Digital Marketing | Evolve Digital Labs

Digital Marketing refers to advertising delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps. The digital building blocks of this type of marketing provide objective data that can be assessed, categorized, and analyzed in ways that were previously impossible.

Customer Acquisition Cost: The Make Or Break Marketing Metric For Your Business

The Platform Tax: Find The Most Cost-Effective Digital Marketing Platform For Your Business

Today, there are more platforms than ever that give you the ability to reach an audience and market your products or services online. From producing digital marketing on Facebook to LinkedIn to Google Ads (formerly AdWords) to Amazon, they all have different capabilities depending on your industry. Most importantly, they all attain a different customer acquisition cost.

For an executive to make profitable and effective decisions that set your organization up for success, this ‘customer acquisition cost’ or ‘cost per acquisition’ is one metric that deserves an extra amount of your attention.

With so many platforms and so many industries, it can be difficult to know what the benchmark average costs are, and knowing these can ensure your business is making profitable digital marketing decisions.

For example, if you’re marketing for a CPG organization, it makes sense to leverage Google Search, Display, and Shopping ads to increase traffic and drive sales to Amazon or your online store. Whereas, if you’re a SaaS organization you’d most likely want to leverage a Social Media platform like Twitter with Google Search, Display, and YouTube to market your software product.

customer acquisition cost example by industry

But before we get into customer acquisition cost by industry and platform, let’s define cost per acquisition. Cost per customer acquisition is different than cost per lead or cost per click. The problem with digital marketing today is that cost per lead or cost per click are, by far, the most talked about metrics of PPC marketing.

The ironic aspect is that leads and clicks don’t make most businesses money; customers do. Therefore, that is the metric your organization should think of as the “make-or-break metric.”

what is customer acquisition cost

What is customer acquisition cost?

In its simplest terms, your customer acquisition cost is how much it costs your business to acquire a new customer for any certain marketing platform or industry.

How to calculate your organization’s cost per customer acquisition

For any business or organization to calculate its cost per customer acquisition you simply take your total media costs for a certain campaign or platform and divide them by how many new customers were acquired in that campaign and you have your average cost per acquisition.

customer acquisition cost formula

Total Media Spend Per Channel / Number of Customers Acquired = cost per customer acquisition

For example, if a CPG organization spent $1,000 on marketing in their fiscal year and acquired 100 customers off that spend, then their cost per customer acquisition is $10.

google cost per acquisition by industry

What is the average Google Ads cost per acquisition by industry?

Since digital marketing is all about the competition within each industry, the costs also mirror the popularity of the market.

If a certain keyword has very high search volume like finance or healthcare, it’s going to increase your budget and spend if you want your ads on the first page of Google search results. Whereas, if you’re bidding on keywords that don’t have high search volumes, your costs are going to be much more reasonable because of the lack of popularity within search engines.

customer acquisition cost by platform

What’s the average customer acquisition cost by marketing platform?

Similar to marketing per industry, every platform’s cost will vary due to the number of users present on each platform. If your organization is looking for the most bang for your buck, we’d recommend social media marketing and email marketing.

The level of specificity your messaging and content can attain is simply amazing for the cost levels. If your organization has the budget, we’d recommend Google Ads search and display marketing while leveraging video marketing like on YouTube.

paid search and display advertising

Paid Search & Display Advertising

Paid search, otherwise known as PPC marketing or search engine marketing, is the most popular form of online advertising. The costs for producing Google Ads are reasonable compared to traditional media forms depending on your industry and the ability to target-specific and granular audiences is unmatched. Look to Google when you’re in need of the most effective top-of-funnel strategies to grow brand awareness and bring users into your brand family.

Search & Display Advertising Platforms

  • Google Ads: Without a doubt, Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is the most widely used digital marketing platform in existence. Bidding on auctions gives your organization the ability to put your products and services in front of billions of people every day.
  • Bing: A secondary option to Google’s Ad platform is Microsoft’s Bing. The platform provides an almost identical advertising experience, but if you’re looking for the most widely used space, we’d suggest Google Ads.

How do Google & Bing charge advertisers?

Paid search ads in Google or Bing are priced on a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy. Your organization will be charged every time a prospective customer or user clicks on your ad.

Every price per click is based on how competitive your chosen keywords are, and this is dependent on your industry and your organization’s Quality Score. If you’re looking to learn more about Quality Score check out this blog post.

How you can benefit from paid search marketing on Google & Bing

Google’s customer intent signs and signals are full of informative data that very few other marketing platforms attain.

The more comfortable that humans get with search engines, the more specific and natural our queries become. If you strategize your Google Ads marketing campaigns correctly and properly analyze your customers search behaviors and questions, then you already know their pain points and jobs-to-be-done. Taking this data-first approach to marketing will make it easier to reach your true audience with very specific messaging.

How to improve your cost per customer acquisition in Google Ads or Bing

Knowing which platform attains the lowest cost per customer acquisition is vital for any executive trying to innovate their marketing strategy.

When you know what platforms deliver the most customers and conversions at the lowest cost, you’ll know where you can hone your marketing focus for maximum and predictable growth.

  • Ensure your keywords are targeting your true market audience.
  • Utilize negative keywords to eliminate unnecessary clicks from customers who aren’t willing to buy your products or services.
  • Constantly test your website landing pages that you’re driving customers to.
  • Make your ad-to-landing-page experience seamless and ensure all the messaging and imagery is consistent and relevant so you can achieve an above average Quality Score.
facebook markting

Facebook Marketing

Facebook has become by far the largest and most competitive platform for social media marketing. So much so, that over 90% of marketers are using Facebook to reach their audiences with their products and services. If you’re looking for a successful top-of-funnel marketing strategy as well as an incredible platform to improve customer relation management, Facebook might be the right choice for your business.

