The holidays are always a time to celebrate and reflect upon the year. At Mambo we have a lot to celebrate, but also a lot to look forward to. 2015 promises innovative digital marketing trends that will continue to advance the way we create, share and track our marketing efforts. We also know the more we invest in our efforts, the bigger and more gratifying our ROI will be.
As a team of passionate leaders and creative thinkers, it only seems right that our very own Mambo Media founder, Siouxsie Jennett is an instructor at PSU’s Center for Executive and Professional Education (CEPE) for the Digital Marketing Strategies (DMS) Certificate Program.
In an effort to grow and educate our community of digital marketers, and to stand by our mission of investing in top-notch practices we wanted to make sure all our readers are aware of PSU’s special holiday discount.
For a limited time only PSU’s CEPE is offering 25% off ALL Winter Term courses. But the discount ends soon! Register before midnight PST on Sunday, December 21st to take advantage of this swinging deal. There is no limit to the amount of courses the discount can be applied to, simply use code: JINGLE25 at checkout.
For those of you unfamiliar, the Digital Marketing Strategies certificate is broken into five courses that guide students through the key principal categories of digital marketing. These include: Introduction to Digital Strategies, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Analytics, and Advanced Concepts: Digital Media Integration. Each course has a different instructor who is an expert in their trade, keeping the program current and on trend for our ever-advancing industry.
The certificate program allows marketers to join this thriving community, network with thought leaders, stay connected to important events and conferences, as well as have the opportunity to pitch a digital strategy to a local company. Considering Mambo currently employs four alumni of the DMS Certificate, we’re confident you’ll too see the benefits this program can have on your career!
If you’re not interested in the Digital Marketing Certificate, CEPE offers over 50 courses during Winter Term in 12 different industries and specializations.
It’s easy to get a little heart-felt around the holidays. But we can’t deny that certain opportunities just hold close to our values. Help us celebrate the creativity and intelligence behind the many professionals in digital marketing and spread the word about this fantastic deal.
Are you ready to invest in your career? Visit the Winter Term Course List to see which program or course is the right fit for you.
Online marketers need to understand how updates to Google’s algorithm may affect their website rankings. When a site is affected by an update, it is important that adjustments are made to avoid further penalties from Google. Unfortunately, sites typically have to wait until Google rolls out another update in order to see how their changes impact rankings.
Last month Google rolled out their most recent update of Penguin 3.0 approximately one year after the previous Penguin 2.1 update.
How Significant is Penguin 3.0 on Rankings?
Every update to Google’s algorithm affects only a select number of sites, pages and queries so not everyone will experience changes in their search rankings. According to Google’s measurement, less than 1% of English based queries are impacted by the recent Penguin 3.0 update. This is far less than the 3.1% of queries that were affected when Penguin was first rolled out in April of 2012.
On-page ranking factors have changed over the years. While the use of keywords may not be as prolific as they were a few years ago, keyword optimization is still important for organic search. Let’s take a look at a few tips and tricks to keep your website as Google friendly as possible.
Tip #1: Title Tags Are Still Important
Unless you want to risk Google cutting off excess characters, keep your Title Tags between 50 and 59 characters. If you go over, be aware that Google may change the word order or the actual wording of your title tag. Wouldn’t you rather have more control over what is displayed for your website’s search results?
To learn more read Search Engine Watch’s post on “Why Google Changes Your Title in Search Engine Results”.
Trick #1: There’s a Tool for That!
There really is no excuse for going over the recommended character count. There is a simple tool that allows you to copy and paste your text to verify your character count. Letter Counter’s character counter is the go-to tool for not only SEO optimization, but it can also be used to stay under Twitter’s 140 character limit.
Tip #2: Expand Your Keyword Content
We know that Google penalizes sites that utilize keyword stuffing as part of their SEO strategy. Focusing only on your identified keyword isn’t enough any more. According to Google, nearly 70% of searches involve synonyms or variations of keywords.
Trick #2: Utilize Natural Language
Instead of just duplicating exact matches of your keyword, use variations that users would naturally use in their language. Let’s take the query “all weather tires”:
From Google’s results we can see that there are many relevant variations associated with this keyword phrase:
- “all-season tires”
- “winter tires”
- “snow tires”
- “long-lasting tires”
We also know that Google’s vast database of billions of phrases isn’t going to return a result of “bike tires” since this phrase is not relevant to the initial “all weather tires” search query.
As always, remember quality over quantity when it comes to keywords!
