10 Tips for SEO Content Writing will help drive traffic, generate leads, and increase sales

10 Tips to Improve Your SEO Content Writing

Content marketing continues to grow in popularity because of the change in the buying process. Google’s “The Changing Face of B2B Marketing” Study found that 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. But it doesn’t stop there. On average, those same researchers are performing 12 searches before engaging on a specific brand’s site.

A DemandGen report backed up the findings by showing 47% of buyers read 3-5 pieces of content before contacting a sales rep. Your potential buyers are searching for information. If your company isn’t providing it, they’re obtaining it elsewhere.

Large companies have embraced the importance of content marketing and continue to produce and promote their content.

It’s time for your business to embrace a comprehensive content marketing strategy that provides your potential buyers with current, relevant content, and that will drive more traffic, generate leads, and increase sales.

 

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SEO Content Writing Tips:

 

10 Tips of SEO Content Writing | Content Marketing | Mike D. O'Brien

 

1. Know Your Audience

Everything begins by finding and learning about your target audience. Then, focus on writing for people and not for search engines. Google’s updates over the past couple years have been focused on punishing sites with low-quality, spammy content, which includes keyword stuffing and other black hat practices.

Stop making believe you can trick Google’s bots and algorithms. The best way to rank higher on search results is to find your target audience and create content tailored to them.

The best approach is to create buyer personas and write content tailored to individual representations of your target audience.

 

 

2. Focus on Long-tail Keywords

Your keywords drive your business. All of the various types of content you post online  should be optimized for the keywords important to your company, industry, products and services, and specific points in the buying process.

Don’t waste time targeting vague, short keywords with hundreds of thousands of monthly searches on Google, though it may seem enticing. Most business owners think if they can rank for those terms, the phone will never stop ringing.

The truth is that almost always, those searches are early in the buying process and the searchers are looking to gain more knowledge about specific options to narrow their search. When you target long-tail keywords, not only do you get the added bonus of targeting the embedded short keyword, but also you’re targeting searchers closer to making a purchase.

 

 

 
3. Keyword Density is Dead!

Stop stuffing your content with keywords! This is an outdated method of ranking highly on search engines and if your site hasn’t been punished already, it will be in the near future.

For example, Yoast, an SEO plugin for WordPress websites, used to recommend keyword density as high as 4.5%. Now, the recommended total is between 0.5% and 2.5%. And, according to HOBO Web, most industry leaders don’t even calculate the percentage anymore.

Instead of focusing your time and energy on keyword density, start focusing on quality writing tailored to your target audience instead. Use synonyms and similar phrases instead. This makes it much easier for your target audience to read, which is what Google’s algorithms are focused on.

Continue Reading to learn the Keyword Research Tools for Success.

 

4. Focus on Headlines (Up to 60 Characters, Ideal = 6 Words)

The headline to your blog articles is one of the most important pieces of the article. According to David Olgivly, on average, five times as many people read a headline as do the copy of the body. Keep that in mind when just posting a simple title.

Don’t forget numbers! There’s a reason why most headlines contain numbers and it’s backed up by psychology: numbers work. Even if you think its cheesy, use that psychology to your advantage.

A good way to see what types of headlines your competing against is to search for your keywords and see what pops up. Or, you can use title generators such as Tweak Your Biz Title Generator or read this article on Social Media Today.

 

5. Title Tags (Up to 55 Characters)

This is similar to your headline for a blog post, only this will be used for static pages. When writing your title tag remember that this will be in blue on the search results page and will be the first thing searchers read.

So, what do you want people to see? This is the first thing they’ll read and you need to write something that will entice them to want to click through to your page. Just like in the meta description below, focus on adding your keyword because it will be in bold if it directly matches a search, but don’t worry if it’s a synonym or a similar phrase. Google’s algorithms look for intent more than exact matches because it’s easier for a visitor to read and comes across less “spammy”.

You still need to make sure a keyword or similar phrase is included in the 55 characters. And remember, entice searchers to click!

 

Content Writing | Content Marketing | 10 Tips for SEO Writing | Mike D. O'Brien
6. Meta Description

Google uses meta descriptions in the snippet on search results, underneath the title tag and URL. You get up to 150 characters, which may seem like a lot (or a little, depending on whether you use Twitter) but you need to use your characters wisely.

According to Moz, a meta description should be a concise explanation of a page’s content for search engines. That means you need to use a keyword or synonym to be found. Instead of jamming as many keywords as possible into your meta description, use a focus keyword or synonyms to tell search engines (and your target audience!) what your article is about.

Don’t just focus on your keyword! It may be a summary for search engines, but it also needs to be enticing enough so searchers will want to read more.

 

7. External Links

You need links!

In case you’re just jumping into content marketing and SEO Best Practices, there are two reasons why you need to link your articles to outside sources:

  1. It shows authority and adds validity to your post
  2. Helps Google organize the information on the web

And, in my opinion, anytime you can help Google, you should do it. By using statistics and linking to sources you will raise your domain authority, which means more sites will want to link to yours, thereby increasing your search results. Make believe you’re back in high school and you need to source all of your information Only now your teacher is Google and your grade is your search result.

 

 

8. Internal Links

Many business owners overlook the benefits of creating a web of backlinks throughout their site when starting out. While it’s not as important as sourcing your stats and arguments, a strong internal linking structure is important for many of the same reasons as external linking.

First, it makes it easier for visitors (and bots) to move throughout your site. It also adds relevance to your focus keywords in the article or page you’re linking to. While it’s an important addition to your posts, make sure to vary your anchor text and limit the number of backlinks per page.

 

9. Longer Content is Better

What’s the average length of blog articles ranking in Google’s Top 10 search results? The answer may surprise you. It’s well over 2,000 words according to SERPiq. It’s supported by a BufferApp blog citing a Medium study that claims an ideal blog post is read in 7 minutes, which roughly translates to 1,600 words.

