Facebook Advertising 101

Learn-Facebook-Advertsing-101You’re advertising on Google, writing blogs with keyword phrases, doing local search, and have a killer website. So why fork out even more marketing money and time for Facebook?

At the end of last year, Facebook reported 890 million daily active users on average. In English, that means 890 million people, worldwide, were actively logging in and checking their newsfeed, uploading photos and/or interacting on Facebook in some way. Facebook also reported last December that 745 million users are logging in and using Facebook from their phones. Thinking of unchecking that mobile option on your Facebook ad? Think again!

Cool Stats, But Why Do I Need to Pay For Advertising?

If the stats above weren’t convincing enough, here’s a big one from a post on Jeff Bullas’ blog, “30 million businesses now have a Facebook Fan Page and 1.5 million businesses are now spending money on Facebook ads”. If that many companies are concerned enough to not only have a presence on Facebook, but to invest, you might want to consider doing so as well.

Learn more about how to get started with your own Facebook ads…

How To Improve Your Digital Marketing With Events

EventsThere’s something happening everyday and people want to be a part of it. People are looking for something “to do”, and hosting a public event is a huge online marketing opportunity. Before, during and after the actual event you can build links, create valuable partnerships that will benefit your business and connect with your target audience to help you create more successful and relevant content and products.

What kind of events can you hold?

  • Industry Meet and Greet
  • 101 Education
  • Charity Fundraiser
  • Subject Matter Meetup
  • Topical Presentation
  • Lunch andLearn
  • Coffee Club
  • Seminar
  • Whatever. I suggest some sort of beverage, snack or food item be made available though whatever kind of event you hold.

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How to Format Your ‘Now Provided’ Report – Part 2

AuthorityLab’s Now Provided report is a particularly engaging report that looks at your keyword performance on specific landing pages. I know, sups cool. In Formatting Your Now Provided – Part 1, I went over Keyword, Position, Search Vol, CPC, Competition, Opportunity, Traffic (%), Traffic Cost (%), Num of Results. Formatting these metrics with conditional formatting created a colorful table that was easy to interpret.

Today we will be working with charts and graphs to communicate different wins and action items. We will also use trendlines to communicate how well the keywords have been performing by landing page.now provided report dashboard

If you’re a video type, here is the step by step video.

Click here for step-by-step instructions on formatting your Now Provided report…

My Head is Bruised From All the Headdesking Over Your Keyword Strategies

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I have been in the community/social/editing realm for the last couple of years. Recently I put my SEO cap back on and have been reviewing keyword strategies for various clients. It is 2015 and sadly I see that many of the basics are still not known.

I have found that I was wrong in thinking that in the last 3-4 years the basics of SEO were common knowledge and that websites had to have improved. I thought with talk of keywords and SEO on major news networks, schools, business classes, magazines, newspapers, music and even comedy shows that people would know the basics of what to do.

I WAS WRONG! (My husband loves when I say that)

FYI: This is a going back to the basic of basics, ranty article. This is an article for new folks that haven’t read SEO 101. It might not be helpful to you, but send it to your friends that know little about SEO.

Keyword Research – It Is a Thing!

If you are new to the web, websites and online marketing please, please, please pay someone qualified (an SEO) to do keyword research for you.

Anyone that does keyword research for you must ask these basic questions to start:

  • What do you do?
  • What do you offer?
  • Where are the services you offer located?
  • How do you make money?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What is common terminology in your field?

The answers to these questions will allow your consultant to discover the keywords you should be focusing on, the keywords you will have difficulty ranking for, and who your direct online competitors are. This research will give you a starting direction that you need.

What are people searching for?

Keyword research helps you understand the types of keywords and phrases people are searching for the most; this is really important! Sometimes business owners get stuck in their own terminology and don’t realize that people are searching for different broader terms or very specific words related to a field.

You only have so many website pages, so which keywords should you focus on within your website? A good consultant will tell you.

Which do you think people would search for, “Tampa personal injury attorney” or “Tampa herniated disc attorney”?

headdeskingI recently saw a legal website that discussed types of back injuries for multiple paragraphs on their “car accident injury” practice area page. Not once did the page say personal injury attorney, car accident attorney, a location or anything else. It focused only on back injuries.

<headdesk>

I recommend that people new to optimizing or creating content for a website review these questions again:

  • What do you do?
  • What do you offer?
  • Where are the services you offer located?
  • How do you make money?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What is common terminology in your field?
  • What are people searching for?

I would also recommend that you look at competitor websites to see what keywords they are focusing on. Then pick some random large cities and look at other people in the same field, what keywords are they focusing on? With answers to all these questions you have a place to start.

If you see 20 personal injury attorney websites focusing on terms like “personal injury attorney”, “car accident injury attorney”, and/or “wrongful death attorney” then perhaps your number one focus shouldn’t be “back injuries”.