Tip #3 Utilize Long Tail Keywords
It is becoming increasingly more difficult to rank for short tail keyword phrases which contain 1-2 word phrases. Instead, we need to focus on long tail keywords that contain at least 3-5 words. Long tail keywords account for over 70% of search queries. In addition to the quantity of search queries, long tail keyword conversions are much higher than conversions for short tail keyword phrases.
One way to create long tail keywords is to use modifiers. We can apply the following modifiers to the “all weather tires” example:
- Time or Date: “2014 all weather tires”
- Price or Quality: “Best all weather tires” or “Inexpensive all season tires”
- Intent: “Purchase all season tires” or “Find all weather tires”
- Location: “Portland all weather tires” or “All year tires Pacific Northwest”
Trick #3 Google Keyword Planner tool
Google’s Keyword Planner tool can be used to identify how competitive keywords will be ranked. When we look at “all weather tires” and “all season tires” in Google’s Keyword Planner tool we can see that both terms are highly competitive. It will be very difficult to rank for either of these terms due to their competition.
Now we need to further refine our long tail keywords by looking at suggestions from Google’s Keyword Planner tool:
Based on the results, we can eliminate “snow driving” and “summer tires in snow” since they aren’t relevant to our original intention for “all weather tires” or “all season tires”. Instead we should focus on the 70 monthly searches with medium competition for the phrase: “best all season tire in snow”.
Our initial phrase of “all weather tires” generated 3,600 monthly searches, but since it was such a competitive term it was unlikely that we would rank for it. By selecting a term that has medium competition and only 70 monthly searches we are increasing our chances of appearing in search results and ultimately gaining a conversion.
SEO strategy is always changing and requires marketers to keep up with new keyword trends and Google’s latest algorithm. By leveraging these free tools, and paying attention to the competitive landscape of your keywords, your brand can develop a strategy that increases conversations at a lower cost. For additional information on search engine optimization, read our blog post on How to use SEO.
You may have heard murmurs that Canada recently released a new law called Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). Effective July 1, 2014, this new legislation will drastically impact digital marketers and businesses that send commercial emails. Penalties for non-compliance with these strict new email marketing requirements will come at a high price. The Canadian government announced that businesses can be fined for up to $10 million dollars for failure to follow legislative guidelines.
But, what does this new legislation mean for your business? Will Canadian Spam Laws have an impact on American marketers? How can you ensure that your business remains CASL compliant?
Even if your business is run and operated outside of Canada, you still may be susceptible to CASL penalties and fines if compliance is not actively monitored and managed. This blog post aims to demystify CASL regulations, but does not constitute legal advice. Get in contact with us, if you have specific questions about how CASL may impact your business.
CASL Impacts All Commercial Electronic Messages:
CASL rules and regulations apply to any “commercial electronic message” sent from or to Canadian devices or residents of Canada. This includes emails, instant messages or text messages containing content that encourages the recipient to engage in some kind of commercial activity. Message types that are exempt from these regulations include:
- Responding to a current customer or someone who requested a response
- Messages that will be sent to countries other than Canada (be sure you are compliant with those respective country anti-spam laws)
- Messages soliciting contributions by a charity or political organization
- Messages that provide warranty, recall, safety or security information
- Messages that enforce a legal right or court order
- Messages that provide account information
- Messages going to a single recipient on the basis of a third party referral. The full name of the referrer must be included and the referee may only send one message.
If your business sends commercial electronic messages to anyone who resides in Canada, and you do not qualify for an exemption, you must ensure your communication with all Canadian residents falls in accordance with CASL regulations.
Express/Explicit Consent vs. Implied Consent:
Under CASL regulations, all email addresses must be segmented by consent. Contacts who give express consent (i.e. explicitly sign up for a newsletter) can continue to be emailed unless they ask to be removed. To properly collect express consent, businesses must provide a clear description of what the contact will be receiving, have an opt-in process that is not pre-checked, and collect the IP address, URL, date and time stamps. All communications must also identify the person sending or person on whose behalf the message is being sent, contact information of the sender, an unsubscribe mechanism and avoid false or misleading representation anywhere in the message (message body, subject line, etc.).
Those who have given implied consent can receive commercial electronic messages for up to six months after implied consent is given. Implied consent means that a contact may not have expressly granted permission to be contacted, but consent was inferred from some sort of action. Implied consent is assumed when:
- They have purchased something from your company in the last 24 months or have inquired within the last six months
- The individual sender has an existing non-business relationship with the recipient (i.e. for charitable/volunteer organizations)
- The recipient has conspicuously published his or her address (i.e. on a website or online directory) and the message is relevant to the recipient’s business or official capacity and there is not a statement stating they do not wish to be contacted
- The recipient has provided their electronic address to the sender and the message is relevant to the recipient’s business or official capacity
Remember, the burden of proving implied consent falls onto businesses. Make sure your email marketing tool or your CRM keeps track of when the email contact was submitted—so you can adequately track the six month window. You’ll also want to ensure that you are keeping a record of all necessary data to prove consent.
