Links matter, but they’re no longer in the top three

large chain links in a pile

Backlinks have always been an essential factor in your website’s search results. For well over a decade, backlinks were touted as one of the top three ranking factors.

However, Gary Illyes of Google recently confirmed that links matter but are no longer in the top three factors for site ranking. High-quality content (like mentioned in #1) is the number one factor for ranking on Google Search. It is so essential it can even cause sites with no backlinks to rank high in the search results. You can read more about Google’s view on backlinks here.

Holiday Shopping is Here

couple looking in a shop window

The holiday shopping season is here. Google released their Four Ways to Prepare for the Holiday Season guide back in August but it’s a great resource to revisit. It’s full of great information that can apply to more than just merchants selling products on Google Shopping.

The guide provides valuable insights into what Google is prioritizing this holiday season: enticing gift ideas, effective PMAX Google Ads strategies to expand your customer base, and the ever-popular feature of fast and free shipping.

You’ve Got Mail: Client Case Study

Welcome back to our blog! Today, we’re covering how we have made an impact on a client’s sales pipelines with our email lead generation efforts. We covered leveraging both cold email prospects and existing sales leads on our blog previously, but we want to dive further into the details of how we made this happen for a client.  

Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself 

Even Jay-Z knew that sometimes you just need to remind people who you are and what you have to offer. We have a product manufacturing client that wanted to start a more robust follow-up program with their existing and previously-contacted leads. They had several internal lists for different industries and offerings that were ripe for fresh outreach. 

We initially worked within their Salesforce account to send introduction emails to the prospects but knew that follow-up emails are proven to create the highest conversion percentage. To take advantage of follow-up actions, we moved their lists into our system and created email send sequences with several steps. 

With our custom email templates, we addressed the prospects in a personal and professional manner, and started seeing replies flow in. Over the last few months, our client has been able to set several phone calls with their existing leads. This allowed them to re-energize previous partnerships and launch new conversations with leads that they had not been able to speak with before. 

These ARE the Leads You’re Looking For 

Our client also wanted to begin reaching out to new companies that they had not attempted to contact before. Obi-Wan Kenobi taught everyone that it’s important to have a full grasp on who you’re seeking out, so we spend time with our clients to understand who will respond best to cold outreach on their behalf. 

Through our conversations, we identified our client’s ideal titles, industries, and locations to target. Using our lead sources, we identified prospects that fit these parameters. Lastly, we created new, custom email templates for these efforts and launched sends from our system. 

An additional step we take to ensure smooth sailing is to assist our clients with their inboxes. 

We help capture and cleanse out any “out of office” replies that come in, or any “not delivered” notices that might occur. This allows us to provide them with qualified, fresh leads without overwhelming their current domain or email account.

About our overall work, our client wrote:

“We’ve been using Decantery for about a year to handle our email out-reach, website development & SEO. We’ve had a great experience. Their team is responsive, they craft email content that consistently gets responses and we’ve watched our search engine rankings climb month after month. To anyone considering a digital marketing campaign we highly recommend Decantery.”

If you’re looking to take the next step in filling your sales pipeline with leads, let us know! We’d love to chat about creating custom email lead gen tactics for you as well. Contact us today by clicking the button below.

The End is Near: Is It Time To Dismantle Digital Marketing?

Google is turning 21 years old this September. That’s right—sound the alarm, the tech giant is finally old enough to drink! However, it feels like Google and its comrades have been around forever. Let’s take a peek into history and see how things have changed in the last two decades.

Happy Birthday to Digital Marketing

Digital marketing, as a coined phrase, and as a tactic, was born in the 1990s. In terms of the quickly shifting Digital Age, the early 1990s feel like ancient history! Advertising web banners appeared in 1993, but with the birth of Yahoo, search engine optimization (SEO) began running full steam. By the late ’90s, Google introduced AdWords and AdSense, and the sprint for digital marketing became an all-out marathon.

While the “internet bubble” burst in 2000, it looks like we have a digital marketing bubble also about to pop. Because of the variety of marketing efforts that must be taken to advertise to customers, companies have had to adjust by creating and constantly updating several departments and teams. But what if all those groups combined forces and took marketing head-on, Avengers-style?

Taming the Marketing Monster

Consider all the avenues of marketing one company must tackle: digital (SEO, remarketing, etc), print (magazines, newspapers, etc), physical (billboards, bus stop shelters, etc), and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc). Marketing has become a new-age Hydra, one giant mythical lead generation creature with too many heads that seems to be constantly sprouting additional noggins. Each marketing avenue must inform the other, especially when it comes to data and measuring results. If they’re not working in unison and communicating effectively, gaps will occur.

