What Can I Do For You As A Digital Marketer?

While this may be the last blog post for my digital marketing course, it is the beginning of my journey into the future of marketing and my career ahead.  With one more quarter to go before I graduate, I am trying to scoop up every bit of knowledge that I can before it ends.

Today digital marketing is EVERYWHERE and will continue to expand as technology becomes more pervasive.  I will never regret taking Digital Marketing with Mark Staton.  We explored so many great topics from inbound marketing and SEO to coding and mobile marketing to name a few.

Through my blog posts I have displayed my unique millennial perspective on modern marketing regarding the concepts I have learned and where they are headed next.

A blog on Mashable listed a few tips for aspiring Digital Marketers, they include:

  1. Get hands-on Marketing Experience
  2. Know the Lingo
  3. Nurture Your Personal Online Presence
  4. Dabble in Everything, Specialize in Something
  5. Keep a Pulse on the News
  6. Let Curiosity and Passion Drive You

To start off, I have had the opportunity to get hands-on marketing experience in both my college education and through work as an intern at Rational Interaction in Downtown Seattle.  I have developed social media content for local companies as well as content for Microsoft too.  This experience has gotten me very excited to start my full-time professional career.  My digital marketing class has also introduced me to a wide range of marketing jargon and concepts.  I know and speak the lingo, have a developing online presence, turned

As a futurist I am passionate about the transformation and advancement of technology.  I love technology and I love marketing, digital marketing is the best of both worlds.  Today’s effective digital marketer has a pulse on the electronics world for communication.  From the PC, smartphone, tablet, TV and gaming.  I ensure that I am constantly up to date on the latest news in the tech world.  As a budding digital marketing I want to keep up with the latest technology.  This is important because if I am going to market and advertise to consumers I have to fully understand the products that they are interacting with.  I want to be able to drive the customer’s product goal and their vision through todays vast communication system in the best possible and most effective way.  Digital marketing has transformed marketing of the in the past and made it much more personal for the consumer.  With my knowledge from my digital marketing course I feel I can do just that.

The other marketing courses that I have taken at Western Washington University have taught me about marketing in today and now.  But, this digital marketing course not only taught me how to market for businesses today but also provided me with an eye into the future and what is still to come.  I am excited to get out and put this knowledge and these skills to work for you.

cert inbound-marketing-certification

During this quarter I became HubSpot Inbound Certified and Hootsuite Professional Certified with Google Analytics and AdWords on the way.  These certifications show you that I am competent with these marketing tools and can successfully apply them to your company to drive market share, customer awareness, engagement and sales.

If you hire me, you will not be disappointed.

End of Course Statistics:

Total Words: 11,836

For January:     Views: 74    Visitors: 33   High Traffic Post: Social Media Marketing

For February:   Views: 70   Visitors: 32   High Traffic Post: SEO

What Google Analytics Can Do For You?

Google Analytics is an amazing tool that can help you easily translate data into meaningful insights which can be used to grow your business, and better serve your current customers and even win new ones.  What is great about how Google teaches the analytics concepts is the way in which they walk you through the overarching principles of the platform.  There are four components of the platform: collection, processing, configuration and reporting.

Google-Analytics-Platform-Principles

Each of these components factor into the quantity and quality of the data you are able to collect.

  • Collection: collects user-interaction data.
  • Configuration: allows you to manage how the data is processed.
  • Processing: processes the user-interaction data, with the configuration data.
  • Reporting: provides access to all the processed data.

In order to collect the data Google Analytics (GA) requires a tracking code on each of your website pages that sends a set of instructions to GA, as to which user interactions it should pay attention to and which data it should collect.  As GA is collecting your data from you website or mobile sight it is organizing the hits by the users and sessions.  When it organizes hits by users it attaches a unique ID to the device which loaded your page and each device is seen by GA as a unique user.  By organizing the hits this way GA is able to segment the traffic into new users and returning users based on whether or not there is a current unique ID for any specific device.  Sessions are the second way that GA organizes your hits.  A session is a collection of interactions (page views, transactions or video played) or hits from a specific user in a defined period of time.  Both of these methods of organizing user activity will help you better understand the raw data you are collecting.  You can also configure GA to import data directly into your reports from other Google products, like Google AdWords, Google AdSense and Google Webmaster Tools.  Even internal data from your own non-Google sources.  This is helpful because you are able to compile your data into one central location to run your analysis.  Once you have you user-interaction data and configuration data, GA will process the raw data from the collection and configuration.  REMEMBER: once your data has been processed, it cannot be changed.  So do not process until you are sure you have the settings set correctly.  After processing your data GA will allow you to view and analyze your data with the reporting interface, which as tools and data visualizations that help you easily understand what is what.