You have the ability to reach its 1 billion daily users with:

  • Desktop sidebar ads
  • Desktop news feed ads
  • Mobile news feed ads

Facebook marketing is slightly different than marketing on Google. There’s a level of intrusiveness that needs to be attained in social media marketing that may not be as prevalent on other platforms.

Users are scrolling through so much content at such a rapid pace that your advertising needs to capture their attention over their friends and family’s pictures and posts. That’s why we’re seeing the usage of carousel ads, videos, and slideshow ads to help organizations tell a more inclusive and holistic brand story.

There’s also incredible specificity and granularity within targeting audiences. You’re able to segment audiences into:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Language
  • Hobbies
  • Activities
  • Life events
  • Behavior
  • And more…

How does Facebook charge for their marketing?

Like Google, Facebook charges your business or organization on a cost per click basis. Because of its popularity among businesses, Facebook has become the most expensive social media marketing platform, so in the same retrospect, the more specific you’re targeting your audiences the more efficient your cost per customer acquisition will be.

How you can benefit from Facebook marketing

Almost everyone has a Facebook account no matter the age. In fact, even with audiences that are over 45 years old, Facebook is by far the most widely used social media platform.

Facebook advertising also allows you to spread your marketing across multiple user devices all over the globe, so whether your audience browses on their phones, their laptops, or their tablets your organization has the ability to reach them with your marketing.

How to improve your organization’s cost per customer acquisition on Facebook

Similar to how Google’s Quality Score is based on the relevance of your advertising and messaging, Facebook’s incredibly specific targeting capabilities will help your organization speak to a true market audience and use your budget wisely.

It’s best to stay away from broad targeting tactics if you’re looking to lower your cost per customer acquisition because as more people click on your ad, the more it costs your organization.

Effective marketing on Facebook isn’t about getting as many clicks as possible, it’s about getting the best clicks that will turn into customers. That’s done with great targeting.

instagram marketing

Instagram Marketing

Over the last year Instagram has made a push to become the second largest social media advertising platform with a staggering 500 million everyday users, and of that 500 million, 80% are subscribing to business accounts. If you’re looking for a successful top-of-funnel marketing strategy as well as an incredible platform to improve customer relation management, Instagram might be the right choice for your business.

Due to its visual nature as a platform, Instagram has proven quite successful for many fashion, health and beauty, and CPG organizations in their attempt to increase sales and customer conversions. The video and image-rich content that brands produce truly allows users to become a part of your organization and spread awareness about your products and services.

There’s a holistic nature to advertising on Instagram as well, so if your brand decides to use it as a platform, make sure you’re creating more docu-style content that showcases your brand. People are becoming increasingly turned off by high-quality marketing materials that are “selling,” so when you’re creating, keep it simple and live by the phrase, “document, don’t create.”

How does Instagram charge for their advertising?

Instagram charges marketers on a cost per click format much like Facebook. Prices are significantly less expensive than marketing on Facebook, but at the same time, you’re advertising to less than half the number of users found on Facebook.

How you can benefit from Instagram marketing

Due to Instagram’s prompted post strategy, businesses have the ability to build an incredibly in-depth relationship with their audiences and do it at a much lower cost per customer acquisition than Facebook or Google.

Most digital marketing found on Instagram is incredibly mobile friendly because that’s where the majority of your users are accessing the platform. So, if your true market audience is a younger demographic and very mobile friendly, this could be a very cost-effective advertising platform for growth.

How to improve your organization’s cost per customer acquisition on Instagram

Relevance of marketing content is the quickest and most efficient way to decrease your cost per customer acquisition on Instagram.

Your marketing team must know how your true marketing audience likes digesting content and the style in which it’s presented. Since Instagram is a visual-only platform the usage of inexpensive video content is always the fastest road to success.

In addition to producing eye-catching video and images, we’d suggest researching relevant and useful hashtags and utilizing them in every post. Hashtags are one of the best ways to automatically get your brand in front of an audience that’s interested in your industry.

twitter marketing

Twitter Marketing

Twitter is the third largest social media platform for marketers to promote and sell their products and services. With an average monthly user rate of 330 million people all over the world, your organization has the ability to reach an enormous audience anytime and anywhere on their news feed.

For small to medium businesses, Twitter has become an absolute blessing for marketing, and in addition to that, it’s allowed customer relation management to reach new heights. If you’re looking for a successful top-of-funnel marketing strategy as well as an incredible platform to improve customer relation management, Twitter might be the right choice for your business.

Top organizations are using the platform to not only reach new audiences but also to manage relationships with current customers in need of solving pain points.

For a social media platform, Twitter’s marketing costs are quite a bit lower per engagement compared to the Facebook and Instagram. However, at the same time, engagement is increasing on Twitter so be cognizant of that when marketing on Twitter.

If your organization’s main source of marketing content is video, we’d highly suggest utilizing Twitter. The conversion rates on video content are incredibly high and due to an extended character limit, marketers are able to tell more developed stories and messaging to attract their true customers.

For example, Nielsen produced a study based in the automotive industry that showed 1 out of every 4 cars purchased was influenced by Twitter at some point in the car buying process.

Out of Twitter’s 330 million monthly users, they are:

  • A younger generation that skews to 18-25 years old
  • Typically making +75k per year
  • Living in an urban area
  • Willing to share your brand message by retweet

How does Twitter charge for their advertising?

Twitter charges marketers on a cost per click format much like Facebook. Prices are significantly less expensive than marketing on Facebook, but at the same time, you’re advertising to a much smaller number of users than found on Facebook.

How you can benefit from Twitter marketing:

The great thing about marketing on Twitter is the ability for your content to be shared by Twitter’s users for free. Creating viral content is no easy task, but if your messaging and marketing is specific and interesting enough to your target audience, your users will spread your messaging to other users like wildfire.

