Just before the summer I came across an interesting article from Darren Rowse, entitled How I use Google Analytics ‘Compare’ Feature to Motivate Me to Grow My Blog. Though it is around 3 years' old, the basic idea really resonated with me. In it Rowse highlights the 'hourly' feature of Audience Overview within Google Analytics. This interesting Analytics report splits the day into hourly segments and lets you view the number of sessions per hour (in the form of a graph). However, what Darren Rowse does is add an extra element - comparison of today against yesterday or the week before.
What grabbed my attention was the idea of trying to see how you could possibly make one hour, or a number of hours today, 'beat' the session count from another day. Imagine that you look at your graph and say, "it looks like 9.00 isn't performing as well as this time last week." Well, your challenge is to consider the tactical digital tools at your disposal, and boy there are MANY, which could improve on last week's rankings. Whilst this is very much a reactive exercise, it would well turn into a proactive one in the future once you know what works and whats doesn't for you.
One topic the we cover on our digital courses is the interconnectedness of many of your digital media channels.Taking your website as the centre of digital marketing activity we consider how you might go about 'making noise' or making waves through this digital network. For the remainder of this article we will explore how you can go about doing this.
Search Engine Optimisation is the foundation on which much of your digital marketing activity is built and making sure the your website is positioned highly on Google is a key objective. So, what should you be doing on a frequent basis?
Keyword Checking. Are you using the right combination of keywords? Are you going for highly trafficked keywords or focusing on the long tail? Let's say that I am looking at keywords for social media courses in London", do I go for the high volume (where there is potentially higher competition ) or for lower volume (where there MAY be lower competition but richer pickings)? Once you know the right keywords, you can start by placing them in key locations: page titles, content, links, headlines, meta descriptions and more.
Page Titles. Are you using the right keywords in your page title? Let's assume that most people don't enter your website on the home page, then the company name/brand is not important at this point. Think about the theme of the page and change keywords accordingly.
Search Console. I wrote an article on Search Console last year so won't go into it in too much detail but from an SEO perspective these things are important:
- Search Analytics. Where are you positioned? How many clicks are you getting for your keywords but as importantly how many of the keyword impressions display "0" for you? 0 means that people are not clicking on your listing in Google but on someone else's which probably means you are not optimising your pages (on-site and off-site) for Google. This is a great opportunity for you to get untapped traffic, so get working on it!
- Fetch as Google. If you have created new pages or modified other pages (see below), then you might want to use this tool so that Google can identify your site in a matter of hours (not weeks!).
- Data highlighter. Offering events, courses, confernces? Well, you should be using this tool as it gives your website more visibility in the search engines. Check this out:
Meta Descriptions - These are 160-character strings which allow a website to indicate what a page is about. They are often used by search engines to supplement your search results. We often say that they can mean the difference between someone clicking on your link and your competitors in the Search engine results. However, did you also know that social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook also use them when displaying information that you share (notice below)?
So. you're harvesting email addresses for your mailing lists but are you telling your customers about the latest products, services and offerings that your company has to offer? Use email marketing to flag up the following:
- New products and services
- Latest blog articles
- Company news
- Achievements (in our case congratulating students on passing their exams)
- What about new staff?
- Latest promotions?
- Book offers?
Aside from using your email marketing package (such as MailChimp), have you considered using email signatures to flag up new articles, products, offers, etc? On my email accounts I often have different offers. So, someone who has already been on one of our courses will be invited to sign up for a special rate on another course.
Social Media Marketing
Each time I write a blog article or have a new product/service that I would like to promote, I'll fire up many of my social media tools. Let's go through how you might use each of the tools.
Twitter - OK, first thing you need to consider is what you are trying to promote and then consider crafting a tweet with some or all of the following checklist:
- Image - have you sourced or created (possibly using Canva) an image that conveys the message of the article of page you wish to promote?
- Link - have you made sure you have created a link on Bit.ly (probably using your custom link)?
- Hashtag - have you identified the broad hashtag that sums up what the tweet is about and how about the 'granular' (or focused hashtag which may directly relate to your business)?
- Call to action?
- Keywords - have you thought about the correct use of keywords in your 140 characters?
- Photo tagging - could you have tagged someone in the tweet (journalists, stakeholder, etc)?
In his book, the Art of Social Media, Guy Kawasaki invites Twitter users to try and 're-use' some of their tweets. Don't just tweet once, but use the same tweet at different times. Aside from tweeting another way to gain some traction for your tweets, and hence content, is to pay for Twitter advertising. The potential benefit of using this to complement your tweets is that you can now expand the reach of your tweets outside of your followers. What about directing tweets at influencers within your industry (with the hope of a Retweet or alert a follow or reply)?
LinkedIn - I use LinkedIn on a few different levels. Firstly, I use it inform the people who are following me that I have added something new to my website - blog article, new service, etc. It is possible that I might 'repurpose' (or slightly change the updates) as we mentioned in the Twitter section. Images and links are vitally important and don't forget that LinkedIn sends 4 times as many people to your website than Twitter or Facebook. I also find that Sundays are pretty good days for pushing people to the website from LinkedIn. LinkedIn groups are another place that I will often go to, having published something on my website, just to flag up articles of interest for members. And don't forget to use your Company Page on LinkedIn. I find that many companies tend to neglect their LinkedIn company pages but don't forget your contacts/clients/employees/stakeholders are using this platform more and more so, why not use it to flag up stories of interest to them? And how about the good, old direct message? Consider who in your network might find your new content/offers/products of interest and then directly message them. It does work!
Facebook - this may not be your 'top' platform for 'professional social networking' but that doesn't mean that people don't use it to check friends/family updates during the day. They do - all day, every day! And, of course, if they're following your company page, they can also receive bang-up-to-date information from your website. So, why not create schedule those updates and get them to appear at peak viewing times on Facebook? Learn for your success full updates (check Insights). For certain posts that are working (engagement and reach) or those you think may need nudging, why not boost a post? Don't forget that organic reach for your Facebook posts may be as low as 6.5% and these boosts can help you reach either more of your Facebook followers or even those who are part of your potential market.