Google provides a great step by step introduction into Google Analytics that will slowly introduce these concepts in further detail with great examples to solidify the ideas.  Do not be discourage and check out the videos here.  You may want to start with the videos about the fundamentals before checking out the principles of Google Analytics.  Good luck and best wishes on your company’s success!

The True Power of Mobile Marketing Revealed

Smartphone usage has officially exceeded desktop usage!  This should not be too much of a shocker to most of us.  Many individuals today have a very close relationship with their mobile devices, especially their smartphones.  One could even envision mobile phones as an “adult Binky”.  People engage with their phones from the moment they wake up and check the weather or the stock market to evening activities such as checking the news or listening to the radio.  Americans in particular have difficulty living without their mobile devices.

“Mobile’s unique characteristic as a device is that it is always on and with the consumer. So it can be integrated into and enhance other consumer touch points, including TV ads and brick-and-mortar locations. In the absence of another touch point, mobile interactions are part of a larger consumer journey. And, it is not just a single media channel. Mobile enables delivery of a wide variety of interactive paid, owned and earned experiences.” – Paul Gelb, VP and Mobile Practice Lead at Razorfish

This close relationship could easily be attributed to the convenience and anytime access to the internet provided by mobile phones.  The high quality applications that are available to users is a key driver of the mobile markets growth.

Mobile marketing provides numerous opportunities for companies to leverage their brand in the mobile environment.  You may be thinking okay so what my company needs is an application.  Stop.  Before you think any further you should take into account the numbers behind mobile application usage by consumers.  As mention in comScore’s US Mobile App Report, “the majority of mobile app engagement comes from only a select few categories, with social networking, games, and radio contributing nearly half of the total time spent on mobile apps.”  In addition that about three out of every four minutes of application usage occurs on one of the individual’s top four applications.  These numbers suggest that unless you can be sure that your application will rank in if not close to the top four applications used than it is not a wise decision invest heavily in mobile application development.  Just because your competitor develops an applications that does not necessarily mean that is the right strategy for your business.  Although applications are getting most of the attention, there is still hope in the area of mobile-friendly website design and optimization.  One of the deciding factors between the two strategies is the way in which your customers are using mobile as well as when they are engaging.

In order to take full advantage of mobile marketing you need to figure out what your customer’s mobile needs are.  Are they using it to collect information or are they looking to make a transaction on the go?  By asking those questions you and your company can better optimize your website for the mobile environment and the consumers themselves.

The types of searches that consumer perform on their mobile devices are more geared towards informational searches such as quickly looking up a location, looking for directions, checking store hours as well as transactional engagement.  What is so great about mobile technology for marketers is that when consumers are using their mobile device they are often focused on one specific piece of content in one specific place.  Due to the limited focus of consumers in their mobile experience, marketers can have a better chance at successfully engaging with them in the right way, at the right time.  It’s really important for a mobile marketer to understand how and when people are active on their mobile devices.  Miller Brown provided a set of graphs that show the daily consumption patterns for each type of device.

Times for Device Usage

A digital marketer can take this information and use it to schedule their advertisements according to the user’s consumption patterns thereby increasing the chance of user engagement.  In the graphs above their is a clear distinction between the use of smartphones and desktops.  The difference between the two tech products are they way in which each of them are used.  Smartphones are great for checking things on the move, checking the weather, and other more frequent short term interactions.  While desktops show a moderate bell curve.  Desktop usage for internet engagement is definitely not dead, it is merely used for more complex searches that would be efficient when done on a mobile device.  So, with these ideas about how users engage differently amongst the various devices you can dive deeper into the mind of you customers and develop the most relevant advertisements for them.

