What is SEO?

You may be wondering what does the acronym SEO mean. Turns out, those three letters stand for search engine optimization. While that phrase sounds nice, what does it actually mean? What is search engine optimization?

Search engine optimization or SEO for short is the process of using concentrated strategies and methods in order to obtain a high ranking page placement on search engines in order to enhance traffic to a website. This kind of direction of traffic to sites through search engines is called organic traffic, whereas typing the url of the website you want to go to directly in is direct traffic.

All too often the first thing people do when they have a problem is Google it, and sometimes the winner of who gets the business is simply the first person to come up as a search result. Since so many people use search engines then, optimizing search engines or optimizing your rank on these platforms is critical for businesses.

However, how do people affect their rank on search engines? The website Search Engine Land provides a great video explaining SEO in even more detail and also goes into the different factors that affect your page rank. The creative way they highlight these factors is in their “Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors, as can be seen below.

This table simply highlights the many different factors these search engine algorithms take into consideration when determining page rank. The overarching categories of factors are content, architecture, HTML, trust, links, personal, and social. From there, these categories look at all different types of things from speed of service and answers and quality of content to number of links and the trust associated with the website.

Controlling all of these variables may seem like an immense tasks. However, by increasing your rank in search engines, you can directly increase business with zero to small amounts of money spent. The goal should be to start with enhancing one or two of these aspects, and when you finish, simply move on to two more.

For more information about SEO, see our informative infographic on the new versus the old SEO that explains why SEO is so important.

Top Advertising Must-Reads of 2017

While so many of us prefer to pick up our laptop, tablet, or cell phone to get the latest in advertising and marketing news, there are some worthwhile books out there that can help big or small businesses to better understand their audience and to improve their advertising strategies. If these books aren’t on your list for 2017, they should be.

  1. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – This book may not be your typical advertising read. However, this non-fiction book uses illustrative examples and stories to explain human behavior in an engaging and dynamic way. Reading this book will change the way you think about ideas and marketing products.
  2. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon – A fun, short read, “Steal Like An Artist” is a step back to the basics. It is a reminder of how good, innovative ideas are born. An inspirational read this book is the perfect boost you need to keep your ideas fresh and exciting.
  3. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan – New to the business scene and looking for a starter guide to advertising, but you find all the other how to advertising books boring? Give “Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This” a try! In a fun and imaginative way, the author will bring you into the narrative while also teaching you useful information about advertising.
  4. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Ries and Trout – Straight-forward and all about advertising, this book will teach you the fundamentals on how to position your business, as well as your products or services. From learning to harness your competitive advantage to understanding how to forge ahead in the industry, this book is a basic.
  5. Caffeine for the Creative Mind by Stefan Mumaw and Wendy Lee Oldfield – A slightly different type of book, “Caffeine for the Creative Mind” is a practical workbook filled with exercises for you brain. Feeling sluggish and out of good ideas. Try these mental workouts. As a result, you will better be able to approach problems by considering new perspectives. Your advertising will improve as you reconsider your approach and strategies.

Are Social Media Scheduling Platforms Worth It?

As more and more businesses jump into social media advertising, the more work it seems needs to be done. While Facebook provides the great service of allowing you to schedule your posts, other social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, or even LinkedIn don’t. While it may seem simple enough to hire a social media manager or two to take on the extra workload and schedule posts throughout the day, the workload does not actually need to be as heavy as it seems.

Many different platforms have come out to allow you to schedule your posts through their application and it posts to social media for you. The major player is Hootsuite, but there is also other platforms such as Social Booster, Buffer, Sproutsocial, and more that are more or less similar to Hootsuite.

Some of the different services include management tools for managing several different social media accounts on one screen, post scheduling, detailed analytics reports, and help with social media campaigns and promotions. While it may seem easy enough to do it all yourself and not spend the money on a social media scheduling platform, here are three simple reasons we think it might be worth it for your business.

