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Why Your Business Needs a Marketing Strategy

Why Your Business Needs a Marketing Strategy

Posted on Jul 18, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

There are many complex components that make up a well-developed marketing strategy, and without direction, these components will have no connection to one another, and thus lose purpose. Your business’ marketing efforts can get lost in the shuffle of aimless ads and marketing tactics all too easily if your strategy is not well devised. A marketing strategy’s purpose is to bind each component seamlessly; to connect the dots of your objectives, audience, and methods all in a cohesive manner.  

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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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Understanding the Basics of Google Analytics

Understanding the Basics of Google Analytics

Posted on May 09, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Google Analytics is a potent tool for leveraging data to gain insight into your current audience, as well as develop a deeper understanding of how to reach your target audience. Top marketing professionals analyze data obtained through Google Analytics to identify how, and from where, website visitors are arriving (we’ll dig into this in a little bit). If you aren’t already utilizing this incredibly powerful service, here’s an overview on how you can make smarter, data-driven decisions that better your chances for more conversions and higher return on investment (ROI). Oh, and it’s free.

Audience

So the first thing you need to do is look at who has already been visiting your website. Google Analytics tells you almost everything about each visitor including their demographics, interests, location, behavior on the site, and what device they used to visit your site. From this, it generates relevant comparisons, using the copious amounts of data collected on each user. With access to such an extensive amount of data, Google Analytics allows you to get a clear picture of who is viewing your site and whether you should alter marketing initiatives in order to cater to your target audience.

Acquisition

Now that you’ve determined the makeup of your audience, the next step is discovering how users got to your site. The overview section (under acquisition) breaks down incoming site traffic into general sources: social media, email, direct visitors, organic searches, referrals from other websites, paid search and other. The information is then further digested into graphs to illustrate the percentage of users from each category, their session time, bounce rate and conversion rate. If the right people are already visiting your website, this feature of Google Analytics can help identify where and how to reach others like them.

Behavior

The “Behavior Flow” chart that Google Analytics creates according to time period is the easiest tool, in my opinion, to analyze each user journey. This chart offers the ability to walk through the steps of each user journey, and possibly determine what drove them to each page. This feature provides in-depth data on the most and least visited pages of your website. Such specific data is beneficial to improving the less-viewed portions of your site, and maintaining those more frequently viewed. Considering this data within Google Analytics helps to identify the popular sections of your site, and thus point you in the right direction for which aspects need extra attention.

Conversions

Now for the good stuff. Once you’ve identified your target audience, optimized your marketing initiatives and increased traffic to your website—you can sit back and watch the conversions roll in. Conversions tie in directly with your goals. For example, if your goal is for people to fill out a “Let’s Talk” form, Google Analytics can track how many visitors were served the form, and compare that to the number that completed it. Ecommerce businesses can track key performance indicators (KPI) like product performance, sales performance, transactions and time to purchase.

Knowing and understanding how each element of Google Analytics functions helps the tool to behave as a messenger, that keeps you informed about which areas of your website are successful and which are under-performing. What do you think is the most important aspect of Google Analytics? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

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Client Disrupts Entire Spa Industry

Client Disrupts Entire Spa Industry

Posted on May 04, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Technology has disrupted many industries in its rapid evolution over the past 50 years. Keeping up to speed with tech trends, much less staying ahead of the game, can be a real challenge. As a result of the demanding digital age we now live in, the vast majority of industries have integrated technology into their systems. With this in mind, the team at The Spa Mart knew to approach their new spa distribution venture with a strong emphasis on technology.  

That’s where HMG Creative came in. We were contacted by the development team, and immediately understood their vision for a top-notch eCommerce and online education website that would better serve spa professionals. We took their idea and molded it into a fresh, bold brand to encompass the values and traditions of the spa industry.

After completing The Spa Mart’s branding, we shifted gears into a six-month web development project that takes advantage of Magento 2.0, the successor to the widely popular eCommerce platform of the same name. We’ve also incorporated a system called Odoo, which is an inventory control manager that will allow The Spa Mart to better manage orders and control their back office system. Our client’s main goals were to build and nourish relationships with their customers, help their customers grow their own businesses and provide premium customer service. With the website functioning as the nucleus of their company, we integrated different customer journeys to provide optimal user experience for each customer depending on individual needs—whether they seek to purchase products or search for an online course.

The web-development project consisted of site hierarchy, user experience design, visual design and content strategy. Currently in the optimization and customization phase, the ability to continuously manage and optimize the site is a primary focus as we perfect the site’s flow. As they say—a high-quality, growth driven website is nothing without proper marketing. Taking this to heart, we are also currently in the process of developing a tailored digital marketing strategy to include powerful digital media management, such as pay-per-click advertising and retargeting.

The Spa Mart has been an incredible client, and our team here at HMG is grateful to be able to work with such amazing folks. We share the passion for building relationships and helping others grow their own businesses, so here’s to flourishing in doing what we love!

The Spa Mart’s site is currently active, fully responsive and hosted at HMG Creative.

If you would like more information on our services, leave us a comment or click here.

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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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Retargeting: The Ideal Marketing Strategy for All Companies

Retargeting: The Ideal Marketing Strategy for All Companies

Posted on Mar 08, 2016 by Jenna Meltzer

Retargeting has proven to be one of the most cost-effective online marketing strategies in the digital world. This concept allows advertisers to target consumers who have previously interacted with a certain website. By using cookies, you are anonymously tracking visitors on your site and seeing where they go next, what other websites they are visiting, etc. to help better understand their target market.

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