The Marketing Advantage

Connecting You with Your Customers

5 of the Biggest SEO Myths

Posted by advantagemarketing on April 22, 2015

seo-mythsSEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, is a big deal if you want to drive traffic to your website. But, according to HubSpot, there seem to be many myths around that can undermine your optimization efforts and may even affect how your rank in major search engines such as Google.

Don’t fall prey to these SEO myths:

1. More links are better than more content

Should you invest in link building or in generating content such as blog posts or webpages? Companies too often focus on the quantity of links to their site, rather than the quality of their site’s content.  Your website’s focus should be on having relevant, quality content, so that others will want to link to it over time.

2. SEO is all about ranking

While studies have shown that most searchers prefer to click the first three search results, first-page ranking is not the prize it used to be. According to HubSpot, other studies have shown that on subsequent pages, being listed toward the top of the page gets you similar click behavior. The bottom line here? First page ranking matters less than you think. It’s more important to provide content that is useful to your readers, so that when they click through to your site, they stay and share your content.

3.  Keyword optimization is the key to SEO

While keywords have always been an important part of Internet searches, Google no longer exactly matches keywords typed into the search box to the keywords on a webpage. Instead, it searches for the intent behind the keywords used, so that it can provide relevant, high-quality content. This means that search engines won’t punish your website for not having enough exact keywords, but you will be if you overuse keywords.

4.  My homepage needs a lot of content

Your homepage is the gateway to your business. You don’t want it to be littered with content, but you also do not want to have a barren homepage with little to no information. Your homepage should describe who you are, what you do, where you are located, and what visitors should do next. Anything more than this can overwhelm users.

5.  My website doesn’t need to be mobile-friendly

Many website owners think their websites are only viewed on laptops and desktop computers. The fact is, more websites than ever are viewed on mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones. To reflect this trend, Google instituted a new algorithm on April 21, which uses the mobile-friendliness of your website as a ranking signal. Talk to your website developer. If your site is not mobile friendly, your developer should put a plan in place for fixing it right away.

Posted in brand building, Business, Internet business, Marketing, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

7 Twitter Tips You Need To Know Now

Posted by advantagemarketing on April 9, 2015

Put these tips to work today to build your company’s Twitter presence and increase awareness of your brand.

Put these tips to work today to build your company’s Twitter presence and increase awareness of your brand.

Is Twitter in your marketing tool kit? It should be. Twitter allows your company to gain more traffic, gather more leads, and generate more customers. Here are some tips from HubSpot to help you make full use of what Twitter has to offer:

1. Create a keyword searchable bio

In the bio section of your profile, include commonly searched terms and hashtags to increase the number of times that your page will show up in search results. This generates more traffic and makes your profile easier to access.

2. Use eye-catching images

Including images in your tweets will make them stand out and catch the attention of more users, generating more leads for your business. Most users scroll quickly through their timeline, and only stop to read the tweets that look interesting, so including a picture will drive more engagement from Twitter users. The ideal size for an image is 1024 x 512 pixels.

3. Include GIFs

For the same reasons as tip #2, including GIFs in your tweets will tremendously upgrade your Twitter arsenal. GIFs that are embedded into tweets are converted into MP4s and play automatically. This is another great way to catch the attention of potential leads.

4. Include hashtags related to your content

Having commonly searched hashtags will help your tweet to be seen in more search results, but it’s important to not be obnoxious about it. One or two simple hashtags included on each tweet is the perfect way to generate more traffic and reach a wider audience.

5. Keep tweets short

Keep it short and to the point. Tweets with 100-120 characters generate a lot more clicks and engagement than tweets with 140 characters. Most users only skim these tweets, so keep them as succinct as possible without sacrificing content.

6. Curate Twitter lists to segment users

Twitter Lists helps you to organize users into groups. This can best be used to build strategic connections by allowing you to sort users that you are most interested in engaging with. Twitter lists can be also used to follow a separate group of users from those you follow. This is a valuable resource for targeting the users that you want to reach out to.

7. Engage with your audience consistently

Keeping your tweets interesting is only half the battle. Keeping your tweets consistent is the key to gaining new leads. We recommend that you send around five tweets a day, to stay relevant and reach the widest audience possible.

