Mastering the Matrix: Content, SEO, Penguin & Possum

Mastering the Matrix: Content, SEO, Penguin & Possum

Posted on Friday, September 23rd, 2016 at 4:29 pm    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]The Web as you know it —– is alive! It’s growing, evolving, and changing daily.

While websites have yet to develop consciousness like you and I, they still live and grow based on their interaction with website visitors and powerful search engines. According to InternetLiveStatistics.com, there are over 1 billion websites and Google processes 3.5 billion searches per day.

[bctt tweet=”There are 40k @Google searches/second, 3.5 billion/day, 1.2 trillion/year. #SEO ” username=”cobalt_digital”]

How does Google rank website results for all of those searches? Google has constructed an elaborate computer algorithm to “look for clues” to identify which websites best provide the information for which the user is searching. There are over 200 factors that are taken into consideration and the algorithm is updated regularly. The most recent updates include Possum, which went into effect on September 1st, and the latest Penguin update which is rolling out today.

From what we can see, Possum primarily impacted local search results. Map listings appear to have a different filter and results depend more upon where you, as the searcher, are physically located.

Penguin originally launched in 2012 and was a wake up call for many SEO companies who thought they could trick the system. There’s no fooling Google! This latest update has two major changes. The first is that Penguin is real-time. This means data is refreshed in real time so changes will be visible faster after sites are crawled and indexed. The second change is Penguin is more “granular”. Spam will be devalued by the algorithm bed on spam signals so the ranking of the entire site will not be effected as has happened in the past.

So, what does this mean for your website? Google has once again shown us that they put user experience first. They continue to find ways to better meet the needs of the user. That must be our mission as well.

[bctt tweet=”@Google puts #ux first and so do we. @CobaltDigitalMarketing #SEO ” username=”cobalt_digital”]

Just like a real, living thing, websites require analysis, care and attention to continually grow to meet user needs. If you fail to regularly feed your website fresh content, improved usability, and intuitive navigation, then you’ll likely be viewed by web crawlers as dead.

DO YOU WANT MORE SEARCH TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE?

It’s not a matter of keeping up with the latest changes in Google algorithms, it’s anticipating them. This is how the expertise of a digital marketing agency like Cobalt Digital Marketing can help you get in front of the right search traffic, stay in front of the search traffic and convert the search traffic into customers.

Keeping a healthy, vibrant website requires a meaningful SEO strategy with quality content. It is important to recognize though that quality content means quality content. Fluff and keyword stuffing will not work. Failing to provide any substance will leave your site emptier than a pool in the winter.

Stay on top of the latest Google algorithm change and anticipate future changes by keeping an eye on user experience with these website management tips.

New Content Means More Frequent Indexing

Now this doesn’t necessarily mean higher indexing, but rather that the more often you update your website with new articles, pages, or downloads, the more frequently web crawlers will stop by your living site. Web crawlers, simply put, are programs that scan the Web for websites and “index” a site based on a number of factors determined by a search engine’s algorithm.

So, the more often these little web crawlers are on your site, the better your opportunity to achieve a higher ranking. All because of fresh, quality content.

But again, it’s all about quality over quantity. Flooding your website with shabby quality content is only going to hurt you in the long run and can actually cause you to get penalized.

[bctt tweet=”You can monitor your @Google site crawls in #WebmasterTools crawl stats. #seo ” username=”cobalt_digital”]

More Content + More Authority = Informed Audience

New content should include keywords that will help attract visitors to your site. Search engine web crawlers help to locate these keywords in your blogs or postings, which optimizes your ranking, and gets those viewers to your content.

Something important to remember with Google algorithm updates is that they help filter quality content rather than keyword-stuffed drivel. By writing content that answers questions, provides valuable information, or informs readers how to do something, your authoritative potential rises. This understanding that content is king will make you a meaningful player in your specific industry.

[bctt tweet=”@Google favors quality content not keyword-stuffed drivel. #SEO #ContentMarketing” username=”cobalt_digital”]

The more relevant and meaningful content you saturate your website with, the more of an authority you become on the internet and the more people will begin to trust what you’re saying. By keeping an informed audience constantly engaged with your site, you’ll develop loyalty, which converts to returning traffic and, ultimately, into customers.

