Marketing Archives - Rock, Paper, Scissors

Posted 10 May 2017

The Perfect Pairing: SEO & Google Analytics

If you missed our recent webinar on SEO and Google Analytics, check out our recap below or watch the recording at the bottom of this post!

SEO & google analyticsHow many times have you opened up Google to search for a place to eat or find a particular product or service you need recently? If you’re like many others, you use Google or another search engine on a regular basis to find what you need. But how many times have you gotten results that weren’t relevant? It’s frustrating. Now, think about whether your own customers may have experienced the same before they found you. That’s why it’s important to know what SEO and Google Analytics are and how using each can help you improve your site for your audience, as well as your search engine ranking.

SEO & Google Analytics

 

So what is SEO? SEO, or search engine optimization, is defined by Yoast as “the practice of optimizing websites to make them reach a high position in Google’s – or another search engine’s – search results.” SEO focuses on organic, or non-paid, results. There are quite a few things you can do to improve your website’s SEO, which we’ll cover later on. Before we get to that, there’s one thing we want you to keep in mind: SEO is a lot like eating a healthy diet. You don’t automatically lose 50 pounds. It’s a slow process that will pay dividends if you are persistent.

SEO & google analytics

The core of best practices for SEO hasn’t changed in over 10+ years that we have been talking about it. However, that’s not to say that Google algorithms haven’t changed. They typically change because people are trying to find a shortcut for getting results. Some of the things people have attempted in the past include:

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How does Google pull the results when people search for a certain word or phrase? The simple explanation is that Google will look for new content with those keywords and phrases, as well as people coming to your site in order to determine how you rank.

SEO & Google analytics

 

With that in mind, there are some SEO best practices you’ll want to keep in mind as you optimize your site in order to see improvement in your search engine ranking:

  • Regularly update your website to make sure it is current. It’s never “done.”
    SEO & Google analytics
  • Create new content that your audience wants to hear that is relevant to the work you are doing. Some examples of content that tend to work well include answering frequently asked questions, helping your audience solve a problem, and sharing important or helpful news, among others. 
  • Make sure keywords have been added to page titles, descriptions, headings and content, image titles, and image alt text.
    SEO & Google analytics

This brings us to Google Analytics. As a reminder, Google Analytics is a free service that can help you keep track of what’s happening on your site. It’s especially helpful for measuring if your SEO is working by providing the following information:

  • Site Traffic: This is the number of visitors and visits your website receives. We recommend comparing the current month to the previous month, as well as the current year to the previous year, to check for any major increases or decreases in traffic. This will help you determine what types of content on your site at those specific times were resonating with your audience and drawing in new visitors.
  • Traffic sources: As we mentioned earlier, it’s all about organic traffic when it comes to SEO. Traffic sources can include direct traffic, search engines, social media, email marketing, referral traffic, and more. Once you know what’s leading your visitors to your site, you can make adjustments accordingly. For example, if the bulk of your traffic is from social media, you might want to refocus your efforts to SEO to improve your organic traffic.
    SEO & Google analytics
  • Keywords: We can see some of the words people are typing into search engines that lead them to your site. This is a good baseline to see if your organic traffic is coming to your site based on the content and messages that are being sent out.
  • Acquisition: Acquisition doesn’t really tell you much, but it is useful in showing how much of your traffic is organic and can help you determine which online marketing tactics are best for bringing traffic to your site.
  • Page Monitoring: Page monitoring allows you to see the content pages visitors are coming to you through.


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We always recommend a good mix when it comes to content creation. You’ll want to put new content on your website for people to find you from Google, but you can help this cause out by also driving people to your website using social media, email marketing, and digital advertising, just to name a few.  Having a marketing plan in place will be extremely helpful in helping you determine your content themes and ensuring you have a nice mix for your content. To help make this a habit, create a content calendar with specific days and times for sending out your content updates.

Hopefully we have helped you better understand SEO and Google Analytics and why these are very important for understanding what drives people to your website and how to keep them coming back. As always, we welcome your questions so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

 

Posted 10 Apr 2017

Instagram: Who, What, Why, and Where Part 2

We’re back with part two of our Instagram webinar recap. Be sure to check out part one of our recap or watchthe recording below. 

Promoting Your Content

Instagram for business

As we mentioned earlier, a business account on Instagram allows you the ability to promote your content in order to reach a larger audience and potentially gain more followers. In addition to putting your content in front of more users, promoting a post gives you the ability to give a very direct call to action. Once you’ve chosen a call to action, you can select a target audience by setting a location, interests, age, and gender; or you can allow Instagram to choose for you. If you’ve linked your account to your Facebook page, you can use your default Facebook audience. Then, you can either select one of the budget options or set your own budget, as well as the duration for the promotion. Finally, you’ll get to review your order and enter  your payment method. If your account is connect to your Facebook page, your default method for Facebook should carry over so you don’t have to enter new information. Click “Promote” and you’re done.