Many used to believe that shorter articles were better because of our society’s ever-shortening attention spans. It turns out that what people really want is quality, not speed. If quality translates to length, it appears as though people don’t mind.

As we become more experienced web browsers, we’ve all come across enough spammy and irrelevant sites. Now, we can spot the crap quickly. So instead of focusing on short articles, turn your attention to providing quality content tailored to your target audience. That means providing the information necessary for your visitors to make informed decisions.

It’s not necessarily the length of the blog post that makes it rank higher on SERPs. Instead, the longer the article, the more external links to authoritative sites, more internal links, and will provide quality content and statistics that other blogs will want to link to.

 

10. Whitespace

Even though we want to be informed, we don’t want to be intimidated by that information. That’s why reading ease has become so important and one of the factors in Google’s algorithms.

Included in that reading ease is not only the length of words and sentences, but also the length of paragraphs. Though I understand that length and width are different, the same psychology is behind it. BufferApp says the ideal width of a paragraph is 40-55 characters, which roughly translates to 8-11 words depending on a number of different factors.

Longer lines, and paragraphs, appear as lots of work for readers. This explains why on some sites you’ll see a larger font for the first paragraph of an article. It’s a way to tell the reader, “Hey, it’s not so bad in here. Come take a look.” Give the readers what they want, which is information, quality content, and lots of space. Don’t scare them off with lots of bulky text.

 

Goal of Content Marketing

 

As an SEO content writer, you want to provide the information your target audience seeks. This will develop trust and present your company as an industry leader.

But make no mistake, the goal of content marketing is to generate leads and convert those leads into sales. Providing content and developing trust is just the best approach we have. A DemandMetric study found that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.

 

 

That means your content should focus on providing information and making your customers act, all while avoiding pitching your products and services, as well as avoiding the treaded “salesy” tone. Maybe in the short term that desired action is commenting, sharing, or linking to your article, but in the long-term it’s about making sales.

Even as the buying process has been extended, the best way to do that is to provide targeted content optimized for specific keywords and tailored to specific points in the buying process.

Don’t forget about the Call-to-Actions either! Subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest content marketing strategies and trends delivered straight to your inbox!

Continue reading to learn How to Create an Inbound Marketing Strategy so that you’re business can start driving more traffic, generating more leads, and increasing sales!

 

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

 

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Blog Marketing is a key component of your Inbound Marketing Strategy. Mike D. O'Brien

Use Blog Marketing to Grow Your Business

Blog marketing seems simple enough. It’s the art of reaching your target market through the use of a blog. Your inbound marketing strategy should rely heavily on blog marketing, but it’s definitely not the only component. As it’s grown in popularity and in importance, many digital marketers now believe it’s the most important part of their marketing strategy.

Blog Marketing is a key component of your Inbound Marketing Strategy. Mike D. O'Brien

Why is blogging so important? For one, according to HubSpot’s State of Inbound study last year, B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those who don’t.

That means companies that blog receive two-thirds more leads than those who don’t! As few as ten years ago, blogs were viewed as the ramblings of the lonely. How did we get here?

 

The Importance of Blog Marketing

Very simply, the power of blog marketing has risen because the buying process has changed. As 57% of the buying process is complete before contacting a sales rep, your customers are performing diligent research, comparing different solutions to their business problem, reading about the perspective of different companies, and then contacting sales reps. In fact, 47% of buyers viewed 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging a sales rep.

Your customers are searching for information. If you’re not using blog marketing as a key component of your inbound marketing strategy, they’re getting the information from other sources: your competitors.

A strong blog, updated regularly, with relevant, current information, will get your company recognized by potential buyers as they perform their research.

 

Blog Marketing and Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Inbound marketing drives traffic, generates leads, and increases sales. How? By providing content to a targeted audience optimized for specific keywords and specific points in the buying process.

What’s the best and cheapest way to do that?

Blog marketing!

Companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages on their website compared to those who don’t. And, as stated by the Search Engine Journal, companies with more indexed pages generate more leads because they’re providing more information to their customers. However, it’s also because the greater the number of indexed pages, the higher your domain authority. And you guessed it, the higher your domain authority, the higher you rank on Google.

Research shows that companies with 51 – 100 blog posts receive more blog traffic than sites with less than 50. The traffic continues to grow for sites with more blogs until it explodes at 400, which, according to HubSpot, seems to be the tipping point: “Companies that had published 401+ blog posts in total got about twice as much traffic as companies that published 301-400 blog posts.”

Blog Marketing is a key component of your Inbound Marketing Strategy. Mike D. O'Brien

Benefits of Blog Marketing

  1. Develop Trust
  2. SEO Optimized
  3. Target Specific Keywords
  4. Target Specific Audience
  5. Target Specific Points in Buying Process
  6. Evergreen (Can use over and over)
  7. Funnel Visitors Through Buying Process
  8. Generate More, Cheaper Leads
  9. Add Site Density (Helps with SEO)
  10. Stay Ahead of Competitors

 

Inbound Marketing and Blogging

How is your company focused on driving traffic to your website? Or, a better question is, does your company use your website as a resource for your potential buyers?

Many companies have realized the importance of blog marketing and plan to increase their blogging in the coming years. However, many others still own a passive website that just sits there, looking pretty.

Your site may have beautiful graphics. It may have a user-friendly layout. It may even have such great SEO that it ranks on Google’s first page. But it’s simply sitting there waiting for visitors to come and see it. And when your potential buyers do come to your site, what do they see? Is your site a resource for customers, guiding them through the buying process? Or is it simply one big advertisement, shouting about the solutions your company provides?

A well-structured inbound marketing strategy uses blog marketing to drive traffic to your site. That means you’re actively luring prospects in and providing the content they need to make an informed buying decision. Stop allowing your customers to choose your competitors because you lack relevant information on your website.

