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16-Step Blueprint to Master Your Digital Marketing in 2016

Just as a great novel needs a readership in order to be successful, your business needs a stellar marketing plan.

Jason Parks

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Social-media-strategy

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.”

Entrepreneurs might politely disagree with the aforementioned quote from Bill Gates. There is a heck of a lot that you can accomplish in just 365 days, especially when you are sacrificing your weekend mornings or late evenings at the coffee shop pouring your heart and soul into your business.

What if I told you that you could make the year 2016 wildly successful for your business? I’m talking Taylor Swift successful – according to MSN, she raked in R10 million every day in 2015.

Just as a great novel needs a readership in order to be successful, your business needs a stellar marketing plan.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: The Secret Ingredients to a Successful Branding Strategy

By implementing the 16-step digital marketing blueprint, your business can flourish this upcoming year.

1. Google AdWords

google-adwords

Have you started to bid on keywords related to the product you are selling or the service you are offering? Google now processes more than 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to more than 3.5 billion searches per day.

People are clearly looking up information on the search engine behemoth before making a purchasing decision. Bidding on the proper keywords targeted towards your demographic and region can drive instant new business, if executed properly.

Step up you Google Adwords game with this advice. 

2. Landing-Page Design

According to Search Engine Land, only 25 percent of advertising accounts average above a 5 percent conversion rate. How do you break through the 10 percent barrier? The answer is custom landing pages.

Using a service like Unbounce, you can build, publish and launch A/B test landing pages without special I.T.

Search Engine Land states that to break into the top 10 percent of landing-page performance, you need to test 10 different landing pages to find one that really sticks. What are you waiting for?

3. Moz

Are you curious why your competitor outranks you on Google and they are sitting on top of the first page while you are buried on page three?

Moz allows you to compare competitive metrics, such as domain authority. Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines.

Once you start to learn the reasons why your competition performs well on the major search engines, you can formulate a strategy for your business.

4. Help a Reporter Out

help-a-reporter-out-logo

If you are looking for amazing and free publicity for your company, you need to sign up for HARO.

You will receive daily queries from reporters all over the country that are looking for quotes from business owners and entrepreneurs.

In order to be successful with HARO, you need to dedicate at least 20 minutes per day to respond to the queries and offer expertise within your field. If you think you can handle this, get ready for some awesome publicity, which will also be beneficial for your SEO.

5. Outreach

Become an expert within your industry by contributing content on well-known websites. This is a great way to drive referral traffic back to your site from readers, who are interested to learn about your insight.

Create a “dream list” of 10 websites you want to write content for. Make sure to send each of these 10 publications a compelling pitch that conveys what you will bring to the table by sharing your insight on their site.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: How to Start Your Website With Just R80

6. Sidekick

Let’s say you reach out to a prospect through email and a couple of phone calls, but nobody gets back to you. Is it time to throw in the towel? Not so fast.

Sidekick, which is powered by HubSpot, tracks whether or not a recipient opens up your emails and clicks on any links inside.

Is this somewhat stalker-ish? Sure. But the bottom line is if you see a prospect open your proposal 10 times, you know they are interested! Sidekick can be a game changer for your business strategy, and they have a free package.

7. Postable

Another great way to close the door on prospects is to utilise Postable, which offers really nice cards mailed for you all over the Internet.

They have a wide assortment of thank you cards that you can customise to reflect your brand image. The best part is each postcard typically costs less than R36 to ship and be delivered into your hot prospect’s actual mailbox.

8. Display Re-marketing

Zando-jean-remarketing

Have you ever wondered how the jeans you looked at on Zando’s website magically appeared on your Facebook newsfeed 10 minutes later? This is called display re-marketing, and it is a great way for you to follow up with website visitors who do not make a desired action on your website.

Display re-marketing builds brand awareness and is a cheap way to get customers to come back to your website to convert.

