Digital marketing is not just a profitable but an essential aspect of any business’ marketing in current times. Digital marketing allows your business to reach a wider audience, target more effectively, and use your budget more efficiently, increasing your return on investment. But often the ins and outs of digital marketing can feel overwhelming, with all its terms and processes.
Here are the basic platforms and important terms of digital marketing, so you can start to understand it better and leverage it for your business’ growth.
Google Adwords is a digital marketing platform that shows ads to search engine users, either on a search engine results page or on a website they’re browsing. You can pay to be in the ads at the top of Google search results for search terms (keywords) that your customers are using — this way, they see you first, click through to your website, and hopefully, make a purchase.
Google Adwords works like an auction. You create an ad for a specific keyword and then bid on that keyword, hoping to have a good enough keyword and a high enough bid that Google chooses you. There are usually several ads at the top of Google’s results, so you have a few chances.
Your campaign manager will know not just how to create a high quality ad, but also how much to bid and when. These two factors together determine whether your ad makes it in. Google Adwords can be very profitable because:
- you can see results on a small ad spend budget;
- users are already looking for the products you’re offering;
- and most importantly, you can track your ROI closely and make adjustments to maximize it.
Facebook Ads is a digital marketing platform that runs ads exclusively on Facebook. They are known for their very specific targeting, which allows you to reach the perfect audience for your business or product. They also have dynamic video and photo ads that can capture your audience’s attention. You can choose from many different types of ads depending on your needs.
Pay-per-click, abbreviated PPC, refers to any kind of digital ad where you pay the platform every time someone clicks on your ad. Though normally associated with Google Adwords, it’s just a type of ad, not a platform; some Facebook ads are technically also PPC ads.
Cost-per-click, which you’ll often see abbreviated to CPC, is the price you’ll be charged by Google or another platform for each click you get on your ad. CPC varies depending on the industry you’re in, the type of ad you’re running, the amount of competition your chosen keyword has, and more.
Calculating what your CPC might be can help you create a budget: you should find the average CPC for your keyword on tools like Keyword Planner, then multiply that by the amount of clicks per month you are aiming for. This will be your monthly budget. Your PPC campaign manager can help you understand what a reasonable budget might be for you.
Cost-per-lead or CPL is your budget divided by how many leads you actually get from the campaign. Not every click will turn into a lead, because a user may reach your page through your ad but then simply click away. CPL is where a focus on ROI is crucial. If you only look at CPC, and not CPL, you may think you’re getting more business than you actually are. Focusing on real leads, not just clicks, will help you see how your investment is being used and what the results are.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
Cost per acquisition, or CPA, goes one step further, and is also very important for ROI. Cost per acquisition is how much it cost you to get a paying customer. Of all the leads you get, only some will actually buy from you. Again, understanding your CPA will help you see how your marketing budget is being used and what the results are.
Once you know your CPA, you can calculate how much you made from each acquisition (how much did they buy minus the cost of acquiring them).
Click-through-rate, or CTR, describes the percentage of users who are actually clicking on your ad when they see it. Platforms can tell you what your reach or impressions are (i.e. how many people saw your ad), and when you compare this number to how many actually clicked on it, you get your CTR.
CTR is important because if your impressions are high and your clicks are low, you can adjust your ad to make it more enticing to users. Often, changing ad copy, images, or call to actions (see below) can boost your CTR. Your campaign manager can work with you to suggest changes and test them.
A quality score is a score given to your ad specifically on Google Adwords. It’s calculated using:
- Your click-through rate (CTR)
- Your landing page: is it a good quality page, and is it relevant to your ad?
- Your keyword’s relevance to its ad group
- Your ad copy: is it relevant to the keyword?
- Your Google Ads account performance: how have your ads done in the past?
The public doesn’t know exactly how Google’s algorithm calculates the score, but this score is then multiplied by your bid amount and that determines where your ad ranks. Basically, if you have a good ad and a good landing page, you will rank higher — it’s not just about the bid.
Geo targeting, also called local PPC, is showing an ad to somebody based on their location. Geo targeting is not only important but also extremely effective, as many users are searching for services and businesses near them, and you can capitalize on those searches. You should not only include the areas you service, but also exclude the ones you don’t, so you don’t waste ad spend or time on those locations.
A lookalike audience is a type of target audience you create on Facebook Ads by pulling info from your current customers and followers. Using information from your site and your Facebook page, Facebook analyzes the “profile” of your ideal customer and creates an audience that looks just like it. This way, you can find new customers that are likely to buy from you.
Remarketing, on the other hand, is all about bringing back people who have interacted with you, but never purchased from you. Whether they like your Facebook page, visited your website and never bought anything, or they clicked on an ad and then clicked away, you can create a remarketing ad to show them your ads and hopefully draw them back in.
Pixels are snippets of code that you put on your website and in your ads; these allow you to track users’ behavior on your site and use this information to improve your marketing. You’ll be able to see information from your pixel on your ad platform.
Two common types of pixels are retargeting pixels, used for remarketing purposes, and conversion pixels, which track the sales you’re getting from your ad campaigns. Conversion pixels are especially important, since they will speak to your ROI and your campaign’s success.
