What’s in the Best E-Marketing Secret Sauce?

There are many e-marketing channels available to your business today- even if you don’t have the marketing dollars of a Fortune 500. But every company is looking to create the right mix –  a dash of email, a sprinkle of  social, a scoop of SEO – to create the perfect  e-marketing mix. You want a secret sauce that will feed a constant stream of leads into your sales funnel and get search metrics that show you did it right. So how do you know what will work and what won’t work for your company?

One way to start is to not get swayed by the hype. You don’t want to waste your valuable marketing dollars and time on channels that are the latest tasty thing, but just don’t really set the table for your company. While you will want to try a few new e-marketing avenues, you need to stay true to who your company is and what you produce. Research pulls in the experts (like Steelsmith Group) and put your digital marketing program together.

One thing to keep in mind is that you need to stay on top of the data. Just like everything – or almost everything – in life, what works for e-marketing is always morphing, mixing and moving. We found some current data from the search technology firm, Conductor, that we is think worth sharing about what online channels may yield you the highest return – based on your company type.  The data tracks through social, organic search, email and PPC to gauge which channel  gets the most visitors, gives you the most customers and “ gives you the most bang for your click.“

This tidbit from the study may surprise some –  Organic search is the top driver. “Visitors from organic search are 2X more likely to be extremely engaged and visits more than five pages when compared to the other channels,” states Conductor.

Take a look – and don’t miss the infographic that lays it all out cleanly.

Read more – http://www.marketingprofs.com/chirp/2014/25016/which-marketing-channel-gives-you-the-most-bang-for-your-click-infographic#ixzz32HeuYTfI

8 Simple Strides Towards Small Business Social Media Savvy

As a small business owner, trying to decide where to spend your marketing dollars can be overwhelming.  You know marketing is a must, but so is keeping the lights on. The easiest thing to do often seems to take the traditional route – local newspaper ads, coupons in the neighborhood ‘saver’, and building a basic website. But the thing is, while that route makes some sense, don’t forget about building a digital marketing program that includes solid social media. And the cost can be very manageable.

But social media can also be really baffling. How do you start? How do you know what channel is most beneficial for your business? And how do you get the results you want?

Here are 8 internet marketing steps that will set you on the right social media program path:

1. Research all available platforms

There are new social media networks popping up every day. Make a list that includes the usual leaders – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr – read up on them and then go a step further. Watch each of them for a few weeks. If you do, you will pretty much find out what audience and demographic they attract. And what their personality is. For example – LinkedIn is almost all about business and business people. Other platforms are a bit more casual.

2. Pick three platforms to get you started

Pick the platforms that match your target audience. Build a profile on each. And start posting – often. You should place new company info, offers, product announcements, etc. at least once a week. Cross-platform integration will make these easier to manage. Once you get comfortable with three, do more research and add more platforms to your social media kit.

3. Blog

Blogging is not as scary as you think. WordPress or Blogger will walk you through the technical process. The most important part of blogging is good content. (More on that later.) A good. well-written blog that is shared effectively gets readers and grows an audience. Write what you know about to the audience that is interested – and go local. If you sell bikes in San Diego, talk about the best biking routes, or events, or products popular in that city. If you become known as the expert, they will not only buy your product, they will recommend it. The most likely place for your blog is your website, but it can also be elsewhere. Research other great blog venues.

4. Connect

No matter how good your message is, it’s no good if no one sees it. So connect. Make it easy on yourself by starting with established customers, friends, and even family.  Network with them on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. They know you and trust you so they will likely share your content with others. You can also search these same sites to see who is interested in and commenting on the kind of product or service you offer. Start a conversation and/or connect with them. If you have a brick and mortar location, make sure your customers know about your blog –  and all of your social media presence.

5. Good Content

This is important – – If you aren’t sure of your writing skills, hire an expert to write in your voice for both your blog and your other social media postings. Poorly written, stale or boring content can be very damaging to your social media profile and overall marketing program. Use the keywords your target customer will use when they search. Write about what you know – just like your sixth grade english teacher told you to. Encourage interaction by using  polls or surveys or asking for photos. Do this through all of your chosen channels. And write about current, trending topics that resonate with your target audience and help soothe their pain points. But remember to keep top of mind the ‘social’ part of social media – don’t sell too hard.

6. Get your content out there!

LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook cross-connect if you use them right. Just set them up to link with each other. And a good place to start connecting, no matter who your target market, is LinkedIn. Check out the Groups area of LinkedIn and join all the groups that have your target audience as members. Also link into websites or blog sites managed by associations affiliated with your industry. They may be looking for content. If you are connected to your local Chamber of Commerce, see if they have a venue that may be perfect for your content.

