Posts tagged online advertising tips
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.

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!)

The "Emily Post" Guide to LinkedIn Etiquette
Learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for maximum networking.

Ok, so this is more the ‘Tuni Schartner’ guide to LinkedIn etiquette, and anyone that knows me is probably getting a chuckle right about now as I tend to tell it like it is and I’ve been known to be honest to a fault!  I’m not, necessarily, who you would think of in an Emily Post reference. But, when it comes to LinkedIn I think I have a pretty decent grasp on best practices around ‘how to behave appropriately’.   I’m, at my core, a relationship marketer – I enjoy meeting and getting to know people and I’m a natural connector and facilitator of putting together mutually beneficial relationships.

We should start with the very simple basic facts:

  1. LinkedIn is a platform designed for professionals to engage, it is not a ‘social’ site like Facebook or a dating site (more on that later!).
  2. Professionals are people.  When it comes to sharing your professional information on LI, remember that even the top CEOs (or whoever you’re trying to connect with) are people so information should be created and delivered in a way that the ‘people’ on the other end hopefully find interesting, become engaged and might even convert into clients/customers or great referral sources.
  3. LinkedIn is a GREAT way to connect with and build your audience! 

A great quote from the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman:

"LinkedIn is a closed network, and for a very simple reason: For the network to have value as an introduction tool, the connections need to have meaning. It's up to you to vet each and every request so that if someone comes to you and says, 'Would you introduce me?' you're in a position to evaluate whether the connection would be of mutual benefit."

*Quote taken from the book, ‘Never Eat Alone’ by KeithFerrazzi. 

Hoffman’s quote really hits the nail on the head.  Why are you here?  LinkedIn can be a highly effective tool in your toolbox for creating connections then building trust with those connections that turn into mutually beneficial relationships.  

I often recommend to our clients, our Hive coworking members, and at workshops I lead on the topic of ‘Painless Networking Tips to Grow Your Business’ that when an authentic connection is made, say at a business networking event or through a warm introduction, etc…you then send a connection request on LinkedIn with a personalized note – as well as follow them on their other appropriate platforms ‘appropriate’ being the operative word here as their personal Facebook page wouldn’t make sense if this is strictly a professional connection.  In the case that a connection is made at a networking, business or even personal event and it appears that this might be a mutually beneficial connection, I recommend you follow up immediately with a personal email (or phone call or both) then go to LinkedIn and send that connection request and note.  If you find someone on LinkedIn that you’d like to be connected with – for different reasons such as, he/she is a colleague of a friend or client, someone you’ve met in the past through business or even an old schoolmate that you found on LinkedIn that makes sense (again in a professional and respectful way) to connect with , a new client (individual and team members),  and so on, use the same basic practice of sending a connection request with a personal note explaining why you’d like to connect.

Ok, now back to that reference to LinkedIn NOT being a dating site…don’t ever ask someone to ‘hang out’ or in any other way ‘hit on’ someone on this platform – it’s creepy folks, this is a professional platform.  Sorry, this literally just happened to me and as I was planning on writing this week’s Hub Digital blog on this topic…couldn’t resist and had to add this ‘what not to do’ tip!

Another what NOT to do tip, and this one is HUGE, don’t send someone a connection request and as soon as they accept it send them a super cheesy straight up sales pitch.  ‘I love it when people do this’ SAID NO ONE EVER!!!  

Overview: LinkedIn is a great resource and tool.  Use it to highlight your unique value proposition, differentiator, expertise and unique personality in a professional and respectful way that would make both Emily Post and I proud!  Grow your network, grow your business through solid relationships and the mutually beneficial sharing of information and connectivity!  

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!

4 Tips to Make Your Video Work - For SEO
Learn how you can optimize your videos for seo for ultimate traffic from the ladies at Hub Digital.

We've said it multiple times, and we're going to say it again: Video is the king of all content marketing right now. People LOVE video. Customers LOVE video. Social Media LOVES video. But most important, Google LOVES video. So, now that you're convinced that you want to create great engaging video content that you're audience will love watching, how can you optimize that amazing video for search? Check out these 4 tips to learn how you can optimize your videos and start driving organic traffic and eyeballs to your content.

1. Start with the content - Researching keywords is something we harp on when it comes to writing blogs, and this is no different when it comes to creating videos. Start brainstorming content ideas around keywords that are popular with your audience. Think about Frequently Asked Questions or things people are searching for within your business vertical. Your videos should answer those questions or explore those topics. Not only will the videos be more popular with your audience, but they will be more likely to show up in more common searches.

