Why Working With a Technical College Marketing Agency Is Essential

Over the past decade, the higher education system has changed dramatically. Courses are offered online, highly competitive schools allow students to work full time while pursuing their degrees, technical skills are more valuable than ever, and real-life work experience or work-study programs have become the norm.  

These changes allow students to become skilled employees faster, while building communities through the talent that fuels their economy. Technical colleges play an important role in this evolution, which is why getting the word out with the help of a technical college marketing agency is so important.

Help students discover important educational alternatives

High school diplomas no longer hold the same weight they used to, and most high school graduates feel pressured to pursue a college degree. The growing expectations that all students will attend college delays skilled employees from entering the workforce and can lead to an unsuccessful college experience for those who are either disinterested or unequipped to participate in a four-year program. According to the Institute of Education Statistics, 40% of students drop out of four-year degree programs, and 60% of those that do complete their degree take longer than four years to graduate.

Ensuring your technical college is easy to find and learn about empowers students to explore alternatives to a prescriptive college experience. A technical college marketing agency can help your school become more search-friendly by enhancing your SEO presence and building a robust content strategy that answers your future students’ questions at every stage in the exploration process, on any device, at any time.

Become a building block of your community

Technical colleges are no longer a fallback option for high school dropouts. They help talented students who need more scheduling flexibility or more economic education options to get a college degree without strapping themselves with debt. Allowing them to enter the workforce faster and start earning a meaningful wage.

But don’t take our word for it. The average earnings for a new technical graduate are $55,270 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is on par with post other college degrees. Because most technical degrees are two-year programs, enrollment in your school will push skilled labor into the economy faster each year. This creates a dynamic job market for both employers and employees.

On average, technical colleges are also less expensive than four year programs — which have increased 260% in cost over the past decade.  Use a technical college marketing agency like ours to help you build strong relationships between major employers and high schools in your area that will break down outdated stigma about technical colleges. Your program deserves to be top of mind within your community and seen as an affordable, expeditious source of talent in your community.

 The takeaway

Learn more about why a digital marketing agency is a critical partner in building these relationships and recruiting the next wave of talent by clicking here to contact our team. We will share case studies and success stories from educational institutes just like yours and help you build a strong digital footprint to drive success.

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!

Seven smart ways banks can utilize paid ad campaigns

It would be oh so simple for a bank to forgo newer methods of communicating – such as social media.
After all, to someone less familiar with social networks like Facebook and Twitter, these online channels all seem like places where people personally love to play, not conduct or discuss serious business. And financial institutions – especially the ones that have been around for awhile – often like to uphold a solid, traditional image, far from anything hip and trendy.

Unfortunately, as any teen or twenty-something can tell you – or maybe should be telling your institution’s decision-makers – today and tomorrow’s customers are actually the ones spending time on these networks. Like it or not, they’re the audience banks need to connect with – to some extent – if you want to remain profitable. If you manage your brand properly and tell your story well, you can still use modern platforms and search engines as outreach tools to describe your longevity and values. The difference is, you need to show your current and prospective customer that your institution is not only in touch, but also looking toward the future.

Beyond a basic social media presence, or hoping users “like” or follow your bank’s activities, your bank marketing ideas should also consist of spending money for additional exposure. Most larger social networks and search engines now encourage businesses to pay to put their messages in front of more people, or at least target different demographic groups of potential customers.

Like many other industries, bank marketers also have the ability find other ways to purchase advertising, whether it’s buying common keywords that customers may use when conducting a search, or running online ads designed for a specific target audience. Though budgets may reflect a preference toward financial marketing approaches that are low to no-cost, in the current online economy, you are definitely able to obtain a farther reach – and likely a better return – if you’re willing to make the investment in a paid ad campaign.

Here are 7 smart ways banks can utilize these paid ad campaigns to generate the greatest ROI

Facebook audiences won’t see everything you put out there – The actual number is a little vague, and depends on your audience, in tandem with Facebook’s method of determining what individual users see. While Facebook states that your audience will organically see just 16 percent of your posts, no matter how interesting or clever you make them, other media professionals and search experts say this figure may be as low as 2.27 percent for pages with more than 500,000 likes. (If “organic” is a new term for your marketing team when used in this context, it describes how people come across your information naturally, on their news feeds. Your inorganic reach means that you can pay a bit extra to have more seen by a larger audience.) Facebook offers a variety of payment options, from a small daily amount over time for a certain-sized audience to larger amounts designed to reach more people.

