How Chatbot Observations Enhance a Full-Service Advertising Agency

Chatbots are little computer programs designed to engage in lifelike, real-time conversation with humans, typically on a company’s website or on social media platforms. If you spend any time shopping on the web, you’ve probably chatted with a bot, whether you knew you were or not.

With ongoing advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), the chatbots’ “people skills” are getting pretty impressive. That’s why more companies are starting to take advantage of them to beef up their “human” workforce without actually adding any humans. Businesses are getting a big boost in productivity by letting chatbots handle initial interactions with prospects and customers. In fact, according to a study by Oracle, 80% of marketing and sales leaders say their organizations already use chatbots or will by 2020, making a partnership with a full-service advertising agency more valuable.

As a digital marketing agency that helps companies grow sales by attracting more visitors to their website, we’re thrilled about the power of chatbots to enhance the customer experience. And, we see huge potential for human/AI interactions from our work with clients in providing voice engineering services.

In efforts to emphasize the increasing implementation of chatbots, here are a number of ways that chatbots are changing the marketing and sales landscape:

24/7/365 availability and prompt answers

Chatbots don’t sleep, don’t need breaks, and don’t take vacations. They are absolute workaholics and are available to answer questions around the clock. That’s a significant advantage in our ever-more-global economy and with people who have expectations of getting the information they need when they need it.

Proactive customer service

Even as a full-service advertising agency we recognize that interactions with human customer service agents are usually reactive; the website visitor asks a question and the staff member replies. Chatbots can be programmed to be proactive. They can offer help when they detect indicators that the visitor is confused or is interested in a particular product or service and ready to “talk” about it.

Freeing humans for other tasks

With chatbots handling initial inquiries, human workers can focus on higher-level tasks, and in the process grow their careers and contribute more to the company’s bottom line.

Zero errors

Chatbots answer questions accurately every time. Where a human worker might occasionally make a mistake in explaining a promotion, resolving a problem resolution, etc., your faithful chatbot will only share the information that you’ve carefully programmed into it!

Perfectly calm demeanor

Everyone knows that customer service can be a little… let’s say… challenging. But while humans might eventually lose their cool with a particularly grumpy prospect or customer, a chatbot never will.

Easier and more complete data collection

Nobody likes to be faced with a form of seemingly endless fields when they need to provide information. Chatbots can get the required data in a conversational manner that feels less like work for the site visitor. This includes reminders about missing information or explanations about what a particular piece of data is or why it’s needed.

Wondering how chatbots can figure into your marketing efforts, customer service plans, and help drive greater success? We’re a full-service advertising agency that loves to talk artificial intelligence! Contact our team today to learn more. (We promise you’ll reach us and not a chatbot!)

7 Ways to incorporate media buying into your business plan

One of the most common questions we get from small and medium-sized businesses is how to craft a media buying plan tailored to their services. There is an unnecessary air of mystery around the process that can make media buying feel inaccessible to the average business owner. We have an entire department dedicated to business services marketing that can either handle the process for you, or empower you to do it yourself. To get you started, here are 7 quick and easy ways to begin incorporating media buying into your existing business services marketing plan.

1.Who are your personas and target audience: Media buying for business services starts with knowing your audience and the personas most likely to need your services. Before you invest a single dollar in a media buying spend, get clear on who you are talking to and where they are listening. By knowing your audience, you can spend less money on your campaigns, but maximize their effectiveness because your placements will be answering questions and directly targeting the right people.

2. Focus on time- and location-based targeting: Once you know who your audience is, you need to understand how to reach them. This is especially true when marketing business services. Understand whether your customers are shopping during business hours for their own companies, or whether they are confusing research at home, after hours. If your ads aren’t reaching them at the right time, they are going to waste. Tailor your media spend around the times and geographic areas that are most likely to yield results. The more you know about your target audience, the more effective you can be.

3. Set clear, measurable primary goals: Realize what you are trying to accomplish. Are you looking for leads? Trials? Sales? Brand awareness? The list goes on. Understand how your media buying fits into the marketing mix and what you hope to accomplish. We believe that if you can’t measure it, you shouldn’t do it — and this is no exception. Establish clear, time-bound, and trackable performance indicators. We encourage all of our clients to set up omni-channel marketing strategies that work together seamlessly to accomplish different goals. If you’re unsure how to do this, our services might be for you.

