase in your branded searches. Also, you can direct traffic.

Increase in branded searches and direct traffic means people already know your brand.

What is Facebook Pixel – Final Thoughts

Well, if you are using Facebook Ads, it’s time to make the most of your existing traffic. Many sites have invested in SEO to earn great traffic, but their conversion rates and sales numbers need to be improved.

Now that you understand the answer to the question, “what is Facebook pixel?” it’s possible to grow your conversation rate and sales.

Do you have any question about social media and online marketing? We are here to help. Just reach out to us when you get the time.

How to Get Reviews: Why Businesses Should Avoid Fake Reviews

Building an online reputation is not merely registering your business on Google and Yelp. If you’re just starting out, you need online reviews.

Reviews are how consumers check the quality of your business. People often look to those independent reviews more than they do personal recommendations.

Getting reviews is challenging. Readers assume reviews are independent and not solicited in any way. To add to the challenge, consumers often don’t take the time to leave online feedback unless they are dissatisfied.

Many companies give in and outsource fake reviews to improve their ratings. This may seem like an effective strategy. But that eventually backfires and leaves a negative mark or your business rather than a positive one.

This article focuses less on how to get reviews and more on how not to solicit fake reviews.

Fake Reviews Online Destroys Trust

Many companies make money by selling fake reviews online. Review writing is outsourced overseas, where labourers work for low wages. They generate thousands of reviews daily.

Fake Reviews Lack Quality

Given that rapid production, you can imagine the lack of quality in the review. Also, many labourers have only rudimentary English.

And, none of this passes muster with potential customers, who can spot fake reviews right away. People will lose trust without ever becoming customers.

Special Risks for SEO Companies

Companies that provide Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services that support this practice are taking extra risks with their reputation. Their services revolve around building an online presence for clients.

If they are caught faking their online reputation, customers will rightfully question their ability to deliver results for them.

Google Can Cause Your Local Search Traffic to Drop

Google bases its business on data. They track and predict trends with amazing proficiency. They will penalize you if they discover fake reviews on Google.

Once Google realized you’re getting online reviews for your business that are not legitimate, they will not rank your site for relevant local search terms.

The consequence is reduced traffic to your website. You’ll likely experience a sharp drop in revenue as a result. If you don’t know how to get reviews, take some time to learn instead of turning to fake reviews.

You’ll Make your Company Look Too Good to Be True

Even if your reviews manage to stay under Google’s radar, you still run the risk of looking phoney. If all you have are sparkling, over-the-top reviews, you’ll appear too good to be true. And rightfully so.

Any business will have some negative comments somewhere. Between the law of averages and the rules of human behaviour, no product line will have spotless reviews.

Special Risks for Small Business Owners

Small business owners who publish false reviews can expect a backlash in the form of negative reviews. These come in the form of a different kind of false review: the negative one.

Companies who do this could find themselves barraged with their own negative reviews. The text of those reviews calls out the company for intentionally posting fake reviews.

Such an onslaught floods their product sites with negative feedback. It can erode consumer trust completely. This can be catastrophic for a small business.

Legal Repercussions of Fake Reviews

So far, we have discussed how using fake reviews can backfire. You could end up with more negative reviews than positive. You’ll erode consumer trust rather than build it. There are financial and legal ramifications as well.

Regulators Can Fine You for Fake Reviews Online

Regulators used to ignore fake reviews online. With the rise of digital marketing, though, consumers trust these reviews more. As a result, regulators now pay closer attention, acting as fake review checker.

They have the authority to fine you for unethical or deceptive marketing actions. That includes fake reviews.

In Canada, the Competition Bureau identifies fake reviews as “misleading advertising and labelling.” The Bureau handles this under Section 74.02 of the Competition Act.

Under this law, a person can pay a penalty of up to $750,000 for the first occurrence. A corporation can pay up to $10,000,000 for the same offence.

For subsequent violations, the penalties increase. An individual can be fined up to $1,000,000, A corporation can be fined up $15,000,000.

You Could Face a Lawsuit

Lawsuits are yet another repercussion of fake reviews. Local governments as well as the Competition Bureau, can fine you. That is painful enough. But your competitors may file a lawsuit.

Attorneys may see this violation of consumer protection guidelines and solicit a lawsuit based on deceptive trade practices.

How to Get Reviews the Right Way

Each country has its own set of directory sites that feature local businesses. Canadian business owners who want better Google rankings, as well as more local customers, should ask existing customers to write reviews.

Not everyone in your customer base will respond. That means you want the reviews you get to count. Ask customers to review on websites that are part of your local network and that feed to other sites in your country.

Facebook, Yelp and weblocal.ca are the largest.

What If You’re Not the One Posting the Fake Reviews?

What if you discover fake reviews popping up on your Facebook or Google My Business Page? The unfortunate truth is that malicious, fake reviews are becoming more common — we know because it has happened to us too! Here is something to keep in mind.

Every site that hosts reviews has Terms of Service (TOS). You can usually find a link to the TOS at the bottom of the website homepage. The TOS lists the type of content that users are allowed to post in their reviews.

