Connect with us

Online Marketing

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




“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


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


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


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, 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


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


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

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

10 Online Marketers To Watch In 2018

The more diverse your sources of news and inspiration, the better. These ten people can help get you there.

Jayson Demers



Prev1 of 12

Online marketing requires experience, creativity and a working knowledge of the latest trends and technologies necessary to stay competitive in the modern landscape. And while there aren’t any shortcuts to gain more experience, there is a convenient way to stay up to date on the latest marketing trends and get inspiration for your creative campaigns.

That way? Following and paying attention to the best, smartest marketers in the industry.

With 2018 just getting started, I wanted to list some of my favourite marketing influencers, some of the most influential experts in the industry and some of the most promising creative minds to pay attention to this year:

Prev1 of 12

Continue Reading

Online Marketing

The Best Conversion Rate Optimisation Tips To Help You Grow Your Business

Whether you’re the owner of a company, or an online blogger, knowing conversion rate optimisation techniques will help you immensely.




Conversion rate optimisation, otherwise known as CRO, is a 21st-century way to turn visitors to your website or blog into followers of your information or customers of your product or service.

Therefore, whether you’re the owner of a company, or an online blogger, knowing conversion rate optimisation techniques will help you immensely.

What Is Conversion Rate Optimisation or CRO?

Internet marketing, or what some people call online marketing, is promoting your product or service on the Internet through the digital channels available. Driving traffic is to your website or blog is hard, but it’s something you need to do in order to sell your product or service, so the last thing you want is to leave money on the table.

Traditionally, from the traffic you drive to your blog or website, a percentage of that traffic will become your customers or followers.

CRO is conversion optimisation strategies that puts a focus on your blog or website to determine what small or big changes need to be made to convert as many of your visitors as possible.

It’s the classic case of not working harder, but smarter.

Changes such as a new headline, new sales copy, a different coloured CTA (Call-to-Action) button, and more, are tested for effectiveness. This helps you take out all the guesswork and make changes that are proven to convert more sales.

Techniques such as A/B testing, where you create two different landing pages and send the same amount of traffic to each, is one example.

At the end of the day, the version that receives the most conversion is the one you would choose. A site with significant traffic may successfully test over a shorter time. On the other hand, in order to get accurate data, a site with a smaller amount of traffic will likely need more time than a larger one for testing.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa

What Happens When You Convert More Visitors Into Customers?

It’s a no brainer, when you convert visitors into clients and customers, your sales increase, and that’s the number one goal of any company or business. CRO can help you grow your business by receiving the same amount of traffic that you’re currently receiving.

Technically that means that you can make more sales without having to spend more money on marketing.

That also means that you’re not focused on the number of traffic you pull in with a mind on percentages, but rather focused on making the most of the traffic you currently have which makes the most of your marketing efforts.

Not Utilising CRO Means You Are Leaving Money on The Table

money-on-tableLet’s say you’re a small company with a goal of R50,000 a month in revenue. Your job is to turn a percentage of your visitors into customers. Without the correct conversion rate optimisation strategies, you’re looking strictly at numbers. You find that 1,000 visitors turn into 50 customers with a revenue of R20,000, which is R30,000 away from your goal.

Without the correct CRO strategies in place, you would work to increase the number of visitors to your site. However, with CRO, you implement e-commerce CRO tips that result in those 1,000 visitors turning into 125 customers.  That brings you to your R50,000 goal.  Without performing conversion rate optimisation, you’ve left R30,000 on the table.

Now that you’ve reduced your cost per acquisition, or what you pay per sale or click or form submit, you can either invest more in advertising or just bank the profits. Now that you understand what conversion rate optimisation is all about, let’s have a look at some of the best strategies that can help you take your business to a whole new level.

20 Of The Best CRO Strategies

You can spend loads of money on a fancy website or blog, but if it isn’t converting correctly, you’re losing customers and sales. That’s why conversion rate optimisation is becoming the number one priority with websites and blogs in the 21st-century.

1. Create an Effective Headline

If you are trying to convert visitors into followers or customers from a specific post, then your headline is one of the most important elements. It’s not there for a hard sell; it’s there to draw your potential customers to your site so that they’ll check out your product or service.

Your headline must show people what benefit they will receive from using what you have to offer.

Keep changing up those headlines till you find a strategy that works.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 2)

2. Reduce Huge Blocks of Text with Bullet Points

The way you present the content on your website is crucial. Give a potential customer too much information, and they’ll leave your site with eyes glazed over. Any material you present should be not only easy to understand but short and to the point.  One of the best ways to do that is with bullet points.

Bullet points create an organised presentation that keeps potential customers interested.

3. Include Your Contact Information

Significant changes can be done to your website or blog to increase conversions, but so can small ones. Include your contact information on your site or blog. This shows that you’re accountable and don’t mind being contacted, which can lead to customer trust and eventually sales. Include your phone number, email address, and even your mailing address.

