Posts tagged digital advertising tips
5 Ways to Get More People Reading Your Emails

Ahhh… the ultimate question. How can I get more people opening up my emails?

It’s something every business owner or marketer struggles with at some point, and now that we've talked about how to increase your email subscribers, it’s time to talk about engaging them. It’s a constant balancing act between investing time in your email marketing strategy and feeling like it’s not making enough impact.

Well, first thing’s first. Let’s talk benchmarks. As of 2018, the national average open rate for emails across all industries was 24.88%.

So, what does that tell us? Basically it gives us some more realistic view on what we can expect our open rates to be. It gives us a better idea on how to track if what we’re doing it truly working.

So, now the meat and potatoes, how can get more people opening our emails and increase our own open rates.

  1. Start with your list - Having a large list can be REALLY tempting. Seeing those big numbers can give you a great ego boost. Here’s the thing though, if they’re not opening your emails, then they’re just an empty number. And while that number may make you feel good when you look it, it actually could be hurting you in the long run. Continuing to send emails to people who aren’t opening them can actually be a trigger to mail carriers like Google and Yahoo who may end up sending your emails directly to spam. What I like to do is at the end of every quarter scrub my list of anyone who hasn’t interacted with an email of mine in the past 90 days. While it may hurt to see them go, it opens up space for those who actually want to hear from me, and helps ensure that my emails get through to them.

  1. Make sure your email is mobile compatible - With all the cool templates out there it can be tempting to overly design your email campaigns. But here’s the deal, over 60% of emails are opened on mobile phones, and if they aren’t easy to read on a phone, chances are your email is just getting deleted, or even worse, not being delivered at all. Think about streamlining your email format (studies show plain, simple text actually works the best), or check in from time-to-time to see how your emails are showing up on mobile devices.

  1. Time it perfectly - Readers are more likely to open an email within the first hour of delivery. So it’s our job to optimize that delivery day and time to reach as many active readers as possible. Studies show that Tuesday and Friday are your best days to send emails, with Wednesday and Thursday close seconds. Further more, a majority of people open emails up after 12pm (with a peak around 3pm). Of course, all of this should be specified to your audience so start with these best practices and play around a little to see the best day and time for you specifically.

  1. Change who your email is sent from - this can actually make a HUGE difference! Research shows that changing your “from” name to your personal name, rather than your business name, can increase open rates by as much as 35%! Of course, this has to make sense for you and your business - but it may make a case for showcasing more of “you” in your business. People buy from people.

  1. Up your subject line game - Now this is the big one. Your subject line can completely make or break an email campaign. Here’s some best practices to help you shape an open worthy subject line:

  • Keep it between 6-10 words. Too much longer and it can get cut off

  • Personalize it if you can. Most CRM platforms let you easily add in names to your emails or subject lines. Some studies have shown an increase in open rates by almost 20% just by adding in the reader’s first name.

  • If you’re giving away free content, or linking to a video in your email make sure you mention it in your subject line.

  • Tease their interest. Make readers want to know what’s inside by peaking their interest without giving it all away. Stay a little cryptic, or get them questioning what you're talking about. They’ll open your email to find the answer.

  • Avoid exclamation marks and question marks sometimes. Overuse of them can trigger spam filters and keep your email from getting delivered.

  • Consider an emoji. Some recent studies have shown a small increase in open rates when a sender used an emoji in the subject line. It’s always worth a try - plus they add some color and fun to an inbox.

If you’ve been struggling with your open rates, take a crack at those tips above over the next few weeks, I can guarantee you’re going to start to see an increase!

Ready to see how Hub Digital can help you grow your business online? Click here to schedule a free strategy session with Amy.

Continuing Education for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Time tends to go by extremely quickly when you're in the trenches of running your own business. The day-to-day tasks of a small business can be overwhelming and take up most of your day. By the time you have a minute to reflect, a month has gone by and you've done nothing but tread water! The world is changing, marketing is changing, and best practices are changing, and you're left wondering how you can possibly fit more into your day? There's no way you can add anything else, like learning and implementing the newest trends in business while managing your daily to-do list. 

This is where this exploding trend in continuing education can come to the rescue - online classes. Created by both real world professionals and educators, these classes are created for the busy small business owner. They are often presented in smaller modules, or on membership platforms, that are easy to sneak in during the day and can range in topics from current marketing trends, to time management, to how to drive sales. 

The online class is one my favorite things. As a constant consumer of information, I think it's an amazing way to pick the brains of those that are rocking it in the business world. However, there are a lot of classes out there, and it can be difficult to know which ones are worth investing in. It seems like lately, you can’t throw a stone without hitting 5 different “experts” hawking an online course. I have a few tips on what to look for to ensure the class is top quality and will work for your needs:

  • Make sure they've implemented their techniques on their own business. The best way to tell if someone is the real deal is if they don't just teach, but actually do. Make sure they mention using their strategies on themselves, and if they give real world examples of how it was successful.

  • Get an outline of the class before purchasing. Real classes will give you a full, in-depth look of the class BEFORE making you buy it. They should walk you through the modules, clearly explain what you'll learn, and what you'll get which should give you a good idea if it's what you're looking for.

  • Make sure your personalities jive. Not only does the information need to be legit but you need to actually like the person to retain any of it. Check out some of their videos and articles to see if you like how they speak, phrases they use and if you can easily understand the way they present the content.

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. Those disseminating and selling the information shouldn't be afraid to answer questions you have about their product. Ask them to give you more in-depth information on what's covered in the class, if it's updated as things change, and how long it will take to finish the class. 

If you take a couple minutes to Google different topics you're interested in learning more about, you're bound to find a variety of classes that will fit your needs. To give you a little bit of a head start I'm breaking down my personal favorites that I can guarantee are well worth the investment.

  • FB Framework - Courtney Foster-Donahue. Courtney is definitely a personality so I fully acknowledge that she may not be for everyone! She is super upbeat, super fun and has built and AMAZING business, mostly through Facebook. In this training she’s sharing some of her top tips PLUS she continuously updates it when Facebook rolls out new changes (which is basically every other day). Click on that link to check out a free mini class so you can get to know her and her philosophies better before joining.

  • Digital Course Academy - Amy Porterfield. Amy Porterfield is probably one of the more well known online educations, and there’s a reason - she knows what she’s talking about! This one is an investment, but I personally have taken this one myself and find the information completely worth the 4-figure price tag. It breaks down everything from building you course, to how to use webinars to promote your business, to other ways on how to market it effectively. It's been a tactic that I've found has been an integral tool in promoting my business. This class only opens it doors a few times a year so I suggest signing up for the waitlist to get updated on when it’s available again.