When done properly, blogging will increase your Google search results. 81% of B2B purchases begin with a search. Your potential buyers are searching for the information to solve their business problem. In the same study by Social Media Today, 90% of buyers said that when they’re ready to buy, they’ll contact you.

That’s why inbound marketing and content marketing leads cost 61% less than outbound leads. Technology has changed marketing and the buying process. Stop wasting precious resources using the marketing techniques of the past and focus on leveraging new technology and techniques to present your firm as an industry leader.

Leverage the available information. Blogs are 63% more likely to influence purchase decisions for consumers than magazines. Outbound marketing isn’t dead, as I discussed in my article Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing. However, the importance of blog marketing has become a required component of your inbound marketing strategy.

If your company needs help creating a blog marketing strategy, continue reading about the Benefits of Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses. Then, contact me today so I can help you drive more traffic, generate more leads, and increase your sales.

Stop running a passive website and start driving customers to your business!

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing | Mike D. O'Brien | Content Marketing | SEO Content Writer

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

For decades, businesses have relied on outbound marketing to promote their products and services. They bought up big spaces on billboards and in magazines and newspapers. They spent millions on polluting television and radio with ads. They pushed their product on you over and over until you had nothing left but the desire to purchase it.

Then the game changed.

What the Internet and Google have done to marketing is similar to what television did to radio. It took a little while, but it has nearly made outbound marketing obsolete. Now, inbound marketing services such as content writing and social media marketing have become the best way to attract new customers.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing, which is better for your company

Not only have consumers become immune to large advertisers and their marketing budgets, but they’ve actually gone and changed the way they make purchasing decisions. There is simply too much information available. Now, we can perform most of the research ourselves. In fact, we are. According to CEB, 57% of the research is complete before a sales rep is contacted.

What does that mean to marketers?

It means you need to pay attention. Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound marketing. More and more businesses are converting, but still others are holding back. Some don’t know how to develop an inbound marketing strategy. Others don’t know the metrics they need to monitor.

That doesn’t mean your outbound marketing strategy is costing you money.

 

What is Outbound Marketing?

 

Outbound marketing is defined by WordStream as the traditional form of marketing where a company initiates the conversation and sends its message out to an audience.

In simpler terms, it’s advertising and cold calling.

Outbound marketing focuses on pushing your product or service onto as many potential customers as often as possible. This makes it hard to track ROI because of the lack of specific data. The easy math of the past was if you spent “X” on advertising, you needed to drive “Y” in sales to make the campaign profitable. But now, instead of wasting money blanketing the whole world, you can focus your energy on your specific demographics and audiences. Then, you can track the relevant data to your KPIs, making it that much easier to track the ROI.

Read this article if you need to find out what is inbound marketing.

 

 

 

Inbound Marketing and the New Buying Process

 

Now, there is simply too much information available to your customers for your marketing strategy to only focus on advertising. Customers are taking the buying process into their own hands. 93% of buying cycles start with an online search. Your potential buyers are performing research on solutions to their problems.

Are you providing those solutions?

The companies that are providing that information are increasing their sales. Why are they giving away information for free?

  1. To be Found (SEO)
  2. To Develop Trust
  3. To Keep Sales Funnel Full
  4. Brand Awareness (Online Presence)

The best way to develop trust with your potential buyers is to provide solutions to their problems by using inbound marketing. This includes regularly blogging about topics relevant to your potential buyers. But it also means developing the different types of inbound marketing content your potential buyers need to make intelligent buying decisions. This includes, but isn’t limited to:

  1. White papers
  2. eBooks
  3. SlideShares
  4. Webinars
  5. Podcasts
  6. Videos

To develop trust, you need to be seen by your customers as a source of information. Then, when they do decide to contact a sales rep, they’ll remember which companies helped them get to that point.

 

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing Outbound Marketing
⇒Pull Customer to You ⇒Push Products on Customer
⇒Customer Comes to You for Information ⇒Seek Out Customers via Advertising
⇒Create, Captivate, and Share ⇒Broadcast and Pray
⇒Done on Customers’ Time ⇒Done on Marketers’ Time
⇒”Show About” Marketing ⇒”Shout About” Marketing
⇒Customer Tunes Out ⇒Customer Engagement
⇒Cost Effective ⇒High Cost
⇒Target Specific Audience ⇒Blanket Everyone

 

Changing from Outbound Marketing to Inbound Marketing

 

Outbound marketing worked in the past because of a lack of technology. As a result, customers spent generations being pummeled by advertising. Now, we’re all immune. Plus, we’ve developed more technology to make advertising even less effective, such as ad blockers and DVRs.

That doesn’t mean outbound marketing is completely useless. It’s important to know your target audience and how to reach them. More often then not, finding a balance between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is the best approach.

Many companies are embracing inbound marketing as their outbound strategies become less relevant. Instead of wasting time and money pushing out noise, focus on developing trust with your potential buyers. That’s why B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

To begin, create buyer personas so that you can always tailor your message to specific people. That will keep you from posting without specific goals. Focus on answering the questions your target audience is asking at the different points in the buying process. Develop trust and provide solutions without selling. There will be plenty of time to sell later.

Continue reading about the Top 10 Myths of Inbound Marketing. Then, contact me today to learn how an Inbound Marketing Strategy can help grow your business!

 

 

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Keyword Research develops an SEO strategy for your content

Keyword Research Tools for Success

SEO is an ever-changing landscape because Google’s algorithms are constantly changing to improve their user’s experience. In fact, Google’s latest update, though delayed numerous times, Penguin 4.0 is coming sooner or later.

Instead of fighting it, your company needs to stay abreast on the changes to SEO best practices to keep your outstanding organic search results, or improve weak ones.

That’s why keyword research has become such an art. Implementing the right markups, HTML, CSS, and tags aren’t enough. Finding and properly targeting the right keywords for your campaign is an integral part of driving traffic, funneling visitors through the sales process, and increasing sales.