People will think you’re spending a lot of money on your advertising when your advertisement appears on CNN.com, but little do they know that you’re only paying around R3 per click because of an awesome re-marketing campaign!

9. Video Content

Online video advertising is on the verge of explosion. It seems that right now, only larger businesses with a substantial advertising budget are investing in video advertising, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

Facebook revealed that the number of videos posted to the platform per person in the U.S. has increased by 94 percent over the last year.

Homepage videos are shown to increase conversion rates by 20 percent or more, according to Adelie Studios.

You can implement video re-marketing ads to tell your brand’s story for you when visitors drop off your site.

All you need to do is schedule a three- to four-hour shoot and strategically script out the video content you are looking for. You can obtain amazing video content that can play a crucial part in your marketing strategy in 2016.

10. R50 Boosted Facebook Post

facebook-marketing-tools

You can write the greatest novel in the world, but if nobody ends up reading your book, what purpose does it serve?

Rebecca Coleman, a social-marketing guru, conducted a case study on the R50 boosted Facebook post. The results? “Awesome,” Coleman said.

“My post reach soared and I got a ton more comments, as well as a few shares. My advice: Every once in a while, it can be completely worth it to give Facebook R50.”

If you want to be seen in 2016 on Facebook, you will need to invest money into promoting your content. Otherwise, you’ll go unnoticed.

11. Instagram Advertising

Schedule a two-hour photo shoot for your business and show off your awesome pictures on Instagram for your target demographic to see.

Facebook (which owns Instagram) now offers advertising to businesses of all sizes, everywhere!

Follow these eight simple steps to set-up a killer Instagram ad in under 10 minutes.

If you don’t want to spend money on advertising on Instagram and want to grow your following organically, make sure to ask local businesses to follow you and return the favour. You can create a network of local businesses and influencers elevating one another.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: 8 Reasons Why Your Marketing Sucks

12. Email Marketing

Are you sending out at least two emails per month for your business for marketing purposes?

According to Marketing Sherpa, 60 percent of marketers believe email marketing produces positive ROI.

Make an effort to collect more email addresses in 2016. From obtaining the email addresses from customers on your website to grabbing business cards at trade shows, the larger your email list and the more effort you make in sending out memorable messages, the more business you’ll get for very little cost.

13. Mobile Friendliness

It’s official: Google says more searches now take place on mobile versus desktop.

Is your website mobile friendly? Do you have an easy way for site visitors to get in contact with your business when they visit your site on mobile? For instance, including your phone number at the very top of your mobile site is crucial for B2B businesses to increase their conversion count.

Are you tracking conversions that take place on mobile versus desktop? Make sure mobile becomes a focal point for your business in 2016.

14. Google Analytics

In 20 steps, you can master Google Analytics to understand the visitors coming to your website and make implementations to your online marketing strategy to convert those visitors better.

Dedicate at least 10 minutes per day to dig into GA to become an expert on the traffic coming to your site.

15. Online Reviews

online-reviews

Create an email template for your business to send out personalised messages to satisfied clients or customers.

Marketing Land says that 90 percent of customers’ buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.

Ensuring that that your Google+ and Yelp pages portray your company in a positive light will help generate more business for your company.

16. A vs. B Testing

You and your coworker could have different ideas on what piece of creative will perform the best for an advertisement that you’ll be running for the holiday season.

Rather than getting into an argument, why not run an A vs. B test to determine the winner?

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: You’ll Market Better and Be More Persuasive Knowing These 10 Brain Facts

Approximately 61 percent of companies carry out fewer than five A vs. B tests every month.

Make sure your business is on the forefront of the online frontier by running tests to generate more conversions and lower your cost per acquisition.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Jason Parks is a proud Columbus native and the founder and CEO of The Media Captain, a digital marketing agency. He has been featured in the New York Times, Yahoo News, Search Engine Watch and AOL on digital-marketing topics and success stories.

