Here at My Search Heroes, we often get questions from businesses about online marketing. So we realised that it would be helpful for us to put together a blog post answering some of the most common questions we get related to digital marketing.
We compiled the 101 most common logo & brand design, website design, search engine optimisation (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing and Google & Facebook Advertising (PPC) questions we receive, to help you grow your local small business.
(See the menu below to save you some time!)
- Do I need a logo?
- Should I create my own logo?
- How much does a logo cost?
- How can I best work with a designer on a logo?
- Are there logo clichés to stay away from?
- What about logo colours?
- How should I choose the best logo candidate?
- How often should I change my logo?
- Can I legally protect my logo?
- What should I do with my logo?
- What is a website domain name?
- What is website hosting?
- What is a content management system?
- What is WordPress?
- How do I get my website found?
- What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and do I need to worry about it?
- What is Google Analytics and do I need it?
- What is Google Webmaster and do I need it?
- What Social Media should I do, if any?
- What is the difference between website pages and posts?
- What does SEO stand for?
- Does SEO stay the same?
- How are keywords and SEO related?
- How do I know which keywords work for my business?
- Where do I put SEO keywords?
- How many times should I use the keywords?
- So I need to blog to improve SEO?
- How does SEO connect with backlinks?
- How do I build links?
- Is SEO complicated?
- Can social media marketing really help my business?
- What are the benefits of social media marketing for my company?
- How should companies measure their social media marketing success?
- How much does social media marketing cost? What’s the ROI?
- Which social media platforms should my business have a presence on?
- Does my company really need a blog for social media marketing?
- Is social media marketing better for B2C or B2B businesses?
- How should we be using Facebook for marketing?
- How should we be using Twitter for marketing?
- How should we be using LinkedIn for marketing?
- Should we be using Google+ (GMB) for marketing?
- Is YouTube important for marketing?
- Is outreach an important part of social media marketing?
- How can I take control of my brand online through social media marketing?
- Should each department in my company have its own social media initiatives?
- What type of social media content converts best?
- How much time should social media marketing take each week?
- How long does it take before I’ll start seeing results from social media marketing?
- What are some common social media marketing mistakes business make?
- What are some general tips for social media success?
- Is email marketing still effective?
- Isn’t social media marketing taking the place of email marketing?
- Can I buy a list when I’m just starting out with email marketing?
- How should I grow my subscriber list?
- What makes a good incentive?
- Do I need to send an email newsletter?
- How often should I send marketing emails?
- What is the best day and time to send my marketing emails?
- How can I make sure my emails don’t end up in the spam folder?
- Should I use HTML or plain text-based emails?
- How long should my emails be?
- How do I write a great marketing email?
- Should I segment my email lists?
- Which metrics should I be looking at?
- How can I get subscribers to open my emails?
- How do I write a good subject line?
- How can I increase my click-through rate?
- How do I write a great call to action?
- What should my From line say?
- What does the CAN-SPAM law say?
- What is content marketing exactly?
- What qualifies as content?
- How should I get started with content marketing?
- What are the steps to developing a content marketing strategy?
- Do I need to constantly create new content?
- How often should I post fresh content on my site?
- How important is it to share my content on social media?
- Is guest blogging part of a content marketing strategy?
- Do I need an editorial calendar?
- How important are keywords in content marketing?
- How do I make my content engaging?
- How can content marketing make me into an industry thought leader?
- Is there a difference between B2C and B2B content marketing?
- Should I create timely content or evergreen content?
- How can I incorporate big content into my content marketing plan?
- Is short-form or long-form content better?
- How can I create content that converts?
- What are some common content marketing mistakes?
- How do I get people to read my content?
- How do I measure the success of my content marketing efforts – and my overall digital marketing efforts?
- What is PPC advertising?
- What is a PPC ad network?
- What is PPC ad spend?
- Where can you advertise with PPC ads?
- Do people really click on online PPC ads?
- How much does a PPC ad campaign cost?
- What factors determine my PPC costs?
- Why advertise with pay-per-click ads?
- What businesses can (and should) advertise online?
- How does PPC advertising work?
- How often should I check my PPC campaigns?
Logo & Brand Design Questions
1. Do I need a logo?
A logotype — popularly known as a logo — is a company’s name or initials printed in a certain style and/or a symbol that serves as a visual identity for a firm. Remember that more than half of all people process information primarily visually, while auditory and kinesthetic processing come in second and third, respectively. Visual identity has a big impact.
Coca-Cola’s red-and-white script style enables you to identify the company at a glance even if the name itself is written in Arabic, Chinese or Cyrillic characters. Nike’s wordless “swish” symbol reminds you of the company instantly when you see it on sneakers, T-shirts, gear bags or billboards.
Even a small company can create this promotional payoff with appropriate use of an effective logo. Since every company of any significance has a logo, you mark yourself as insignificant, cheap or unprofessional if you do not have one.
A distinctive logo used proudly and extensively gives your company a recognizable look, so that envelopes bearing it get properly sorted by customers and imprinted mugs reinforce customers’ relationship with your company during their morning coffee ritual. In addition, the stylistic flavor of your logo — bold, nostalgic, warm or technological, for instance — allows you to communicate nonverbally some subtle characteristics of your company.
2. Should I create my own logo?
Preferably, no. Hire a professional. A pro can take a good idea to a level of execution that can stand the test of time. An inept logo gets tiresome quickly. In the worst case, it confuses customers and fails to create the credible, positive impression you want.
3. How much does a logo cost?
Designers hate this question. It’s like asking, “How much does a vacation cost?” That depends on whether you rent a jet to fly to Paris or go camping at the local state park.
