Is a Full-service Digital Marketing Agency Right for You?

Is a full-service digital marketing agency right for you? Let’s look at some considerations:

Is your marketing currently being handled by yourself, perhaps with an employee assisting and then with some of it outsourced? What kind of efficiencies are you losing and what kind of in-house time that could be more profitably allocated to focusing on operational/expansion efforts?

Are the people handling the different aspects of your digital marketing all experts in their part of it? Digital advertising? Content creation? SEO? Website development? Email marketing? No one person can keep up with all of this and keep abreast of all the changes happening in the industry at the same time.

Is there coordination between all the different aspects? For example, are there regular blogs being written for SEO and utilized to solicit backlinks (valuable for SEO) that are also linked to for social media and potentially referenced in emails as well? 

Is there time to really dive into analytics to understand the customer journey, how well each marketing avenue is working, and what tweaks need to be made at each juncture to increase sales even more? A full-service digital marketing agency understands they will be judged on the metrics that are reported from each aspect of the marketing they are doing on behalf of your business.

With a full-service digital marketing firm the primary focus will be on getting the best results for clients so their efforts do not come after they work on other responsibilities first. That way you can rest assured that your marketing is a top priority and not an afterthought. 

A full-service digital marketing agency can save you money. Not only will they understand how to maximize your messaging and money, with the right level of Search Engine Optimization and an understanding of long tail keywords, bid amounts on Pay Per Click advertising will drop significantly. Strategic long tail keywords will also allow you to target more effectively, increasing your conversions vs. just initial impressions.

 

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Targeting keywords in your blogging strategy

Achieving a high rank in search engines should be the goal of every business with a website. And since that should be every business, it’s crucial that all aspects of your website be optimized.

But let’s start at the beginning – what are keywords?

They’re the words we speak or type when we’re looking for something. It can be just a single word or a phrase or just a list of words. Long-tail keywords are those with more than one word.

Search engines want to give people the best reply to their query so it pulls those websites that seem to answer the question best. And how does it know? It knows because:

  1. Those websites load and function great on all devices
  2. The headlines have those keywords
  3. The images are described in tags with those keywords
  4. They have a lot of those same words in their content
  5. There is a lot of new, relevant content being added
  6. The website is linked to from a lot of other reputable websites (backlinks)

Let’s concentrate on #5 for a minute. Much of the new, relevant content on websites comes in the form of blogs. The sole purpose of blogs should be to answer questions customers or potential customers might have, as well as provide more in-depth information on your products or services. But your ulterior motive should be to use the keywords you are targeting with enough frequency to add to your credibility as a reliable source for questions that include those keywords.

Your list of keywords can start with the obvious ones related to your business. It can be expanded with terms related to your business but not exclusively about it. If you have an insurance company, you can have terms about insurance, but also financial well being, trusts, wills and other related subjects.

You won’t use all of them when writing a blog – just focus on one or two that are related. But it will give you a list of topics to work from.

And it should go without saying that the writing should stay natural and not force words into an article that seem out of place. Take advantage of the meta description – additional text that appears in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and lets the reader know what the link is actually about. Try to link the blog internally – that is, if you have information about a particular product, and then you delve into an aspect of that product with a blog, use a link on your website to guide the reader to the blog. You can also link from your social media accounts to your blogs.

Sound confusing? Spot can help you implement a blogging strategy or take over the whole process if you like. Let us know if you’d like to learn more!

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Accurate and consistent online directory listings are crucial for website optimization and SEO

website optimization

People don’t talk about it as much as PPC of website optimization, but your online listings in the various directories are a crucial component for your digital footprint. What do people see about your business when they go to Yelp? What if they ask Alexa for a nearby business that offers what you do? Driving and want to see businesses through MapQuest? If you’re not listed or your listing is not accurate, you’re missing out.

