10 All-Too-Common VoC Program Mistakes – Part 1
I originally wrote today’s post for CallidusCloud; it appeared on their blog on October 1, 2018.
As I sat down to write this month’s post, I reflected on several conversations I had this week that were tied together with a common thread: common VoC program mistakes. I started to reflect on what was said and then began jotting down a list that grew much longer than I thought it would!
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5 Methods of Troubleshooting Facebook Ads that are Underperforming
- Recheck audience group set to ensure that you’re reaching out to the right people. Many Facebook marketers are in the habit of using the same custom audience settings for all their campaigns, leading to the conclusion that some ad postings don’t seem to be converting properly
- Install Google Analytics – and identify precisely those points where a potential consumer seems to fall off the sales trajectory set by your advertisements
- Check if your spending limit is exceeding the total budget available for the project – and either add more money to the campaign, or decrease its targeting frequency by spreading out the days a bit further
- Consult user comments between your ad postings – as negative remarks do have an impact on your ad placements
- Ensure that your Facebook relevancy dynamics are working optimally for you – and your ads are placed in the appropriate niche categories
- Is your ad’s textual content on-point? Does it convey the right message (using simple, everyday diction)? You need to analyze your ad-copy on these points, preferably with the help of an unaffiliated and professional writing purveyor
- Are your ad thumbnails dominated by a lot of text? This feature not only makes them unattractive, but it also has an effect on Facebook’s ad-placement considerations
- Does your ad tone facilitate your message?
Stephen N. Mills is an entrepreneur, marketer, and writer. As San Francisco resident, he loves reading books and writing on different topics like SEO, Branding, Health and etc. That’s where he finds his inspiration to author in-depth guides that teach E-commerce store owners ways to manage, grow and scale their business. In a former life, Stephen co-founded a custom menswear company which generates 6-figures in annual revenue through its website and retail.
112 Online Experts Share Their First Online Income
Did you know that online bloggers and webmasters who make a living by making money online, made a very small amount at first – but they never gave you their quest to continue their online dreams.
My friends at AmplifyBlog just released a super post on how 112 online experts made their first income online.
They interviewed the Top 112 Online experts over a two month period by asking a simple question
“How did you make your first income online” – The post has very interesting mix of bloggers, webmasters, social media experts and online czars.
I am humbled to be a part of this elite list. You’ll find my answer to the above question when you read the post here.
I hope you get inspired by what the experts have to share. Remember every Expert was once a novice.
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What to Look for In Your Digital Marketing Agency
Finding an agency that can act as a true partner is hard.
They all claim they can help you out no matter what their specific focus is. They all have case studies and recommendations. So, how do you choose the right digital marketing agency for your needs?
If you’re thinking about hiring an agency for the first time or about to switch to a new one, here’s what you should look for in a digital marketing agency.
The most important aspect of partnering with an agency is how well you communicate together. They could be the most brilliant marketers on the planet, but if you can’t reach them or they can’t talk to you the way you need, it’s worthless.
You’d think this would be a basic standard for any agency, but I’m floored by how many times I’ll hear a client talk about how another contractor or agency hasn’t responded to phone calls or emails after a few days. If your agency doesn’t get back to you within 24 hours on all emails or calls, it’s time for a new one.
Your agency may never know the ins and outs of your product or service as well as you do, but they should be able to talk about all the aspects of it in great detail. If they can’t answer the value proposition of your product, how can they sell it? If they can’t talk about your customer like it’s their own, how can they market it?
Your agency might get back to you quickly and seem attentive, but often you’re feeling like things are late or information is missing. This is probably because they’re not managing your expectations well. Look, sometimes issues pop up or things don’t go exactly as planned. However, if your agency isn’t getting out in front of it and letting you know why and what that means for the big picture, it means disorganization.
Transparency and Accountability
The biggest things I look for in a colleague are transparency and accountability. This builds trust and is the backbone of any long-term relationship. Why not hold your digital agency to the same standard?
Agencies are made up of humans and humans make mistakes – there’s no way around that. As much as we like to think we know everything, we can’t possibly predict the future or guarantee our work will affect the positive change we plan for.
The key is how your agency responds when a ball is dropped.
Do they try to tiptoe around it and make excuses that don’t quite feel right? Or do they own it, fix this issue, and use it as a learning experience to improve their work moving forward? Hopefully, it’s the latter, and it’s a form of optimization.
If they seem to be hiding something, then you can’t be sure they’re helping your business.