Hyvemark Helps You Go Digital
Hyvemark’s digital marketing experts can guide you as we create PPC campaigns, Facebook campaigns, and more. We’ll design successful campaigns that focus on ROI, keeping you in the loop every step of the way.
COVID-19 impacted businesses in almost every industry and of every size this year, leading to budget cuts, layoffs, and more. One study found that most businesses only had enough savings to last for 2 months, and the pandemic was predicted to last longer. Many small businesses that were not prepared for a crisis had to close — others remain afloat, but are struggling — only 47% of businesses expected to be open in December.
When making cuts to your budget, marketing is often the first thing to go. But eliminating your entire marketing budget may not be the answer. However, if your business is among those struggling, or if you’re hoping to make a comeback, marketing can actually help you recover — specifically, digital marketing.
Advertising in a crisis or recession is always a good investment.
This Forbes article became quite popular this year; written in 2019, it predicted a recession in the near future and discussed how advertising during recessions has actually proven to be a good investment, instead of a waste.
There are a few reasons why marketing during an economic downturn is smart:
Firstly, many businesses will stop marketing as much or altogether, either because they don’t think it’s a smart move or because they simply can’t afford to. This eliminates a lot of the competition, allowing you to increase your brand awareness in this time.
Secondly, the cost of marketing actually goes down, making it a much more affordable venture. This was true this year, where the average cost-per-click for Google Ads and Facebook Ads decreased across many industries. For example, for lawyers, who traditionally have very high CPCs, these have fallen, making their keyword less competitive.
With a change in messaging, continuing to advertise even during a recession can mean huge things for brands.
More and more customers have moved online.
One of the ways COVID-19 has affected consumer behavior is by changing the way (and the place) we buy. Customers are not visiting physical stores due to social distancing, and instead look online for products and services. In response, nearly every industry has found a way to sell online, whether through social media stores or an e-commerce website.
E-commerce, coupled with digital marketing campaigns, can increase your sales revenue, offering safe buying options to your loyal customers as well as attracting new ones who didn’t know your brand before. Online shopping also opens up your customer base geographically: selling online means you can sell to more people than those who can visit your physical store.
Experts say that new buying habits will endure, so moving your business online with a quality e-commerce site and online campaigns is a long-term investment as well as a short-term one. Meeting your customers where they are will help your sales and your brand.
Digital marketing is more trackable and measurable.
Digital marketing is your best option for advertising during and after COVID-19 because unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing is easy to measure. Even though you should be advertising your business, you do still have a budget, and you need to maximize it. Keeping track of your dollars (and your revenue) is key to recovery.
In PPC and Facebook Ads campaigns, you can set a limited budget for each month. Although you and your campaign manager should decide on a reasonable budget that will get you enough clicks to turn into leads, you don’t have to worry about overspending.
You should ideally aim to get a minimum of 150 clicks to your website every month — less probably won’t get you enough leads to justify your spending. The way to calculate your budget for pay-per-click campaigns is to multiply the average cost-per-click for your target keyword in your location by 150. This will be your minimum budget.
The goal is to get leads (and sales) from your campaigns. Focusing on return on investment ensures that your marketing gives you real results and is not a waste. Digital marketing easily allows you to track how many leads you’re getting, and which ones are turning into sales. E-commerce makes it especially easy to see the ROI on your sales.
In such uncertain times, tracking and measuring is vital to your business’ recovery and survival, so digital marketing is your safest but also most profitable option.
In creating your brand, there are many aspects that go into the brand itself, including a business name, a logo, fonts, voice, and color. Color is a powerful tool to not only target and influence your audience, but to set yourself apart from competitors.
Color Is Underrated
Color is often overlooked in the creation of a brand, and consequently chosen without much thought. But color can affect how we think, feel, and act, so it should be considered carefully. There are accepted views on colors and which industries they’re used for: blue for healthcare, black for luxury brands, green or orange for food. However, understanding why these views exist is key.
Our Perceptions of Colors
The way we perceive colors is both intuitive and learned. Studies show that some perceptions of color are ingrained in our brains: red activates our amygdala and raises our blood pressure, as a response to both danger and excitement, while blue light keeps us awake because it suppresses the production of melatonin.
However, learned perceptions of color also exist, and these vary more among people, since they tend to be historical and cultural. For a long time, the only colors that existed were natural, so unnatural hues were associated with the wealthy (see: royal blue, white wedding dresses).
Color is also cultural. Not only does the language you speak affect how you see color, but cultures use and see colors in different ways — for example, some Eastern cultures wear white to funerals instead of black.
Choosing Colors: What To Consider For a Brand
Your Target Audience
It’s incredibly important to understand both instinctual perceptions of color and the historical and cultural context when choosing a color for your brand. If your customers are in China, the United States, or Brazil, they will have different perceptions of a color due to these contexts.
Age is another factor that affects perception of colors. Different generations, each with their own specific cultural context, will feel differently about colors. Trends like millennial pink and Gen Z yellow speak to this difference, so if you’re targeting a specific demographic, you should take this into account.