Not only do all your listings need to be claimed, but you also need to make sure they are all consistent and that important information like hours are kept up-to-date. Not only does this provide accurate information for current and potential customers, it adds to your local Search Engine Optimization.

A company like Spot Color Marketing that can create comprehensive listings for you with your business information, logo, photos, etc. where applicable, will help ensure you’re not missing any piece of the online puzzle. And with more than 80 different directories in the United States, it’s a huge undertaking to find them all yourself and try to keep them accurate.

Spot can even make your business voice search ready, with automatic distribution of the information to Amazon Alexa, Apple, Bing, Google, and more. This gives you a huge and immediate boost in local ranking, search, and reach!

Then as things change for your business such as hours, or new products/services, all the directories can be updated on a regular basis. A monthly report will show you what’s being done and the search analytics around your directories. Messaging through them will also be enabled so members of the public can reach out to you through the ones that offer that service such as Yelp.

Here’s a partial listing of the directories we work with: Banks.com, LocalPages, Instagram, Facebook, Superpages, D&B Database, ShowMeLocal, GoLocal247, ChamberofCommerce.com, TripAdvisor, Postmates, Top Rated Local, Amazon Alexa, Foursquare, Yelp, Citysearch, Apple, Yahoo!, Waze, Google My Business, Nextdoor, Snapchat, White & Yellow Pages, Uber, TomTom, Bing, eLocal, MapQuest and many more.

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What are the elements to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and why does it matter?

Search Engine Optimization

The statistics say it all – according to Search Engine Journal 93% of online experiences begin by visiting a search engine. And 75% of those searching won’t go past the first page when searching on Google. And you need those clicks, traffic and ultimately conversions. So how do you get there? Here are the elements that go into your ranking.

  1. You can buy your way on with Pay Per Click ads that will appear first when people type in the keyword(s) you’re paying for
  2. You can ensure your website is optimized – that means having a professional look at everything from the words used in headlines, to the description of photos (meta tags) to the relevance of the copy overall to the frequency and inclusion of potential search terms in new copy you’re adding in the form of blogs. It also must load fast and have other favorable metrics.
  3. Your website must also be optimized for mobile – that is, very easy to read on a mobile phone as there is “credit” for that with optimization.
  4. You can promote your website/blog content through social media
  5. You can find partners to create backlinks – that is, provide them with valuable information they can use that will result in people clicking through to your website.
  6. You can have an editorial story done (through a press release or other means) that rises to a high position

So how can you compete?

  1. You can create long tail keywords that won’t generate as many results overall, but will allow you to compete against the big guys, especially if your industry is dominated by big players. Amazon makes 57% of its sales through long tail keywords, so it works. Turns out long tail keyword conversion rates are almost always higher because people are looking for something specific, not general, which usually means they’ve already done some research and are moving on to the consideration/buy phase.
  2. Create adwords that address a searcher’s intent – if someone is searching for “best CRM” are they searching for a single company or an article that compares multiple companies? So even if companies claiming they have the “best CRM” show up in the results, your ad is the one they will click on because it promises information that lines up with the searcher’s intent.
  3. Write blogs and publish them often, and make them long enough to matter. In-depth content with examples and images, step-by-step information, unique and valuable – these are the elements to blogs that matter. And the good news? Content marketing is 62% less than other marketing and generates 3x the leads.
  4. Alternatively, you can also write articles, create an infographic, a podcast, or a video.
  5. Get included in “round up” articles – where a top-ranked author examines several companies in your industry. As that article rises, so does your positive visibility if you are reviewed favorably.

Spot Color Marketing is well-positioned to assist you with all aspects of SEO and guide you through the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.

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The 5 Best Search Engine Optimization Practices to Increase your Ranking

You created an amazing piece of content for your website, but you’re not getting the views you expected. What do you do? Our digital marketing experts at Spot have a few suggestions for revising your content that will boost your search engine optimization efforts.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a continuously evolving landscape and one that is difficult to master. Here at Spot, we understand the importance of quality SEO practices when it comes to getting your content seen by relevant searchers. With that in mind, our digital marketing staff has put together a brief list of the best SEO practices to increase your website’s ranking.