At one extreme, a multinational corporation merging with another one might spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a logo aptly representing both companies. At the other extreme, you might be able to find a design student to create a logo for you for free in exchange for being able to use it in his or her portfolio. When you work with a designer, be prepared to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand for an effective logo.
With My Search Heroes, logo design starts at $350 for a once-off project and reaches $950 for an entire brand package, including all the bells and whistles. Click here to see our packages, pricing & inclusions.
4. How can I best work with a designer on a logo?
First, collect examples of logos you like and dislike, not necessarily in your industry. Second, compile a list of adjectives representing qualities you’d like to convey about your company. Third, tell the designer about any color preferences and taboos. Fourth, describe the ways you intend to use the logo.
Ask to see at least three rough ideas to choose from, and expect to go through several more iterations with minor adjustments after you choose which direction you like best. Before you finalize anything, use the checklist in Part II to assess the appropriateness of what you’ve ended up with.
5. Are there logo clichés to stay away from?
In the Middle Ages, when most people couldn’t read, shopkeepers used standard symbols on their signage that told passersby that their establishment was a brewery, a pawn shop or a tannery. Today we have a vestige of that tradition in certain images being conventionally associated with specific industries and professions. For instance, scales indicate a lawyer (scales of justice), the outline of a roof over two walls suggests real estate and a curl of smoke coming out of a mug signifies coffee.
A skilled designer can incorporate these conventional associations into a logo in a subtle manner, but as a rule ignore such symbols in favor of fresher ideas.
6. What about logo colours?
Good question, since colors often have a profound impact on viewers. Psychologists agree that red and orange produce excitation, dark blue comfort and relaxation, and so on. To choose appropriate colors, think about the personality you want to convey for your business. Primary colors are wrong for most high-priced professionals, while silver and black wouldn’t fit the fun image you want for a kids’ gym.
In addition, consider how you might extend the color scheme of the logo beyond the original context (usually, at first, stationery and business cards). Might you want to use the logo on clothing, stencilled on a van or stamped onto calculators or clocks? Certain colors (yellow, pink) a lot of people don’t wear well, while other colors (light blue, gray) don’t stand out well from a distance. Bright neon hues might not match the black/silver/beige of technology objects.
Selecting familiar colors and no more than two (including black as one color) will keep costs down wherever you use the logo.
7. How should I choose the best logo candidate?
Get opinions from people in your target market instead of merely relying on your own intuition and taste. Also, use this checklist to avoid common problems with logos:
Does it communicate in black and white as well as in color? Some logs become incomprehensible when reproduced in newspaper ads or when sent through a fax machine. Keep in mind too that something like 10 million men and a few women are at least partially color blind.
- Does it resize well? Try blowing it up and reducing it to determine its readability at different sizes.
- If the logo uses words or letters, are they recognizable? You shouldn’t have to explain or decipher the logo for people.
- Is the design consistent with the personality and tone you wish to convey about your business? A high-tech enterprise should look futuristic and speedy rather than fuzzy or flowery.
- Is it distinctive? A logo that looks like someone else’s isn’t worth your investment in it.
- Does it arouse any unwanted associations? What you intended as stepping stones might come across to others as looking like animal droppings. If you get this kind of honest feedback, pay attention.
- Do you and others in your company like it enough to use it enthusiastically? If not, return to the drawing board.
8. How often should I change my logo?
You should plan to use a logo for at least twenty years. If that seems excessively long, note that you’ll probably get tired of your company look much more quickly than anyone else.
Drastic change of a logo can wipe out brand equity built up at great cost over the years. This is a decision to make only with strong reasons, such as when the current logo no longer fits the business (for instance, the image of a slide rule when everyone now uses calculators and computers), when you want to emphasize new directions or when the logo was ill-chosen to begin with and you can now afford to remedy the problem.
In many cases, a designer can update a logo without producing a complete break from the current version. The continuity then maintains the recognisability you’ve had in the past.
9. Can I legally protect my logo?
Certainly. Talk to an intellectual property attorney about protecting your logo through a trademark. Such an attorney can also help you make sure your logo doesn’t unwittingly infringe on someone else’s trademark, which could produce a situation where you had to change your logo after using it.
10. What should I do with my logo?
Use it like crazy! Don’t merely put it on stationery and business cards — put it on T-shirts, mouse pads, self-stick notes, umbrellas, tote bags, pens and more. Did you know you can even get your logo onto chocolate bars and private-label bottled water? Any time one of those items gets used, it’s increasing the credibility, visibility and mind share of your company.
Website Design Questions
1. What is a website domain name?
A domain name is simply your website’s address on the Internet. For instance www.mysearchheroes.com.au
Read our full article ‘What is a website domain name’ for more information and tips on choosing the best website name for your website or blog.
2. What is website hosting?
Website hosting is where all your website’s files are kept. To make your website accessible 24hrs a day 7 days a week you need to store it on a computer (called a server) that literally ‘serves it up’ to anyone that types in your website address. Your hosting can also store your emails and manager your email addresses.
3. What is a content management system?
A content management system (CMS) is a piece of software that is installed on your hosting to manage your website’s appearance and content. Websites generally include many links, images, text files and other pieces of content – having a piece of software to look after all of this for you can save you a lot of time. You can learn more about this in our What is a Content Management System article.
4. What is WordPress?
WordPress is the content management system that we choose to build all our client’s websites on. The reasons for this are many and we have written a whole article about Why WordPress for Small Business Websites. There are other options but WordPress now powers over half of the World’s websites and with that comes a lot of advantages.
