NJ Digital Marketing https://www.smekdigital.com SEO, Websites, Adwords, Social Media Thu, 19 Apr 2018 19:10:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Boost Your Content Marketing with the AIDA Funnel https://www.smekdigital.com/boost-your-content-marketing-with-the-aida-funnel/ https://www.smekdigital.com/boost-your-content-marketing-with-the-aida-funnel/#respond Thu, 29 Mar 2018 14:12:58 +0000 https://www.smekdigital.com/?p=5777 Boost Your Content Marketing with the AIDA Funnel

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Boost Your Content Marketing with the AIDA Funnel

The AIDA model is a tried and testing marketing method, which is employed by businesses of all sizes.
If you’re hoping to improve your content marketing strategy and drive sales and you’re not already familiar with the AIDA funnel, this guide could help to transform your campaign and catapult your company to the next level.

Here is an introduction to the AIDA marketing model and some tips to boost your content marketing strategy.

Introducing the AIDA model

The AIDA model is a golden oldie in the marketing world. Although the concept has been around for a period of time, the model can be adapted and adjusted to suit modern businesses working on current, relevant content marketing strategies. This formula is designed to guide consumers through every step of the buying process, using content to draw customers in, peak their interest and ultimately, urge them to make a purchase.

AIDA stands for:

AIDA method
A- Attention , I- Interest , D-Desire ,  A- Action

The aim of the AIDA model, when applied to content marketing, is to take a consumer on a journey that attracts their attention, captivates their imagination, maintains their interest, makes them want the product or service and then urges them to take action. If you can perfect the process, you’re likely to notice a major upturn in sales. The important thing is to complete every step. If you’re getting to stage 1, 2 or 3 every time, but failing to close the deal at the last chance, it’s wise to revise your strategy to increase the chances of success.

Explaining the AIDA model

Many businesses use content marketing as a means of promoting their products and services, enhancing their brand image and reaching out to new clients. It’s well-documented that content marketing can be incredibly effective if it’s done right. Content marketing isn’t just about stuffing blogs full of key phrases and popular search words. It’s about creating original content, which is appealing and enticing to the reader.

If you take every aspect of the AIDA model into consideration, you create a content funnel, which takes your potential customer on a journey. The first step is to grab the attention of that client. You want to arouse curiosity and encourage that person to want to find out more. The next stage is to build that client’s interest in whatever you’re selling. You want to use your content to make them think about how they would use that service or how that product could benefit them. The next stage is to make the reader want to buy that product or embark on the experience you’re offering. If you’ve navigated your way to this stage, the final step is to push that customer into taking action, for example, booking that excursion, reserving a table in your restaurant or completing the purchase of the item in their shopping cart. To achieve success, you have to get from the beginning to the finish line.

Using AIDA in copy and content writing

In its most basic form, the AIDA model sounds like the process we all go through when we buy something or place an order. The key to using AIDA to boost your content writing strategy lies in making the campaign relevant and understanding what the client wants. You need to know how to get from one stepping stone to the next, keeping your reader with you at all times. To design the best strategy, it’s helpful to break down the model and consider each element in more detail.

 

  • A= Attention

This is arguably the toughest challenge. You only have to carry out a quick Google search to notice that there’s a huge amount of content out there. When you’re putting a post, an article or a landing page together, think carefully about how you’re going to make your content leap off the page and turn heads.

Plan content creation with the audience in mind. Remember at all times that you’re catering to an audience and anything you share or distribute should be tailored to that specific group. Carry out some research to ascertain information about who is reading your articles and what your audience wants from your posts. Ask questions, and don’t start working until you have the answers.

Who is your target reader?

What problems are they interested in tackling?

What solutions can your content piece offer?

What are the most effective and popular ways of getting your message across?

If you have the responses to these questions, this will stand you in good stead to create pieces that do the job.

One of the best ways to grab attention is to create a punchy headline, which leaves the reader wanting more.
Be original, think outside the box and adopt a tone that suits the audience. There are many different writing styles out there, and you should use language and terminology that will resonate with the reader.

If you’re selling skateboards to ambitious, energetic teenagers, for example, your language is likely to be very different to selling bespoke legal services to business managers. It’s well-known that people have a short attention span when it comes to reading articles either online or in print.

After the headline, the first paragraph should be your priority. Don’t wait until the last sentence to try and win your customer over. The chances are that you’ve already lost them if the previous paragraphs are bland and void of useful information.

If you’re worried that your content strategy isn’t working as well as you hoped, audit the headlines and primary paragraphs first. These are the areas where you are most likely to experience issues that hold you back.

  • I=Interest

Once you’ve lured a reader in, the next challenge is to maintain their interest. One of the best ways of doing this is persuading them that you have an in-depth understanding of the problems or issues they face. Take the concept of ‘Dr. Google’ as an example. It’s incredibly common for people to use search engines to find out about symptoms and learn about health conditions these days.

If you’re writing a piece about health, it should be your mission to demonstrate that you understand the topic and you have an insight into how it affects sufferers. If you can show that you appreciate how a specific condition makes that reader feel, for example, you can increase the level of engagement and form a deeper connection.

You want your reader to think that this is a piece that has been written with them in mind. Use research statistics, expert analysis, and case studies to demonstrate and support the claims you make and build your story. It can also be useful to share personal experiences, as this can reassure the reader and make them feel more connected to the author.

  • D= Desire

It can sometimes be difficult for writers to distinguish between interest and desire. Maintaining interest is key to reaching the stage where that person starts to think about actually wanting or desiring that product or service.

There’s a big difference between reading something and thinking that the product the business is promoting is a great idea and browsing an article and deciding that this is something you definitely need in your life.