Put these tips to work today to build your company’s Twitter presence and increase awareness of your brand.

Posted in brand building, content marketing, Marketing Strategy, Social media marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Valuable Tools for Better Content Marketing

Posted by advantagemarketing on February 12, 2015

Check out these tools to help you make the most of your content marketing efforts.

Check out these tools to help you make the most of your content marketing efforts.

Make the most of your content marketing efforts and strategies by using time-saving tools.  These three will help you effectively manage your time and help you gain valuable insights into your competitor’s strategies:

SEMRush – Analyze how you and your competitors are ranking with SEO

This is a useful tool for monitoring how you and your competitors are placing on Google and the traffic that you’re receiving. By entering a web address, you can get an overview of the traffic you are getting, plus valuable information about keywords, link building and paid vs. organic searches. You can also see your competitors’ best keywords, discover new competitors and analyze their performance.

Use this data to evaluate your marketing strategies, keep the traffic that you do have and use the most successful competitors’ keywords to improve your domain rank.

Free and paid versions available.  Plans starting at $69.95 per month.

BuzzsumoDiscover and analyze which content is most popular

In the rapidly changing field of content marketing, Buzzsumo helps you keep up with what’s trending. This nifty tool collects data and helps you discover what content is being shared most frequently across the various social media networks. Buzzsumo will help you with content creation by analyzing competitors’ content marketing strategies, showing you what’s working for them and who their target audience is. Come up with better ideas, share great content, and find out who the industry leaders are.

Simply enter a domain or topic to see what is being shared most often. From here you can narrow your search through several filter types, view back links, and view who is sharing the content. This allows you to quickly identify what is working well, and what’s not.

Free and paid versions available.  Plans starting at $99 per month.

Quill Engage – Get Google analytics fast, easy to read and free

This tool analyzes and gains insights from Google analytics and provides fast, easy to understand results sent to your email weekly and/or monthly. Quill Engage tells you how and why your site’s performance may be changing. With Quill Engage, you will understand what’s driving your traffic, get relevant analytics, and receive advice on how to improve performance all for free.

Use these tools to improve your current marketing plan, revamp a plan that isn’t working, or simply to maximize your marketing efforts. Let us know what you think. Have you tried any of these tools in your content marketing?

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/h2ey1

Posted in content marketing, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Trends, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Website for the Housing Partnership of NJ

Posted by advantagemarketing on December 18, 2014

website development examapleWe had the opportunity to team with TAG Online to help the Housing Partnership of New Jersey create a new website. The Housing Partnership is a nonprofit organization located in Dover, NJ, that provides assistance to families of modest means who want to buy and keep homes of their very own.

While TAG Online was responsible for the overall design of the website, Advantage Marketing developed the new tag line, “Bringing You Home. Keeping You Home.”

We also worked with the Housing Partnership staff to write and edit the site’s content so that it would more clearly explain HP’s story and the full range of services it offers.

website development example

 

 

Check out the complete Housing Partnership website at www.housingpartnershipnj.org.

For more about our website content development services, contact us.

Posted in content marketing, Marketing, nonprofits | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Whole-Brained Approach to Marketing Is Most Valuable

Posted by advantagemarketing on December 2, 2014

whole-brain-marketing

Today, you need both creative and analytical/technical components to your marketing plan, if you expect to be successful in engaging customers.

By guest blogger Laura Carter

When we think about marketing, we most often think of creativity, innovation, and visual appeal, traits that typically come from so-called “right-brained” thinkers. However, a new trend is taking over, where “left-brained” or analytical thinking is just as valued and respected in the marketing world.

The main goals for marketing have always been to understand the customer and then guide him or her towards a purchase. The path that a buyer takes to that purchase has evolved over the years. According to the CEB Marketing Leadership Council, customers now progress nearly 60% of the way through the purchase decision-making process before actually engaging a sales rep. This places a heavy burden on marketers to deliver value and education early on in the buying process.

As a result of changing buying styles, businesses must embrace the role of technology in their marketing strategies. If you expect to reach and engage customers today, your marketing strategy must employ both analytic/technical and creative strategies. In other words, you need to have both geeks and creative types contribute to your marketing.