5. How do I get my website found?
This is a complex question but the easiest answer (long story short, invest into Search Engine Optimisation | SEO):
Align it to Google’s algorithm. Fill it with good content that is relevant to your business, product and service. Create links from 3rd party websites that redirect back to your digital home. Keep the content fresh & add to it regularly and consistenly.
Make sure you connect your website with the rest of the World Wide Web (that is one of the reasons social media is so powerful – you can create instant sign posts to your website).
6. What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and do I need to worry about it?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of ensuring your website tells search engines exactly what it is about so that when people search for you, you show up in the search results. Sound simple? Well it is and it isn’t. The basics should be taken care of by your website designer, however different industries vary greatly in how competitive (and how important) search engine rankings are. If you do the steps in the ‘how do I get my website found’ question above, then you will naturally be improving your search engine optimisation but at some point you may also what to get some additional assistance from an expert.
7. What is Google Analytics and do I need it?
Google Analytics is a free tool provided by Google to help you measure the number of people that come to your website, where they come from, how long they stay and what pages on your website they visit. You can also setup goals so that you can see how many people that came to your website ended up buying something, filling in the contact form or subscribing to your newsletter. Whether you feel that data is important to you, is up to you and your business / marketing objectives.
8. What is Google Webmaster and do I need it?
Google Webmaster is another free tool that is provided by Google but it is very different to Google Analytics. Google Webmaster allows you to monitor how people are finding your website through Google. It gives you information on what search terms they use to find you, where you appear in the search engine results, how many people click through to your website and also whether there are any issues with your website that might be affecting how (or even if) you are appearing in the search results. Again, how important this data is to your business is up to you.
9. What Social Media should I do, if any?
Social media – everyone has an opinion. Yes, it is hard to get a return on investment that you can measure. Yes, it does help your search engine optimisation. Yes, it can become a time sink if you are not careful / disciplined. Yes you should do it. Even if it is the bare minimum – create your profiles (that way you have protected your branding by ensuring that you have your business name secured) and create at least one post a month (if that is all you can do) which includes a link back to your website. Of course, every business is individual and you should evaluate it against your business / marketing objectives.
10. What is the difference between website pages and posts?
Not much – posts are just a version of a website page that appears in date order within your blog or news feed whereas pages normally appear in your main menu and as sub-pages of those pages. Posts can be ‘tagged’ with a keyword (such as apples) and placed in a category (such as desserts) in that way you can organise all your posts and easily search for them. This is a big advantage if you have a website with lots of content.
We hope that answers some of your questions, if there are some we haven’t answered, please leave a comment below and we will add to the list!
Search Engine Optimisation Questions
1. What does SEO stand for?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. By engaging in SEO – that is, using keywords and phrases on your website, in your content and so on – you are attempting to push your website higher up the rankings. The ultimate goal is to usually get your website ranking on page 1 because most users rarely navigate beyond this page. This is known as SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages.
This is the organic way of growing your pages and website. In other words, you don’t pay for SEO itself – apart from the costs of creating content, employees, etc. Paying for adverts is not organic.
2. Does SEO stay the same?
SEO is always changing. The way people search, what they search for and how they search has changed over the last few years and will continue to do so.
For example, many people are now using their smartphones as their main device for accessing the internet so it means your website has to be mobile-friendly. It also means that Local SEO needs to be a big part of your marketing strategy to reach customers within a close proximity to your business.
Predictions are that more of us will be making voice searches in the future – in fact, by 2020 it is predicted half of us will be searching by voice – and that may mean a few changes to how your content needs to be formatted.
3. How are keywords and SEO related?
Keywords are intrinsically linked. Keywords are the words and phrases your customers use to find products, services or brands they want.
For example, they may search for “SEO company in Sydney” or “local plumber in Sydney”. If you have these search terms and words in your content, it increases the likelihood of your website ranking higher in search engine results.
4. How do I know which keywords work for my business?
Good question! You need to do something called keyword research. There are various ways you can do this – an agency specializing in SEO, social media and websites etc. can help you – or you can conduct keyword research yourself by using a keyword tool you find online.
Many of these tools are free to use. You will need to search based on the products you sell, what kind of business you are and so on. From these broad parent topics, you will narrow your search.
Some keywords are commonly used by customers looking for a business or products like yours so to rank higher with these, you may find that success is much more difficult.
5. Where do I put SEO keywords?
There is a phrase ‘keyword stuffing’ and it implies that the frequency of keywords in ALL content is over the top, something that search engines algorithms no longer like.
Keywords and phrases need to be used naturally. They can be used across all your content, including web pages, meta titles, and meta descriptions just to name a few.
In terms of blog posts, whichever SEO term you have decided to optimize for, you would use it in the title of the post, in at least one H2 header (a sub-heading) and usually in the form of a question and in the first introductory paragraph.
6. How many times should I use the keywords?
Using keywords and phrases should be ‘organic’, in other words, not shoe-horned onto the end of every sentence! There is no set formula, regardless of what some people say because big search engines like Google never reveal all the details behind their algorithms.
Keywords that naturally occur three to four times in an average length blog post – between 500 and 750 words – is usually ‘about right’.
7. So I need to blog to improve SEO?
Blogging is a means of ranking higher in SERPs for certain keywords but again, this isn’t about loading a batch of blogs and hoping they work.
SEO is slightly more refined than this so any blogs need to be:
- Consistently posted
- Shared via social media and other distribution channels
- We recommend blog posts being around 1,000 words as a best practice.
8. How does SEO connect with backlinks?
The internet is a complex web of content linking to other pieces of content. This linking between websites help spread information and connect search engine spiders to the most relevant content. In general, the more links a piece of content has pointing to it from external sources, the more value the search engine algorithm will give it.