Any reputable site will stipulate they can remove any reviews that that are personal attacks on an employee. They can also remove any derogatory remarks about a person based on race, religion, disability, or ethnicity.

If you see such a review about your business or one of your employees, contact the site owner or follow the process outlined to flag or report an inappropriate review. Usually, the company will remove the post without issue, even if it does take some time.

Alternately, you can reply to the negative review online. In your reply state that you are concerned that this may have been a wrongful review as they are not identified as a customer of yours and request to have it removed directly from the reviewer.

If reporting the fake review isn’t enough, you can decide whether you want to take formal legal action.

Take the High Road

Getting reviews for business isn’t always easy. You may have a great product or service. Though, without the reviews as testimony, growing your business will take more time.

Despite the temptation, it’s best to avoid the easy way of generating fake reviews to get the ball rolling.

If you have any questions about how to get reviews for your business, make sure to contact us.

Why SEO Outsourcing is a Great Option for Businesses in Alberta

Businesses in Alberta are turning toward digital marketing to reach their target demographic. 81% of shoppers research products online before making a purchase. It’s essential that customers are able to find your website online.

However, ranking on the first pages of Google isn’t a guarantee for anyone. There are more than 1,877,000,000 websites and counting, meaning your competition is thick.

If you want to show up on page one, you have to earn your place. Companies who invest in Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, are the ones found by customers.

Many are doing this through SEO outsourcing methods. These methods are very effective when implemented through the right companies.

Why More Businesses in Alberta are Investing in SEO Outsourcing

There are many reasons businesses in Alberta outsource their SEO services instead of keeping them in-house. There is nothing wrong with hiring a person internally to handle your SEO strategy. But, many companies find that outsourcing to a third party is profitable and efficient.

Find out why below.

It’s Cheaper than Hiring Someone In-House

For many businesses, the cost to hire an individual with the right expertise is more than outsourcing the job to a company or agency specializing in SEO services.

In-house SEO specialists come with a hefty price tag. The average annual salary of an SEO Specialist in Canada is about C$46,038. The individual’s skills are often rooted in a specific digital strategy.

SEO agencies, on the other hand, typically offer a variety of solutions which you can bundle together while spending less. Their team consists of individuals with different skill sets to accommodate the needs of your business. Social media management, website design, branding, online marketing, and copywriting are all available.

Because SEO agencies take on multiple clients, they can offer these services at a lower rate than what you would spend hiring someone in-house. When combined, these services lead to a cohesive digital strategy at a fraction of the price of executing them in-house.

It’s More Efficient than Training Someone Yourself

What if you train someone who is already on staff? Would that not be cheaper?

No, not really. The challenge with SEO is that it’s complex. If you plan to train someone who has no background in SEO or no knowledge of how it works, you’re in for an uphill battle.

To influence your ranking in search engine results, you have to understand multiple strategies. Strategies such as keyword research, link-building, on and off-site content, and coding are essential for SEO. You also need to understand analytics reports to gauge the success of your campaigns.

The reason SEO companies are so successful is that they have a team of individuals working together to elevate your rankings.

Experienced copywriters that know how to optimize copy for SEO create content for your web pages and blogs.

Web developers create or optimize your website’s design to make sure it loads quickly, is mobile-friendly, and secure.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) experts design, execute and manage campaigns to get your ads in front of your target demographic.

SEO veterans develop your strategy, create backlinks, and execute other tactics to improve your site’s ranking in search engines.

In short, successful SEO strategies often take an entire team with years of combined experience. You’ll have to spend a lot of time and money to train someone to reach that calibre.

Even then, they’ll have a hard time doing it all themselves.

An Agency or Company has the Tools and Training to Help You Succeed

The right agency or company to outsource your SEO needs to will have both the tools and training to help you achieve your goals. There are many tools and programs SEO experts use to manage your website’s rankings.

This includes certifications and ongoing training to remain up-to-date with the latest strategies. Because search engine giants like Google always improve their algorithms, these experts have to stay on top of the latest updates.

Some of these changes are pretty significant. They can require major changes to your website or your content creation strategies. Not keeping up with these requirements can cause your rankings to plummet overnight.

That’s why it’s important to make sure you hire skilled professionals. If he or she isn’t familiar with the latest ongoings in the SEO industry, beware!

Outsourcing Opens Up Time for You to Focus on Other Business Goals

One of the greatest advantages of outsourcing SEO services is the time you save. Your company’s digital strategy is a time-consuming task. One that never ends.

Instead of trying to overcome the learning curb in-house, you get to focus on your expertise. Let your team spend their time doing what they do best.

As the calls and conversions start to pick up from your outsourced strategy, focus on optimizing the new flow of traffic by:

  • Improving your sales process
  • Building on your relationships with existing clients
  • Producing new products or services
  • And more…

By outsourcing this service to experts, you open up your time and budget to other business goals. Use it wisely as you apply your talents to help your business grow.

Hiring an Expert Gives You an Edge Over Your Competition

There’s an old saying that says you should keep your friends close, but your “enemies” closer.

A great SEO expert doesn’t simply get to know its client. He or she also identifies and tracks the client’s competition. They use their skills to give you an edge on your competitors.