  • Power of Pinning - Melanie Duncan. A great option for those looking to explore Pinterest and learn how this platform can be used to help drive traffic to websites and sell products directly through the platform. It also dives into Pinterest SEO and how you can optimize your pins not just for Pinterest but Google as well. I’ve taken this one as well and it’s a great intro to using Pinterest in a more business sense (not just to save home decor inspiration).

  • Member Site Academy - The Membership Guys - Have you been interested in putting together your owner membership program? As the title suggests, this is a monthly membership program that incorporates pre recorded trainings with monthly Live Q&A’s. This adds a level of accountability and engagement that can really help you stick with the content and apply it.

  • The Digital Marketing Hub - Amy Fields - I couldn’t to write a whole blog about courses and memberships sites and skip my own right?! If you’re looking for monthly tips, masterclass and trainings around how to grow your business online, then this is for you! Each month we bring you new, themed content, all geared towards helping you succeed online. Your marketing plan isn’t just a single technique or strategy, so having a one-stop-shop to driving more traffic and sales online is a massive timesaver for a small business owner.

Do You IGTV?

In case you haven't heard, last week Instagram announced it's brand new app, IGTV (short for Instagram Television). What is it? It's a stand alone app (yes you have to download it from the App Store.) that allows users to create long form videos that can range anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 hour. 

That's right! You're not limited to the 15 second snippets inside Instagram Stories, or the 60 seconds on your feed any more! It allows creators to make vertical form videos (think no more having to rotate your phone sideways to watch videos) that tell longer stories, showcase their talents or business, and save those memories to their channel for people to continue going back to (long after your Instagram Story has expired). 

So, how can a business, like yours, utilize IGTV? Let's talk about what you can use it for.

1. Welcome/About Videos - Need some more space to talk about you and your business? In IGTV you can create long form videos that showcase your products/services, walk a potential client or customer through what they can expect if they work with you, or give a full view of what a day in the life is like for your business.

2. Training Videos - Facebook (and particularly Facebook Live) has been notorious for capturing the "training" video market. Now, educators have another platform to give step-by-steps, offer tips and tricks, and give insider advice.

3. Dive deeper into products - Create showcases around physical products and really get a chance to showcase all the in's and out's. Walk potential customers through membership sites or courses, giving them an inside view of what they're about to purchase.

I know it can be daunting to take on ANOTHER social media platform, but look at this one as an extension of what you're already doing. Video, and digital TV, is the way people are continuing to consume more and more information, and jumping on this trend early can put you ahead of the crowd.

Are All Those "Free" Trainings Really Worth It?

If you own a business and are on Facebook, or Instagram, or just online in general, you've probably seen them. The ads that claim you can: "Make $10K in 30 days from Facebook ads", "Get 10x more traffic in a Week from Pinterest", or "Use My Secret Technique to Get 10K Instagram Follows Now"! And they all boast that you can get these things simply by joining their FREE, 1 Hour, Webinar, Masterclass, Training, etc.

These ads sound almost too good to be true, and can be really tempting to business owners and entrepreneurs looking to grow their business online. So, the question becomes, are these "free" trainings really worth it?

Short answer: Yes! They can be! Let me explain...

Depending on the source, there can be some AMAZING little tidbits of information that can help you feel inspired to take the next step in your business, help you tweak something that wasn't quite right, or help you get that much closer to mastering a marketing technique you've been trying to learn. However, as with anything, there are good and bad, and in order to truly get the most out of your time (and in some cases $$) spent, there are a few rules you should follow.

1. Know your source. I can't stress this enough. While the training may be free, it doesn't guarantee that it's worth your time (or energy or effort to implement their strategies). Do a little research around the person offering the training and see if they put their money where their mouth is. If they're telling you they can help you be successful on Instagram, make sure they are themselves! There is nothing worse than spending time on strategies that don't work (or even worse, will be detrimental to your business). 

2. Curb your expectations. Those claims they make in those ads (Make $30K in 30 Days!) is more often than not, the exception, NOT the rule. Know that while a lot of the information they give away IS useful to your business, you most likely will NOT get that kind of result. But that's OK! As long as you go into the presentation with realistic expectations about how their strategy can help your business, you won't find yourself disappointed in the end.

3. Know you WILL be sold something at the end. In exchange for giving away tips, EVERY single one of those giving the training will pitch you something at the end of it. Don't get annoyed or frustrated, they have to make money too! In fact, I always suggest hanging around through their sales pitch. More often than not if you do, you'll get extra bonus content for sticking through it (even more free stuff!) and who knows - the class, course, or program their pitching may actually be what you were looking for. Many times you can get great pricing on self study courses or group programs that will help you finally master an area you were struggling with. (But again, make sure you do your research before purchasing anything!)

4. Make sure you follow through. Even though the training may be free, your time is not. If you're going to invest an hour of your time in a course, make sure you follow through! More likely than not, the tips they give you are TOTALLY doable, it just requires your commitment. And if you do decide to invest in the program their selling, you ABSOLUTELY must make sure you complete it. Self-study courses are filled with people who purchased and never completed them. Only buy if you are truly committed to taking the entire course so you don't leave feeling like you wasted your time and money.

Speaking of investing, do you have $9 to invest that you actually want a return on? Check out The Digital Marketing Hub where you can get access to full Masterclasses, Guest Expert Trainings and answers to your digital marketing questions for only $9 per month!

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!)

Is it Really Worth it?
Big SEO For Small Businesses online search engine optimization class.

So by now you've heard us talk up one side and down the other about "Big SEO For Small Businesses". We've talked about:

how it will save you time,

how it will save you money,

what's included in the class,

and how it's unlike any other SEO class or strategy you've ever seen before.


But one of the things we haven't really talked about is the true value of this class. Because we're sure you're wondering, is it really worth it?

The 15 lessons in this class go beyond just a "traditional" SEO strategy. They go beyond just fiddling with a few things on your website. And they go beyond what you ever thought was possible from organic search alone.

This class is designed to optimize all your marketing techniques for SEO so everything is working for you, all the time.

And on top of that, you're not only optimizing your content to show up in search, but we show you how to optimize your content to convert those leads into sales.

Let's put it another way.

If you were to hire us to manage all of this for you, you're looking at a price tag significantly higher than what you would pay by clicking the link below.