Online Marketing

The Launch Of Instagram TV

Giving a run to other institutions for their money, Instagram today has launched IGTV, a new application that will allow users to upload videos on its Instagram facility.

Jandre de Beer

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_igtv

Commencing with one minute long videos, speaking at the launch today, Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom, announced that users can now upload up-to an hour long video. This application will allow famous videos from celebrities. However, with IGTV, one does not necessarily need to be a big-name or famous, since creative individuals and groups can upload videos.

For now, everyone who enjoys the clutter free, easy to navigate Instagram, will be able to upload an hour-long video, except the smaller and new accounts that will enjoy this application after the expansion of the facility. This application will be globally available on Android and IOS and will allow viewers to browse through many longer videos, as well as visit the browse tabloids or suggest followed videos.

Furthermore, viewers will have the choice to watch ‘old’ videos and also get notifications on recent uploads. IGTV will also allow creators and inventors to develop Instagram Channels with various videos that other viewers can subscribe to, drive traffic of viewers to particular videos, granting the inventors the capability of uploading clear links of the video.

Related: The Insta-Evolution: 5 Years of Selfies, Hashtags and #TBTs

Systrom confirmed that there will be no advertisements on IGTV for the meanwhile. He added that this is still a great platform to put up advertisements at a later stage, as creators or inventors put in more time into videos for IGTV. This translates into an opportunity to make money. Instagram will not pay creators for the IGTV videos at this stage. IGTV has so much potential since creators will be from the over 1 billion current Instagram subscribers. At the same time, this could be big business, since the number of subscribers may rise.

Expectations are there to add to the monetisation option, and these include the potential of Instagram getting profits close to $5.5 billion in 2018, as compared to Facebook, which is just above $202 billion.

Moving up from just filtering and sharing photos, today Instagram has advanced from mobile networks, screens, and cameras, of which neither the longer videos could be supported. This has opened a new mobile TV for teens and families.

Additionally, Instagram can become the dependable place to view something on that small screen via creators’ and publisher video content curation, as opposed to YouTube, which always has a wider breadth of content.

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Online Marketing

5 Steps In Adwords Competitor Analysis: A Practical Case Study

In the second part of this article, we’ll be getting practical. What steps to take and what to do in each step.

Steven Slotow

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adwords

In PART ONE of this article on the importance of competitor analysis in an Adwords campaign, we demonstrated to you the value that can be uncovered by performing a proper analysis of what your foe is up to on Adwords and how they can actually help you do better.

In the second part of this article, we’ll be getting practical. What steps to take and what to do in each step.

Pens sharpened? Batteries charged? Lets go!

As a case study of a local Adwords campaign, we’ll be taking a look at one of the main spenders on PPC in South Africa, booking.com, and see what information can be gathered about their competition in paid search results.

Step 1. Find out who your client’s true competitors in paid search are

First of all, let’s get on the same page, by stating that your organic and paid search competition is not the same thing. If you know who you share the SERPs with, it doesn’t mean that you’ll share the paid ads section with the same set of companies.

Booking.com knows what we’re talking about.

Here’s the organic part of the SERP for ‘book a hotel’. Booking.com shares it with Trivago, hotels.com and Agoda.

serp

They could have thought: Okay, so these are my competitors, I know what they’re up to, I’ll look into their strategies and I’ll be fine in both organic and paid search. But wait, what is happening there at the top of the SERPs? Who is this dark horse?

hotel-booking-serp

It’s Expedia! In organic search it stands further down from booking.com than the rest of the domains from the first page, yet in paid results Booking and Expedia are the closest rivals.

Related: 16-Step Blueprint to Master Your Digital Marketing

But that is just one keyword. There are many other keywords for which the companies want to advertise in Google, so to know whether you’re actually competing with them, you need to evaluate your competition level.

It’s a simple process of comparing the number of keywords you have in common versus the number that are unique with that competitor.

paid-keywords

By estimating this value, you can distinguish your true competitors from big generic brands, niche competition and temporary distractions in the paid search.

