The Entry Level Digital Marketer

Excuse me while I brag just a little! 

With the skills I have learned in this particular digital marketing course I believe I would make a great addition to an in-house marketing team or agency.

The digital marketing knowledge I now posses is uncommon among new marketing graduates due to the traditional marketing curriculum most universities provide (Shout out to Western Washington University for providing both sides). On top of the knowledge I currently posses, I have a number of digital and content marketing certificates that supports that knowledge. These certifications include:

  • Hootsuite Dashboard Certification
  • Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification
  • Google Analytics
  • Code Academy through HTML Basics II.

FEW! That was a lot of BRAGGING! -Now lets get to the real honest stuff! 

As I go over all of the accomplishments I have obtained in this particular class, I can’t help but think I still have much more to learn! Yes, I have obtained skills most recent grads have not however as I look for a new place of employment I am finding that employers want even more from me! I understand this (and I am happy to do what it takes to give them this) but, my hope is that I will find a place of employment where I can be transparent about what I know, what I am capable of learning, and proving that I can adapt/learn in a timely manner! Hey Mr/Mrs. Hiring Manager! Don’t you remember when you graduated?

Now that that’s off my chest…… please hire me! *crazy face*

No but really! As I get more experience through internships and have time to reflect on what my goals are career wise it becomes more and more important for me to find a place of employment where I can build on skills I have obtained through school and work experience.

Aside from all that, a great company culture and a strong personal sense of pride in the place I work is also very important! I want to be able to enjoy the time I spend with my fellow employees and be proud to tell others around me where I work!

So, if you want someone on your team who is:

  • Motivated
  • Has an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Highly resourceful
  • And ready to prove what she is capable of/take over the world

Give me a shout out! http://www.linkedin.com/in/kaylalratliff

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Using Paid Search in Your Search Engine Marketing Campaign

 

As we dive deeper into search engine optimization (SEO) and discover how important it is for the inbound marketing process, another search engine marketing (SEM) strategy must be applied in coordination with the SEO. This particular search engine marketing strategy is called paid search. With the combination of organic SEO and paid search, businesses are able to ensure their particular products, services, content and websites, are easily found by their target audience or consumer.

Interestingly enough HubSpot provides a great e-book, “The Beginner’s Guide To Paid Search” which (you guessed it) is a great beginner’s guide to SEM. Additionally, Search Engine Land has a short informational blog on the topic as well called “What Is SEM?”. Both have helped me gain an understanding of search engine marketing…. Paid search to be specific, which I would like to share.

Because Google and other search engines are continuously changing their search algorithms it becomes increasingly hard for search engine optimizers to keep up with these changes. Rankings may be affected by all of these changes causing a businesses content or website to be placed below the fold or a couple of pages down for a certain period of time. This particular situation may be detrimental for some businesses that obtain a majority of their customers through search engines. This is when having a paid search campaign may be important for a search engine marketing plan.

So, what is paid search?

Unlike organic search, paid search is a feature offered by search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. These features allow marketers to pay for their content or website to be displayed in a space on the search engines results page for a specific keyword.

For Google (the primary paid search program) a combination of relevant, quality, and popular content provided for the searchers keyword and an appropriate bid amount will ensure your advertisement is ranked accordingly. Much like SEO discussed in my previous blog, “Getting Your Inbound Marketing Content Noticed with Search Engine Optimization” it is important for marketers to provide ads connected to their content or website that is relevant for what their target consumer is searching for.

Paid search features include:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) – Ads are charged by the number of clicks they receive
  • Cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) – pay for 1,000 impressions or views

As it seems, PPC may be the most cost-effective option. With PPC the marketer may still obtain a large number of impressions while only obtaining a couple of clicks.

Conclusion 

Overall, the paid search feature provided for search engine marketers is a key way to ensure your search engine marketing campaign is maximized. When combined with organic search optimization and the fundamental tools used for success in the search engine world, your paid search advertisements will prove to be beneficial.

Getting Google Analytics Certified

Though there are many more digital marketing skills and tools to learn, the final steps to this particular journey includes obtaining a Google Analytics Certification!

Interestingly enough….. we started this journey with Google Analytics and now we are ending with it!

But why Google Analytics? 

For those small to medium-sized businesses looking to assess the effectiveness of their websites and mobile apps Google Analytics is a great tool for businesses to view the traffic to their sites with details such as:

  • Geographic location
  • Demographics
  • Specific browser used
  • Specific devices and carriers used (for mobile devices)
  • Total time spent on the site
  • Actions taken on each page, and more!

From the marketer’s standpoint Google Analytics along with Google Adwords provides great data and metrics about the effectiveness of particular campaigns and content. Effectiveness may be measured by which campaign or content is pulling the most traffic to your website or which is contributing the most to your conversion goal.

Wait, wait, wait! How do you use Google Analytics right?

Incase you’re wondering how you use Google Analytics, Google has provided some great content to help you become Google Analytics certified. This content includes a series of videos on the fundamentals of Google Analytics and the principles of Google Analytics, as well as specific blogs and informational content that gives you a more in-depth description of some of the topics discussed in the videos.

But there is more……..