Search Engine Optimization

1. Research Keywords & See What’s Relevant to Searchers

Knowing what keywords lead visitors to your site is vital for quality SEO. When you know what brought users to your site, you can begin tailoring content to those keywords to get those who are clicking through to your website to come back in the future. Understanding what your audience is looking for builds trust and reliability within your brand. It also positions you as an industry leader when you begin to answer questions your consumers didn’t know they had.

2. Create Quality Backlinks

Creating quality backlinks is a very important step in search engine optimization. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a backlink is an incoming link from one webpage to another. The crucial part of creating backlinks to improve your SEO is ensuring that the ones you use are high-quality. In other words, good backlinks come from authoritative sites and are also relevant to the site on which you are linking. It’s far more important to go for quality rather than quantity when it comes to generating backlinks, as low-quality links can actually be harmful for your SEO. By creating valuable backlinks, you increase your organic ranking on search engines and generate what’s known as ‘referral traffic,’ both of which are beneficial to your site’s performance. To start building backlinks of this quality, try writing compelling blog content for your site that others will want to link to or finding similar, relevant blogs to guest write for.

Search Engine Optimization

3. Publish Captivating Titles & Descriptions

Catching the attention of readers is crucial, and working hard to create an eye-catching title also grabs the attention of search engine algorithms. Take the keywords you found during your research and insert them into your titles and descriptions to help raise your ranking. The algorithms that crawl your content tend to look for verbiage that relates to the keywords a user would type into a search engine. Your content is more likely to pop up in a searcher’s results if you use the same valuable keywords in both your title and meta description, the preview text under a result that tells searchers what the page is about.

4. Use Keywords Strategically

There are many other ways to strategically use keywords, including mentioning them within the first paragraph of your content and assigning keywords to pages. The more you can naturally use your keywords the better. Just be careful not to “stuff” keywords throughout your content; many algorithms will penalize your site for using this tactic. Strategic keyword usage is all about using keywords in a natural way to provide substance to your content. Stuffing your pages full of the same words repeatedly is not only boring but also produces low-quality content that algorithms skip over – something we all want to avoid!

Search Engine Optimization

5. Work on Visual Optimization

Our last suggestion for strong SEO is to ensure your content is also visually appealing. Try adding images, bullet points, or numbered lists to help break up your content. In addition to adding vibrancy to your page, this tactic makes your content readable. Looking at too much text on a digital screen creates eye fatigue. To help combat this, many content creators add visual breaks by separating paragraphs with multiple lines, bolding important information, or inserting multimedia.

Increasing your SEO ranking is no easy feat. We encourage you to reach out to us with your questions at any time. If you’re looking to begin your SEO journey but don’t know where to start, you can receive a complimentary SEO audit from our staff. We’ll help you build a plan from there!

Are you doing anything now to help your website’s SEO ranking? Let us know in the comments below!

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Marketing and Website Evaluation in Your Spring Cleaning

Website Evaluation

As a business owner, staying current is of utmost importance. You want to stay on top of the latest marketing trends. You want to make sure your inventory is up to date. You want to make sure your employees continue to provide the highest level of service and courtesy.

So when evaluating the state of your business, don’t neglect your website and digital marketing plan.

You should perform one of these evaluations, at the minimum, at least once per year. Spring is the season of rebirth and new growth, making it an excellent time to evaluate your marketing strategy. When doing so, here are some key factors to consider during the “spring clean-up” of your business’s online presence and the performance of your website.

Traffic report: Compare your traffic to that from one month ago, or one year ago at this time. Determine if there is an increase or decrease and, if so, what led to the change. What pages or content are producing the most traffic? What are the top external sources driving traffic to your site? Are they coming from search engines? And if so, which ones? This can help you tweak your marketing strategy.

