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Digital Marketing – What’s Your Strategy?

digital marketing strategy

Marketing has changed a lot over the years and I’ve been fortunate enough to see how it has taken shape. In the past, we used broadcast and print marketing to reach out to consumers and businesses. Back then, we didn’t call it traditional marketing. We just called it marketing.

Today, the digital universe has not only changed the way we reach out to people but it’s also changed what we say. Brand messaging is the biggest change that I’ve seen. It matters to your clients and customers. It also matters to the general public. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the recent public relations nightmares. So, having a strategic plan to deliver your message throughout the digital-verse is just as important as it was in the past.

Digital Resembles Traditional

Digital marketing has some basic concepts in common with traditional marketing. The goal of a traditional marketing campaign was to cover as many bases possible—to capture as much attention while staying within budget. A well-rounded campaign focused on primary and secondary activities.

Primary activities delivered the entire message. These had more space or time for content that gave all the necessary details. Typically, primary activities were print-based and some broadcast media, such as infomercials and infotainment.

Secondary activities were used to keep brand names front-of-mind for consumers. This is a broad category that includes things like billboards and vinyl-wrapped busses. The goal of secondary activities was to complement marketing campaigns through increasing brand recognition.

Digital Marketing: A Comprehensive Mix

Everyone, regardless of age, is now online. The digital world is part our every day lives. Television is on smartphones. Radio stations stream through wireless speakers. Voice-controlled personal assistants sit in our living room and robots roam our houses. Marketers can capitalize on these changes by investigating how new and unique platforms within the digital-verse can deliver their message.

It’s time to be more strategic about your digital presence. You really need to have all things digital in play. Just like traditional methods, we need to have a good mix of primary and secondary sources for people to find your business.

More Than Just a Website – Primary

Websites are no longer digital brochures. Your home page has become your storefront—your front lobby. It’s where potential and repeat customers enter your business. And it has to do so much more than ever before.

Your website has to be a primary source of information. Every visitor should have all of their questions answered before leaving it. If not, they should be able to ask and get a quick response.

Added to this is the fact that your website depends upon two major criteria: search engine optimization (SEO) and mobile responsive design. Without these, your website won’t be as easily found by Google. SEO requires strategic organic search optimization through original content, such as videos, articles and blogs. These need to capture viewers’ attention, be informative, and need to be updated frequently or else Google will send you to the end of the list.

Social Media – Primary

The world of social media is always changing, always in flux, but one thing is for certain, it’s not going away. Your social media presence has to be a primary source of information. It also has to create an emotional connection with your viewers. This is just as true for B2B as it is for B2C marketing.

The bio pages on any social media site can inform your visitors about what you do and where you’re located. Frequent posts with pictures and videos show your business in action. Informative articles, white papers, and video content about your business’ expertise should also be shared frequently on social media. Remain positive in this space. Business social media pages are not a political platform and you will see your audience diminish drastically if you use them in this way. All of these guidelines will also help your efforts with public relations.

Google My Business – Primary

When Google knows more about your business, your visibility will increase. This means more traffic to your site and social channels. That’s what Google My Business does. It puts you on the map, allows online reviews, and provides primary sources of information. Here are some handy statistics about Google My Business:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – Secondary

In some ways, paid search has taken the place of broadcast media’s quick ad spots. But it’s so much different than blasting your message to everyone listening. As a secondary source, it resides in the middle of your sales funnel and provides measurable and trackable data. This leads to increased targeting and more appealing messages.

Paid search is a great way to target new audiences with relevant content. It drives more people to where you want them to go. We regard PPC as an important activity for any digital marketing campaign.

Content – Secondary

Your digital marketing campaign needs flawless content. This ranges from videos to podcasts to blog posts and each one has to differentiate you from everyone else. The best advice we can offer about content is to be authentic and be genuine. Show off your best and people will notice.

Content puts your expertise on display. It shows how your company is unique, and what your company culture is like. Plus, frequent updates of content keep your website active and relevant for search engines.

Link Building – Secondary

Your website really can’t rank well if it doesn’t have link building. This goes even further than someone linking to one of your blog posts. It’s about building partnerships, getting mentions in the press, appearing in videos and on podcasts, and building influencer relationships. Link building should also be part of your public relations strategy.

We Help with the Specifics

A solid digital marketing strategy can improve your visibility, which is a pretty big deal these days. But it also tells the story about your company. Knowing these general concepts is the first step in a bold digital presence. There is so much more to learn about messaging in the digital space, as well as which platforms work best.

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with every aspect of their digital marketing. We specialize in discovering our clients’ personal traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and your marketing goals.

SEO Tips Introduction

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a moving target with a mysterious algorithm that no one seems to be able to define precisely. While this fact can be frustrating, if you can look at it from a positive standpoint, it can be to your benefit. Why?