Purchase "Big SEO For Small Businesses" 

But despite the lower price tag, you won't be getting watered down information. This is the very same information we charge premium pricing for in our consulting practice. Included in this class is some of our very best tips on how to get your website to the first page in Google search, and we just can't wait to share it with you.

But, we suggest you click sooner rather than later because enrollment for this class closes tomorrow and you don't want to miss out!

How We Got Our Website to #1 in Google Search...
How we got our website to rank #1 in Google Search - Hub Digital Marketing, Rhode ISland.

Yesterday we pulled back the curtain and let everyone in on our newest class "Big SEO For Small Businesses". We had such a fun time giving away some of our best SEO tips in our free Master Class, and we're overwhelmed by the response of those looking to take that knowledge and dive even deeper by purchasing "Big SEO For Small Businesses"

We have to say, we're pretty exhausted after such a crazy day:

How Hub Digital in Rhode Island got their website to rank #1 in Google Searc with SEO.h.

But, we know that in the race to be #1 in Google Search there are no days off! (Ok, maybe you can take one or two here and there...)
 
After starting Hub Digital Marketing in 2014, we knew that being a small start up, with very little money to spend on ads, put us at a disadvantage when competing with large agencies. We made the decision that traditional ads were not going to work from us. So what did we do? We focused on getting to the top of organic search (aka SEO). 

After just a year we found ourselves ranking #1 in Google search for over 11 different identified keywords for our business, and continue to maintain those positions (and move up in others) 3 years later.

So, how did we do it? Here's our secret.... Consistency. 

We knew SEO wasn't a quick hit and that we would have to commit to best practices and continue to evolve over the years. Did it take work? Absolutely! But let us tell you something... It was SO worth it!

We now field calls from qualified leads, every week, from business owners looking for us.

We don't have to spend thousands of dollars on ads, we don't have to convince people to call us, and we don't have to waste our time on sales calls to people who aren't ready to invest in their digital marketing. 

Our closing rates have increased significantly, and we've filled our consulting practice with some amazing small businesses we love working with.

Do you want to be able to say that in your business? We can help you do that!

We took over 3 years of research, learning, and trial and error, and have created a completely streamlined system that is guaranteed to help you move up in Google Search results, drive more qualified website traffic, AND increase sales.

And the best part? You don't have to be an SEO expert (in fact you don't even need to know what SEO is) in order to get the same results we did.

Are you ready to grow your business in a sustainable way without spending thousands of dollars on advertising? 

Click here to learn more and watch a video about Big SEO For Small Businesses.

And to make this deal even sweeter? We've got a VERY special pricing deal going on that is only good for the next few hours! You'll get our full program (plus maybe even a few extra bonuses!) at a significantly reduced price! 

No seriously, it's a BIG money saver that is expiring tomorrow!

So click the link below and dive into one of the only SEO courses you'll ever need!

Anthony Pensabene: 3 Ways to Create Killer Content
Today's guest blog comes from Anthony Pensabene, an SEO expert, who is breaking down how to create content that not only drives traffic to your website, but is content your audience actually cares about.

Today's guest blog comes from Anthony Pensabene, an SEO expert, who is breaking down how to create content that not only drives traffic to your website, but is content your audience actually cares about.

You’ve heard content is important. 

But what’s next? What’s your next piece of content going to be about? 

Many small businesses choose topics related to services or products. Alternatively, some choose topics based on current events or the interests of staff. 

All of those are fine, yet these businesses wonder why that content is not driving traffic or kindling interest after initial publish.

Below, you’ll learn three ways to create content that:

  • Your target market cares about
  • Drives traffic to your site

Answer Questions

Many businesses seek SEO services to rank better for competitive terms related to services and products. However, query-related content is a great way to drive traffic and the interest of people who are in the sales funnel. 

So rather than attempt to rank for a product or service term, you want a piece of content to rank well in addressing a customer’s question or concern.

Let’s use a sneaker supplier as an example. It’s very likely generic words like ‘sneakers’ or ‘womens sneakers’ will be too competitive. Similarly, any brand name such as ‘Nike’ or ‘Vans’ will be super competitive. 

What’s a small businessperson to do? Answer questions that customers have related to the product or service.

  1. Start toying with Google’s autosuggest function. 

Place words how to, when, and what before a term.

There’s no limit to what you can find. Below, I’m going through the alphabet, putting ‘b’ next to ‘how to’:

2. AnswerthePublic is a cool content tool that gives a grand idea of the kind of information people want to know around any topic. 

Let’s use the topic of car insurance. We put ‘car insurance’ in the tool, choose US for country origin, and we’re provided with 157 questions.

At this point, you may wonder which topics to choose. To further target content, consider the search volume and competition level.

Copy and paste queries into Google’s Keyword Planner to get monthly search volume and a better idea of how difficult it will be to rank for the term.

Get Peripheral

3. Let’s use Google Analytics to learn more about our site visitors’ interests.

In Analytics, go to Audience → Interests → Affinity Categories

Basically, Google segments site visitors by their overall search behavior. It’s a nice way to generate peripheral topic ideas. 

So let’s say we have a clothing business and identify Home Decor Enthusiast as an affinity category. Our customers shop for clothes, but according to Google data, they also visit home interior sites, buy home goods, etc.

You can get creative in combining your service or product with identified affinity categories. Or, you could use a content ideation tool like Hubspot’s.

Here are some ideas:

Boom! Now, you have three new ways to generate topics and a bunch of new tools to try!

Anthony Pensabene has been working in digital marketing since 2007. He helps his boss, Dan Shure, with the Experts on the Wire podcast.

Budgeting for Advertising - How Much Should You Spend?
How much you should budget to spend on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and GoogleAdwaords.

Whenever we bring up the topic of digital advertising we always get the same question, over and over again. How much does it cost? This is a tough one to answer. Knowing how much to spend on your digital advertising is really dependent upon your business, time of year, and frankly, what you have to spend. The great thing about digital? Even the smallest budgets can succeed online, which is especially helpful for small businesses that are priced out of the more traditional options, like newspaper and TV.  We've pulled together some basic guidelines on what you should be prepared to spend if you really want to start seeing your online ads make a difference for you. Again, remember these are just general guidelines and should be adjusted to fit what you find works best for your individual business (testing is always important).

Facebook
The big kahuna. The main one. The platform everyone wants to be on. With an estimated 33.76 BILLION (that's right, billion with a "B") expected to be spent on Facebook ads in 2017, both local and national advertisers alike know that this is the place to be. However, with so many options available it can be hard to know exactly what you should be spending on each of the different types of campaigns.