4. Understand your unpaid marketing potential: It might sound counterintuitive, but a good media buying strategy starts with knowing what you don’t need. Evaluate how your natural search results are performing and how your unpaid media on blogs and social media is impacting your brand, then only use paid media to fill in necessary gaps. Your media buying spend should work smarter, not harder for your dollar, which is why tracking everything is so important.

5. Understand how media fits into your creative, branding and content strategies: Anything you choose to invest in media buying should complement and support your work across other channels. A true omni-channel marketing strategy acknowledges that the customer journey doesn’t happen in silos. Customers move across devices, between content types, and through the purchase cycle more seamlessly than ever, so each of your marketing efforts should mirror and support each other — and ideally drive customers to other platforms to complete their journey.

6. Know the lingo: Take time to debunk any jargon, lingo, and marketing-speak surrounding your media buy. Even if you use an agency to support your business services marketing plan, it pays to understand what they are talking about. Knowing the difference between CPC and CPI can mean the difference in being over or under budget depending on how much money you have to spend. Never be afraid to ask questions. As a multi-platform agency, we are here to support your business — and that means helping you understand your marketing needs.

7. Programmatic and automated media buying: Last, but certainly not least, we encourage you explore programmatic or automated media buying opportunities. These emerging tools adapt your media spend to real-time data about your clients, campaigns and performance so you are spending just the right amount — not a penny more, or less. Click here to learn more about how these programs can support a more seamless and cost-efficient media buying experience.

Your agency must be able to answer this online ad spend question

In the United States, digital marketers are spending more than $60 billion per year on online ad spend campaigns. Our team of Orlando marketing agency experts know those are your precious marketing dollars at work, which is why we encourage all of our clients to ask those tough questions when they work with us and with other agency partners. If your agency can’t answer the following questions, you’re probably wasting money on your online ad spend. 

QUESTION 1: HOW IS MOBILE TECHNOLOGY DRIVING ONLINE AD SPEND GROWTH?

Online ad spend across mobile channels increased 66% year over year when compared to last year’s ad spend. There are many reasons for this growth, including an increased emphasis on app usage and discovery (just click here to read why Apple is releasing new paid app advertising for more on that); more secure and streamlined mobile shopping experiences that drive 80% of digital consumers to indicate they will purchase something on their mobile device or tablet this year; and the ever increasing overlap between social media and our personal and professional lives. There is absolutely no doubt that mobile technology is one of the biggest drivers for online ad spend. When you ask the team at your local, Orlando marketing agency which trends are most important, or where you should invest now to support future mobile growth, we recommend:

  • Responsive design: Despite the fact that mobile technology has been exponentially improving over the past decade, many company sites are still not mobile-friendly. Before you do anything else, update your site with responsive design technology that seamlessly adapts your site to any device and any size.
  • Social ads: The prized millennial customer uses social media to find new brands, celebrate brands they love, and complain when brands let them down. Aside from search engine marketing, social media advertising is one of the most powerful ways to reach out to your target demographic. Social mobile apps such as Facebook, SnapChat, and Instagram lure users to their mobile devices hundreds of times per day, making this platform one of the most ubiquitous ways to reach your audience where they are already spending time.
  • Paid app spends: If you have an app, it’s time to explore how paid advertising in Google Play or Apple’s App Store can deepen your customers’ engagement with your mobile app. Whether you want to encourage discovery for a new app, or drive use in your existing customer base, a paid online ad spend can bring much needed attention to your mobile app, putting you in a prime position to take advantage of the mobile boom.

QUESTION 2: HOW IS PROGRAMMATIC ADVERTISING IMPACTING YOUR ONLINE AD SPEND?