Consider boosting – Along with creating a paid campaign for your news feed to be seen by a larger target demographic, Facebook business page owners also have the option to pay to boost the reach of individual posts, placing them higher in people’s regular news feeds. This could be handy for a particular promotion, event, or contest. It also is a good tool to measure the amount of traffic with or without boosts for similar campaigns. If you see a noticeable spike in participation – such as actual new business and “real life” customer activity — it could be a good indicator that investing in boosting truly attains tangible results.

Frequency works – Just like the old adage states that a marketer shouldn’t buy an old-school newspaper, radio, or TV ad for only one day for an ongoing campaign, it is also advised that you not run a Facebook business page, or a post, for just a short time. Even though you may be following best practices and posting new material several times per day, not everyone will be checking in regularly to see it. Or, with all the clutter out there, they may not notice your ad or post the first few times it appears. It is wise to plan on running any campaign for at least one month – this will give you a longer-term view to gauge your response rate over time, and then you may adjust your message, or the scope of it, as needed.

Target your audience – As unbelievably cool as the fantasy would be for every Facebook user to see and love your bank’s message, it’s a smarter bet that not everyone among the 1.65 billion active users will care about your bank’s ads. So when you’re planning your paid bank advertising, you may be able to target your ideal potential customer by selecting gender, age, geographic location and similar demographic information. This will be a better use of your budget by appealing directly to people who are more likely to want to know more info about your institution rather than “anyone out there.”

Try other networks – Other social media companies also allow you to buy general and targeted ads, especially if you think potential customers will be using their services. LinkedIn, for instance, is more of a professional network, lacking the games and general feel of Facebook. This site focuses more on workplace networking, so there are posts about economic sectors, employment trends, management strategies, hiring tips, and labor issues. Banks wanting to attract certain potential customers or employees on LinkedIn can purchase ads and target everything from certain job titles to geographic areas. Though actual ad space is limited to a few dozen characters, you may include a call to action. This demographic group should be quite familiar with you, and in turn, want to know more.

Run multiple campaigns at once – Since marketing is always in motion, it’s smart to focus on one more than one prong at a time for all of your outreach. This is also of benefit for your audience – not every online user will use every network. Some may prefer Facebook, but others may frequent Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, or any of the common platforms or search engines more regularly. Running multiple campaigns simultaneously will also provide you with a chance to customize your message for different platforms, and adjust as needed.

Easy-to-see results – A good bank PPC campaign has the potential to provide all sorts of data –  starting with who was reached and how they responded to your message or multiple messages. Google Ad Words or similar analytics programs share both high and low points, including the most frequently clicked keywords, where people came from, what percentage went directly to the landing page, how long they stayed, and what times of the day, week, or month saw the most activity. If you’re working with someone proficient with Google AdWords, you will also have access to a general Return on Investment figure based upon how much you spent and your overall reach. Actual conversions from the campaign to customers can also be a strong indicator.

Overall, creating a bank paid search campaign can be a fun way to connect with potential new users, while also enhancing relationships with existing customers. While facilitating paid ads via your institution’s social networks may be considered “unchartered waters,” the return is well worth the investment, with campaigns that may be customized, and that offer measurable results. For more information on the paid advertising approach, and the development of the best strategy to meet your needs, contact our team of digital experts today!

Optimizing Your Website Experience for Conversions

A client I once worked with offered a series of language classes for a relatively low rate, yet the business had an extremely low conversion rate relative to the number of people who visited the site. This was one of the most affordable language programs in town, but conversion rates were at a dismal 4%. He came to me for help in pinpointing why so many people who visited the site would leave before “converting” or in layman’s terms “purchasing classes.”

When I audited his website, I discovered that there were no fewer than seven steps in the conversion process. And, that didn’t count the third-party payment system in place, which had a defective user experience as well.

Since the language classes were a primary source of revenue, I suggested simplifying the checkout process. By making it super simple to go from the homepage to the checkout page, visitors would be more likely to do just that.

