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My Internship at HMG—What I Learned

My Internship at HMG—What I Learned

Posted on Aug 01, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

Having taken two advertising classes before beginning my internship with HMG, my knowledge of the marketing industry was limited. I remember sitting in the conference room listening to all the tasks I was going to take on and all of the social media accounts I was going to manage and being so excited to expand my knowledge in the field of marketing. Fast forward seven months, and I can honestly say I’ve gained value far beyond the tasks given to me.

My timing with joining HMG was optimal, as I got to witness and participate in the rebranding process first hand starting at the root of the company. I was able to work with our marketing coordinator, Emily, to generate a list of core values that represent HMG Creative. We started off with words, which turned to sentences, until we finalized a group of phrases that best suited HMG. We then got to watch our own language turn to art as the core values we produced became a mural on the wall right when you walk into the office.

Having a minor in Rhetoric and Writing, I was hoping I would be able to use writing in this internship. I was ecstatic when I was tasked to produce multiple blogs per week which allowed me to delve into researching the marketing industry, and expand my knowledge and understanding of the innovations in the fields of marketing and advertising. Writing these blogs gave me the opportunity to learn the terminology and services of the marketing industry. I am now comfortable in my understanding of marketing vernacular such as SEO, PPC Advertising, Inbound Marketing, A/B Split Tests, Wireframing, tracking ROI, UX Design, and so much more.

In the past few weeks of this internship, I was tasked with the seemingly daunting responsibility of writing eBooks. Understanding that eBooks can be vital to our inbound marketing strategy, I felt immense pressure to produce something that serves to demonstrate our expertise as a company. Once I began writing, these eBooks felt almost like a final exam for this internship. As I started to put words on the page, I realized how much I have truly learned working here. Being able to tie in my previous blogs to sections of the eBook and write in depth about concepts that were so foreign to me just seven short months ago solidified how much I have learned here at HMG Creative.   

I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow at such an amazing company. Working here reassured my decision to enter the marketing industry in my future. I’ve enjoyed every single day I’ve come into work, and I look back on this experience with nothing but positivity. Thank you, HMG Creative!

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Basics of Inbound Marketing

Basics of Inbound Marketing

Posted on Jul 25, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Optimizing your website’s keywords, call-to-actions, and landing pages are fundamental in search engine optimization and getting started with inbound marketing. It takes time to rank higher through organic SEO methods, but inbound marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways of capturing the attention of high-quality prospects. The second most important contributor to organic search engine optimization is producing blog content that is knowledgeable on topics within your industry and valuable to your ideal customer. Optimizing your website for conversion and creating content that that resonates with your readers will set you up for continuously bringing in high-quality leads.

Attract

Creating in-depth buyer personas is the first step in understanding your ideal customer, their wants, their needs and their problems. Offering useful information on your website and in blog posts that is tailored to your ideal prospect creates trust and credibility, and ultimately resonates with readers. Developing content that appeals to different, specific target audiences demonstrates knowledge across your industry and can continue bringing readers back for more information in the long run. Publishing valuable content on a blog, along with utilizing keywords and optimizing landing pages, is the most fruitful way to rank organically in Google search results. Once you’ve optimized your website and content management system, pushing content out on social media platforms will drive high-quality visitors to your landing pages and ultimately increase conversion rates. As you outline your buyer persona, keep in mind which social media channels your ideal prospects hang out on, as this should be your primary focus on where to push out blog posts.

Convert

In order to ensure you’re attracting high-quality visitors that will convert to paying customers, you need some sort of information on who is reading your content—this is where optimizing your landing pages becomes crucial. Your landing page needs to consist of a form where readers have to enter information such as their name, email address, and job title to access your content. Construct messages specific to your ideal prospect and A/B test call-to-actions so that you know what is most effective in leading people to enter more information. Landing pages need to be tailored to assure the reader they will be receiving beneficial information, and optimized with keywords and high-quality information in order to increase conversions. Give them an incentive to fill out a landing page such as receiving a free downloadable like an eBook, webinar, how-to guide, or percentage off of their first order. As you embed keywords throughout the content on your website it will increase search engine ranking, thus driving more traffic to your website.

