Category Archives: Digital Media

Why Outsource Your Social Media Marketing

Social-Media-CollageMore and more brands are discovering that in order to be a player in today’s market, you have to have an online presence. Some companies attempt to handle their online marketing internally only to find the process to either be overwhelming or delivering marginal results.

To optimize your online activity, it’s truly better to seek the assistance of an outside social media marketing group. Here is why:

  • Expertise – An established social media marketing agency typically employs experts at what they do; after all, it’s what they specialize in doing. They follow the trends, understand the ever-changing algorithms of search engines and have the manpower to analyze big data and create strategic social media programs.
  • Efficiency – Time is money, so seeking the support from experts will result in a faster paced, higher quality of work. Allowing an agency to handle the tasks of analytics, social media program development and reporting will give you and your team time to focus on the internal activities that are critical to keep your business running smoothly.
  • Cost Savings – An outside firm already has teams in place to handle the extra work required to create an effective online social presence. They also have the connections, reporting access and industry resources at hand; these items typically come with a cost for access. Creating a team in-house would require you to pay for these services, pay for training, and cover other employee-related expenses such as benefits, salaries and taxes.
  • Strategy – Every social media piece of content should be part of a larger strategy that ties back to brand awareness, brand loyalty and sales. Building effective and high-performing online strategies is what agencies do. There is more to online social management than just marketing.
  • Real Time – Most agencies will have you covered day or evening, weekend or holidays. They realize the need for real-time marketing and interaction and have the manpower to address these needs when they arise. There’s no need to have your staff on call 24/7.
  • Testing – After pouring over hours of big data and performance reporting, an online media agency will also test elements of your social media plan. Creating additional formats, messages and taking the time to test and report takes time and diligence…something an online media agency is prepared and equipped to handle.

At the end of the day, the goal for any brand is to leverage the various social media platforms in order to market most effectively. To do it well you need a proven, professional, experienced social media marketing company.

When you’re ready to take your online social media to the next level, contact Haley Brand Intelligence and let us provide you with the expertise your company needs to perform.

How SEO Impacts Your Brand

8187640996_b299c26090_b-600x350As the economy continues to improve and with more and more consumers turning online before making purchases for both business and personal services, products and goods, companies are discovering the importance of having an online presence.

To be truly effective in today’s market, companies need to do more than simply appear online – they need to create and manage the SEO of their brands. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility and overall performance of a website within unpaid search results.

While you probably don’t have much control over other companies in your market and how they perform in search rankings, you do have control over your company and brands. This is why creating a true SEO program is so important.

A defined SEO program will give your brand:

  • A consistent voice and message
  • Stronger content performance
  • Expanded market reach

Truly, everything a brand does online has an impact on your SEO. Download our infographic to see just how much of an impact SEO can have on your brand.

Social Media and SEO

Part of your SEO program will be a defined focus on social media specifically – what platforms you will be on, how often you will post, and what topics you will focus on.  Before making any of these decisions, though, you need to do your homework. A competitive analysis and thorough market research will provide the analytical details you need to pinpoint where your target market is online and what they are talking about.

Keep in mind that one of the best ways to be effective in social media is sharing. Content sharing determines your search rankings – when social media users share links to your content, search engines read this activity as a confirmation of quality content.  The more favorable your content, the higher your rankings.

So when creating social content, to increase your odds of sharing:

  • Create content that is engaging and covers topics your target audience is talking about
  • Create multiple formats – video, quizzes and photos allow for more interaction and are some of the most shared content online
  • Create consistency in your online engagement – don’t just create and post content here and there; post multiple times a week on a consistent basis

Need assistance navigating the social media and SEO world? Contact Haley BrandIntelligence and discover what we can do for your brand today!

Three Reasons to Hire an SEO Agency

profilepicSearch engine optimization (SEO) is engrained in the vernacular of today’s marketers.  However, most marketers only understand the basics of the practice. SEO is a complicated practice that touches on elements of analytics, content development, planning, usability and the ability to stay on top of the ever-changing algorithm rules of the main search engines.

Many companies think “if I have a marketing department, we can do SEO in-house.”  Although you might be able to cover the basics, SEO experts are what it takes to strategically stay ahead of the competition on the right side of the complex search engine rules.

Here are three great reasons to hire an outside SEO agency instead of trying to tackle the job internally:

The Ever-Changing Ways of Algorithms

Believe it or not, the search engines don’t change their ranking requirements and algorithms continually just to drive the average marketer mad. The ongoing updates they make are typically in practice to keep the playing field even and prevent those who are gaming search rankings from continuing to do so.