7. Respond to Feedback

The only thing worse than posting poor, irrelevant content is not responding when a reader/customer/potential customer reaches out to you. This is your time to really shine. Carry on a good conversation that answers their need. And stay connected past the first conversation by keeping them informed of new happenings in the industry and in your business.

8. Keep it all in Perspective

Social media should not be the only marketing tool you use. It’s a very important tool because that’s where the world spends most of its time these days. But an ad in the church bulletin, a speech to the local Kiwanis club and even sponsoring a local little league team can also bring in leads that turn into business.

A final note- There is a way you can have a great digital marketing program and still make it really easy on yourself – At Steelsmith Group we get internet marketing, CRM, SEO, web design/development, website analytics and social media. We know how to get your message right, say it in an engaging way, post it in the right places, and measure the results. And we have offices in both San Diego and Seattle. So give us a call. Just sayin’.

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Sources: http://blog.taigacompany.com/blog/sustainability-business-life-environment/sustainable-business-your-customers-are-on-social-media-are-you

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-guide-small-businesses/

Five SEO Techniques to Trash

Before Steelsmith Group sits down with a client in San Diego to talk to them about any facet of internet marketing – SEO, PPC, Social Media, Email Marketing, Content Marketing or CRM Services – we make sure we do our homework on not only their company, but also the trends and best practices for each facet.

These days you have to be especially careful about how you do your SEO. What used to work yesterday may be a big no-no today.  So if you want to avoid getting your hand slapped, and getting your site penalized, listen up.

According to analytics guru, Neil Patel, as posted in his Quicksprout blog, there are 5 SEO techniques that you must kiss goodbye if you want to win at the SEO game. (Patel notes that what works or doesn’t work can be a day-to-day proposition and underscores that these 5 bad practices are bad as it stands today.)

The first technique is “Spammy Guest Blogging”. Many folks use guest bloggers to pull traffic to their site. But the trick is to be selective and smart. As Patel points out , “There is legitimate guest blogging, and then there is spammy guest blogging.” A few hints: The guest post has to be relevant to your site’s theme and it must be well-written with high level content. And try to not use optimized anchors.

And that’s the second technique you’ll want to kick to the curb – Optimized Anchors. People use optimized anchors that contain keywords for which they want to rank, but Patel says you’re just asking for a penalty when you use them today. His suggested reading on the topic includes Google’s “Link Scheme” document. Plopping anchor text willy-nilly can get you in big trouble. But some optimized anchor types are still on the ‘okay’ list – like naked URLs, branded URLs and carefully constructed long phrases.

The third technique to tip into the bucket is Quantity of Links Over Quality. The belief that more is more when it comes to the number of backlinks your site gets is so wrong. Yes, you can purchase backlinks quickly for not a whole lot of money, but be careful! The site that links may be penalized or it may have a low Domain Authority (DA). If you receive a huge bunch of links in a short time that raises a red flag too.

There’s a fourth taboo technique that points out that too much of a good thing is not a good thing – Keyword Heavy Content. This surfaced early and often as the easiest – and laziest – SEO practice. But this too has had the kibosh put on it. This is how Google defines keyword stuffing: “Keyword stuffing” refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose). Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking. Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.”

The fifth SEO technique to boycott is Relying on Link-backs Instead of Content. Patel cautions that it is a delusion to think that “merely throwing a lot of links to a site will magically bring massive authority, high rankings, and tons of search traffic.”

Bottom line is that good SEO strategy is learning to combine a number of good techniques, never relying on just one. And good content trumps poor techniques all day long.

Source: http://www.quicksprout.com/2014/03/28/5-seo-techniques-you-should-stop-using-immediately/

marketing strategy san diego seattle

Are You a Natural at Marketing Strategy?

Many professional marketers see Marketing as complex, ever-changing, deadline-driven and – above all – tactical. They focus their efforts on reacting to the latest competitor or market threat, or the newest, shiniest thing. They get mired in the details. To them, everything is urgent and struggle to manage what’s right in front of them. And if the load is heavy, they can’t sort or prioritize effectively.

But some view marketing from a different perspective. They see the whole picture from 10,000 feet. They see the path ahead pretty clearly. They see how the pieces should connect and interact. They see the brand from every angle and are able to present it in new ways that work. They know when to pull in the right expert third party – like a digital marketing agency – to help move the needle. They see, understand and act upon the fact that for every action there is a reaction. They are able to cut through the mess and get to the heart of the matter quickly. They embrace the pace and always ask, “what if?”

Some marketing profilers think that strategic thinking marketers are just born that way – like great musicians, mathematicians, painters and pitchers. The trick is to realize your gift early and use it wisely and often.

So do you think you are a strategic thinking marketer? See if you match this pro’s strategic thinking marketer profile:  http://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/2014/04/are-you-a-strategic-thinking-marketer.html?utm_content=buffer0237a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#.U2E9TqhX-uY