This includes competing for keyword rankings and developing strategies to overcome market challenges. Your competition may not be using pros to handle their SEO like you are, which gives you a great advantage.

Launch Your SEO Strategy Today

Are you ready to turn to SEO outsourcing to improve your search engine rankings and get in front of the eyes of your target audience? If so, our gurus are here to help.

Get in touch with us to talk about a custom strategy to elevate your business. Located in Alberta, Canada, our professionals will be happy to meet and discuss how we can help you meet your goals.

The Future of Social Media Marketing: 7 Trends You Need to Know

Studies show that 57% of Canadians engage on social media. In fact, social media is quickly becoming a central component of personal and professional lives. For this reason, it is an essential channel for engaging with consumers.

Nonetheless, many business owners speculate about the future of social media marketing.

As consumers’ preferences shift and new platforms appear, social media’s role in business advertising is likely to continue to fluctuate.

In this post, we look closely at social media marketing’s future, analyzing the key trends that give a sense of what to expect.

Read on for insight!

1. In-App Messaging Marketing is On the Rise

Most social media platforms enable in-application messaging, including Instagram. In-app messaging gives business owners an effective means of engaging with current and prospective customers in real time.

Marketers can now also purchase digital ads that appear in users’ message inboxes.

In the past, messaging feeds were restricted to private social conversations. Now businesses can become a part of those conversations.

Given the fact that consumers continually place a premium on authentic engagement with the brands they love, in-app messaging marketing is on the rise.

If businesses are keen to engage with customers on their terms, they will enable users to reach out to them via social media messaging systems.

2. Social Media is Becoming More Mobile

Studies show that 94% of Facebook users access the platform via mobile devices. Instagram itself is mobile-centric given the nature of the content it produces.

Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn also have highly mobile audiences. As such, social media itself is becoming more mobile-focused.

When it comes to the future of social media marketing, the coming years will continue to emphasize mobile users. It will make the most of in-app messaging ads.

It will also emphasize mobile-friendly content, and sizing images and videos with mobile screens in mind is key.

3. Chatbots Are Key

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming an integral and exciting part of websites and other marketing channels. But, it is also emerging as an influencer of social media, largely in the form of chatbot technology.

Social media enables most business account owners to incorporate and customize their own chatbots and automated messages.

Chatbots take in-app messaging a step further by giving social media users and followers a chance to learn more about a business or address customer service issues.

Many marketers will make use of in-app messaging and customized chatbots to address customer concerns and provide immediate answers — when a client or business budget allows, of course!

4. Social Media Leverages SEO

Social media platforms go hand-in-hand with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaigns. The future of social media marketing will place even greater emphasis on this close-knit relationship.

Google has yet to formally declare that it considers social signals in its ranking decisions. However, given the role social media plays in the commercial realm, it very well may do so in the future.

Businesses with robust social media profiles can optimize content they share and post thinking of specific keywords. Consumers can also use social media platforms to find products and services based on those keywords.

Social media will also continue to cultivate brand awareness. Users familiar with a company’s social media activity will be more likely to click on that company’s page in Google search results.

5. Social Media Is a Window to Your Customers

Social networks are more than marketing channels. They also provide businesses with insight into their customers’ minds.

This has always been the case. But the future of social media marketing lies in a business’s ability to use these platforms to gather customer feedback and data.

Many consumers, for example, leave reviews for businesses on Facebook. Others may reference a business, product or service in their statuses.

Successful social media marketers are the ones who can perform rich analysis of this feedback to better inform future advertising efforts.

6. Facebook Leads the Pack

Facebook is still primary amongst the social media giants, although it is losing ground to Instagram with every passing year… but really, it’s OK because Facebook owns Instagram.

The future of social media marketing lies in marketers’ abilities to stay with this social media leader and meet users’ increasing demands for engagement and rich content.

Facebook is also the only social media platform that (so far) enables business reviews. This is essential for businesses looking for easy means of bolstering their online reputations.

7. Video Content is Key

We have already mentioned social media users’ interest in engaging, relevant content. At the top of this list is video content.

Video content is always intriguing, and it will continue to be marketers’ most powerful means of engaging with users on social media. The good news is that social media platforms make it easy to upload and generate video content.

In fact, Facebook Live is taking the video world by storm, enabling business owners to engage with users in real time. Not to mention, Instagram stories are also popular.

The future of social media marketing lies in the powerful and strategic use of video content across platforms.

Wrapping Up the Future of Social Media Marketing

So what is the future of social media marketing? Given the trends that we have discussed in this post, we can confidently state that social media is not going to leave the marketing stage any time soon.

While social media platforms themselves are shifting in popularity, social media still plays a significant role in consumer lives, both personal and professional.

If business owners are seeking to capitalize on global (or local) social media use, they will have to step up their content game. Social media users now place a premium on video content and material that is user-driven. Social media is also becoming a valuable source of consumer data, giving businesses a chance to hear customer feedback about products and services.

A viable social media marketing campaign for 2018 will include high-value content designed to give organizations the data they need to keep evolving in the right direction. It will also emphasize mobile-friendly content, video content, and chatbots.