No One Else Has the Exact Answer Either

We are all at the same disadvantage in our inability to crack the Google SEO code. You can count on the fact that no one else knows the code, so if you stay up to date on SEO techniques like the ones we are about to discuss in this series, you will stay on top of the SEO game.

There Are Ways to Stay at the Top

There are many techniques to staying at the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP), though you’ll never find the exact formula. Let’s say you’ve been blogging for a couple years, continuously creating new content and seeing engagement with your blog. All that content does not have to have an expiration date. Take some time to review your collection of blogs and see if there are any particular articles that received more traffic than others. These articles will be the starting point for a blog refresh and update, which can yield a significant increase in website traffic.

Now that you have this list of top performing blogs, look to see if there is a relationship between any of these articles. If there is a relationship, can you seamlessly combine these articles into one longer-form, more in-depth article? Find a common thread to connect a few of your blogs, especially if they are around 250-400 words each. You want to combine them to make a longer blog of at least 1000 words.

What’s the reasoning behind this? User-generated content has become prolific ever since we all figured out that generating fresh content is one of the best ways to receive a thumbs up from Google. Look how far we’ve come! From the days of totally useless, “keyword stuffing” articles that had no value other than attracting Google’s attention, to the days of more valuable, readable and meaningful articles, to today. Google has essentially learned how to read over the years, which forced businesses to start writing that real content. And now that real content needs to be even more meaningful and in-depth to offer users and searchers even more valuable information. Google’s reading level is rising.

Now, think about it – this is not a bad thing! Who needs loads of shallow content that offers readers no insight or useful information? While more thoughtful, in-depth content takes longer to create, it is more helpful to your audience. At the end of the day, helping your customers and potential customers is, simply, the right thing to do. They are the lifeline of your business!

Check back monthly during 2019 to receive more SEO tips to improve your organic search traffic and add value to your customers’ experience on your website. Click here to signup for our monthly newsletter to receive the tips directly in your inbox.

The Combined Power of Public Relations and Search Engine Optimization

pr and seo_news copy

Most people don’t associate public relations (PR) with search engine optimization (SEO), but if you play your cards right, PR can lead to great SEO. In fact, sometimes we undertake PR activities with the specific goal of increasing SEO for ourselves or our clients.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

Every day, HARO sends out several emails with queries from traditional media reporters and producers, but also blogs and and other online platforms looking for experts in certain fields and topics, and opinions about popular news items. The list sometimes contains over 50 different queries, ranging in content from health to finance to entrepreneurship to technology. Some of them are very specific and some are more general. The process goes like this:

  • We scan this list looking for opportunities for ourselves and our clients.
  • When we find one that fits, we immediately begin the process of writing the answers.
  • Complete an internal review
  • Request final approval from the client.
  • Once that is complete, we send our response to the query, and then wait for publication.
  • If the reporter decides to use our information in his article, we send a link to the client’s website, name, and sometimes even a bio and website.
  • Post the final article to all social media, including Google+

And there it is – the link back to the client’s site is SEO gold, especially if the site that it’s coming from is a reputable company in a related industry.

A perfect example is the story we contributed to for CEO Nation. The article is a really good social media tips from fifteen different entrepreneurs, including our very own Ginger Reichl! If you check out the story here, you’ll see that this particular article included Ginger’s head shot, name, and a link to our site. The article turned out great, and we learned some new social media techniques as well.

Online Press Release Distribution

Press releases are written for many reasons, including announcements, company news, events, and interesting stories that apply to trending topics. Knowing where and when to distribute a press release is as important and strategic as the writing of the press release itself. For traditional media relations, we rarely use releases anymore – with the exception of major news and investor relations, they typically just get ignored.

However, for SEO purposes, we’ll draft a release for ‘clean up’ work once our usual media relations efforts have been exhausted. There are several free places to distribute press releases online. We make sure that the press release contains the keywords that we want to rank for in search results, and always have the company’s website in the boiler plate at the end of the release. This is considered a backlink, which is, again, SEO gold. Plus, in some cases, we’ve had those releases picked up by a reporter or news outlet and posted on their site, which adds even more to the SEO credibility of the company.

Other content marketing strategies like guest articles and podcasts also have SEO benefits in addition to their traditionally PR role and we will continue to see the lines blur as search continues to drive interest … and traffic.

Connect with us if you need help writing your next press release or finding creative ways to use PR to promote your company.

Marketing Must Haves for 2018

content marketing

In the 2018 race to the top of relevant search results, companies of every shape and size will be adding more to their online experience. Simply having a website and a few Google Ads isn’t going to be enough to conquer the world of online marketing. And, if you don’t follow a comprehensive approach to strengthen your digital marketing mix, you may fall behind your competition.