Those who don’t include technology and analytics will surely be left behind, if they haven’t been already.   Spending in this arena has already increased and is still on the rise. In fact, Laura McLellan of Gartner predicts that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs.

The best companies must know how to generate interest using technology and turn that into actual revenue. They also must realize that their products and brand need to have a broad appeal that comes from a full right and left brain marketing approach.

With more money being invested in marketing technology, businesses want to see that they are actually getting a return on their investment. This often requires a more refined approach to analytics than what we have seen in the past. Modern marketers need to constantly monitor these analytics to know which areas to focus on and which areas to drop.

Marketers are not only expected to provide good marketing skills, but must also be able to track results with accurate analytics. They must also be able to merge fine details with creativity, analytics with the abstract, and logic with imagination to capture market share.

What marketing strategy do you use for your business? Is it a left-brained, right-brained, or whole-brained approach?

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, content marketing, lead generation, Marketing, Marketing automation, Marketing plans, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Trends, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Social Media Metrics that Matter

Posted by advantagemarketing on October 14, 2014

social media metrics

Using the right metrics lets you track your social media campaigns and measure them against your business goals

My professional service firm and small business clients often ask me which social media metrics they should track. They often think that if they get a lot of Facebook “Likes” then their social media campaign was a success. Then they are surprised when “Likes” don’t turn into increased sales.

Hootsuite, a social relationship platform company, noted in a recent blog post that choosing the right social media metric can be a daunting task. They point out that social media can be used to achieve any one or more of these business goals:

  • Increasing customer engagement
  • Growing sales
  • Building brand awareness

Each of these goals has a different set of metrics associated with it. So, if you start by establishing your goal, you can then select the appropriate social media metrics as key performance indicators (KPIs).

Increasing customer engagement, for instance, requires that you track metrics for social media engagement. These include Likes, Shares, Comments, Retweets, Mentions, and Favorites.

If your goal is to grow sales by increasing customer acquisition on your website, then you will want to pay attention to URL clicks and traffic to your website from social media. URL clicks can be tracked by using a shortened URL such as the HootSuite default shortener. Bitly provides a similar tracking capability.

Traffic to your site can be captured using Google Analytics, which your webmaster should have already installed on your site. If not, get him or her to do it immediately – you’re letting valuable insights slip through the cracks.

Building brand awareness requires that you track Follower growth rate, percent change in Followers, Twitter Sentiment, Reach by region, and Clicks by region. Shares and Retweets can also be tracked.

Hootsuite and Bitly are two of many tools that can be used to track social media metrics and both offer free and paid options. This blog post has a good list of free and paid tools for tracking social media campaign metrics.

 

Which social media metrics have you found most useful? Tell us in this post’s Comments section.

Posted in Business, Marketing, Professional service firm marketing, small business, social media metrics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How to Become the Expert People Want to Hire

Posted by advantagemarketing on October 7, 2014

content marketing

Your prospects will stick around when you give them the information resources they need to solve problems

Prospects Can’t Resist Sticky Content

When you give your prospects information that guides them to a problem solution – that’s sticky content!

When you use sticky content effectively, you become the expert people want to hire.

The Sticky Content Plan can help small businesses, consulting firms, and professional service firms build the information resources that bring customers to your door!

You get:

  • A 3-month content plan to rev up your sticky content creation
  • An analysis and suggested improvements for the “stickiness” of your website and two social media accounts.
  • An evaluation of your company’s brand messaging – does it compel people to stick around (and hire you)?

A $1,500 Value – Only $999!

Get Your Sticky Content Plan

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, content marketing, lead generation, Marketing, Marketing plans, Marketing Strategy, Professional service firm marketing, small business, Thought leadership | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Growing Your Consulting Practice

Posted by advantagemarketing on September 25, 2014

Growing a Consulting PracticeIf you run your own consulting practice then read “Growing Your Engineering Consulting Practice” from Chemical Engineering Progress magazine for practical advice from established, successful consultants.