At Octopus Creative, Inc., we believe in the future of social media marketing, and what it can do for you. Start a conversation today to learn more about what we can do to transform your digital marketing game!

7 Signs Your Calgary Startup Could Benefit from Expert SEO Services

Often when a new startup gets off the ground, the owner takes over a large amount of the daily tasks to ensure they are done correctly.

This can work for a while but eventually becomes overbearing and stressful. Responsibilities like marketing, branding, and SEO lose effectiveness because more time is spent on keeping your customers happy and running the day-to-day operations of your business.

While things like SEO can easily be set aside, if a business truly wants to grow, they will need to be passed on to an expert who can dedicate the time and effort this process requires.

Taking full advantage of SEO and using it to bring in new clients is difficult if you don’t have any prior experience. Here are seven signs your Calgary startup could benefit from hiring expert SEO services.

1. You Aren’t Using Social Media for SEO

Effective social media use is one of the most vital aspects of business success in this digital age. A key marketing tactic is to seek out your customers in their natural habitat. Social media platforms are the place to find them.

Sharing engaging posts with quality content will attract attention and lead traffic to your website and service pages. Social media sites update frequently and have a high relevancy for search engines, so using them can significantly boost your search ranking.

A company with expert SEO services can assist you with managing your social media campaigns, making them more eye-catching and attractive.

2. You Received an SEO Penalty

Many people may not know this, but Google can and will punish companies by penalizing their search rankings if they are breaking search optimization rules.

Wait, Google has SEO rules?!

Yes, search engine sites have standards to be followed, and they will quickly deflate your incoming traffic if they find that you are ignoring them. Issues like plagiarized content, duplicate posts, and overusing keywords will put you on a fast track to the bottom of Google’s ranking list.

Luckily, none of these problems is irreversible, but the necessary steps need to be taken to get you back into these search engines’ good graces and back towards the first page.

3. You’re Just Focused on Content

Content is important, and there is no denying that. But more important than simply sharing a post on your blog, is determining whether your content is of high enough quality for your readers. An SEO marketing expert will be able to use insightful software that can determine what people want to know within your niche and how they are searching for it.

This information allows you to choose useful topics and headings that will pull more customers to your blog. Expert SEO services can even provide you with specific details regarding your top competitors’ search engine strategies.

Don’t stop creating content, but ensure that whatever you are producing is reaching the standard your viewers are willing to read through.

4. SEO Isn’t a Priority

Let’s face it, running a business can be an extremely time-consuming venture. While you are trying to take care of current customers, managing employees, and doing payroll, it is easy to let things like marketing and SEO go by the wayside.

If SEO has fallen so low on your priority list that it’s no longer part of your day-to-day routine, then it is time to bring in an expert. Having a dedicated team prepared to manage it for you will relieve a major load of stress and allow you to focus on your other important tasks.

A good SEO company will still keep you informed of updates, stats, and website changes they have made. They understand it is your business and you deserve to be aware of how their efforts are improving your search ranking.

5. You Can’t Keep Up With SEO Changes

Search engine algorithms are constantly changing. Unless you work in the industry, it is nearly impossible to keep up with the seemingly endless updates. Teams who provide expert SEO services are continuously researching and learning more about how their clients can benefit from the most recent changes.

Very few business owners have the time necessary to keep up with these ever-changing rules and standards. Once this becomes a burden, it may be time to look for an SEO marketing company

6. The Keywords You Chose Aren’t Working

Keywords are a still a key part of an effective SEO plan. These are the terms that individuals use to find what they are looking for on the web. Search results for some keywords range in hundreds of thousands, causing inflated amounts of businesses vying for them on their web copy and blog posts.

Knowing the words to use and avoiding vague and overused terms are just a couple of ways an SEO marketing expert can help you. If you previously chose words that are too general, your SEO team will be able to narrow them down and find a more specific niche that will increase your search results.

7. Your Local Ranking is Low

Whether you run a hometown business or offer online services all over the world, your local ranking is crucial to being found by potential clients. One of the first steps to improve this is to establish a Google My Business page. This page will provide loads of relevant information such as a link to your website, hours, contact information, and customer reviews.

If you haven’t already claimed your listing, an expert SEO services provider will be able to set this up and manage it for you. They will ensure all of the necessary details are included and keep it up-to-date.

Expert SEO Services for Your Business

If you have been trying to maintain your SEO alone and are struggling to keep it afloat, then throw yourself a life preserver by hiring an expert SEO services provider for your business.

To get started and schedule in your free consultation, please fill out our Marketing Discovery Form.

Or if you have a burning question or want to know more about what we can do for you, feel free to contact us.

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Which One’s Better for Your Business?

Did you know that 1.14 million of all businesses in Canada fall under the small business category? That accounts for a whopping 97.9% of all businesses in the nation!

This goes to prove that start-ups and small businesses will find the Great White North friendly to their enterprise. However, it also means that competition is far more prevalent. It’s for this reason that many entrepreneurs compare traditional marketing vs digital marketing.

Consider this: At the end of 2017, there were more than 33.22 million Canadian Internet users. That’s 89.9% of the population.