 

Keyword Research lays the foundation of your Inbound Marketing Strategy

 

SEO Best Practices

Keyword Density is Over

Keywords have always been important and always will be, which is why keyword research is so important to your firm. But as Google’s algorithms and AI become smarter, they can understand much more than they could a couple years ago. This includes target audience, searcher intent, and most importantly for SEO copywriters, synonyms.

You still need to focus your articles on specific keywords, but this means the keyword stuffing of yesteryear is no longer as important. Yoast, an SEO plugin for WordPress sites, used to recommend keyword density of up to 4.5%. Now, it’s down to between 0.5% and 2.5%.

More important than density, is writing clear, concise copy for your targeted audience.

 

Relatable Keywords

Because Google’s algorithms understand synonyms, you can focus your energy on more than one keyword. Actually, it’s recommended, as long as the keywords are relatable.

Though you wouldn’t try to have two or more keywords in the same article 22 times each, it is perfectly acceptable to have one 18 times and another 12. Not only is this good for SEO, as now you are able to rank for two keywords, but it’s also beneficial to good copy. When writing a well-thought out article, you will naturally end up using more than one keyword. By going as in-depth in your keyword research as possible, you will find relatable keywords that you can focus your articles on.

 

Reading Ease

The Flesch Reading Ease Test is a way for Google to test the ease of reading a certain article. The more syllables per word and the more words per sentence, the more difficult it is to read. Google’s algorithms do include a reading ease test, which affects your organic search results.

Your goal as an SEO copywriter is to write clear, concise copy for your targeted audience. As an inbound marketing writer, you’re goal is to drive traffic and increase sales. Both of those goals revolve around determining your target audience and writing for them.

Now, Google’s algorithms can understand the intent of an article and the target audience. If you’re writing a serious medical article, there is no way you’ll be able to get your point across intelligently writing simply for ease of reading. Don’t forget, most people don’t like reading articles that are difficult to read. So consider the ease of reading, but don’t belittle your target audience in the process.

 

 

SEO and Keyword Research Tools

When researching, it’s better to focus your energy on long-tail keywords, which are more common in searches. Nobody searches for SEO. They search for SEO best practices or most common SEO mistakes. More often than not, those searching with only one or two words are still in the research phase of the buying process. By targeting long-tail keywords, you’re also targeting visitors closer to purchasing.

There is no magic amount of keywords you need to find which will guarantee success, though most smaller companies and startups should be able to come up with at least 100. This may seem like a lot, but too few keywords can hurt your strategy. By using the tools below, you’ll find the keywords needed to drive traffic to your site.

 

1. Google Keyword Planner

This is the staple of any keyword research because of the amount of data Google has collected on all of us mere mortals over the years. By entering a specific keyword or URL, you can get keyword ideas, search traffic, and PPC competition and cost. You need to set up a Google AdWords account, but you don’t need an active campaign to use the tool.

 

2. Google Trends

This is more of a general tool to research keywords compared to the keyword planner, but it’s still an important reference. Before diving too deep into research on a specific long-tail keyword, make sure people are actually searching for those terms or a similar topic. You can compare the performance of up to five keywords for varying lengths of time, and results show top and rising related keywords.

 

3. SpyFu

This is a paid subscription service, but offers free limited access. The free version, while incomplete, provides keywords a specific URL ranks for, PPC campaigns, and average position of the ads. The results show the top five keywords ranking in the Top 50, and you can enter your own to check the rankings, all for free. This is also a useful tool when performing keyword research to check your own site’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your competitors.

 

4. SEMRush

SEMRush is a direct competitor to SpyFu and offers a similar, but different version of the same data. While SpyFu’s search rankings only go to 50, SEMRush’s go all the way to 100. That means you can get a more complete picture of organic rankings and targeted keywords.

 

5. Keywordtool.io

One of the easiest ways to perform keyword research and generate long-tail keyword ideas is to type the first couple words and let Google’s auto-complete feature show you other common searches. The free version of keywordtool.io shows you the complete list of Goggle’s auto-complete based on a keyword, not just the 8-10 that fits into Google’s small window. With the paid version, you can also get search volume data, as well as cost-per-click and competition for PPC ads.

 

Keyword Research and Your Company

Keywords are an important part of your inbound marketing campaign. They shouldn’t just be related to your products or services (although they are obviously important), but should also target your branding objectives. By promoting your company’s unique story, you can differentiate yourself from your competition.

Keyword research and SEO takes time. You cannot rush the process, nor can you expect to achieve amazing results after only a couple posts. Providing consistent, relevant content is just as important as finding the right keywords to target. By taking the time to research all possible keywords, and revisiting your list and research every quarter, you can make sure that you’re not missing a golden opportunity.

Finding the right keywords are an important part of Developing Your Inbound Marketing Strategy. Once you have Created Your Buyer Personas and your target audience, you can make sure that every blog post has a specific goal. This, along with the Metrics and KPIs important to your campaign makes it easier to track successes and failures.

If you need help finding the keywords that will help drive traffic to your site, or creating the targeted content, schedule your Free Consultation today!

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Top 10 Myths of Inbound Marketing

Top 10 Myths of Inbound Marketing

Marketing has changed. Did you notice? The world has become numb to advertising. And yes, that includes your audience.

Top 10 Myths of Inbound MarketingThat’s why inbound marketing continues to gain popularity. A well-structured inbound marketing strategy will help drive traffic, generate leads, and increase sales by providing answers for your customers. This type of marketing, providing information instead of pushing products, is the business-world’s answer to ad-blockers and DVRs that can fast forward through commercial breaks. Customers are searching for answers to their questions. If your firm isn’t providing those answers, your competitors are. And customers are buying from, and always have bought from, companies they trust.

Inbound marketing is the best way to develop that trust.

However, there are some myths of inbound marketing that have people believing it’s either too difficult or too easy.