It’s an incredible platform to build brand awareness and increase sales.

How to improve your organization’s cost per customer acquisition on Twitter:

Unlike Google that has a Quality Score, Twitter doesn’t grade its marketing content. However, by simply producing ads that feel like ads your organization will more than likely experience wasted budgets and a higher cost per customer acquisition.

No matter the marketing platform, relevancy of your content to your is of the utmost importance. Users are bombarded by so many marketing materials on a daily basis that they’ve learned to automatically turn off their attention when they feel like they’re being sold to. Creating useful and valuable material for your users is the quickest way to decreasing your cost per customer acquisition on Twitter.

linkedin marketing

LinkedIn Marketing

customer-acquisition-linkedin

LinkedIn has very rapidly become the Facebook for professionals and B2B marketers. So much so, that a staggering 94% of B2B marketers are utilizing LinkedIn for its digital marketing purposes to gain an increase in leads and share their content. Within the last few years, their user rate has skyrocketed to 260 million users per month.

It’s where the majority of Fortune 500 movers-and-shakers are spending their time on social media, so if you’re in the B2B marketing industry and if you’re not already on LinkedIn, we’d suggest you go sign-up for your account now and immediately strategize some content.

In addition to producing marketing content to increase sales, a large majority of businesses are leveraging LinkedIn as a recruiting tool to gain new employees. If you’re looking for a successful top-of-funnel marketing strategy as well as an incredible platform to share marketing materials and increase brand awareness, LinkedIn might be the right choice for your business.

As users become more comfortable navigating and accessing LinkedIn daily, we’ll see an evolution in how content is delivered to consumers.

A large plus side to advertising on LinkedIn is that there’s far less competition compared to platforms like Facebook, IG, and Twitter. Any advertising content your brand produces doesn’t have to battle for attention next to their family and friends posts, their favorite ESPN feed, among many other distractions that take potential customers away from your products and services.

How does LinkedIn charge for advertising?

LinkedIn charges marketers on a cost per engagement format much like other social media platforms. For B2B marketers the advertising prices can be a bit pricier than marketing on other platforms, but at the same time, you’re advertising to the number one B2B space where 90% of decision-makers in Fortune 500 companies spend their time on social media.

How you can benefit from LinkedIn marketing

The great thing about B2B marketing on LinkedIn is the ability for your content to be shared by its users for free, without most of the other distractions that bombard customers on competitors social media platforms.

In addition to video success on LinkedIn, their slide-share capabilities have given them a leg up in marketing communication between organizations. If your organization is in the B2B space, it’s an incredible platform to build brand awareness and increase sales.

How to improve your organization’s cost per customer acquisition on LinkedIn

Producing valuable and relevant marketing content is the quickest and most efficient way to decrease your cost per customer acquisition on LinkedIn.

Your marketing team must know how your true marketing audience digests content and the style in which it’s presented. Since LinkedIn is a visual preferred platform the usage of inexpensive video content is always the fastest road to success.

In addition to producing eye-catching video and images, we’d suggest researching relevant and useful hashtags and utilizing them in every post.

email marketing

Email Marketing

When done right, email marketing is one of the most profitable and personalized tools in any content marketer’s toolbox. If you’re looking for one of the most successful full-funnel marketing strategies as well as an incredible platform to improve customer relation management, Email marketing might be the right choice for your business.

The two main organizations, HubSpot and MailChimp both offer completely free versions that come with a myriad of features. One of the most utilized would be the responsive email design feature, which allows you to optimize for desktop or mobile platforms. They also have multiple design templates suitable for most businesses and industries.

However, in order to successfully use email marketing, your company needs to have a robust and updated email list. If you already have one, perfect, you’re ready for the next step. If you don’t have an email list formulated, read the bullet points below.

How to make an email list:

  • Offer free and valuable downloads on your website. Always request a name and Email in order for the prospective customer to acquire the materials.
  • Produce useful pieces of content on topics that are relevant to your desired customers and publish these on a regular basis.
  • Write quality and informative blogs and videos, and request users to sign-up to receive notifications on updates.
  • Create an easy and seamless sign-up or contact form on your website’s homepage.
  • Use your social media channels to gain prospective leads.

How do Email and CRM platforms charge marketers?

Normally, most CRM platforms for email marketing are paid on a monthly rate depending on the features and capabilities that suit your organization. If your business has tens of thousands of leads and you’re pushing them through in-depth sales and marketing funnels we’d suggest paying for a version instead of just using a free version.

How you can benefit from Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the least expensive forms of digital marketing and its ability to be personalized and incredibly specific towards an individual is unmatched from any other advertising platform in existence.

A/B testing is the key to reaching more customers at a lower cost per customer acquisition. Your organization has the capabilities to produce HTML emails or very straightforward and simple text design emails. No matter the style, or how long or short the copy presented in the email, there must always be a specific call to action for your target audience to complete. Make it useful and help them complete any issues in their lives that relate to your business.

The amount of data your organization can receive within emails is astounding. Plus, if you leverage a paid version of a CRM like HubSpot, you’ll be able to view a users journey to a specific landing page on your website. From there, you’ll have the ability to build user-specific content that’s tailored to their pain points or interests.

How to improve your organization’s cost per customer acquisition with Email marketing

When your organization utilizes direct response email marketing to prompt your potential customers to visit your other social channels you’re bringing them deeper into your brand community and allowing your company additional avenues to communicate, nurture and pursue this customer, and hopefully decrease your cost per customer acquisition.