2. Now get writing - It may sound counterintuitive to talk about writing when it comes to videos, but there should ALWAYS be text associated with your video. Things like the title of your video, a brief description and even the filename matter. Include your keywords in the filename of your video when save it, before uploading it to your chosen platform (more on that later). Then make sure you write titles and video descriptions that include a brief overview of what your video will be addressing, and don't forget the keywords! (Are you sick of us talking about those yet...)

3. Choose your hosting platform wisely - First thing's first, ALWAYS add your video to your website. In most cases you may need to upload it to YouTube or Vimeo first, then embed on your website, but that is all dependent on your own individual website builder. Whether you put it in your blog or on some other page, hosting your video on your website is critical. If you've done the SEO work on your website that you should have, (check out this blog to learn more about that topic) your video is only going to benefit. Capitalize on that SEO (in fact, even add to it) by publishing your videos on your website. After that, run through some of the more popular video hosting and social outlets to not only increase your SEO (and links back to your website), but to promote your video to the various audiences. 

4. Use your video for good - Ok, so you've published your video on your website, Youtube and Vimeo and then promoted it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Now what? Use your video to start doing the thing it was intended to do, help people! Look through message boards or in groups related to your business and see where people are asking questions around your particular topic. Commenting on these posts with a link back to your video is a great way to drive organic traffic to your video without seeming spammy or annoying. People in these places are looking for information. And you're here to provide it!

Why Your Website is the Foundation of Your Marketing Strategy.
Why your website is the foundation of all your marketing from Hub Digital

Wherever you live, think about the foundation upon which your house (or condo or apartment) is built.  It’s solid, it’s durable and it’s built to hold the floors above it. Right?  The same concept holds true when it comes to your website and your integrated marketing campaign.  Your website is the foundation upon which the rest of your efforts are built. 

Let’s think about what your marketing strategy/campaign might look like?  Integrated marketing as defined by the Direct Marketing Association (or DMA): “Integrated Marketing is an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise; it attempts to meld all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and social media, through their respective mix of tactics, methods, channels, media, and activities, so that all work together as a unified force. It is a process designed to ensure that all messaging and communications strategies are consistent across all channels and are centered on the customer.” 

You get the gist…all of your messaging needs to be seamless so it’s super easy for your potential customers, and your referral partners, to ‘get’ what your brand is all about.  This all starts with your website and consistently refers back to it, sends back to it (those valuable links embedded in your posts, blogs, emails, etc.) and depends on (drumroll please) yup, you guessed it…your website being that firm and supportive infrastructure!!!  Once you have a solid website everything else you do can, will, and should point back or rely on it.  

Networking & Email campaigns…

Networking?  How and why does this have to with your website being so important?  We’re not going to lie here…we believe that even though we’re ‘digital marketing experts’, it always has been and always will be about people and relationship based marketing.  After all, what we really do is help our clients understand who their audience is, then we identify the best and most effective ways to communicate with them.  When you’re at a networking event and you make a solid connection (vs. shoving a business card at someone and/or having that done to you), you usually exchange business cards and follow up afterwards with a personal email or phone call. (At least you should!) Do you then go to their website, check out and connect with them on their different social platforms?  We’re guessing here that they’ll be doing the same with you.  Then, we’re hoping you add them to your email database/list, and that you’ll be consistently in front of them so you stay top of mind.  Well, a solid email campaign will be (hopefully) sending your audience back to your website for more!  That website that really speaks clearly to them about what you do and of your unique value proposition…

Blogging & Social Media…

We often blog, post and talk about the importance of a solid content marketing campaign, and we will most certainly be discussing this in more detail tomorrow on our weekly Facebook Live (every Wednesday at 1:00 we will discuss that week’s blog – among other things)!

So, to sum it all up, do you have a solid foundation?  Is your website agile and easy for you to post weekly blogs to?  Is it optimized for SEO with the appropriate tags and backend data?  Or…did your cousin’s friend at college build your website or maybe your retired uncle from IBM that used to write code?  We can’t tell you how many times people come to us with websites that are antiquated, not mobile friendly, not user friendly, not optimized for SEO (AT ALL)…and on and on! 

When it comes to investing in your business some things are truly worth the investment and well designed websites are definitely one of them!  

Some things to check out like a Q & A blog by Seth Godin on ‘What works for websites today?’.  He wrote it in 2013 but it’s timeless!  and another great (albeit extremely short and to the point) blog by Seth.

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.

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!