If you’re selling a software program, for example, you need to take the buyer from a stage where they think that the product sounds brilliant to the point where they really want it, and they’re willing to take the next step and place that order.

  • A= Action

This is the final piece of the jigsaw. The action phase relates to tipping that reader over the edge and turning interested and desire into actionable results. If you’ve created a press release for a new skincare brand, for example, the final phase would be a customer placing an order or a buyer shaking hands on a deal.

Every piece of content you write or post should include a call to action, which makes your intentions clear and points the reader in the right direction. Make it simple for the audience to take that step, for example, including a click to buy link, and try and preempt issues that could prevent the reader from taking this final leap.

If there are concerns about privacy and data security when shopping online, for example, provide a link to your privacy policy.
If people are worried they won’t like the product, offer a money back guarantee or outline the returns policy. Offering reassurance at this point is often an effective means of tipping the balance in your favor.

 

 

Ad copy strategies to improve your CTR

If you’re on a mission to improve your CTR, it pays to apply AIDA theories to your ad copy. Create snappy headlines that stand out, bear your target audience in mind and use numbers and statistics to back up your claims. Use content to trigger emotional reactions and set the tone of the post from the outset. Use keywords naturally, avoid the hard-sell and create unique URLs that contain relevant terms and words. Focus on providing the reader with information that will benefit them and encourage them to think about how this ad applies to them. There’s no point in waffling on about how brilliant your business is without pointing out how it can actually impact the customer. You want to use your words to persuade the buyer that they want or need whatever you’re selling in their lives, not present them with hundreds of words of copy about the history of your business or the awards you’ve won. Always make sure that your copy responds to the problem to which your advert relates. If somebody is looking to sell their car, for example, they may type the words ‘sell a car’ into a search engine. If you’ve posted an ad, use the strapline and description to persuade your client that you can help them sell their car. You could include a line about buying the car even if the client doesn’t buy their next car from the same dealer, you could provide details about cash offers, or you could highlight the speed of the process, for example, ‘we’ll pay you on the same day.’

Applying the AIDA model to your landing pages

Linking to landing pages is an important part of generating leads and driving sales. Landing pages take you straight from a search engine to a page that is relevant to what you’re looking for. The process should be seamless and quick. If you’ve managed to increase traffic to your landing pages, the last thing you want is for customers to lose interest and look elsewhere because the page doesn’t deliver. Your landing pages should focus the client’s attention on specific services or products, provide useful information and, most importantly, persuade the customer to take action.

Your landing pages should be structured according to the AIDA model. Use headlines and opening statements to grab the attention of the reader, peak their interest by telling them more and backing up your claims and then use images, clips and persuasive language to make them want it. Make sure there is a call to action, and that the page makes it as easy as possible for the reader to take that step. It’s always beneficial to match the call to action to the headline and to try and predict objections and provide solutions. FAQ pages and live chat features are an excellent addition to any business website.

Try to avoid stuffing pages full of text, as this can be very off-putting. Use images, videos and infographics to break up paragraphs, and be succinct and concise. Be punchy and get to the point.

Are you keen to embrace the power of content marketing to push your business forward? If you’re using paid adverts, you’re sharing content on social media, or you’re hoping to improve your search engine ranking or create more leads using landing pages, adopting the AIDA model could make all the difference. Hopefully, this guide has given you an insight into the theory and provided you with useful tips to create a compelling, captivating and effective content marketing campaign.

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The Rise of Internet Marketing Coaches. The Good, OK, Bad, and the Ugly. https://www.smekdigital.com/rise-of-internet-marketing-coaches-imho/ https://www.smekdigital.com/rise-of-internet-marketing-coaches-imho/#respond Sat, 03 Mar 2018 20:41:36 +0000 https://www.smekdigital.com/?p=5745 In industries such as digital marketing where the barrier to entry is low, four types of coaches seem to appear. The statements below are purely IMHO and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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In industries such as digital marketing where the barrier to entry is low, four types of internet marketing coaches seem to appear. The statements below are purely IMHO and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The GOOD – Seasoned Coaches and Mentors

People that are actually running a successful business and want to help others succeed while making an honest living. When I say successful, I’m not just talking about revenue. I’m referring to a business that has solid processes and runs efficiently with predictable revenue streams. They definitely exist. I’ve joined one but won’t name as it would seem biased.

The OK – Newbie coaches

Not as bad as “the blind leading the blind” (figure of speech), these guys and gals have the best of intentions without the real world experience to back it up. While they can be helpful, much of their advice is hearsay with no supporting data. Don’t believe everything you hear on the internet. What works for one industry/niche isn’t universal, especially when it comes to SEO. They are OK because they don’t necessarily hurt anyone nor do they help much. When you think you’re one of the best, you are surely not. When you are humble, realize there’s always something new to learn from others, and your peers call you an expert, then you might be one 😉

The BAD – Copycat Coaches

The “copycat” coaches that take an online course and then just rehash everything as a self-proclaimed millionaire marketer that has a “crazy funnel” that they use for every client that works like magic. Yet, they are all willing to share the “exact steps they use to generate millions in revenue” in a FREE webinar. How are you making thousands a month and filming from a cheap apartment? Or better yet, why are you filming from a mountaintop/hotel, your audio sounds like a VHS recording, and the video camera shakes as if it was held by a 10 year old child?