Instagram marketing

 

Instagram Ads

So what’s the difference between a promoted post and an Instagram ad? For starters, you create ads in your Facebook ads manager settings which allows you to run the same ad on both platforms. Ads allow you to choose more specific marketing objectives in the categories of Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. Once you’ve chosen your specific objective, you choose your audience settings, placements (where you want your ads to be shown) – which can be customized or you can use the automatic settings, and then define your budget and schedule your ads.


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Next, you’ll choose a format for your ads such as a single image, single video, slideshow, etc., and then make sure your Instagram page is connected. After that, you add in your text and preview the post. Once everything looks good, you place your order and you’re all set.

Growing Your Audience

Instagram

When it comes to building an audience, there are several ways you can work to grow your audience. The best way is to have conversations with your audience, so respond to their comments and/or like them. Some other good tips for growing your followers include:

  • Creating a bio that accurately describes your business and explains why people should follow you, as well as what they can expect from you.
  • Following and engaging with other users that post content related to  your brand, business, or industry. Searching relevant hashtags is one of the easiest ways to do this.
  • Cross-promoting on your other social media profiles.
  • Using hashtags to help your content gain traction.
  • Running a giveaway or contest and ask followers to share about it with their followers.

Determining Success

Instagram

Now that you’ve created your profile and starting posting content, you’re probably wondering how to tell if your efforts are working. Everyone with a business account will be able to see four things about each post:

  1. Impressions – The total number of times a post has been seen.
  2. Reach – The number of unique accounts who saw the post.
  3. Engagement – The number of unique accounts that liked, saved, or commented on a post.
  4. Saved – The number of unique accounts that saved a post.

These four points can give you a good idea of the types of content your audience is interested in, but if you want even more information, you’ll want to reach 100 followers as quickly as you can. Once a business account reaches 100 followers, Instagram will allow you to see the demographic information regarding your followers in terms of location, age, and gender. Having that information in hand can help you improve your content strategy so you are producing content your audience is more likely to engage with.

We hope you feel more comfortable with the idea of using Instagram. As always, feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, and if you are already on Instagram, you can follow us @rps123shoot!

Posted 06 Apr 2017

Instagram: Who, What, Why, and Where Part 1

Did you miss our recent Instagram webinar? Start getting caught up now by watching the recording below or reading part one of our recap. 

You’ve probably heard a lot about Instagram in the past year or so, but for many business owners this social sharing platform is still a new concept. If you’re not familiar with it, you’ve probably wondered not only what Instagram is, but also how you use it and why it’s relevant to your business.

What is Instagram?

Instagram for business

 

Instagram is a photo sharing phone app that allows users to share pictures and videos with the public or only to the users they allow to follow them. The app is free to use and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. According to Hootsuite, since launching in 2010 Instagram has become “the go-to platform for visual storytellers around the globe.” The platform recently reached a milestone of 600 million unique monthly users.

Who uses it?

Instagram marketingWho makes up for these visual storytellers? Research from Tracx has revealed that Instagram’s users are predominantly female, with 38% of women online using the platform while only 26% of men online are using it. The majority of Instagram’s users (90%) are under the age of 35, and over half of them follow specific brands.

Setting Up Your Account

Now that you know what Instagram is and who uses it, it’s time to set it up. Simply open the app store on your phone and search for Instagram and opt to install it. Once the app has successfully installed on your device, you’ll need to open it and create your account. You can either register with email or with Facebook. If you choose to register through Facebook, you’ll need to log into your account if you’re not already logged in. After you’ve registered, you’ll be taken through a series of step to create a username and password, and then to fill out your profile info. You can also create an account on your computer, but you won’t be able to load images to the app from your desktop or laptop.

Instagram offers two types of accounts – a personal account and a business account. Business accounts offer great advantages like the ability to create calls to action, promote posts, and even create ads, so it’s important to choose the business account as you’re setting up your account.

Instagram

If you have a personal and business Instagram account, you can flip between the two without having to logout and back in by adding your business account in your account settings. Click the Settings icon in the top right corner and scroll down to select “Add Account.” Then enter the username and password of the account you want to add. Once you’ve added the account, you can switch between them by going to your profile and tapping your username at the top of the screen and then tapping the username of the account you want to switch to.

