2019, Uncategorized, work

I Passed the Google Analytics Individual Qualification exam

I renewed my certification in Google Analytics. I last took the test in 2017 so I was due for a refresher. I completed the Google Analytics Beginners course first then the Advanced course within Google’s Analytics Academy. I learned the most from using the demo account and being able to practice the concepts I was learning.

I’m excited to apply this knowledge to my organization’s Google Analytics.

 

Debbie Gillum Google Analytics Individual Qualification certificate

 


Google Analytics Advanced Certificate


Google Analytics for Beginners Certificate of Completion

2019, columbus, marketing, Uncategorized

Key takeaways from the Together Digital National Conference

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I attended the Together Digital national conference on Thursday and Friday. It was jam-packed with informative sessions, case studies, and panels. I got to hear from some of the most talented, motivated and compassionate women in the marketing industry. Part of what makes Together Digital so unique is that members commit to 12 Asks and 12 Gives each year. This can be anything from asking if anyone knows anyone at a company you want to work for all the way to giving members an audit of their LinkedIn profiles. When women ask for help and give support to one another, we can build each other up. The group has been instrumental in shaping my career.

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There were so many awesome sessions to choose from at the conference, I found myself wishing I had a time-turner like Hermoine’s from Harry Potter. I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the key takeaways I learned from the conference.

Kickstart Your Organic SEO Strategy by Caitlin Boroden, Director of SEO, Catchweight

– SEO is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic. The three pillars of SEO: Technical SEO + Content + Digital PR (link building). I think of this as a pyramid with Technical SEO on the bottom.

– When you’re doing an SEO Audit it can feel overwhelming at the amount of stuff you need to fix. Conduct an Impact vs Effort analysis for when you have a laundry list of changes needed. This will help you map out what tasks are high impact- low effort, etc.

– Make sure to use smaller image sizes on the website so the page can load quickly.

– Be sure to fill in meta descriptions and alt text to help it be understood by Google. Each page should have H1 tags.

Creative ways to drive email conversions by Amanda Scarnechia Manager, CRM & Consumer Data of Scott’s Miracle-Gro

– If you don’t have the data, ask for it. Scott’s Miracle-Gro wanted to let their audience know about a new product they had for people with an irrigation system. They didn’t know who in their database had an irrigation system so they sent them a short one question survey in an email. Ask your audience a basic question.

–  Write at a fifth-grade reading level or below. Average American reading level is about seventh grade.

–  Apply the learnings from other departments. Maybe your paid social media team has already figured out what copy works for your audience and you could borrow that in your email campaign.

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Present like a Pro by Rachel Brewster of Unforgettable Leadership

–       Set the agenda. State here’s what we’re going to cover. Set the time for the topics. Email the agenda the day before.

–       Talk about the bigger picture first before diving deep. Start with the big picture. Don’t just start in the middle. Give context and orient them.

–       Help them make decisions. Using analogies to communicate complicated concepts in a way that’s commonly understood.

–       Repeat their vision back to them, helps them feel understood and heard. Then say we have two options, here are our recommendations.

–       Know your leader and how they want to be presented to.

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Social Marketing & Media Case Study

– You can create buyer personas for each social media platform like a Facebook persona or Instagram persona.

– 78% of users who follow a brand on social will visit their physical store.

– Provide social media training during the onboarding process to teach posting best practices. Have your social team teach the sales team how to use social selling correctly. Provide content the sales team can share, teach them about a complete LinkedIn profile, educate them on what a Facebook business page looks like. Do a yearly audit of sales reps social profiles.

– Make social-first content. Reframe social media to be a business driver. A/B test to learn what your customers really want.

– Facebook is the best place to reach Moms. Moms are online for support and community.

– Bad social media goal: Grow your social media following. (That’s not specific nor timely.)

– Good social media goal: Increase purchases on our website from Instagram by twenty percent by the end of the year.

– In your social media photos, have a clear focal point. Make your product pop. Show the product in action. Show how to use the product, explain what it is. Product demos. Real customer highlights.

And that’s a highlight of some of the things I learned from the Together Digital National Conference in Columbus, Ohio on September 19-20, 2019.

Learn more about future Together Digital Events

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2019, columbus

My Recap of the Ohio Marketing Summit

I attend the Ohio Marketing Summit for the first time.
Panel on reputation management and nurturing loyalty

Today I went to the Ohio Marketing Summit hosted by IC SUMMITS. It was great to hear marketing case studies and insights from large and small Ohio brands. My biggest takeaway was the importance of communicating with your customer rather than talking at them. Speak their language. An awesome brand will encourage consumer conversations on social media. I appreciated how Bridget from Great Lakes Brewing Company spoke about how they embrace how passionate their customers are about craft beer. Whether that’s a positive or negative passion, they use their social playbook to engage with their audience online, always in their brand voice.