4. Replace Phony Stock Photos

Stock PhotosYou know what a phony stock photo looks like. It’s the kind that you purchase from stock photo sites, and they’re the kind that you often see at more than one website. These types of photos look phony, and they reduce your credibility. Replace fake-looking stock photos with professional, unique photos or good quality photos that you’ve taken.

For example, instead of using a stock photo model with a cheesy grin, use a picture of one of your employees.

5. Use a Pop-Up Form

One effective way to convert visitors into followers and subscribers is a pop-up form. When visitors come to your side, a form pops up that encourages them to leave their name and email address, or just their email address, to become a subscriber. When you have a list of subscribers, you can then turn them into customers through newsletters, emails, etc.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 3)

6. Eliminate Unneeded Form Fields

A website or blog that is not user-friendly when it comes to form fields may not translate to customer conversion. A form field is where your customers type in their information.  What is the bare minimum of customer information that you need? You ask for the name, but do you also need the company name, for example, or can you do without having a customer type that in?

7. Remove Automatic Image Sliders

Images that flash before your eyes automatically may look attractive, but automatic image sliders have been proven to create banner blindness and therefore, reduce conversion. Use static images instead.

8. Include Videos

Videos have proven to be effective in drawing visitors and turning them into customers. If your site sells fishing products, for example, include a video of an expert fisherman using one of your fishing poles. Make sure the video is no more than two to three minutes long and be sure to put one on your landing page.

9. Make Your Call-To-Action Button Pop

Here is another strategy that seems small but that may prove to be very effective. Alter your call-to-action or CTA button. For example, is it more efficient for your button to say “Download Now” rather than “Buy Now”?  Is it better for your CTA button to be a bright red rather than a navy blue? By testing changes to your call-to-action button, you can determine if such a change will be effective.

10. Limit Your Call-To-Actions

If you have one call-to-action button on your website, that’s a wise choice. Too many call-to-actions can confuse potential customers and turn them off from your site. Put your focus on one effective call-to-action.

11. Have You Included the Word “Free”?

If there’s one thing that people love, it’s free stuff. What can you offer potential customers that are free?

For example, let’s say you sell psychic readings. Offer your potential clients a 10-minute free reading and display the offer prominently on the front page of your site. Chances are you’ll get a lot of conversions for your niche. Once you’ve drawn in customers with the free deal, you can better bring them to your paid services.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 4)

12. Match Your Landing Page to Your Ad

When your ad matches your landing page, the colour co-ordination and organisation can translate to conversions. In addition to the colour, the copy you use on your ad should match, in some way, with your landing page. So, when you draw potential customers to your ad, you gently move them to your landing page with no sharp differences.

13. Incorporate Trust Seals on Your Checkout Page

If there’s one thing that draws customers to a product or service, it’s trust. Incorporating trust seals on your checkout page and other places on your website is an excellent way to show that you are legitimate and to increase conversions.

For example, if you are offering dental products, a seal from a trusted dental association helps with customer trust.

14. Convey a Sense of Urgency

When you are promoting a product or service letting your potential customers know that a particular price will end soon, or that a product or service will only be offered for a limited, time greatly helps with conversion.

For example, let’s say yours is a site that sells cookware and you’re providing a crock-pot at a temporarily discounted price.

You would display on your blog or website a photo of the crock pot, along with content and possibly a video, and you would show the price and when the price ends.

15. Give Them a Money-Back Guarantee

There will always be a percentage of customers who are on the fence about your product or service. So how do you get them over that hump and create a conversion?  One way is to offer a money-back guarantee and to display it where it can be seen.

Keep in mind that it’s good to put a time limit on the money-back guarantee to something like 30 days or 60 days.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 5)

16. Include Live Chats

live-chatsMany companies are adding live chat prominently on their websites to answer customer’s questions in real-time. This is an effective solution that can lead to conversions. It allows you to take care of all a client’s issues to lead them into a sale. Many companies utilise chat apps to help with this process.

17. Retarget Your Ads

There are large and small changes that can be made to your website to increase conversions, but changes to the way you’re handling your ads could be done as well. Retargeting customers, can help increase conversions period.

When visitors come to your site, you create a customised targeted ad to get to them as soon as they leave.

If a visitor has come to your cosmetic store looking for an eye shadow, when they leave your site you target them with an ad for a different eye shadow in your line. The goal is to keep a visitor engaged with your product or service while staying top of mind.

18. Give Them Free Shipping

Shipping costs for a product can often make or break a sale. So, if there’s one thing that can contribute to conversion, it’s free shipping. Let your customers know that shipping is not a cost that they have to concern themselves with.

If free shipping seems unaffordable for your company, work with ways to cover shipping costs with your product prices.