The UGLY – Dream poachers

People that are successful (as defined earlier), but use a “get rich quick” marketing scheme to entice entry-level entrepreneurs into buying courses or joining a membership group that only provides broad advice without actionable steps. Much like some multi-level marketing, they then offer a commission for them to get others to join. The biggest tell-tale sign is that they sell the DREAM more than the actual steps to get there. If the pitch starts with 10 min of flashy cars and “financial freedom”, run! They may promote that ONE of their students is now very successful and it might be true. What they don’t tell you is that it’s one out of hundreds or thousands they coach. Business is NOT easy. Don’t get fooled.

Random Coaching Example

I am picking this one RANDOMLY from my news feed. I cannot say whether or not this fits into any of the 4 people mentioned above. What I CAN SAY is that he’s using the same exact message as countless other coaches…and frankly, it’s annoying. (Yes, I know I can hide the ads.)

“I’ve now put together a FREE training for web designers where I’ll show you the exact steps that I took to transform my freelance web design business into a virtual agency that gives me both income and freedom.”

With the Recent flood of “internet marketing coaches”, what does the future of the marketing world look like?

I was pondering this and hit the streets of Quora for answers from peers. I agree with each and every one of them.

Full Reference: Quora page

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Hacking Panera Bread’s Wifi Time Limitations https://www.smekdigital.com/how-to-bypass-paneras-wifi-limit/ https://www.smekdigital.com/how-to-bypass-paneras-wifi-limit/#comments Sat, 28 Oct 2017 21:41:09 +0000 https://www.smekdigital.com/?p=4503 The Plight of Working from Home When I joined the “work from home” world, I imagined it would be a land of fun and freedom. Partly it is but the numerous distractions really limit productivity. From the mounds of clothes that need to be washed, house begging to be cleaned, and the fridge asking to […]

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The Plight of Working from Home

When I joined the “work from home” world, I imagined it would be a land of fun and freedom. Partly it is but the numerous distractions really limit productivity. From the mounds of clothes that need to be washed, house begging to be cleaned, and the fridge asking to be pillaged, these small “things to do” in the back of the mind prove to create a work procrastinator.

While I continue to improve upon my willpower, my current solution is to work from anywhere else that is not home. A few of my buddies work from home as well so sometimes I’ll stop by. But even then we get cabin fever and venture out to find virtual workspaces.

Although independent cafes and coffee shops are usually OK, they are usually small and crowded. Franchises such as Starbucks has GREAT wifi (most, if not all have Google WIFI) but leaves several days of coffee stink on my backpack and my jacket. Not to mention most don’t have great seating accommodations.

Enter my favorite franchise cafe for remote work, Panera Bread. The seating is always warm and comfortable, with conference style desks, and lots of room. Typically I’ll work a few hours remotely before heading back to the home office. Since time is money, working and eating lunch at Panera is usually a good combination. Unfortunately, the wifi is not as fast as Starbucks and they limit their wifi during peak hours such as lunch and dinner to 30 minutes per device.

Hacking Panera’s WIFI time restrictions during peak hours

Unfortunately, at many locations, the wifi is not as fast as Starbucks Google Wifi and they limit their wifi during peak hours such as lunch and dinner to 30 minutes per device. While I have no control over the wifi speed, there is an easy geek hack to bypass time restrictions. Technically you are not hacking their wifi, you are just bypassing the restrictions.

Even with zero technical skills, you can easily download a freeware program (yes, this means FREE) such as “Technitium MAC Address Changer” that will change your network adaptor’s unique identifier so that Panera’s access point will think you are an entirely different device.

Technitium MAC Address Changer

This is the intro text straight from TMAC’s developer website:

“Technitium MAC Address Changer allows you to change (spoof) Media Access Control (MAC) Address of your Network Interface Card (NIC) instantly. It has a very simple user interface and provides ample information regarding each NIC in the machine. Every NIC has a MAC address hard coded in its circuit by the manufacturer. This hard coded MAC address is used by windows drivers to access Ethernet Network (LAN). This tool can set a new MAC address to your NIC, bypassing the original hard coded MAC address. Technitium MAC Address Changer is a must tool in every security professionals tool box.”

Simple steps to change your MAC address using TMAC:

  1. Install and run the program
  2. Select your wifi connection from the “network connections” column
  3. Click “Random MAC Address” or select one from the dropbox box below it
  4. Click “Change now!”
  5. Reconnect to Panera wifi and login
  6. Don’t forgot to click the “Restore Original” button when you’re done

If you have a wireless card and are having issues changing the MAC, see this help post.

Note: This simple life hack should work at any other establishment that restricts devices by MAC address. However, aside from Panera Bread, I am not aware of any.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps your productivity when working remotely.

This hack is for windows machines but I found this article about MAC address spoofing on a OSX (MAC computer).

If you have any other comments, suggestions, or improvements to this article, please comment below!

If Panera Bread corporate asks me to remove this article I will happily do so =)

 


 

UPDATE 10/2017

Tim Cross from Panera Corporate replied to this (surprisedly high traffic post), in the best possible way.

Rather than being upset that there are people finding ways to circumvent their wifi policies, they are taking an initiative to
provide an even greater environment for their patrons. I have noticed that the wifi restrictions have been lifted in almost all of
the Panera’s I frequent.

However, speed is very slow…they need to increase their bandwidth. At best, I might be streaming music and low bandwidth utilizing tasks.

See email below…

Good afternoon Sean,

I appreciate the feedback in the article on Panera’s Wi-Fi and have ran across it several times over the past years. We love customers to come to our café and use the Wi-Fi and has been part of our attraction over the years.

We have heard the friction this time restriction caused our customers and have removed this time limit in the majority of cafes in 2016.