  1. Increased and more engaged viewership. The time of day that you post can have a big effect on how many people see your post and how many people are actually paying attention to the post. There have been many studies done on exactly what is the best time and day of the week to post on the different social media outlets. Through platforms such as Hootsuite, you not only can schedule the post to make sure you hit the perfect time for your audience, but also the Hootsuite software can actually autoschedule the post for you in order to reach the most people.
  2. Time is money. As the old saying says, your time might be worth the money. How much time are you spending making sure you’re staying up to date on social media that you could rather be using to improve another area of your business or even to have more time with your family? Do you have a big project you keep pushing to the backburner? If this is the case, the money might be worth it. Honestly, with the help of platforms such as Hootsuite you can cut your time about in half just by not having to log in to each account before you use it and constantly flipping back and forth.
  3. Other features actually make your social media better. Many of these platforms provide additional auxiliary services that will actually make your social media better. For example, social boosters providers 24/7 customer support. Hootsuite provides education videos and assistance in launching a social media campaign. In fact, simply having a platform I have found encourages me to do more with social media, to be creative, and to see how I can improve my posts day by day. Not only will the programs teach you, they will force you to grow and grow your business.

At the same time, social media platforms are not for everyone, and different platforms are right for different business. The best thing you can do is to take a look at the various plans and consider what effect it would have on the daily operations of your business and the effect it would have on your personal life.

Over the last few months, Adventure AD Agency has decided to try out Hootsuite to assist in managing all of our clients social media accounts, and thus far, it has been an exciting and rewarding process. If you don’t want an advertising agency managing your social media, perhaps consider a social media platform instead.

Hootsuite: Top 3 tools to take advantage of this year

The most recent development in social media advertising is to use social media platforms such as Hootsuite, Social Booster, Buffer, Sproutsocial, and more to help manage the social media workload placed on business and to better schedule posts. For 2017, Adventure AD Agency has decided to try out Hootsuite to assist in managing all of our clients social media accounts.

From scheduling posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and beyond to providing  management tools such as the ability to examine several different social media accounts on one screen or to providing detailed analytics reports and help with social media campaigns, Hootsuite has provided us with some exciting new capabilities as a business. While we are still learning about all of the different services Hootsuite provides, here are some quick tips and tricks we have already found helpful.

  1. Use the autoschedule feature. When you are going to publish a post, you can either publish it immediately, schedule it to be posted later, or let Hootsuite determine the best time that day to schedule your post. Many studies have been done to show the best times and days of the week to post on different social media outlets. Unless you plan to dive deep into this research, you should probably let Hootsuite take over that job for you. Using the autoschedule feature should not only get your post seen by more people, but also it should target viewers that are more engaged with your content.
  2. Explore Hootsuite Campaigns. One of Hootsuite’s services is a campaign function. In a few simple steps, you can set up a contest, galleries, or sweepstakes for your social media channels in this section of Hootsuite. Even if you have never done one of these before, check it out. It might give you some great new content ideas for you social media accounts and push you to be better online.
  3. Watch the educational videos. Another great part of Hootsuite is the multitude of educational videos and resources it provides. In the tools section, there is an entire section dedicated to education and improving your social media savvy. These resources include free online training videos and other certifications. The website also has a blog full of helpful ideas and guides for how to better make use of the Hootsuite software for your business. You can get even better tips and tricks from them then you can get from us.

If you are considering using a social media scheduling platform, you should consider all of the different pros and cons, as well as how it would personally affect your life and business. Most important though is that once you decide to pay for this service make sure you are getting the most out of it. These three tips are just the beginning.

Enhancing User Experience

The one essential design principle that spans across every platform of communication is usability. Consequently, user experience can make or break an advertising platform.

Any time you are producing content, you are communicating a message, and the ability of this content to be used and understood is absolutely essential to getting your message heard and remembered. This is why the user experience of everything from your website to your social media posts to your business card is arguably one of the most important design elements.

User experience is understood as how your audience experience or processes the information being given to them. For example, a website has its own unique user experience. From the way you navigate the page to the emotions your feel as a result of the pictures to the ease of finding the company’s address, you are having a user experience.

Despite the fact that user experience is essential to the success of communicating messages, enhancing your user experience is not very hard. In fact, it builds almost entirely off of the principles of segmentation discussed in the last blog post.