Don’t get us wrong. Traditional marketing isn’t dead. At the same time, relying completely on it and not embracing digital can end up with your business in a sinking ship scenario.

In this post, we’ll show you what exactly we mean. And how the best marketing campaign is the one that has the right formula and mix of both.

Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Statistics You Should Know

What is traditional marketing to the modern marketer? How about online marketing? To put things in perspective, let’s look at their effectiveness in terms of reach.

Despite the continued reliance on traditional marketing, you need to consider that Canadian consumers lead the pack when it comes to Internet use. Compared with other countries, people of the Great White North spend the greatest amount of time online, averaging 36.7 hours/month.

There’s also the fact that more than a quarter of the population (76%) now own smartphones.

Furthermore, an Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada study found that 75% of adults aged 18 and older use their smartphones to access the Internet. 89% also rely on their desktop PCs/laptops for Internet connectivity and 54% on tablets.

Now, let’s look at the “reach” (per week) of traditional and digital media:

In the same IAB study, it showed that only the Internet (compared with TV, radio, newspaper, and magazine) grew considerably in reach – from 52% to 84% – between 2001 and 2016.

TV only had a tiny 2% increase, while the rest actually experienced a significant decline in reach.

Even More Stats Displaying the Power of Digital Marketing

Consider the following:

88% of consumers look up information about products they want to buy before actually shelling out money on them. This means that even if they saw a product through a newspaper or TV ad, chances are, they’ll still look it up using the Internet.

To do their research, the majority of them use the search engine giant Google, which processes more than 67 thousand queries per second! In fact, Google’s global traffic share is 79% for desktop and a whopping 93% on mobile devices.

The Takeaway

The above brings us to one of the main reasons behind the effectiveness of digital marketing:

It’s the only platform that allows advertisers to communicate and interact with their market on a real-time basis.

So, if you don’t market online, you risk missing out on the millions of Canadians (or even global consumers) and the profits they can bring your business.

The digital world is also the only place where consumers can freely and quickly share and express their opinions about brands, products, and services. That said, digital marketing holds the key to the modern version of “word of mouth,” particularly online reviews.

Simply put, what people have to say about you online is word of mouth. It’s free publicity — and you can keep a real-time eye on what they’re saying.

Just think about it. Internet-connected device users either always have their devices (smartphones in particular) with them, or they’re always near a desktop or laptop.

On the other hand, they don’t always have the TV or radio turned on. Nor are they always with their newspapers or magazines.

All these should already tell you that, with the kind of coverage the Internet has, digital marketing trumps traditional marketing in terms of reach.

A Quick Look at Traditional vs. Digital Marketing Costs

The effectiveness of your marketing strategies also depends on how much you allocate for them.

To help you better understand why going digital is effective both in reach and cost for the modern marketer, take a look at the 2017 pricing and rates for The Globe and Mail’s classified section (real estate ads):

  • $23.77/line for 1 to 9 lines on Metro
  • $28.82/line for 1 to 9 lines on National
  • $412.50 for a coloured photo ad published every Friday

Note that the price varies depending on the specific industry. There’s a different rate for automotive ads, employment notices, vital notices, etc.

Now, compare these with the average $3.49 average cost-per-click in AdWords (paid search). Or the average $0.82 cost-per-click for display ads.

There’s also the much more affordable $76.73 average cost per action (CPA) in AdWords (Search Network). On the Display Network, that goes up slightly to $78.78.

Considering that a newspaper ad only appears once, you can already see that online marketing is a cost-effective approach — have you ever had someone comment on a Facebook post from a year ago?

The Implications for the Modern Marketer

All the above numbers should already tell you that more and more Canadians do their business and consumer transactions online. It’s far more convenient after all, especially when compared to the hassles and frustrations of long shopping queues (Heck, you can even order groceries online now!)

So, what does this mean for your business? Simple: If all these web-connected consumers don’t see your brand online, you risk losing a huge portion of your market share. In fact, if they can’t find you online, then you won’t stand a chance in today’s extremely competitive market.

And with forecasts saying that more Canadians will shift to online transactions, there’s no other better time than now to start building your online visibility, authority, and reputation.

Where to Start?

A business website – because this will essentially serve as your virtual office address and shop. It’s the backbone of all your online marketing campaigns combined – without it, your SEO and SEM strategies won’t have much impact at all.

But, not just any plain or standard-looking website. You need one that boasts the right visual brand, a responsive design, and ease-of-navigation, among many other factors.

Keep in mind that most consumers nowadays check the official website of businesses before they decide to spend money. It’s the website that primarily influences their decision – the one that can make them pass good (or bad) judgement.

As such, you should consider having pros deal with your website’s design and creation since you want to leave the best first impression on your visitors.

From here, you can then proceed to strategize which digital marketing platforms, like organic search, paid search, or content marketing to invest in.

Social Media Is Your Best Friend

94% of Canadian adults are on at least one social media networking site. This should already tell you that social media platforms are a treasure trove of potential customers and revenues.

But which sites? Just because your neighbour down the street is on these sites doesn’t mean you should sign up for all of them. That can be a waste of time and resources on your part.