Below is a list of important terms anyone looking to obtain a Google Analytics Certification should be familiar with. These terms are the main components of the Google Analytics “Data Model”.
>>>>> The “Data Model” is presented as the way data collected from your website is organized. These components are important when analyzing your website data, developing solutions for problems, or simply understanding your visitors better.

  1.  User – Visitors to your website or app
  2. Sessions – Duration of time these visitors spend on your website or app.
  3. Interactions – The actions users take on your website or app
    Ex: Visit the home page, watch a video, make a purchase
  4. Hits – Each individual interaction within a session
    Ex: Page views, events, transactions

So, if you are looking to ensure your website is performing to the best of its capabilities as well as want to understand your users to encourage higher goal conversions overall Google Analytics is a great tool to do so.

So you wanna be Google Analytics Certified? This is how!

As I complete the Google Analytics certification process a combination of watching the videos, reading the informational blogs, and practicing with the actual dashboard are how I was able to pass the certification process!
VolumeNine was the most helpful blog I found on Google Analytics! Check it out!

The Rise of Mobile and Multi-Platform Usage

Now, after all this website, search engine, content creation chatter we will get into mobile and how important it is to implement this into your business’ marketing plans. If you are a person who keeps up with the latest technological trends and uses the internet on the daily (which is most likely the case since you’re reading this blog) you may have noticed the increase in the use of mobile devices. This may be due to the smaller compact devices making it easier to carry around and the strong desire to stay connected.

ComScore has provided some great data about the state of mobile titled “The US Mobile App Report” and the future of digital marketing titled “US Digital Future in Focus 2014”. These white papers focus on the overall increase in mobile usage as well as the total increase in the use of multiple platforms throughout the day.

Multi-Platform Usage 

As it turns out, users are now more than ever using multiple platforms for their digital experiences. These platforms include cell phones, tablets, and computers, which are used throughout the day for a variety of reasons.

With the increase of multi-platform usage of course means that these users can now be reached more often. Think about it…. You wake up in the morning, read a couple of articles on your cell phone, go to work and you’re on the computer all day, and then you end the day on your tablet reading a book or playing a game before bed. Before you know it you have been exposed to an abundance of ads and content. This is where the need for relevant and quality content comes into play. With the excess of information your potential customer is exposed to it is important to make sure your content stands out and is worth their while.

The Rise of Mobile

Mobile use overall has substantially increased along with the increase in use of multiple digital platforms. Just to be clear mobile in this case includes cell phones as well as tablets. Further more, the increase of mobile app usage has contributed to this.

According to ComScore, 57% of all internet usage is through mobile and of that majority 88% of smartphone use is on an app followed by 82% on tablets.

So what do all these percentages tell us? I believe the most important take away from these numbers is the fact that mobile is taking over when it comes to digital and internet usage so it is imperative that this be implemented into your marketing plan. For some, creating an app specific for your business may be even more beneficial.

 Conclusion

Overall, it is clear that the world of digital is shifting into mobile and with that shift marketers will be able to access their target audience across multiple platforms. Because there is already a large amount of content and advertisements being thrown in the consumers face it is important to ensure the messages we are sending and the content we are creating across these different platforms are relevant and intriguing.

The Next Generation of Paid Advertising: Programmatic and Native Advertising

After learning about search engine marketing (SEM) including paid search advertising a couple of new paid digital advertising options are developing. Programmatic as well as native advertising seem to be the next generation of paid advertising options, which will be used in the digital world.

Programmatic

With programmatic ad buying marketers are able to purchase specific ad spots on webpages that will be seen by their exact target in real-time. On top of that, it can be done with an automated system which will make ad buying decisions for them rather than manually. Adweek.com explains:

“It’s buying specific audiences using lots of data to figure out the right ad, the right person, the right time.”

“——Programmatic takes multiple data points and makes decisions [about] what screen an ad should be on, what is the most effective strategy at a given moment, and lets you do all the non manual decisions.”

These programmatic providers seem to be on more of the traditional side of digital marketing, which is usually frowned upon. However, with programmatic the idea of pairing advertisements with your ideal customer, looking for specific products and services you offer appears to be a little less invasive than traditional digital advertising tactics.

Native Advertising

As the digital marketing world continues to unfold in front of me, the idea of inbound marketing and using content to attract target customers keeps coming up….. and rightly so! Now, this same idea has been paired with native advertising. 

Much like content marketing, native advertising is used to build trust and a relationship with your customer. This is done so with editorial-like content pieces often featured on other media platforms. Platforms where these native ads may be promoted include podcast channels, social media platforms, Flipboard pages, or online publication sites.

Theguardian.com does a great job of explaining this new paid advertising concept as well.

So which one’s better?  

It seems both have many benefits. Much like all other marketing concepts, it simply depends on the situation. However, I will say that with programmatic marketing research firms such as ComScore are providing advertising metrics that will provide quality performance information among programmatic service providers in the industry. These metrics give the marketer purchasing these services a more transparent idea of the quality of the programmatic service. On the other hand, there is currently no data on the ROI of native advertising according to adage.com though we know it does contribute to brand awareness due to the press and publicity it produces.