And that means the website and the content will be pushed higher up the rankings. Backlinks are a vote of confidence that other users see your content and website as trustworthy.
9. How do I build links?
At one time, companies would buy backlinks, something that is now a definite no-no! What you need to do is have a backlinking strategy to build links naturally and in a way that complies with Google best practices. In other words, who would want to share your content and connect with it?
The better quality these websites are and the higher their Domain Authority, the more value these backlinks have to your overall SEO strategy.
10. Is SEO complicated?
SEO isn’t extremely complicated, but to push the authority of your domain up and improve your rankings, you need to have a multi-faced SEO strategy. In other words, strong and relevant keywords, plenty of high-quality content and a growing number of genuine backlinks to your website.
Keeping up with the changes can be difficult, especially when you have so many daily business tasks to complete. By outsourcing SEO, you could get much more.
Social Media Marketing Questions
1. Can social media marketing really help my business?
Most definitely! It’s been proven again and again by business after business. In fact, not utilizing social media marketing can actually harm your business, since having an online presence on social media is simply expected of any reputable firm these days.
2. What are the benefits of social media marketing for my company?
Whether your business is taking advantage of it or not, social media has forever changed the way that consumers communicate with businesses, and vice versa. Being accessible to your customers – and your prospective clients – via social media is a vital means of developing relationships with them and helping them through the sales funnel.
3. How should companies measure their social media marketing success?
Success is measured using the same metrics you use for any other marketing activity: traffic, leads, and customers. Counting the number of fans or followers you have can help you understand your social media reach, but the bottom line that determines its success is how many people it drives to your site, how many of them are qualified leads, and how many of them actually become customers.
4. How much does social media marketing cost? What’s the ROI?
One thing is for certain – social media marketing is never free. Whether you’re spending your own valuable time on it, asking an employee to add it to their workload, hiring a social media employee, or outsourcing to a marketing firm, there is always a cost. The key is to get the maximum ROI out of the time or money you put into it. It’s important to remember, however, that ROI doesn’t have to mean revenue. It can, but it can also mean meeting other objectives, such as getting new leads, increasing email subscriptions, or even boosting customer satisfaction. The ROI you end up with is the direct result of how focused your social media marketing strategy is.
5. Which social media platforms should my business have a presence on?
There is no set answer to this question because you need to have a presence wherever your customers are – and different businesses have different audiences. One demographic spends most of their time on Facebook, while another really only engages on LinkedIn, and some divide their time equally between three or more sites. Find out where your customers are, and follow them there.
6. Does my company really need a blog for social media marketing?
Yes! A blog is one of those non-negotiables. Apart from all of the benefits it provides on its own, such as increasing your credibility as an industry expert and providing fresh, keyword-rich content on a regular basis to please the search engines, a blog is a vital component of social media marketing. One of the most effective types of content to post on social media is a link to a blog post. Without fresh blog posts being shared on a regular basis, you won’t have nearly as much to talk about with your fans, and you won’t be driving as much traffic to your site, either.
7. Is social media marketing better for B2C or B2B businesses?
It’s important for both, but in different ways. While B2C businesses can focus on more light-hearted, fun social media posts, B2B businesses need to use social media to share valuable industry content. As a tool for connecting a business with its customers, however, social media is vital to both.
8. How should we be using Facebook for marketing?
Facebook is the social media platform of choice for over a billion people worldwide. Use it to connect and interact with your audience, and to share your content in a way that encourages your fans to share it as well.
9. How should we be using Twitter for marketing?
Twitter has over 313 million users and is ideal for sharing your content and connecting with other influencers in your industry.
10. How should we be using LinkedIn for marketing?
LinkedIn has over 467 million users. It is a great place to share your credentials with the world, but more importantly, it’s the perfect place to interact with your audience online. Using LinkedIn Groups, you can answer questions and contribute to discussions in order to demonstrate your industry thought leadership as well as your willingness to help others generously.
11. Should we be using Google+ (GMB) for marketing?
Though it started out looking promising, Google+ (or more formally known as Google My Business) is one platform that is a non-negotiable. It is similar to a Facebook page but used for Google’s search engine instead. Optimising this is great for local SEO (appearing in the map section).
12. Is YouTube important for marketing?
Videos are becoming more and more important in the world of social media marketing. YouTube gets over 4 billion views per day! Promote your brand’s image through a video, let your audience have a peek behind the scenes at your business, or make a how-to video.
13. Is outreach an important part of social media marketing?
Guest blogging is one of the most effective and widely discussed methods of outreach, but social media can help your outreach efforts significantly, as well. Connect with other influencers in your industry via social media, and then build relationships with them through conversations and helping them to promote their content. Building a relationship in this way before reaching out to ask for a guest blogging opportunity can boost your chances of success greatly – and when your audience sees that you regularly converse with other experts via social media, they’ll see you as an expert, too!
14. How can I take control of my brand online through social media marketing?
Taking “control” of your brand isn’t really possible anymore, thanks to social media. Whether you’re in the conversation or not, people will talk about you online, and there’s no way for you to “control” what they say. But what you can do is join in those conversations, and influence them by being a part of them. From negative reviews on Yelp to customer complaints on Twitter, the way to influence your audience’s perception of your brand is to participate in the conversations and steer them in a direction you’re happy with.
15. Should each department in my company have its own social media initiatives?
A company’s social media activities don’t have to all come from the same place – but they do need to be coordinated, and that can be hard to do when each department is doing their own thing. Sending differing messages causes more confusion to customers than anything else – consistency is key.
16. What type of social media content converts best?
This one depends on your audience. The best way to find out what type of content converts most effectively for you is to test, tweak, and test again until you find the right fit.