Location, location, location: What is the geographic location of the visitors to your site? Are the majority of them close to your home base?

Be brutally honest: Take a look at what aspects of your plan are working and which are not. Is the original content on your site generating traffic? If so, why or why not? Do you have a social media presence? If so, how is it performing? Is the message of your branding consistent? Answering these questions honestly by looking at the hard data will give you the best course of action for the future.

All of the data regarding a website and its traffic can be overwhelming. However, we can perform an audit report on your website and search engine optimization at Spot Color Marketing. This report evaluates the rank and health of your website and, best of all, it’s absolutely free.

Spot Marketing is a Google Certified Partner and based in Portland, OR. We’re considered a premier digital marketing agency with clients Nationwide. If you are a business owner, entrepreneur and would like a free website audit for your site, contact us today by calling (503) 477-4355 or sending an email to spot@spotcolormarketing.com.

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Remarketing Lists: Revisits & Conversions

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)

 

Remarketing lists can become a driving force for sales in e-commerce.

The mission of remarketing is to capitalize on visitor’s previous interest in your website.

This is better than a general target approach, because there is proof of existing appeal.

Data is used to create customer segments of previous actions and interests to target.

Once you learn how to define a segment, it’s easier to capitalize on what they want.

What you want is increased action: more revisits and sales. Here is a guide to get there.

 

Collecting the data:

First tag your website, this will serve as the data collector.

The easiest way to collect the data is a container tag, which will track all the data operations on the website.

Place a container tag in the global header or footer to tag the entirety of your site.

This central tag will allow the webmaster to edit new tags, and adjust existing tags.

Manage tags using Google Tag Manager, and no new code will be necessary.

A Chrome extension, Google Tag Assistant will verify tags are working correctly.

The master container tag will ensure you collect data from all paths on your website.

 

How to use the data:

The data compiles visitor interactions, we use that to create specific target segments.

In AdWords go to the Shared Library tab, and create a remarketing tag to set up lists.

Each remarketing list needs 1000 cookies to start, this could take a few hours or weeks.

In Shared Library click on the Audiences tab, then choose people you want to add to each list by defining the rules based on specific landing pages.

These lists are based on what they were searching for/the actions taken on your site.

 

Top 3 Remarkets: General Visitors, Cart Abandoners, and Recent Conversions.

 

General Visitors is the least specific remarket.

The goal here is simple, increase frequency and quality of interactions.

This list is everyone that has visited your site.

Look at the data to see where they dead-end, and build a route to the shopping cart.

 

Shopping Cart Abandoners showed a willingness to buy, but hesitated at action.

The goal here is to bring them back, and convert on the missed opportunity.

Target your ads to what they almost bought, and target upgraded models.

This could be the push to turn them from prospect to customer.

To define this remarket, a custom combination list works best.

Choose everyone that has added an item to their cart, and then exclude everyone that has actually converted.

This will leave you with the correctly targeted segment.

For thought: A cart abandoner is more likely to buy from you than a first time visitor.

 

Recent Conversions are customers who have recently purchased from your website.

The goal here is to up-sell, and cross-sell from their previous purchases.

If say, they bought a tent on your site, target sleeping bags and ice chests in your ads.

They already have proven interest in your products, now show them the accessories.

Keep them coming back with enticing product appeal. Matching gear works best.

To define the remarket list, select customers who have purchased within 180 days.

 

(Your best remarkets are Cart Abandoners, and Recent Conversions. They have shown the most interest in your business. Keep their interest peaked, make them a priority.)

 

Raise your AdWords bids on your Remarkets.

Your remarkets have a higher chance of conversion, so they are our hot targets.

With AdWords bid modifier, you can more aggressively boost your visibility.

Bid for the two top slots in the search engine results. Start with a +100% modifier.

After you activate the modifier, adjust the number up or down to hit the top spots.

 

Broader Keywords and Match Types

Remarkets are high-intent customers, so broader keywords can have more reach.