Overall, both methods may be great forms of paid advertising to think about implementing into your marketing campaigns. I for one, am more of an advocate for all things inbound and would encourage native advertising more so than programmatic. But, only time will tell and much more research needs to be done on both methods to see which is the most effective.

Coding and The Digital Marketer


Now that we have learned a bit about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the importance of using a website with HTML coding. It is only right that as a marketer (digital marketer for that matter) that we understand this specific website coding language.

In case you were wondering exactly what HTML coding actually is……. HTML is an acronym for Hypertext Markup Language. This is the language used to create a web page. Web browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and even Internet Explorer are able to read this language and turn them into the visually appealing web pages we use everyday.

Common HTML tags or codes include:

  • <html> </html> – specifying that this is the language being used
  • <h1> to <h6> – specifying header font size
  • <img> – used to import photos on the webpage

These are just basic HTML tags that are commonly used in the html language. Obviously, there is more behind these tags, which will be important for the html learning process. Learning more about these tags can be done in some of the online courses offered as will be discussed below.

For those looking to enter into the digital marketing/inbound marketing world, having at least a basic understanding of coding is important for the ability to independently make changes to your websites, landing pages, or campaigns. Possessing the skill to make these changes quickly and effectively may save you both time and money.

Think about how obnoxious it would be to have to call your web designer every time you wanted to make a small change to the site. Simple tasks like changing the color of the font on your site can be completed in a timely manner and you would not have to pay the web designer for their time. Sounds like a win-win to me! Hubspot also explains this idea in their blog, “Is Coding the Next Must-Have Skill of the Modern Marketer?”

If you’re now wondering where you learn to code and how to gain this skill, Code Academy is a great resource to learn this HTML language and how to manipulate pieces of your website. As I go through the HTML and CSS courses myself, I am amazed at how easy some of the specific rules for communicating are. Code Academy does a great job of explaining the language terms and codes in a simple way. Learning to code sounds like an intimidating task, but Code Academy has made it easy and actually quite enjoyable! I want to learn more!

Overall, as a digital/inbound marketer possessing basic coding knowledge may prove to be very beneficial for you and your business. Having this basic knowledge might possibly save you time and money while helping you understand the platform you use the most to reach your target customer.

Getting Your Inbound Marketing Content Noticed With Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been and remains one of the most important elements of inbound marketing practices. Because our main purpose is to provide solutions for our consumer’s problems it is important for us to provide these solutions with content that can be found in the place where potential consumers are doing the most research to solve their problems….. Search engines.

We have worked hard to create content and websites for our target consumers to use and enjoy, so we need to make sure they can find it!

Now, I must bring to light the idea that Search Engine Optimization is not simply making sure our website appears at the top of a search engine. According to Hubspot, website optimization is a combination of ensuring your users are getting the best experience possible as well as ensuring you are easily found.

Moz (which I have mentioned in the past), a company that provides great tools for SEO and inbound marketing has provided some awesome guides for SEO and link building beginners. From “Beginner’s Guide to SEO” and “Beginner’s Guide to Link Building” I have pulled out some key takeaways, which I believe are most important for the beginning search engine optimizer.

Relevance and Popularity
First, search engines have specific algorithms and crawlers that go through webpages looking for pages that provide information most relevant for their searchers needs as well as how popular that specific page is. So, it is important for us as marketers (now optimizers) to know exactly what our target consumer is looking for as well as ensure our content or website is continuing to grow.

As discussed in a previous post Content Marketing: Not Your Average Marketing Campaign we will be able to provide relevant content for our target consumers to find by creating a relationship and really listening to what they want and need. If we do this, as well as actively using other inbound marketing strategies such as email marketing and social media the popularity will come with time.

Keywords are Key
Using specific keywords in your content or webpages is another great way to ensure these two are placed at the top of search engine lists. This falls back on the importance of relevance. You should be using keywords in your title as well as your content that are often used by your consumers or audience. If we are really speaking our consumer’s language because we have created that important relationship with them, we are more likely to be found.

HTML Formatting
In order to see better search engine listings, it is important for all your content to be in HTML format. Though you and your users may be able to see your beautiful webpage or content formatting, if all of that information is not in HTML format the search engine crawlers will be unable to find it and rank it. This includes all rich media such as photos, graphics, or videos.

Moz has a great application, which they mentioned in their guide that provides users the ability to see the parts of your content are visible and indexable to search engines. This application, which can be placed right on your Google Chrome or Firefox toolbar, is called MozBar.

Link Building
Once we have created relevant content that has become popular, you may begin to get hyperlinks (links) from other websites to your own content and website. This is good! The more links to your website the better! With a large number of links to your website or content you will improve your search engine rankings. These links are showing the search engine crawlers that your site is important and has relevant/trusted information that those in your specific community are willing to share.

Links to websites or content are similar to forwarding emails or sharing on social media. We want our audience and consumers to share our content in order to acquire more.

So, once us beginning marketers have created that great content that our target audience and consumers may enjoy, we must use some of these search engine optimization pointers discussed above (in combination with other inbound marketing tactics) to get that content noticed!