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What Is SEO – The Benefits & Downfalls of Search Engine Optimization

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What Is SEO - The Benefits & Downfalls of Search Engine Optimization

What is SEO? Great question.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In the most general sense, SEO is a marketing strategy aimed at getting more online visitors or “traffic” to your website.

People using Google are always searching for something online, so Google’s #1 job is to present users with the most relevant content possible. They do this by using advanced algorithms to scan and analyze websites 24/7. These so called “spiders” that analyze sites look for things like titles, content topics, images, and many other things that give Google a better understanding of the website.

The way that Google scores different websites is based on a number of factors including:

  • How fast your site loads
  • How many visitors your website gets
  • If your website is “trusted” & has a high rank.
  • and many more things.

Over the past years while the internet has been growing exponentially, Google and other search engine companies have been trying to figure out the best possible ways to make sure websites are legitimate. In attempt to rid of scammers and people trying to find certain loopholes within their algorithms, Google is constantly updating their system to push quality content to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPS).

Now that you understand what SEO is, and WHY it’s important, let’s go over some strategies you can implement to help you business grow online.

Finding Relevant Keywords

“Keywords” are specific phrases or words that tell Google what your website or article is about. For example, one of the keywords in this article is “what is SEO”.

Including this phrase in my title allows people typing that into Google to find this page!

Finding relevant keywords is essential to your SEO success. To brainstorm quality keywords, think about the things people would search for relating to your business.

Let’s say you own a pilates studio in Seattle…

A very valuable keyword would be “pilates studio in Seattle” or “pilates Seattle”.

It’s important to think about the intent of people searching for whatever product or service you’re trying to market. As an example, ranking for “try Pilates in Seattle” would be more effective as opposed to “pilates stretches to do at home”, even though they both have the word pilates in them. Someone searching for pilates stretches to do at home won’t be very valuable if you own a local studio.

As an exercise, pretend you are a customer searching online for whatever product/service you sell. Write down 3 phrases you would type into Google.

With SEO, it’s important to take your business owner hat off so you can think like a consumer!

Now that you know how to discover relevant SEO keywords, I want to recommend some free tools that can help you strengthen your SEO.

Free SEO Tools

#1: Google Keyword Planner

Google’s Keyword Planner allows you to search for quality keywords and sort them by monthly number of searches, competition, and bid. Most keyword tools cost money, but Google gives anyone with a Google account free access.

#2: Google My Business Listing

Your GMB listing is ESSENTIAL for local businesses! When people perform local searches on Google, you want your business to show up in the “snack pack”.

GMB listing optimization

As you can see above, businesses that have optimized their GMB listing show up FIRST in the local search results!

This is a BIG win, not to mention low-hanging fruit.

Optimizing your GMB listing can take as little as 30 minutes!

#3: Yoast SEO Plugin (WordPress)

The SEO plugin created by Yoast has been an all-time favorite at our agency. This free tool allows you to see the real-time SEO performance of all of your web pages. It even shows you how to easily improve them step-by-step.

This tool is a must-have for both advanced users and those who don’t want to dive too deep into SEO themselves.

SEO Strategy – The Benefits & Downfalls

SEO is definitely a strategy worth investing in, but with that said, there are certain expectations we need to set straight from the get-go…

SEO is a long-term, passive strategy.

You aren’t going to generate results this week if you start today. If you meet anyone that says they can guarantee results in less than 30 days, they’re full of $%&#… Sorry to break it to ya…

For those wanting to generate results quickly, paid advertising is a smarter solution. You can turn on your ads and get traffic & sales that day, but with SEO it takes months to get things going.

Once again, do NOT expect to get hundreds of website visitors overnight with SEO. Typically we see results from SEO pay off in a 6-24 month timeline.

Should I Do SEO?

Ah, a great final question to ask..

Absolutely!

SEO is definitely something to consider and implement over the long-term. Once your website is generating a lot of visitors organically from your SEO efforts, it can REALLY pay off!

The only thing we want you and other business owners to understand is that you have to be patient and persistent with SEO.

“Nothing worthwhile is ever easy”

When you decide to begin your search engine optimization journey, keep yourself accountable and stay persistent for at least 6-12 months. If you don’t want to do it alone or need help, feel free to contact our team. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

Thank you for reading this post! You can discover more about digital marketing at our other blog posts below. Besides that, please share this article with anyone that may benefit.