In addition to lifting that restriction we have

  • added in some cutting edge access points that provide great coverage
  • Multiplied the bandwidth available to our cuistomers in most cafés by a factor of 10-20x
  • Multiple access points in each café that provide wider coverage
  • Protection for a single piece of equipment failure (Multiple access Points)

Hopefully, we are providing our customers a great experience in the café and are working to improve it further. We know how important wireless connectivity is to our customers for business and pleasure.

We don’t have any issues with the article or customers performing those steps on their computers but changing the MAC address is not required over the past 18 months to achieve the same results.

I appreciate any feedback on how we can make the Panera gathering place experience better – technology or otherwise.

Happy surfing and hopefully you are frequenting our cafes.

Tim Cross

Panera, LLC
3630 Geyer Road
Sunset Hills, MO 63127

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Contact form 7 tips and must-have addons https://www.smekdigital.com/contact-form-7-tips-and-must-have-addons/ https://www.smekdigital.com/contact-form-7-tips-and-must-have-addons/#respond Sat, 20 May 2017 02:06:12 +0000 https://www.smekdigital.com/?p=4687 Although there are countless contact forms for WordPress, the tried and true (and free) Contact form 7 plugin is still widely used. Sometimes simple is better and with a little HTML and CSS skills, anyone can create quick forms. Here are the top addons and tips that we implement ourselves.   Track contact form submission attribution […]

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Although there are countless contact forms for WordPress, the tried and true (and free) Contact form 7 plugin is still widely used.

Sometimes simple is better and with a little HTML and CSS skills, anyone can create quick forms.

Here are the top addons and tips that we implement ourselves.

 

Track contact form submission attribution

By adding any of these tags to the MAIL section, we can extract some pretty cool info for marketing purposes.
For example, I may create one form but place it as a widget for blog post pages. This will help attribute which blog post may have helped bolster the contact message.

[_remote_ip]     Get the user’s IP address
[_user_agent]    Gets their user agent info. This show you info such as Operating system and browser used.
[_url]      Gets you the URL of the page the contact form was shown
[_date]    The date of the submission
[_time]    The time of the submission

There are much more mail tags on the Contact 7 website.

 

Save Form Submissions in the database

As of now (5/19/17), the Contact Form Submissions plugin by Jason Green is the only functioning plugin that allows you to save, search, and export submissions.
It’s good practice to compare the database entries with your actual emails!

*screenshot is from the author’s website

Contact Form Submissions plugin

Contact Form Submissions

 

Best Practices and tips for the Contact form 7 MAIL section

  1. You can add more than 1 email address here. Just seperate them with commas.
  2. This is very important! Make sure the from domain matches the website domain name. If you don’t mail could go into a black hole.
  3. You can add the mail-tags anywhere including the subject line
  4. Even though the FROM address is the same as the website domain, when you hit REPLY, it will go to this specified email address (which happens to be the mail-tag for the user’s email address)
  5. This is where the actual email body is. Use mail-tags to define it properly.

contact form 7 mail config page

Redirect users to a “thank you page”

By default, visitors will just see a message at the bottom of the contact form upon submission. However, this feels cold.

They just submitted some information (probably personal) and should be redirected to another page of your choosing where you can track conversions and/or provide more call to actions.

Examples of more call to actions could be social media feeds so they can follow you, links to a FAQ section to possibily answer their question sooner, a downloadable PDF (that some something useful for them!) or even an upsell section.

Conversion examples could be Adwords conversion tracking code or a Facebook pixel code to track a succesful submission (lead).

The old method of redirecting is depreceated but you can use the plugin below.

Contact Form 7 – Success Page Redirects

How to ensure proper delivery of your contact forms

You should be using a SMTP mailer plugin such as POSTMAN SMTP. It also supports OAuth 2.0 for increased security.

Here are some features directly from the author’s wordpress plugin page.

STANDARD FEATURES

  • Easy-to-use, powerful Setup Wizard for perfect configuration
  • Commercial-grade Connectivity Tester to diagnose server issues
  • Log and resend all emails; see the exact cause of failed emails
  • Supports International alphabets, HTML Mail and MultiPart/Alternative
  • Supports forced recipients (cc, bcc, to) and custom email headers
  • SASL Support: Plain/Login/CRAM-MD5/XOAUTH2 authentication
  • Security Support: SMTPS and STARTTLS (SSL/TLS)
  • Copy configuration to other instances of Postman

OAUTH 2.0 FEATURES

  • Supports the proprietary OAuth 2.0 implementations of Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo
  • Fire-and-forget delivery continues even if your password changes
  • Gmail: By combining OAuth2 and the Gmail API, Postman can deliver where other plugins can not

WEBSERVICE (HTTPS) EMAIL FEATURES

  • Gmail API for sending Gmail and Google Apps email (requires a Google account)
  • Mandrill API for sending any email (requires a Mandrill account)
  • COMING SOON: Sparkpost API for sending any email (requires a Sparkpost account)
  • SendGrid API for sending any email (requires a SendGrid account and PHP 5.3)

https://wordpress.org/plugins/postman-smtp/

 

 

 

 

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Practical and Simple Excel tips that save the day https://www.smekdigital.com/practical-simple-excel-tips-save-day/ https://www.smekdigital.com/practical-simple-excel-tips-save-day/#respond Sun, 14 May 2017 23:42:29 +0000 https://www.smekdigital.com/?p=4970 You will find useful yet simple excel tips that has saved me countless hours processing data. Although there are insanely advanced ways to use Excel, this blog post will be continously updated with practical beginner tips that most people would need to use. This is for 2013 but some features are liklely to be found […]

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You will find useful yet simple excel tips that has saved me countless hours processing data. Although there are insanely advanced ways to use Excel, this blog post will be continously updated with practical beginner tips that most people would need to use. This is for 2013 but some features are liklely to be found in older versions as well.