I always like to write down and share my key takeaways from conferences that I attend:

  • Word of mouth, contagious marketing, even in the digital world, remains strong.
  • Hold up a mirror when deciding on something. Does this fit with who your brand is?
  • Market research, surveying your customer, understanding what they respond to is so valuable.
  • Great brands come from great strategy.
  • Edit to amplify.
  • The peanut butter approach – Spreading everything equally everywhere isn’t always the best approach to marketing
  • You don’t need to chase a shiny new object or new shiny marketing trend.
  • Status quo is the enemy of innovation.
  • Instead of buying expensive commercial time during a TV show, target fans of that show on Facebook. It’s a better use of your budget and it’s more trackable
  • Tell a story to executives rather show them the raw data. Give them an overview of if things are good, bad, or okay.
  • Sometimes you need to switch your strategy and benchmarks from focusing on conversions to brand awareness. You might need to first educate your audience on who you are.
  • Adept Marketing presented case studies that showed how they looked at a client’s existing data, redesigned their landing pages based on that data and saw an increase in conversions.
  • Don’t make your customers ask. Answer their questions beforehand. Add FAQ answers to landing pages. They used data from the website’s Live Chat feature to learn that customers frequently asked about price and bulk discounts so they added that information to the landing page.
  • Heat maps can validate your hypothesis with data. For example, if you think most people don’t scroll down to see the bottom of your webpage, you can prove that with data by looking at a heat map from a service like CrazyEgg.
  • You already have data. Look at it. Make a hypothesis. Test it. Redesign the user experience based on what you learned.
  • Don’t talk at your customer. You should be communicating with your customer.
  • Over scripting creates a cold response and inauthenticity
  • Your app will never be perfect. Try to release an MVP (minimally viable product) asap to get user data and feedback to grow from.
  • Great Lakes Brewing encourages and responds to all online conversations. They embrace how passionate consumers are. They created a social playbook for engaging online in their brand voice.
The Women in Leadership in Marketing panel
2019, social media

What I learned from the presentation “Social Media Strategy For Small Businesses”

Tonight I went to a presentation called Social Media Strategy For Small Businesses at Haven Collective. I heard about the event from the Robles Design email newsletter that highlights cool upcoming marketing-related events for entrepreneurs in Columbus. This event peaked my interest because I always like hearing from other social media pros and learning from their expertise. (If you’re not learning, what are you even doing, bro?) Carissa Richardson led the event. She owns her own company Kindred Strategy, after working at different agencies and brands for 13+ years.

She talked about the difference of organic and paid posts on social media. She made the excellent point that organic posts won’t grow your following. You need to put money behind your top performing organic posts and show those to a more narrow audience, such as a custom or lookalike audience (which is more targeted than using the Interests targeting.) I like to boost the previous week’s top performing post. This statement struck me because too often business owners think the goal of social media is to grow their following and that will happen if you post organically. False. You should strategically target your posts and invest in paid social media.

Carissa briefly talked about engaging with your audience and how important it is to respond. With that being said, she addressed the elephant in the room: what to do when, (not if) someone leaves a negative comment. She suggested to post a canned response that asks the person to take the conversation offline, like “We’re so sorry to hear you had a less than ideal experience with us. Please email debbie.gillum@brand.com so we can discuss this further.” She made the point that this sort of safety net policy in place can help leadership folks feel comfortable posting on social media. I would argue that posting a copy-and-paste response each time someone complains would fan the fire. It’s like if you called a company to complain about a service and instead of reaching a human you only got the automated voice. You’d get more mad. I think you should empower whoever is managing your social media to customize that response to address what they wrote. I’m still advocating that you take the conversation offline and follow that best practice, but I think canned responses make a brand feel robotic and can aggravate fans.

My favorite part of the presentation were Carissa’s steps to creating a social media strategy

  1. Define your social media goals. If you’re looking to grow your business your social media goal might be to increase your website traffic or grow your brand awareness and increase your post’s impressions and reach.
  2. Audit your current social media channels. Look out for duplicate pages, old accounts and take inventory of how many followers each account has.
  3. Build audience personas. Use existing data to create a fictional character of your customer. What are their needs? Pain points? Values?
  4. Choose your platforms. Check Google Analytics to see what social platforms are currently working to refer traffic to your website.
  5. Competitor Inventory. What are they doing? What can you do better?
  6. Establish your brand voice. This also involves creating your social media mission statement which is something like “BRAND creates social content to BENEFIT for AUDIENCE.” Example: “Volunteers of America creates social media content to help thrifty shoppers save money.”
  7. Develop a content strategy. A good idea is to post 1/3 Engaging 1/3 Curated and 1/3 Promotional. For curated content, keep a list of websites, blogs, authors who fit with your brand and subscribe to their newsletter. I like to set up Google Alerts for keywords related to the brand.
  8. Create a measurement plan. How will you track your success? I like to measure weekly analytics and one of my most important metric is looking at what post performed the best that week. That influences my future content.