So how do we become Hercules to slay the beast?

Back to Basics

If we tried to neatly list out all the components of digital marketing, it wouldn’t be, well… neat. Consider all the avenues mentioned above—and multiply that by at least 10. The industry uses buzz words like “holistic marketing” to suggest that we have the marketing monster’s many heads all on leashes and walking like a well-trained pup. When the leashes get tangled, you have gaps in marketing efforts appear.

One of the biggest gaps in marketing data is the measurement of consumer relevance. A tough question that Marie Gulin-Merle, Calvin Klein’s chief marketing officer and PVH’s chief digital officer poses is “How do we prove that we provided the right content to the right consumer at the right time?” Positive consumer experience drives positive consumer impact on a company’s marketing bottom line. One way to ensure this happens is to make sure your overall marketing efforts are effortlessly connected visually and with content.

Here at Decantery, we believe in the idea of holistic marketing, but we put focus on effective and time-tested tactics. From creating smooth, extremely user-friendly websites to A/B testing ads for your business’ Google listing, we view digital marketing as marketing. We position ourselves as an external team that always has your best interests in mind, and look for ways to close gaps in the marketing map.

Lead-Generating Landing Pages: Why and How?

Here at Decantery, we strive to provide our clients with a holistic approach to their digital marketing strategies. One of (if not the most) important elements of your digital strategy is your website. But websites aren’t just for having an online presence—you can optimize them for easy, no-hassle lead generation! Let’s talk about the “why” and “how” of implementing landing pages that drive inbound marketing strategies.

The Why

Once your SEO or PPC strategies get consumers to your website, you must ensure that they’ll take an action. Frankly, unless someone is only visiting to see what your company’s hours are, you should consider that all consumers are prospective customers! The more engaging and informative your website is, the more likely a prospective customer will convert. Landing pages accomplish this a variety of ways. They can utilize several interactive options that can gather information, provide value to prospective customers, and “increase the likelihood of converting traffic into leads,” says HubSpot.

We would divide conversion-driving landing pages into two categories: Information Grabbers, or Value Providers. Information grabbers include: event registrations, email list sign-ups, etc. Value providers include: white paper downloads, free trials of your product, etc.

Landing pages that drive conversions are also free! You don’t have to sink more of your marketing dollars into this strategy, and we think that’s a major win.

The How

Let’s cover how you can implement and take advantage of landing pages. First, identify where on your site you’re driving customers to. Then, ask yourself why. If you’re sending customers to your website because you have an event coming up, create a short and sweet landing page about that event. It doesn’t have to be fancy! Include the basic necessities, but also use one of the above tactics. Add in an option to download an information packet to review prior to the event, or add in an email list sign-up section so that your customers can stay connect with you about that event in particular OR future events.

We also suggest testing a variety of landing page styles. If you see that your email list subscription landing page isn’t as active as the landing page you created that offers a free trial of your product, take a look at what you did differently. We also love this HubSpot article that shares some great “hows” regarding making your landing pages even more effective. We especially suggest using #6: “Keep your form high on the page.” The faster a visitor can take care of business, the happier they’ll be.

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.

Mark Sawyier – Think. Do. Share.

Welcome to our first installment in our Think. Do. Share. series! Mark Sawyier is Co-Founder and CEO of Bonfyre.

Bonfyre is a workplace culture platform—an enterprise social network designed to support the human connections at the heart of a strong culture by fostering employee recognition, feedback, communications and more.

Its success is based on this equation: happy employeesimproved communication =successful company. This has been met with incredible reception. Bonfyre has been adopted by companies such as Southwest Airlines, Marriot, Commerce Bank, and Maritz Travel Company, just to name a few. It’s also earned a number of accolades, including being named one of the top 10 St. Louis tech startups and reaching over $9.7 in venture capital investment.

We sat down with Mark to learn more about his experiences at Bonfyre and what he’s learned along the way.

When you came up with Bonfyre as a business concept, what was it that made you decide an app was instrumental to achieve your vision?

Mark: We began with the basic idea of building some kind of a mobile app. We first started talking about it shortly after the iPhone came out – we knew the platform was going to change everything. We started out as a private social networking platform for friends and family and, over time, evolved into the workplace culture platform Bonfyre is today.

What did the drawing board look like?

