The Importance of Fostering Clients into Partners

In high school and college, I worked retail at a large department store—specifically, the shoe department. While some may wince at the thought of encountering the public’s feet, I chose this department for a good reason. The shoe department was the only department where associates could make commission on their sales. Luckily, the store carried a premium selection of designers which made it easy to make a solid paycheck. I could’ve traveled the easy route—work my shift and hope we were busy enough to sell a decent amount shoes. Instead, I learned I valuable lesson: You can make a lot more by providing excellent customer service. I took time to get to know my customers and develop a genuine rapport. I worked hard to dazzle them, providing numerous options so they walked away sincerely happy. And if they were unhappy? I made it right. It paid off! I had repeat customers that sought after me (I also always let the sale dates slip ahead of time), my clientele rarely walked away with a single pair, and my parents were beyond thrilled. Who wouldn’t love when their 16-year-old buys their own car and takes care of the insurance and gas?

Here I am, many years later and still in the service industry. A lot of what I learned in that department store holds true at an agency. Clients want to trust who they work with and know the recommendations being delivered to them are what’s best for their business, not the agency’s. And even thought they may not know exactly what they want, when educated on their options, they feel better about the strategy and tactics put in place. Providing service like this is what it takes to elevate a relationship from client to partner.  Here’s how we’ve been able to make this transition with ours:

Get to know your clients

There’s in an undeniable human element in this business, as the great Maya Angelo put it, “People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.” So, it’s important that you make the time you spend with clients valuable and enjoyable. Start small by asking your clients how their weekend was, and conversely, tell them what your Super Bowl plans are or if you got a new puppy. It makes work feel less like work and it’s a good way to ease into stale status meetings, not to mention, you’re getting to know/like one another! It’s monumentally essential that this develops from an authentic place. Don’t rush things, be genuine, and a mutual respect will organically develop with time.

Give your clients options

Much like my experience working at a department store, it’s important to provide you clients with multiple options so they can be delighted in the final product or decision. This applies in all agency areas—pricing, design, creative, targeting, vendors, etc. This is not to be mistaken for making the client take responsibility. It is our job to provide recommendations that are right for their business. Don’t give options for the sake of doing so. Provide choices that would make a good fit and uncover with your client which of them would be best. Maybe it’s the more affordable or maybe it’s the long-term play. You don’t know every aspect of your client’s business, so truly partner with them in the decision-making process.

Making it right when things go wrong

Being that advertising is a human-driven service, human mistakes can and will happen, unfortunately. Bear Bryant hit the nail on the head when he said, “When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it. ” The worst move and agency could make is lie about a mistake. Will your client be upset that a mistake was made? Probably. Will they appreciate forthcoming and a plan to move forward? Yes. And lastly: always have a solution paired with your apology.

Provide value

Simply put, do more than just the job. Uncover insight that helps clients understand their customers better and identify opportunities for future campaigns renditions. Help them understand, learn, and feel comfortable with aspects of the industry. Even if they don’t have the time to learn right now, continually offer, because a knowledgeable client will see more value in the performance you deliver when they understand the hoops you had to jump to get there.

Following these tips alone won’t yield a great client relationship. It takes teamwork between the agency and the client to make it happen. We, the agency, must establish a solid foundation from good work with an authentic-positive attitude. Conversely, clients must reciprocate with open communication and a desire to collaborate.  When these worlds combine, a limitless partnership emerges.

Best Practices for Integrating Paid Search & Organic Insights

When it comes to integrating Paid Search and SEO, 1+1=3. The combination of both channels is stronger together, rather than they are on their own. This correlation was compounded when Google dropped their right rail ads from the SERP (search engine results page). Since then, top-of-the-page ad real estate increased from 3 to 4 placements. The increase of ad realestate decreases Organic listings from being seen above-the-fold and can require participation in Paid Search.

It’s imperative digital advertisers understand how Paid Search and Organic can work together.  Paid Search and Organic performance insight should be leveraged through integrated optimization tactics.

Increase Your Ownership of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

When Paid Search and Organic both appear in the SERP results, particularly above-the-fold, the more page space you occupy, the less there is for your competition. Achieving this scenario exponentially increases your chance of being clicked and winning conversions.

So, what steps should you take? Try augmenting high ranking keywords with Paid Search.  Test for a statistically significant amount of time to see if your increased takeover of SERP real estate subsequently drives more traffic, engagement or conversions.