Find and delete all rows that contain certain values

For example, I download a organic search terms report from ahrefs and want to remove all rows that have branded terms.
Before adding them to Rank Tracker, I don’t want to target a ton of branded terms so this quick method is great for removing them along with related misspellings.

  1. Open the Find and Replace dialog box (CTRL+F in Windows)
  2. Enter the value you want to find and click FIND ALL
  3.  Select ALL of the results (CTRL +A or select all using your mouse)
  4. This will then highlight all the affected cells in the workbook.
  5. You can then right click any of the highlighted cells and select “DELETE”
  6. Select “ENTIRE ROW” and click OK


Sort rows based on column data

Another simple yet overlooked feature in Excel.

  1. Ensure that the spreadsheet has a top row
  2. Click the DATA tab and then “FILTER”
  3. That’s it! Click the dropdown arrows next to each top column to sort the rows as needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Remove duplicates

Just select the rows/cells that you want to check for duplicate values and click the REMOVE DUPLICATES button in the DATA tab.

 

Check back later…more coming soon. Got a quick and practical excel tip you use daily?

Let us know and we’ll post it here with a credit to you.

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What Does A Digital Marketing Consultant Do? https://www.smekdigital.com/what-does-digital-marketing-consultant-do/ https://www.smekdigital.com/what-does-digital-marketing-consultant-do/#comments Sat, 13 May 2017 00:10:45 +0000 https://www.smekdigital.com/?p=4963 Digital marketing is an umbrella term that’s used to describe various forms of marketing that are done online. This includes, but is not limited to, Web Design and Development, Facebook advertising, search engine optimization (also known as SEO), Google Adwords (also known as pay per click), and video advertising. Digital marketing allows businesses to leverage […]

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Digital marketing is an umbrella term that’s used to describe various forms of marketing that are done online. This includes, but is not limited to, Web Design and Development, Facebook advertising, search engine optimization (also known as SEO), Google Adwords (also known as pay per click), and video advertising. Digital marketing allows businesses to leverage different channels of online marketing to better target their customers and prospective customers. It brings together all of the latest marketing tools, technology, and trends, and utilizes them to help businesses of all shapes and sizes to effectively reach out to their customers and prospective customers. Each channel is designed for different audiences and offer various targeting methods.

For example, Facebook advertising provides the ability to target people by demographics AND psychographics. Essentially it works well to generate awareness (I never knew this existed but I might be interested), interest (I may have known this existed but now I’m interested), and even desire for a product or service. AdWords, on the other hand, can be used to find potential customers that are actively seeking to buy NOW based on their search terms (search and shopping advertising) or to just generate awareness and interest (display and video ads).

The reality is that thanks to new technology, people now spend more time online than ever before. The average person spends twice as much time online as they did 12 years ago, which means that the way people shop for products and services has changed. The fact is that offline marketing is nowhere near as effective as it once was, which is why digital marketing has become such a popular option for many brands. Effective marketing is about connecting with your audience at the right time and place – today that is online.

Overall, 73% of Americans go online on a daily basis. Along with the 21% who go online almost constantly, 42% go online several times a day and 10% go online about once a day. Some 13% go online several times a week or less often. And in this survey, 13% of adults say they do not use the internet at all.  (pewresearch)

With more and more brands looking for effective digital marketing, the need for digital marketing consultants is at an all time high. There’s a major need for marketing consultants that are skilled and experienced within a range of online marketing methods, from social media to display advertising. Marketing consultants are so sought after because they help to bridge the gap between businesses and the online world, helping them to market their products, services, and brand in the right way.

Those are the basics of digital marketing, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Interested in finding out what a digital marketing consultant actually does? Yes – then read on for everything that you should know.

What is the role of a digital marketing consultant?

The basic definition of a digital marketing consultant is someone who is a highly skilled professional with specialist training in online marketing, who knows how to target consumers in the right ways to see the results that a business needs.

There’s a common misconception in terms of what a marketing consultant does, a lot of people presume that they deal with every aspect of advertising, but that’s not the case. If you already have ideas for your marketing, then you would contact an advertising agency to make those ideas a reality. What a marketing consultant does is work with businesses, from startups to large corporations, to determine how best to engage existing clients and prospective ones. A marketing consultant uses the company’s existing business model to consider what market potential there is, and then creates a marketing strategy that should work successfully for the brand, allowing them to achieve their goals.

In terms of what exactly a marketing consultant focuses on, that depends on the business and its needs.

Below are some of the more typical responsibilities that marketing consultants can take on:

  • Find new opportunities for the business to engage with existing customers and attract new ones.
  • Perform an evaluation of existing marketing, such as social media, SEO, and email marketing, for instance, and use that to create more effective marketing methods.
  • Improve company branding so that it resonates better with customers and prospective customers.
  • Improve client engagement and communication, a great tool for this is social media campaigns that can involve various social media platforms. (paid and organic)
  • Coordinate platforms for content, such as a blog and website landing pages, using SEO to ensure that all content is search engine friendly and ranks the pages and site highly in Google and other search engines.
  • Manage marketing campaigns run via email, social media, mobile marketing, and local marketing.
  • Use analytics to monitor success and ensure that optimal results are achieved. At the bare minimum, this would include Google anlaytics, Google search console, and HotJar Heat map tracking.

The role of a marketing consultant is quite a diverse one, as they offer help in many different areas of marketing and business. They advise, plan, and research, to ensure that a business is utilizing online marketing in the best ways possible, and is achieving all of the best results.

 

What skills are required to be a good consultant?