 

Top 10 Myths of Inbound Marketing:

1. Quantity Trumps Quality

A couple years ago, you used to be able to post tons of mediocre content stuffed with keywords and rank highly on Google. Now, you need quality. Google’s algorithms now take quality, readability, and intent into account. And their Panda updates filter out and punishes poor content.

Your firm needs to post current, relevant, and targeted content. This will answer your customers’ questions and will keep them on the page longer. This helps your organic rankings because Google also takes into account time on page.

2. Inbound Marketing is Free

Let’s get one thing straight: There is no such thing as a free lunch. Adam Smith said it years ago and it’s still true today.

Inbound marketing is cheaper and more targeted than outbound marketing, where you would buy ad space and hope enough of your potential customers would see it often enough to decide to purchase your product.

Still, that doesn’t make it free. You still need to pay for the content creators, designers, and social media experts. Whether you decide to hire them in-house, or hire an agency, is up to you. Either way, the better the talent means better content, which means better results.

3. You Need a Big Team and a Big Budget

Large, international corporations have big teams dedicated to their inbound marketing. That doesn’t mean that every company needs a big team or a big budget. Aim realistically for your company’s target market, objectives, and reach. Create a strategy and restructure as needed.

4. Can’t Measure ROI

This is a tough one for people to wrap their heads around because they’re so used to completing ROI on old ways of marketing. You spent X amount of dollars on ads and those ads brought in X amount of dollars in business. Easy enough.

But inbound marketing provides the opportunity to see exactly which strategies are working, creating the most engagement, and providing the best ROI. With the amount of data available, it’s easy to see which aspects of your strategy are performing the best and providing the best ROI.

5. Inbound Marketing Doesn’t Work for Everyone

No, a one-size-fits all template does not exist. I’ve searched for it, as I’m sure you have. That doesn’t mean that inbound marketing doesn’t work for everyone. It just means that you have to tinker with your strategy and tailor it to your specific objectives and your specific market.

You need to focus on finding your unique voice and telling your unique story. This creates a connection with customers that can resonate deeper than any ad, no matter how funny. Combine that story and personality with the information you provide your customers and you will develop a loyal fan base.

6. Only Goal is to “Go Viral”

Yes, if something you post goes viral, great. Applaud yourself for posting something humorous enough or relevant enough that it spread like a wildfire. Sit back and reap the benefits.

However, there is a fine line between being funny and being cheesy. If you create cheesy content that doesn’t hit its mark, your brand will be associated with that cheesy content.

No matter what you post, stay consistent with your brand and provide the content that matters to your target market. More than likely, it won’t go viral. But that doesn’t mean your strategy is unsuccessful.

7. My Buyer Persona Isn’t Online

Baby boomers are spending more time online. Now, 78.6% of people in North America have Internet access and, according to Pew Research, 64% of American adults own a smartphone, as of October 2014.

Your target market is online, even if you don’t think they are. And as the population continues to age, and as Internet access becomes more accessible, if your buyer personas aren’t online now, they will be soon.

8. Inbound Marketing Takes Too Much Time

This ties directly into another fear, which is that inbound marketing is too overwhelming. But neither the myth, nor the fear, is enough reason for you not to create an inbound marketing strategy. In fact, that only means you should begin sooner rather than later.

A well-structured inbound marketing strategy does take time, but that means the longer you wait, the longer it will take for you to see the positive results.

9. Inbound Marketing Immediately Leads to Tons of Leads

The opposite of above is another of the most prevalent myths and the answer is similar as well. Inbound marketing takes time. Even if you do everything right, it will take more than a week or even a month for you to see results.

That doesn’t mean that it isn’t working. Don’t stray from your strategy. Focus on building a content library, promoted through social media, that will help answer the questions your target audience is asking. This provides a solid foundation upon which you will continue to build and generate traffic and leads.

10. Content is Simply Advertising Under a Different Name

Do not advertise through your content!

Content is about providing answers and developing trust. You do not build trust by shoving your products and services in the reader’s face. Backlinks to other articles or to the services you provide is one thing, but openly promoting your product or services taints the validity of the entire piece of content and works against you.

There is plenty of other space on your website to advertise. Don’t do it through your content. Have enough backlinks and targeted Call-to-Actions and you’ll gain more trust.

 

Developing an Inbound Marketing Strategy

Your inbound marketing strategy is unique to your specific industry, business, and target market. But it’s also specific to your unique story and what makes your firm different. Embrace that story and use that personality to provide the information your customers need to make intelligent decisions.

Creating an inbound marketing strategy can be intimidating, especially from the ground-up. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Do your research and take the time and effort to create a strong strategy with buyer personas, a keyword analysis, and a targeted content schedule. Then, promote your content through social media and restructure the strategy based on the performance.

You can create an inbound strategy that will drive traffic and generate more leads for your company. Schedule your Consultation today to learn how an inbound marketing strategy can help your business grow or read about the Benefits of Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses.

 

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Inbound Marketing | Create Buyer Personas | SEO Content Writer | Mike D. O'Brien

How to Create Buyer Personas

One of the keys to a successful inbound marketing strategy is targeting your content to specific audiences and tailored to specific points in the buying process. You’ve been putting it off for far too long, and you know it. Don’t fear! Creating buyer personas isn’t as difficult as you think, and will help solidify your content marketing moving forward.

Creating Buyer Personas is the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy | Mike D. O'BrienBy creating buyer personas that represent each of your target markets, you can learn more about their motivations for purchasing your products and services, and their most common objections during negotiations. This knowledge allows you to create content to your targeted audience, answering their questions, and ensuring your content has a defined purpose.

When creating your buyer persona, it’s key to understand what information is important to your firm. Creating too many personas or too many unnecessary questions can be just as detrimental as having too few questions or no buyer personas.

Steps to Creating Buyer Personas:

1. Develop the Right Questions

Without the right questions, you won’t get the right answers, so don’t overlook this step and its importance. Below are recommended questions, but personalize it to fit your company’s needs and objectives.