  • Like Campaigns - While guaranteed to get you likes, it can be a little hard to know if the people liking your page are truly interested in your business. Keep these budgets small, starting around $50 for a 3 or 4 day run. See how they perform and go through the list of who liked your page to see if any seem "off" or "spammy". Then wait a few weeks to see if engagement has gone up or these new likes are paying off.

Total Spent Per Campaign: $50, Expected Cost Per Like: $1

  • Boosted Post - Again, jury is out on whether these are effective or not so keep the boosted posts to only those things that are truly important. Limited your boosting to your own fan base can be beneficial to ensure you reach all the fans that you just can't get to relying on organic reach alone. Save targeting people outside of that existing fan base (those that already like your page) for a more traditional FB advertisment.

Total Spent Per Boosted Post: $10-$30

  • Advertisement - For more traditional advertisements (whether they be static image or video ads) start small here and gradually increase your budget over the course of a few days. Studies show that throwing large amounts of money at your ad off the bat actually ends up costing you MORE per lead in the long run. Another benefit of this strategy is that you can test different ads and target groups slowly with less money and then increase spend on those that you find are working for you. Plan on hitting a target of at least $30 to $40 per day (this can go up to hundreds of dollars per day if your budget allows) and being about to sustain that for a minimum of 5-7 days to really see ad impacts.

Total Spent Per Campaign: Start at about $10-$20 per day, Slowly increase in $5 or $10 increments daily depending on overall budget and time of campaign. 
Expected Cost Per Lead: $3-$5

Instagram
Another Facebook owned platform, Instagram is quickly being indoctrinated into the FB advertising fold. While they haven't touched algorithms around what's appearing in Instagram newsfeeds (yet), it's getting harder and harder to reach new users and followers without the use of ads. If you're adding Instagram ads on to Facebook ads (which you can do right through the Facebook Ads Manager), plan on following a similar budget and strategy as your Facebook ads.

Total Spent Per Campaign: Start at about $10-$20 per day, Slowly increase in $5 or $10 increments daily depending on overall budget and time of campaign.
Expected Cost Per Lead: $3-$5

Pinterest
Ahh Pinterest! The underappreciated and underutilized advertising platform, for small businesses especially. With the common misconception that Pinterest advertising is way too expensive and out of reach, not enough small business are jumping on this bandwagon. But we're here to tell you, it's WAY more affordable than you think! There hasn't been any evidence of needing to "start small" in Pinterest like you do in Facebook, but if it's your first time running ads on the platform it's always better to try testing with a smaller budget first to see if it's something that works for you. Plan on about $20-$30 per day (but feel free to go up from there) and about $100 - $500 per campaign. 

Total Spent Per Campaign: $100 - $500, Expected Cost Per Click: $.25-$1

Google Adwords
Once the king of all online advertising, competition is fierce. Google is THE search engine with the majority of searches done within it, it's no wonder advertisers are clamoring to get their brand in on it. However, with this one we like to say, “buyer beware!". While it can be effective, it's taking increasingly more and more money to outbid competition. In addition, users are getting very savvy to knowing what are "ads" and what is real, organic content. Latest studies show that about 60-70% of people searching tend to skip past the ads altogether and jump right to organic search. Good news? 30-40% of people are still clicking so there is still value in the platform, just be prepared to expand your budget.

Total Spent Per Campaign: $500 - $5,000, Expected Cost Per Click: $2-$15+

Hub Digital: Who We Are
Who Hub Digital is and who we help throughout Rhode Island.

While it might seem like we're super education-focused lately, we are tenaciously passionate about working with small to medium sized businesses to reach their business development goals. 


Who are we? We are a dynamic boutique digital marketing firm that is dedicated to serving businesses that know their niche, but might be having some trouble reaching the right audience. Check out our latest video to find out more about Hub Digital.

Pop Ups: Don't Block 'Em, Unlock 'Em
Don't let pop-ups annoy you. Learn how you can use them to your advantage from the Hub Digital team.

Whenever we hear “pop ups,” admittedly our minds still think of pop ups from the early 2000s – back when Windows had that gloomy grey color scheme and all pop ups felt like scams.

Today, we’re reinventing the pop up. They don’t have to be annoying, or scam-y, and they can be a digital marketer’s best friend if you do them correctly. In fact, when done well, users really enjoy relevant pop ups.

So why should you use pop ups?

Well, the largest pull to use pop ups is that they are a great way to generate warm leads that actually want to consume your content. Pop ups are actually proven to drive sales, and websites that have them outperform competitors who don’t. Think about it – by signing up with their email address through your pop up, they’re saying “yes, I want to receive updates from you in my inbox,” which drives sales.

When a user is presented with a pop up, they have to take action – whether that’s saying “yes, here’s my email” or by clicking out of the dialog box. So there’s a 50/50 chance they’ll give you their email address… and an even higher likelihood if you accompany your pop up with some kind of deal. 

Pop Ups Best Practices:

  • Offer something. A great way to generate leads is by offering a discount, access to your blog or newsletter, or downloadable content, say… a free Ebook to whoever subscribes. Think about it in terms of your own habits – how likely are you to just give a website your email address? Probably pretty unlikely. You’d have to be offered something or be really interested to trust the website enough to give your email address away.
  •  Don’t make it look pop up-y. There are so many ways that pop ups can look like a beautiful, cohesive component of your website. Be creative and make your ads bold and bright, and make sure it looks nothing like the pop ups we all remember and loathe from the 2000’s.
  • Don’t put too many on your site. While users may enjoy relevant pop ups, they don’t enjoy constantly having to click out of several of them while they’re surfing your site, or having the same ones pop up again and again.

There are a few different kinds of pop ups.

  • Entry Pop Ups are the ones that show up immediately when you enter a website. These are most effective if you’re a retailer, and we suggest you accompany them with a discount. Caution: an immediate pop up has the potential to deter guests from your site, so you have to be careful and offer a good deal! 

  • Timed Pop Ups pop up after a certain amount of time the user spends on the site. These are usually really effective because users have already stayed on your page for a certain length of time, so you know they’re interested in your content. Timed pop ups like “Want content like this sent to your inbox?” or “Download our free Ebook to learn even more” are usually very effective.

  • Scroll Pop Ups occur once the user has scrolled down on your webpage or blog post a certain percentage of the page, and won’t pop up before. These are said to be the most effective type of pop up because you know that the user is interested, since they’ve already taken the time to consume your content that much! These will generate the “warmest” leads, or leads that are most likely to end up making a purchase.