Every time you get search traffic to your site you are handed the perfect opportunity to provide users with information about your business and your services. Remember, these visitors were searching for information, product or service and chose your site from thousands of others. Take advantage of the situation and capture their attention with the right message and content to get them to understand why they need your services more than anyone else’s.

Google Wants to Love Your Website

The truth is that Google is the reigning champ right now in the competitive world of search engines. They are so powerful that they actually influence the manner in which websites are constructed, as well as the methodology of Search Experience Optimization (SEO) techniques. It’s exceedingly important to understand their motivation and let that drive your digital marketing effort and the evolution of your website. They love when websites meet the needs of search queries. They want to see low bounce rates. They will reward you for doing everything you can to create positive user experiences.

We don’t always know when Google algorithm updates are coming. In fact, often they slip by with little notice or comment. While there has not been any official word from Google’s PR team about the latest update, the webmaster and SEO community are confident that we will continue to see search result changes as a result of the algorithm change to Google’s local map filter and organic search results.

SEO Expert Mauricio Piña was noted as saying, “Only time will tell if these algorithm updates will leave any major lasting effects, but the fact of the matter is, the only way to be successful in the SEO and content world is by keeping up-to-date with all the changes that occur in the digital universe.”

[bctt tweet=”“The path to #SEO success is keeping up with and anticipating change” @mauriciopina @google ” username=”cobalt_digital”]

Cobalt Digital Marketing Wants YOU to Love YOUR Website Too

Let the phenomenal Cobalt Digital Marketing team help you take control of your digital presence. Our Marketing Catalysts can strategically manage all aspects of your online presence including website design, user experience, SEO, content, and social media, to ensure that you are best positioned to take advantage of future Google algorithm updates.

Anticipate site visitor needs and keep your website growing, evolving and changing. Whether an image, download, or blog, adding fresh material will get you traffic and ultimately sales. So get to writing.
Or let Cobalt Digital Marketing do it for you.
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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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A Little Bird Told Me – 5 Reasons to Tweet

Posted on Sunday, May 15th, 2016 at 12:55 am    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]There’s a thin red line between social media use and networking. Sometimes the two merge into a perfect harmony of conversation and resolution. Other times (perhaps too often), it’s just cat pictures and quirky quotes.

But it’s important as a brand (especially in this fast pace tech world) to stay relevant, open, and in touch.

Rather than seeing Twitter as a pandemonium of Millennials and socially starving individuals, recognize it for its true worth. A valuable resource that keeps you in touch with the people that matter most…your clients.

[bctt tweet=”#Brands must stay relevant, open, and in touch.” username=”cobalt_digital”]

1. Know Your Customer

It seems like most people are tired of big box companies. Often times it feels like you’re just another account number and a payment. The little guppy swimming in a world of sharks.

But is that necessarily true? Is that true of your company?

Not if you don’t want it to be.

Using Twitter effectively can open the gates to a world of individuals seeking your services and hopefully feeling a tad bit more real in a system built on taking, but not really giving back.

So here’s you chance to converse with the little guy. Or in other words…the people who really make your company run. Plus you can keep them up-to-date on all your new and exciting happenings including product offerings and company news.

In fact, according to twitter.com, 85% of followers feel more connected to businesses they follow.

[bctt tweet=”85% of followers feel more connected to #businesses they follow. #twitter @twitter #socialmedia” username=”cobalt_digital”]

This, of course, requires for you to be a more entrenched in a social media site you may not necessarily see as vital to your success. But remember.

Word of mouth is a force of nature – even in cyber space. So…

[bctt tweet=”Word of mouth is a force of nature. ” username=”cobalt_digital”]

2. Listen to Your Customer

We’ve all had bad customer experiences. Sometimes it’s not worth the hassle to make a scene. Sometimes it is.

Except in today’s world, why yell in front of 15 people when you can reach millions?

Twitter is the perfect platform to express this discontentment (or happiness). It’s also the perfect opportunity to learn about your customer experiences and to let your customer know that you are listening to them.

And as we all hopefully know. Relationships are a two-way road. It’s a give and take symbiosis. And you should…

3. Interact With Your Customer

Hopefully you’ve noticed the logical progression of this list.