The 4 Must Haves

“Must Have” is a great phrase. It implies necessity. And, it’s exactly why the marketing must haves for this year should not get pushed aside for another year.

  1. Website Optimization for Mobile Devices

Last year, mobile and tablet devices accounted for more than half of internet usage worldwide. This comes as no surprise, because sales in mobile devices have been growing exponentially since the inception of the iPhone.

Optimization for mobile devices goes beyond responsive design. It tackles mobile issues, such as connectivity, distractions, and smaller screens. The best website designs will resemble mobile apps.

Rather than struggle to read broken text and awkward drop-down menus, 61% of visitors to sites without optimization will leave the page. That’s a lot of opportunity lost! But, if the site is optimized, 67% of consumers are more likely to use a service or buy a product.

  1. Content strategy

Late in 2015, Google released a major update to its search parameters that included: frequent site updates, relevant content, and links to and from other credible sites. This was meant to eliminate poorly performing search results that gave irrelevant and outdated content to their users.

Over the past two years, Google continued to change many of the parameters to fit the needs of its users. Now, search engine optimization feels like shifting sands beneath our feet. A strong content strategy can provide some solid ground.

Company websites need to become a resource for all consumers—past, present and potential. This means frequent updates with articles, blogs, and case studies. Companies also need to develop relationships with media outlets and provide frequent press releases. Over time, this strategy improves search results and user engagement.

  1. Video

Dwell time is another parameter for Google’s search rankings. A “sticky site” can have visitors reading great articles, but what they would really prefer is to watch a video instead.

Videos provide an entertaining way for visitors to get more content, faster. A company’s brand message can be conveyed within seconds! The key here is entertaining, because visitors have a short attention span and they won’t watch bad videos. Professionally produced videos give an air of credibility and class, as well as faster brand recall.

What makes an entertaining video? It has to be interesting, relevant and useful. Tell a story. Present a narrative. Quality graphics, animation, professional photography, scripts, and production can make most subjects entertaining, even one about logarithms.

  1. Email list

Email marketing is still the most cost-effective way to reach your target market. According to MarketingSherpa, over 60% of consumers are open to weekly promotional emails and 91% prefer email promotions to other forms of advertising.

It’s time to clean up your current email marketing list. It’s time to grow it throughout the year, adding the leads you receive via tradeshows, website inquiries, and sales leads. Don’t forget to include your weekly or monthly email newsletters in your content strategy.

Maybe in a Year or Two…

Augmented and virtual reality is being used more and more on mobile devices. Some of the biggest companies in the world, IKEA, Facebook and Apple, are using these advanced technologies to capture the attention of more consumers, which means they are making it more mainstream for other companies to follow. Maybe in a year or two, we’ll be talking about them as must haves, but for now, this is the year to really focus on some core, online best practices.

If you don’t know where to start with content strategy, shoot us an email and we can help.

Keep It Fresh!

content marketing news

No one likes stale bread, stale news, or stale anything. Neither does the Googlebot. Savvy marketers know that the Googlebot looks beyond keywords embedded within a website. The Googlebot looks for frequent content updates to websites, often found in blogs, videos, press releases, and case studies. They call it crawling. These frequent updates increase the chances that a site will be placed higher in the search results.

It makes perfect sense if you think about it, because embedded keywords alone won’t bring the best search results. The world’s biggest and best search engine reaches around the globe for new and interesting content to fulfill their users’ search parameters. The trick is to keep your site fresh and looking new.

DIY

The do-it-yourself method of updating the company blog, special events, success stories, and general news requires planning and commitment of many employee hours. Let’s not forget, it also requires some creativity, which means you need to step away from the noise of the day and devote three or four hours to writing one piece.

Before publishing it, always remember to edit your material, either a couple times by yourself or have one of your coworkers help you. It’s hard to get your thoughts on the page to read exactly how you want them (even for seasoned professional writers), so please be careful when you do-it-yourself.

Time Is Money

Hiring a firm to do the writing also means you’re hiring them to plan, organize, and execute it. The cost may seem out of reach at first, but when you add up all the hours you would be spending on a properly run plan, you’ll see that it will make you money over the long-run. If you’re the owner of the company or head of marketing, that time spent writing could be time spent doing more pressing work and contributing to the bottom line.

Here’s a good example. In one week, your company may need to write a blog post and a press release. These take a professional writer less than 10 hours to complete. On average, it will take an inexperienced writer double that time.

Some Accounting Required

If you do the math, you’ll see how hiring a firm to handle the constant flow of updates to your site can save you money. More importantly, it will allow you to focus on what you do best, so you can increase revenue and profit.

Within a month or two of frequent updates, the Googlebot will reward your company by ranking it higher than before. Trust us. We’ve seen it happen, time and again. Let us know if we can help.

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