Here’s to reinventing pop ups! 

We Are So Thankful...

We are so very thankful, everyday.  

We feel grateful daily for the work that we get to do, the people that we work with – both our team and our amazing clients – for the beautiful space in which we work (at The Hive RI in the historic Mill at Lafayette) and of course for that 4 legged creature, Hubble, that keeps us happy and balanced!  

The work we do…

We have made a commitment to ourselves and to each other to only do work that makes us excited to get out of bed every day.  When one of us finds ourselves not feeling that way we stop and evaluate why we are not feeling energized and excited and we re-align our focus or pivot our strategy!  We are insatiable and love to learn and innovate all the time and this work that we’ve chosen, that changes constantly, certainly feeds that appetite. 

The people we work with…

Our team here at Hub Digital are rockstars!  Whether we’re talking about our core group or our many strategic and collaborative partners they are all smart, kind, interesting and amazingly cool people.  Our clients!  We realized awhile ago that our sweet spot, where we really thrive, is when we are working with people that are really great at what they do.  People that know their businesses, are committed to growth and focused on doing the best they can in their chosen industry but understand the value of bringing in external support in areas where they are not the experts.  We are deeply committed to working closely with our clients to build campaigns and strategies specific to their individual growth needs.  

The space in which we work…

What can we say here?  We have a waterfall outside our door, wildlife visible through our oversized (and original) window, brick walls and ginormous ceilings, a park for walking or running in the woods (full of ponds, brooks and woods), an amazing supportive community chock full of all kinds of professionals and businesses and history all around us!  We are a mile from Wickford Village and a hop, skip and a jump to the highway.  Not the worst place to create fulfilling and helpful work.

Then there’s Hubble…

Many of you might not know where the ‘Hub’ in ‘Hub Digital’ comes from?  Hubble, named after Robert Redford’s character in ‘The Way We Were’ NOT The Hubble Telescope as many tend to assume, is the most handsome 4 legged boss ever.  He’s cute, wise beyond his 5 years, blond and has us wrapped around his cute little paws.  When we’re feeling less than motivated, stressed out, or the dreaded creative block…all we have to do is take a brief ‘Hubble break’ like a walk in the woods or just snapping some pics of him to post on social media and our batteries are immediately re-charged!  He’s so much more than just our logo…and often reminds us of those little things that we should always be thankful for.

Wishing you and yours all the best on this, our favorite, holiday.  Whether you’re with friends or family, near or far, may you be enjoying all that you have to be thankful for.

In gratitude,

The Hub Digital team

Do You Blog?
Why blogging is important to your online marketing strategy from Hub Digital

Inspire and engage your audience by creating consistent content. Is blogging a word that glazes your eyes over, maybe brings out a bit of a cold sweat and even creates some anxiety? We promise it doesn’t have to be that stressful.

Who are you? What do you do? Why do you do it?

Understanding who you are, what you do and why you do it is the key to what will make YOUR blogs interesting. Do you feel like you don’t have anything to share that people will want to read? We bet you’re wrong! Have you ever heard the snowflake analogy? It is so very important(we really can’t stress this enough) to clearly identify, then always be mindful of, your differentiator(s) and unique value proposition(s), and not just when we’re talking about blogging…but as the base of everything you do in your business!

Know your audience?

We’re not just talking about your potential clients here (though of course that is a major part of the audience you want to be in front of) but we also recommend you stretch a bit and think about who might refer clients or business to you. Do you have strategic partnerships or collaborative and complimentary business relationships that might be prone to sending business your way? Don’t forget about friends and family too. Having a clear understanding of ‘who’ needs to know exactly what you do and why you’re special is crucial.

Help them help you!

We are always using this simple phrase ‘help them help you’. Think about it, how many times have you read an email, a blog or an article that you’ve wanted to share with a friend, family member, colleague or your network(s)? Do you share? Have you shared? If you did or do share content, think about how easy or difficult it was. If you wanted to share with your network(s), was the email, blog or article enabled with easily sharable links - like Twitter, Facebook (to personal or a page you manage), Google+, LinkedIn, etc…? If you wanted to share with an individual, how did you do it? Did you forward if it was an email? Did you just copy and paste the URL if it was a blog or article? Make your content easily sharable! Remember that old Vidal Sassoon commercial “and she told two friends, then she told two friends…” help them help you!

How often? How much?

We usually recommend you write at least 2 blogs per month. We also usually recommend you utilize these blogs in your email campaigns, post to social media and so on. As for length…that depends on what we’re talking about, but for blogs the basic rule of thumb is 500-600 words - although you can do as little as a few sentences or much longer. When you use your blogs in your email campaigns we often recommend you share the first two paragraphs then have a link back to the website so they can read more, which increases traffic to your website!

What should you write?

You’ve identified what you do and why you do it. We’re guessing there are all kinds of things you can write about that your audience will find interesting. Can you put together a list of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)? Maybe keep a note pad near by and jot down ideas as they come to you. We promise that it’s a lot like exercise… hard at first, then it starts to feel good and gets easier the more you do it. Check out some tips for dreaming up content here. We guarantee that the more prepared and committed you are, the more successful it will be. Consistency pays off BIG time!

Happy blogging. 

Stop Waiting For The New Year!
Why Hub Digital thinks you don't have to wait until a new year to reinvent your small business.

We can be so guilty of this. When it comes to starting any big project, committing to change, or beginning something new, we push it off for a date that "feels" right. It's never "right now" but rather "the first of the month," "the first of the year," or "on Monday." Call it OCD or just simple procrastination, but whether it's launching a new aspect of our own business business or starting a new diet, there's always a better day to do it than today.

This time of year, it's something we run into constantly with small business owners. With the mad dash to finalize current projects, boost Q4 sales or simply "make it" through the holiday season, often times new marketing campaigns get pushed to the back burner. We often have clients ask us to get back to them in the New Year when some more time opens up.

Here's the rub with that decision. Launching a new marketing plan takes time to ramp up (you're looking at a minimum of 1-3 months depending on how involved it is). It takes time to create social profiles (if you don't have them already), edit current profiles (if you already do), begin creating and populating content, beginning SEO growth strategies, split testing different messaging, and curating images and videos. By waiting until January to start the discussion, you've already put yourself at a disadvantage. Now most of your marketing initiatives won't even be going live to market until well into 2nd Quarter. 