Just like in every role, to be successful, there are certain things that a digital marketing consultant must have to succeed. Being a digital marketing consultant means understanding how the internet is a crucial marketing tool and how to use it effectively to market a brand. It’s about knowing how each social media platform and digital channel connects with each other and how these connections can be used to effectively market a business. With that in mind, the question remains – what specific skills does a successful marketing consultant need?

An important part of being a marketing consultant is being able to analysis data and use analytics to determine how well a company’s marketing is going. To make this easier, having numerical skills is vital.

It’s also vital that digital marketing consultants are goals focused. This means knowing not only how to set achievable goals but also how to successfully measure success when it comes to meeting them. Businesses are always looking for results, which is why being able to set realistic goals is so important. If a marketing consultant sets unrealistic goals, they won’t be able to meet them, which will leave their clients dissatisfied with the service that they have received. This is why setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is important.

When it comes to understanding strategy and tactics, the first thing that a marketing consultant needs to understand is that the two are not the same. A strategy is the plan of action to reach a certain goal, while tactics is a specific action that is part of the strategy. To be a good marketing consultant, understanding this is crucial. Give a person a coloring book and they can color between the lines (tactics). But without lines (the strategy), it’s just a big mess.

To be a sought after marketing consultant, it’s important to be a good listener. This is because to get a proper insight into a business, its needs, and any problems that it is having; it’s crucial to be able to listen to what is being said. Any good marketing consultant knows that listening and empathizing with the business’s problems is a vital skill.

Even businesses that are direct competitors will have unique differences that are not easy to spot right away. Only by spending the time to thoroughly understand a business can this be discovered.

An important part of the role of a marketing consultant is to collect data, organize that data, pull out insights, and come up with recommendations for the company that balances each area of marketing and prioritizes the most important aspects.

Lastly, to be successful, a marketing consultant needs to have leadership skills and be professional in the way that they work. When a marketing consultant is hired, the company expects them to be confident and professional in how they go about their work. No one wants to work with a marketing consultant that doesn’t approach their work in a professional and confident way, as this suggests that they have a lack of adequate knowledge and experience for the job.

 

Who needs the help of a digital marketing consultant & why?

There’s no doubt about it, digital marketing consultants can be incredibly useful for certain companies, but the question is how do you know when you need their help and why?

Let’s start with who needs the help of a marketing consultant. This is something we have already discussed above – the people who require the help of marketing consultants are business owners. Marketing consultants can help businesses of all shapes and sizes, from small startups to huge corporations; it’s just a case of finding the right strategy and tactics for each individual business’s needs.

Businesses that can benefit from working with a marketing consultant are companies that…

  • Want to expand and grow their customer base.
  • Need to set strong, well-defined goals.
  • Want a strong marketing plan that focuses on both short-term and long-term goals.
  • Need assistance measuring key analytics to improve chances of success.
  • Want to improve relationships with customers and prospective customers.
  • Want to expand into new markets to connect with new customers.

For businesses, the help of a marketing consultant can allow them to expand their business and move into new markets, improving their success and boosting their revenue. For businesses that don’t have the skills and knowledge to deal with their own digital marketing needs, working with a digital marketing consultant can help them to ensure that they have a strong strategy in place with goals that are achievable to meet and will aid their progress in terms of meeting their long-term goals.

The internet is a crucial marketing tool in today’s technology-focused world, which is why it’s so important that businesses understand how a marketing consultant can help them to achieve their goals and take their business where they want it to go.

There you have it, a guide to what a marketing consultant does and how they can help businesses to achieve their goals. In today’s internet-obsessed world, online marketing has become a crucial tool for businesses, which is why the role of marketing consultants has never been more important. With many business owners not knowing how to effectively deal with their digital marketing needs themselves, marketing consulting is an incredibly important role. Digital marketing can allow a business to engage more effectively with their customers, as well as reaching out to new prospective customers more easily, making it a popular marketing choice for companies of all shapes and sizes.

Last but not least, a digital marketing consultant spends an immense amount of time developing their craft so you can focus on what you love and are great at doing.

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Online Public Relations https://www.smekdigital.com/online-public-relations/ https://www.smekdigital.com/online-public-relations/#respond Tue, 03 Jan 2017 16:24:23 +0000 https://www.smekdigital.com/?p=5666 PR is the art of influence There are new rules when it comes to public relations. Not so long ago, companies would have to hire (expensive) public relation agencies to help get their news to the news outlets and eventually the public. In today’s new age of public relations, you can now reach the top news outlets […]

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PR is the art of influence

There are new rules when it comes to public relations. Not so long ago, companies would have to hire (expensive) public relation agencies to help get their news to the news outlets and eventually the public.

In today’s new age of public relations, you can now reach the top news outlets through newswires. Digital News wires such as PRWeb, MarketWired, and BusinessWire eliminate the middle man and deliver the news straight to top news agencies and provide a repository for hundreds of thousands of bloggers, writers, editors, and reporters to find fresh stories.

Traditional press releases that are published in print have practically zero reporting. On the contrary, online news wires can offer insight to where and how often your press release is read and shared.

Online press releases are also a powerful component of online reputation management. When people (consumers, possible business partners, etc.)  wish to obtain more information about your business, news about your company on top news outlets will surely add points to your reputation.

 

Press Release Writing

We work with seasoned professional writers to ensure that your story is newsworthy which increases the chance of being picked up by news stations and reporters.

You can also target specific industries and regions.

 

Press Release Distribution

With extensive experience with PRWeb, MarketWired, and BusinessWire, we can ensure your press release utilizes their features properly and effectively.
Your company may be featured in top online news outlets such as Google News, Yahoo Finance, Reuters, USA Today, and NY Times.