Wishing you success – Team ZIMA

The Do’s & Don’t of Facebook Advertising

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The Do's & Don'ts of Facebook Advertising

Ahhh Facebook advertising… The “hottest” way to advertise your business in 2017/2018… 

Yes, the hype is real, and for good reason! Facebook ads are a great way to get your product or service in front of super-targeted audiences. To be honest, they’ve done an amazing job with their targeting capabilities, but Facebook isn’t the “one and done” solution…

If you REALLY want your business to be successful online, you shouldn’t be putting all of your hypothetical marketing eggs in the Facebook basket. Just like any investor would tell you not to rely on one source of income, you should be diversifying your advertising efforts.

First off, let’s talk about what you SHOULD do with Facebook…

The Do’s of Facebook Ads

Facebook is one of the best platforms when it comes to interest and behavioral targeting. Google’s platform offers demographical and interest targeting as well, but it’s just not quite as detailed as Facebook.

If your audience is VERY particular, Facebook may be a fantastic solution.

One of the BEST features about Facebook ads is the Lookalike functionality. If you already have a customer list or lead list (people you’ve already done business with), uploading that list into Facebook and creating a Lookalike audience can drastically cut costs, your time spent testing and put your brand in front of the right people fast. This is something you can’t quite do with other platforms which is why Facebook is great for SCALING businesses.

If you don’t already have a list of past customers, don’t fret… There are also things you can do on Facebook to begin growing your list effectively.

Running special promotions such as giveaways and contests can generate top quality engagement across Facebook & Instagram. Leveraging influencers is also a super effective way to build custom audiences so you can later create high performing lookalike audiences.

Now that we’ve gone over ways that Facebook advertising can produce great results, let’s finally talk about what you should NOT do.

The Don’ts of Facebook Advertising

Ok… this part is pretty important because we see a LOT of business owners trying to make things work when they aren’t using the platform for what it’s meant to do.

When running Facebook campaigns, make sure you aren’t running a campaign that’s better suited for Google or a different platform. If your business offers products or services that are meant for people in a very specific buying stage, often times Google can be a better solution. Let’s walk through an example…

Say you own a local auto shop and want to generate leads or sales for your special oil change promotion. Even though you can target people with specific cars and a wide range of demographics like income, location, etc, this is definitely a campaign better suited for a search engine platform like Google, Yahoo or Bing. It’s VERY hard and expensive to run ads to everyone with a car for an oil change because you have no idea if they actually NEED an oil change.

A better bet would be to run this type of campaign on the Adwords platform and target people that are actively searching for terms such as “oil change near me” or “best oil change” etc…

Make sure you are leveraging all of Facebook’s advanced targeting features if you want to run a campaign within their platform.

Right now the “hype” and common conception is that Facebook is the cheapest place to drive traffic, but the reality is that each platform has its place.

Before you launch your next online advertising campaign, think hard about WHERE your audience would be looking for that type of offer or promotion.

If you’d like to discuss your next campaign with us to see where it might best be placed, schedule a call with our team by clicking the button at the bottom of this page. We’re happy to help and wish you the best in your next Facebook advertising adventure.

Targeted Ads – Creepy or Beneficial?

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Targeted Ads - Creepy or Beneficial?

When it comes to targeted ads, it’s true. Facebook knows where you live, what movies you like, what kind of lifestyle you live, and more. Creepy much? Yep.

But there’s another side to the coin…

Is the fact that companies can put hyper-targeted products and services in front of you that may make your life better such a bad thing? It’s now easier than ever to find products and services that can help make life convenient. 

It all comes down to the question of personal preference and what data you allow them to access. I bolded “you allow” because you DO have the choice of giving them your targeted info or not!

You see, the more information social media platforms obtain from consumers, their relevance and value as a platform also increases. The reason Facebook is such a large company is because all of the revenue they generate from advertisers! But why are people so happy to give their hard earned money to Facebook to advertise? It’s because they let us in on the nitty-gritty data such as purchase behaviors (what type of things you buy), interests (what thinks you like), demographics (your age, gender, income bracket, job title, etc) and much much more. They even purchase data from 3rd party data companies such as Experian & Acxiom for billions of dollars.

Every year Facebook, Google and other platforms earn BILLIONS of dollars because they control the eyes of the world. They’re also in a constant effort to balance the scale between making their platform beneficial for BOTH consumers and advertisers.

Opportunity For Business

As a business owner, you have an amazing opportunity before you. You have the chance to place your product in front of the most targeted audience of people in history… And it’s only getting better every day.

30 years ago, or even 10 years ago, advertising wasn’t as easy… People had to pay top dollar to get their brands on billboards and TV without knowing if it would even bring a return.