Online conversion marketing describes the process of converting site visitors or browsers into paying customers. While a business can’t force a person to spend money with their business, they can do things to help reduce friction in the purchasing process, which often leads to greater sales.

For the client, I suggested his business start by placing a clear call to action on the home page. “Learn More” offers a clear direction that anyone can understand. We integrated this call to action module to a prominent spot the home page, where visitors from any device could see it. However, we didn’t stop there. Using several different tools, we tested different layouts to determine the placement of the call to action to get the most clicks. We discovered that when it was just below the central image on the page, this drew the most attention for the audience. We even experimented with colors, ultimately finding that blue had the greatest impact on getting people to click the “Learn More” button.

Then, instead of providing page after clickable page of information on the class options, we opted to include relevant information (and ONLY relevant information), as well as a “Sign Up Now” button on the second page. No longer would it require seven clicks to move a person from the home page to the checkout screen. Now, the user would be able to get there in two clicks.

With the advice of the team at our Orlando marketing agency and a little bit of website redesign, conversion rates went up 40% in a matter of weeks. This added significant revenue to the company’s bottom line, all with minimal investment.

If your business’s conversion rates are under 100%, then there’s always room for improvement. Try looking for areas of friction on your website, and work closely with a user experience designer who can help optimize your website for conversions. And, if you’re still stuck, reach out to the team at our Orlando marketing agency, who can help you learn to optimize your webpage for success.

5 SEO Mistakes that are Costing Your Business Money

If you’ve been in the digital marketing world for any length of time, you’ve probably heard the term “SEO”. If not, it stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it describes a subset of digital marketing and development that emphasizes keywords, website design, linking and other tactics to help gain traction in search engine rankings, and ultimately, result in conversions. This is important because people around the world conduct millions of searches a day, and if your business is the top rank for a particular keyword, then that simple placement on Google’s search engine can earn you thousands or even millions of dollars in additional income.
While the concept of SEO is fairly easy to understand, mastering search engine rankings and conversions is another story. Google wants the most relevant sites to come up first in rankings and uses a complex algorithm to make sure this is the case. At the same time, companies who want to secure coveted positions can implement website optimization tactics to their websites to secure top rankings that lead to conversions. As a result, companies turn to search engine optimization for help in implementing a strategic approach to both SEO and conversion optimization.

Unfortunately, we see far too many businesses executing incorrectly, and succumbing to SEO mistakes. Here are a few things that can harm your SEO rankings, compiled by the team at your favorite Orlando SEO agency:

1. Not Having a Web Page

This is a rather obvious one, but when companies have no digital footprint, potential customers on the web have no way of finding them. While in this day and age, it seems like every business you can think of has a webpage, you might be surprised at the number of businesses that solely rely on sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor as the only means of being found online – leaving these businesses virtually invisible to the Google-searching masses.

[quote] Find out how BIGEYE utilized SEO when working with Ability Wood Flooring to enhance their internet marketing strategy. [/quote]

2. Paying for Cheap Services

Inexpensive SEO services may actually cause more harm than hurt. Many times, businesses try to “cheat” and end up outsourcing website copywriting assignments to foreign agencies that produce keyword heavy content in broken English. In theory, the notion that the copy is keyword-heavy would produce strong results, but Google’s algorithm is trained to recognize keyword density above a certain level. As a result, businesses are penalized for attempting to employ outrightly obvious SEO boosting tactics. Remember that Google wants to provide the most relevant results, not necessarily the most keyword heavy ones. Therefore, sites that rely on inexpensive services may end up at the bottom.

3. Bad Keyword Research

If you’re in a business that’s highly competitive in the SEO field, you’ll have little chance of competing with companies that have years of SEO experience and are major players in the space. A better tactic is to focus on more narrow keyword searches, but not so narrow people can’t find you. Developing a strategic course of action takes time and effort, but a great place is Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner. You may find you need to stay away from high volume searches due to stiff competition. Instead, you can hone in on more specific searches that don’t get as much volume, but are more targeted toward your business offerings.