A general campaign would find these keywords and match types too vague.

For instance, if a Cart Abandoner was close to a sales conversion on a hat from your site. It’s reasonable to target them with a broader term of “hat” instead of specific style.

Broader keywords work in this instance because remarkets already know style options.

For this strategy, you will want to create a new campaign only for remarkets.

Then add broad versions of your previous, and highly-competitive keyword matches.

As for all campaigns, check on progress and make adjustments to fully optimize.

 

-With these tips in mind you will go a long way to making your marketing efforts measure up and pay off. Need more help? We specialize in working on marketing strategies specifically for your industry. Give us a call at 503-477-4355, or visit us online @ www.spotcolormarketing.com

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Locations Near Me, SEM & Mobile Consumers

People are looking for information the moment they desire it. We are living in the age of the mobile consumer, and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is more important than ever. This should be a familiar experience to all of us. Looking for a coffee shop in a new location, your first instinct is to look around and see if anything is available right there. If that fails to produce results, no worries! Just search for a nearby location with that phone technology (probably already in hand.)

“Coffee near me,” that’s what I want, and I want it now. I’m ready to act on my purchasing desires, and that requires no planning. Now what company is web savvy enough to relay nearby location information to me quickly? If you’re SEM is optimized, you’ll be one of the first listings. I’m only giving away about ten to fifteen seconds of my time on a web page before I look to the next offer. Whoever has the combination of highest listing and smoothest web presence is primed to get that business. This is the case for most purchasable, not just consumables. Knowing you can search, and then immediately act has changed the game for consumers.

We sell ourselves on what we want before we even get to the store, a smooth web presence is a company’s best sales associate. Google has provided data supporting this consumer trend, the mobile data shows that half of all consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone will visit a store same day, and 18% of those searches will result in a purchase. 88% of “near me” searches are trafficked from mobile devices, and those mobile searches are growing at a rate of 146% a year.

The consumer journey is very much in the customer’s hands, figuratively and literally. Your company’s highest concern should be optimizing your SEM for mobile, and crafting a smooth road map to your location. Pair that with an easily searchable inventory guide, and you have given the consumer the tools to do the rest of the work for you. Are you ready to give them what they want, or will they have to look somewhere else?

-With these tips in mind you will go a long way to making your marketing efforts measure up and pay off. Need more help? We specialize in working on marketing strategies specifically for your industry. Give us a call at 503-477-4355, or visit us online @ www.spotcolormarketing.com.

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Portland SEO: Lousy Design Elements that Lead to Underwhelming Success

 

You’ve injected a healthy stream of funding into your pay-per-click and Portland SEO budget. You’ve got your email marketing completely dialed in. Your Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and AdWords are all streamlined and you are getting fantastic traffic to your site. This is where the momentum stalls and dies, and you’re not sure why.

 

As a Portland SEO, web design and digital marketing firm with a focus on strategy, implementation and conversions, we’re constantly running site audits to check for conversation rate issues. That is: a site’s ability to funnel traffic into goals (sales, leads, etc.).

 

For the purpose of this short post, we will visit six common mistakes, and how we will help you fix them.

 

1) Missing Phone Numbers 

 

In this mobile-centric generation, every website needs to have a clickable phone number front and center on its web site, ideally at the top of all pages. More and more people are ditching computers and using smart phones and tablets as their main tool for surfing the web. Having a clickable phone number prominent on the site saves your future customers a step when they need to phone you.

 

2) No lead-capture forms

 

Paired with a prominent phone number, a lead-capture form is a great way to connect with people who are comfortable submitting a web form. Saving customers from the added step of having to navigate to a “contact” link in your menu is crucial.

 

Even a simple web form will boost conversions.

 

We recommend that we create a variety of forms for your site and perform A/B testing on them to make sure you are using a form with the best conversion rates possible. We’ll also test your forms on a regular basis to ensure that they are working as expected.