IMPORTANT: You Can’t Rank for Words You Don’t Bother to Use

If the only online marketing you have done is to create a website with content it is important for you to know that you cannot be found for keywords that are not used on your website, period. If you want people to find you while searching for specific keywords you must use those words.

Example: If someone wants to be found for “organic kitten blankets”, but the site only discusses all natural fabric for cats then the odds of being found for “organic kitten blankets” are slim to none. Side note – please watch this video on Interest-Based Searches and see how Google can show your website to those searching for related topics/keywords.

You have to tell search engines what your site is about through your website structure and your content. Your titles, URLs, on-page optimization, content, navigations, categories and resource/blog topics help search engines understand what your site is about.

Recommended Reading: The Beginners Guide to SEO

Blog Posts vs. Pages You Want to Rank

Another thing I have seen lately, that just makes me <headdesk> until the world is blurry, is main pages with no information or keywords and then blog posts that say everything that the pages should be saying!

<headdesk><headdesk><headdesk> WHY?????

WTF Headdesk

Did you know that there are many, many people that never bother to read a website’s blog?

Yep, it is true. The truth is there is a whole generation of people that think getting on a site and looking at the service pages is enough work. The last thing they are going to do is go to a blog and read through months of blog posts to figure out what your business does or offers.

When people can’t find what they need to know quickly they just move on to a different site.

Your home page and navigation is what initially tells everyone, humans and algorithms, what is important about your business and what you offer. The most important information about what you do/offer should be discussed in the main pages of your website. Focus on strong main pages before you ever consider blogging.

For a great example of extremely well done service pages look at PushFire.com.

Then What Is a Blog For?

Your blog should support your main website pages and expand upon what it is that you do and offer. People have blogs for various reasons, but I like them to be used as additional educational and helpful information for potential clients and current clients.

Let’s go back to the personal injury attorney that discussed back injuries. It would be wise to have a main page for “personal injury attorney” that could break down the main injury practice areas they help with. Those injury practice areas, like dog bites and car accidents, could link to pages with more information about those specific services and common injuries.

A good idea would be to create resource pages or blog posts that expanded on specific practice areas and offer helpful information for common injuries. So, as people are reading about common car accident injuries they could click on a page or post that focused specifically on something like “common back injuries”.

Don’t Assume Search Engines or Humans Know What You Do

You have to spell things out for visitors and search engines. My recommendation is to make everything as idiot proof as possible – basically, can anyone that looks at your website understand who you are, where you are and exactly what you offer? How easy is it for someone to use and search your website? Your site has to be easy to use and easy to understand.

You also want it to be easy to find, which is why hiring a good SEO is important.

Hiring a Professional is Critical

When you are hoping to rank well on search engines you have to understand that humans are not making the call on where you rank, algorithms do this. For someone that has not spent years studying SEO and practicing it, to understand what search engines want is nearly impossible.

You absolutely have to hire a trusted SEO firm or consultant to help you create a good website, create a marketing strategy, create an SEO strategy and to create content that not only works for you, but also sells what you offer.

KEYWORDS

I have had many non-SEO people say to me “Keywords are so basic and 101″.  Well, I can see their point, but keywords are a huge part of SEO, of PPC and without them you won’t be found. So please, take some time to do the research and create a website that will help people find you and understand what exactly it is that you offer.

Be True To Thyself, O Small Business Website

My wife recently fell in love with a store here in Nashville. It’s called The Fabric Studio and it’s located in an awkward gentrified building in a semi-industrial area of south Nashville near The Sounds Stadium & Gabby’s “legendary” Burgers.

I was impressed by how much care, attention and loving detail went into making it a totally charming, boutique, sewing shop.

See? Isn't the interior of the Fabric Studio charming?

See? Isn’t the interior of the Fabric Studio charming?

But, as well thought out and well presented the studio itself, I was shocked at the state of affairs for the online version of the business when I opened The Fabric Studio website to get directions to meet my wife there.

What a mess!

Mismatch Between The Real World & Digital

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man. – Polonius

I’ve always been amazed at the ability of small business owners to take an empty space and turn it into a quirky and charming extension of their personality. I know that hours and hours were poured into decor selection, painting, furiture choice all to give the business space a sense of identity that is molded and shaped to be ideal for their customers shopping experience.

You know you don’t have the space of a large chain store so you maximize your impact in what you have. I want to walk up to you and say “Good job, small business owner!”

Then I visit your website…if I can even find it. I want to walk up to you and say “What the heck, small business owner?!”

So what’s going on here? Where is the disconnect? Let’s take a look at their website in the same way as you seem to have considered your physical shop.

Your Homepage

The entire home page for the Fabric Studio

That’s it for the homepage…

I completely applaud the inclusion of directions, hours and address. Those fundamentals are definitely missing from many small business sites, so that’s great.