Questions to Consider:

  • Role in Organization
  • Goals of Role: Primary and Secondary
  • Challenges of Role: Primary and Secondary
  • How do you overcome those challenges?
  • What is your buying process to overcome your challenges?
  • Education Level
  • Age Range
  • Household Income
  • Common Objections
  • Relevant Background Information: Hobbies, Family, Values, and Fears

 

2. Develop Answers to Your Questions

To properly obtain the information you need to develop your inbound marketing strategy, you need to ask your current customers the questions from your buyer persona forms.

Most companies simply send a bland email questionnaire, but to create the strongest buyer personas you’ll need more information. Take the time to engage your customers with questions about why they chose your company over your competitors and ask follow up questions to get the in-depth information you need. Don’t forget to ask members of other departments, such as sales and customer service, for their insights and opinions.

Analyze website traffic and social media to support the answers you’ve received with data and to fill in the blanks. This also helps when first starting out or when expanding into new target markets and you don’t have any customers to survey.

 

3. Create Your Buyer Personas

Take the data you’ve collected and turn them into the buyer personas your company will need moving forward. This means disseminating the information you’ve collected into the categories and questions you’ve deemed necessary. Comb through this information and use only what you need.

Don’t overdo it! Keep your persona to one page. The likelihood of you referring to one any bigger is next to none. This is supposed to be a tool for your organization moving forward, not an encyclopedia that looks good on the shelf. Take the information you’ve collected and put it in a useful format you can easily reference.

Creating Buyer Personas for Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Buyer Personas are the foundation of your content strategy. Without personas, your company will be guessing at what content your target audience deems important and will end up posting with no real objective. By creating content that targets to specific points in the buying process, targeted to specific buying personas, and tailored to specific keywords those personas would be asking, your website will work for you.

Remember not to create too many buyer personas. Too many can be just as detrimental as having none at all and can bog you down. You want to create one persona for each of your target markets to represent what its important to them so your content is specifically tailored to your target audience. Normally, 5-10 will be plenty, but each business and industry is unique.

Don’t forget to name your personas! Naming them will put a personal touch that will help you remember these are actual people and not just a compilation of data and numbers.

Continue reading for more information on the difference between inbound marketing and content marketing or schedule your consultation today!

 

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Introduction to Programmatic Advertising | Inbound Marketing | Mike D. O'Brien

Introduction to Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic ad buying refers to the use of software to purchase digital advertising as opposed to the traditional process that involves Request for Proposals (RFPs), human negotiations, and manual insertion orders. Programmatic software also allows advertisers to buy guaranteed ad impressions in advance from specific sites.

Introduction to Programmatic Advertising includes learning key terms and learning the dangers.As more and more companies move towards automation, understanding the many different layers of programmatic advertising is important. Because of the amount of accessible data available through cookies, web-browsing habits, impressions, and clicks, automation allows marketers the freedom to focus more on strategizing and building their brand as opposed to worrying about advertising negotiations. Also, this data allows companies to easily restructure their strategies based on real-time performance. No longer do they have to wait months, or even years, to see if a certain strategy is meeting expectations.

According to eMarketer, 2016 will see programmatic ad spending reach $22.10 billion. That is 67% of total digital ad spending in the U.S. This rapid acceptance by companies and marketers means they are maximizing their advertising dollars by leveraging this efficient targeting. More companies are also turning their attention to mobile, as more than half of web traffic happens on mobile devices. “This year, mobile programmatic spending will reach $15.45 billion in the U.S. And next year, mobile video programmatic spending will exceed its desktop counterpart for the first time,” says eMarketer senior analyst Lauren Fisher.

Programmatic Advertising Terms:

1. Real-Time Bidding (RTB):
Ads are displayed on a per-impression basis, which allows different bids to be set for different types of sites, audiences, and themes.

2. Digital Management Platform (DMP):
Data warehouse that stores and sorts information and processes information for marketers.

3. Supply Side Platform (SSP):
Works with publisher to sell impressions for as much as possible and maximize ad revenue.

4. Demand Side Platform (DSP):
Activates insights and streamlines ad buying process by using impression-level decisions to have most efficient impressions.

5. Above-the-Fold (ATF):
Ads bought that show on screen when page is first loaded or, above the fold.

6. Below-the-Fold (BTF):
Ads bought on page that are below the portion of the page revealed when first loaded.

 

Types of Programmatic Advertising:

1. Programmatic Direct:
Buying ad space on a specific website to guarantee your ad will appear in a specific space.

2. Real-Time Bidding (RTB):
Real-time auction based on bid amount and quality score, such as Google AdWords only for display ads.

Benefits of Programmatic Advertising:

1. Targeted:
Artificial intelligence and their algorithms analyze visitors’ behavior to optimize real-time campaign towards audience more likely to convert.

2. Data:
Analyzing data means strategies can be restructured as needed and ads can target specific audiences and demographics based on cookies and web-browsing history.

3. Real-Time Ads:
Changes can be made in real-time, making it more cost-effective.

Concerns with Programmatic Advertising:

1. Mobile:
According to Media Buyers, as mobile use and mobile advertising both increase rapidly, there is still almost half of ads going unseen. As companies pay for unseen ad impressions, costs can skyrocket.

2. Fraud:
More than 1/3 of online traffic is fraudulent. While artificial intelligence and algorithms are getting better to distinguish real traffic from fake, it is still one of the major drawbacks if companies are paying for fraudulent impressions.

3. Brand Safety (Seedy Sites):
A common black hat tactic for unsavory publishers is to list more reputable websites on an auction site and then, after bids have been collected, change where the ads are displayed to seedier sites. This practice is known as URL masking and has resulted in the rise of security firms making sure your ads don’t end up on seedy sites ruining your brand’s reputation.