Don’t let anyone fool you. Programmatic advertising is impacting the online ad spend world in a big way. In fact, close to two thirds of US online ad spends will come from programmatic purchases this year, with mobile accounting for 60% of that spend. The trend is already here. This breakthrough allows robots and crawlers to do highly labor-intensive work that once led to human error and lag time between insights and actions. Instead of relying on media buyers to tag ads, comb through insertion orders, and tweak your spend, programmatic ad buying frees your agency to focus on driving your marketing strategy and fine-tuning your spend based on a wealth of hard, up-to-the-minute data. One of the most popular forms of programmatic ad buying is real-time bidding, which automates the term purchasing process by balancing ad inventory against audience data, and your resources and business goals.

Let our team introduce you to the power of programmatic advertising and how it can make your customer targeting sharper and generate interest in truly engaged, valuable customers. Give us a call for a deep dive into this revolutionary breakthrough and how it will change the way you think about your online ad spend.

The future of SEO: It’s Google’s world, we’re just living in it

Google’s done it again – changed their effing SEO rules. If you were a digital marketer just three years ago, you’ll likely remember the Google Pirate released the first of many algorithm changes that impacted how web bots crawl, index, and rank every site on the web. Just as marketers were getting comfortable with Pirate, the Hummingbird update hit. And then there was the Panda and Penguin updates. Don’t forget about the Pigeon update. And that’s only to name a few. This February, Google launched a unique (but happily less disruptive) update targeting how they treat AdWords paid displays within search results. Despite its seemingly innocuous impact, this small update may have a huge influence on the future of search engine optimization. Here’s the low down:

What changed:

Google changed their paid advertising display on desktop search results to remove right-rail advertisements completely and only allow for four paid search results to populate before organic rankings take over. This may seem like a relatively small change (and a good one for the customer and small business owner who doesn’t have a massive media budget), but the impact is critical. This update dramatically decreases the clutter people see when searching and allows customers to focus on the top earned – rather than paid – results. It goes without saying that this limits the amount of skew that occurs from paid advertisers. We know it’s great when you have excess marketing budget, but the internet – and search engine optimization – has never been about the pay-to-play model. That’s why this update helps keep search results pure. But, that also means your SEO game needs to be on point.

If you’re in the PPC (pay-per-click) business, your life just got a lot more difficult. If you’re in the SEO game, now’s the time to make your mark.

What does that mean for SEO?

Reducing the amount of ads and streamlining the results means that securing a top organic search ranking is even more important than ever. All eyes will now be laser focused on a consolidated list of results, with more opportunity for organically ranked companies to appear above the fold. As a search marketer, front and center has always been important, but now there is more clean real estate in this space, which means competition is about to get fierce.

So, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Digital marketers who haven’t invested as much time or energy into SEO efforts (favoring the easier, direct PPC route) will have to start getting serious about their search engine optimization strategy. In a few months, many of these companies will have started diverting resources into their organic search campaigns. This means that companies who already have a strong search foundation should get ready to take their efforts to the next level. While other companies scramble to catch up, savvy SEO marketers will have begun optimizing their sites even further in an effort to get ahead of the curve.

How to get ahead:

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!

Content marketing: Take time to understand the keywords you want to focus on. Get specific and remember that being the number one spot with a critical few is better than falling just below the fold on 20 general terms. Once you’ve narrowed down your terms, start generating content. Get the blog posts fired up, get your internal links ready to go, and refresh your site content. Just know that any changes you make today will take a few months to be indexed, so don’t wait too long before moving.

Non-branded keyword landing pages: Another great way to bolster SEO ranking is to create landing pages that target non-branded keywords. Apply the same principle you did when narrowing down your content marketing keywords. Then, hone in on how to build mini-pages that can link back to your main site while promoting these niche words. The specificity will help boost your ranking on key phrases, while the tailored content will help drive user engagement as an added bonus. A win-win situation.

Spread the word: Now more than ever before, it’s important that other websites are linking to your content. Blog or write about topics relevant to your brand to help drive this inactive forward and then reach out to other industry influencers and tastemakers in hopes of getting an endorsement. Of course, it helps when you have something to exchange, so don’t be afraid to spotlight partners on your site or via social media.