 

Here are links to a few press releases we have written and distributed:

Schwarze Industries Adopts Solar for VFW; Simultaneously Benefits Veterans and Environment

Colonia Resident and Business Owner Adopts VFW Post #6061

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2 stress free methods to migrate your website to another hosting provider https://www.smekdigital.com/2-stress-free-methods-to-migrate-website-to-another-hosting-provider/ https://www.smekdigital.com/2-stress-free-methods-to-migrate-website-to-another-hosting-provider/#respond Tue, 03 Jan 2017 04:01:38 +0000 https://www.smekdigital.com/?p=4899 For most small businesses, shared hosting will usually suffice. However, shared hosting is just that – SHARED with hundreds and sometimes thousands of other accounts. Problems will arise sooner or later and the company that was once great will become a thorn in your side. This tends to happen more frequently with companies with aging […]

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For most small businesses, shared hosting will usually suffice. However, shared hosting is just that – SHARED with hundreds and sometimes thousands of other accounts.
Problems will arise sooner or later and the company that was once great will become a thorn in your side. This tends to happen more frequently with companies with aging infrastructure or
a recent acquisition. Personally, every time EIG takes over a hosting company, performance, reliability, and support dwindle. (Here’s a list of hosting companies bought by EIG)

There many different ways of migrating a website to another web hosting provider. I’ve listed 2 simple methods for beginners

Request that the new hosting company completely migrate for you

This beginner level method is listed because practically every hosting company will migrate ONE website for you. Some may migrate more.

All you have to do is provide them with your cpanel credentials for the old host. This is pretty seamless and totally hands off.
I’ve seen this take as little as 24 hours up to a week depending on their workload.

However, it’s safe to say that they migrate new customers fairly quickly since it’s your first interaction with them. You will still have to modify any name servers and/or DNS records yourself. I don’t know of any

I don’t know of any hosting companies that will change your name servers and DNS records unless your domain is also registered with them.

 

Let the new hosting company RESTORE your website backup

If you are using Cpanel for the old and new hosting, you can generate a full Cpanel backup and allow the new hosting company to restore it. This will contain everything in your account such as email accounts, email forwarders, MYSQL databases, FTP accounts, subdomains, and add-on domains.

  1. Generate a full backup on the old host’s Cpanel.  You can enter your email to be notified when the backup is completed.
  2. Choose to Save the backup in the home directory.
  3. Download the backup file using FTP (faster) or click to download from the backup area or Cpanel file manager (slow).
  4. Upload the backup file to the new hosting account’s home directory.
  5. Create a ticket with the new hosting company and ask them to restore your cpanel backup that has been uploaded to the home directory.

This method is faster than the prior because it saves them time from having to login your old cpanel, create backups, and copy over to the new server.
If it is a big site, I recommend choosing to save the backup directly to the new server via remote FTP or SCP.
(SCP is an advanced method which requires SSH to be enabled on both hosting accounts. This is the fastest way to copy files.)

(Tip: “Cherry picking” Techs will grab this type of ticket faster to meet their quotas.)

For people that are not working with a web company, the above 2 methods would be the quickest and most pain-free ways to migrate your website from one hosting provider to another.
For websites that do not utilize a database or cpanel email, I personally use SSH, tar gzip the public_html folder, use SCP to copy the archive to the new server, and then tar decompress the archive on the new server in a SSH session. For anything else, performing a full cpanel backup and allowing the hosting company to restore it is easiest.

For WordPress migration, there are far more tools that can automate the process which I’ll write about soon.

 

 

 

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This Common SEO Tactic could kill your business https://www.smekdigital.com/common-seo-tactic-kill-business/ https://www.smekdigital.com/common-seo-tactic-kill-business/#respond Mon, 31 Oct 2016 17:25:33 +0000 https://www.smekdigital.com/?p=4789 As business owners, we focus on growing our business.  The cost of hiring an in-house experienced marketing/SEO/Web designer can be daunting for small to medium sized business owners. It usually makes more sense financially to outsource to a marketing company.  From million dollar marketing companies to small freelancers, I have seen this tactic played out […]

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As business owners, we focus on growing our business.  The cost of hiring an in-house experienced marketing/SEO/Web designer can be daunting for small to medium sized business owners.
It usually makes more sense financially to outsource to a marketing company.  From million dollar marketing companies to small freelancers, I have seen this tactic played out too many times.  Of course, with any tactic, there are many pros and cons.

COMMON SEO TACTIC: Creating another branded website for marketing /SEO purposes

This common SEO tactic starts off by creating another website and domain completely unrelated to the main company website. These are also known as “micro sites”.
Oftentimes, the website will look horrendous to reduce development costs and the spelling and grammar will also be below par.

On a fairly frequent basis, I come across new clients that have had YEXT or WEB.com create “micro sites”.  Not only do they create tacky websites, they will even ask for control of your Google Business page and point everything to that site, thereby losing traffic to the real site. On top of that, the content on the website will be duplicated across hundreds of other “micro sites” they create that happen to be in the same niche or industry. A site I reviewed yesterday even had contact forms that did not work!

Why you should NOT create a secondary branded website

In this case, the cons certainly outweigh the benefits. I have seen businesses held hostage to pay month after month because a marketing company built up the SEO value of the secondary site (that their client does not own) much higher than their main website (that the client does own). All SEO work should only be done on domains that the business OWNS.