Different sexes also see colors differently, sometimes quite literally: women see more shades of colors than men do. Men and women also have different feelings about colors, and will prefer some colors over others.
Understanding your target audience, from their background to their age, sex, and more, is crucial to pick the right color for your brand, because it can make or break your brand’s success with them.
Color Combos and Hues
When choosing a color for your brand, you’re actually choosing several: a palette of 5-10 primary and secondary brand colors that will all be part of your brand. Understanding how colors work together, not just alone, will help you choose these combinations. Similarly, there’s more to a color combination than just “blue” and “yellow,” for example, since you’ll be choosing a specific shade of each color.
A professional is your best asset for picking colors, since they understand the nuances of each specific shade and how they work with other shades, both logistically and psychologically. They’ll know not just what colors look good together, but what they say about your brand.
What feeling do you want to give a customer? Color stir emotions and thoughts inside of us, which can lead to our behaviors. Will we love this brand or hate it? Will we feel connected to it? Feelings are incredibly important to sales — don’t overlook them.
One piece of common advice is to use red for a call to action button or a sale sign, since red inspires people to take action. However, you won’t choose red as your brand color just to stir action in people — and if you do choose it, your brand isn’t automatically aggressive and bold.
The idea is to be conscientious with your color selection, and choose colors that overall give off the mood and feeling of your brand, whether it’s elegance, excitement, peace, or something else.
What are your competitors doing? Understanding and analyzing what colors your competitors are using can help you understand your own business and your target audience, and help you decide whether you want to go in the same direction or try something different.
Color can differentiate your business from those around you. You could go with the same thing your competitor is doing, and it may work, but trying something different can set you apart and bring you more business that way. Although your colors should still make sense for your industry and audience, finding a new take can help your brand stand out.
Color is only one aspect of a brand. Ultimately, all the aspects of your brand have to work together, and though color is important, it must work with the others to create a cohesive and effective brand.
Build a Brand With Hyvemark
At Hyvemark, we have studied the psychology of color and are ready to help you pick the right colors for your brand. As we build your brand, we’ll do research and consider a wide variety of factors, then come to you with our suggestions for fonts, designs, and of course, colors.
The design of your website is incredibly important: not only do 94% of a visitor’s first impression of your site relate to the design, but 89% of consumers will shop with a competitor if they had a bad user experience on a site. Good web design leads to more conversions, more sales, and more return on investment.
However, while there are some basic tenets of good web design, certain elements are going to be different depending on the purpose and goals of the site. There are a few different website types, but for businesses, the primary ones are lead generation sites and e-commerce sites.
Let’s explore which elements you should consider when selecting each type of site, and which elements are important no matter what kind of site you have.
Lead generation websites are built to attract and convert customers that are coming into your site from digital marketing efforts, i.e. pay-per-click ads, Facebook Ads, social media, and/or SEO strategies.
The idea is that, if your digital marketing campaigns have worked, your site then has to do the job of turning that click into a customer. After visiting your lead generation site, a user should feel compelled to contact your business, get a quote, make an appointment, or visit your store.
If leads and conversions are your goal, the design for your site should take the following into account:
Fast loading time
Your site should load quickly, preferably in 2 seconds or less. You’ve managed to get that click from your ad or post, but if the user made the decision to click and your site is slow, they will just as easily click away and give up. Holding their attention while you have it is key to a conversion, and for that, your site needs to load as quickly as possible.
There are several ways to speed up your site’s loading time, including compressing your images so they aren’t too heavy, optimizing your code, and reducing redirects.
Add CTAs and contact forms
Once a user gets on your site, they should know immediately how to contact you or what action to take, because, without that action, there’s no conversion. In designing your site, you should include a call-to-action button above the fold (i.e. it’s visible before they scroll) as well as more CTAs spaced throughout each page.
A good CTA button should:
- Have a strong action word or phrase like “Sign Up,” “Download Now,” “Get a Free Quote,” etc.
- Be readable — you should use fonts that are easily readable on websites and that match your brand.
- Be an engaging color — studies show that red is the best color to inspire action.
- Link to whatever action you want them to take, e.g. a download, a signup, a contact page, etc.
You should also include contact forms at the bottom of each page to further encourage conversions and engagement.
An e-commerce site, unlike a lead gen site, is shoppable — website users can explore the business’ catalog of products online and buy them directly on the site through a virtual shopping cart and checkout. Therefore, the design should focus on this experience and facilitate it.
For an e-commerce site, your design should consider:
The shopping experience
An e-commerce website should be easy to navigate, specifically in terms of the shopping experience. Customers should be able to find products, sales, and information easily.
- An intuitive navigation bar. Your menu bar should have clear product categories and subcategories, as well as the shopping cart.
- Scannable product pages. A customer should be able to scroll through well-organized pages with good photos and clear product descriptions.
- Sorting and filtering options and a search bar can help narrow down a sale by helping customers find what they’re looking for.
The checkout experience
The checkout experience is especially crucial for an e-commerce site. A lengthy, complicated, or unsafe checkout experience can and does drive shoppers away, and results in many abandoned carts. To avoid this, checkouts should:
- Be short and simple — long processes alienate customers and make them abandon their carts
- Not require customers to create an account. Most visitors will be unwilling to do so, so a guest checkout is absolutely necessary.