Nurture

Once you’ve attracted the right prospects and converted prospects into leads, it’s important to convert leads to customers at the right time. Keep track of the information you’ve obtained on each lead through a customer relationship management system. This allows you to better engage with each lead, and offer more tailored information specific to their needs until they are ready to convert to a paying customer. If a prospect reads your blog, clicks on your call-to-action, fills out a landing page, downloads your ebook and still isn’t ready to become a customer, have a series of emails on deck to nurture them and offer them additional valuable information for free. This additional information should be tailored to their needs and their previous actions, which will tell you what you need to offer them.

Inbound marketing takes time but is more beneficial for your business in the long run rather than pay per click advertising methods. Offering valuable information for free builds trust, brings customers back for more information, and creates loyal customers that will stand by your brand in the long run. Do you need help with your inbound marketing efforts? Contact us here!

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Is SEO Still Relevant in Marketing?

Is SEO Still Relevant in Marketing?

Posted on Jul 13, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

The general concept is that higher value content achieves a higher ranking in search results, which ultimately increases visibility and drives website traffic. Search engine optimization (SEO) gives your site a fighting chance, by aligning its structure and content to the complex algorithms used by search engines. However, these algorithms and strategies are constantly changing, and have thus made it a struggle to keep up. In a quality-focused world of consumer choice, the question arises: is SEO is still relevant?

SEO

Search engine optimization is a strategy used by over 50 percent of B2B marketers for lead generation. Though the rules may drastically change, like when Google cut the keyword stuffing and backlinking methods, each change opens the door for new tactics to catapult search engine rankings.

Previously focused on desktop search, SEO is currently navigating the trend toward a more mobile-dominated market. This growing need for more engaging experiences on mobile is where responsive web design comes into play (if you haven’t heard of this, it’s time for an update), and new SEO algorithms are adapting to this. Another advancement in the realm of SEO is Google’s introduction of the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP). AMP allows for pages to load more quickly and easily, giving them more opportunity to be seen. AMP also introduces the possibility for publishers and advertisers to retain creative freedom for how their content appears.

Keywords

It is less likely, when searching, that a consumer will enter an exact website URL, opposed to a set of keywords. Keywords allow users to generally or specifically describe their search criteria, in a way that feels more natural than a longer URL. The right mix of keywords can also greatly benefit your search rankings, if users see your site as relevant, based on your keywords.

The outdated method of keyword stuffing is no longer relevant due to the trend toward a more narrow focus of traffic. While this update may seem counterintuitive, the new algorithm seeks to strengthen the quality of keywords to refine search-generated traffic into a more potent mix of relevant consumers. These changes ultimately reduce levels of extraneous consumers who really have no interest in your product or service. The remaining traffic is therefore made up of tangible, potential consumers—what the business folk call leads.

To answer our previous question: Yes, SEO is still relevant and vital to your marketing strategy. However, what works in January may change in March, so the ability to adapt is crucial as well. Various components, such as AMP or an up-to-date keyword strategy, work well to complement your overarching SEO efforts. However, one component on its own is no substitute for a solid strategy of thoughtfully implemented tools and resources. What do you think is the most important feature of SEO? Let us know in the comments!

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SXSW 2017: Key Takeaways on Digital Marketing

SXSW 2017: Key Takeaways on Digital Marketing

Posted on Mar 13, 2017 by Emily Ballard

The world of marketing is ever-evolving, and though there is no universal marketing strategy that will “just work” for every type of company, some marketing professionals make it seem like they possess the secret formula. Now that digital marketing has taken over, there are many new aspects of marketing that we must take into consideration when creating our marketing strategies. I went to multiple masterclasses on digital marketing that were held during weekend one of SXSW, and I’m here to share my key takeaways on where to focus your efforts when creating your digital marketing strategy.