Also, by leveraging useful downloadable pieces of content or videos in your email marketing will certainly lead to a lower cost per customer acquisition as well as happier customers.

amazon marketing

Amazon Marketing

As the world’s leading eCommerce platform, every year Amazon continues to grow its profits, sales, and active customer list. If your a CPG organization looking to increase your conversions with an efficient bottom-of-the-funnel sales and marketing strategy, we highly suggest producing advertising on Amazon.

customer-acquisition-amazon-stata

How does Amazon charge for advertising?

Paid ads on Amazon are priced on a pay per click strategy. Your organization will be charged every time a prospective customer or Amazon user clicks on your ad.

Every price per click is based on how competitive your chosen keywords are. This is dependent on your industry and your products popularity within Amazon’s search engine.

How you can benefit from Amazon marketing

Amazon is quite different than any other platform because when customers browse they’re already closer towards making a purchase decision. On a platform like Google, they’re searching for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems, on Amazon they want to buy it now and get it tomorrow.

If your CPG organization can identify actionable data around what your true market audience wants, you’ll be able to present personalized messaging to millions of users who are already willing to buy.

To dominate your competition, we’d suggest leveraging a remarketing service like JumpSend, which allows your organization to send personalized emails to consumers when they search one of your chosen keywords into Amazon’s search box. By strategizing your messaging based off your true market audience’s intent, you’re giving your organization a leg up over your competitors.

How to improve your cost per customer acquisition in Amazon marketing

In the same way that keywords are your blueprint for advertising in Google, Amazon also has what they call backend keywords that populate your Amazon page. By choosing the keywords that attract your true market audience you’ll surely see an increase in sales and a decrease in cost per customer acquisition.

In addition to keywords, if your CPG organization doesn’t have an ample amount of reviews on your page you’re doing your organization a tremendous disservice. 90% of Amazon users won’t purchase a product that has less than three stars. Try offering discounted product or free give-a-ways to certain consumers in exchange for positive customer reviews.

On top of reviews and keywords, 60% of Amazon shoppers have noted that slow shipping will prevent them from making a purchase. Ensure that your organization has blazing fast shipping time to continuously increase sales and lower your cost per customer acquisition.

omnichannel approach marketing

Why you should use an Omni-channel approach towards your marketing

After digesting all of those different advertising platforms we hope your organization has a better idea of what platforms to utilize and how much it should be costing your business to acquire a customer.

However, because the modern consumer’s user journey has expanded over the years, we’re seeing them seamlessly switch from platform to platform, so we would recommend focusing your advertising content to several of these platforms to truly achieve predictable growth.

Other Resources for Customer Acquisition Strategy:

This article if chock full of information and actionable steps, but we at Evolve Digital Labs are self-aware enough to know that we obsess specifically over the data-driven strategies. To continue your education on how to leverage, implement, and grow your organization’s customer acquisition in the most cost-effective way, check out these other resources:

We Can Help Your Organization | Evolve

If your organization is still shaking its head over customer acquisition costs and what strategies your company should implement to increase brand awareness and maximize profits, reach out to Evolve Digital Labs for your free consult.

A minute of your time could improve user experience and increase ROI.

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What Is Google Ads? It’s The New Google AdWords & It’s Here To Stay

It shouldn’t be shocking news to anyone when I say, the world of PPC and Google Ads marketing is in a constant state of evolution. Year after year, marketers are presented with new bidding strategies or advanced and comprehensive targeting practices and they’re expected to embrace them if they want to succeed.

Well, this July Google decided to evolve the PPC game once again. In a branding effort to simplify their marketing platform, Google has changed the name of their online marketing platform from Google AdWords to Google Ads.

It may take some time for the paid search and SEO world to transition into using Google Ads in their everyday language, but marketers need to act fast in their written communication for Google Ads.

If your organization is producing content about Google marketing and still utilizing the former name of "AdWords" instead of "Google Ads," you could be missing out on key customers in your digital marketing strategy as well as taking a step to create valuable content at a lower cost.

So, where can your organization make improvements in your written content so you can speak to your true market audience and show Google’s algorithm that you’re aware and taking part in their rebrand?

Utilize the written usage of Google Ads in these aspects of your branding:

  • On your website
  • In your emails
  • In your blog content
  • In your Google Ads content
  • In your social media posts

It has taken some time for marketers to embody the new branding, but the online community is adapting faster than most would have imagined.

Check out the chart below to see some data around how quickly Google Ads is taking the online community by storm.

google ads keyword research

This shows marketers one thing, now more than ever, we need to embrace and embody change at blinding speeds if we want to stay as far ahead of the competition as possible.

If your organization has any questions or concerns over Google’s rebrand or if you’re wondering how to best strategize this into your content marketing strategy please reach out to Evolve Digital Labs for your free consult.

cpg digital marketplace how to do well on amazon with e-commerce

A CPG Digital Marketing Strategy for Amazon Domination

A specific CPG digital marketing strategy created for Amazon is essential to find success on the wildly popular, yet crowded online marketplac

SEM and Design: Why the disconnect?

SEM and Design: Why the disconnect?

Far too often, we come across brands that consider the design of a site and Search Engine Marketing two separate projects, and the resulting pages fail to contribute to the end goal: achieving leads. The three primary reasons a designer neglects to consider SEM and SEO prior to designing an entire website, a single page or collateral material for a site are Resources, Process, and Values.

1. Failure to Acquire Resources

This is a difficult issue to address because typically, search engine marketing and search engine optimization are believed to be additional components to a website or acceptable tactics for consideration after the website is finished. In reality, search engine strategy should be considered in the very beginning, with data (the voice of the customer) driving initial decisions and strategy. When handled in the correct way, the direction and certainty of keyword research provide a specific, linear path to visual success in a page’s design. Strategy and need should become dramatically less ambiguous, thus reducing the need for revisions based on visual messaging.