Applying CASL to Lead Generation Programs:
CASL regulations will need to be taken into consideration when developing lead generation programs. Each Canadian email contact will have to be divided into two groups—one group for your implied consent contacts and one group for explicit consent contacts. Create six month campaigns that encourage implied contacts to sign up for your email marketing program. When building forms, include a required country field and be aware that all boxes must be left unchecked! By collecting country information early on and not auto-filling your subscription options, you can ensure that you are in compliance with CASL.
Luckily, there is a grace period for companies to adjust and ensure that they are in compliance with Canadian laws. For all emails collected BEFORE July 1, 2014, you have three years to gain explicit consent. All emails collected after July 1, 2014 must be CASL compliant and may only be contacted for 6 months if given implied consent.
A CASL Summary:
To align your electronic communication practices with CASL standard, any contacts that were gathered before July 1, 2014 have three years to gain express permission. Any contacts that were gathered after July 1, 2014 and have given implied consent can be contacted for up to six months. Any contact that has given explicit consent can be contacted until the recipient unsubscribes. Any violation can lead to a $10,000,000 fine for your company and up to $1,000,000 for the actual sender.
CASL provides a great opportunity to turn contacts that have only given implied consent into marketing qualified leads though a strong email marketing program and marketing automation system. If you are interested in further CASL information or are in need of support developing and implementing these programs, contact Mambo for a consultation on lead generation and marketing automation.
We’ve been busy at the Mambo office over the past few months and we are thrilled to introduce the newest additions to the Mambo team! With their charisma, humor and whip-smart digital marketing chops, we know that these three new team members will have a bright future with Mambo!
Naira Perez, Digital Marketing Strategist
Naira’s experience in marketing spans 14 years. Over the course of her career, Naira has had the benefit of looking at marketing from many different perspectives including: sales, corporate marketing, advertising agency and independent consultant. The diversity of her past positions has given Naira a unique insight into the many sides of marketing. She has experience delivering “the promise”, crafting “the message”, organizing “the idea” and measuring “the ROI”.
At Mambo, Naira focuses on analytics and media planning, “I would say I love, scratch that, I am passionate about ‘accountable marketing’, which may be a term I just made up but reflects the marriage between data, strategy and creativity.”
Kelly Fitzgerald, Senior Digital Marketing Manager
Kelly is a Digital Marketer with over 10 years of experience in various Sales and Finance roles. Kelly started out as a financial and business analyst at Tektronix and Nike, and later transitioned to software sales, training and digital marketing. Kelly applies her analytical background to every client engagement, assisting clients in measuring and reporting the success of their digital marketing programs.
Kelly graduated from the University of Oregon with a double major in Finance and Management. She recently completed PSU’s Digital Marketing Strategies Certification Program.
Kelly takes every opportunity to enjoy the outdoors on her stand up paddleboard (SUP) and has even been known to combine her yoga practice on her SUP from time to time!
Tori Opsahl, Digital Marketing Specialist
Tori arrived at Mambo through our internship program, where she spent three months expanding her knowledge of digital marketing. Tori is a University of Oregon graduate, with a Bachelor of Science and focus in Public Relations. Her past experience spans from real estate to Merrill Lynch’s internship program, to public relations and marketing. Tori is now a full-time member of the Mambo team as a rising social media star and budding community manager.
Are you a digital marketing expert and think you could be a great addition to the Mambo team? Feel free to reach out and learn more about our (amazing) company culture.
10,000 marketers descended on this year’s Inbound 2014, in the heart of downtown Boston. With nearly double the attendance of last year, this turnout legitimizes the acceptance of the inbound methodology and the shifting power of consumers. Providing education and value to your audience continues to be the foundational element of a solid content marketing strategy, and topics such as personalization and real-time marketing have gone from experimental to mainstream. The sessions were jam-packed with brilliant marketers, industry thought leaders and marketing automation experts. We’ll be sharing more of our favorite strategies, tips and tricks from the conference in the coming months.
This year’s kickoff keynote speaker was Guy Kawasaki on The Lessons of Steve Jobs. A few of our favorite takeaway lessons included:
- “Design counts”: Steve’s commitment to design is clearly evidenced in his diehard commitment to the most nuanced details of design.