How to Use Programmatic Advertising for Your Business:

By targeting specific audiences and demographics, your marketing department can now rest assured knowing your targeted audience sees your ads. No longer will you have to wait and see results through purchases. As the amount of data continues to grow, and the capabilities of artificial intelligence and algorithms learns how to apply that data, marketers will be able to dedicate more time to structuring and developing branding strategies. As programmatic advertising continues to improve its efficiency at pairing audience data with ad inventory, your company needs to reevaluate your advertising strategy.

When you’re company uses automation to advertise across all platforms (it’s even available in some television markets), programmatic advertising can be an integral part of your inbound marketing strategy. As marketers dedicate more energy to developing brand strategies, they can also spend more time developing content that will drive traffic to your site.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Develop an Inbound Marketing Strategy | SEO Content Writer | Mike D. O'Brien

How to Develop an Inbound Marketing Strategy

When executed properly, inbound marketing can help all businesses grow by driving more web traffic and generating more leads. However, if not done properly, or only half-complete, you’ll present your business as incomplete online.

But let’s be serious, there are only so many hours in a day and there are so many things to do, especially as a small business owner. Where do you find the time to create and execute an inbound strategy as well as all the other responsibilities as a small business owner?

Most small business owners wear enough hats as it is, and inbound marketing is not a one-time job. Because visitors to your site like current, relevant content, so does Google. That means you need to post regularly to keep your site up-to-date and so that Google will continue crawling your site.

If you choose to perform an inbound marketing strategy in-house, below are the steps you need to create a winning strategy. I have found that most small business owners know what they should be doing, but don’t have the time to execute those tasks properly and don’t have the tools do perform an inbound strategy as well as it needs to be done. That would be like trying to defend yourself in court without a law degree or trying to change the brakes on your car without the proper tools.

Steps to Creating an Inbound Marketing Strategy:

1. Research:

Research is important before making any decision or strategy when it comes to your business, however, that doesn’t mean that all research is good research. With the amount of information available, it is important to remain on topic and scan articles and resources quickly for information relevant to your queries. Like all aspects of inbound marketing, research is an ongoing process. This will help you stay up to date on new trends and techniques.

Goals of Research Stage:

    • Buyer Personas:

Create enough buyer personas to include all of your different target markets. By putting yourself in their shoes, you will better understand their concerns and be prepared to offer solutions.

    • Market Triggers:

Your experiences and research will show the pain points of your target markets. Then you can find how your services and products alleviate those pains.

    • Keywords:

Find the keywords your business needs to be ranking for and which keywords your competitors are targeting. Through research you’ll find which keywords are important to your target markets at different stages of the buying process.

    • Goals:

Every business wants to increase sales, but what are the metrics that are going to help you achieve that goal? You need to decide how your inbound marketing strategy is going generate more leads.

 

2. Create and Execute:

After creating your buying personas and target markets, it’s time to create and execute your inbound marketing strategy. When you create your content schedule in advance, it’s easier to stay ahead of the posts and topics that will funnel visitors through the buying process.

Content Creation and Execution:

    • Content Schedule:

Create topics relevant to each point in the buying process and list titles for those topics. A good tip is to schedule a title to a specific date, and list any links to resources and keywords so that they are easily accessible when writing begins.

    • Blog:

Blogging is a key for any business. If you aren’t blogging, start as soon as possible. If you started and fell off, start again. This is the best way to answer your target market’s questions, offer solutions, drive traffic to your site, and generate more leads.

    • SEO:

To some, SEO is a myth that is promoted as the one-stop solution to get your business on the first page of Google. That’s not the case. There is no magic formula that can guarantee success. However, there is a guarantee of failure if you are not optimizing each and every page on your website with keywords, alt tags, and other SEO best practices.

3. Promotion

You have all this great content on your site. The next step in developing your inbound marketing strategy is share with the world your answers to your target market’s pain points. This doesn’t mean you have to try to be everywhere at the same time, but it does mean you have to find the places where your target audience is and engage them.

Ways to Promote Content:

It is impossible to be active and engaging on every social media site. Luckily, you don’t have to. You need to research where your target market is, and be there. But, there is no halfway. Make sure to post regularly and engage with followers and likes.

    • Email Marketing:

Some may think that this means spam, but those people don’t use email marketing to its full potential. You need to break up your email list into the different stages of the buying process so that new signups aren’t receiving the same emails as long-time customers. And, you need to target the specific points with information and promotions that will nudge them along to the next stage of the buying process.

    • Pay-Per-Click Ads:

Why spend all this time and money on inbound marketing, just to advertise? Inbound marketing is about driving targeted visitors to your site to convert them to leads, and eventually, customers. PPC advertising is another way to be in front of a targeted audience (those who searched for your specific keywords) and drive traffic to your site.

4. Generate Leads

Your website is a sales rep that never sleeps. If you’re site isn’t generating leads for you, not only are you missing an opportunity to grow, you’re being passed by your competitors.

Ways to Generate Leads:

    • Call To Actions:

Your website needs to have strategically placed CTAs so that you can continue promoting the next stage of the buying process to your visitors. But the same goes for emails and PPC ads. Measure the different phrasing and designs that work best at driving traffic.

    • Premium Content:

Whitepapers, eBooks, Case Studies, Webinars, and even Podcasts are a great way for you to offer detailed content to your visitors and potential customers. When they click a CTA to acquire this premium content, it brings them to a landing page.

    • Landing Pages:

A landing page is a gatekeeper to your premium content that requires visitors to fill out a short form to acquire the free content. This is how your business acquires new leads and more subscribers to your email list. Remember, only ask for the information you need (most of the time, simply their name and email address) so you don’t scare off potential customers by requiring them to provide irrelevant personal data.

    • Funnel Through Buying Process:

Posting to your site regularly and to specific keywords is a great way to drive more targeted traffic to your website. But if your site isn’t converting visitors to leads, then it is only doing half its job. You need to make sure that your website is always working for your business.