- Have few distractions. One way to do this is to remove the navigation bar from the checkout page entirely.
Every Website Should…
There are elements that, regardless of the type of website you’re designing, will serve you in accomplishing your goals. Every website should:
Use high-quality images
For e-commerce sites, high-quality images show off the product, encourage trust, and make the visitor more likely to buy. For lead generation websites, they are visually appealing, breaking up longer sections of text and illustrating your work or product. Before and after photos can be especially useful, depending on the industry.
Use social proof
Social proof is key for any business’ site. In e-commerce websites, reviews help customers decide which product to buy and helps them trust in your products and your shipping or return policy. In a lead gen website, testimonials (especially videos) support your offering and make the customer more likely to contact you.
Internet users don’t want to use unsafe sites, so securing your site means securing your visits — and sales and conversions. This is especially important for e-commerce checkouts, where customers are inputting their credit card information.
To secure your site, you can:
- Install a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate
- Back up your site regularly
- Install ransomware for your server
- Use a secure hosting service
Proper branding is important for any website, but perhaps even more for an e-commerce site. Professional-looking branding, including consistent colors/fonts and a professional logo, lets customers know they can trust your business, and this makes them more likely to buy from you.
Visually appealing design is also important. The visual style of your page and the business it represents leave an impression on the customer and let them know what kind of business you are: modern, homey, trendy, serious, etc. A visual style that appeals to your target customers makes them more likely to buy from you on the site and increases sales.
Designing your website with its specific needs and your ROI goals in mind can determine the success of, not just your site, but your marketing efforts in general. That’s why Hyvemark strives to understand those needs and goals before building and designing your site, so your strategy can succeed.
Digital marketing has many advantages: advertising online is cost-effective, campaigns are trackable and full of useful data, and your brand can increase its awareness online and compete with larger businesses. Best of all, you can see a huge return on investment if you do it right.
With traditional marketing, it’s sometimes difficult to see whether your efforts had a direct impact on your goals, but digital marketing can give you your return on investment in real time. So how do you take advantage of this and set achievable (and profitable) goals for your business’ digital marketing?
How do you set a goal in digital marketing?
In digital marketing, you can track many results, including:
- How many people view your ads?
- How many clicks does your ad get?
- How many people visit your website (traffic)?
- Where does my website rank on Google?
These are valuable and useful results to track, but your goal should be to maximize your ROI. And maximizing your ROI is all about sales, i.e. converting a customer.
Why conversions are the ideal goal
You may be tempted to track something like the number of likes on your Facebook posts or even your clickthrough rate on an ad and call it a win when these numbers are high. However, these are not smart goals for your digital marketing campaigns. At the end of the day, what matters most is how much you’re making from your campaigns.
Conversions track not just likes and followers or even clicks (which we call vanity metrics), but real results. Did you manage to turn a follower into a buyer, or a click/visit into a sale? That is a goal that’s not just trackable but worth something to your business.
Types of conversions
Conversions can be a few different things, and they’re defined as a customer completing a desired action, usually on your website. This can be:
An online purchase. This is the most obvious one, and with good reason. If someone clicks on your ad or finds you organically, visits your website, and then buys from your business online, you have turned that click into money (ROI).
A booked appointment. Appointments are similar to a purchase, since the customer has agreed to pay for your service at a specific day and time. Your proactiveness as a business can often be key to converting a customer this way, because if someone calls you based on your ad but your business doesn’t answer, you lose that lead. It’s a good idea to use an online booking system so this doesn’t happen, and to follow up with that appointment as well.
A sign-up. Depending on your business, you may be looking to get people signed up for an event or even an email list.
An online lead. Often a business’ goal isn’t to sell someone online, but to find leads that they can follow up with and turn into paying customers. Lawyers are a good example of this.
A download. If you sell software, music, or something similar, your goal may be to get downloads (free or otherwise) from your site. Sometimes businesses also offer free downloads of content that could lead someone to become a customer in the future.
Setting goals based on conversion type
When setting goals for your digital campaigns, you should ask yourself two questions:
- Is it profitable?
- Is it achievable?
To set a goal for your digital marketing campaigns, you have to first decide what type of conversion makes the most sense for your business. As we said before, a lawyer is likely looking for online leads that they can speak to more directly about their case. A business with an e-commerce website is looking for online sales. A beauty spa would target booked appointments for their various services.
Next, you should look at your budget and decide what makes sense to spend. PPC has two costs: management and the actual ad spend, or how much you spend on clicks. Average cost-per-click in your industry is key to determining your budget for PPC campaigns, as these vary widely. Wordstream is an excellent resource for these numbers, and can tell you how you’ll need to spend to see good results.
The lawyer, for example, will spend much more on a PPC campaign than the beauty spa owner. This is because clicks on lawyer-related keywords are in high competition and very expensive (around $100 per click). However, a lawyer will profit thousands of dollars from just one client if they can convert them, so the expense makes sense — It’s profitable.
