UPDATE - The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing

Since it is #ThrowbackThursday, we're bringing back one of our VERY first blogs we every wrote here at Hub Digital. Back in April of 2014, we wrote about the "7 Deadly Sins of Marketing" and gave some very pointed advice on what you shouldn't be doing when it comes to marketing. Since that way basically a lifetime ago in the digital marketing world, we decided to bring it back today and see if these "7 Deadly Sins" still hold true in today's environment.

2014 advice - 1. Setting your expectations too high - Many businesses and products fail before they even get started. You can't win a marathon by taking one step; it takes leaps and bounds to cross the finish line. Don't expect one ad or post to complete the job. Digital marketing takes creativity, dedication, and patience to build a following.

2018 edit - This one still absolutely holds true today! One of the things we work with our clients on is a reasonable timeline and expectations on how their business can grow online. We've all heard those stories about businesses that went from 0 to 6 figures in 1 month. And while that's great for them, it's important to recognize that these are the exception, not the rule. Marketing yourself online DOES work, but it does take time to see significant results.

2014 advice - 2. Being uninformed about your audience - Know your target audience, tone and message. The best message can be wasted on the wrong audience.  Determine what they will and will not respond to. Throwing darts at a wall may make them stick, but you'll never get the bullseye you're looking for that way!

2018 edit - Were we genius or what!? But in all seriousness, I don't think anyone can argue that it makes sense to just market to everybody all at once. Not only is it cost prohibitive, but it can make it seem like your business doesn't have a good handle on things, and can be a turn off to potential customers.

2014  advice - 3. Trying to use every available outlet for recognition - Though you may have a million ideas running around, sometimes focusing on a few is the key. Out of the large number of possibilities, choose a few that coordinate the best with your product or business. Posts that need more context could be shared on Facebook, for example, rather than Twitter, which has a character limit of 140.

2018 edit - This one is still absolutely true, but I think for different reasons. While restrictions in each outlet have loosened, it's still important to let yourself off the hook when it comes to posting on every outlet, all the time. Think about which ones your customers use the most (hence how point #2 is so important!) and what you enjoy doing. Combine the 2 to create a social strategy that works for you.

2014 advice - 4. Inconsistent timeline of posting - In an age of instant gratification, the audience no longer wants to wait. Posting consistently with updates reminds the audience so they don't forget about you. DO NOT give them a chance to become impatient. This is where choosing a few valuable outlets (#3) comes in handy. Pick ones that you know you can easily update on a consistent basis. 

2018 edit - This is still partially true. You must stay consistent with your social postings, blogging and email blasts, but there really isn't a a set time or day that's better for posting. With mobile becoming the medium of choice to access online, we are able to view content throughout the day, whenever we wish. This means that you can loosen the reins and vary posting times, and still see good reach from them.

2014 advice - 5. Overwhelming your audience - On the flip side, don't suffocate the audience with updates. Posting too much or sending too many emails can feel like spam which leads most to block or ignore future information. Everybody has that one friend that talks your ear off over lunch, and no one likes them. Finding the happy median between lack of posts and constant information is paramount for successful digital marketing. People will also enjoy two thorough and entertaining posts rather than five poor attempts. Rely on quality over quantity.

2018 edit - Hmmmmm.... Maybe? For a while social media sites, like Facebook, were all about quantity. The more you posted, the more you were seen. But now, with the recent algorithm changes, we're headed back into the world of quality over quantity. Facebook is pushing for well thought out, engaging content from businesses, not just random musings. We'll see this continue to evolve as these changes play out over the next few months.

2014 advice - 6. Neglecting mobile users - Many users access social media and sites on their phones, iPad, or tablet. Everyone is on-the-go and wants their entertainment/information to follow suit. Don't starve certain sections of your audience. Make navigating your business convenient with a mobile site that caters to mobile users' needs. 

Quick Tip: Also eliminate unnecessary images and videos to minimize loading times.

2018 edit - This has never been more wrong or more right! First of all, mobile is EVERYTHING now. Almost all your websites, content and efforts online should be focused towards mobile. Mobile searches, social media views and website traffic has officially surpassed desktop. Not optimizing your stuff for mobile is probably the #1 mistake a business can make. So, what's so wrong about this piece of advice? The elimination of images/video! Video has never been more important than it is right now. By not utilizing images and video on your website or in your marketing strategy, you're not only going to take a HUGE hit on SEO, but you're going to alienate a giant portion of your audience that will only watch video content over ready blog content.