2. Preferred Design Process is Flawed

Regardless of the craft or expertise, injecting a new element to a seasoned professional’s process can be difficult, especially when that craft requires a creative and emotional connection to produce success. The larger the corporation the designer supports, the more levels of approval, therefore increasing the difficulty or likelihood of implementing data like keyword research. Designers and writers alike are communicators of ideas. These professionals of messaging have struggled with search since its inception of mainstream marketing. I’ve often heard that these communicators battle with the idea of a machine or data telling them what to say or how to design, but the irony is that it’s the targeted customers asking the questions. It is the customers who drive that data, the very people to whom we are supposed to be marketing, messaging, and ultimately helping.

3. Perception of Design’s Value is Skewed

The value of design is often dependent upon the specific brand and the artist. It’s a way to tap into the emotional elements of what the brand stands for and how the brain wishes to connect with this consumer. While some may argue that data creates interruption or unnecessary barriers of communication, these strategic initiatives cannot be ignored because they represent the voice of the customer. Search marketing and search engines have evolved drastically; there’s no longer a need, nor should there be a practice or recommendation, to oversaturate a page with unnecessary vernacular exclusively using data based on the voice of the customer. In the same way, every brand has style guides specifying which fonts or colors to use, customer-produced data from the search engines can also be guidelines, acting as a litmus for consideration when developing websites for developing content when designing landing pages and designing messaging.

How to fix it

There are a few possible remedies to three interrupters of incorporating search marketing into the world of design. Step 1: Provide the necessary information with the project assignment. Keyword research and visitor data isn’t an afterthought. It should be baked into the visual concepts, then tested through behavior online. Step 2: Develop a process to incorporate Search data into the design. This action is as simple as validating data and desired outcomes during the rounds of revision to ensure that all the essential communication points and consumer needs are being met. Step 3: Create search marketing guidelines. These guidelines can be incorporated into the value of the brand thought leader, educator, or advocate. There’s a way to align how people search and what they are searching for into the basic guidelines of how you communicate with people online.

Why I no longer run a search marketing agency

Why I no longer run a search marketing agency

If it were exclusively up to me, I would still be the President of Evolve Digital Labs, a premier search marketing agency. The one I started and helped build. From one person to fourteen amazing people.

But we do not always get to choose what happens personally or professionally. So true to our name, change is expected and inevitable.

Today, I lead an organization focused on online growth and digital innovation.

If the accepted science is correct, and we do completely shed ourselves inside and out every seven years, then the change is appropriate. I am no longer interested in decoding an algorithm. I know that success is not found in search engine rankings alone. Keywords have never been as simple as a data point. It is not enough to focus on lead generation. Instead, I want to lead this generation of change. As blue collars dissipate and the starkness of white collars unforthcoming, a new assembly line and asset management is needed. I have been challenged and changed by those with whom I share an illustrious responsibility and connection.

Now, the focus is on the consumers of the world and their needs. Empowering the customer through data and search is the beginning.

Yes, search. Search is a consumer-centric channel. The consumer vehicle four out of five online sessions include. Search is more than Google and Google is more than search. Google is an innovation platform. They redefined how we hear the voice of the customer. The outcome is their focus. The value comes to the consumer and the business through behavior, not descriptions. We do not only understand it, we embrace and promote it.

We will continue to help companies be found. We will continue to connect our clients with the right customer and the customer with the power to get the job done. We do not relinquish our rights nor refute the need to improve a brand’s digital assets. Yes, we mine keywords, we use the data of the consumer online provided by search & social giants. The change is how we evaluate the market and select the customer and the confidence in what is necessary to invest.

  • There is a need to deliver a marketplace assessment a online. 
  • There is a need to build a strategic framework for profitable and scalable growth. 
  • There is a need to improve and innovate the results of a consumers experience online. 

Evolve Digital Labs is proving the value of a new model for growth online. I stand proudly on the backs of the brilliant and dedicated people who built a new meaning to our name. It is through our superior people and process that we have leveraged technology to provide services that far exceed those of a search marketing company.

I am one of the lucky ones. I wake up feeling privileged and I fall asleep from mental exhaustion because every day I am challenged by the people around me and the problems we are paid to solve. The work, to me, is necessary. It fills my heart and keeps it beating while my children attend school and my wife improves the world one trialed family and adolescent at a time. The connection I feel to my professional responsibilities, my staff, clients, and partners amazes me.

To all involved, thank you and welcome.

Three Reasons Hospitals Should Seek Online Reviews

Three Reasons Hospitals Should Seek Online Reviews

People not only follow healthcare organizations’ social media profiles, they trust them. Although it was hardly available even ten years ago, social networking has grown to be a major marketing platform for cultivating relationships. Every day, millions of consumers attend trusted networks to collaborate and share experiences; healthcare brands are capitalizing on the opportunity to communicate with this audience.

From social media profiles to review websites, new digital channels give full power to word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, a poll by QuantiaMD reveals 65% of physicians have switched from traditional advertising to using social media marketing to connect and engage with potential patients. Perhaps itas because 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 14% trust advertisements.

Hospitals on Google+?

The reality is patients are more frequently referring to online reviews when researching potential physicians. In fact, a 2012 study by the PEW Research Center reports that one in five Internet users consults online reviews of doctors or healthcare facilities. Popular websites for physician reviews include vitals.com and healthgrades.com, while healthcare facilities are typically reviewed on Google+ Local. Unfortunately, as revealed in the same report, only 3-4 percent of Internet users are posting the reviews, and in many cases, it is the unsatisfied patient that decides to share his or her poor experience.

Three Reasons to Seek Online Reviews

1. Dilute negative feedback: The most compelling reason to seek reviews is to effectively control your reputation, especially if your brand is currently suffering from a sea of negative reviews. Patients are taking the time to look up online physician and healthcare facility reviews; asking for your current patients to provide their own feedback gives you the opportunity to take a proactive stance and influence customers and control your online material.

