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Blog Posts (4)
- What the Heck is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing uses diverse methods and venues to influence buyers throughout their complicated customer journeys by finding them online and serving them targeted messages. It's not rocket science, but it's easy to forget that these elements should build upon one another to continue an ongoing dialogue with your customers from before the evaluation stage straight through the post-purchase phase. This approach is critical in sustainability communications, where simplistic or hazy environmental claims can lead to easy attention-grabbing hits. However, using this approach alone, in my opinion, does not lead to long-term brand value but results in a marketplace flooded with confusing "green" claims and jaded and distrustful consumers. And while we all want to take the shortest path to victory, when it comes to sustainability claims, take serious customers seriously; they will be your most valuable brand influencers once converted. The digital levers (e.g., owned, paid, and earned media) may be the same. Still, the content strategy must be evidence-based, including third-party studies, endorsements, and access to transparent and detailed product information. The challenge here is making it enjoyable. Please look at this FilterPave advertisement as an example of how we implemented this approach for our clients. Read more about our method and approach in our blog and see some examples of our work here.
- Search Engine Marketing: Understanding the 4 Key Types of Content
Search engines are built to get people quickly and efficiently to websites where their questions will be answered. Search engine marketing is how we organize our digital assets to drive traffic to our content. If you believe everything you hear, it seems that “algorithms” are invisible evildoers setting us all up for a dystopian future. The truth, however, is far less dramatic. Algorithms are simply sets of rules and steps taken to solve a repeatable problem, for example, how to direct a searcher to the correct information, and were invented to protect us from a far more dangerous best: digital marketers. That’s right! There is a natural tension between search engine algorithms and search engine marketers because as soon as the internet began, marketers were obsessed with using content to drive business and sales leads. In contrast, search engines like Google focus on directing searchers to relevant content. This is why the details of Google’s famous search engine algorithms are so secretive and constantly being updated. Ethical marketers know enough about this secret sauce to guide their clients’ digital marketing strategy. This includes the integration of tactics that involve optimizing owned, paid, and earned media content. Not All Content is the Same. There are four main buckets of content you should understand to get going on search engine marketing. These are owned, paid, earned content and meta data. Owned media includes your website, your content on partner sites, and your social network posts. Paid content has your media on all the above digital levers, that is, either paid advertising, paid search engine results, boosted posts on social media, paid placements for video content, and ads that run on popular sites. Earned media is a subset of public relations and involves third-party endorsements, mentions, and credits that promote or verify your brand. Finally, we'll go over a little bit about meta data. Content Type 1: Earned Media Examples of earned digital media include positive online reviews, digital newspaper articles, social posts, resource guides, video segments like the famous “unboxing” YouTube segments, and more. It can easily argue that earned media is the most valuable form of digital content for obvious and not-so-obvious reasons. First, earned digital media will funnel traffic directly to your site from trusted and targeted users. These visitors should be treated as hot leads since they come directly to you from a credible authority who has endorsed your brand. When authoritative websites provide a link to your site, search engines notate that as an indication that your site is also a credible source, which translates into increased rankings and Authority Scores. To make the most of earned media, ensure the links that direct users to your resources are correct. Additionally, post news and links to your earned media on your website newsroom, press release footers on the wire, and social media posts and profiles, with links back to the source adding a “what others are, saying” slider on your site. Hence, visitors automatically recognize your brand as a trusted source. Doing this will help to build an ongoing relationship with the earned media publishers who also appreciate and benefit from backlinks. Type 2: Owned Media My clients often glaze over when I start talking about their website code, and I get it. Of course, I’m not a programmer either, but the simple truth is that if you want to attract new customers in the digital world, you’ll need to understand a few simple facts that impact how search engines direct traffic to your content. Google “organic” search results are the results seen after the Sponsored section at the top of the search results. Most of us know you want to be as close to the top as possible, and getting there depends on your matching, high-quality content. Type 3: Meta Data In my experience, clients state increasing traffic to their site as a top goal and key performance indicator upon which my efforts will be measured. And please excuse the mini-rank. It’s almost always the case that when I ask about getting access to the website or identifying critical missing code, I’m politely escorted back into my lane. Usually, the sites have been built and maintained by a web developer who is paid from a separate budget and is not interested in getting directives from another vendor. In addition, I have found that clients are usually intimated by their web admins because they hold the keys to the kingdom and often have written custom code that only they can adjust. This presents a very challenging situation. Imagine being paid to ensure someone gets to work on time, but you cannot use the car. It’s pretty tough. That said, knowing that this may present a challenge to the success of a campaign, I make sure to include the webmaster in conversations as soon as possible. I explained that my coding expertise is limited. Still, as an SEO marketer, I’d access the website’s backend to post new content and make minor adjustments to the scope to include “meta” data. Adding this metadata to a site is an ongoing process and pretty dull, so usually, the webmaster is more than ok with this arrangement. However, keeping it up to date will improve our Google search engine results, and the entire team will share that success. · #Font styles: tell search engines what’s most