17. How much time should social media marketing take each week?
Timing is everything in social media marketing. The good news is, by using social media you have the opportunity to reach your specific audience in real-time. But even though there are many tools you can use to schedule and automate posts to save some time, you’ll also want to keep track of the activity on your social media accounts throughout the day, so that you can provide timely responses to audience questions and comments. Between strategizing, creating and posting content and images, responding to your audience, and checking analytics, social media done right can be a full-time job.
18. How long does it take before I’ll start seeing results from social media marketing?
With social media constantly evolving, this depends on variables such as the time and effort you’re putting into social media marketing management, your budget, your audience, your strategy, and whether you’re using paid ads or not. Regardless, it’s important to remember that social media is a marathon and not a race.
19. What are some common social media marketing mistakes business make?
One of the worst mistakes is inconsistency – only posting sporadically, and not responding when consumers reach out to engage. Another biggie is using social media as a place to announce your own content and nothing more, without ever engaging in discussions or adding comments to the post that make your audience want to click or like or share.
20. What are some general tips for social media success?
Post consistently. Let your passion and personality shine through. Engage in conversations. Answer questions. Encourage audience engagement. Provide valuable content freely, without getting salesy. And be creative.
Email Marketing Questions
1. Is email marketing still effective?
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways for a business to reach customers directly. Think about it. You’re not posting something on your site and hoping people will visit it. You’re not even posting something on a social media page and hoping fans will see it. You’re sending something directly into each person’s inbox, where they definitely will see it! Even if they don’t open it, they’ll still see the subject line and your company’s name each time you send an email, so you’re always communicating directly with your audience.
2. Isn’t social media marketing taking the place of email marketing?
Actually, statistics show that email reaches three times more people than Facebook and Twitter combined. That’s a significant difference. Social media marketing is wildly popular and becoming even more so every day, but it is definitely not taking the place of social media marketing any time soon. On Facebook, for example, each post only reaches a small portion of your users. If you have users opted into your email list, however, everyone on that list will receive that message.
3. Can I buy a list when I’m just starting out with email marketing?
It can be tempting, but you’ve got to resist that temptation. The only way to get an email subscriber list that will be beneficial to your company is to grow it organically. First of all, many email service providers won’t even allow you to use purchased lists. And secondly, the email addresses found on lists like those are not high-quality leads, to say the least. They will not contain people truly interested in your products or services, since these people didn’t opt-in to your specific email list, so they’ll also be much more likely to mark your emails as spam.
4. How should I grow my subscriber list?
The best way to grow an email subscriber list is to offer your audience an incentive in exchange for signing up to receive your emails. You can put this offer on your site, on your social media pages, on landing pages you create to get people excited – just get the word out, and your leads will automatically qualify themselves by opting in.
5. What makes a good incentive?
Any kind of content that will be seen as valuable by your particular audience. It can be an eBook, a white paper, a video, a webinar, even a coupon – anything that is attractive enough to potential customers that they are willing to give up their email address in order to get it.
6. Do I need to send an email newsletter?
For some businesses, a newsletter is the way to go. For others, a different approach works better. Newsletters usually feature several different pieces of content, such as recent blog posts and current specials. But it’s also perfectly fine to send an email featuring only one piece of content, or an individual marketing message. Tailor your email structure to your unique audience, and see what works best through experimentation.
7. How often should I send marketing emails?
As often as you can, without getting annoying. How’s that for a vague answer? But it’s true – you want to send frequent emails, but not so frequent that people start unsubscribing or worse, marking them as spam. Where’s the happy medium? Unfortunately, it’s different for each business. For some, once a month is plenty, while for others, daily emails are just fine. Again, it’s a matter of experimentation and testing to see what your particular audience responds best to.
8. What is the best day and time to send my marketing emails?
Once again, the answer to this question differs from business to business. And once again, testing is the way to find out what works best. As a general rule, weekends and mornings seem to be the times when more emails are opened – but since your audience may have different habits, it’s best to experiment and then use your own data to decide.
9. How can I make sure my emails don’t end up in the spam folder?
There are certain obvious email marketing no-nos to avoid, if you want to stay out of the spam folder – things like mentioning Viagra or writing in all caps. But spam filters are much more sophisticated now than they used to be, so one or two trip-ups usually won’t mean the end for you. The best way to stay out of the dreaded spam folder is to write not like a salesperson, but like a friend – the tone of your emails, and even the vocabulary you use, will automatically be different.
10. Should I use HTML or plain text-based emails?
This is another case for A/B testing. There’s no one right answer, even though some people swear by the gorgeous, eye-catching images of HTML emails, and others maintain that simple text looks best in every email program and is never blocked like an image can be. Once again, it all depends on your particular audience and their preferences, so try both and see which one is most successful.
11. How long should my emails be?
The average person will only spend about 20 seconds reading an email, so use that as a guideline. If your email will take longer than 20 seconds to read, make sure that the most important information, as well as your call to action and links, are located near the top, where they can be seen without having to scroll down.
12. How do I write a great marketing email?
The single best piece of advice we can give when it comes to writing a marketing email is to keep the following in mind: The purpose of every email you write is to deepen your relationship with each individual subscriber. That means writing to them as if they were a friend, or at least a real-life person, rather than sounding like a used car salesman.
13. Should I segment my email lists?
If you have the resources to write that extra content, and the flexibility within your niche to divvy your subject matter up into segments, then by all means, yes! Segmenting your email list is a great way to personalize marketing messages according to subscribers’ individual interests, making them that much more effective.