Jokes aside, Booking and Expedia share a relatively similar online presence and are, of course, familiar with each other’s PPC strategy. That said, if you’re not a huge domain and know your usual competitors, it is even more frustrating to miss an audacious market newcomer or an organic outsider trying to cut the line and get to the top of the SERPs with an aggressive PPC campaign. So, the analysis of your true competition should be performed regularly. For the agencies that we support, we usually revise the competitors list once every quarter.

Step 2. Estimate your competition PPC budgets

Now that you know who you are rubbing elbows with in paid search, try figuring out how much they spend on PPC. There’s no way to know exactly what their budgets are (except for corporate espionage, but we don’t recommend that), but you can still make use of an estimation.

For that, you need to know how many keywords they target in paid search, what their cost-per-click values are, as well as their estimated search volumes. That is practically impossible to reveal manually, but the competitor analysis tool in SEMrush for example provides you with an estimation of the company’s PPC budget based on the data from their keyword database. Similar tools should be found in whatever quality software you’ve opted for.

Here’s the info we could gather about Booking.com by solely analysing the keywords for which it was showing up in paid search and the CPC values of those keywords.

booking-com

Though it is a rough estimation, this info is helpful in planning your PPC campaigns in a way that meets with market trends.

Step 3. Find out your competitor’s unique keywords

What’s even better about competitor analysis is that it will help you save time by not needing to do the tough jobs yourself by letting you (legally) steal the best ideas from your competition and dwell on them. Remember, if you’re doing it to them, they’re probably doing it to you as well! All’s fair in love, war and paid advertising!

What’s the practical value of this? Well, your competitor’s unique keywords can be your missed opportunity.

keywords-match

By comparing the keywords that Booking and Expedia are bidding on, we see that there are a lot of keywords related to means of travelling and travelling companies in Expedia’s portfolio, but they are missing in the Booking.com set. It is obviously just another tactic for such a big brand, but for a smaller company, this comparison list could be a golden goose of new ideas.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa

Step 4. Research your competitor’s ads and banners

If you have ever been online, you know that the SERPs are crowded. The served results in both organic and paid search have to constantly overcome the viewer’s lack of attention, so the message in your ads should be short, clear, and actionable.

Your competitor’s copy can be a  great source of information.

competitor-adverts-and-banner

Comparing your ads to your competitor’s allows you to see the context and the standards of messaging in your niche and adjust your voice to or diversify from the usual tone.

Also, sometimes you need to develop multiple ad copies with similar content. Whenever creativity abandons you, you can look into your competitor’s copy and borrow a few ideas from them.

Step 5. Check your competitor’s target URLs

Imagine running an online retail business. Summer sales are coming, and you want to promote your goods with an AdWords campaign. Apart from the keywords that you want to bid on and creating appealing ad copy, you also need to think about the page which your ads are going to take your leads to.

Is it common in your client’s niche to have a specific landing page for a promo like this? Or is it enough to have banners on the home page? Take a look at your client’s competitor’s target pages and find out.

seasonal-sale

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Online Marketing

The Value Of Competitor Analysis On A South African Adwords Campaign

If you have doubts about the efficiency of an AdWords campaign being run in South Africa, here are some stats about the South African market to convince you.

Steven Slotow

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south-african-adwords-campaign

Running a successful AdWords campaign can sometimes be like trying to understand the maths that Elon Musk is using to put a human being on Mars: you’re pretty sure it will work, but trying to figure how and why burns too many brain cells.

Well, help is at hand! In this TWO PART article, we’re going to demonstrate to you the value of performing a competitor analysis on an Adwords campaign, and show you just how and what you should be looking for.

As a digital marketer of any kind, you’ve probably had a crack at running and managing an AdWords campaign. Let me guess:

  • Predicting the results and outcomes was impossible;
  • You outsourced to an agency this one time. It cost you a fortune and they kept asking questions you couldn’t possibly have answers to;
  • Setting the budget was more complicated than understanding the nature and purpose of Snapchat;
  • And speaking of budget…it’s NEVER enough and always runs out too quickly.