Therefore, the first step is to enhancing user experience is segmentation. This is identifying a target audience and understanding their needs wants and desires. Once you understand this, you can create a custom user experience strategy for your audience. After developing a strategy, there are three main steps.

  1. Define the information or message to be communicated. In this step, it is important that you decide what content needs to be included. This is when you need to take a serious step back and cut you thoughts down to the bare minimum. Be simple. What is the most important thing my audience needs to know? What information is required?
  2. Decide on and organize a delivery platform. After deciding on the content, the next step is deciding how you want to share that content. You need to combine your knowledge of your content and your knowledge of your audience to choose a platform that will provide the best user experience for your audience. For instance, if you wish to share news about an upcoming event, what social media site provides the best user experience for sharing it with friends and organizing an event? Is it Twitter through tweets and messaging or Facebook through posts and creating a group? Clearly, you would choose Facebook due to the marriage of user experience with content helpful to organizing a group
  3. Execute your plan. This is when you go ahead and create your graphics, images, text, etc. that supports your message and platform.

An important key to user experience is making your content purposeful and relatable. Following the process steps above will help make your content more purposeful by focusing in on segmentation and the specific needs of the audience. However, the actual final content created needs to be relatable and reflect this audience as well.

Through all of this process, it is important you follow the golden rule of user experience: don’t make things complicated. The more difficult it is to understand a message, the less the audience will be willing to engage with it. In a world of ever-increasing technology, people want things faster and easier. Be simple. Don’t overthink it.

How To Make YouTube A Vital Part Of Your Social Strategy

YouTube has become a the go-to destination for video content. With over four billion videos viewed daily, it’s no surprise that marketers are beginning to make YouTube a vital part of their social strategy. YouTube is a valuable asset to your company because videos help SEO and are more likely to go viral compared to a text or image post. But remember, the videos won’t share themselves. Combining YouTube with other social platforms can create a social strategy that cannot be topped, and we’re going to show you how. There are two main aspects to making YouTube a vital part of your social strategy – creating the content and promoting it.

1.      Create content your customers want

Your customers don’t want to see a boring informational video about your latest product, they want unique, innovative videos. When it comes to YouTube, the more creative the better. The video doesn’t even have to relate to your product really. You want an eye-catching video that will make customers click. Showcase your creativity and add a unique twist to your brand. However, we would like to caution you when creating this type of content. Even if the video itself is unrelated to the product, you want to ensure that customers are feeling what you want them to feel and the video comes a full circle to tie into your promotion. The last thing you want to do is leave customers feeling confused by posting a random video with a link to your product at the end. Although the connection between the content and the product doesn’t have to be direct, it does need to correlate in some way or another.

Although stories tend to provoke the best response on YouTube, you have other options as well. Feel free to experiment with the following types of videos:

  • Business intro video: Give your audience a brief introduction to your business. You can put this on your YouTube Channel Trailer to welcome new viewers.
  • Tutorials/Product Demos: Show your viewers how to perform a task using your product
  • Customer Testimonials: Interview a satisfied customer
  • Behind-the-scenes videos: Take your viewers on a tour of your office or workspace, or introduce them to your staff or co-workers
  • Tips and tricks: Share useful insights that will help your prospects
  • Commercials: post your commercials to YouTube for viewers
  • FAQs: Compile a list of frequently asked questions and respond to them via video

2.      Promote that content

Once you’ve created great content, you must get it seen! Some YouTube videos will get enough exposure without outside promotion, but most will need some extra help. If you have a large number of YouTube subscribers or your video becomes highly ranked on YouTube, then you may be able to skip this step. Otherwise, you’ll need to find ways to promote your videos to the desired audience. The easiest way to promote your YouTube videos is to share them on your other social platforms. Be sure to add engaging copy to the video, and a direct link to your YouTube channel. You may want to embed the video directly on your Facebook page, as Facebook videos are rapidly growing in popularity. Another way to promote your YouTube content is to post it on your company website or blog, or to partner with other YouTuber’s to promote each other’s videos. We recommend experimenting with your particular audience and seeing what works best for you.