- “Use big graphics and big fonts in your presentations. Nothing else”: Steve was a story-teller and used simple, yet powerful slides to engage his audience without distraction.
- “Change your mind. This is a sign of the intelligence.” – While stubborn, when Jobs threw out the Lisa project to work on the Macintosh, it was one of the most important decisions he’d ever make.
Simon Sinek kicked off the full day of sessions with a discussion about leadership, which is the topic of his latest book: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. Many know Simon for his TedTalk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, one of the most-watched Ted Talks of all time. Watching and listening to Sinek is in and of itself a lesson on presentation. He commands the room and his audience, leaving listeners hanging on his every word while he deftly moves from stories of a Marine battlefield under heavy fire to a board room full of a team of chemically unbalanced employees.
Sinek investigates the chemical composition of individuals and businesses based on primary hormones that significantly impact our daily working lives. The development of strong leaders who create circles of safety and healthy culture is more important than ever to ensure the health of individuals and the health of a business. He goes on to say that culture is not simply Ping-Pong Wednesdays and Casual Fridays, but how your employees feel when they think of coming to work, interacting with others, managing conflict and sharing praise. We can all be leaders, and it’s our responsibility to do so for the goodwill of our teams. One of the quotes included in Sinek’s newest book on leadership is from John Quincy Adams who stated: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader”. This succinctly defines Sinek’s view of true leaders.
Malcolm Gladwell, another epic storyteller interested in using lesser-known stories to brilliantly illustrate his findings, discussed the importance of attitude, courage, urgency and imagination for achieving the remarkable.
Steve Jobs was again noted, this time for his “theft” of the idea for the first computer mouse from Xerox. Few people would ever associate Xerox with the computer mouse and Apple is now one of the best known computer brands in the world. Xerox, not Apple had the smartest computer scientists of the day, and the greatest facility in the world. So, how did Steve Jobs beat Xerox to the punch?
Jobs toured the Xerox Corporation’s research division called Xerox PARC, where engineers had been developing a mouse-controlled computer for years. Xerox had some of the brightest innovators in the world—who were technically far wiser and more experienced than Jobs. But what Steve Jobs possessed was a sense of urgency and instinct that Xerox did not have. Jobs ran with the “inspiration” he gained while on the Xerox tour, and later launched the first mouse-controlled computer.
Malcolm’s takeaway? “Transformative innovators have a sense of urgency”, and that urgency can have an impact that can change the world. Stay tuned for more stories, strategies, tips and tactics that we learned from this year’s HubSpot 2014 Inbound.
Read How to Attract Visitors and Convert Them into Qualified Leads
The ultimate goal for marketers has always been to create the right offer, at the right time and to the right people. As customers now have unprecedented amounts of information to sift through, a brand’s inbound strategy plays a critical role in leading the customer successfully through each stage of the buyer’s journey to maximize success. Modern marketing must rely on the awareness, interest, consideration and delight phases of the customer’s path to purchase. Marketing Automation platforms, including tools such as Marketo, Hubspot, and SharpSpring, help to coordinate and manage your marketing efforts. In the first articles of a two-part series, we will teach you how to attract the right audience, and convert visitors into qualified leads.
Tools: Inbound Website, Optimized Blog, Social Media Listening System, SEO Researched Keywords, Strategically-Placed Calls-to-Action
Providing educational content and becoming a knowledge-repository to reach a wide, and dedicated audience with contextually relevant information is the goal of this phase. Did you know that 68% of all organic links go to the top three search results? Blogging about questions that your target segments are asking, engaging on social media with industry thought-leaders and keyword optimized websites will help you build a solid base, and keep you well ranked.
Website: Your website should be clear, concise, include relevant calls-to-action and be optimized for performance. The purpose of your site should be prioritizing the paths of your target audiences. At this stage it’s useful to consider the following questions: What are my customer’s pain points, and how can I quickly and easily offer a solution?
Tip: Read our latest blog post on specific tips for effective homepage design.
Blog: Share relevant, high quality content in an optimized blog. Keywords are now only part of SEO and search engines are looking for the most relevant and most desired blog content. Search engines also take into account “social signals,” which encourages the sharing of content on social networks to improve organic rankings. The more you blog, the better it is for your SEO – delve into different ways to optimize your blog for your audience. For example, companies can expect a 45% growth in traffic when increasing total blog articles from 11-20 to 21-50.
Tip: Blog at least once per week and create blog titles that include SEO-researched target keywords.