Smart moves for your consulting practice

While the article was written for chemical engineers who run consulting firms, it can help any professional who wants to grow their consulting firm. You’ll find out why it’s important to:

  • Delegate so you can focus on growth
  • Align your growth plans with your company’s philosophy
  • Tell a compelling story about your company’s brand
  • And more!

Is your consulting practice in growth mode? Tell us about your successes and challenges in the Comments section!

Need help growing your consulting practice? The experts at Advantage Marketing will review your consulting practice and provide advice you can use immediately. Contact us today!

Posted in brand building, Business, Chemical Engineer, Consulting, Management, Marketing, Professional service firm marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law May Impact Your Email Marketing

Posted by advantagemarketing on July 7, 2014

Guest post by Laura CarterCanadian Anti-Spam Law

Canada is now taking action to control email spam. Effective July 1st, the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) requires businesses to obtain consent for sending “commercial electronic messages” to clients or prospective customers.

If you operate in Canada or are in contact with Canadian prospects or customers, you need to know the new rules.

Are you affected?

According to CASL, “if you are sending email, SMS, social media or instant messaging with commercial or promotional information about your business to existing customers or prospects you must comply with the new law.”

Review Your Email Lists

Take some time to go through your email lists and make sure the individuals you’re contacting are interested in what you have to offer. You must now have implied or expressed consent from anyone that you are contacting in Canada, and must offer a way for them to unsubscribe from your emails.

There is a 36-month transition period that allows for time to adjust and gain consent from those currently on your email marketing lists.

Provide Good Content

Think about who you are sending to, the messages you are sending and what you include in them. Provide recipients with quality content, and avoid being too “salesy.” Tell the recipient exactly why you are contacting them and why they should be interested in what you have to say. These are things you should be doing anyway, to comply with the CAN-SPAM laws here in the U.S.

Avoid Penalties

In Canada, spam can now be reported and legitimate concerns could be turned over to CASL. There aren’t any automatic penalties but there is a range of consequences varying from warnings to penalties (up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses).

Businesses that are already maintaining their email lists and providing quality information to customers and prospects, will require minimal effort to follow the new law. Embrace this as an opportunity to clean up your email lists and streamline your email marketing campaigns, one of your most valuable marketing resources.

This post was written using information from the Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation website.  For more information you can visit http://fightspam.gc.ca.

Posted in Business, content marketing, Email marketing, Internet business, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, small business | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Test Your Social Media IQ!

Posted by advantagemarketing on June 27, 2014

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Now that it’s summertime, we thought it might be fun to have a quick quiz about social media. Let us know in the comments section how you score!

1. Who is the founder of Facebook?

a. Al Gore      b. Mark Zuckerburg      c. Bill Gates       d. Steve Jobs

 

2. Which social media uses 140 characters?

a. Facebook      b. Google+      c. Twitter      d. InstaSelfie

 

3. What should you NOT do on a social media site?

a. Comment on and “LIKE” others’ posts

b. Post inappropriate photos of yourself or others.

c. Provide interesting content such as quizzes, news or links

 

4. Which social media channel reaches more U.S. adults ages 18-34 than any cable network?

a. Houzz      b. Instagram      c. Twitter      d. YouTube

 

5. This is the world’s largest professional social network and is a fantastic place to find a job or to recruit.

a. LinkedIn      b. Facebook       c. Twitter       d. Pinterest

 

6. Which of these statements is NOT TRUE?

a.  YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.

b.  Houzz provides architects & contractors with the opportunity to showcase their work to home owners and design enthusiasts.

c.  A new member joins LinkedIn every second.

d.  Pinterest is predominately used by men looking for recipes and wedding dresses.

 

7. This social media network has features such as Pages, Profiles, Circles, Community, and Hangouts, that let you interact with customers and friends. It can also raise your Website in Google’s rankings.

a. Pinterest      b. Google+       c. LinkedIn      d. Facebook

 

Answers:  1. b    2. c    3. b    4. d    5. a    6. d

If You Got:     You’re:

6-7 correct     A Social Media Whiz

4-5 correct     Smarter than a 5th Grader

2-3 correct     A Social Media Beginner

0-1 correct     At the Starting Gate

 

Posted in Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Social media marketing, Traditional marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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