Knowing the average click through rate for your industry can also be a huge asset to set realistic goals for your campaigns. This will tell you not just the cost of your clicks, but how many you can reasonably expect. This tells you whether your goal is achievable.
It’s important to note that not all conversions are necessarily profitable — a sign-up or free download won’t bring in any direct sales. However, at Hyvemark we’re always thinking about how those conversions can turn a visitor into a paying customer down the road for you, and we set up your campaigns for that. If you want to see real ROI from your campaigns, choosing a sales-oriented conversion goal is best.
Every business wants to rank higher on Google, but how is it actually done? We explain just a few of the ways you can make changes to your site and your strategy to help push your brand to the top of Google’s search results.
Why Does Ranking Matter?
The purpose of having a business website isn’t just so people can find you online when they look for your brand, but also so they can find you when they’re looking for products or services you offer. 49% of Google users say they utilize Google to find new products, and when they do, 37% will click on the first result.
This means that to get more customers online, you need to rank in the top search results that Google provides its users for your products and services. To do this, you need to do SEO and improve your “organic” or natural ranking over time, as Google uses certain factors to determine which websites rank higher.
Here are a few ways to improve your organic ranking on Google.
Optimize your meta data.
Meta data for a website is the information that shows up on search engine results, i.e. the title, description, and url that Google shows to users. Meta data can not only influence a user to click or not, but also affect Google’s ranking of that page.
Some web builders don’t allow you to edit metadata, which will set back your SEO, but if your website is built on WordPress, you can easily edit your meta data for each page with an SEO plugin. You can find one here.
- For meta titles, include the keyword and the name of your business, and make sure it doesn’t go over 60 characters, including spaces.
For example, the meta title of this blog post is: How To Rank Better On Google | Hyvemark
- For meta descriptions, stick to 154-157 characters. Your description should say what the page is about, and should always include a call to action at the end, such as “Learn more,” “Call us,” or “Make an appointment.”
Example: Ranking at the top of Google results is key to your business’ success. Learn a few practical ways you can boost your search engine rankings from Hyvemark.
- For urls, make them fairly short and clean, using hyphens to separate words, and always include the keyword you’re targeting.
Write content for people first.
Even though you’re creating and improving a website so that Google “likes” it more, you should first and foremost write your website copy and your blogs so that the average person understands it and gains something from it. If your copy is Google-approved but it doesn’t engage your customer, you’re doing it wrong.
The truth is that Google actually wants content that’s very human and very unique. The best way to get that is to write for humans, and for your customers, instead of writing content by asking “what does Google want?” This way, you avoid pitfalls like keyword stuffing.
Improve your page loading speeds.
The slower a page loads, the lower Google will rank it — plus, a user will click out of a page if it takes more than 2 seconds to load. To avoid both of these, you can speed up your website’s loading times through several methods, here are some:
One great way is by improving your videos and images. Larger photos and videos make pages load much more slowly. To solve this, you can:
- Compress your images with a tool like Imagify.
- Host your videos on Vimeo.
- Use JPG for your images.
- Resize your images so they’re the right balance of quality and size.
Another way to improve your page’s loading time is to optimize your code. There are often extra characters, unused code, and more that are slowing your site down significantly. There are a few tools that can help you clean up your code.
You can evaluate and keep an eye on your website’s loading time with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
Add internal links.
Are the pages in your site linked to each other? Linking pages within your site can help Google understand the content and structure of your site better, and pinpoint which pages are more valuable. This in turn helps your SEO.
Adding internal links is easy to do yourself. Your homepage is a great place to include links to your service pages, your About Us page, and your Contact page. Your service pages could also link to other pages related to that service, or to a blog post, and vice versa.
Every time you create a new page, also make sure to link other pages from your site inside of the page. For example, on this blog post, we can link to Hyvemark’s services page.
This process of linking as you go will ensure that your internal linking strategy is happening consistently.
Create new content.
Google loves fresh content, so new content is often ranked higher. A great way to stay on top of rankings for your keywords is to constantly put out new content about it, or to update old content with new and more relevant information.
Starting a blog is an easy way to do this. Set yourself the goal to write a weekly or bi-weekly blog post about topics related to your product or service, and publish them regularly. (And of course, make sure to add optimized meta data to your post.)
Not only does this give your website a boost in ranking, but it answers your new and potential customers’ questions about your products. In fact, this is a great way to build your brand’s reputation and trustworthiness in your customers’ eyes.
Use Search Console to submit new content and disavow bad content.
Google Search Console is maybe your most essential tool for SEO. There are many actions you can use it for, and one is to submit new content to Google — and also let Google know to ignore other pages.
On Search Console, you can review which pages Google has been ranking, and either allow Google to continue this process on its own, or give it some help.
Submitting new content
You can submit new content that you want Google to rank by creating a list of urls called a sitemap, and submitting it through Search Console. Make sure to include new content and pages that Google will probably not be ranking on its own yet.
Excluding bad content
You can also exclude pages that you don’t want Google to rank. On WordPress, you can use the Yoast plugin to make pages private.
You might want to exclude pages that have repetitive URLs or page errors, fake links, and pages that are just images. These types of pages can hurt your SEO, so excluding them will keep your SEO strategy running smoothly.