Social: No matter what industry you are in, your customers are present on social media. In fact, the role of social in the modern sales cycle is quite significant: Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than traditional outbound marketing efforts. During the awareness phase, social media is particularly valuable for building trust because it is a great place to access customer service, reviews and testimonials. It is important to have optimized and active channels to help your customers find you and remain engaged.
Mambo recommends: Choose your level of involvement based on available resources. It is better to have one great social channel and weekly blog than several channels that post inconsistently and a blog that never gets updated. Once you develop a plan, research the best times to post, trends in the industry, and look for quick fixes to optimize your website, like fixing broken links or adding images to text.
Tools: Secondary Calls-to-Action, Landing Pages, Forms, Contact Profiling, Dynamic Segmentation
After showcasing your thought leadership by providing valuable and relevant information to potential leads as well as anticipating and pre-emptively offering solutions to their problems, you should be reaching people who are actively looking for this type of information. In the beginning of the relationship with your brand, it’s important to provide high-value, top-of-the-funnel content, like a white paper or an eBook. This offer should be tailored to the individual and should reflect where the lead is in the buyer’s journey. You can capture information from leads by gating content on a landing page and implementing clear calls-to-action. By using relevant forms to progressively profile leads and capture necessary information you can effectively qualify and prioritize them in your nurture process. Companies that increase their number of landing pages from 10-15 see a 55% increase in leads.
When it comes to creating your landing pages, keep it simple. On a great landing page the value proposition and purpose should be very clear and easy to consume. Users should be able to instantly identify why they are there and what they are getting. Keep everything above the fold, eliminate distractions like excessive external navigation (you don’t want to make it easy to leave!), and design the experience around guiding the user to complete your forms.
Mambo recommends: Visitors to your site may be at different stages of the buyer’s journey. Have a wide variety of content available on your page to cater to all of those personas. For example, someone who is in the beginning stages will be interested in a one pager or a white sheet, while someone who is farther into the journey will be more interested in an eBook or a demo. Don’t be afraid to reuse and repurpose old content! When developing your landing pages, a good rule of thumb is the “7-second test.” Someone who has never seen the page should be able to understand what they’ll be getting and the value they’ll gain within 7 seconds.
The process of attracting visitors and converting them into qualified leads is all about connecting your audience with valuable information that intelligently addresses their questions and concerns. It is an ongoing effort and requires continual evolution and innovation. Stay tuned for part two to learn how an inbound marketing strategy can help you close sales like a pro and delight your customers.
If inbound marketing and automation interest you schedule a consultation with us today.
“I regularly hear members rave about our services, but engagement in our social communities doesn’t reflect this enthusiasm.”
“We offer online registration for all of our events, but the majority of people still prefer to call or come in to register.”
If you are a brick and mortar business, translating a successful offline experience to the online world can be a challenging task. The key to success lies in understanding the essence of your brand–what your target audience loves about your brand, product or service–and extrapolating that to an online environment. Uncovering what motivates and delights your customers will help you evolve a digital strategy that will yield results.
Here are a few steps to get started:
1. Conduct research: Listen to your audience to understand the true value of what you are delivering and use the insights you uncover as the guiding strategy for building your online space. Talk to a wide group of people in a number of different settings and conduct ethnographic research. Try to step into your audience’s shoes to understand their motivations, thoughts and feelings. Focus not only on what people are saying, but why they are saying it and how they feel about it.
Tip: Asking open-ended questions allows people to steer the conversation and elaborate on their personal experience. Above all, listen closely and it will lead you to valuable insights.
2. Analyze feedback: Segment your interview responses and research observations into what your customers find frustrating and what they find delighting, especially as it is unique to your organization.
Tip: Be sensitive to where your audience is on the technology adoption curve. Is your audience on par with general trends or is there something unique about the group? For example, you may find that while your audience may be tech savvy and comfortable on mobile devices, they prefer to use technology only for staying in touch with family and not for the type of service you provide.
3. Develop a strategy: Determine your goals with respect to what you want your audience to do and match them with the digital tools to make that happen. Pairing the right tools with the behaviors you desire will help create the type of community you want. For example, if you want people to share your events and get their social circle involved, implement click and text to share functionality. If you want members to register for events online, create a clear call-to-action.
Tip: Once you have developed your strategy on a tactical level, identify the right KPIs to measure user actions against goals and collect data. Regularly monitor user paths, measure success and consider refinements.
Listening to your audience is the only way to really understand what motivates their hearts, minds and actions. Being able to deliver the same brand experience they love in the offline world by leveraging online tools to streamline processes, encourage the discovery of new and wonderful aspects of your business, and personalizing their overall experience, will help you translate your offline success to the online world.
Read more on obtaining valuable customer insights.