Instagram

Choosing What to Post

Now that you’re account is set up you’re ready to start posting content and interacting with other users. Content can range from motivational and inspirational to practical ideas, helpful tips, a behind the scenes look at your company or even “shoppable” posts showcasing your merchandise and giving your audience the ability to purchase right from the app. It all just depends on your business goals and the type of information you want to share with your audience. For example, we use our Instagram primarily as a place to show off our office culture and behind the scenes fun as a way to reflect our some of our core values like learning and sharing, as well as playfulness, and of course, pictures of our office pups!

Instagram marketing

Presenting Your Content

Once you know the type of content you’re going to post, it’s time to determine how you’ll present it. You can opt for a single photo or you can upload a slideshow with up to 10 photos or videos. You can also upload a single video up to a minute in length. Once you’ve selected what you want to upload, you can use the filters and editing tools integrated into the app to crop, brighten, blur some of the image, or even turn the photo black and white. Take some time to play around with the app’s filters and editing features until you’ve achieved the look you want to portray with your image and aim to maintain a consistent look with you posts.

Developing Your Signature Look

Instagram

To create a consistent look, you need to determine what you want your style to be. This will help followers recognize your posts by the image and not just your name. Consider factors like your brand’s color scheme, words that describe what your style is and what your style is NOT. After you have that list down, choose a filter that best matches your style and use it to create your signature look. Be sure to document the process in your social media policy so no matter who is posting on your Instagram account, the look of each post is the same.

What to Say


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After you’ve loaded your content and applied any edits or filters, it’s time to add a caption. Similar to other types of advertising, your caption should be a short statement that supports or complements the image or video rather than text that describes it. In the caption you can also mention a person, brand, or company in the photo or video by tagging them. You can also include hashtags before specific words or phrases to help people easily find your content as you would on Twitter. Add a list of approved hashtags to your social media policy, as well as tone samples, to maintain consistency in your voice.

As you’re adding your caption, you’ll also want to tag the location where the photo was taken if appropriate. Finally, you can connect your Instagram feed to other social platforms, such as your organization’s Facebook or Twitter account, and elect to feed the post out to those platforms as well. Then, just click “Share” and your post will publish.

Instagram Stories

Instagram

Image Source: http://www.macworld.com/article/3104638/internet/how-to-use-instagram-stories-and-why-youd-even-want-to.html

You can also share content through Instagram Stories. Like a regular post, you can load pictures or videos, but they won’t show up in your regular feed. Instead, followers can view the content by clicking on your profile picture at the top of their feed and view your content in a slideshow-like format, but only for a limited period of time. Content posted in Instagram Stories will disappear after 24 hours. Instagram Stories are great if you want to post content in real time and even gives you the option to go live, so it’s great when you have information or ideas you want to share as they are happening on location. Another benefit of Instagram Stories is that people can’t directly comment on your post, so if you don’t want public commentary Instagram Stories is the way to go.

In Part 2, we’ll dig a little deeper into promoting your content on Instagram, growing your audience, and determining success. Stay tuned, and in the mean time, feel free to contact us with any questions!

Posted 15 Mar 2017

Less is More in Advertising: Part 2

Tips for Creating an Ad with Impact

We’re back and ready to continue our discussion on the “Less is More” approach to advertising. If you missed Part 1, check it out here, or you can watch the entire recording of the webinar in the video at the bottom of this post.

When we left off with Part 1, we shared three specific things an ad needs to do in order to resonate with an audience. To recap, an ad should: capture your audience’s attention; connect with them through clear messaging and images that tell the story or solve the problem; and create a reasonable call to action. Now, let’s take these three things we need an ad to do and look at a real world example.

Image Source: http://www.sovereignmediajp.com/images/slider/layer/3/bg.jpg

Billboards are a great example because the experience of seeing a billboard ad is something we have all seen and we all take it in the same – driving down the road. You can/should use the standards you see in billboard ads for any type of ad placement because this is part of advertising “best practices.” When you’re traveling down the highway at 65 miles per hour, you can’t do much other than remember the ad, so a billboard needs to leave a quick, clear, and impactful question. You can use the following tips and tricks to create an impactful ad with the less is more approach.

  • Get your message across in 6 words or less.

  • Know the type of response you want from your audience and advertise appropriately. Remember not all forms of advertising are good for direct responses.
  • Make sure your ad isn’t distracting. (This is mainly for billboards so you don’t cause accidents.)
  • Make sure your message is smart and fun, but not overly clever. Don’t make people wonder what point you’re trying to get across.