Goals and KPIs
Does your agency collaborate with you to develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and goals for your engagement? If not, then they’re not holding themselves accountable. They should document clear KPIs with quantifiable goals that align with your overall business objectives. If they depend on you for all their goals and KPIs, then they’re likely focused solely on tactics and not enough about results.
Business Reviews and Post Mortems
Your agency should push for business reviews on a regular basis. The agenda should look at the performance of the previous quarter and outline a roadmap for the upcoming quarter. This will give everyone a chance to see the big picture and not get bogged down in small tactics and deliverables.
A post-mortem is a bit like a business review but is more about short-term campaigns or entire accounts at large. They are generally less formal and are more about working out the kinks. These are also extremely useful but can happen on an as-needed basis.
We’ve covered all the things that make an agency a solid partner, but what about the substance in what they do? At the end of the day, no matter how well they communicate and how accountable they are, your digital marketing agency needs to master digital strategy.
How do you know if an agency is as good as they say they are?
T-Shaped Skill Set
Although you might be hiring an agency for a specific channel, they need to have a T-shaped skill set. Each expert you work with should be knowledgeable in all digital marketing channels. This is because no single channel operates independently. All digital marketing is part of an ecosystem, and in some way or another, each channel affects the others.
Take our marketing stack, for example. If their content team doesn’t know how to work with analytics, they won’t be able to see advanced user behavior. If their PR team doesn’t understand link building, then they may be wasting valuable effort. They don’t have to be certified masters of each channel, but even a dedicated channel agency should know how their channel works with all the others.
This is extremely important for whoever is managing your account at the agency. They have the bird’s-eye view on overall performance, and if they don’t understand the fundamentals, then it’s a ship without a captain. They should be considered a strategist as well.
Tactics vs. Strategy
Tactics mean nothing without the strategy to back them up. One of the surefire signs that your agency is phoning it in is when they rely on tactics without strategic reasons. Sure, keyword analysis is fine, but why? What will this get you? Don’t be intimidated by your experts, and always feel free to ask why. If they can’t answer this easily and clearly, then they don’t know why either.
As I mentioned before, all business reviews should include a roadmap. This roadmap should be a game plan of tactics, action items, and deliverables that they want to accomplish next. It should be strategy-driven, and every single item should have a purpose.
If your agency isn’t providing you with a roadmap, then they’re leaving you in the dark. They could be doing all the right things and making all the right moves, but if you’re often wondering what they’re up to, this leaves room for all sorts of potential issues. It’s a matter of accountability.
Your digital marketing agency should be a good partner for you. This means they should not only do the work you’ve asked them to do, but they should feel like part of your team. You should never feel like they’re just hired marketing mercenaries.
Does your agency take the time to teach you things? One of the aspects our clients love most about us is that we love to teach them about what we do. If there’s a new Google algorithm update that may not affect them, we still like to let them know about it and what it means. If we’ve read any good articles on something about their industry, we’ll share those with them, too.
One easy way to find out how much teaching an agency will likely do for you is through their thought leadership. Do they have a blog, and how active is it? Are their articles basic, or are they interesting? Is just one person responsible for all the articles, or do all of their strategists contribute?
Your agency shouldn’t be scared of new opportunities. They should vet them out properly but be excited to explore with you. If you’ve ever come to them with a new idea and they dismiss it without a solid reason, then you certainly won’t be able to grow with them. There is a fine line between being cautious and being stubborn.
Do you feel like your agency challenges you? Do they push back on occasion? Another telltale sign that your agency isn’t trying hard enough is that they do whatever you say without any pushback or questions.
Our best clients are the ones that we are able to openly disagree and debate with. We can do this because they trust us and respect what we have to say. As a Client Partner, the worst thing I can do is not vocalize potential pitfalls. Expressing these dangers shows I care. Your agency should care, too.
Provide You With Ownership
Does your agency claim ownership on the work they do for you? Shockingly enough, it happens, and it’s a major red flag.
The only reason that an agency would want to retain ownership of the work they’ve done is that they’re afraid you’ll leave, and they want to maintain leverage. This does not inspire confidence in their abilities. If they’re as good as they say they are, then they’ll have no problem handing everything off to you. If they don’t easily deliver everything to you, then imagine what it would be like if you decide to stop working with them.
(This obviously doesn’t apply to certain situations in which you’re accessing previously produced material or IP from your agency.)