19. Include Real Testimonials With Photos

One of the best ways to instill confidence in your product or service is with real testimonials. Have customers write testimonials of 50 to 100 words about your product or service and include a photo of the customers next to their testimonials. Include their full name with their picture.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 6)

20. Get Customers to Share Their Purchases on Social Media

These days, almost all of your clients are likely to be on at least one social media site. Encourage them to share the purchases they’ve made of your products on social media, such as Instagram.

Every time a customer buys one of your products or your services, automatically give them an opportunity to share and talk about what they’ve bought with a user-friendly share process included on your site.

The sooner you work on conversion rate optimisation tips on your blog or website, the sooner you’ll be bringing in customers in the most efficient way.

Customers translate to profits and profits translate to a successful company or business. CRO takes time, but with patience, your website or blog will see vast improvement in conversions.

Continue Reading

Online Marketing

Implementing 2 Advanced Google AdWords Strategies

Find out how Dynamic Search Ads and Call-Only Campaigns can give you that competitive edge you need on Google AdWords.

Perry Marshall




Let’s explore two advanced Google AdWords campaign types: Dynamic Search Ads and Call-Only campaigns. Give these two campaign types a try. They’ll let you squeeze even more from your AdWords account.

Dynamic search ads (DSAS)

Dynamic search ads are magical keys to reaching your customers. And the best part? Using them is easy once you master the setup.

What Are DSAs?

Google knows it’s hard to keep your campaigns perfectly in sync with your website. If you have an e-commerce site with thousands of products changing regularly, it’s a chore to be constantly creating new keywords, new ad groups and new ads inside your AdWords account.

DSAs were created to fill this gap. They let you show ads to excellent prospects who might be searching for items you sell on your site even if you don’t have a corresponding keyword for them in your account.

Related: The Secret to Building A Profitable AdWords Campaign

Why should you set up a DSA?

As long as you set a low cost-per-click, dynamic search ads typically have a decent CPA and provide additional relevant traffic. They’re also great for research as you get to uncover new search terms that people are using to find your site. (You can use this intelligence after the fact to add new keywords to your account.)

Let’s say you’ve just started selling wrought-iron fire pits on your e-commerce site but you don’t have the keywords for them yet in your AdWords account. A new prospect – we’ll call her Kim – is currently online searching for this by name. Kim types it in verbatim: “wrought iron fire pits.”

If you have a DSA campaign set up, you’re in luck: Google instantly recognises that you sell these but don’t yet have keywords for the purpose. Thankfully, you don’t miss a beat with Kim – Google shows her your Dynamic ad, then she clicks, comes to your website and makes a purchase.

How do they work?

It starts with Google regularly scanning your website and keeping an index of all its pages. When you’re starting out, you can choose to point Google to your entire site – we recommend this for your first DSA campaign – although later on you can target specific categories within your site.

Google knows what keywords are in your account and, more importantly, what keywords are not there. This means they can make accurate judgments about when to step in and show your DSA ads.

When setting up DSAs, Google creates the headline and you write the description. They choose the final URL and you set the bid.

Related: 7 Questions To Ask Before Hiring An Adwords Agency

Here’s how to set up a DSA:

  • Create a new campaign. One of the options you’ll see is to create a DSA campaign. We suggest not using that as it would limit your options further along. Instead, create a new Search campaign with “all features.” Your plan will be to only use DSAs inside that campaign.
  • You’ll need at least one ad group to hold your DSAs, and one is typically enough if you’re just starting out.
  • You still want to be split-testing, even though Google chooses your headline for you. So, create two different DSA ads with different body copy in each.
  • Choose the target. Start with the “all webpages” default. Save the advanced target­ing for later.
  • Add in ad extensions just as you would for a regular campaign.

Ongoing management of your DSA


Review your data. Keep an eye on the search queries Google chooses, particularly in the first few days. This lets you add any new negative keywords that you don’t want your ads shown for. And it’s a good way to identify and add new keywords you hadn’t yet thought of for other functioning campaigns. (You can add these new keywords as negatives in your DSA campaign, which forces that keyword traffic over to new campaigns in your account. Your DSA campaigns won’t be affected.)

Call-only campaigns

These allow you to create search ads where Google shows your phone number rather than a headline. As such, they only show on mobile devices capable of making calls.

A person clicks on your ad, which starts the process of calling your business directly from their mobile, rather than taking them to your site.

Related: 3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Google Adwords

Why use call-only?

Call-only campaigns force people to call your phone number rather than visit your site. If generating more phone calls is high priority for your business, call-only campaigns are worth testing.

How to set up call-only campaigns

Setup is simple. You can create a new campaign from scratch or just copy your existing search campaigns and change the ad type. Replace regular ads with call-only ads.

Tip: Google wants to see individual ad groups with a reasonable number of impressions at the ad group level. So a small number of ad groups with more keywords in each one – generating more impressions per ad group – will work better for call-only campaigns.

This article was originally posted here on

Continue Reading



Recent Posts

Follow Us

We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.


FREE E-BOOK: How to Build an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Sign up now for Entrepreneur's Daily Newsletters to Download​​