Digital Marketing:

Lawrence O’Connor spoke on the fundamentals of marketing and shared in-depth, valuable information on how to understand your target market. While I found the entire masterclass extremely valuable, these are the key points I took away when focusing on digital marketing:

  1. Know your business. Ask yourself these questions: Why does my business exist? Why should anyone care? What am I not willing to compromise? What are my goals and how will I get there?
  2. Don’t skip testing and keep track of your data. Try both qualitative and quantitative testing. For qualitative you can focus on surveys and interviews and for quantitative focus on user engagement. When focusing on engagement, always pay attention to your analytics. If you are constantly recording your analytics, you will see what is working for you and what’s not.
  3. Recognize which platform your target market uses most. From your data, you will see trends emerge for where the most engagement is occurring. You can then increase your engagement with your core-users, through strategic interactions in social media.

Creating Your Social Media Strategy:

Vin Clancy, social media expert and owner of Traffic and Copy, shared his insight on how to grow your business using only social media. Through his in-depth presentation covering social media strategies, the main focal points that stuck out for me were:

  1. Add value. Bring your expertise to the table and offer your knowledge. Nothing beats staying genuine and true to who you are.
  2. Show up every day. Posting every single day on social media keeps you relevant, and people will create a connection with you. Keep your content fresh and relevant, and focused when engaging with your followers.
  3. Use content scheduling. There are multiple websites such as Buffer, Hootsuite and Spredfast that you can schedule content up to months in advance on multiple platforms at a time. These are great tools to use when you are trying to reach your audience through multiple platforms, on a daily basis.

Both of these masterclasses dug way deeper into these marketing strategies and covered topics of which I could only scratch the surface with this post. These key takeaways will help in understanding the basics of digital marketing, and are essential to the early development of your marketing strategies.

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15 Reasons To Use WordPress

15 Reasons To Use WordPress

Posted on Sep 01, 2015 by Tanner Hertzog

WordPress, the most responsive web designers for your business, has been around since 2003 and is the most popular blogging software on the market. WordPress is the world’s most popular tool for creating and managing websites — any kind of website, from a simple blog to a full-featured business website. Here are our TOP 15 reasons why WordPress is so popular and why you should consider switching to a WordPress platform for your company’s website.

1. Less $$$ Spent on Maintenance

With WordPress, you will no longer need to call your web designer every time you want to make a change. With WordPress, you can make the edits yourself, whenever you want, and save the money you would’ve paid your designer for more important things by adding new pages on your own.

2. Your Site becomes 100% Customizable

It shouldn’t come as a surprise but it is wort highlighting that WordPress gives you 100% customization freedom. Do you want a big website? Small Website? Blog? Lot’s of images? Social media integration? All of those are up to you, and can be done with ease. Change your mind later on? Fear not, you can always make changes to the site layout/design whenever you want.

3. Generate A Conversation With Your Visitors

Because of things like comments, you are now able to actually talk back to people via your webiste. Sure, you can always have a “contact us” page on your traditional Web site, but blog comments allow for anonymous two-way discussion between you and your readers. And, every time someone makes a comment to one of your posts, the inclusion of their content full of keyword phrases helps you to build better search positioning. It’s like getting free SEO help from the general public!

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#1: The Necessity of a Responsive Website

#1: The Necessity of a Responsive Website

Posted on Aug 18, 2015 by Tanner Hertzog

Drumroll please…… We are finally at #1! We saved not only the “best” for last, but also the most important as well! With the staggering growth of mobile devices like smart phones and tablets, as well as mobile device usage, via games, apps, social media, and websites, it is now more essential than ever that your business website is mobile friendly. Your website should be versatile in every way so that your clients and prospects can easily browse and find information, regardless of what type of device (phone, tablet, desktop, etc.) they are using.

You may be asking yourself, “What is responsiveness?” Responsiveness is basically exactly as it sounds, responsive. As mentioned above, people are accessing websites from a multitude of platforms these days. When a website is responsive, it’s display and overall functionality molds and forms to whatever platform is being used at the time, in order to keep a consistent flow for the user. We have all gone to a website on our phone before and been frustrated because it was to big for the screen, or you had to zoom in and out throughout your entire time on the site… This is not fun at all, and is very detrimental to your audience!

We have done our best to outline the benefits of a responsive website for you below, and we highly recommend you read these thoroughly so that you understand the true value as well as necessity of responsiveness in todays world.

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