2. Promote practice: A highly-rated Google+ profile will surface more easily in search results, which is why it’s important to build out a page and encourage reviews from patients. In addition to relying on patients to supply feedback, it’s also important for the brand to actively share healthcare news, whether branded or not. A booming profile: including photos, links, and videos, helps build a presence in online communities and solidifies relationships with current patients and encouraging referrals.

3. Improve relationships with current patients: Asking for a review from a patient following an appointment, whether it was for a checkup or a surgery, is a fantastic way to show your concern for the quality of healthcare you are providing. That will keep you accountable with every patient, and while it may seem risky to direct patients to share their stories on such a public platform, most people who are satisfied with their experiences will be more than happy to do it.

Adapting to Awareness

Healthcare marketing was once about interrupting people to broadcast messages. Today, it includes sharing on social media channels to communicate your commitment to patientsa well being. Success in healthcare depends on a brand’s ability to deliver value and build trust. By reaching patients off-site through search engines and social media, healthcare brands can convey a sense of commitment to patients, in addition to earning a more expansive presence online.

Necessary Actions for Effective Healthcare Marketing Strategy

It’s growing more common for people in need of healthcare to explore their options online before making an appointment. With search engines making it so simple to compare and contrast brands and provide answers to questions, why wouldn’t someone start their treatment from the comfort of their home?

Because people search for solutions online, digital campaigns are an unavoidable aspect of an effective marketing strategy for healthcare brands. But even the face of digital marketing changes as new mediums and opportunities for engagement gain traction. Blog posts, white papers, and email newsletters still play a viable role in online healthcare marketing strategy, but they alone are not enough to thrive, especially when lead generation and conversion rates are the lifeblood of an organization. So where do you start?

Healthcare Marketing Scorecard

Determining your audience is a two-fold process, but the steps coincide with keyword research. The first challenge is understanding how your solutions can fulfill needs for your consumer base. Most companies have this figured out early in the product development phase or through keyword research, which should illuminate gaps in on-site content. The second aspect is defining the audience you are targeting; this becomes more evident as you organize the volume of traffic for different keywords. However, itas not enough to define them as the parties needing your solution or service. Effective healthcare marketing strategy will seek a comprehensive view of these individuals. By taking stock of your audience’s demographics: age, income, gender, and other details, you can combine your observations with existing research to determine effective marketing approaches.

Invest in a social presence

Some healthcare companies, particularly those focused on older demographics, are inclined to ignore social media and leave that medium to younger generations. We do not recommend this. According to a 2010 Pew International report, the number of social network users among the 50-and-older crowd increased by 88 percent over the past year. Among the 65-and-older crowd, social media use doubled. Today, three years later, we can only imagine how many more older adults are active online. Developing and monitoring social media profiles is a time-consuming process, but the resulting digital presence has potential to be one of the most valuable aspects of your healthcare marketing strategy. Additionally, because Generation Y expects brands to be active on social media channels, ignoring the need to communicate via Facebook or Twitter may portray the brand as unwilling to adapt.

Optimize your website

Most businesses recognize the need to have a company website, but in today’s market, that’s not enough to draw an audience. A well optimized, user-friendly website is a foundational piece of healthcare marketing strategy. 1. Organize the site effectively The first step in optimization is building a website that is clean, clear and easy to use. Navigation must be user-friendly, for both visitors and search bots that crawl the website. Standard rules to follow include:

  • Make sure each page title, title tag, and meta description is unique and relevant
  • Eliminate all issues related to duplicate content
  • Organize URLs to be brief and inclusive of keywords
  • Descriptively name image files
  • Make sure the sitemap is updated

Additionally, lead generation resources, such as a newsletter sign-up or a preventative care worksheet a should be prominently displayed to maximize leads and conversion opportunities. 2. Update content Content also needs to be consistently updated and directly related to the terms your brand is targeting. Use basic SEO principles to outfit your website’s content with keywords that will appeal to online search queries. Online search traffic can provide a valuable stream of promising leads when this optimization is properly done. 3. Enable mobility Websites should also be mobile-optimized. This includes working location-specific keywords into your content and facilitating tasks for visitors. For example, enabling phone numbers to automatically prompt a call when clicked will allow visitors to seamlessly schedule an appointment. Forward-thinking healthcare marketing strategy will develop mobile-optimized lead generation and contact forms that can be easily filled out on a mobile device, making your company more accessible and creating a new stream of leads.

Pay for Visibility

Search engine optimization is difficult. Achieving favorable positions organically in the search engine results pages does not happen overnight. Fortunately, there is still a way to score a position at the top of a page, thus capturing the attention of potential patients. Paid Search is an advanced form of advertising that displays sponsored messages to searches containing specific keywords. Sponsors only have to pay when the ad is clicked, making this advertising channel more budget-friendly than traditional methods. Just make sure you are sending visitors to strategically-designed, relevant landing pages.

hospital website marketing

Revise and refine using analytics

Between Google Analytics, social metrics, and strategy insights developed in-house, digital marketing delivers critical information that helps you understand how campaigns are performing, particularly in relation to lead generation and conversions. By reviewing this data consistently, marketers can identify areas for improvement and other campaigns that might benefit from a greater investment. Ultimately, these changes should help boost conversion rates and improve the ROI from your healthcare marketing strategy. In an industry growing more competitive and saturated with options, healthcare marketing strategy professionals must discover new ways to set their brand apart. Be mindful of the opportunity existing on the digital front, and be willing to invest in the creation of content, on-site optimization, and paid search.