To leave off this is what NOT to do:

dt121224

How Programmatic and Native Advertising Have Opened The Door To The Future Of Digital

In the past few years the rise of programmatic and native advertising have generated quite a buzz in the digital marketing world.  Programmatic advertising is all about increased performance optimization and automated real-time media buying.  It essentially provides a more granular view of customers, with the ability to tailor messaging, breeds greater efficiency and effectiveness in advertising spending.  The automation of programmatic can save you and your company money by cutting out time consuming and complex ad operations. Google’s Vice President of Eastern Europe, Matt Brittin defines programmatic as, “using technology to do more faster, and to get smarter as you go.”  What is crazy cool about programmatic is that it works off of set rules and algorithms to automate the delivery of targeted and relevant advertisements to unique consumers as they interact with the online space (mobile too).  These ads come in the form of targeted offers, pop-up messages, and user specific content.  If you own a computer and access the internet, there is a good chance that you have experienced programmatic ads and lots of them.  Companies are able to do this because of data collected on the browsing behavior of hundreds of millions of consumers, including which websites they visit.  I will admit that this does make me a little uneasy.  The data collection and execution of the advertisement happens in a fraction of a second.  Take a look at this infographic and it will give you a better idea of the process behind programmatic:

Life-of-an-Ad_A4-1

Programmatic advertising is drastically changing the landscape of digital marketing and opening new doors for marketers to mold the digital space to their liking.

Native advertising on the other hand is focused on high-quality ad content that matches the style of a publisher’s own editorial content. Native can be sponsored content on blogs or online news publications and promoted tweets on twitter.  It really is about how companies and their brands work with online content publishers to reach their target audiences.  What makes native ads different from traditional display ads is that they are integrated into the flow of the editorial content and do not look like advertisements at all.  There are many critics that feel like native advertising is sneaky and degrades the value of journalistic content.  But, whether critics like it or not, native advertising is growing and proving to be more successful than other forms of online display ads.

HBO’s John Oliver provides his perspective on Native Advertising (definitely worth watching):

Since native advertising is still relatively new, its future depends on the ability to gain the trust of consumers and advertisers.  A common concern is that native advertisements will alter the consumers perspective of online editorial content. Publishers have to be careful to maintain a good balance between how advertising and editorial content is delivered.

Many argue that there is a rivalry between programmatic and native advertising. I would disagree.  They both provide unique benefits to a company’s marketing strategy.  These two methods are even more effective when combined with each other.  The success of native advertisements becomes much more powerful when the ad placement is optimized by an automated real-time bidding system.  If used companies can leverage the consumer data collected to make native ads more relevant to the surrounding content, as well as to the readers themselves.  Because native advertisements on their own are more difficult to measure, programmatic tools will be able to provide the missing metrics.  Its like a match made in heaven.

After all the research on programmatic advertising and what it was all about, I became a little concerned for my future in marketing as I will be graduating soon and am currently seeking employment opportunities I wondered if the automation of advertising was going to reduce the need for physical marketers.  An article from Digiday, answered my question plain and simple and put my worries at ease, “Programmatic technology will probably mean there are fewer ad buyers in the world, but it could also allow both marketers and sellers to spend more of their time planning sophisticated, customized campaigns instead of getting bogged down in bureaucracy.”  So essentially programmatic will be used as a tool that will coincide and support the work of digital marketers.  Were safe everybody.  At least for now.

I leave you with my favorite comic Dilbert’s take on invasive advertising.

dt140715

How Coding Can Make You a Better Digital Marketer

By the way I wrote this entire post using the coding I learned on Code Academy. While coding is not necessarily a “must have” requirement to be a great digital marketer, knowing at least the basics of the HTML and CSS languages can make you much more competent in what you do as a marketer. Websites are built with two main coding languages: HTML and CSS. Knowing both of these languages can help interconnect the work that developers do with work that you do as a digital marketer. In other words it helps you communicate better with your company’s programmers as well as helps you relate to the coders and better understand how they work and how and why bugs occur. In an article on Inc.com 9 Places you can learn how to code it provides a list of a few companies that have had great success in turning individuals who know nothing about coding, into coding masters. The tools available on the web make it really easy to pick up the skills. Here are a few sites that have online courses:

  • Code Academy (Beginners)
  • Khan Academy (Beginners)
  • Treehouse (Intermediate)
  • Code School (Intermediate to Advanced)

The website that I used to start learning code was Code Academy. The academy makes coding much, much less intimidating and scary. It starts with the basics and incrementally helps you advance your skills. I appreciated how they walked me through the basic elements of coding step-by-step and showed a live end result window so I could see exactly what I was doing.  (Click below to see my progress in two hours)

CodeAcademy Start Time

Code Academy End Time

In just two hours I was able to use everything that I learned so far in code academy and use the language to develop this blog post.  I would definitely recommend this free course to anyone looking to get a basic understanding of coding.  It cannot hurt to try it out.  In order to remain competitive in the job market you need to make yourself as valuable as possible by diversifying your skills. Coding is fascinating to learn and I was always intimidated by coding, but not anymore.