Our 24-hour society means that customers are looking for answers when they need it. Not when it’s convenient to you. Want to lose a customer? Make it as difficult as you can for them to solve their issues.

Want to improve on your customer’s experience and gain some trust. Make yourself available on a platform like Twitter and prove that you really are there when they need it.

This sort of interaction builds confidence in your ability to provide solutions in real-world time.

Who doesn’t like a trustworthy friend? Build on these relationships by jumping into Twitter chats. Be a part of the conversation.

4. One Good Turn Deserves Another

Twitter will boost your online presence. But why stop at that? Why not use  it to see what’s going on in your industry and how you measure up? Why not use it to see what customers are saying about your competition?

Twitter is a great platform to help keep you in the know and give you a competitive edge. Without spending any money, you can keep a close eye on all the key players, news and interaction. Businesses of all sizes are taking advantage of this potential.

Are you?

5. Learning the Game

The reality is that we live in an ever-changing technological world. Myspace is, dare I say, ancient history at this point.

Yet that doesn’t mean that its creation, pinnacle, and eventual descent are irrelevant. It just means that there is always an opportunity to learn the give and take of this wave.

Sure, keeping to the same routine day in and day out may work for you. But if your customers are changing their habits new opportunities to connect with them will evolve. Shouldn’t that the best reason to continually reevaluate and change your social media strategy?

[bctt tweet=”Evolving customer #socialmedia habits create new opportunities for #businesses to connect.” username=”cobalt_digital”]

Twitter really is a great tool if you’re willing to dig beyond the surface chatter. It’s fast. It’s user friendly. And it’s a powerful business tool when you take the time for it.

It’s all true.…a little birdie told me.

[bctt tweet=”#Twitter is a powerful #business tool. #socialmedia #marketing” username=”cobalt_digital”]
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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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The Revolution Will Now Be Optimized

Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 at 10:34 pm    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][bctt tweet=”Search Experience Optimization is the new SEO.” username=”gitkinhawk”]

With the advancement of technology, the Internet, and search engines, companies have sought to provide end-users an optimal experience that meets consumer demand.  Where as marketing companies could previously get away with manipulating search engine systems to their advantage (regardless of their actual performance), Google, Bing, and various other search engines have began to upgrade their algorithms to ensure that results match up with actual quality.

So what does this mean for the user?

Well for starters, search results will provide internet-goers with websites that meet certain “favorable” criteria including: site speed, mobile optimization, site structure, content, and a plethora of other subtle advantages that consumers seek.

As for the marketers and website owners?

It boils down to providing meaningful full site integration, quality content, and appealing visual structure.

Quality Content Answers Questions

Of course website analytics, Google trends and keyword data are valuable to the marketer.  But the reality is that the web is about the consumer.  Meaning that your success lies much more in the satisfaction of the site purveyor over automated systems that analyze data points.  This doesn’t mean that analytics don’t hold the same level of importance as previously considered, but rather that content should validate the data and not the other way around.

As the search process evolves, so must the marketer, search engine, and website.  Long gone are the days of general searches, keyword density, and meta descriptions.

This generation of common web users are much more aware of the importance of specific key words and details.  In fact, search engines are beginning to recognize the value of semantics and are distinguishing a website’s ability to answer a specific question over a general statement.  This variation in website content means that marketers need to stop banking on keyword density and instead need to focus on providing customers with meaningful quality content.

“Mobalization”

[bctt tweet=”A clean mobile user experience has gone from good to have to must have for the search engines.” username=”mauriciopina”]

Changes in search engine algorithms are improving the visibility of websites optimized for mobile viewing.  These seemingly “catastrophic” changes have essentially upped-the-ante for major corporations who had been lax on improving this aspect of their websites.  This has also allowed small businesses to improve their online presence – assuming of course that they were a head of the curve and already mobile ready.

For a marketer, this means approaching design for a given website with a “less is more” mentality.  As mobile Internet users won’t have the same sort of tech specs on their devices in comparison to a traditional desktop, websites have to be developed with the understanding that an overly visual stimulating site can lead to unnecessarily long loading times.

This is a big no-no for user experience.