You do, however, need to have a presence on Facebook – ranked as the most popular social network amongst all Canadian consumers, young and old alike. With your brand marketing on this social media platform, you can showcase what your business has to offer to over 23.5 million adult consumers.

Work With the Pros

Anyone can build a website, sign up on social media, and curate web content. But not everyone can do them excellently. And that difference between a mediocre and a top-of-the-line brand presence can make or break any brand.

As such, you should include working with professional digital marketers into your marketing budget allocation. These people (like our crew!) keep abreast of all the changes in the digital marketing industry – like those thousands of algorithm updates Google rolls out every year.

Something to consider: If you raised your eyebrows at the term “algorithm updates” because you don’t have any inkling as to what it means, that’s a good sign you should turn to the pros for help.

It’s All About the Right Combination of Marketing Platforms

For a business to succeed, it needs both traditional and digital marketing. It’s not a matter of what wins in the traditional marketing vs digital marketing battle.

It’s more of choosing the right platforms from both types of marketing and then allocating the correct budget for each.

Need more information on which platforms are right for you? We can help. Connect with us, and we’ll be more than happy to answer all your burning questions!

Branding Strategy 101: How to Effectively Brand Anything

According to a recent survey, 8 out of 10 Canadians belong to a brand’s loyalty program. A proper branding strategy is one of the most important assets to have — from a non-profit to products, to businesses, to people. It can literally make or break your success.

Branding is not your website, logo, product, or service. It is what people say about you when you are not around. Your brand is your the feeling or perception that you create with your target market.

The problem is that it can be hard as a small business, you have to start unknown and compete against large recognizable brands that have huge budgets and dedicated followers.

You need to know clearly how to build a brand and execute a proper branding strategy in order for people to trust you and your brand, no matter what it is that you are branding.

Look no further, because we have all the information here on how to brand anything effectively, build trust and achieve your goals. Read on!

What Is a Branding Strategy?

A brand strategy is a detailed, strategic plan that incorporates long-term goals that are achieved as your brand evolves. Whether it is branding an idea, business, yourself or a charity, you need a well thought out branding strategy!

This includes and affects all aspects of your idea, and connects with the audience’s wants, needs, emotions, and environment. If you are branding a charity, for example, you need to connect with people who have similar emotions towards your cause.

As said above, your brand is not your logo, nor your website, your products, causes, services, or even name. Your brand is the feeling that other people get before, during, and after their interaction with your brand.

Your brand is not a to-do list, it is what people are saying about you when you are not around!

Identify The Three Core Components

These three core components will become the blueprint of your brand building and help you stay focused as your ideas evolve.

Consistency

Without this, your brand will have a hard time surviving. Avoid talking about anything or posting anything that does not have to do with your ultimate branding vision.

When posting anything to the public, first think to yourself these important questions:

  • Does this align with my message?
  • What does this mean for my company/charity/cause/idea?
  • Wil this confuse anyone, or discourage them from interacting with my brand?

Making sure that your message is consistent with all your branded communications will ignite loyalty within your audience and will begin relationships.

Purpose

Every brand makes a promise, but it is the purpose that your brand declares that will really grasp the attention and loyalty of your prospective audiences.

Knowing your “why” is so much more meaningful to the audience. This is a message from your heart to others about what gets you out of bed to share this idea and this passion with the world.

When your audience knows and relates to your purpose, they will feel an instant connection to you and your brand.

Your brand will be observed in a few different dimensions, and understanding these will help you really express the core of your brand in a way that customers recognize.

Intentional: relates success to your ability to do good for the world and the money you get from that intention is a by-product. This can set your brand apart from others in the same industry.

This is a big focus for those who are branding their charity or cause.

Functional: relates success to how much money or attention your brand is making, focused on a financial objective in mind.

If you are branding a travel destination, think of how many new tourists you want to attract each year, what revenue that tourism will generate each year, and all other aspects of tracking tourism results.

If you need inspiration, do some competitor research and check out the other brands that you admire.

Emotional Impact

Emotion breeds connection, and creating a brand strategy will help you nurture that emotion. When you draw in emotion, you can effectively brand anything.

In order to do that, you need to know exactly who your target audience is. Some examples would be:

  • Single mom’s ages 25-35 who work from home.
  • College students working and studying overseas.
  • 50-year-old men, going through a midlife crisis.
  • Seniors who want to travel more, but are too afraid.
  • People suffering from arthritis, as your product makes it easier to open jars and do daily tasks without pain.

The objective is to understand their behaviours, lifestyles, and needs. This will help to create an emotional with your audience.

People have an innate desire to be understood and belong to something greater than themselves. This is what leads to making irrational, emotionally-based decisions, such as someone selling everything they own and co-running an animal sanctuary on the other side of the world, or starting up a charity providing dental work for less priveleged people in their community.

Incorporating the psychological need to feel connected and belong, which is on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, establishes a connection with others so strong that nothing will break their loyalty.

Appreciate Loyalty

You now understand the importance of developing loyal customers, but the most important part to understand is that you have to show your appreciation for that loyalty.