5. Analysis

You are able to track every step along the inbound marketing process, which provides the data necessary to see which aspects of your campaign are working and which need improvement. If you are not using the data to improve your strategy, you are aiming with your eyes closed and hoping to hit your target.

Data to Measure:

    • A/B Testing:

By testing different versions of your CTAs or PPC ads, you can see which works the best. Constant improving and tinkering is necessary to make sure your campaign is working as hard as you are. Remember to only change one small variable per test so that the data provides specific results.

    • Social Media:

Which social media platforms work best for your company? What times are the best to post about your business? What types of content provides the most engagement? Tracking of all this data allows you to improve your strategy.

    • Email:

Track the best emails to send to the specific points in the buying process. Constantly tracking the data will show the best times and days to send your emails.

    • Blogs:

Track which blogs, topics, and points on the buying process perform the best. Find the blogs that have the lowest bounce rate and which visitors click to other articles.

    • Traffic to Leads:

Driving more traffic to your site is a wonderful thing, but if those visitors aren’t turning into leads it doesn’t matter how many visitors you have. This data will tell you where on the buying process your site is failing.

    • Leads to Customer:

Similar to above, if your leads aren’t buying, then you need improve your lead nurturing. By targeting improvements to specific points in the buying process, you can ensure you’re not changing what parts of your strategy are succeeding.

    • Pay-Per-Click:

Your PPC ads are an important way to drive traffic to your site. If certain keywords are driving the most traffic to your site, try raising the bid so you can rank higher. Use negative keywords so you don’t waste money on similar keywords, but irrelevant to your company.

Develop Your Inbound Marketing Strategy Today!

Inbound marketing is a multi-faceted, on-going process that provides content tailored to specific points in the buying process, promotes that content, and analyzes the data. Unfortunately, many small business owners simply don’t have the time, or the skills to research, create, and execute an inbound marketing strategy that is going to drive more traffic to their site and generate more leads and more sales.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency

How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency

Choosing a digital marketing agency can feel overwhelming because of all the noise. SEM! Social Media Marketing! Increase Sales 50,000%! Not surprisingly, small businesses in particular feel weary when it comes to hiring an outside agency. But, just like every small business has a specialty, an agency can provide resources, techniques, and experience to provide better strategies for your company and achieve better results. When searching for a digital marketing agency, it’s important to have set goals before listening to pitches and to make sure an agency’s philosophy and talents meet your objectives.

How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency

Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency

1. Specialization:

Different types of agencies perform different types of services. This can range from content marketing, PPC management, digital consulting, or Social Media Management. Agencies that claim to do everything may mean they don’t do anything well. Do your research on a firm before calling to make sure your objectives meet their specializations. And, when you do call, listen carefully to what services they focus on pitching, which are probably their strengths.

2. Timeline Focus:

How long does an agency expect to see results? This is one of the most important questions to ask because this is how many businesses get fooled. There is no legitimate way to get 1000% increase in traffic and in the top 5 results on a Google search in only a month. That can be a tough pill to swallow in our immediate-results-driven society, but success takes time. A successful agency should be able to show a strategy to improve results in the short-term (1-3 months), medium-term (3-9 months), and long-term (9+ months) and how their experience makes them believe this strategy will be successful.

3. Price Range:

You and your team should discuss what goals your firm wants to achieve by hiring a digital marketing agency. Performing research beforehand will ensure that you don’t waste your time talking to agencies outside of your price range and needs. Just as important is to stay away from agencies offering an extremely low rate. Normally, this means they are sacrificing quality.

4. Contract Options:

Commonly, there are four types of agreements between agencies and clients:

  1. Hourly: Normally, this is for smaller, shorter-term projects such as rewriting the content of a website.
  2. Monthly/ Annual Contract: Most contracts are for 3, 6, or 12 months. This is the most common method.
  3. Pay Per Month: This means no formal month-to-month obligation and continual reviews.
  4. Results Paid: Payment only after specific, predetermined results are achieved. Could be more expensive in the long run, as the agency assumes higher risk.

5. Tracking Results:

During discovery, an agency should be able to clearly state what metrics they use to determine success. If you and your firm want other, specific metrics measured, make sure to tell your agency. Most agencies meet with clients once a month to review results and how a given strategy has changed and why. Any longer than once a month could be a sign that the agency is too busy to provide optimal service.

6. Agency Philosophy:

Choosing a vendor whose company philosophy matches your own is always important, but especially when choosing an agency that will be promoting your company online. Make sure this agency is in line with your company’s philosophy and objectives. If your company is looking to achieve long-term success, make sure your marketing agency thinks the same way, and has a specific strategy to achieve those goals.

7. Weaknesses:

No company is perfect and any company that says otherwise is lying. Especially in a field littered with smooth talking salesman, an agency that is aware of their own shortcomings, and honest about them, means they will be upfront and honest with you the entire time you work together.

8. Ease of Contact:

While the common workday is 9-5, Monday through Friday, a digital marketing agency that doesn’t respond at 5:01 pm means they don’t have the best interests of their clients in mind. It may be unreasonable to expect a firm to answer immediately, 24/7, it’s not unreasonable to expect a response outside of normal business hours.

9. Company Blog:

An agency should be maintaining a blog. This is an opportunity for the agency to share trends and techniques in the marketing world, as well as post about any company news and client success. This shows how serious they take their own business, revealing how seriously they’ll take yours.

10. Social Media Presence:

For the same reasons as blogging, an agency should have a social media presence. They are, after all, a digital marketing agency. A greater reach means a greater network, which means they know how to promote themselves. More often than not, that means they’ll know how to promote your business as well.

Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency

All companies have different needs and objectives when it comes to digital marketing, though all companies can benefit from one service or another. You and your team need to set what your specific organizational objectives are so that you can properly vet an agency. Figuring out your own goals will help you while listening to pitches from an agency and understanding their own company philosophy, strengths, and weaknesses.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017