Don’t get left behind, start creating YouTube content today! If you need assistance in hopping on the YouTube bandwagon, please contact us today.

How To Decipher Your Google Analytics Reports

When you first see a Google Analytics report, you may be a little overwhelmed. What do all of these charts, numbers, and graphs mean? Google Analytics requires a bit more in-depth analysis than using Facebook or Twitter ads, for example.

Google analytics tracks and reports website traffic. It seems easy enough, but with so many customizable options and various reports it can be confusing. In this blog post, we will break down Google Analytics into an easy to follow how-to guide. We will start by defining digital analytics. Digital analytics is the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your business and competition to drive continual improvement of the online experience for visitors to your website.

The analytics can measure macro conversions and micro conversions. Macro conversions are very important to your business and drive the revenue. For example, if your business goal is to sell a product, a macro conversion would be if someone purchased the product from your website. Micro conversions are also important, but not the driving forces of your business. These help customers move towards macro conversions. If a customer signed up to receive email coupons for your product, this would be considered a micro conversion.

A few other important terms Google Analytics uses are segmentation and context. Segmentation allows you to isolate and analyze subsets of your data. Some subsets Google Analytics offer include traffic sources, date and time, device, marketing channel, geography, and customer characteristics. This helps you isolate certain factors to see who is coming to your website and how they are getting there. Another term is context, which simply means what standard of comparison are you using. You can compare your Google Analytics reports externally to the industry standard or compare them internally to your site’s history.

Google Analytics recommends five steps of measurement planning.

1. Document your business objectives

2. Identify strategies and tactics

3. KPI’s (key performance indicators)

4. Choose segments

5. Choose targets

Google Analytics allows you to set certain goals for your website, including destination, duration, pages per visit, and event. We will go over what each of these means in more detail.

  • Destination: This means you want your visitors to reach a certain page. If your goal is to sell a product, that page would be an order confirmation page. If your goal is to get visitors to sign up for an e-newsletter, that page would be the “Thank You” page they are taken to after entering their email address.
  • Duration: This allows you to set a time goal that you want visitors to remain on your page. If you have an informative website where you want visitors to read your page in detail, this may be the appropriate goal for you.
  • Pages Per Visit: This means you can set a goal of how many pages you want each visitor to view while on your website.
  • Event: This means visitors did something on your website. For example, an event goal would be getting visitors to play a video or click on a link.

There are three main types of reports offered on Google Analytics – audience reports, acquisition reports, and behavior reports.

  • Audience Report: reveals characteristics about users
    • Helps you better understand user behavior
    • Gives you access to geographic data
    • Allows you to view mobile data to your site
  • Acquisition Report: compares the marketing channels
    • Lets you understand the different traffic sources to your site
    • Helps you find and analyze your marketing campaigns
  • Behavior Report: reveals how users interact with your website
    • Helps identify popular content on your site
    • Analyzes how visitors move through your site
    • Analyzes site search data

In conclusion, using analytics will allow you to understand and connect with your current clients. This will help you to identify the best marketing strategies to reach new customers and retain existing ones. By knowing where your audience comes from and what they like, you can create content personalized for your target audience. The continual use of analytics provides constant improvement of the online experience and acquisition of new clients.

10 Things Every Marketing Plan Should Have

The first step in developing any marketing strategy is to start with a plan. Developing a plan for your marketing strategy may seem overwhelming. Plans can range from super simple to extremely advanced and complex. However, all marketing plans, big or small, have a few things in common. We will go over ten necessary elements that all marketing plans must contain in order to be successful.

1. The Product

Possibly the most important aspect of your marketing plan is the product. What makes your product superior to others in your industry? Why would someone choose you over someone else? Find what makes your product unique and go with it. Emphasize what you can offer that others can’t.

2. The Research

Okay, so now you know why your product is the best, but whose going to buy it? You need to conduct market research to analyze buying trends in your industry. Collect, organize, and analyze data regarding the demographics of customers, your competition, current sales in your industry, suppliers, and market patterns. This valuable knowledge can help you successfully market to the right people in the right ways.