 

3) Being nosey

 

When asking for personal information, you need to be direct and concise. Whenever possible, only ask for the basic contact information. The minimum information you absolutely need will differ from industry to industry, but you don’t want to make a user jump through a lot of hoops in an effort to contact you and you don’t want to make them uncomfortable with your form.

 

4) Bad UX

 

Lousy user experience (UX) shows itself in user flow, bounce rates and low conversion rates.

 

Recognizing underwhelming UX can be tricky, which is why we want to do this for you.

 

Some of the things we look for include: navigation, user flow, readability, content clarity, call-to-action and the site’s ability to direct the user to act.

 

 

5) Impotent call-to-action

 

Your business has a goal. Your online properties need to have goals too. Goals can include more traffic, online purchases, lead-gen, or phone calls. Your site needs a goal and you have to convey that goal to your users immediately upon entering your site. We call this a call-to-action. And we make these awesome for you. We’ll make sure your call-to-action stands out on the page, offers value, and makes it easy for the user to take the desired action … Boosting your conversions and your bottom line.

 

6) What’s in it for me? What about my needs?

 

Your visitors need to clearly and immediately see why they should do business with you and what is in it for them. Think: money back guarantee, free shipping, no obligation quotes, and so on. Knowing your customer and what appeals to them will make identifying their bottom line and your proposition easier to craft.

 

In Conclusion

 

As you can see, there are several reasons why your website may not be converting traffic. Take a moment to reach out to us, we would be happy to run an audit on your website and start the conversation on how we can help.

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Google: Facts (not links) are the future of PageRank

It’s been a year since marketing agencies started hearing buzz about Knowledge-Based Trust, a Google research paper outlining a proposal to score web sites according to the accuracy of facts. It didn’t take long for Knowledge-Based Trust to earn the nickname the “Truth Algorithm” due to its method of assigning a “Trust Score” to filter sites with erroneous or misleading information.

While the title of this post may be a little misleading (“Trust Score” plummets), the paper at least hints that trustworthiness might help sites rise in Google’s rankings if the algo begins measuring quality score by facts, not just links and content.

Here’s the problem: The internet is famous for gossip, untruth and misdirection. Discount Viagra websites make the front page of Google, and gossip sites touting “news” stories are a dime a dozen.

Google currently measures incoming links to a web site as a factor for ranking. Sites with lots of backlinks (among other factors) are ranked higher. The problem with this method is that it can be gamed to make websites like those mentioned above rise in rankings.

Now Google is testing a method to measure the trustworthiness of a site, rather than (solely) its inbound links and content. The model measures sites based on the number of incorrect facts. The outcome is a “Knowledge-Based Trust score”.

Currently, links are a huge reputation signal implying authority. Knowledge-Based Trust may be a direction the algorithm is heading in, focusing more on veracity of content and less on link signals.

As part of its discovery, the team: “…evaluated each website according to the following 4 criteria”:

  • Triple correctness: whether at least 9 triples are correct.
  • Extraction correctness: whether at least 9 triples are correctly extracted (and hence we can evaluate the website according to what it really states).
  • Topic relevance: we decide the major topics for the website according to the website name and the introduction in the “About us” page; we then decide whether at least 9 triples are relevant to these topics (g., if the website is about business directories in South America but the extractions are about cities and countries in SA, we consider them as not topic relevant).
  • Non-trivialness: we decide whether the sampled triples state non-trivial facts (g., if most sampled triples from a Hindi movie website state that the language of the movie is Hindi, we consider it as trivial).

The research paper goes on to explain five reasons why KBT isn’t yet ready to go live. What will happen once the team solves the five outstanding problems? As a Portland marketing agency, we will watch and report back… But watch out TMZ.

Can’t figure out what the heck this article is about or why it should matter to you? Call, click or come into our office and we will walk you through the details and how an updated marketing strategy will boost your bottom line.

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