Unfortunately, your site like many other small business websites has forgotten to actually say what you do. You don’t communicate why your store is unique and why people should take the time to come to their business and make a purchase. I mean, that’s why your site exists, right? To drive additional customers to your physical location?

Unlike a storefront window display that entices customers to come in by showing off what you offer, visitors see an empty homepage. That’s a big missed opportunity.

Your Website Platform

Yes, there are premade site builders galore targeted at small business owners. They’re hyped as “turnkey” solutions to solve all your website needs in one easy, overnight solution.

However, you would hesitate if someone was offering a “turnkey” solution for your physical location, wouldn’t you? Certainly, that creative idea that’s in your mind that makes your business unique is not a “turnkey” idea.

Important note about SEO

Always leave a note.

There’s always a catch. With many of these small business site builders, there’s some hitch or problem like sites from Wix needing to bend over backwards to make it’s Flash based websites readable to Google.  The reality is that there is no overnight solution for a website. It takes time and energy to make your storefront match your vision, the same is true of your website.

Blog Not Quite Right

“Why you need a blog” has over 10 million search results, there are so many experts chiming in about the importance of this part of the site.

The content that should be published should be as polished as your floors, or at least as complete as your showroom floor. Your blog should definitely feature have more content on it than your Instagram feed, and be get the same level of attention to detail as your flyers.

How The Fabric Studio Got It Wrong On Images

Be sure to add a caption if you’re using captions.

Your Business Extends Online

The reality is that your presence or lack of presence online is now just as much a part of your business as your physical location.

You have to take the same planning and energy you took to transforming that empty rental space into your perfect business when you approach your website.

Working With Small Businesses

If you’re a freelancer or small marketing firm, you likely have come across many other small businesses who have not quite grabbed hold of digital marketing, what other advice would you give to the Fabric Studio or small businesses like it?

Learn Excel with These Top 4 Resources

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Learning Excel can be an intimidating and overwhelming process for marketers. I started learning Excel at the age of 15 in my Mom’s office and didn’t think it was very exciting at the time. Now Excel and I are entangled in a complicated love/hate relationship that would challenge the 50 Shades of Grey plot line. On second thought, that isn’t saying much. 

Enough about my Excel love affair. Let’s journey back to resources that first helped me learn about Excel, and resources that I still use to help me figure out more complex problems.

Laying the Foundation – Lynda Essential Training Course

If you are looking for a complete A to Z course on everything you need to know about Excel, check out Lynda.com. This site is an amazing go to for really, any online-technical-skill. This course is about six hours long. So, I would suggest taking a weekend to hash it out, or watch an hour a night for a week. Your Netflix drama series can wait for good data.

lynda

Topics:

  • Working with dates and times
  • Creating simple formulas
  • Formatting fonts, row and column sizes, borders, and more
  • Inserting shapes, arrows, and other graphics
  • Adding and deleting rows and columns
  • Hiding data
  • Moving, copying, and pasting
  • Sorting and filtering data
  • Printing worksheets
  • Securing workbooks
  • Tracking changes

Cost: $25. This is also for unlimited access to all of their courses.

Pro Tip: Set up a reminder for 30 days to avoid a recurring payment after completing the course.

Only the Basics – Excel 101 (Excel for Noobs)

If a six hour course is too much for you right now I made a beginner Excel course for marketers. Now not to toot my own horn, but I did a very extensive blog post with animated gif walk-through on how to start using Excel as a marketer.

excel

Topics:

  • Formatting document
  • Branding
  • Text formatting
  • Adding Tables
  • Selecting, adding and deleting columns
  • Creating a chart
  • Formatting a chart

Cost: Free

Topics Based TroubleshootingExcelIsFun

If you need topic based help with just about anything in Excel, Mike Girvin does an amazing job of creating focused playlists to learn different areas that are particularly challenging in Excel. Check out these amazing topic based playlists.

I’ve personally learned a lot about formulas from the ExcelIsFun videos. I mean, when he has over 2,000 Excel videos it’s hard not to learn a lot. But the really endearing thing about Mike is that he gets SO excited about Excel. It makes spreadsheets fun!

excelisfun

Cost: Free

Last but not least, Mr. Excel.

Learn ALL THE THINGS – Mr. Excel

Mr. Excel was my first online and unknowing mentor with Excel. (Aside from Annie Cushing)

Mr. Excel has hundreds of videos that are geared toward which ever level of Excel user you are. He releases weekly topic podcasts on everything you need to know how to do in Excel. He doesn’t have the topics playlists like Mike, but he has great descriptions that make it easy to find videos on anything you need.

mrexcel

Adorable sidenote: Mr. Excel and ExcelIsFun made videos together. LOVE.

Cost: Free

 

Now get out there and learn everything you can get your hands on! :)