Baring in mind that simplicity will go a long way in website mobilization should hopefully ease the transition in providing a quality site for mobile users.

[bctt tweet=”When it comes to #webdesign, less is more.” via=”no”]

Social Butterfly

The interconnectedness of the world is way too large at this point in time to ignore and with the use of social media web sites at an all time high, it’s almost impossible to not recognize the importance of social listening.

The intent shouldn’t be to simply increase your customer count by using these various platforms, but you should instead focus on social media signals that your website and business are creating positive user experiences.  The reality is that people will post about anything and everything, so you want to make sure when your name comes up it’s for a good reason.

And if it’s not?

Well, that’s an opportunity to utilize these various social media platforms to make sure your customers feel like their voice is being heard.  This should hopefully lead to more interaction and a better overall user experience.

A World of Data

So your organization has successfully hit the three previously mentioned markers.  Now work behind the scenes to leverage the data.  There are a variety of platforms that can be utilized to effectively understand your metrics and develop an ever-evolving plan.

Google Analytics is a valuable (and free) tool, but it can be complex and overwhelming. If you’re open to the idea of having this data analyzed by a third party, there a numerous companies like Cobalt Digital Marketing eager to assist you – all you have to do is a little research to make sure their skill sets, experience and track record match your needs.

Metrics such as time on site, bounce rate, pages per visit, return visitor rates, on page analytics and conversions should help guide the evolution of your website to improve user experience.  It’s an ongoing process of evaluation, testing and re-adjusting.

Of course with the frequent (and seemingly limitless) changes in technology, staying up-to-date in the SEO world and news is going to be a major aspect of the game.  But evolution is a good thing and ultimately leads to optimal changes. Subscribe here to get more industry news and commentary from Cobalt Digital Marketing direct to your inbox.
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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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Take Your Business to the Next Level: SXSW Edition

Posted on Friday, April 8th, 2016 at 8:42 pm    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]Each March, thousands flock to Austin, Texas for the annual South By Southwest Festival (SXSW). If images of crazy partygoers crowding Sixth Street are instantly coming to your mind, we’re here to let you in on a little secret: it’s so much more than that!

Contrary to public opinion, SXSW serves as one of the most inspirational, game changing festivals out there. Featuring film, interactive media, music and insightful panels, SXSW is the perfect place to go to if you’re an entrepreneur looking to take your business to the next level.

To illustrate this point a little better, this season, SXSW 2016 brought out the likes of speakers ranging from Barack and Michelle Obama to some of the world’s most inspirational voices in technology, business and fashion.

Topics discussed at this year’s festival ranged from high-tech movie making and artificial intelligence to how start-up companies can secure funding. If you’re getting the urge to purchase passes for SXSW 2017, we don’t blame you!

In our day and age, it’s so important for business owners to be innovative; at Cobalt Digital Marketing, we believe in the power of pushing the boundaries and going off in directions that have yet to be traveled. To get you and your business fired up for what lies ahead, here’s a look at the top five tech trends seen at SXSW 2016:

  1. All Ears

1

We’ve all heard of Kickstarter before. Known as the platform that has the potential to give rise to tomorrow’s greatest innovations, it’s no surprise that the winner of Best of Show at the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards got its start on the site. So, exactly what is this new revolution? Doppler Labs has created a remarkable set of wireless earbuds that allow you to tailor the way you hear the world around you. Sounds incredible, right?

Whether you’re tired of hearing so much commotion when you’re at Starbucks or would like complete silence at the end of your work day, the app’s preset filters give you the power to drown out the unwanted sounds in your environment using its equalizer settings. If you’re up for it, you can also use the app to apply fun sound effects and adjust the volume of your surroundings. The Here Active Listening System currently does not have a release date; you can join the waitlist for $199.

  1. Hello Holograms

2

We knew it would only be a matter of time till our world was evolved enough to pursue this technological advancement. Featured at Sony’s Future Lab, there was one prototype in particular that was driving tech lovers wild: the Interactive Tabletop. Essentially, it’s a top-down holographic projector that uses augmented reality, gesture sensors, and motion tracking; in other words, it puts digital information into the real world (literally) while allowing you to control the content. The demo at SXSW featured animated characters from Alice in Wonderland springing from the tablet’s screen onto real-life tables and so forth. At this time, there’s no information if the Tabletop will be released commercially.