2014 advice - 7. Biting off more than you can chew - After all of the other advice, sometimes you just need help. Recognizing that you cannot handle everything is important and there are people ready to assist at a moment's notice. Don't be hesitant to ask for help.

2018 edit - DUH! That's what we're here for! ;)

5 SEO Myths You May Be Wasting Your Time On

There is a TON of misinformation out there about digital marketing in general, and SEO in particular. Because Search Engine Optimization is something that a lot of people don't understand (or choose not), are overwhelmed by, or can't keep up with, it's often something that is easily misrepresented by "experts".

Don't worry, today Hub Digital has your back. We're breaking down the 5 biggest SEO myths that are still floating around in cyber space and are giving you permission to STOP waisting your time on them!

1. WWW vs non-WWW is important.
Every website owner has the decision to make their website URL “www” or to completely lose the “www”all together. While there are some technical differences in the 2, Google has officially stated that there are NO SEO benefits of one over the other. The important thing to remember is that once you choose which one you want, stay consistent with that version. You can choose your preference in Google Search Console. What IS important is having a secure site version (https) available and prevalent over your traditional non-secure version (http). Learn more about that here.

2. You have to fill out your Meta Keywords
If you’ve looked at the backend of your site to do your Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions you may have noticed a spot to put in Meta Keywords. These used to be extremely important for SEO and many SEO “experts” still think they hold weight. However, in recent updates Google has announced that because of keyword stuffing (which is when a website is filled with keywords that may or may not relate to the page) that meta keywords now have absolutely NO bearing on Google search rankings. Like I said before, you can fill them out if you want, but since they don’t make a difference, what’s the point? 

3. URL's should be keyword rich
There is still debate among many SEO experts about having a URL with a lot of keywords in it. Here’s my take - creating long, keyword rich URLs may actually hurt, instead of help your brand. Recent studies have shown that Google is consistently ranking long URLs lower in search. Recent analysis shows that the top 10 results on Google consistently have URLs with less than 37 characters. Also, after analyzing a random selection of 30,000 domains they found that those with a keyword in their URL ranked NO better than those that didn’t.* On top of that, really long URLs can be difficult for people to remember. Moral of the story is, if it makes sense to throw in a keyword go ahead, but keep it short, sweet and easy to remember. *Stats courtesy of Search Metrics

4. 301 redirects aren't SEO friendly
This one can get a little technical and confusing so bear with me a little. When someone types in a URL in the top bar, it takes them to a website. It is up to us to tell the internet what site we want it to take someone to when they type in our URL. There are a few ways to do that. The 2 most popular are Domain Mapping and 301 Redirects. Domain Mapping is when you purchase a URL from an outside outlet (like GoDaddy) and you want it to link fully to your site. Through this process you are changing the DNS and hosting settings so your URL is directly associated with your website. This is telling Google that this is your MAIN URL for your site and the one that should get all the juice. However, sometimes you may want to add an additional URL or change the one that is linking to your site. In order to achieve this you can 301 redirect the extra, or new, URL. A 301 redirect is telling Google that you want this URL to link to your website permanently. While it will still bring traffic to your website, you’ll see that the URL bar will change to your mapped URL once they get to the site. Because 301 redirected URL’s aren’t mapped, and don’t carry as much SEO juice as mapped URLs, many people think they aren’t SEO friendly. However, they actually can be a great thing for your site. If you map multiple URLs to your website they end up all competing with each other in SEO, essentially dropping you in search because not one URL will stand out. This is because your URLs carry SEO weight and can help in search (like if you’ve owned the URL a long time). By 301 redirecting the extra ones, you can still use them to point to your website, but won’t be taking away from your main URL’s SEO juice. Another good use of them is if you decide to change your main URL to a new one. By mapping your new URL and 301 redirecting your old one, you’ll actually transfer about 90 - 95% of the SEO juice of the old one to the new one.

5. You should use Google Authorship
This one’s pretty easy, Google Authorship doesn’t exist anymore, so don’t even bother trying. Google Authorship was an experiment by Google trying to link content you create with your Google+ profile. After multiple attempts it never caught on, and Google shut it down. You may still see listed in some outdated SEO classes or articles. If you do, just ignore it and move on.