Thank you to Yasmine of Robles Design, Carissa Richardson of Kindred Strategy and Haven Collective for working together to put on such an educational event.

2019, columbus, marketing, Uncategorized

What I learned at interact19

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Yesterday, I went to a digital marketing conference in Columbus called interact19. I’ve been to several conferences before and I can honestly say this was one of the best I’ve attended. Every presentation and speaker was filled with actionable knowledge that I could take back and apply to my workplace. So many of the tips were practical and cost-effective, requiring just time and skill. 

I’m starting a new job later this month and in my interview, my future manager asked if I knew anything about Voice Search and I said I wasn’t that familiar with it and needed to do more research about it. Well at this conference, two of the speakers talked in-depth about the state of voice search, how to use it and where it’s going in the future. Now, I have practical information I can tell my new boss about how we should be using voice search. By attending, I learned something I can apply in my job and I can show that I’m staying up to date on marketing trends and best practices.

I definitely would recommend this conference and want to go back next year. I’m grateful to Volunteers of America for making it possible for me to attend. 

I want to share what I took away from each session at yesterday’s conference:

Opening + Morning Keynote: Be Mighty by John Fimiani

  • Unify around the brand promise
  • Best Buy was able to turn around their business by focusing on human relationships and creating human experiences
  • It’s more important to be human than it is to sell.
  • The University of Oregon was able to redefine themselves by investing in simple branding and aligning around a purpose. Now everyone knows that Oregon Football = Faster.

The 1% Content Strategy: Combining the top SEO and lead gen tactics to statistically beat 99% of content programs by Andy Crestodina

  • People link to helpful blog posts
  • When people link to your blog, that causes page authority and is link building
  1. Publish your mission
    • Our content is where [audience] gets [information] that offers [benefits]
      • Content mission formula :Where __ find ___ for ____
      • Our content is where moms get tips on how to save money
      • Marketers are more successful when they have a content mission statement.
    • Answer the webpage visitor’s question “Why am I here?”  Why is your visitor on your page?  Spell it out on your webpage. 
    • Your email sign up link should be
      • Prominent- big and on every page
      • Promising – what will they get when they sign up?
      • Proof- how many current subscribers are there?
      • CTA- Sign Me Up
    • Your social bio is your promise to your followers
  2. Find topics they’ll love
    • What does my audience want?
      • Data-driven empathy
      • Use Google autocomplete
        • “Audience” ______
      • Use keyword tool:  www.keywordtool.io to find relevant keywords and blog ideas
      • Use https://answerthepublic.com/ tool
      • Use https://www.quora.com/ tool
      • Make a list of topic ideas, sorted from least detailed to most detailed
        • High-level list posts
        • Overview of a specific topic
        • In-depth detailed posts
  3. Create Original Research
    • Well-researched and evidenced content
    • Original research gets linked to the most
      • It’s like a citation used in a bibliography
    • Observation: you’re contributing to the conversation
    • Survey: gather new data
    • What are the assumptions in your industry that are lacking data?
    • 10x effort = 100x results
    • Spend more time creating better quality blogs
    • Don’t take shortcuts. They take too long.
    • Most successful content creators:
      • Write 2,000+ word articles
      • Publish more than weekly
      • Spend 6+ hours per article
      • Write guest posts
      • Publish original research
      • Collaborate with influencers
      • Add videos to articles
  4. Write for your prospects
    • What questions is your audience asking?
    • Create content that answers their questions.
    • Talk to other people in your organization to find these FAQ
  5. Upgrade the visuals
    • Infographics, diagrams, graphs, memes
    • Let’s turn our top _____ into ______
      • Let’s turn our top blog post into a video
    • Testimonials using your keywords are gold
    • Test email subject lines on social
    • Update, repurpose high performing content
  6. Collaborate with influencers
    • Influencers who link to your website is gold
    • To find influencers search “your topic” + “blogger” “writer” “author”
    • Use https://followerwonk.com/ tool
    • Use https://buzzsumo.com/ tool
    • Work with influencers for
      • Deep dive interview
        • People love to be interviewed
        • They’ll be flattered
      • Use their quote in your blog
        • Include the influencer in your content
        • Single Point of View content is a thing of the past. Think of it, a news article would never use just one source. You should use multiple sources too.
        • Use a headshot with their quote
  7. Write for other websites
    • Guest blog, collaborate
    • Write an article for them, send it to them.
      • “Here I wrote this for you. Here you go.”
    • Pitch to podcast hosts
    • Repurpose How-To articles into How-Not-To articles to be published on other websites

Research who is linking to your site.  

Research how many links your competitors have.