  • The secondary website begins to outrank your main website and competes with your site for the same keywords. This cannibalizes traffic. If the main business’s website has little to no SEO, the “new” site could easily outrank it and users will think that is the company’s main website. Since these types of websites are usually thrown together haphazardly, the poor design could even deter leads.
  • Having a secondary website with your business’s name, phone #, and address could VERY easily cause NAP issues across the internet. Various online directories and listing services
    could create business listings that have the secondary branded website URL instead of the main company’s website. This has the very real potential of harming your local SEO results.
    For one client, this tactic by their prior SEO company resulted in hundreds of business listings that pointed to the wrong website. When they requested to leave that marketing firm, they gave the same domain / URL to another client in their industry. Now when users search for their business name, this secondary website (that no longer has their information) still pops up.
  • Since creating Google Business Listings is a MAJOR influence in local SEO results, inexperienced or shady marketing companies will create duplicate Google Business Listings that point to the secondary domain. This is harmful because many other data sources will scrape Google for data and continue to spread the wrong domain information to other sources.
  • Perhaps just as bad or even worse than above, if they create a YELP profile that has the secondary domain information, other popular sites such as BING that uses YELP as a data source, will also create listings with this wrong information.
  • If the marketing company that performs all these unwise tactics disappears (happens more than you think!), you are going to have a very difficult time correcting all the errors.
    It took us 4 months to fix all the errors for one client…and that was WITH the cooperation of the prior marketing company! Local SEO rankings immediately skyrocketed afterward.
  • You can find more technical reasons not to run micro sites in this article by SERPs, a SEO software company.

When would creating another branded website make sense?

It might make sense if you want to highlight one of your services and build a new website around that. For example, if you offer 10 different services and find that “photo booth rentals” is becoming extremely popular, it might make sense to create a new domain and website for that service, even if the name, address, and phone# are the same. In my opinion, if your main website is already ranking for related keywords, you are better off optimizing your current site rather than start from scratch.

In my opinion, if your main website is already ranking for related keywords, you are better off optimizing your current site rather than start from scratch.

If you still decide to go with this tactic:

  • Ensure the secondary website looks presentable (it’s your image at stake)
  • Use a forwarding phone number
  • Do not post your actual address unless absolutely required
  • Ensure you have control of any email addresses posted on this website
  • Ensure they do not create business listings with your actual business name
  • Ask what happens to that website and domain/URL if you end your contract with them in the future.
    If they cannot give a straight answer or they plan to resell it to someone else, good luck!
  • If there are any links from the secondary site to your main site, ensure you use “no follow” links.

There are many more common SEO tactics we should all avoid.

Got one? Comment below!

 

 

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How to help anyone understand “So What do you do?” https://www.smekdigital.com/how-to-help-anyone-understand-so-what-do-you-do/ https://www.smekdigital.com/how-to-help-anyone-understand-so-what-do-you-do/#respond Sun, 26 Jun 2016 19:46:15 +0000 https://www.smekdigital.com/?p=4681 As a digital marketing consultant, keeping up with the latest marketing tools, technology, trends, and tactics is a crucial part of my career.  I could honestly say that I spend at least 3 or more hours a day, 5 days a week researching, studying, and testing new marketing methodologies. This doesn’t even factor in the […]

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As a digital marketing consultant, keeping up with the latest marketing tools, technology, trends, and tactics is a crucial part of my career.  I could honestly say that I spend at least 3 or more hours a day, 5 days a week researching, studying, and testing new marketing methodologies. This doesn’t even factor in the time spent on self-improvement and business development.

Recently I realized that great advice is everywhere. However when we bombard ourselves with too much information non-stop, we retain very little. (unless you have a higher than average IQ)
At this moment, I decided that to retain an idea, I should focus on one “advice” at a time and practice it before moving onto the next piece of advice.

The video I watched that day was “How to Create Interest and Connect with Anyone: Sam Horn at TEDxBethesdaWomen”. She provided clear examples of how to talk to anyone and create a connection. The example that spoke directly to me was the one about an introvert CEO that hates “chit chat and small talk”….. “Plus I can never explain what I do in a way people get it…”.

As a side note I am not an introvert; in fact, I consider myself an introvert and extrovert depending on my mood. Still more times than not, I have trouble explaining what I do.
My latest response to “what do you do?” has been “I help small businesses plan and execute their marketing strategies”. Most business owners understand this to a certain degree but it’s definitely still a broad answer. What about the vast majority of consumers that know nothing about marketing? What do I say to them? It becomes awkward when I say my go to answer because they scratch their heads. Then I would say web design and marketing. They still scratch their head.

In the previous example I mentioned, Sam Horn then asked this CEO what he does that she can see, smell, taste, or touch. The idea was to ask questions that related to their experiences and how they used or benefited from his company’s products. The CEO started talking about computers, credit cards, and financial software. All this technical talk will go above most people’s heads so Sam’s bright idea was to say that he makes products that makes online purchases safe. The devised question was to ask if they have ever shopped on amazon, ebay, or travelocity as it is something they can see. The final answer was “I make the software that makes it safe for you to buy online”. Bingo. Laymen’s terms.

OK now back to my story. Earlier today I was tricked into a 8-mile jog and along the way, my friend and I had a conversation with two other people enjoying nature.
One of them asked, “So what do you do?”. I immediately said my go-to answer but she had no clue. Then I remembered Sam Horn’s advice and asked if she has ever purchased anything online, seen ads on facebook, or seen ads on google when searching for stuff. She said “YES” so then I replied, “I create the ads you see and the websites where you purchase products at your convenience “.  Maybe this isn’t the BEST answer but she did understand! I will keep working on my answer to the question “So what do you do?” – for people in the same industry and for everyone else.

How do you answer the question “So what do you do?” that isn’t so standard and makes people think?

Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

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