Coding has allowed computers to evolve and become more complex than ever.  While many of you are familiar with the conventional use of computers to take information as input then change, or “process,” the information and then deliver some form of new information as output. On the flipside there is also unconventional computing which stands to enrich or go beyond the standard model of computing by means of new or unusual methods.  As stated in the Nautilus Magazine article Moore’s Law Is About To Get Weird:

Moore’s Law, which states that the number of transistors that can be squeezed onto a semiconductor chip of a given size doubles roughly every two years, has held true since the mid 1960s, but past progress is no guarantee of future success: Further attempts at miniaturization will soon run into the hard barrier of quantum physics, as transistors get so small they can no longer be made out of conventional materials.

Some of the unconventional computing techniques that may soon take the place of conventional include: chemical and wetware computing. Chemical computing consists of harnessing bits of information that results from specific chemical reactions. Crazy right? These chemical reactions can be seen as having similar characteristics to conventional computing where there is an input which would be the reactants and then once combined together there is some sort of reaction that occurs which simulates a process taking place.  As a result of the reactants and reaction is an output or end product. Researchers are taking this information experimenting with future applications, for example in the article it states that chemical computing is adapted for certain kinds of problems that require exploring a large set of possibilities simultaneously.

Like chemical computing the take on wetware computing is very similar.  Whereas researchers connected chemical computing to chemical reactions, other researchers have extracted meaning behind the way that cells and their components relate to the way that a computer works. In the article they provide the example where DNA provides information storage, RNA is the input, ribosomes process the information from the RNA, and proteins form the output. These researchers are looking to transform the functionality of cells into applications that require a high level of security like credit and debit cards.

The technological world is getting increasingly complex and advancing in ways many of us have never thought to even consider.

How Paid Search With Google Can Compliment Your SEO

google-adwords-redwhite-1920

Many people often discount the value of paid search ads because they make the assumption that no one clicks on them.  Well those individuals would be wrong.  People do click on them and in fact they click quite a bit.  There is really no excuse to not having at least a small portion of your advertising efforts dedicated to Google AdWords. It should be a simple extension of your current marketing efforts. In HubSpot’s eBook A Beginners Guide to Paid Search it recommends that AdWords should be used to compliment other strategies that you are implementing.  Additionally paid search is an easy way to do landing page A/B testing because you are able to distribute traffic between your choice of pages and then see which pages have the highest conversion rates.

Keywords are one of the most if not the most important component to your Google AdWords account. Google even provides a keyword generating tool that helps you discover great keywords as well as allows you to see some of the important metrics related to each keyword.  When you are developing your list of keywords you should be selecting those that are relevant to your brand or offering along with those that have optimal conversion metrics.

There are a few reasons from Forbes on why you should take advantage of Google AdWords:

  1. It is both measurable and flexible
  2. Faster than SEO
  3. Provides the ability to control your advertising spending
  4. Helps you compete

With Google AdWords you are easily able to measure the success of any one of you ads or even the entire campaign.  The metrics provide details as to what worked well and what did not.  If you find anything that did not work well, it’s a really easy fix and then you can jump back on the road to success.  In addition to the flexibility AdWords also allows you to customize ad placement as well as the determining factor that will trigger your ads.  What I mean by this is that not only can you create ads to show up in Googles search results, but can also display them in different forms such as pictures or videos and on top of that you can even place them on selected websites (that should of course be relevant to your company or offering) and leverage the display network.  The Google Display Network is awesome! First off, it allows you to quickly create an image ad and then by using the “contextual targeting” tool you can display your ad on pages where people are reading and researching similar topics.  Furthermore you can select the specific geographical locations where you would like your advertisement to show up.  Once you have placed your ad then you can track the conversions based on that ad and then use that information to optimize your spending.

Besides measurability and flexibility it also has some perks against SEO.  With SEO it can take a while before you can start to generate measurable results.  But, with AdWords you are able to instantaneously display your Ads and can generate usable metrics as soon as it goes live.  What is also great about paid search is that it lets you have greater control over your advertising spending.  Before you launch your ad or campaign, you can set a maximum daily spending budget.  From there you can increase or decrease your daily spending budget as you see fit.