Doing an annual content audit will also help you stay on top of bad content and decide whether to delete, consolidate, or update any content.
These are only a few of the actions you can take to improve your website’s SEO. Ultimately, a strategic and long-term approach to your site is the best way to improve rankings on Google and keep them.
Businesses love to think that anyone can and would use their product, and they famously say “my target audience is everyone.” However, this simply isn’t true, and honing in on the group that’s most likely to buy your product helps you sell more and sell better.
What is a Target Audience?
A target audience is a group of people at which you aim your product or service. Your business’ target audience will be determined by a variety of factors — essentially, by data — which you’ll use to create an ideal buyer.
The Factors of a Target Audience
A target audience is defined by factors such as age, gender, race, income, location, interests, lifestyle, education level, and more. But these factors alone are meaningless by themselves. Marketers need to understand the consumer behavior that’s born from these factors.
Consumer Behavior is Everything
Consumer behavior refers to how people of different groups use and buy certain products to fulfill their needs and desires. Defining a target audience means understanding those needs and desires, which vary according to demographics, which is where these factors of age, gender, and so on come in.
Before, people were more similar in their preferences, something experts call a Mass Culture. Now, our world is more diverse than ever — not only is it more obvious how different everyone is, but we have more choices and preferences than before. Understanding consumer behavior is key to finding your audience among a sea of unique buyers.
To make the most of your strategy, you should segment your audiences. This means that once you understand which consumers you’ll target based on their characteristics, you should divide them into groups with commonalities and then create an approach for each group.
Alongside data, you can segment audiences based on things like the stage of the buyer’s journey, the benefits your consumer’s looking for, how and why they use your product, the occasion, and more.
How Do You Choose A Target Audience?
Choosing a target audience requires data and research. In the US, data is being gathered constantly, about everything, giving marketers and businesses plenty to work with. However, knowing how to interpret the data and turn it into a marketing plan requires knowledge and training.
A target audience will depend largely on:
- What you’re selling
- Where you’re selling it
- How you are selling it
Your data will tell you how different people in different places respond to and choose to purchase your product, allowing for more successful marketing efforts.
Why Do Target Audiences Matter?
Target audiences are essential for understanding consumers and their behavior, specifically, how they purchase. While businesses used to believe that consumers would make rational decisions about their purchases, it’s been proven that consumers make irrational decisions based on emotions, and sensory stimuli, like colors.
This is important because each person, depending on their age, gender, race, etc, will make those irrational decisions differently. If we understand consumers, we can better understand how they come to purchase. This process allows businesses to maximize their return on investment by knowing the trajectory of a consumer’s journey to buy, and create better marketing strategies that fit that audience.
Defining an audience doesn’t limit it, but actually increases your sales and your return on investment. Instead of spreading your marketing budget too thin by trying to appeal to everyone, you’ll quickly gain the trust, attention, and dollars of those most likely to buy.
Marketing to Your Audience
The internet has created consumers that are much more informed than before. We will read reviews, watch videos, and do research before buying. We’re also influenced by packaging, colors, brand reputation, and more. Therefore, a marketing strategy requires an understanding of the factors that may influence your audience to target the right demographic and have a bigger ROI.
Once you’ve defined an audience, your marketing plan should take them into account every step of the way: what colors do they respond to positively? How will they relate to the product and your brand? Where will you target your ads? What approach will you implement in one city versus another?
Time and again in your marketing journey, you’ll find yourself going back to that audience to help define your strategy.
Many businesses are either designing a new website or refreshing their old one — a modern and functional site is key to marketing efforts because:
- You need a website to link to your paid ads
- More and more customers are searching for and buying products online
- A website is necessary to drive organic traffic through SEO
If you’re in or about to be in this design process, you may believe your website needs elements such as attractive images and up-to-date information about your business; you may even look for fast loading speeds and responsive design. However, there are several elements that often go overlooked, and that are key to your website’s success as a marketing tool.
An “attractive” website design may seem like enough to engage your audience, and it’s absolutely necessary, since users quickly form an opinion about your site by its appearance. A site with a modern and clean design will be more successful than an outdated and unattractive one.
But beyond the superficial design, what does it take to not just impress a user, but get them to take an action, such as buying a product or contacting you for a service? User experience and interface design (UX/UI) make this happen.
UX/UI involves many factors, but each one focuses on getting a user to act in a specific way, depending on what they’re looking for. Each user has a different purpose for being on your site, including:
- Looking for information on a topic
- Considering/researching a product that you’re offering
- Purchasing your product
Your website should consider these purposes, or stages of consumer behavior, and utilize UX/UI to facilitate the user into taking an action. For example, proper UX/UI will ensure that your customer can easily find a product, add it to their cart, and checkout successfully without too many steps in the way.
Consistency in Branding
More than before, online users will often encounter your business for the first time through your website, and it’s essential to present them with a consistent image of your brand.
Your website should match your brand in every way. When creating a website, take these brand elements into consideration:
The fonts you use in your site should be consistent with your brand, but also appropriate for a web browser. On a website, a font needs to be easy to read — and it should appear the same across operating systems and browsers. Make use of different font weights (bold, medium, regular, light) to highlight information and guide the reader through your content.