Using Keyword Research for Organic Search

Using Keyword Research for Organic Search

We’re big fans of Keyword Research. Huge. We include it in our SEO Audit because we know how a brand can benefit from targeting the right audience with its site. It’s pretty obvious how a client can use keyword research for Paid Search; bidding on suggested terms will prompt the display of a relevant ad to the searcher. If implemented strategically, the campaign will direct paid clicks to keyword-specific landing pages.

How do I safely use keywords on my site?

What many clients don’t understand, however, is how to use keywords for organic search. Recent updates in Google’s algorithm penalize websites that try to manipulate the system. One example is the creation of thin content; webmasters will build out thousands of pages containing one or two paragraphs. These pages provide very little value to the visitor; rather, they exist only to house keywords and trick Google into thinking the site is authoritative on a subject.

If your site has experienced a sudden drop in traffic, it could be the pages are in violation of Google’s policies. Before you lose all hope, let’s look at some best practices for organic keyword usage. We can fix this.

URLs

The web address of a page is a critical element; it conveys to Google a summary of the content on a page. We definitely recommend using a keyword in a URL, preferably close to the domain. The URL doesn’t necessarily have to match verbatim the title of a page or post, which is helpful for blog posts especially.

Title Tags

Much like the URLs, the title tag is a very important element; it reinforces the subject of the page. Every page should have a unique title tag that contains a keyword close to the front. Because title tags show in SERPs and typically play a significant role in helping searchers decide whether to click through or not, we also recommend adding a branded phrase, such as a company name, to the title tag. Make sure to keep everything under 70 characters.

Meta Descriptions

These elements are also found in SERPs, but search engines don’t take the contents into consideration when ranking a page. Still, people searching for a solution rely on meta descriptions to deliver a sneak peek of a page, so it’s a good idea to use keywords when relevant.

Body copy

It’s fairly easy to build pages that arenat overstuffed with keywords; just make sure you are writing for humans and not search engines. Paragraphs should sound natural when reading aloud. Additionally, ask yourself if any new content you’ve added to your site is serving a real purpose. These litmus texts may seem elementary, but they will help you develop a new mindset of what it means to create quality content on the web. Finally (and this should be a given) a do not duplicate content in order to switch out keywords. This is an outdated practice that doesn’t fool anyone – including Google. The only time repeated content is acceptable is when A/B testing multiple landing pages (but in this case, the variable pages should be assigned “no index” attributes).

Linking

Here’s where you need to be careful. Penguin, Google’s most recent major algorithm update, punished an extraordinary number of sites that engaged in unethical linking tactics, such as link buying, cloaking, and abuse of keywords in anchor text. The first two mentioned are quite obviously sketchy practices, but the last one can be more difficult to catch. When a site has too many links that are tagged with keyword-rich anchor text, Google will perceive this activity as intentionally manipulative.

For example, if your site is trying to rank for tax services, it would be a huge red flag for the pages to be swarming with link after link called “tax services,” “tax services,” “tax services.” First of all, a link like that doesn’t help visitors understand what the page will cover (aside from the broad topic of tax services). Keywords are completely fine to use; just try to vary the words used in the full anchor text. So instead of “tax services,” use “tax refunds for small businesses,” (assuming that’s relevant to the page, of course).

Instant Search

It’s really challenging to produce valuable content, especially for brands in less-than-exciting industries that struggle to deliver solutions in new ways. One underrated use of a keyword list is as a search tool for specific queries. The keyword “grass seed,” for example, would be typed into Google, followed by “a,” then “b,” and so on. Google Instant Search automatically fills in a query as you type, revealing common long-tail searches that relate to a keyword. It’s not always a home run, but it certainly can inspire new content ideas that will answer specific questions for the segmentation of your audience.

This method is fantastic because it’s showing real questions that real potential customers are asking online. It provides your brand with a chance to create something from it, whether a detailed blog post, landing page for a product, or even a visually dynamic infographic.

Wrap-up

Keyword research is still a critical element of attracting customers to a site. Why wouldn’t we want to know what industry-relevant terms are frequently typed into Google? The problem with keywords is when brands greedily try to either rank for unrelated (or hardly-related) phrases AND when brands try to rank for relevant terms in unethical ways. Hopefully, this post will help you remember to focus on customers’ needs when generating new content pieces and optimizing your pages. If you’re feeling left out because you don’t even have a list of keywords to refer to, send us a note. We’d be happy to do the research for you. We’re really good at it.

Why most agencies miss the point of Search

Why most agencies miss the point of Search

In the last few years, many traditional agencies have tried and failed to dip their toes into search marketing. Others have tried to find partner agencies but experienced limited success. Either way, it has left a bad taste in both the agency and their client’s mouth. Here is a list of common mistakes and a few ideas for the agencies to consider before partnering or investing in search.

Common Mistakes

1. Search is the last piece. “We will just add it to the website after we are finished.” -Famous last words. Sorry, but SEO isn’t a shot you inject into your website. Success in the search engines is a collaboration of many parties within your organization and outside of it. It takes a great deal of research and strategy. Optimizing a website for Google extends beyond the technical upgrades to a website. It now includes adding supportive content to the site that answers consumers’ questions and (bonus!) features keywords for which it aims to rank. A website is not much different than a physical store where most transactions still take place.

SEO improves the user’s experience when navigating a website. Pushing these efforts to a later date or half-assing the work prevents a website from earning valuable search engine real estate. Here’s the icing on the cake: The limited number of customers that reach the site are likely unsatisfied with the on-site content if the brand hasn’t utilized keyword research as a guide for solving problems.

2. Lowest person on the totem pole has the responsibility of managing or implementing. It isn’t that this is an inherently poor idea. Often these positions can afford the time for massive amounts of learning. The problem starts when the reporting and requests come in. The lowest folks on the totem pole can’t always move the needle when it comes to resources; they do not have the authority to spend the budget or allocate a team members’ time. The other issue is the lack of experience they can bring to the project. To be successful in search marketing, it isn’t enough to just have an understanding of the technology, there must also be an understanding of the consumers’ needs. This critical awareness typically comes with time and experience (although not always).