On top of that, you may be like us. You might push EVERYTHING off until that all important starting date! Not only are you now supposed to tackle your marketing strategy on Jan 1, but you may also be putting off an overhaul of your Quickbooks, employee policies, store/office redesign or a new product launch. I don't know about you but that seems like an awful lot to handle all at one time. And often times, when you've stacked too much on your plate, what's the first thing to be pushed aside until later? Your marketing! Something so essential to selling your products or services and selling your business continually gets pushed to the backburner and before you know it, another year has gone by without a solid plan.

So here's our advice. Put aside at least 1 hour a week in Q4 to focus on your 2017 marketing strategy. Plan out your blog calendar for the year, gather some social media content ideas, and set up those new social, email or software accounts you've always wanted to jump into. Your 2017 self with thank you when you go through that list of To Do's at the beginning of the year and this has already been checked off.

If Content Is King - Video is the Emperor
Learn why you must be using video as a small business from Hub Digital

Let’s face it – we’re obsessed with consuming video content. We’re all guilty of it – perusing YouTube, watching recommended video after recommended video, or watching one too many Facebook Tasty videos. The number of Snapchat users now exceeds Twitter users. We all love video, so why are so many small business owners still hesitant to invest in video marketing?

As we mentioned in last week’s blog, if content is king, video content is the king’s king! Video marketing is no longer up and coming – it’s a proven successful strategic marketing tactic, and it looks to be here to stay. But don’t just take our word for it. This infographic boasts a lot of impressive statistics about video marketing (who doesn’t love infographics?). For example, YouTube reports video consumption has risen 100% each year. Additionally, after watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to purchase a product online

Video is human, which is inherently more engaging. Just think about it – video opens up a world of creative opportunities to tell a story, demonstrate your product, or promote your brand. The brain processes visual stimuli 60,000 times faster than words alone, because video appeals to the senses. Video also has the capability to encourage user-generated content and create positive buzz; when a video captivates us, we share it with our network. And we all know what higher engagement means – better ranking in search engine results

We hear your excuses – “but video content doesn’t belong in my industry.” In the real estate industry? A 2012 National Association of Realtors study found that 85 percent of buyers and sellers “prefer to work with an agent who uses video marketing,” and that was 4 years ago! Since then, consumption of video content has only become more prevalent. Video marketing has a place in every industryB2B (use video to explain your product or service offerings), education & learning (animation videos are really engaging to explain a topic), healthcare (video can be a great vessel to simply sensitive topics), technology (to show audiences what your technology is capable of), and so on

 

A few video marketing best practices:

  • As with everything, know your audience and their consumption habits. Of course, that’s always key, and it goes back to our previous blog: are you where your audience is?
  • Get creative, and invest in high-quality. We all love video content, but most consumers have a keen ability to pick up on quality, original content. Be unique, and invest in professional video.
  • For Facebook videos, people love the dialogue to be in subtitles. This is for so many of consumers who watch Facebook videos at work, or keep their phone volume on silent. 
  • Don’t lose sight of your brand story. It’s easy to get caught up in all the creative aspects of creating a video, but make sure to keep in mind everything your brand is about. 
  • Keep it short. Our attention spans have decreased from 12 to 8 seconds in the last 15 years – so the shorter the better. As a general rule of thumb, keep your video under 90 seconds. 
  • Video marketing is not a comprehensive digital marketing strategy – it should be used as a part of a larger, strategic marketing plan. 
How To Optimize Your Facebook Ads
Learn Hub Digital's quick tips on how to optimize your facebook ads.

Ok, so if you've had anything to do with Facebook in the past decade (that's right, Facebook has been around now for over 10 years!), you've noticed that it's gone through some major changes. What once was a mecca for small business owners who were looking for organic reach and inexpensive advertising, has now become a frustrating place of lost content just floating around with no one paying attention to it.

Algorithm changes over the past few years has significantly decreased the organic reach of business pages. It's gotten to the point now, where on average a business owner can expect that only 2% of the people who like their page will organically see what they've posted. As someone who spends a significant amount of time researching, creating and editing content to send out to the masses, that is a bummer. There's nothing worse than knowing you have something really important to say, without an audience to say it to.

Well, once you've mourned the loss of your organic reach (because trust us, it's not coming back), it's time to buck up and make the best of it. Despite some challenges, there ARE ways you can get great reach on the social media platform at a lower cost than other outlets, and those are Facebook ads. Trying them out? Below we're breaking down just a few tips to help you optimize your ads to ensure they're working the best for you.

1. Spend some time researching your audience and target them. When you're looking to target your ad don't just go by geographic area. Take some time to do some research on some of your existing audience's interests and likes. On Facebook you can target by general interests, things they've looked at on the web, and even other complimentary Facebook pages they've liked. Spending some time playing with the interest categories available for targeting can make a HUGE difference in your ad performance.

2. Pick the ultimate pic.  Ahh the ad image. This is always the most difficult (for many people) when designing an ad. The image is the first thing people will see when scrolling through their newsfeed so you want to make sure it not only makes sense with your content, but that it's attention grabbing as well. Find something with bright colors, interesting designs or a little bit of humor to ensure maximum results. And be sure to keep text to a minimum! While Facebook has loosened up a little on their restrictions, it will cost you more to run an ad with text in the image than one that doesn't have any. And be sure to keep it in the 1200 x 628 wide format so it fits the space nicely.

3. Start small with the budget. A lot of times people think the more money you throw behind an ad the better. However, recent studies have shown that dramatically increasing your budget will actually cause your Cost Per Click (CPC) to go up dramatically as well! Start your budget smaller (about $5 per day) and test it out over the course of a few days to see how it's working for you. Don't like what's happening? Go back and edit the image, text or both until you find the right mix. Happy with the results? Slowly increase your budget (No more that $5 per day) over time to increase the reach without increasing the CPC.

I'm Sick... Now What?

So, I woke up this morning with a fever, sore throat, head congestion and with just an overall crappiness feeling. Great. I was sick... now what?

As an entrepreneur, my gut instinct is to power through. Who has time to be sick? I have meetings to attend, emails to get out, and a general business to run. I pulled myself out of bed and prepared to hit-the-ground running. However, very quickly into brushing my teeth I realized it just wasn't going to happen today. I felt dizzy, run down and completely exhausted. On top of that, I realized that no one wants to be around someone who was sick. Rolling up to a meeting blowing your nose is no way to make friends. I wasn't going to the office today.