3. Define

Once you understand the market, you need to define the target audience. Instead of trying to please everybody, zone in on a specific group of people who will be more likely to purchase your product. Describe you ideal customer in detail. Be sure to get more specific than women in their 30s-60s. Really dig deep to decide who your ideal customer will be.

4. Goals

Don’t just keep your goals in your head. Writing them down can help you more clearly define them and set realistic, but ambitious goals. Write full sentences that state what you want to accomplish in your business overall and through your marketing strategy specifically. You can break up your goals into specific mission statements, and it may be helpful to make them quantifiable. For example, a mission statement could be to gain two new clients a month.

5. The Medium

Where is you marketing strategy going to take place? Will your company benefit most from social media or a more traditional approach? Think about which mediums appeal to your target audience and how your product will best be displayed.

6. The Promotion

Putting your product on social media or on television is not enough; you must also promote it. Promotion could be consistent branding on social media, events, giveaways, etc. There is no right or wrong way to promote your product. You just need to make sure you are consistent with your brand and reaching the right audience.

7. The Positioning

Where your product will be positioned in the market? You must decide if you are going to be top-of-the-line or if you want to seem more casual and appeal to the masses. Decide a position for your product and make all of your advertisements surround it.

8. The Schedule

Once you have all of your ideas mapped out, you need to place them on a schedule. Keep the schedule brief and organized, as it will likely need to be changed frequently. Having a schedule can help you keep yourself on track and better monitor how your strategies are doing.

9. The Budget

Of course, in running any business budget is important. See what strategies you can afford and which may be better saved for a later date.

10. The Analytics

How are you going to monitor your results? You need to ensure you can test and analyze to identify the strategies that are working. You can use tools such as surveys, database management tools, and number of engagements to measure your success.

Now you are ready to begin your marketing plan! Be sure to consistently compare your actual marketing strategy to your plan and make sure you are reaching your goals.

How Do I Come Up With More Marketing Ideas?

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? You’re sitting there staring at a blank screen about to pull your hair out because the ideas are just not flowing. The same can be true when trying to come up with creative ideas for content marketing. How are you supposed to keep the ideas fresh and creative? After all, there are only so many ideas out there (and a lot of the good ones have been taken by Oreo and Doritos)! So how do brands like Oreo and Doritos keep coming up with one good idea after another? We’ve put together a few tips to give you a hint at what you can do to have a continuous flow of marketing ideas.

1. Creativity

There is no such thing as “wrong” creativity. Let your ideas flow no matter how ridiculous they may seem in your head. Sometimes we can be too hard on ourselves and shut down an idea before we even get it fully developed. Allow your mind to go places you may normally be critical of. Brainstorm any and every idea you have. This will give you a long list to choose from, and you just may have written down the needle in the haystack.

2. Teamwork

Of course you want to be the person to come up with an idea, but we can’t all be on our A game 100% of the time. Allow others to add their input, even if they aren’t on the marketing team! If your business is designating only a handful of people to add creative content to the marketing department, then you may be missing out on tons of creative ideas! Allow anyone to pitch an idea to you at any time. Just because your accountants sit behind a desk crunching numbers all day doesn’t mean they don’t have creative juices too! Collaborating allows you to bounce ideas off of one another and can often produce the best ideas. You know what they say – two heads are better than one!

3. Current

Be current and stay on top of trends. Get your brand involved in the trends early. You have to do it before everyone else can. Take the ALS ice bucket challenge, for example. If your brand does it, it shows that you support a great cause and have a fun company environment. However, timing is everything. Be one of the first to do it and you get tons of attention and publicity. Be one of the last and you are just another piece of the puzzle.

4. Steal

Okay, we don’t mean you can literally steal. But you can steal ideas, sort of. Read book, watch T.V., look at magazines, anything to get your creative juices flowing. You never know what may trigger an idea. Once you find an idea, you can incorporate your own product and use your own voice to make it original. Of course, you can’t copy the idea exactly, but seeing one thing may trigger you to think of another.

We would love to hear any other tips and tricks you have for being creative and how they worked for you!