Because these changes happen frequently and can be quite robust in requirements, working with a professional who focuses on following these updates and knows how to be maneuver these ever-changing waters is absolutely smarter than trying to figure it out and handle it internally.

One Size Does Not Fit All

As with many marketing practices, search engine optimization is focused theory and has variation for implementation by market. What works in search rankings for the food industry, for example, is not going to be what is successful in the aviation or aerospace industry. Each group or niche has its own vernacular, customs, habits and hot buttons. Understanding what these are and how they work most effectively with SEO is what a professional agency will be able to bring to the table.

It Pays to Employ an Agency

One of the biggest reasons companies attempt to handle SEO internally is to save money; however, what they often miss is the true benefit an agency brings. An agency understands white hat practices for SEO; an agency understands the latest algorithm and regulatory changes; an agency understands the ins and outs of your niche; and an agency will be spending their time on the projects that produce results for you. An internal employee, on the other hand, would have to spend so much time staying on top of a successful program it will preclude them from handling other responsibilities, and in the end will cost you money.

Even though there are initial setup costs involved with creating a search engine optimization program with an agency, the increase in traffic, higher sales volumes and relief of the burden of having to attempt to manage the program in house far outweighs the start-up costs, which makes working with an SEO agency truly priceless.

10 Inexpensive Ways to Reward Brand Advocates

Creating a strong line of brand advocates – consumers who will sing your praises and share the story of your product with others without the financial compensation required for standard advertising – is an absolute must in today’s world of marketing. However, paying for advocacy isn’t a smart move as it not only cheapens the message, but it can often be perceived as unethical and raise flags with FTC regulators.

Developing creative ways to say thank you to brand advocates is a critical element in the advocate/brand relationship. Here are 10 great ways to say thanks to your advocates while staying within the guidelines of federal regulations and your overall brand character:

  • Sneak Peeks: Give your loyal brand advocates a sneak peek at upcoming products or services. This will keep them in the know and give them a feeling of being included in the launch excitement.
  • Exclusive Offers: Don’t give brand advocates the same offers you give to all customers. Give them unique offers that show you recognize them as your true brand VIPs.
  • Seek Feedback: Brand advocates know your brand better than any other consumer, so ask their opinion on how a product is doing or seek feedback on enhancements and upgrades.
  • Pay It Forward: One of the best ways to reward brand advocates is to make cash and/or in-kind contributions to deserving nonprofit organizations on behalf of your advocates. This approach motivates advocates, boosts your corporate image and reputation, and serves a useful social purpose. Give them a list of nonprofit organizations to select from.
  • Acknowledge Advocates: Let them know their recommendations and continued support matter. Give them feedback on their opinions, reply to their comments on social media and let them know when a new customer has come from a recommendation by them.
  • Advocate-Only Events: Special in-person or online advocate-only events are a great way to say thank you to those who give your brand a positive extended reach all year long. During these events, offer exclusive pricing, giveaways and bonus gifts with purchase.
  • Early Access: Have a new product coming out? Let your brand advocates be your beta testers. Then, right before the product launches, give them first dibs on ordering.
  • Access to Company Leaders: Giving brand advocates the opportunity to have direct dialogue with senior leaders of your company can make them feel special. Provide a members-only hotline or send out an annual email from senior executives to say thank you and solicit feedback.
  • VIP Levels: Give your brand advocates a VIP-level status online by mentioning them in a VIP list, incorporate an icon or badge on their profile, or offer them a VIP-only phone line and email line to your customer support and sales teams.
  • Advocate Awards: Create an advocate of the month or week program where you publicly acknowledge their support and give them a special offer. Most will even brag about this award…extending your reach and brand message once again.

8 Tips to Keep Your Website Fresh

Website development team work conceptEvery business needs an SEO-friendly, conversion-optimized, user-friendly website to rank well with search engines and capture the attention of consumers. Due to the way search engines now grade and rank, it is important to review and revitalize your website content on a frequent basis.

Updating static content and incorporating fresh content through blogs, newsletters and imagery is the perfect way to impact your search rankings; ensuring your website stays engaging for users.

Here are 8 best practices to help keep your website fresh and operating at an optimal performance:

  • Create content on your website that is rich in keywords and key phrases.
  • Make your site user-friendly by not burying information and keeping navigation simple.
  • Analyze page load speed and optimize it by removing unwanted JQuery or large image files that burden the load speed.
  • Internal linking is important to drive traffic and impact rankings. For best results, mix it up a bit and don’t continually repeat links to the same content or section of your site.
  • Revisit your keyword research on a monthly basis; analyze the online demand for your product or service; and update your online content to target visitors searching for the new search trends.
  • Ensure all images are tagged and titled, as search engine spiders read nothing but text and nontagged images will not impact your search rankings.
  • Use social media generously and strive to build an active online community, driving traffic back to your website and engaging prospects.
  • Ensure your website is optimized for mobile devices and renders well on all screen sizes.