14. Which metrics should I be looking at?
The two most important metrics for email marketing are the open rate and the click-through rate. If your emails aren’t getting opened, subscribers will never see your full marketing message – and if they’re opening them, but not clicking through to your site, your emails aren’t converting.
15. How can I get subscribers to open my emails?
The key to getting subscribers to open your emails is by writing a stellar subject line every time. Other than your company name, that’s all they have to help them make that split-second decision when they see your email in their inbox.
16. How do I write a good subject line?
The best subject lines are short and to the point, accurately describing what’s in the email – but also catchy and intriguing, so the reader wants to know more. Once again, this is the perfect place for some A/B testing, to see which types of subject lines work best with your audience.
17. How can I increase my click-through rate?
Amazingly, people are much more likely to do something if you simply ask them to. By placing a call to action in your email, specifically asking subscribers to “click here” or “shop now,” you’ll see a boost in your click-through rate.
18. How do I write a great call to action?
Your call to action should be very clear, and very simple. It should be somewhere towards the top of your email for those who won’t finish reading the whole email and then repeated again at the end for those who do read all the way through. It should spell out exactly what you want subscribers to do, such as, “Click here to download our report.”
19. What should my From line say?
The most important thing to remember about your From email address is to make it recognizable. If subscribers see an unfamiliar name on the From line, they might just mark the email as spam. Your From line should either feature your company’s name, or an individual’s name, if you want to make it more personal – but it needs to be clear which company that individual is a part of, or subscribers will again be confused.
20. What does the CAN-SPAM law say?
This law requires anyone sending commercial emails to include an unsubscribe link within each one, include the company’s physical address or P.O. Box as well, and to honor any subscriber’s request to unsubscribe by never emailing them again. Noncompliance with this law can be as high as $300 per email recipient.
Content Marketing Questions
1. What is content marketing exactly?
Content marketing turns traditional marketing on its head. Instead of focusing on a company and its products or services, it focuses on the consumer’s needs first. The goal of content marketing is to provide valuable, genuinely helpful information to consumers for free, in order to create a relationship with them based on trust, which eventually leads them to make a purchase.
2. What qualifies as content?
When most people think of content marketing, they think of a blog. And blogs are certainly one of the easiest and most effective means of content marketing available. But they aren’t the only forms of content that can be employed in a content marketing strategy. Any valuable information, conveyed via any medium, can be considered content. Videos, infographics, slideshares, PDFs, blogs, articles, podcasts, white papers, ebooks, webinars – the list goes on and on.
3. How should I get started with content marketing?
Though it can be tempting to jump right in and start writing a blog without much forethought, the only way to ensure that your content marketing will be effective is to take the time to create a strategy first. Without a clear plan in place, all the time you put into developing content is wasted.
4. What are the steps to developing a content marketing strategy?
First, determine who your target audience is. Develop a customer persona to whom your content should speak. Then, based on that persona and your company’s brand image, decide on your company’s voice, and the type of content you will be creating. Your content needs to be informative and valuable, as well as interesting and engaging, to your target demographic. And once you start producing content, constant tweaking of your strategy is in order, based on how successful each post is.
5. Do I need to constantly create new content?
Yes and no. Content creation does need to be ongoing, but there are ways to streamline and simplify the process. One of the easiest and most effective ways of doing so is to repurpose content. This entails creating content in one form and then reworking it several times in order to utilize that same information in other forms, as well. For example, you might write an ebook about an important topic in your industry. Then, you could take the chapters of that ebook, and edit each one to make them into individual blog posts. Next, you could create an infographic illustrating the statistics mentioned in the ebook. And finally, you could give a webinar discussing the content in that ebook. Not only does this approach lighten the content creation load, but it also allows the same content to be consumed by people with different tastes in content.
6. How often should I post fresh content on my site?
There is still a lot of debate surrounding this question – every industry and every demographic sees different content consumption patterns. But in general, fresh content should be posted no less often than twice a week. As for an upper limit, there is none – studies seem to show that posting once a day, or even several times a day, is a very effective way to drive traffic to a website. It’s just a matter of deciding how much time and effort you can devote to creating content. Google is known to give more prominence to websites that update their data on a frequent basis.
7. How important is it to share my content on social media?
It’s not important – it’s essential. Posting content to a blog and then sitting back and hoping that visitors will find it is an exercise in futility. In fact, some blogging gurus maintain that only 20% of your time should be spent on content creation, and the other 80% on promoting that content via social media! It’s that vital.
8. Is guest blogging part of a content marketing strategy?
Yes! Content creation is content creation, whether it’ll appear on your site or someone else’s. Of course, guest blogging is also an essential part of outreach or digital PR, but the principles of content marketing still apply – you want to create valuable information that will help consumers.
9. Do I need an editorial calendar?
Some businesses swear by them, others not so much. How important an editorial calendar depends on your individual strategy. However, even if you don’t maintain a full-blown, detailed editorial calendar, you should at least plan out your content a month in advance, noting any holidays or promotion dates you want to mark with special content.
10. How important are keywords in content marketing?
Despite the constant changes to Google’s algorithm, keywords are still important in content creation. While the standards have been somewhat relaxed, so that words and phrases that mean approximately the same thing as the exact phrase searched for can now pop up in search results, too, it’s still best to include a few mentions of the exact words and phrases you want to be found for. Just remember that your priority is always to write for humans, not search engines.
11. How do I make my content engaging?
The answer to this question depends a lot on your particular audience. What’s engaging to teens will necessarily differ vastly from what middle-aged business professionals will find engaging. Speak to your target audience’s pain points or interests, let them see that you understand them and want to help them – and then open up the conversation. Ask questions, and invite them to respond. The beauty of content marketing, as opposed to traditional marketing, is that communication is not one-way anymore.