  1. Camera From Up Above

3

Awards like the “coolest scientific achievement or discovery that before 2015 was only possible in science fiction” only exist at SXSW. This year’s winner, the Lily Camera, has taken the world of photography to a whole other level. Known as the world’s first true flying camera, this small drone features a 1080p HD camera and microphone that can be thrown in the air and follow along on your shenanigans via a wrist-mounted tracker. It’s a solo-flyer and will use its GPS and computer vision to follow you around for as long as you see fit. The Lily Camera will be released this summer, but you can pre-order it for $899. The possibilities are endless with this device that can fly up to 25 miles per hour!

  1. Money Talks

 

As our technological world continues to revolutionize, it’s no surprise that Amazon and Capital One have now come out with the first-ever voice activated mobile banking feature. Made for Alexa-enabled devices (Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, etc.), customers can say something as simple as “Alexa, how much money do I have in my bank account?” for comprehensive insight into all their banking needs. Now, you can have your cake and know exactly how much damage it’s causing your pocketbook!

  1. Happily Ever After

So this one may be purely for inspiration purposes, but Groove Jones created the first-ever virtual reality Happy Meal! Yes—you read that correctly. At the SXSW McDonald’s loft, guests sported HTC Vive Glasses and soon stepped into a life-size Happy Meal. In this virtual reality experience, they were able to customize the box and unleash their inner fast-food fanatic.

Just like the great minds featured at SXSW 2016, our Cobalt Catalysts are looking to take the path less traveled and pursue new and innovative ways to help your business reach its full potential.

Learn how your business can stay ahead of the technological curve by contacting our Cobalt Digital Marketing today.
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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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Create a Trend, Ride the Wave

Posted on Friday, April 1st, 2016 at 9:06 pm    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]In this day and age, it’s no secret that ‘trends’ are no longer born on the streets. With powerhouses such as social media and popular television shows, the key to piquing the interest of the viewing public lies in something as simple as a meme, the brief mention of a brand or a newly coined term.

Kukoo for Cocobolo

If you’re a fan of Better Call Saul, you might have found yourself falling into this very pattern after tuning into the second season of the show. After the quick reference to a cocobolo desk, it seems fans of the show made a mad dash towards their smartphones to look up the item on Google. During the time surrounding the premiere of the episode boasting about cocobolo desks, the search term experienced a substantial spike on Google Trends.

[bctt tweet=”@Google searches of cocobolo desk spiked from 0 to 100 immediately after mention on @bettercallsaul”]

We don’t know whether or not any of the interested parties actually purchased the said desk, but it can definitely be concluded that a lot of potential customers now know a thing or two about these desks and their roots in Belize.

Create a Trend, Ride the Wave

Although abstract, this sudden interest in something an foreign as a cocobolo desk truly demonstrates the power of today’s media. This truth extends to our other guilty pleasure: social media. When today’s influencers include a simple mention of a brand’s Instagram handle or share an image of a product, users set out on a frantic search to learn more. Regrams, retweets, pins and shares multiply the excitement and the product awareness which usually leads to the said item making it to the top of countless wish lists and flying off the shelves. Although starting a trend isn’t exactly easy, we’ve compiled a list of tips that can help you make it happen.

  1. Identify something about your business or products that is interesting, different or funny. Find your niche.

As countless social media masters have said in the past, nobody gets too excited about something that has already been done before. In our crazy, media centric world, it might seem impossible to come up with an original idea. Luckily for you, it’s as simple as answering this question: what makes your business or product unique? As soon as you’re able to answer that question, run with it and use that to capture your audience.

  1. Create a catchy hashtag

Think of a fun, short phrase that captures the aesthetic of your business. It should be memorable and possibly include some form of an incentive. Think a small discount or offering up the chance of a repost on your main social media handles to create additional buzz, since there’s nothing people love more than saving cash or expanding their social handles.