If you make content that’s Mission Driven, Research Anchored, Influencer Powered, and PR Focused, you’ll be in the 1%

SearchSocial
Long form textCompelling visuals
Answers questionsTriggers emotion
Meets expectationsUnexpected
😬😐
Looking, huntingUnplanned, waiting
Expert quotesinfluencers

 

Growth by Content: Driving Massive Traffic Without a Big Budget by Nadya Khoja

  • Content marketing is easier and cheaper than buying social ads
  1. Goals
    • Set multiple specific goals, like high domain authority, more traffic, higher conversions
    • One piece of content will not meet all of these goals. You need to create content for each goal.
      • One content per goal, not one content all goals
      • You can’t just brainstorm fun ideas to write about.
    • Goal: Domain authority  (your site’s reputation and credibility)
      • Make viral, editorial content
    • Goal: Conversions
      • Make how-to content
    • Goal: Traffic
      • Make inspirational content that will rank for long tail keywords
      • One in-depth content piece for many keywords
      • Publish new information and data
  2. Research
    • You don’t have to write ALL the things
    • Start with keyword research
    • Make content that’s connected to your landing page (or pillar page) that meets your goals
    • Make a spreadsheet with
      • Search term categories  (Words) Your Pillar Term
      • Average monthly searches (#)
      • Difficulty (High, Medium, Low)
      • Keywords related to categories
      • Search terms  
  3. Authority
    • Get high-quality backlinks, focus on link building
    • Guest blogging can help you get backlinks and authority
    • Use https://ahrefs.com/  SEO tool
    • Use https://mailshake.com/ to send a pitch email to ask for links
      • “Hey, can I give you something if you link to us?”
      • Build relationships
      • Offer value in your outreach, give them something
      • Find content that already mentions the keyword you want to rank for. If they don’t have that keyword linked, email them and ask
      • Cold outreach has about a 3-5% success rate
      • Don’t sound like a robot in your cold emails, be yourself
      • Link building is a long term strategy
  4. Promotion
    • 80% time spent on promoting content and 20% of time spent creating

 

The Future of Voice and Its Impact on Content by Adam Deardurff

  • Alexa, Siri, Google Now, Cortana, Bixby
  • Most people use voice for Music, Weather, Fun Questions, Search, Alarms, News, Calls
  • Google serves up Position Zero aka Featured Snippet in voice searches
  • How to get a featured snippet
    • Research FAQ and common searches
    • Answer FAQs on your website
    • Use schema.org markup    
    • Follow baseline SEO best practices
      • Have a Google My Business page
  • Podcasts are growing, especially among ages 12-24 years
  • Consider hosting an internal podcast for employees
  • How to leverage podcasts
    • Understand your audience
    • Explore podcast advertising networks
    • Reach out directly to targeted podcasts
    • Start creating your own
    • Be a guest on a podcast
  • Start talking to your voice speaker. Learn about its capabilities
  • Get specific with your content. Be the Waldo.
  • Get your product audible
    • Podcast ads
    • Influencer marketing
  • Give your people a voice
    • Highlight top employees and corporate culture
  • Accessibility and security

Five Hot Digital Marketing Trends and How They Impact You by Pam Didner

  1. Voice search
    • Optimize text and voice search for how you talk
    • Longer inquiries, shorter answers
    • Use local search like Google My Business
    • Voice is another form of content
    • Explore questions that are likely to be asked
    • Put voice search and voice content in your annual marketing plan
    • Look into Alexa for Business and Google Home for Business
  2. Add intelligence to products
    • Voice controlled microwave
    • Smart plugs to make basic appliances smart
  3. Product Personalization
  4. AI
    • Using AI for lead gens, follow-ups and chatbots
  5. Marketing fundamentals haven’t changed

 

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How to Be Remarkable: The Unusual Yet Proven Path to Marketing Success by
Andrew & Pete

  • 90% of your effort should be on doing something remarkably well
  • 10% should be spent experimenting
  • Posting something is not better than nothing
    • A successful blogger, SEO pro only has 50 blog posts but generates 200,000 page views
    • He writes long pieces
    • He only makes a new blog when he’s happy with his current blog’s page rankings
  • People who spread themselves thin don’t win
    • You don’t need to be on every platform
    • You can’t do everything well
    • Do one thing remarkably well
  • Make relatable content
    • Lean into the reaction spikes you see.
    • Do more of what’s working
    • Listen to your audience and give them what they want.
  • Reallocate your efforts
    • Readjust your strategy based on where your audience is moving
    • A brand moved from Snapchat to Instagram Stories
    • It’s scary to drop a channel or stop doing something but data will guide your decision
  • Consistency
    • YouTubers promise new content weekly “new videos every Tuesday” giving their audience a reason to come back
  • Create fun content
    • Do you enjoy marketing?
    • Find the Fun