12. How can content marketing make me into an industry thought leader?
There’s a lot of talk about the importance of becoming a thought leader – and with good reason. Getting you known as an expert in your field is exactly what content marketing is meant to do. It’s what creates a sense of trust in consumers, which allows them to feel comfortable making a purchase from you. By creating unique, original content, in which you demonstrate your expertise and answer questions consumers might have, you’ll be on your way to becoming an industry thought leader in no time.
13. Is there a difference between B2C and B2B content marketing?
Yes and no. The purpose of each is the same, but since the audience is different, your content will also vary. B2B content tends to be more professional and businesslike in its voice – though not always – and the topics will, of course, be more business-oriented. B2C content, on the other hand, is usually more conversational, and the topics have a little more free range.
14. Should I create timely content or evergreen content?
The answer here is a definite…both! It’s important to have content addressing current events and new developments in your industry – that’s a great way to draw traffic to your site through social media and online searches. But it’s also important to create evergreen content that will continue to attract visitors for months and even years (just like this post). Otherwise, your entire library of content will continually lose its relevancy within weeks of its publication.
15. How can I incorporate big content into my content marketing plan?
Big content, such as that contained in white papers and ebooks, is an important part of any content marketing strategy. Not only does it demonstrate to your audience that you are enough of an expert in your field to be able to write an entire ebook or white paper about a subject, as opposed to writing only short and simple blog posts, but it also gives you a tool for attracting email subscribers. By offering a piece of big content as an incentive to join your email list, you ensure that you have access to an audience interested in your content…and your company.
16. Is short-form or long-form content better?
Much debate surrounds this topic. Some studies seem to suggest that short and sweet is best – that consumers want to skim a short blog and be able to get the message quickly. Other research shows that long, in-depth, detailed posts are best at converting. Our answer? Find out what your unique audience prefers through testing. Write some long posts and some short ones, and see which ones are most successful – and then create more like them!
17. How can I create content that converts?
It’s important to remember that content marketing is just one step in the conversion funnel. It’s only through a combination of SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, outreach, email marketing, and website design that prospective customers are led to convert. That said, content marketing is vital in the conversion process since each page of your website and each informative blog post or white paper plays a distinct and definite role in convincing visitors to buy. Craft different content with each step of the conversion funnel in mind and don’t forget to include a solid call to action.
18. What are some common content marketing mistakes?
The most common content marketing mistake is to fall back into the old habits of traditional marketing. Writing blog posts that are overly salesy, or that promote the company and its products excessively, is a big no-no. Content should be valuable to consumers, and sales pitches are not only not valuable – they’re off-putting. There’s a time and a place for sales, and it’s not in your content.
19. How do I get people to read my content?
Promoting your content through email and social media is vital, but even the best promotion efforts can be stalled by a lousy title. Make sure that the headline of your content is intriguing and informative. It should convey an idea of what the content contains, while also hooking people’s interest.
20. How do I measure the success of my content marketing efforts – and my overall digital marketing efforts?
Ultimately, the success of a digital marketing plan can be seen in the number of conversions it creates. But it can be difficult to track exact results, as a consumer needs several “touches” before finally deciding to purchase. A visitor may read a blog post and then see an update on social media, and then read a few emails, before finally deciding to convert. While the blog post wasn’t the immediate cause of the purchase, it was that all-important first touch.
So give your new digital marketing efforts some time to take effect, and then look for an overall uptick in sales. That’s how you’ll know if things are working as planned.
Google & Facebook (PPC) Advertising Questions
1. What is PPC advertising?
A paid online advertising strategy, pay-per-click advertising allows your business to place ads across the web. You can promote your company in search results, on websites, and even on social media platforms. PPC ads can feature text, images, and even video.
PPC advertising is also known for its multiple targeting options.
A few examples include:
Compared to traditional advertising, pay-per-click advertising operates on a different pricing model. Instead of paying for your ad upfront, you pay when someone clicks on your ad. This payment model is why advertisers call it pay-per-click advertising.
2. What is a PPC ad network?
An ad network refers to a platform that can deliver your ads to users. Google Ads (previously known as Google AdWords) is an example of an ad network. If you want to create PPC ads, you will use an ad network, like Google Ads, Facebook, or Microsoft Advertising.
These ad networks can connect you with different audiences, as well as supply unique targeting options.
Using Microsoft Advertising, for instance, lets you promote your business across Bing and websites affiliated and approved by Microsoft Advertising. In comparison, Facebook provides you access to its massive user base.
3. What is PPC ad spend?
Ad spend, also known as advertising spend, is your ad network budget. It’s how much you’re willing to spend with ad networks, whether for the year or the month. In most cases, businesses use ad spend to refer to their monthly budget.
As an example, consider the budget of a company with a $5000 monthly ad spend:
- Total monthly ad spend: $5000
- Facebook ad spend: $800
- Google Ads ad spend: $2500
- Instagram ad spend: $800
- Microsoft Advertising ad spend: $900
With PPC advertising, you can create an ad spend that fits the needs of your business and audience. Whether you want to dedicate your entire ad spend to one ad network, like Google Ads, or multiple ad networks, you have full control of your PPC ad spend.
If you’re unsure about where to invest your ad spend (or even how much to spend), ask My Search Heroes. We’ve managed our fair share of PPC campaigns and can recommend a reasonable ad spend for your business when investing in our professional PPC management services.
4. Where can you advertise with PPC ads?
You can advertise across the Internet with PPC ads.
The most popular locations include:
- Search results
- Third-party websites
- Social media
When advertising online, most businesses will focus on specific platforms, like:
If you’re creating a PPC campaign, you want to focus your efforts on the most valuable channels for your business.