 Using Paid Search Data to Optimize Organic

Often, Paid Search is referred to as a sprint and SEO as a marathon. This is because Paid Search achieves first page results immediately, whereas, Organic rankings grow over time. Websites may launch with Organic rankings from page 2 and beyond. However, Paid Search can appear in position 1 on day one of their launch. For that reason, Paid Search can provide preliminary insight that can be applied to SEO’s strategy. By testing keywords in Paid Search, you can discover whether or not they’ll be good conversion drivers. These types of findings can help you identify keywords that are crucial to your SEO strategy.

Also, analyze top performing Paid Search ad copy to determine what CTA’s work best and utilize them when crafting or refining  meta descriptions. Paid Search best-practices rotate 3-4 ads per ad group, which means you’ll be able to identify phrases that work well for particular keyword themes as well.

Using Organic to Optimize Paid Search

On the flip side, SEO insights can be optimized to improve Paid Search performance. Identify Paid Search keywords with low Quality Score and work to improve them with on-site SEO tactics such as better on-page keyword optimization or creating keyword-targeted subpages. Optimizations such as these signal higher keyword/content relevancy ratios to search engines.

Additionally, Paid Search terms that are expensive, but essential, can be made SEO priorities. Gaining traffic from these types of keywords will take time and effort. But, if you put a strategic roadmap in place and optimize accordingly, you’ll eventually reap the benefit of free, Organic traffic.

Taking a Holistic Approach to Paid & Organic Search

Managing Paid Search and SEO in individual silos is detrimental to performance. By making them work together, you’ll be able to leverage their learnings and achieve optimal performance. 

A Basic Understanding of Attribution in Google Analytics

Attribution – Don’t Worry if You Don’t Know What It Is

It’s a common faux pas for professionals to use industry-specific vernacular when explaining things to their clients. Doctors are notorious culprits. You’re going to have to explain to me what neutrophils is and why an Idiopathic condition requires a CBC. Huh?  For the love of all that’s good, speak real words, please.

Digital Marketing, unfortunately, also falls in the same bucket of industry-speak. There’s a plethora of acronyms, buzz words, and tech nomenclature that are easy to confuse. However, “attribution” is one of the easiest offenses because it gives the illusion that everyone knows what that means.

So, if you have no idea what “attribution” is or have heard it explained in conflicting ways and are now confused, we’re here to help. Consider this your Google Analytics Attribution 101!

Multiple Pathways to Conversion

Google Analytics channel pathways

Whether the goal of your website is to drive sales, leads or some other valuable action, for the sake of simplicity, we will refer to that act as your “conversion”.  Conversions occur through digital channel pathways: Direct, Organic, Paid Search, Social, Email, Display, Affiliates, and Referral. Sometimes the conversion will occur from exposure to a single digital channel, but often, the conversion occurs through multiple channels.

The Conversion Visualizer

Attribution Multi-Channel Conversion Visualizer

For a bird’s eye visual of how your pathways cooperate with one another in Google Analytics, go to Conversions -> Overview.

Here you will see how many conversions you’ve driven for a particular time period and of those conversions, how many of them were assisted conversions. Assisted conversions are conversions that occurred because another channel played a role in driving the visitor to convert.

The Multi-Channel Conversion Visualizer displays how much overlap the channels have with one another. When you see a lot of assisted conversions and overlap in the visualizer, consider it a signal that “attribution” is worth exploring into further detail.

So, Your Channels are Working Together! Now What?

Since your digital channels are clearly interacting with one another, the next step is to look at the different attribution models to understand their corresponding roles to your success. To compare and contrast the different attribution models in Google Analytics, go to: Conversions -> Attribution ->Model Comparison Tool

Here’s a rundown of the different attribution models you’ll see listed and how they work:

  • Last Non-Direct Click: The default model in Google Analytics reporting, gives 100% conversion credit to the last channel in the conversion path, except direct. Often, direct traffic is a visitor you’ve already “won”- because of a previous channel’s success. This model is good to use when comparing/contrasting other attribution models.
  • Last AdWords Click: 100% conversion credit is applied to the last AdWords click. Use this to analyze your AdWords campaign’s effectiveness.
  • First Interaction: 100% conversion credit is applied to the first channel of the conversion paths. This will help you identify what channel is achieving visitor’s discovery and interest in your brand.
  • Last Interaction: 100% conversion credit goes to the last channel of the conversion path. This model is useful is your business has no consideration phase in the sale cycle (we’re not sure this type of business vertical exists in this day and age of comparison shopping and consumer segmentation).
  • Linear: Equal credit is given to all channels in a conversion path. So, if the pathway was Social-Direct-Organic-Paid Search-Direct, each path would be rewarded with 20% of the conversion value.
  • Time Decay: Applies heavier conversion credit to channels used closest to the time of conversion. Google support specifies that, “the Time Decay model has a default half-life of 7 days, meaning that a touch-point occurring 7 days prior to a conversion will receive 1/2 the credit of a touch-point that occurs on the day of conversion. Similarly, a touch-point occurring 14 days prior will receive 1/4 the credit of a day-of-conversion touch-point. The exponential decay continues within your look-back window (default of 30 days). “ .
  • Position Based: Gives more conversion credit to the first and last channels and applies equal credit to the channel touchpoints in-between.

Keep in mind, there’s no “right” model to use. Rather, there are applicable and non-applicable models. Each model has its own benefit and will help you understand the value each digital channel drives. Think of it from a purchase funnel perspective, you can’t drive to a sale without being present in the awareness of consideration stage. These attribution models help you see your digital channels’ impact on those stages.

Learn Why Blogging Can Help Boost Your Business

When we bring up why blogging is good for business, our clients’ most common reaction tends to be, “No, I don’t want that,” or “I know it’s something I should do but I don’t have time for it.” Both are perfectly reasonable responses because it is time consuming and does require a level of commitment! However, there is substantial payoff in blogging and here are  our top reasons why a blog for business is important.

Blogging Drives More Traffic to Your Website

If you’re not familiar with SEO, you can target themes or keywords per page. Creating relevant, hyper-focused content around these themes is the main way to notify search engines to serve one of your pages for a particular search query.

For example, say you’re a local doctor and your website’s Flu page targets keywords like: flu, flu treatment, flu vaccine. However, if you want to target similar searches such as:  kids flu prevention, Tamiflu, seniors flu, but your existing flu page’s content is too general to qualify appearing for them. A great workaround to increase your keyword reach is with blog posts. You could write a blog for each of those specific topics to increase your relevancy and rankings, thereby exposing your website to a wider spectrum audience.

Now you may be thinking, why can’t I just make more webpages? You could. However, doing so requires more time and if you’re not the one doing it, more money. Blog post are merely simplified pages that give you the creative freedom to address a variety of topics related to your organization.

The traffic you drive from your blog posts will increase overtime as your rankings improve.  According to HubSpot, “about 70% of the traffic each month…comes from posts that weren’t published in the current month. They come from old posts. Same goes for the leads generated in a current month — about 90% of the leads we generate every month come from blog posts that were published in previous months. Sometimes years ago.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”5″ padding_bottom=”5″][vc_column width=”1/4″ css=”.vc_custom_1501791237281{padding-top: 30px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”920″ img_size=”medium” style=”vc_box_rounded”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1552058714327{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

Blogging is an Optimization Tactic

Another way blogging helps you get more website visitors is because it helps your SEO. Engines like to see websites continually produce new content. New content on your site tells search engines that you are a quality site- one that’s always providing new information that your visitors will find useful.  Search engines also like to see that the content contains link juice, links to other online sources, which is also easy to implement in a blog. You’re also giving them more content to explore on your website. This increases visitor time duration and pages per visit. High behavior metrics like indicate to the search engines that you’re a quality website.

Blogging is Good PR

When you blog you’re providing your visitors with more relevant and useful information. This can be in the form of expanding upon topics on your website, covering related niche areas, communicating your business’s news/ updates, or just giving your opinion on what’s going on in your industry. Doing this establishes your expertise in the space. Back to the local doctor example, your opinion on the scenarios for prescribing Tamiflu conveys your medication style to potential patients. Blogging is also a place to imprint your personality to visitors, The subjects you cover and the tone you interject helps readers connect and get to know you.

Blogging Facilitates Loyalty

You can also reward your blog readers with special offers to incentivize repeat visits to your website. Take a note from the pros; professional bloggers do this all the time. They announce giveaways, share promo codes, launch contests, share downloadable content, etc. Business websites can do the same thing! And side note, a lot of the reward-type content can feature email submission forms which you can later use for your outbound marketing efforts… high quality contact info score! Make your blog something visitors want to come back to. In doing so, you’ll transform a visitor into a subscriber.