The only things certain in life are death, taxes, and change … so you should expect plenty more changes to how search engine optimization continues to evolve. Staying on top of the trends makes each subsequent update a little easier to digest than scrambling to catch up after three or four have passed. It’s an investment that ensures your content is seen by the right audience and that the work you put into your website and brand is put to good use. After all, if no one can find your content, they won’t be able to convert, and they’ll never become your customers.

For more information on how we help elevate brands like yours through digital marketing, click here.

How to get your business on the first page of Google through SEO

With the data suggesting that there are more than 6 billion Google searches each day and that 91.5% of the total clicks go to websites listed on the first page of Google, it’s no surprise that the first page is a popular place to be. But how can you make sure your business appears there?
There are actually many ways to appear on the first page of Google – from paid listings through AdWords, to local listings on Google My Business, to news listings for certain queries. But when you are looking to appear on the first page, the primary place to start is with the organic listings. These listings appear on every single Google search results page, and show 7 to 10 webpages that are both relevant to the search query and well-structured for search engine optimization, or SEO. Since these listings make up the majority of first page results, we’ll focus on the process behind trying to get your webpages ranked in this very important space.

As with most things in life, good search engine optimization (SEO) and ranking on the first page of Google starts with research. Keyword research can be used to determine categorically those services and goods that your target audience is using the internet to search for or conduct research on. (And the data suggests that it’s over 80% of their major purchases)! More specifically, keyword research allows you to determine what keywords your audience is using when they search for specific products. You could have the best SEO in the world, and yet if you haven’t done the research to know that your consumers are searching for – such “gizmos” and not “gadgets”, Google won’t see your page as relevant enough to rank on the first page for all the users who are searching for “gizmos”.

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Keyword research: The beginning of the SEO process

Keyword research is the process of using Google’s search tools to build out a list of commonly searched keywords with statistics such as their average monthly searches, competition rating, and average cost per click price from AdWords. It’s best to utilize keyword research to find low-hanging fruit: keywords that have high monthly searches and a low competition rating. And if those keywords also happen to have a high average cost per click, well, that’s even better – if people who are purchasing keywords for paid search commonly view that keyword as being valuable enough to spend a lot of money to purchase, then it’s probably a strong keyword!

After you’ve completed your research and identified which keywords are likely to be the best drivers of qualified traffic to your website, you’ll want to choose one keyword to represent the content of each page you are expecting to receive organic search traffic from. If you are designing your website as you begin this process, remember that each of these pages will be an entry page for new users who may not have heard of your brand before, or may be unfamiliar with your services.

You’ll want to choose a single keyword for each page, so that you can be sure that you are structuring the content on the page to specifically provide the information that users are looking for when they are searching. Remember that people search online to answer a specific need, and if you are not answering that need, they will look elsewhere. Webpages that have strong content that is built to answer a well-researched, common search query are the ones that do best in Google. This is as a result of Google’s SEO ranking algorithm, designed to find content that will answer Google searchers’ needs. The last thing Google wants is for users to click on multiple webpages listed on the first page of Google and not find the information they were searching for. If Google search results couldn’t consistently provide people with the information they are seeking, we would quickly learn to go elsewhere and Google’s central business model would be in serious trouble.


Technical SEO

After you’ve crafted your content to reflect exactly what users are searching for – utilizing the specific keyword you’ve researched –  there’s still some minor search engine optimization work to be done. What is left to be completed are the on-page factors that let Google know you have taken their algorithm’s needs and limitations into consideration, and optimized your webpage accordingly. This is oftentimes referred to as technical SEO, as it pertains to the HTML attributes of a page – the H1 heading, title tag, meta description, and any image or video ALT tags.

The H1 heading is general used by a content management system or CMS as the headline of any page, and Google views this as a succinct description of what a page contains. Depending on how much content you have on your page, you may also have H2 headings and H3 headings, which function as sub-headlines to break-up content. Since the H1 heading is a description of what your page content is about, Google looks to make sure that it is relevant to a given search query. You should also be sure to utilize the keyword you have chosen for your page in the H1 heading, and likely in the H2 and H3 headings, as well, if applicable.