Content Originality for Brand Marketing Success

Keyboard ButtonThe tenacious efforts of brand marketing writers to come up with original content ideas regularly have always been admired by those in the online content marketing world. The tireless efforts of marketing content are well worth the time and effort spent, as it’s proven that these efforts have a substantial impact on an online brand marketing campaign and a brand’s regular SEO performance.

As the facts outline, an online brand marketing campaign is incomplete and lacks power without powerful, original content spearheading the effort.

The Statistics

  • If there is original, fresh content on the company’s website, 78 percent of consumers develop a positive attitude toward a brand feeling the brand is open to developing a relationship
  • Original and captivating content is ranked as the third most important element when it comes to influencing buying decisions
  • Brands that regularly update their blogs and participate in social media enjoy a staggering 97 percent higher performance of inbound links than brands that do not – and even more impressively, brands that blog generate 67 percent more leads per month
  • Eight out of ten chief marketing officers swear that custom content positively affects the target audience and should be featured prominently in the marketing campaign mix
  • 62 percent of brands that blog outsource their content marketing efforts in order to save costs and ensure the process is maintained consistently
  • The average user spends less than a minute paying attention to a television, outdoor or radio advertisement, while an interesting content marketing piece can hold the user’s attention for a whopping 25 minutes – blogs and social media make up 23 percent of all the time the average user spends online daily
  • 68 percent of consumers spend time reading blogs and content from brands they are interested in
  • Content creation is ranked as the single most effective SEO technique by a survey conducted by Marketing Sherpa

There is no doubt that fresh, compelling content is a key driver to the success of any brand marketing campaign. Original content through an effective content marketing campaign entices, engages and builds trust with the target audience, driving them to find out more about the brand or the product or service on offer. And content that users find interesting is often shared, increasing a brand’s online reach exponentially.

The Growing Importance of Infographics to a Brand

Modern infographics set and technology iconsThe internet is becoming increasingly competitive for content marketers. Faced with a barrage of choices and continual information overload, today’s consumers have extremely short attention spans. The average user stays on a web page for 10 to 20 seconds before making a decision to continue through the site, take action or leave.

The behavior of the online consumer creates a complex challenge for brand marketers: How do they explain as much as possible about the brand and engage the user within a 20-second window?

Since most users are visual in nature, the obvious solution is an eye-catching rendering that communicates what is required in a simple yet powerful way, that which the user can grasp in a single glance. Infographics are tailor-made for this purpose.

Infographics communicate more information, more efficiently to the viewer; they communicate the message more effectively than plain text. Online brand content development using infographics makes rich use of design elements and graphics that tap into the visual side of the human brain and grab attention in a way text can never do. About 90 percent of the information that comes to the brain is visual, and humans understand and retain visuals much better than they do words.

Infographics can boost SEO competitiveness and search visibility as well. As is proven by the recent change in search engine results returns, more users are skimming for images versus skimming for text.  With this new trend, infographics have a better chance of making it to a top ranking in a visual list. What’s more, infographics are more likely to be shared on outside social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.

The share of mobile Internet traffic has doubled from about 10 percent to 20 percent between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013. It is widely predicted mobile traffic may very well surpass traditional desktop traffic by 2014, making infographics even more valuable in future online brand marketing efforts.

Considering these factors, it’s no wonder that infographic search volumes have increased 800 times between 2000 and 2013 and continues to still grow.

Optimize Your Blogging for Online Brand Marketing Effectiveness

9765092_sLooking for a better return on investment for your marketing dollar? Something that will not only increase your search rankings but also will increase your overall marketing reach? Then blogging is a tool you need to seriously consider.

Blog posts that are written to entertain and educate humans and are optimized through the use of keywords for search engines are one of the best ways to maximize your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy. So how many blogs posts do you need to publish each week in order to achieve and maintain high-ranking SEO?

Successful SEO created content that converts visitors to leads has two key components: optimization and localization. Your blog content should be optimized through the use of the keywords that your customers are most likely to use when researching for a product or service you offer. The keywords must also be personally relevant and actionable. So the answer is, it’s not about how often you blog but more so about how well you blog.