important on the page. For example, the phrase above “Search Engine Marketing” is in Heading 1; the Title is in Title, and the rest of this section is in body text style. · #Images: should also add descriptive #Alt text. · #Page Descriptions: Each webpage should add a short description to the code when setting up a site, but many don’t. The good news is that they can be added later. · #Keywords and Phrases: Here’s where things get tricky. Adding keywords to your site in page titles, headings, alt text, and body text is important but at just the right amount. It’s better to find keyword groupings that are related. This will not only help Google understands the content of your site more comprehensively, but it will also be easier for visitors to read your content. In short, don’t write for keywords. Make it genuinely organic. · #Link structure – Search engines need to “crawl” your site structure so. Make it easy to find all the content on your site with links that make sense. · Keywords and keyword targeting – You may have heard that keywords aren’t so important anymore. Alas, this is true and not true. When many marketers started writing for keywords, content integrity suffered. This is referred to as “keyword stuffing .”But, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, write content that makes sense and use synonyms and descriptive text. Write well. In 2018 Google finally launched an algorithm that would give greater value to well-written content. Consider writing thematically instead of narrowly focusing on specific words. For example, if your brand offers solutions for home insulation, include multilayered content in the form of blogs, technical specifications, and videos optimized with transcripts: these images have alt text descriptions and links to 3rd party resources. Also, use your keyword “insulation” in the page title, page description, header text (H1), and at least once in the opening paragraph body text. Type 4: Paid Content and Search We can also pay search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., to serve up our paid promotions when specific searches are conducted. In that case, we bid against others who want to be seen for those keywords or phrases. These search results will appear either at the top of the search page or on the right. This is called pay-per-click advertising. Again, it can be very costly or inexpensive, depending on the keywords and phrases you target. Social media-boosted posts are another form of paid digital media that is also very affordable in most cases, except for LinkedIn advertising which I’ve found to be much more expensive. Paid contentis a popular option as well. I look for opportunities on online forums, represented nonprofits, and industry-leading content sites. Sometimes, these publishers are eager for blog content and will offer that for free as part of a sponsorship package. One common tactic which is being discouraged by search engines is buying backlinks. This practice was commonly accepted but has fallen out of favor for many. Here’s a great article from Search Engine Journal that describes the pros and cons. But, for me, buying links is similar to going on a fad diet -- it might work in the short term but will most likely have the opposite effect in the long run. Getting backlinks is good, though. You are much better off earning it the old-fashioned way. Consider asking to write a blog linking to your site or being listed as a resource. Not only will the former approach have a longer-lasting positive impact, but it will also actually help you build genuine relationships with other like-minded brands and their customers. One paid model that can work is pay-per-click (PPC), for example, Google Ads. With this approach, you will only pay for clicks you will pay only when someone clicks on your ad and lands on your website. You can spend just about any amount of money on pay-per-click advertising. How much it costs to run an ad or promote your search results will depend primarily on the competition for your keywords. High-competition keywords (i.e., keywords that many people are searching for and that many sites are trying to be found for) will be more expensive, and lower-competition terms will likely cost less. When you set up a pay-per-click campaign, you can also choose whether you want your ad or promoted results to be shown to users worldwide or only within a specific geographic area. According to Google, if you are marketing a brick-and-mortar business, this ability to tailor by location helps you not waste ad dollars serving ads to users who don’t live anywhere near your business, according to Google.
- These Things Must Be Done Delicately: Capturing Customer Value Through Digital Transformation
If your brand needs to regain market share to capture value among digital natives and other digitally-focused consumers, creating a Facebook and Instagram page, buying some Google Ads, and updating your website homepage may help, but it may not. Half measures on disconnected online platforms usually produce mediocre results that are difficult to measure or justify. Pursuing a digital transformation, on the other hand, can yield measurable results and lead to a winning sales strategy. While I'll share more about what I mean by a "digital transformation" in upcoming posts, it involves a profound company-wide commitment to capturing customer value before, during, and after their purchasing decision-making process by integrating brand messages and engagement using a variety of digital levers. The process, however, starts with comprehensive analysis, social listening, and benchmarking. In a culture of instant gratification, many grow impatient with this process. Still, gathering and analyzing data to set benchmarks, tracking competitors, and setting goals are foundational to winning campaigns. But, as the Wicked Witch of the West points out, these things must be done delicately. For example, let's look at car buyers, who may have as many as 900 digital micro-moments and only two showroom visits before making a purchase (Gevelber, Lisa. 2017). And while we can assume car buying and other larger purchases trigger a greater degree of buyer research, the ability for all consumers to quickly gather information and feedback from influencers throughout their customer journey is unprecedented, with micro-moments occurring before the buyer is even actively researching a purchase. Tools I prefer to use a suite of tools to establish a multi-dimensional digital baseline, including Google Analytics and SEMRUSH, a site that offers competitive analysis and real-time Search Engine Optimization suggestions. Additionally, paid search advertising platforms, including Google Ad Words, META, and LinkedIn, offer free analytics that provides snapshots of your ideal customers and how they may interact with your brand digitally. Enough About Me... What Do You Think of Me? Nearly everyone is expressing themselves in today's social media