Make sure the font you choose has a web version that you can easily access. This is because there are web fonts and print or desktop fonts. Desktop fonts are meant to be used for print, and won’t work for your site without a web font version available.
A great way to maintain consistency in your branding is to choose a desktop font that can be optimized for the web, and make that your signature font. If you’ve already chosen a desktop font for your brand, and it’s not optimized for the web, then your web designer can recommend one that is web-safe and fits your brand. If you need some help finding the right web font, you can also search for open source fonts through Google fonts.
For your website, you’ll have to extend the color palette of your logo, as logos often have only 3-4 colors for printing purposes. Your website has many elements, including buttons, sections, menus, headings, and more, which will require this extended palette.
It’s important to remember that this extension of your colors should remain consistent with your original color palette and branding. The new colors should fit into your branding and feel like natural additions to it, not random splashes of color. A good rule is to use this extended palette in subtle ways, so that your users are introduced to them more slowly.
For your website’s images, it’s worth it to invest in a photographer and/or a graphic designer. Not only will they make sure your images match the tone and style of your brand, but they can ensure that all the technical aspects are on point.
For example, images should be clear and sharp, but not be too large or heavy, so your site will load quickly. Your designer can find the balance between the lowest possible file size, while not sacrificing too much quality.
Consistency will show that your business is reputable, trustworthy, and professional. Maintaining the same look while taking web requirements into consideration will help your customers recognize you the next time they encounter your brand, while retaining a positive experience.
A website is where you exist online, and today’s most basic digital fingerprint. You can leverage your website to get more customers and more sales by ranking higher on search engines through an SEO strategy.
But your website needs to be ready for your SEO efforts, and depending on the platform your website is created on, it may become difficult to do SEO. WordPress is your best option for an SEO-ready site.
How WordPress Primes Your Site For SEO
Creating your site on WordPress ensures that any SEO campaign to start afterwards is possible. Here are a few reasons why:
- WordPress allows you to edit your header tags and meta descriptions — and do it easily, without going into code. This kind of metadata is incredibly important, as it tells Google about your page, which helps Google rank it. Other web builders don’t allow for metadata optimization, which can hold back your SEO.
- Images are easily optimizable on WordPress. Just like metadata, optimizing an image’s tags and descriptions is vital for SEO, and WordPress allows you to make those changes based on your keywords and more.
- WordPress is very secure. If your site gets hacked, or it doesn’t have a proper SSL certificate, it can drop in rankings very quickly. WordPress has excellent security and their team stays on top of any issues.
- WordPress’ SEO plug-ins are top-notch. WordPress is well-known for its many helpful plugins, and their Yoast SEO and All-In-One SEO plugins are incredibly useful for various SEO tasks. And that’s not all: there are many useful SEO plugins to explore. Other web builders don’t offer these tools.
Growing your online presence is not just key to your marketing, but one of the top reasons to have a website at all. Make sure your website is ready to fulfill this purpose.
Create Your Website With Hyvemark
Hyvemark’s integrative approach to marketing includes effective website design and creation. We understand that for your business’ marketing strategies to succeed, you need a website that doesn’t just help them do so, but forms an essential part of that success. We ensure that your site is consistent with your branding and has all the elements needed to rank on Google and convert customers.
Many small business owners hesitate when it comes to investing in marketing, and doubt if dedicating a significant budget to marketing is the right choice. It might seem like another reason for cash to be leaving the company, but this is a common misconception.
Marketing has a cost, but it can determine business success and bring money back to you, when done correctly. Here are a few reasons why investing in marketing is worth it, and why you shouldn’t overlook the benefits of branding, digital marketing campaigns, and strategy.
It Puts You On The Map
Marketing is like introducing yourself to your customers, and the first step to building long-lasting relationships. It’s not just a visual first impression; it’s finding your customers and interacting with them in the right way. Marketing is a long-term investment, a cohesive interplay of different strategies that give you long-term results.
Today’s competitive landscape, online and offline, makes it undeniable that without marketing, it will be very difficult for anyone to know about your business. Marketing accomplishes this through a variety of complementary strategies, from design to targeted ads, that work together to help you reach your company’s goals.
It Gets You Through Crises
Marketing can weather many storms, even when production goes down, technology adapts, or other changes happen. Although marketing budgets are often the first thing to go in a crisis, studies show advertising can actually help in this time more than ever.
Marketing during a recession, when others are not, means less competition and more visibility for you. This has a huge positive effect on your business, not just to survive a recession, but to thrive even more afterwards. The key denominator here is making sure strategies maximize your return on investment and cumulatively work together to achieve the same goals across all marketing channels.
Any action that can help your business not just get through a crisis, but grow in one, is something to invest in.
You’re Already Doing It
To start any business, you have to do some level of marketing, even if you don’t realize it. The moment you name your business, create a logo, start an Instagram page, ask your friends to talk about your business, or choose packaging for your product, you’re marketing your business. You can’t do business without marketing on some basic level, which is why investing since the beginning is crucial to a consistent and successful marketing strategy.