You might also be wondering about how the bidding process works. Take a look at this infographic:

wes1012_Infographic_rev2

Whether you win in the auction or not depends on more than just how much you are willing to bid.  Google also takes into account the quality score linked assigned to your advertisement and landing page.  A high Quality Score means that Google thinks that your ad and landing page are relevant and useful to someone looking at your ad.  The Quality Score has a significant effect on your Ad Rank.  Some of the components of the Quality Score that affect your rank include: the ad/search relevance, the overall quality of your landing page, the geographical performance, your pages past CTR and expected CTR.  So you should consider all of these components before entering into an auction to maximize the potential of winning the bid and improve your ad position.

Although Google AdWords may seem extremely ornate and complex, it really is not.  The complexity merely comes from the multitude of functionality some of which may never be applicable to your specific needs.

The Importance of SEO And Why You Should Invest More

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting traffic to your website by ensuring that it can be found in search engines for words and phrases relevant to the sites offering.  It is essentially a set of techniques that help your website rank higher in search engine results therefore allowing your website to be more visible to people searching for your brand, product, or service. This process on going and your ranking will change overtime so buckle up and prepare for the ride.

Rankings-Rollercoaster-637x812

Today, when someone is surfing the internet for information they are likely doing so with one of these three intents: transactional search, navigational search, or information search.  As Moz explains in their eBook The Beginners Guide to SEO, an individual preforming a transactional search may be looking to identify a local business, purchase something online, or complete a task.  When preforming a navigational search they often have a predefined intent to visit a specific website or destination.  Informational searches are simply those in which an individual is researching information or looking for quick answers.  By crafting high-quality content with relevant images and multimedia, you will increase your chances of matching the goals of your target searchers.  In addition to that, there are three simple steps that can boost your position in search results:

  1. Create content that uses words and phrases used by those who search for your brand, company or product
  2. Build links to your pages to show they are important
  3. Produce fresh content on a regular basis
  4. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Generating high-quality content alone will not make you visible in search engine results.  In order to perform better in search engine listings you need to be sure that you most important content is in HTML text format.  The format of you content is important because incorrect formatting makes it harder for search engines to determine its relevancy.  Also make sure to pay attention to the length of your title and keep it under 75 characters to ensure that none gets cut off.  Another element of successful search optimization is keywords.  Keywords are one of the core ingredients that search engines use to help provide the right pages and rank them.  MOZ explains that “one of the best ways to optimize a page’s rankings is to ensure that the keywords you want to rank for are prominently used in titles, and the core content.”  Keyword research is one of the most important activities in the search marketing field.  The creation of the right keywords can have a big impact on the success of your website. As you are conducting your initial keyword research you want to be sure that your are testing out the various search engines and see what results are displayed for different search terms. You also what to check out your competitors sites and see how they are performing.  In addition to that you also might want to check out the language that your target visitors are using.  That can help you attract not just any visitor, but the right visitors.  Here is a checklist that might help as you conduct your research:

keyword-selection-checklist

Search Engine Land provides a “Giant List Of Keyword Tools,” you can check them out here.  Keyword development is not as easy as you might think, it actually requires a significant amount of effort to select the best keywords that in turn will improve your websites search engine ranking.  After you have identified your core list of terms you can then take advantage of modifiers to help expand your list with different variations and combinations of your main list.  The tools above can also help with this task.  Once you attract the right visitor you then want to optimize the user experience and perceived quality of your website.

Search engines use more than just keywords and links to determine the value offered by a website.  They also look into the linking networks and engagement metrics.  The more links that connect to your website from outside sources as well as high levels of user engagement will signal to search engines that your site is of high-quality.  This is where link building comes in.

Link building is basically the process of getting other websites to provide links that direct traffic to a page on your own website.  Therefore the more high quality websites with links that point to your site that greater your chances of ranking high in search results.  Link building can help you develop relationships with key players in your industry and improve the authenticity and reputation of your company.  The best kind of links are those that: link to your homepage, link to high-quality content (i.e. eBooks), contain your brand or company name and keywords you are targeting. There is a lot that goes into the development of a link building strategy, in this blog I have merely skimmed the top.

Much of what I have learned about SEO and link building came from Seattle-based software company called Moz, founded by Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig in 2004.  They sell inbound marketing and marketing analytics software subscriptions. Their top performance landed them on Inc.’s 500 back in 2010 and currently rank #18 in the Seattle Metro Area.  They also have proven to be a great company to work for so check them out.

As you can see throughout my blog I have provided links to those websites that I have found to hold great high quality content (link building in the works).