The Tools I Love That Make Marketing Easier

Today is Valentine's Day and we're talking LOVE here at Hub Digital! And by LOVE I mean some of the marketing programs and tools that we heart and use everyday. Check out the video below to learn more about them and why I recommend them, and then follow the links below to check them out for yourself!

The tools mentions in this post:

Canva - Graphic design program filled with templates to design everything from documents, to social posts, to banner ads. Can even create animated graphics for more exposure and engagement on social media.

Buffer - If you need help scheduling and managing your social media posts, we recommend Buffer as the easier to use, less expensive option.

ActiveCampaign - The email marketing platform for those with large lists and who need more integrated automated sequences and to move contacts through different sales funnels.

Mailchimp - For many businesses, Mailchimp covers more than enough of the emailing needs of a small business. PLUS it FREE up to 2000 subscribers AND automatic sequences are included!

Zoom - If you have video conferencing or Webinar needs, Zoom can cover both and is less expensive and more reliable than it's competition.

Drift - Have LIVE conversations with website visitors or encourage them to schedule appointments with you during your off hours. Engage your customers when they are thinking about you and your business.

The 5 Pillars of Digital Marketing

Here at Hub Digital, we believe that there are 5 main pillars to digital marketing. They are the 5 different areas that you should be exploring to help promote your business online. What are those pillars you ask? Good question!

- Blogging
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Paid Advertising

Seem overwhelming? I mean, running your own business is hard enough! How are you going to tackle all these different things on top of that?

Don't stress! Yes, you should do make an effort to use each of these pillars in a successful marketing campaign. BUT, it doesn't mean you HAVE to do everything in each of those pillars. Explore ways that you can integrate some of these strategies into your marketing routine.
- Can you repurpose your blog into a weekly or bi-weekly email campaign?
- Can you spend 10 minutes each month researching those keywords and using those as future blog topics?
- Can you spend a few dollars each month to boost a great Facebook post to get some more reach on it?

See! It doesn't have to be hard!

Check out our Facebook live from last week to learn more about these 5 pillars, why they are important and how you can integrate them in your business' marketing.

5 Days to Jumpstart Your Digital Marketing

2018 is here! And at Hub Digital we came into it swinging. We challenged some amazing VIP's to start their year right with our mini challenge, "5 Days to Jumpstart Your Digital Marketing". On Facebook Live each morning we dove deep into a different pillar of marketing, and we talked about some of the best tips and tricks to tackle each of them.

It was so amazing to connect with so many entrepreneurs and business owners to help them start their year right. They asked some amazing questions, gave each other some awesome advice (that's right, it wasn't just me talking!), and got inspired to kick some serious marketing butt this year!

So then I got to thinking, why would I want to keep these information only to a select few? Why not open it up to the rest of you so you can rock it as well? So, that's what I'm doing! Check out the videos below and create your own online marketing mini challenge! Challenge yourself to work on your own digital marketing. Challenge yourself to do some of the marketing things (cough... blogging... cough) that you've been putting off for a while. And challenge yourself to commit to growing your business this year, even when you don't feel like putting in the time and effort.

Check out the videos below and feel free to always reach out with any questions you have! Oh! And don't forget to join our private group, The Digital Marketing Hub, so you won't miss out on even more tips, tricks, and future challenges!

Day 1 - Keyword Research. The very first thing you must do when it comes to your digital marketing is keyword research. In this video we walk through the process of researching long tail keywords and how you can brainstorm them for your business to compete better in search.

Day 2 - Blogging Brainstorming. Creating content, or blogging, is one of the most effective marketing strategies for SEO, and for connecting and selling potential clients and customers. Check out Hub Digital's ideas for coming up with blog ideas so you never end up staring at a blank screen again.

Day 3 - Content Planning. By planning your content, you are much more likely to stick to your marketing plan. Learn some of our best strategies to planning your blogs, social media posts and website content.

Day 4 - Promoting Your Content. How can you promote your content for FREE? We all know social media works, but we have some lesser known ideas (have you heard of a blog carnival?) that will help you promote your content for FREE!

Day 5 - Pinterest Ads. We all know about Facebook ads, but have you explored Pinterest Ads yet? Get some of our best tips and tricks to promoting your business on Pinterest (even if you didn't think your business would traditionally work for Pinterest!)