Nobody is arguing with the fact that AdWords is one of the most complicated digital marketing efforts that you can undertake on behalf of a client or yourself. However, if done right, it could also be one of the most rewarding, effective and business-altering activities you could do.

Related: How to Use Pay Per Click Using Google Adwords

If you have doubts about the efficiency of an AdWords campaign being run in South Africa, here are some stats about the South African market to convince you:

South African PPC market in numbers

In 2017 the total spending on Google ads in South Africa across all industries reached $30 million. The market’s thriving!

google-ads-spend

And these websites were the most generous spenders on Google ads. If only your budgets could compete, right?

top-advertisers-in-google

However, these were the industry’s spendaholics.

Generally, businesses are way more careful with their PPC budgets: only 3.8% of all the companies spend more than R50 000 monthly, and the majority of 34.1% is just indulging their curiosity with somewhere around 1000 bucks a month.

percent-of-advertisers

And if you worry about your ad copy, take a look at the most popular phrases and CTAs used in South African ads:

top-phrases-in-adverts

Related: Implementing 2 Advanced Google AdWords Strategies

So, how do you enter that market AND, at the same time, save your money?

Well, that’s like eating an elephant — get help and do it in pieces.

If you thought that running and managing an AdWords campaign was complicated, try getting advice from the pros on best practices to net best results. Just like deciphering that Musk math again.

  • Split test your copy
  • Use different ad extensions… or all of them
  • Try out different calls to action
  • Manage and track your budget daily
  • Get your targeting on point

But also don’t forget about the foundation of any marketing campaign, digital or not: research your competition.

As wholesalers of digital marketing services to South African digital agencies, by far one of the most important and most advised best practices we suggest to the agencies that we support when running an AdWords digital marketing campaign is to ensure that they practice comprehensive and thorough competitor analysis.

What is competitor analysis for your Adwords campaign and how do you streamline it?

adwords-competitor-analysisRunning a competitor analysis during an AdWords campaign is like having a video camera in your competitions training session. It’ll help you pull back the curtain, see what they’re up to and adjust your efforts accordingly to ensure optimum results from your AdWords campaigns.

In our experience, many companies do not perform PPC competitive research, or don’t do it as often as they should. However, not having the full picture about your PPC competition is risky and can result in running ineffective campaigns. That means wasting your or your client’s budget without netting tangible results or missing the opportunities available to your client by underinvesting.

But recognising the difference that competitor analysis can make in your AdWords campaigns is only the first step. The next step is to find the right tool to help you perform your competitor analysis on a regular basis. The stats and data provided in this article were pulled by our team using SEMrush. It’s a software that we have found invaluable in helping us to provide white label, wholesale digital marketing services to the South African and international digital agencies that we support.

That being said, there are a wealth of similarly effective and powerful digital marketing tracking tools on the market worth investigating. We encourage you to get out there and see what works best for you.

Related: 16-Step Blueprint to Master Your Digital Marketing in 2016

The data that you should drill out of your competitor analysis

On all the levels of digital marketing, there’s a constant rivalry between best practice and revolutionary ideas. The question of whether to follow a well-trodden path or to do things differently in an effort to distinguish the brand you’re working on is always on the table. Or desktop in the case of digital marketing.

However, to make an informed decision you need to know the niche you are playing in as well as its main players. These questions will help you gather that information:

  • Who is your true competitor in paid search?
  • How much do they spend on PPC?
  • What are their most profitable keywords?
  • What do their ads and banners look like?
  • What URLs should your ads target?

Now you know WHAT to ask. But what do you do with the answers and how do you use them to improve your own Adwords performance.

In PART TWO of this blog, we’ll be diving into just that. CLICK HERE TO READ ON!

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