The title tag (sometimes called the SEO title) and the meta description are the two aspects of your page that Google uses to showcase your webpage in the search results. The title tag will be shown underlined in large, blue font on the search results page, with the meta description included in a smaller grey font beneath it, and the URL. Not only does Google use these attributes to show your webpage to searchers, it also emboldens any words in your title tag and meta description that match a given search query. That means that including your chosen keyword in these attributes will increase the likelihood searchers will click your result because their attention will be drawn to the bolded words.

Image and video ALT tags are extremely important, because while Google is an expert at understanding written content, it is unable to fully understand images or videos in the same semantic way humans are able to do so. As such, it’s extremely important for SEO to include an ALT tag for every video and image on your page, describing what is happening in the picture or video. Since all of your content should relate back to your chosen keyword, it’s likely that this description will include your keyword, as well.

Once you’ve completed all of the technical on-page elements of SEO, it’s time to publish your content to the web! Be sure that once you’ve published your content successfully, you link to it from your website’s homepage, and use Google Webmaster Tools to let Google know that you have added content to your site. If you are publishing an entire website, you’ll want to use Google Webmaster Tools to request that Google crawl your site, and update an XML sitemap to make it easy for Google to understand your site’s architecture.

Don’t worry about building links to your content for SEO – if you’ve put in the work at the beginning, and researched what users are searching for, carefully crafting content that answers their needs, it will attract links naturally. But it’s a great idea to make sure that as many people are aware you’ve created great content as possible, so make sure that you share it with your social networks – and any other offline connections you have that would be interested.

In need of a digital marketing strategy to boost your brand’s Google placement? Contact our team of experts today to get started!

How to Reach the parents-to-be through effective marketing

Maternity marketing typically reaches out to the current mom, without putting much emphasis on the woman who’s expecting.  But particularly for first-time moms, these women and their supportive family members must also make decisions about what’s best for their as-of-yet unborn children… what color to paint the nursery, which toys to purchase for the tot, what types of formula to buy and what kinds of clothes the child should wear.
Companies that target the current mom without thinking of the present mom may be too late – once she has the child, she may have already made up her mind about the best formulas, baby wipes and other newborn needs to suit her child.  And once you lose the expectant mother, you may lose her for life – if she becomes loyal to one brand, it will be hard to get her to switch over.

Marketers can target expectant moms by reaching out to them through the avenues they’ll be using most.  Perhaps one of the easiest ways is through SEO content and Google AdWords.  First-time mothers may be anxious about what constitutes a “normal” pregnancy, potential parenting woes and the “right” parenting methods.  They’ll often look to Google and other search engine tools for help.  A Google search for “How to Change a Diaper” produces more than 29 million results.  While it may be difficult to provide SEO content to beat the top-ranked page, a Google AdWords placement for your brand could do wonders for your diaper company.

Instructional content may also be a promising avenue for reaching your target mom-to-be.  If you haven’t read our recent blog on content marketing, click here to check it out.  Content marketing is a way to reach out to your target demographics, and therefore a blog directed to the mom-to-be and the newborn mom practically has a built-in audience.  Younger, hipper, smartphone-wielding moms may be drawn to video content, which is easily accessible from multiple devices.

Okay, but what about the dad-to-be? According to a study conducted last year, 52% of millennial parents told us that ads they see are made for mothers more than fathers, and 83% say they think advertising for parents should appeal to both mothers and fathers equally. In fact, there was a successful online movement in the U.S. that put pressure on the site “Amazon Mom” to rename its service to “Amazon Family.”

Some marketing tips we think would be helpful in reaching dads would be to make it easier for dads to find the right information on their mobile devices at any time, to include dads in the story since household duties are shared amongst both parents, and to understand what motivates and works with dads may be motivated differently than their female counterparts. We’ve already begun to see a shift toward “dadvertising” – and we’re diggin’ it.

So if you’re aiming to reach soon-to-be parents, our Orlando advertising agency encourages you to think about both parts of the story.  Catching a mom-to-be in the pregnancy phase may mean that you’re attracting a loyal and valuable customer for life, and speaking to a “dad-in-training” may stand out more amongst a sea of mom-oriented messaging.

To learn more about how you can market to parents in order to create brand preference and instill brand loyalty, contact us today!