4. Link Exchanges / Spam Links / Paid Links in Content / Other Shady Linking Tactics

Google gives a fair amount of credit to legitimate links included in blog posts, but if you’re engaging in shady linking practices, you might have a problem. [quote]There is a multitude of ways people try to manipulate links, but if you think you’re smarter than Google, guess again.[/quote] If, for example, you’re using low-quality blog networks to try to increase ranking in SEO, or are inserting paid links in your content, then you’d better be ready to watch your search engine ranking drop dramatically. SEO experts know that Google doesn’t allow companies to recover from this practice easily, and that it can take years to regain ranking if Google’s algorithm flags you for using shady linking practices.

5. Not Keeping Apprised of Updates and Best Practices

Google is constantly updating its algorithm to help combat shady SEO tactics. Even if you’re someone who’s simply dabbling in SEO, it’s important to be up-to-date with the most current SEO ranking trends and practices. A great resource to figure out whether your SEO needs a refresh is Google’s Webmaster Rules.

Need some help updating your page’s SEO strategy so Google’s search engine can better locate your business? Contact the team for at your favorite Orlando ad agency for assistance, and let us help you navigate the tricky terrain of SEO best practices.

 

 

4 Ways to Use Google Analytics to Improve Your Website Experience

For business owners who have never used Google Analytics, the breadth of customer data available can seem overwhelming. However, Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool for businesses of all sizes. It allows marketers an in-depth perspective of how people are using a company’s website, which can lead to much broader implications for branding, SEO strategies, Google AdWords strategies and homepage insights.

I recently had a client who was interested in a homepage redesign. From the outset, it was clear to me that his business’s marketing team didn’t fully understand the relationship between marketing and website development. After looking at his webpage analytics, I realized a homepage redesign would be crucial to his business’s success. His site was not optimized for mobile, even though 50% of his website visitors came from mobile devices. The site experience was very targeted for the male viewer, even though nearly half of his page viewers were female. And, perhaps most shockingly, his page loading speed was 12 seconds, far higher than the 2-3 seconds it should take to access a page for the first time. That offered a terrific insight as to why his page bounce rate was over 86 percent, in spite of the interesting, relevant content posted on a daily basis. Armed with this knowledge, we knew what steps to take in creating a website that would result in a better user experience.

[quote]If you want to know whether your webpage is effective, Google Analytics is quite simply the best place to start.[/quote]While there are entire webinars dedicated to successfully using Google Analytics (I suggest checking out Google Analytics Academy), the team at our advertising agency in Orlando can suggest a few things to check immediately to help garner insights about your business’s performance.

 1. Bounce Rate

The bounce rate indicates any time a site visitor looks at only one page before leaving the site. If your business’s homepage is experiencing a high bounce rate, it’s important to try to figure out why. It might be that your site isn’t optimized for the mobile or tablet experience, or that you aren’t offering clear calls to action that would encourage people to continue exploring the site. A web tool called Optimizely allows businesses to quickly and easily test homepage elements to try to improve these metrics.

 2. Average Visit Duration

Again, if people are coming to your page but not staying on very long, there may be a problem with your landing page experience. However, it may also be that there is a mismatch between the content that is driving people to your site and audience’s actual interests. For example, a “clickbait”headline will succeed in getting more people to your site, but people will leave quickly if the headline isn’t supported by interesting content.

 3. Conversion Rate

Conversion rate metrics offer insight into the number people who visit your website, against the number of people who actually “convert.”Conversions typically apply to e-commerce purchases, but can also measure the number of people who sign up for your email blasts or the number of people who book a reservation using the website. If these numbers are low, you may wish to test the effectiveness of various calls to action, play with the visual imagery or experiment with different types of content marketing.

4. Behavior Flow Report

The behavior flow report presents a visualization of how website users navigate from one page or event to the next. This report provides insights into the content on your site that’s driving engagement, and also helps identify potential content issues. Use the segment drop down to segment traffic and better understand how those segments flow through the site. You’ll see how search traffic (for example) flows differently through your site than mobile traffic. The dimensions drop down allows you to narrow results by referral source or medium, and even shows flow from specific keywords. This feature can help identify how visitors from a particular keyword engage with and convert on your site. Data geeks unite around the behavior flow report – it’s a gem.

In need of some expert Google Analytics expertise to ensure both an increase in website traffic – and an overwhelmingly positive user experience? Contact us today for a consultation!