Mark: We had lots of ideas about what it would mean to build a better private social networking platform. But with limited time and resources, throughout our journey we’ve always tried to focus on the most essential and what we needed to achieve to prove we had a viable idea and business opportunity. In the very beginning, as a private social networking application for families, we were concerned about app virality and stickiness (something that is still very important to us today).

Would you agree that companies often make the mistake of investing in an app, when a mobile-responsive website is more suited to attain their goal?

Mark: Sometimes. It really depends on what the goal is. Mobile-friendly websites are limited in user experience, features, and functionality- like push notifications. It really depends on what you want to do.

What parameters do you recommend when deciding if you should invest in creating an app?

Mark: Ask yourself, “Does achieving the goal require or benefit from using a smartphone?”.  If it’s important for you to be able to reach out and “touch” the user (ex: send them a push notification), then a native mobile application is important.

The app biz is tough. The statistics for app success are intimidating, to say the least- 77% of users never use an app again 72 hours after installing. What is it that made your early adopters not only try, but continue using Bonfyre?

Mark: It was important to meet the high expectations of the quality for user experience: polished, simple, and delightful. The application must be robust enough to meet needs, but not overly complex to where it gets in the way. Make sure to thoughtfully map out the user experience from A-Z and establish clear goals for each step (and screen). 

When you were starting out, how did you get people to try Bonfyre? How did you cultivate and grow your early adopters/installs?

Mark: General marketing tactics, PR and beta email invites. We built features into the product that allowed existing users to invite others to join. App marketing, which you [Decantery] helped us with; things like app store optimization and pay per account signup. Working with a good partner that takes the time to not just throw ads up, but to get the end goal, which in our case in the beginning was account signup. Now of course, we see this occurring as part of driving new customer relationships.

For those interested in launching their own app, what were some of the surprises you encountered along the way?

Mark: How different the app store ecosystems are and how different the submission process is for iOS and Android. Also, “you get what you pay for” stands true in the app space. There’s a lot of low cost developers and out of the box options and it’s important to find good middle ground. Building a mobile app that will meet the desired goals almost always will not be a very small investment. In my experience, going for the “least expensive” option has a higher probability of not getting you where you want. Particularly for lower cost options, it’s important to spend the time understanding exactly what you’re getting for your money.

What do you believe is an essential design element for user experience?

Mark: Less is more. Always ask yourself what is the action you want the user to take on the screen. Map out the user experience and test it, get user feedback.

Anything you’d caution against?

Mark: Trying to do too much at first or lead users to do actions that aren’t part of your most important objectives.

What do you foresee as the major market trends or changes in the app industry over the next 2-3 years?

Mark: Trends are easy to get caught up in and distract from the most important part of the user experience (polished, simple, delightful.). They can add additional complexity and cost. Unless it’s foundational to the end goal, don’t worry about the “bells and whistles” until you have that foundation reasonably well developed.

We’ve seen a number of security attacks and threats strike the mobile app industry during its growth. How does a fledgling app prepare to defend and protect their users?

Mark: For most applications, make sure users names, email, and password (anything personally identifiable) information is encrypted. If you’re not an engineer, it’s worth doing a bit of research to find some “security best practices for mobile applications” to help educate yourself and have a more informed conversation with someone who is actually building the application.

What’s your closing advice for app entrepreneurs?

Mark: There’s a lot of value in bringing in people who have experience, experience can’t be underestimated. Do not underestimate the value of investing the time in your goals for the application as well as the experience for the end user. Brainstorm big, but take small steps that are highly quantifiable. And lastly, be persistent. The longer you work at something, the more likely you are to succeed at it.


What haircut did you have in high school?

  • Basically, what I have now. Before that it was kind of like James Van Der Beek circa Dawson’s Creek.

Super power – fly or read minds?

  • Fly

If you were guaranteed to be successful in a different profession, what would you do?

  • Astrophysicist

Last movie you saw? Recommend it?

  • Ken Burns Civil War documentary. Learned a lot!

Do you believe in aliens?

  • Yes

The end of Titanic – Did Rose have room for Jack on that door she floated on?

  • Yes

Starbucks go-to?

  • Cold brew, black

Name the most famous person you’ve met

  • Barack Obama

Best underrated travel destination?

  • Captiva island, FL

Thank you, Mark!

Many thanks, Mark Sawyier for taking the time! Your insight and advice is greatly appreciated. Bonfyre’s growth is incredible and an inspiration to technology entrepreneurs and beyond. We look forward to seeing what’s to come for Bonfyre and wish you continued success!