Now with the advancement of technology, everything can be tracked and recorded so there’s no second-guessing. Now you can know if your ads are bringing in a positive or negative return.

Who knows where Facebook will be in 5 years, but regardless, make sure your business is leveraging the best platforms TODAY to find your specific audience of buyers.

Thanks for reading! If you’d like help setting up targeted ads for your business that generate positive returns, click the button and the bottom of this page to schedule a call with my team! 🙂

How B2B Companies Can Profit From LinkedIn Ads

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How B2B Companies Can Profit From LinkedIn Ads

With ad costs rising on platforms such as Facebook and Google, many b2b companies and marketers are turning to LinkedIn to generate quality leads.

Last month my team set out to experiment the effectiveness of LinkedIn ads vs. Facebook & Google… The results were both shocking and impressive.

We decided to split test the different types of LinkedIn ads: text ads, InMail ads and Sponsored Content ads. We ran each type of ad for 14 days while split testing multiple variables within the ads such as text, images and call-to-actions.

After the experiment period, we found that the InMail ads outperformed everything else. Logically it makes sense since you’re reaching out directly to someone. With text ads and sponsored content, it’s less likely that someone will get in touch with you AFTER exploring your content.

Our average cost per InMail message was anywhere from 40-65 cents… Not bad considering a lot of people scheduled a call via our favorite booking application Calendly.

Once we discovered the power of InMail ads, we began testing out different message variations. Originally our click-through-rate (CTR) was around 3% but as we tested more it rose to a whopping 9%!

Before Testing Message Variations:linkedin ads

After:

I don’t know how familiar you are with click-through-rates, but an AVERAGE CTR is around 1-2%… So 9% was quite nice to see. Shoutout to LinkedIn!!

The Results

Over the next couple of weeks we ended up spending around $500 which generated over $5,000 in revenue for our company. LinkedIn InMail ads can absolutely give your business an edge when 90% of your competition is still only leveraging Facebook or Google.

If you’d like any help setting up LinkedIn ads for your business, click the button at the bottom of this page to schedule an introductory call with our team!

Thanks for reading! Please share this with anyone who may benefit from it 🙂 

The Problem with Using Employees as Brand Ambassadors

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The Problem with Using Employees as Brand Ambassadors

Some types of businesses tend to use their employees as brand ambassadors in their outreach, customer service, and marketing efforts. On the surface, it makes a lot of sense. Your employees know your business the best, they are living and breathing assets of your brand, why not use them for promotional purposes as well?

You see this all the time with trendy tech startups that want to promote a positive work culture. You see pictures of employees playing ping-pong, eating snacks, and gathering by the coffee during their breaks. However, the problem with using employees as brand ambassadors is that things can quickly go wrong. Below are some reasons you might want to think twice before you put your employees in charge of establishing your brand.

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Giving Employees a Voice Doesn’t Guarantee Positivity

When you give your employees a voice and allow them to speak their mind, this often results in them feeling empowered and privileged to work for such a positive company. The problem is, things aren’t always going to be happy. In life, there are ups and downs and this is no different in the workplace. There are going to be employees who feel unhappy with work culture, stressed with their job, or disgruntled about the business as a whole. Do you really want these voices to be heard when things turn sour and the positive image of your brand is at stake?

Allowing Employees to Spread Their Wings Could Lead to Them Walking Away

As employees begin to build blogs, post on social media, and reach out to the world about your brand and attempt to be your ambassador, they become more entrepreneurial and independent. These are things they may not have ever pursued on their own but because they are serving as a brand ambassador, suddenly are taking more of an interest. It’s not uncommon for employees to find they enjoy these activities more than they do their actual career and start to consider a change of pace. It might be best to hire out for third party advertising and marketing. You can’t use employees for every branding strategy and having good base marketing will help you if employees do move on without you.

Workplace Loyalty Might Not be as Strong as You Thought It Was

Another issue that could arise when you use employees as brand ambassadors is that their workplace loyalty might not be as strong as you envision. As you begin to reach out to your employees and inquire about their opinions and feelings toward the business, you may find that they are far unhappier than you realized. Your brand ambassadors are suddenly disgruntled and forced to be the face and image of a business that they are not entirely passionate about. Be sure when hiring you ask questions about job loyalty. Pre-employment screenings can help you discover employees who are willing to bring enthusiasm and passion with them and weed out those who jump from career to career.

The problem with using employees as brand ambassadors is that you never know what’s around the corner. There are always going to be unexpected challenges and it’s almost impossible to know your employees well enough to predict their actions. Even with the best pre-employment screening programs, workplace culture and personal opinions simply can’t be forced.