For example, if your audience uses Facebook more than Twitter, you probably want to dedicate more of your advertising budget to Facebook. Researching your audience, as well as polling current customers, can help focus your PPC campaign on the platforms with the most potential.
5. Do people really click on online PPC ads?
Ads that appear in search results earn more than 45% of page clicks.
Even better, people who click on ads are twice as likely to buy a product or service than an organic visitor, or someone who visits your site without clicking on an ad. With PPC ads, you can reach people looking to buy, which can make an immediate impact on your sales numbers.
Not to mention, PPC ads also deliver an average return on investment (ROI) of $2 for every $1 invested. If you’re advertising with Google Ads, that amount increases to $8. People not only click on online ads but also act on them, like by making a purchase.
6. How much does a PPC ad campaign cost?
Prices for a PPC ad campaign vary by business, industry, and strategy. The average, however, is $2,000 to $5,000 per month for small companies. This price range includes your ad spend, as well as additional expenses, like management services from a PPC agency.
7. What factors determine my PPC costs?
With PPC, what you pay per click depends on several factors, including:
- Bid: In PPC, your bid is how much you’re willing to pay for someone to click on your ad. While you may pay less than your bid (depending on the ad auction) you won’t pay more than your bid.
- Targeting: Targeting, from keywords to demographics, can also influence your PPC costs. Bidding on a competitive keyword like “consumers insurance agency,” for instance, can result in higher costs because it features a higher cost-per-click (CPC).
- Ad quality: Quality score also matters in pay-per-click advertising. Big brands can’t pay-to-win in PPC because ad networks, like Google Ads, look at the quality and relevance of ads. Often, high-quality ads can maintain lower costs than low-quality ads.
For the most cost-effective ads, focus on building high-quality ads with reasonable bids. Before you launch an ad campaign, think about the user experience. When people see your ads, for instance, will it make them curious enough to click, and will your landing page deliver on that curiosity?
If you’re partnering with an PPC agency, choose an agency that values your budget. Signing with an agency that doesn’t treat your budget like their own can often result in wasted ad spend, high bids, and requests for an even bigger ad spend.
Working with an experienced agency like My Search Heroes can give you the confidence that you have a cost-effective campaign.
8. Why advertise with pay-per-click ads?
Advertising with PPC ads offers your business several advantages in the marketplace, including:
- Set a custom budget that you can change at any time
- Access useful targeting options unavailable in traditional advertising
- Receive insightful audience and campaign data
- Respond to campaign performance in real-time to maximize performance
- Show up above organic results in online searches
- Outrank competitors
- Accomplish various goals, from brand awareness to purchases
- Reach people when they’re looking for you
- Support other digital marketing initiatives, like search engine optimization (SEO)
The fact that PPC offers an ROI of 2:1 demonstrates its usefulness in your online advertising strategy. If you want to grow your business online, as well as compete with top competitors, PPC can help you accomplish those goals.
9. What businesses can (and should) advertise online?
Any business can use PPC advertising. A few examples include:
- HVAC companies
- Insurance agencies
- Ecommerce stores
- Heavy equipment dealers
- Real Estate companies
- and more..
A few searches related to your products or services can reveal if PPC is a must-have strategy for your sector. Even if you find zero ads on searches relevant to your business, that doesn’t mean PPC isn’t worth your company’s time. If anything, it reveals a massive opportunity for you to use it.
Should you decide to work with a PPC agency for your ad campaigns, make sure they have some experience in your industry. An agency like My Search Heroes, for instance, is an excellent example of an agency that probably has some background in your market.
10. How does PPC advertising work?
PPC can work in a few different ways, depending on your ad network and ad type. For example, while similar, Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising use different algorithms for their ad auctions. When discussing how PPC advertising works, many refer to Google’s process.
So, if you advertise on Google, you can expect the following:
- A user makes a search on a search engine like Google
- Google launches the ad auction, compiling all relevant ads and their Quality Scores
- The auction looks at each ad’s bid, quality, and potential impact to assign an Ad Rank
- Google delivers the ads in order of highest Ad Rank to lowest Ad Rank
During the ad auction, Google also calculates your CPC with the following formula:
CPC = Ad Rank of the ad below you / Your Quality Score + $0.01
This formula is why PPC consultants, as well as agencies, focus on creating high-quality. If you build a helpful ad, you can achieve a better Quality Score, which can lead to lower costs and an improved Ad Rank.
11. How often should I check my PPC campaigns?
While more than 70% of companies haven’t checked their PPC campaigns in over a month, you want to look at your ads more often. For the best results, PPC experts recommend weekly campaign check-ins. In comparison, brand-new campaigns should receive daily monitoring.
If you want to take a proactive approach to monitoring your campaigns, but can’t, WebFX can help by:
- Tracking your PPC campaign performance
- Making strategic updates to your bids
- Discovering new, high-opportunity keywords to target
- No matter how you do it, frequent campaign monitoring will help create better campaigns.
For example, if you notice a high click-through rate (CTR) but a low conversion rate from mobile users, you may remove them from your audience. Or, you may tweak your landing page to provide a better mobile experience.
Either way, you can respond and make instant changes to improve your campaign.
If you have reached this stage of the article, we are sure you have gathered that there is quite a bit to know when it comes to setting up and executing a successful digital marketing strategy for your local small business.
If you have any questions or want to take advantage of our current offer [FREE Digital Marketing Audit, FREE 1 hr Strategy Session, FREE 12 month Digital Marketing Strategy], fill out our contact form, message us using the messaging system through our website, give us a call on 0481 834 248 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org