Some people will go out of their way and become self-made brand ambassadors for you. Think of a brand you absolutely love. How do you talk about that brand to others? Do you find yourself convincing other people to switch to that brand as well?

We want nothing more than to feel appreciated, so do something to express your appreciation for a customer’s loyalty. A handwritten thank-you note, a swag bag, and a shout out on social media are all ways to show your gratitude.

Competitor Awareness

Do you know who your competition is? Since you share a similar target market, you need to have a good awareness of who you are up against. Have a good, hard look at your competition, and notice what they are doing right, as well as what they are doing wrong.

Implement their successful traits into your own brand, and learn from their mistakes. This is also a great chance to learn what makes you different than your competitors, the more unique you are, the more you stand out from the crowd.

Be Flexible

After you finish branding your idea, charity, product or business, understand that this is not set in stone! In brand building, you will encounter times where you need to tweak your brand. Understand this, and accept those times where you need to make adjustments.

Learn More About Branding Your Ideas Today!

If this article struck a chord with you, realizing that you need to adjust your branding strategy, do not worry!

Re-branding is very common, and we are here to help! Feel free to contact us at any time, and we would be happy to assist you with your branding strategy to help your brand make a splash in your market!

Digital Marketing for Startups: 5 Tips for Success

Are you a new business owner? If you are, digital marketing should be on your mind. Marketing is essential to the success of your business, and with so many digital options at your fingertips, you’ve got plenty of places to start.

That large range of choices can be overwhelming though. That’s why we’re here to help. Digital marketing may seem like a giant squid to tackle, but really it’s a great opportunity to get your name out and let your customers get to know you.

Most of the world uses some digital format for interaction these days, and you’ve got to use that to your advantage. Digital marketing for startups is no different than marketing for existing companies. As long as you know the digital world, you can own it like you’ve been around forever.

Keep reading for five tips that will get you started on your way to marketing success.

1. Use Email Marketing

Email provides a great avenue for marketing, so don’t be afraid to use it. While we all get tons of emails we don’t want, we’ve all probably ended up clicking on some of them.

Email campaigns are a great way to get the word out, whether it’s through an email blast to potential customers, or an email sent to users who’ve signed up to receive your communications.

Newsletters and updates are great ways to stay in contact with your customers. Regular interaction reminds your customers of your company and services, keeping them in their mind.

Boring emails won’t leave a good impression, though. You want to send content that is high-quality and memorable. Start with a subject line that engages your customer. Make it catchy and interesting.

Do you have a sale coming up? Or is there an event that customers should know about Maybe you have a new product coming and want to create some excitement? Email marketing is great for all of these things.

Use persuasion throughout your email and make it easy to read. Bullet lists and headings are great for this. Small paragraphs help too. Let your email readers dive in and then point out the benefits of what you’re offering — don’t forget to optimize your emails for mobile viewing and make sure you’re using an email marketing platform so you don’t seem spammy!

If you’ve created a brand image (and you should have), emails are a great place to get this image out and on the minds of customers.

Lastly, you have to think about CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation) and make sure that you are compliant with this legislation.

2. Host a Giveaway or Contest

Giveaways and contests are great ways to engage customers in a way that they will remember. Events like this are highly interactive, unlike many forms of traditional marketing.

Due to the level of interaction and fun, this is a great startup marketing strategy. You’ll leave a great impression on people who are getting to know your company. You can even make it strategic by giving away your actual services so that you end up gaining entries from interested parties — which can then become leads!

Freebies go a long way, especially if your free items also happen to include your brand. Show your customers you are generous and fun and that you love to interact with them.

Digital platforms are great for giveaways and contests. They’ll bring traffic to your site and encourage sharing on social media. Have fun with these events, and make them unique to you. Services, coupons, freebies, items, and more can be given out to customers. And you know what? They’ll love it, whatever you give them.

People like to reflect on fun events, so give them a positive memory that they’ll immediately associate with your brand.

3. Use Social Media

If you aren’t using social media to market your business, you’re missing out on a lot of exposure. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn all provide great platforms for digital marketing. These sites get people talking and sharing content from your site — especially when using authentic videos and images.

Social media sites are great for communicating with your customers. Reach out, and when they reply, make sure you keep up the conversation! Many customers will appreciate this one-on-one attention.

Social can be particularly helpful for local marketing since they can be used to get the word out about in-person events and sales.

4. Invest in Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital to the success of your company online. Without it, you might as well ditch your plans for a website. With thousands of other websites vying for the top spots in Google’s search results, you’ve got to know how to compete.

The internet is powerful and you’ve got to know how to play its game. Knowing what people will search for is a huge part of that. SEO uses specific keywords to make sure you show up in searches when and where you want to. Do your research and make sure you’re implementing this strategy or you may find your website lost in the never-looked-at pages of search results.

5. Learn From Competitors

Competitors’ websites and social media channels are great places to learn about what’s working and not working when it comes to marketing. Whether you provide services, goods, or content, sites that produce the same thing can tell you a lot.

As you research your competitors, look at what works as well as what doesn’t work. Check out their products, prices, and quality. Are people happy with them? Do customers interact with them? If so, why? What makes them want to ask questions or communicate with the company?