3. More time is spent on analytics than on the campaign. The tools and the information available to us are amazing; it is vital to review and understand the data for future success, but it’s easy to get distracted or discouraged by the constant fluctuation of traffic or SERP positions. An action is typically more valuable than contemplation. It is absolutely important to spend time setting goals and creating a meaningful report, one that gives specific direction and tangible steps. That is when the investment of time will pay off. Logging into Google Analytics every day will not change the results.

4. They just do not believe in it. There isn’t much an agency can do when there is not a belief in the power of the search engines. Like it or not, it happens. When the decision-makers of a brand haven’t experienced SEO success firsthand, they’re not likely to consider future efforts worth the required time and budget.

Not-common-enough truths

The ideas below aren’t just points to consider, they’re also part of the practice. 1. The big idea doesn’t always come from you, the agency. In a previous life, I worked at a branding agency. I would constantly hear statements about “the big idea” and “that doesn’t feel on-brand.” While I completely understand the need to build a brand and maintain the integrity, it seems that agencies like this miss the point and power of search marketing. They are looking at a website as a static extension of the brand. While that is true to a degree, a website should help you learn about and mold the brand, and in large part, lead it. Improvement is a core concept of search marketing that agencies need to understand. The improvement should come from consumer feedback and data. 2. Function, then form. While aesthetics have and will continue to improve online, the simplest of sites still prove to be successful. Function rules. Consumers have a job to do when they are searching, even if it is something mundane. If the best attribute of your content is the design, it will only be as successful as the trend.

3. A consumer search = A consumer need. What is the starting point for online success? Consumer need. Think about the volume of search for an industry combined with the value of a transaction. Those two factors greatly contribute to what industries and companies are willing to invest.

4. Bounce rate and conversion rate = consumer satisfaction Learn what content and messaging people respond to and optimize the format in which you present it. Search might be the most effective way to test messaging and conversion paths. If you have a low bounce rate, your ability to optimize for conversion is greatly improved. May not a novel concept to all, but there are those out there who haven’t looked at this way.

Wrap-up

Search marketing involves more than keyword-enriched metadata and 301 redirects. We scratch our heads when companies donat see the value of investing in efforts that yield results almost instantly. Google is a digital matchmaker; it aligns customers with potential solutions to their queries. Maybe that’s why we and so many other internet marketers have chosen to come into work every day and follow Google’s rules blindly; we see that it’s an opportunity to improve Evolve’s and our clients’ processes. Search tactics and trends shift over the months, but the basic motive remains the same: to meet potential clients halfway and win them over with an effective on-site strategy.

Want to hear more about Search? Give us a shout.

Or check out our dynamite SEO Resources Page!

Multiple Domains: Make it stop.

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of brands that have multiple domains, particularly local companies. I get it. Well, sort of. These guys figure more separate websites will equal a greater web presence, so they have a different domain for different locations and even services. What they don’t realize is that spreading out across multiple domains actually works against them for several reasons.

Duplicate Content

I’ve written about duplicate content once or twice. It’s a pretty interesting sh*t show, especially because so many webmasters don’t even realize that their pages are duplicated at times. When one brand has multiple websites, each featuring a specific location or service, there’s likely going to be duplication. Brands usually don’t want to write unique content for each domain (after all, content creation is expensive), so they often have the same company description, philosophy, and paragraph for similar or even identical products. This means you’re making the Google bots do the same job twice. And that’s not cool. They will lash back by making the sites really difficult to find online. It will hurt. If you insist on keeping your many domains, at least fix the du-co.

Diluted Link Juice

The way websites are perceived to be valuable by search engines is through the number of links they receive from outside sources. A link is essentially a thumbs up, so naturally, more referrals signify a quality website. Google strongly takes well-liked sites into consideration when dishing out results for users. We call the power of these links “link juice.” The problem with having multiple domains, though, is that outside sources don’t necessarily know which of the many dot-coms of your brand to link to. So rather than reaping the full benefits of inbound links, the “link juice” is divvied up among however many domains exist.

Utter confusion

It’s confusing for users to search a brand in Google and be served a full page (or more) of different domains to choose from. More than anything, it’s annoying. Stop confusing your visitors. Give them one site to love.

Pain to maintain

As SEOs, we’re constantly barking at our clients to create helpful, fresh content. Write blog posts! Assemble case studies! Update your pages! Why? Visitors love it, and the search engines view such sites as authoritative, proactive domains. But you can imagine how difficult it must be to publish new, unique content across multiple domains. It’s pretty much impossible when they are all for the same brand. You’ll quickly grow exhausted fixing errors, updating metadata, and cranking out new content strategies. More than likely, you’ll give up altogether because you’re not a magician. And that’s okay. (The not-being-a-magician part. Not the giving up part.)

So in conclusion…

I’m sure there are times when having more than one domain for your brand can work in your favor. Companies have been successful in this effort, and for that I shrug my shoulders. The problem arises when you start scooping up domain names just to squeeze in location-based or service-specific keywords. If you can’t look your grandmother in the eyes and swear that each domain serves a unique, specific purpose, you should seriously consider clustering your digital real estate. A few redirects here and there, maybe some updated content creation, and you’ll be good to go. It’s hard enough to manage one site (for us, at least); you, customers, and those search bots will appreciate being able to find your brand at one stop. If you’re starting to worry about the state of your site, you might want to check out our SEO Audit or consultation services. We’re awesome at what we do, which is just one of many reasons why you will enjoy working with us. Check out our SEO Resources!