The bottom line is that if you feel like your agency isn’t working with you, then they’re probably not doing a great job of working for you. Hold them to extremely high standards. Challenge them, and let them challenge you back. You’ll end up getting much more bang for your buck and hopefully have a long-term partner to help you get where you want to go.
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SEO Guidelines – Four Major SEO Pitfalls to Avoid
- As you know, the first step of search engine optimization is selecting a keyword/keyphrase. Once you choose the best keyphrase for your business, you should start inserting this keyphrase in the title of every webpage. A website without title tag will lose the ranking in the search engine. The title tag with strong keyphrase gets attracted by the search engine robots. The title and content should match each other. That is, the content should be written relevant to the title tag.
- Now, let us find out how to create SEO content. First, the content should be useful and not boring to the audience. The content should be created using the keyword. The first and last sentence of your sentence should also contain the keyword. The content should be updated with the latest information frequently. A website that leaves the same content for more months will get lower ranking in search engines, which is an indication to lower your profit.
- A website that has not created healthy inbound links will lose its ranking and business. Link building is a compulsory off-page search engine optimization that needs to be implemented on every website. The traffic that is created through link building is definitely worthy. Link building can be built in several ways. Some of the best link building techniques are: Article writing, Blog posting, Forum Posting, Social Networking sites, Social Media sites etc. E-mail marketing is also an easy link building search engine optimization that can be implemented by any company.
- If you are looking for cheap and best link building technique, then I would recommend article writing. There are some article directories that are frequently visited by genuine customers. Leaving your domain’s link at the end of a powerful article will fetch you more potential customers and also increases your website traffic.
- Blog comments will be effective only if you are regular and consistent in your work. People visit blogs to clear their queries. You can answer their queries through blog commenting and leave your backlink.
Five Principles Of Advanced SEO
This post does not pick on Google. It picks on us. We’re passive. Lazy. Dependent on Google to give us SEO advice. We jump on bandwagons and apply hacky fixes. Then we say we’re practicing “advanced SEO” because we know how to use
Advanced SEO isn’t about scouring webmaster hangouts, applying the latest Google patches, and then calling it a day. You want to be “advanced”? Understand five principles:
1: Google Recommendations Are Not SEO Recommendations
Rule number one trumps all other rules.
Apply Google’s recommendations, and a website is visible. Our job isn’t to make sure a site is visible. Any competent developer can do that.
An SEO’s job is to ensure a website can sustainably compete for organic rankings and conversion-generating traffic.
An advanced SEO is always aware that Google is not making SEO recommendations.
2: Always Read The Fine Print
That’s one example. There are plenty more. Here’s Google talking about 301s and links. I added the highlighting:
Read all of Google’s guidance with skepticism and rule #1 in mind. Watch for “could” and “might” versus “do” and “does.”
Read the fine print.
3: Remove Problems. Don’t Hide Them.
Now and then, the search engines give us Remedies: Stuff like rel=canonical. Search engine support for remedies comes and goes.
Google said nofollow would work for link sculpting. Then they said otherwise, sparking the worst nerd riot in history. Folks pelted the stage at SMX Advanced with branded stress balls and iPhone cases. Horrifying.
Google supported rel=next/prev. Until they didn’t.
Remedies change. Shit that just works, though? That’s forever. Don’t mitigate. Fix.
4: Reduce Abstraction
Don’t put more stuff between your content and browsers/bots.
Prerendering and hybrid solutions create additional layers. Redirects create extra hops. Avoid them whenever possible.
Reduce abstraction. Give Google a direct path to your content.
5: Learn The Tools
You can be “advanced” if you don’t know how to analyze a log file, or do fancy natural language processing (I can’t). But you need to be prepared to learn.
That sounds trite. But “learning” doesn’t mean reading the latest blog posts. It means digging into the command line, hacking around with some code, and learning how search engines work.
Read someone’s great GREP tutorial(cough cough).
I can’t list everything because I’m still figuring it out myself.
Corollary: Advanced SEO Doesn’t Replace The Basics
By the way: Advanced isn’t a replacement. It’s an amplifier. It makes the basic, nuts-and-bolts SEO tactics more effective.
But you’d better spend even more time on title tags, internal linking, and the words you use on a page.
If you skip the basics, all the fancy-schmancy advanced tactics in the world are worth exactly nothing. You’re giving Google a chocolate chip cookie without chocolate chips. That’s bound to piss anyone off.
Advanced SEO means giving me my chocolate chip cookie.
End of rant.
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