One of the best ways to keep your target audience engaged is to create content that is both entertaining and educational; something that will keep them coming back for more and something they’ll find worth sharing with other people. To do this, write about what is important to your customers. Find out what they are talking about on social media channels and pay attention to their emails and feedback comments. Your customers will basically provide you with the content strategy that will be most appealing for them.

Also, a great way to keep content fresh and engaging is to include guest bloggers. Bring in outside writers or customers to create blog content. Another great resource is probably sitting within your building right now – your staff. Hearing a firsthand perspective from someone in your company is an excellent way to build a more personal relationship with your blog followers.

Just remember, blogging is a way of speaking directly to your customers, so keep it light, natural and honest.

How to Write an Attention-Grabbing Blog Headline

Your company blog headline, more than any other aspect of your blog (style, visuals, or conversion points), will determine how successful you are in converting your content to sales. An attention-grabbing, keyword-targeted headline compels potential buyers to click through from the search engines to your blog and introduces them to your service or product.

So what makes a successful headline? A strong blog headline will:

  • Rank well in search engines for high-volume keywords
  • Attract high-quality traffic to your website (low bounce rate, higher page views, and time on site)
  • Convert traffic to new leads and sales
  • Increase return visits to website from existing leads and long-term customers
  • Promote engagement and referrals through social sharing

Here are five elements of blog titles that attract more traffic, convert more leads, and bring existing customers back to your website again and again:

Headline Elements: Keywords

No matter what, your title must contain a keyword that is relevant to your target audience. Keywords are the online equivalent of a well-placed billboard. It puts your message in front of thousands of potential customers every month.

Headline Elements: Customer Usefulness

Customers turn to the internet today for information, so customer-centric, customer-focused blog headlines that solve a specific customer problem are more likely to earn the click-through from search engines than marketing messages focused solely on your product.

Headline Elements: Actionable and Time-Sensitive

You always want to respect your readers’ time. Your customers are faced with more available information than they can read and typically limited time. Write blog headlines that tell customers and potential leads that you are providing information that is relevant to their situation; make it easy to understand and immediately actionable.

Headline Elements: Inspirational

Read any ad in a magazine or online periodical and you’ll see one element of consistency – inspiration. The majority are focused on how to be happier, more successful, learn how to better use your time, or take better care of yourself. Although the methods of how people consume information today may have shifted more heavily online, the inspirational “how-to” is still the most effective tool to grab the attention of your target audience.

Headline Elements: Character Limit

Search engines typically only show about 60-65 characters of your headline, so anything more than that is being wasted and is not seen by potential customers searching for your products or services online.  Say it clearly, say it succinctly, and create a headline that packs the punch in less than 60 characters.

Become a Brand SEO Major Leaguer

12426119_sWhat’s the secret to notable SEO brand success? Is it luck? Science? Voodoo? Do you need some special superpowers or advanced technological expertise to become a notable hotshot? Actually, not really – you just need to understand the rules of the game.

Content marketing is one of the best ways to achieve more visibility for your company in search engines. And something as simple as a well-crafted blog and monthly newsletter can give you an opportunity to differentiate your product in a crowded market and connect with customers online.

For many marketing teams, terms such as SEO copywritingkeyword research, and creating clickable headlines is a process that can seem mysterious and overwhelming. Fortunately, it’s all very simple to create once you understand the concepts around content that ranks well in search engines.

Keywords Are, Well, Key!

It might seem a bit counterintuitive, but just because you’re selling a “blender” doesn’t mean that’s what your customers are looking for exactly. To benefit from online content, understand what the keywords for your products and services are. In this case, the keywords would include something like: blender, mixer, mixing stand, kitchen tools, etc. You have to know all the ways your customers, and potential customers, might go about searching for your product or service.

After you know the words and phrases, then it’s time to incorporate them in a way that the search engines will be able to find them. The more they find in what is considered to be “fresh content” (i.e., content that has been posted recently and isn’t the same thing over and over), the better your ranking results.

There are three easy ways to incorporate your keywords and phrases into your site in order to impact your rankings:

  • Whenever you incorporate a keyword or phrase into your blog, newsletter or social media content, embed a hyper-link (like this) to the product or service on your website. With this technique, not only the word, but the link to your site, plays a huge role in impacting your search results.
  • Incorporate keywords and phrases into your page metadata. This counts as separate content and is something the search engine web crawlers automatically look for.
  • Get the content out there! Newsletters are great, but they won’t help your search rankings and count in your content scoring unless you promote it via the web. Have a page on your website for items such as newsletters, emails, and special offers. Then promote these content pieces via social media. This will not only give you a list through keywords, but the links back to your site will substantially impact your overall ratings.