  1. Get it out there—post, tweet, pin, snap—whatever will best reach your target audience.

Think about the people you’re trying to reach. What are they passionate about? What makes them tick? Create shareable content that is strategically curated around their likes and needs. Sometimes, getting through to your audience can be as easy as including photos of an irresistibly cute rescue dog.

  1. Interact with influencers to encourage them to share.

In our world, this is absolutely key. Rather than simply following the herd and looking to major celebrities for inspiration, today’s media users turn their attention to people who are just like them: influencers. These people come in the form of bloggers, vloggers, photographers and beyond. While their immense online followings may seem a little intimidating, there’s no harm in reaching out! Many of these influencers will collaborate with brands that stay true to their values. Seek out those who you resonate with. Also, don’t’ hesitate to start local! Who are the local influencers in your area? Connect with them to help spread your cause.

  1. In the immortal words of Salt-N-Pepa “Push it. Push it real good.” 

As you’ve reached out for support, now it’s time to give a little of your own to your business and stay consistent in spreading the word. If you keep ‘pushing it,’ your message might end up as immortal as the words of the great Salt-N-Peppa.

It’s safe to say that the topics at the top of today’s ‘trending’ lists earn their rightful spots in a more organic fashion. Whether or not the creators intended to incite a cocobolo desk frenzy, the fact of the matter is that modern media is essentially limitless, opening up a new realm of possibilities. You can become the maker of your brand’s destiny and set the trend in motion!

For ideas and suggestions as to how to get more from your social marketing program, please contact the Social Media Catalysts at Cobalt Digital Marketing. 
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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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Slam Dunk March Madness Marketing

Posted on Sunday, March 20th, 2016 at 4:33 am    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]Friday afternoon across the United States there was a resounding chorus of “Ugggg! There goes my bracket!”. The social media channels lit up with posts, tweets, snaps and memes! Even my 9 year old lamented “There goes my Lambourghini!”. How could the numbers have been wrong? How did 15th seed Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders defeat #2 seed Michigan State in the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament? It’s March Madness at it’s finest!

For weeks leading up to “The Big Dance”, fans are consumed with analysis of players and teams. There are endless discussions of statistics, game theory and bracketology. Everyone has a theory on how to use the numbers to predict the outcomes. The odds, the overs, the unders, the spread, the best bets, the dark horses, the Cinderella stories…. and in the end 9.2 BILLION DOLLARS will be wagered.

All of this number frenzy is in pursuit of the perfect bracket to win money, prizes and bragging rights. This year, Warren Buffet upped the anti in his company pool to give the winner one million dollars a year for life! The Car Lister Bracket Challenge is offering a new Lamborghini. DraftKings, Yahoo, CBS, ESPN are each offering cash prizes and, of course, everyone wants to dominate the office pool. Truth be told, however, the odds of picking a perfect bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808.

[bctt tweet=”The odds of picking a perfect #MarchMadness bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808.”]

Upsets like the one on Friday are not uncommon. My family will never forget the 2012 game when 15 seed Lehigh University beat #2 seed Duke University. The big upset was even immortalized in a YouTube video. In 2006, 11th seed George Mason won game after game and shockingly made it to the Final Four! How could these upsets happen? It’s totally inconsistent with what the numbers predicted. The numbers!?!

Perhaps, THIS is the fun of watching March Madness each year? The games are fast and exciting. These basketball teams are comprised of players who are playing the biggest game of their lives or, in many cases, the last game of their basketball career. They play with heart and give 150%. Here we encounter the most important number and the reason why the other numbers aren’t consistent predictors of the outcomes.

This got me thinking about numbers and outcomes. The effectiveness with which numbers CAN predict outcomes in digital marketing is what makes THIS GAME so exciting. In business, however, WE are the teams and consumers pick us. The good news is that we can easily define the selection criteria based on data and then use specifically targeted and placed content to seal the deal.