But here's the issue - As a solo-entrepreneur, if I'm not there things don't get done, and I know a lot of other business owners are in the same boat. It can be tempting to down some Dayquil and head out the door (and sometimes you have to do just that), but sometimes you HAVE to pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you're sick, take some to let your body heal  (and please, spare the general public exposure to your germs). Below I'm breaking down some of my tips to give yourself a sick day, without feeling like you're falling behind.

1. Cancel your meetings ASAP - Listen, no one wants to be around someone with a cold. Don't worry about having to cancel a meeting at the last minute. I've found most people will actually thank you for sparing them from having to be around a walking sneeze ball. As soon as you decide you're staying home, reach out to all your meetings and ask to reschedule them. If you absolutely MUST talk with them that day, see if you can change your in-person meeting to a conference call from home. 

2. Tackle your admin work - I know, I know. We're supposed to be resting. But if you're anything like me, there's no way you can put the computer down for a day without getting stressed out about falling behind. Spend the time knocking things off your admin list like writing your blogs, cleaning up your quickbooks or responding to lingering emails. These are things that are easily done from the couch while sipping some tea. You'll feel accomplished, yet won't over exert yourself.

3. Load up on those essential vitamins - My first priority when I start to feel sick is to figure out how to get better quickly to keep my days out of work down to a minimum. The second I start to feel a little icky I load up on Vitamin C and Zinc (my favorite is Emergen-C Immune+). These power houses kick germs butts and help you get over colds faster so you can get back to the grind.

4. Take lots of breaths (and breaks) - For me, a sick day requires constant reminders that sometimes even business owners need a day to rest. It can be hard to let go of the guilt for wanting to take a nap in the afternoon. But I'm learning to take a deep breath and let go, when I feel that stress and anxiety start to rise. While I will never be able to step away from the computer for a full day, I've learned to take breaks when needed. As soon as I'm starting to feel a little run down or tired, I put the computer to the side and give myself 45 minutes to an hour to rest. By setting a time to get back to work, it eases that no-work guilt, and allows me to fully enjoy my breaks, helping me to get back in fighting shape quickly.

 

We've got a Q: Quality or Quantity?

When it comes to social media, we often seem to idealize those accounts with 10's of thousands of likes or followers. We strive to get as many likes as possible in order to compete and feel important. We think it is only in mass numbers that our pages will hold any sort of authority or drive any kind of significant sales.

However, recent studies have shown that you don't need thousands of fans to make an impact. Despite what you may think, your general fans are not the ones sharing, commenting on and liking your content. It's your SUPER fans that are doing that. They are the ones that are championing your brand, spreading your content and purchasing from you. These are the ones you want to appeal to and these are the only ones who are reading your messages. I know that sounds a little harsh, but let me explain.

According to it's own estimates, the average Facebook user could see up to 1,500 messages per day. However, they are only shown about 300 messages per day based on what they most likely would care about. This means that just because someone "likes" your business page, doesn't mean they're going to see your status updates. Unless they show interest in your information (by clicking, liking and sharing) chances are they aren't going to see your post anyway.

Instead of focusing your time on getting more likes or followers, shift that intention to crafting quality content geared towards the ones you do have. It may sounds obvious, but too often businesses attempt to appeal to a wide audience. Instead of garnering any sales, you're now marketing to a lukewarm audience that may-or-may-not be even seeing it. Take some time to create content geared towards those Super Fans who not only care, but will champion your brand. In this case, the old adage really is true, "Quality over Quantity".

What is SOV? - Display Advertising 101 pt. 2 of 2

Ahh, it's Wednesday again and that means another riveting edition of the Hub Digital Newsletter!

Listen - I know this stuff isn't fun. I get it. If you had wanted to learn about marketing, you would have gone to school for it. But here's the deal. You can't do the fun stuff, if you don't put in the marketing work. I know your passion is taking pictures, selling clothes, styling hair, or whatever else you decided to open your business around. But you can't continue to do that if no one is giving you money for it. How do you get money for it? You drive sales through marketing.

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Now yes, you can absolutely hire someone to do this for you (hence how I have a job). But I subscribe to the idea that even if I hire someone to do a job for me, I want to at least know what's going on. There's so much more power in knowledge and even if I'm not the one installing my cable box, it's important for me to be able to understand what the tech is doing with all those wires.

With that said, today we're moving on to Part. 2 in our Display Advertising 101 series. Last week we we discussed some more general display advertising terms. Today we're diving in to different buying philosophies and where your ad is going to appear on a website. Let's do this!

  • CPM - This stands for your Cost Per Thousand Impressions. When you purchase on a CPM basis you're buying impressions (or the number of times your ad is going to be seen, not necessarily clicked on). As an example, if you're buying an ad with a $10 CPM, you're paying $10 to reach 1,000 people. What is a good CPM? That's a little harder to define. Some sites state the national average CPM at around $1.90 while others go as high as $10.40. To me, a "good" CPM depends on the audience. Smaller, local sites may have CPM's much higher in the $10-$15 range. However, if you're a local business, you're reaching a much more targeted demographic. While you may be paying more to reach the same number of people, those people are much more likely to convert to sales. Here's my general rule of thumb. For large, bulk, national buys look for a CPM below $5. For anything local expect to pay around $10. However, use your gut here and weigh the importance of the audience you're reaching when considering CPM.
  • Pay-Per-Click - Instead of buying impressions, another pay you can purchase  ads is by Pay-Per-Click or PPC. With PPC ads you are only charged when someone actually clicks on your ad. This is usually seen in Paid Search platforms like Google Adwords. Now, you're probably saying, of course I only want to pay when someone clicks on my ad! Why wouldn't I choose to pay this way!? You're right, in some cases you can get more for less money with PPC ads. However, in some cases you won't. With PPC ads, you can't control how many impressions you get, and impressions are valuable. Remember last week how we talked about how low click-thru rates actually are, but how important impressions are for branding even if someone doesn't click? Well with PPC ads you can't control those. Let's say you want to spend $5 per day and you're bidding $1 per click. That means it takes 5 clicks before your daily budget runs out. Well for some reason your ad is having a really good day and you get those 5 clicks in only 50 impressions. While it's great that your ad is performing so well with clicks, you just paid $5 to get your ad seen only 50 times. Yes, 5 people clicked thru today, but you missed out on hundreds of people who would have seen your brand and may have purchased in the future. The other thing you can't control is who is clicking on your ads. Sometimes competitors can have this nasty habit of going through and clicking on ads to run up budget. Currently the national average for PPC ads is trending at about $1.58 per click. For a qualified lead this is nothing, but for a competitor who's just clicking away with no intention to buy this can add up fast.
  • SOV - The final way you can purchase ads is by SOV or Share-of-Voice. SOV means you're buying a percentage (or share) of the total number of impressions a site gets on monthly basis for a flat rate. As an example, any website's traffic will vary day to day. However, looking at the history of a particluar site you can see that on average this website has about 10,000 impressions per month (give or take a few depending on what's going on that month). You're going to purchase an ad for $200 per month for a 25% share of those impressions. That means for $200 you can expect about 2,500 impressions per month. A couple great things about SOV. The first is that you are paying a flat rate month after month. You know exactly what you're spending on this ad and don't have to worry about those costs skyrocketing if impressions go up. Speaking of impressions going up, if the site is having a great month you could score with a ton of extra impressions at no added cost for you. Just be aware that with good months comes bad months. Just like you won't pay more for a spike in impressions, If there is a downshift in impressions for the month, your rate won't change to reflect that.