Looking at how business-customer interactions occur is highly relevant as well. Consider every aspect of what you see on a competitor’s site, then apply what you’ve found out in your own marketing.

Digital Marketing for Startups: A Review

We’ve listed several examples of digital marketing strategies that you should find helpful as you get your business up and running.

Marketing for mature companies may seem different than digital marketing for startups, but it really doesn’t have to be. Take these ideas and hit the ground running, and nobody will suspect you’ve just come on the scene.

Whichever way you decide to start your marketing, go about it like you mean it. Half-hearted marketing won’t get you anywhere, but purposeful marketing will.

Utilize fun events, social media, email, and other outlets to gain brand awareness and interact with customers — you’ll be seeing success sooner than you might think.

For additional information on marketing in the digital age, dive in and contact us today.

5 Essential Digital Marketing Solutions to Help Drive Traffic

Digital advertising expenditures reached 4.8 billion CAD in 2016.

In fact, the digital world is only expanding. As time goes on, your digital marketing strategies will only become more essential to your business.

Think of it this way; digital marketing strategies are the new billboards of the world. Here are 8 essential digital marketing solutions to drive traffic to your business today.

1) Make Search Engine Optimization Your Friend

Search Engine Optimization commonly referred to as ‘SEO’, is essential for driving organic traffic to your website. By literally “optimizing” your site to Google’s ranking and sorting preferences, you’ll be able to increase your traffic and audience reach.

Readability

You’ll want to start by making your website readable and easy to understand. Aim for a reading level of grade 8 or below, unless you’re offering a technical or specialized product or service. Be sure that any specific services you offer, especially ones related to a specialty industry, are easily understood by visitors.

Consumers come to you for a service or product that they cannot or don’t have the time to complete themselves. Aim your copy at this fact, reminding visitors why your brand is the best choice.

Using Keywords

Another area of SEO that is important to address is the use of keywords. You’ll want to come up with a list of keywords and phrases related to your website and business. Next, to start ranking for these words on Google and other search engines, you’ll want to ensure use of these words throughout your website.

Be careful of “overstuffing” keywords. Use them in-context and clearly to best show search engines the relevance and high-quality content your website provides.

There’s a lot more to SEO than these few tips. Take some time to delve into more SEO tactics for your website or partner with SEO experts to improve your results.

2) Connect with News Giants

While optimizing your own website is essential to driving traffic, you can’t do it alone. Search engines prefer websites to be “backed” by other known and trusted websites.

When trusted websites link back to your website, search engines learn to trust your website a little more. This is known as landing backlinks! While there are many unethical ways to land backlinks, that doesn’t mean backlinks themselves are bad.

Aim to partner with journalists, other brands, and bloggers to be featured and linked to from their platforms. By creating media pitches and news releases, you can make your company and services easily accessible.

Remember that these parties are often in need of content to publish, and your brand could be the next big post for them.

3) Social Media: Your Free Consumer Contact

Still today, brands are increasingly using social media as a tactic to connect with buyers. In addition to time-specific promotions, keeping a consistent schedule of regular content keeps your brand present in the mind of your target audiences.

People are receptive to brands on social media and brands continue to expand their presence on these sites. By 2015, over 90 percent of Canadian marketers promoted their brand’s presence on Facebook.

Social media has become an increasingly popular way for consumers and potential buyers to keep up with and follow their favourite brands and companies.

As far as traffic goes, traffic from social media sites is second only to organic search traffic from SEO. With easy link-sharing, social media pairs audience contact with unlimited sharability.

4) Have A Clear-Cut Branding Strategy

It’s next to impossible to come up with an effective solution without a clear-cut branding strategy. What kind of business do you have? How do you want to brand it? Be sure to determine whether you want a personal or corporate brand to be the backbone of your business.

But what’s the difference? A personal branding strategy relies on your own identity and individuality. Products and services are often signed with your name, and you’re the main, if not only, point of contact. This is a popular strategy for bloggers and consultants.

A corporate branding strategy, however, creates a brand around a third-party company name. This is great for partnerships or corporations with multiple shareholders.

5) Create a Consumer Persona

Create an ideal target persona to better orient your content and pitches. Also known as a target audience persona, using targeted tactics can increase website traffic by appealing to someone personally.

You’ll want to be as specific as possible when creating this persona. Know all of their details: their gender, likes, dislikes, age, income, and as much as possible about their lifestyle. Then, figure out how your business’s products, services, or blog fit into that lifestyle.

Lastly, explore the best options for reaching that target persona. Use market research and current consumer surveys to see what mediums, websites, stores, and brands your target public is loyal to.

Next, aim your following promotion toward those mediums and channels. That’s where you’ll want to focus your time and energy.

Consult the Experts for Digital Marketing Solutions

Working on your own in-house digital marketing solutions and goals are a must. But sometimes, consulting an expert is just what you need to get your business on the right track.

Hiring a Brand and Search Engine Marketing agency can give you the time flexibility and expertise you need to drive real traffic and customers. At the very least, exploring different agency options can give you background information essential to crafting your own solutions.

Ready to start researching digital marketing agency options? Here’s what to consider when exploring an agency option.