obsessed culture, and that's good news for marketers who should be listening. Track keywords, brand and competitor mentions, and conversations in newsfeeds and social media platforms. This personalized intelligence allows marketers to create targeted customer experiences that reflect a listening culture that consumers yearn for. In fact, studies show that being heard is a crucial motivator for positive consumer experiences, as echoed in Conduet's 2022 State of the Consumer Experience Report: A Brand Perspective. Here's a snippet from their research findings: “Know Me” – the growth of conversational CX. • Consumers want conversational CX. Human response via digital channels such as chat, text, and email won out to 65% of consumers, compared to 35% for self-service. • “Relate and resolve” is a growing trend among consumers, as 76%prefer dealing with a human to a bot. • 84% of brands believe AI, analytics and bots are critical in driving hyper-personalized consumer interactions, yet only 8% say they are using such technology exceptionally. • 50% of brands have increased focus on training to deliver heightened levels of personalization An active listening campaign can help a brand personalize interactions, customize the content, and allow brand ambassadors to join conversations to manage negative comments in real-time with authenticity, helpfulness, and transparency. Brands will also gain critical insights into their competitors' brand images that can fuel product innovation, customer support, marketing strategy, and more. Social media listening is essential to all customer journey phases, including the initial consideration, functional evaluation, post-purchase, and loyalty loop. During the initial consideration, monitoring can track life events, often precursors to purchasing. For example, if you are a real estate broker, knowing the five life events that often happen before a person decides to buy a house can help them set up a social listening campaign that tracks potential buyers before they are even actively house hunting. And then, of course, we must acknowledge the cookie in the middle of the room, although I will be posting on the subject in January. Until then, let's agree that cookies aren't bad or good but tools that can be used and misused. Tune back next month as we explore the ethics around tracking cookies and possible legal changes that we all need to know more about. Until then... enjoy this Cookie Law Info snapshot, and remember to leave a comment below. About the Author: Mary MacLeod owns Holdfast Communications and has more than 20 years of experience in strategic communications, digital and sustainability marketing. Certificate Program: Yale SOM Executive Education Digital Marketing: A Strategic Perspective
Other Pages (16)
- Content Services | Holdfast Marketing
Writing, Publishing & Content Services We provide comprehensive writing services to help with your marketing needs. Our team of experienced writers can create high-quality content for websites, blogs, email campaigns, press releases, and other marketing materials. We are a trusted content provider, offering original, engaging, and compelling copy that is sure to capture your target audience’s attention. Our services include; SEO optimization Articles Blogs Newsletters Brochures Social Media Posts Continuing Education Content With our writing services, you can be confident that your message is delivered effectively and have peace of mind knowing that your content is of the highest quality. Articles and Press Release
- Case Studies | Holdfast Communications | Buxton
Got Case Studies? If Not, Let Us Help! We understand the importance of case studies for showcasing your business’s successes. To ensure that your business stands out and reaches its full potential, we offer case study writing services. Our experienced and knowledgeable team can write compelling case studies that provide a detailed look at your business’s successes. We will work closely with you to capture the unique story of your business, highlighting the strategies and tactics that led to its success. With our case studies, you can show potential customers and partners the value that your business can bring to them. We can write case studies, so you don't have to - let us help you show off your success today.
- Multimedia | Holdfast Marketing
Multimedia "Telling Your Story Through Sound & Vision: The Power of Multimedia Storytelling at HoldFast Communications" Multimedia storytelling is a powerful tool for marketing. It combines various forms of media such as video, photography, animation, text, and sound to create a compelling story that resonates with the target audience. By adding a personal touch and engaging visuals, multimedia storytelling can help to build a strong connection with the customer and create an emotional response. It can also help to build brand recognition and loyalty through its ability to capture the attention of potential customers. Multimedia storytelling can be used to tell stories about a product, inform customers about a service, or simply to create an entertaining experience. By using multimedia storytelling, marketers can create a unique and memorable experience that will help to capture the attention of their customers.We specialize in multimedia production and assembling teams that can get the job done on time and on budget. Along with our experienced network of professionals, we provide turnkey multimedia content to meet your marketing needs. We can create videos, animations, audio, graphics, and other forms of content to help you promote your brand and engage with potential customers. We use the latest technologies and techniques to ensure that our multimedia content is of the highest quality. We also offer a wide range of services, from concept development to content editing and delivery. Let us help you create powerful, impactful multimedia content for your marketing efforts. Exploring the Power of Multimedia: How HoldFast Communications Utilizes Creative Strategies for Online Success Corporate Sustainability Marketing Read more The video below, created by HoldFast Communications, demonstrates how we dig into complex details to uncover durable, engaging, and third-party verified proof for our client’s industry leadership. The BASF Wildlife Habitat & Environmental Education Classroom in the City of Rensselaer, New York, is an international showcase for sustainable development, including best practices in site remediation, brownfield redevelopment, and high-performance commercial construction. Branding & Rebranding Read more FilterPave: Eco Elegant Paving: From a recycled porous pavement to an eco-luxury brand. The rebranding process began by creating an imaginary future starring glittering, recycled glass walkways. Nonprofit Read more The animation explains what the nonprofit Team Zero does and how it relates to specific customers. The short is intended to demystify the process of getting to zero energy.