    Now that you know the different ways you can purchase an ad, let's start talking about how to know where your ad is going to appear on a website.
  • ROS - ROS stands for Run-of-Site.  When you purchase an ROS ad you've purchased the same ad position on EVERY page of a website. This means that your ad will appear next to all pages and all content.
  • Sponsorship - Sponsorship ads are the exact opposite of ROS ads. Instead of appearing throughout the entire site, your ad is "sponsoring" one particular section. This is good if you're trying to reach a very targeted audience on a website. Real Estate agents for example may want to sponsor the "Homes" section on a news site as they are more likely to reach people interested in buying or selling a home than they would on on the "Politics" section.
  • Fold - This comes from an old newspaper term where "the fold" referred to a literal fold in the paper. In digital terms "the fold" refers to that invisible line that separates what is immediately visible to an audience as soon as a website loads from what isn't. All that content that appears right away without have to scroll or move around the screen is considered "Above-the-fold" while the content that appears after you scroll down is called "Below-the-fold". Naturally, above-the-fold ads usually cost more money as they load right in the reader's line of sight without them have to work for it. However, something to keep in mind is that some below-the-fold ads could be hidden gems. Think about your own reading behavior when you go to a news site or blog. You're there to read articles, not just site at the top of the page, right? You usually have to scroll down to read the article, and because it takes some time to read you're going to sit with that part of the page open for a little while. When buying ads on a blog or news site, consider below-the-fold ads that sit right next to the content where readers are spending all their time. Not only will your ad get more screen time, but it will most likely cost you less as well.

Well there you have it! You made it through all the boring stuff and technical terms. But now you can walk into any sales meeting and leave knowing what you're buying is going to help your business online. Good luck out there and I'll see you back here next week!

What Exactly Does "Hit" Mean? - Display Advertising 101 pt. 1 of 2

Being a business owner, you've most likely fielded a few calls from sales rep looking to get you to buy advertising from them. In an effort to stay open minded about growing your business and trying new things, you agree to schedule an appointment with that cool new website. On the day of the meeting, the sales rep walks in and starts throwing around terms like "hits", "UVs" and "CTRs" which leaves you more confused than before the meeting started. Sure the numbers sound impressive, but this all new for you. How are you supposed to be really sure you're getting a good deal if you don't even know what they're talking about? Lucky for you I'm here to break down all these digital terms, as well as give you some insider tips to buying online advertising I picked up from my years as a digital sales rep. You can thank me later.

  • Banner Ad - Display advertising on a website. This does NOT just refer to that long thin banner across the top of a website. It encompasses ALL different size and shape display ads on a website.

  • Paid Search - The purchase of keywords or phrases in an effort to show up #1 in search. These look like regular search results but have a small little box that says "AD" next to them. Typically you would place bids on keywords and would be charged when someone clicks on your ad. These can be very effective (since you're reaching people specifically searching for your product or service), however, be careful of spam bots or competition who may click on your ad multiple times in an effort to cost you money without generating any leads. The most used paid search option is Google Adwords. This is not to be confused with display advertising (see banner Ad above)

  • Hit - A single file or picture on a website that is delivered to a web server every time a page is visited. As an example, a single page on a website may have 10 pictures. Every time one person visits that page it counts for 11 hits (10 for the pictures and 1 for the HTML file of the actual page). This is the MOST overused and misleading term used by online sales reps. They may tell you their website gets over 10,000 "hits" per month. To someone who doesn't know better this is very impressive. However, each page of their website could have 20 different files on it (pictures, tables, javascript files, etc.) That means that "10,000 hits" is really only about 500 visitors came to the site. There is a HUGE difference in value there so know that you're in the know, don't let them fool you!

  • Impressions - How many times your ad was seen. This is one way you can track how your ad is performing. Knowing the number of visitors to a site is great, but what good does that do you if your ad isn't being shown to them? 

  • UV/Unique Visitor - One computer visiting the site one time during a specific time period. Asking your sales rep how many Unique Visitors their site gets in a month is a great idea. You want to make sure there is a good mix of new visitors and returning visitors. The Unique Visitor number is going to tell you that. A site could have 5,000 visits per month but could only have 1,000 Unique Visitors. While it's great that those 1,000 people are coming back to the site up to 5 times per month (more chances to convert), eventually advertising to the same people month after month will grow tiring for both your brand and the sites viewers.

  • CTR/Click-thru Rate - Your percentage of clicks vs. impressions. This is something that can be tricky to use to tell if your ad is working. As a general rule of thumb, people don't click on online ads, unless there is a really great offer that draws them in.  This doesn't mean online advertising isn't worth it! Just because someone didn't click on your ad, doesn't mean it didn't make an impression on them and stay with them long after they left that website. As a rule of thumb national average click thru rate is only .06%. This means that for every 100 people seeing your ad, you can expect only 6 of them to click thru. As long as your ad is performing right around that national average, don't get discouraged or place too much emphasis on this.

  • Branding - An advertising campaign based on simply putting yourself in-front of a community or target market. This campaign aims to show people your colors, logos, products and/or services who may not already know what you do. This does not include any offers or discounts.

  • Offer Based - An ad that includes an offer or discount in an effort to drive quick sales.

  • Lead Generation - A campaign specifically targeted to getting leads or retaining a customer's information. Usually offers a coupon code, free information, or give-a-way in exchange for contact information for follow up later.

Hopefully these have helped you begin to make sense of the digital advertising world. Make sure you come back next week as I'm breaking down even MORE terms, and giving you tips specifically related to different buying philosophies and where on a website you'll want to be. See you next week!