Image Source: http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2014/04/29/29-mad-men-pitches-quiz.w750.h560.2x.jpg

  • A picture is worth 1,000 words, so let your imagery tell the story.
  • Use your space wisely. Messaging and visuals should support one another and not be repetitive of each other.
  • Make sure your logo is sized appropriately. If it’s too big it may distract from the message. If it’s too small, people may not connect your brand with the ad.
  • Print your ad the size of a business card and hold it at arm’s length to make sure everything in your message comes across the same as it does on your computer screen. You can also print it larger and place it across the room.

  • Use the K.I.S.S (“Keep It Simple Stupid”) principle. Your ad should be so straightforward that it can speak to anyone.

We hope these tips will help you take a less is more approach when it comes to creating ads for your business. If you have any questions, send them our way and we’ll be happy to chat with you. Also, be sure to make plans to join us on March 15 at 12:30 pm EST for our next webinar where we’ll be discussing all things Instagram!

 

Posted 23 Feb 2017

Less is More in Advertising: Part 1

Did you miss our recent webinar on the “Less is More” approach to advertising? Read on to get caught up or watch the recording below!

  • Did you know that almost 60% of people will share articles on Twitter without actually reading them?
  • Or that over half of all pageviews are under one minute in length?
  • The average human’s attention span is 8 seconds long… that’s less than the attention span of a goldfish!

We live in a busy world and with such short attention spans among your audience, it means your ad has to make an impact. Some might think that means you have to cram every detail into the ad, but that’s not the case! If you only have 8 seconds to capture someone’s attention, you need to make the most of your ads and say as much as you can with as few words as possible with a “less is more” approach.

You may be creating an ad to get attention, but we are actually creating an ad to start or continue to build a relationship with your audience. To paint a picture of what this means, let’s walk through two hypothetical encounters with a friend.

 

In the first encounter, your friend walks up to you and downloads everything that has happened to them in the last month, without taking a breath for you to say anything. You are just standing there taking in for a good ten minutes. How do you feel when this happens? Overwhelmed? Not sure where to start? A lot of time encounters like this don’t feel like a two-sided relationship, and you can feel a bit used. Overtime, relationships like this can become toxic and end.

In a second encounter, your friend walks up, asks how you are doing and starts a conversation with you that fills you on on what they are doing and allows you ask questions and for you to share your updates as well. How does this encounter make you feel compare to the first?

When we are creating ads, we want to create more of that second experience. We want to create an ad that starts a conversation. That means taking into consideration where the conversation with your audience is taking place, what is surrounding that conversation and what may be competing for your audience’s attention, your audience’s culture, and more. All of this will not only help create those conversations, but also help form deeper connections and relationships with your audience.

Consider the golden days of advertising (the Mad Men era) compared to today’s advertising culture. In the past, you had small list of advertising options like print ads, television, radio, and billboards. Today you have all that plus a huge variety of internet ads, social media, apps on phones, ads in malls, YouTube, and the list goes on and on.

You also have to factor in consumer perception. In the past, people were very trusting of big brands and brand loyalty was unprecedented. Today’s audience was shaped by the Great Recession, which turned their lives upside down when these big brands were affected. People lost money, their jobs, and even their homes. The consumers of today are skeptical of clean, polished, and perfect companies because, from their experience, this type of business was deceptive and hurt them. They are looking for transparent companies that are not perfect and value honesty, will have a good conversation and not just hid behind a brand. This is important to know because when  you are communicating with your audience, the goal is to connect with them and build relationships that are good for both parties.

Keeping in mind where your audience is coming from, it’s important that you create an ad they will truly connect with. But in today’s culture, we’re inundated with ads everywhere we look and go. Think about all the digital ads in Times Square, the back pages of your favorite magazine, and even the ads in your internet browser.  With ads all over the place, you’ve got to cut through the clutter and stand out in a way that gives your end consumer an honest look at who you are. When you understand who you are connecting with and the culture you are inserting into, we then decide how we are going to connect, cut through the clutter and get to our goal.  

In order to get there, you need to know about the three things your ad must do.

  1. Get your audience’s attention.
  2. Connect with your audience through clear messaging supported by crisp, clear images that help tell the story, focusing on the problem you are solving, not the product or service you’re selling.
  3. Create a reasonable call to action so your audience knows exactly what you want them to do. Keep in mind where your audience is consuming the ad when you are crafting your call to action. Also, keep in mind that the brain is able to easily recognized simpler messages. Think Nike’s “Just do it” and McDonalds’ “I’m lovin’ it” ads.

We know it’s a lot of information to process, so we’re going to take a break. When we come back with Part 2, we’ll start looking at real world examples and applications of the three things we need an ad to do.

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