So let me simplify it in basketball terms. It just takes a little bracketology. Here’s what I would put in my Final Four winning marketing madness data bracket. Measure these and use the data to predict the winning game outcome.

shoot & score

Yes, it is all about conversion, isn’t it? Be the team everyone wants to pick. Consumers in the end will go for the team that will do the most for them. Use your data to outline your company’s Customer MVP. Once you know who your MVPs are you can identify how to best fill their needs, overcome hesitations and be where they are to get them to engage and convert. Slam dunk!
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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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5 Killer Marketing Lessons From House Of Cards

Posted on Thursday, March 10th, 2016 at 3:51 am    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]After spending an embarrassing amount of time binge watching House of Cards this past weekend, I have arrived at the conclusion that there is a lot to learn about marketing from the Underwoods. Really, it’s not a stretch. Look at the powerful image Frank Underwood was able to build. Ok, I concede it was built upon a foundation of lies, manipulation and murder but let’s overlook that for now. He SOLD himself.

Killer Marketing Lesson Number One

Create a Consistent Brand

Frank Underwood knows who and what he is but has created a strong, consistent brand to the outside world. He chooses his words carefully. He undertakes public appearances strategically. He makes sure to be seen when and where it matters. The same applies when marketing a company or product. A brand must be consistent in image and message across medium. What would it do to the brand if all of a sudden Nike started creating sweet touchy feely ads mixed in with the powerful “Just do it” athletes?

Killer Marketing Lesson Number Two

Have A Vision 

There is no question here. Both Francis and Claire Underwood have a vision for themselves and their brand. I think it is clear to viewers that they entered marriage with this vision and saw the other as his or her strategic partner. Every decision, every “ally”, every initiative, every relationship became a card placed carefully on the house that is their vision. A marketing plan is one piece of the strategic plan for a company and/or product. Marketing is a tool, nothing more and nothing less. Marketing is nothing without a vision. As marketers we use the vision of the company to determine where to go and how to get there. Then we design a marketing strategy to execute. Achieving steps on the path are the measurables for marketing success.

Killer Marketing Lesson Number Three

Stay Ahead of the Pack

For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: Hunt or Be Hunted. Frank’s words ring true in my world and the world of all marketers for sure. We need to differentiate our company from the competition. We need to differentiate each client’s product or service from their competition. That IS WHAT WE DO. We study the competition, we study our clients, we figure out how to craft a message to fill a need. No obvious need to fill? Then, it comes to us to create a need. If you are marketing food, make people hungry. If you are marketing a beverage, make people thirsty. If you are marketing SEO, make people see that what Leann Harvey said to Clair Underwood is true. [bctt tweet=”“If you know what people are searching for you know everything.” – CobaltDigital.Marketing” via=”no”]

Killer Marketing Lesson Number Four

Create Change and Break the Rules

If you dont like how the table is set, turn over the table.

Right now, today, we sit in a world full of marketing potential…. more then ever before in the history of time. We have more data availability about consumers than ever before. We have intimate access to consumers in a way that never existed before. Marketing success right now rests in the hands of those who can harness the data and innovate how to use digital marketing tools like social media and search experience optimization to maximum advantage.

 

Of all the things I hold in high regard, rules are not one of them.”

There are no hard and fast rules in this new era of digital marketing. This is our challenge and our opportunity! Several years ago, Dove broke all the rules with their “Campaign for Real Beauty”. A photography exhibit inspired a new discussion about how women view beauty and evolved into one of the most successful marketing campaigns of the last decade. The Real Beauty Sketches clip from 2013 became the most watched video ad of all time! As I write this blog, the 3 minute version has been viewed 66,719,903 times and the 6 minute version has been viewed 6,175,784 times!

Killer Marketing Lesson Number Five

Invest Thoughtfully for Maximum ROI

Thats how you devour a whale one bit at a time.

Inevitably when I meet with a client to talk about Search Engine Optimization I hear the question “How long will it take until my website is on the first page?”. This one question is the main reason I am trying to change the conversation from Search Engine Optimization to Search Experience Optimization. It takes time not only to improve organic search rankings but, more importantly, to create a digital marketing program that will convert site viewers into actual customers. Return on investment from any marketing program is ultimately measured by conversion.

Ah, yes, season after season we see the Underwoods progress, moving ever forward step by step. We see unbelievable restraint and patience as they methodically plant seeds, one  by one, inching closer to their goals. I’m halfway through season four at this point but I marvel at the Underwoods calculated moves and I sit on the edge of my seat knowing their commitment to the killer marketing of the Underwood brand. They will do anything to achieve their vision. Will you?
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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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