What’s the difference when you invest in marketing instead of doing it passively? You give it the importance, time, and budget it deserves. Inadvertently, we all recognize that branding matters, and that advertising a business matters — we are just hesitant to put in the time or money it may take to make it great.
But that time and money will take the work you’re already doing to a new level, and actually make it profitable. You want people to hear about your business, and this should be achieved with trackable and measurable online ads and organic search strategies, functional designs, and consistent branding efforts.
You Are In Control
When a marketing budget surpases a business’s revenue it is clear why business owners and stakeholders are often dismissive of marketing and see it as a wasted investment. But an investment in marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune to bring in real and beneficial results. Creating a realistic budget can help you reach your goals without overspending.
You decide how much you want to spend on marketing services and for how long you want to spend it. Since you can target a specific audience with your strategies, you can spend on specific platforms that can increase your return on investment and minimize wasted efforts.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, businesses should spend 5-7% of their sales revenue on marketing — and new companies should spend even more. A budgeted and careful investment can bring in revenue strategically.
Hyvemark: The Agency Focused On Your Growth
At Hyvemark, our experts will discuss your marketing goals and provide you with strategic recommendations focused on your business’ goals and sustainability. We strive to provide you with services that fit your budget and provide you with quality results by offering ROI-driven marketing that makes your investment in marketing worth every cent.
Branding defines the way consumers perceive your company and products. It defines you as a business (visually and beyond) and makes you stand out and differentiate yourself from others. A consistent brand can drive new business and retain current customers.
The most common symbol associated with branding is a logo, a quick and very visual way to make an impression on a customer. But branding goes beyond just a logo: it includes colors, voice, name, style, and more. With the right branding strategy, your business can achieve real success. By ensuring all its channels accurately represent and are consistent with the brand identity, a business can foster loyalty, sales, and professionalism.
What Does a Consistent Brand Look Like?
A consistent brand is not thrown together in one day, but rather thought out and executed with the help of professionals. When you’re defining a brand, you should consider, and decide on:
- Color palette
- Value proposition
- What makes your brand different
Once it’s defined, your brand should extend beyond your logo to business cards, promotional items, social media, email communication, and your website. Your website, as the online representation of your business, should be created (or redesigned) with branding elements of color, font, and voice as well, while communicating your values and differentiators.
A brand that’s consistent has a branding guide to maintain it, leadership and employees committed to using it correctly, and the promise of time to help it grow stronger.
Why Branding Matters
1. Improves Recognition
A brand that’s both consistent and memorable can help your business grow loyalty. If a customer recognizes your business and can associate it with certain products, values, and feelings, they will be more likely to buy from you than from a brand that they don’t know.
Your logo is the face of your brand and what it represents, so they are usually the first tool for recognition. The right logos have the power to be simple but memorable and give the right impression of your company. Your logo should be carefully and professionally designed to make the desired impact and display what your brand is all about in the most simple way.
2. Generates Referrals
Customers tend to talk about brands they like, especially if they are continually exposed to and have excellent experiences with the brand. It’s difficult to share about a brand someone is unfamiliar with or one they can’t remember, but a recognizable logo is the first step to achieving recognition. With time and consistency, a memorable logo will go a long way.
3. Differentiates You From Competitors
With so much competition out there, it’s critical to stand out from everyone else, because chances are your product or service already exists. Find the ways your business stands out and how you add value, then transmit those through your branding. This is a more subtle and powerful way to express your uniqueness than by simply saying it — your customers will feel and believe it.
4. Creates Trust
Customers are much more likely to buy from a brand they know and, more importantly, one they trust. Branding can help you create that trust through consistency and recognition.
Also, when a company has an excellent branding strategy, they unconsciously communicate professionalism to consumers. Customers trust, and buy from, brands that are professional, so when you’re adequately branded, people will look to you as an industry expert and trust your product.
5. Aligns With Your Advertising Efforts
Advertising is part of branding, and your strategies will reflect how you want to portray your brand. When you advertise your products or services, you must keep branding consistent and appealing so that everything in your business aligns.
Brand manuals, for example, are created to ensure brand consistency exists whether your team or a third party creates marketing materials, for example. They serve as the guide to how the brand will be communicated through any marketing channel, so that when customers see your advertising efforts, they recognize your brand and its values.
6. Influences Purchasing Decisions
Your branding can have a huge effect on your consumer’s actions. A brand that’s consistent in everything can increase their revenue by up to 23%. Consequently, your logo can also influence consumers at first glance, from the font, shape, size, and color. When a product is both recognizable and attractive (both achievable with consistent branding), it generates more sales.
7. Motivates Employees
Employees who work for strongly branded companies are more satisfied and have a higher sense of pride in their work. Not only that, but they also represent the business better to others, providing even more referrals and trust. Superficially, branded items can instill more loyalty in your employees, give them a sense of belonging, and encourage professionalism.
Define Your Identity With Hyvemark
Hyvemark helps you make your mark as a business with beautiful and effective branding. From a memorable logo to an entire brand identity, we create materials that will make it impossible for customers to forget your business and what it does. Explore one of our branding projects for a new startup.