Google Has Added New Video Ad Options; Here’s What That Means to You

Google Has Added New Video Ad Options; Here’s What That Means to You

Posted on Friday, August 21st, 2020 at 4:12 pm    

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has certainly ramped up the way we consume media, as all the principle streaming platforms like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu have seen an increase in viewers over the past several months. Despite these uncertain times, the good news is that it has opened a new door for digital marketing agencies to take advantage of, where the benefits cascade down to the businesses they serve.

These platforms have certainly taken notice of increased viewership, and it will more than likely impact future ad spending as viewers become more accustomed to streaming video services. The uptick in viewership on streaming platforms away from their traditional counterparts has definitely made Google take notice, which in turn has made digital marketers follow suit.

Identifying Opportunities

“The disruption of TV upfronts and suspension of live sports are encouraging advertisers to shift to the more flexible and on-demand ad strategies that connected TV offers,” the company said in a blog. “As a consequence, we’ve heard from many advertisers that they are accelerating their move to video streaming advertising.”

In order to take advantage of the shift, Google recently announced new video ad options that will capitalize on the shift of streaming services. Their goal is to help advertisers find the best deals when it comes to their marketing strategies, which is why they have added a committed TV section in its ad Marketplace ”specifically for publishers and inventory that let you reach TV audiences across devices.”

Advertisers and marketing agencies will be able to use the listings to find ideal partners in order to increase their campaign reach when using streaming providers.

Google has also made it easy to access information on any publisher. They have done an outstanding job of giving you the analytics to convey how well these streaming services perform, audience reach, and inventory, and you can even use the platform to send requests for proposals from the publishers you’d like to work with.

But Wait, There’s More!

To complement this service, Google is also adding new ‘ready-to-buy’ choices, which makes it convenient for businesses to run streaming ad campaigns.

“For marketers who want to skip the negotiation process, we’ve worked closely with exchange partners such as Google Ad Manager, FreeWheel, and SpotX to bundle inventory from top publishers, along with broadcast and cable networks, into ready-to-execute deals,” Google said.

These deals, known as auction packages, are available to all Display & Video 360 users in Marketplace, Google added. Packages will be available by genre, popularity, seasonality, formats, or audiences.

“For example, you can easily add available themed packages from publishers, such as ‘Hulu – Parents’, or from exchanges, like Telaria’s ‘Cord Cutters’ bundle,” Google said. 

YouTube Select streaming lineup will be available in Display & Video 360, according to the tech giant.

What This Means for Your Business

With more people engaged on streaming platforms, Google is wisely betting that this will be the future moving forward, even after we have returned to pre-COVID living conditions.

The company sees a new frontier of content marketing with TV ad possibilities where you can target your audience. It will allow businesses and their brands to be more strategic with marketing campaigns that deliver a better performance as a result, targetting specific potential customers to increase your overall conversion rate.

Need help putting your company’s ad campaign on Google’s Display & Video 360? Cobalt Digital Marketing has a successful track record, getting results with our proven Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ.

 

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The Scoop on Facebook’s Free Service Aimed to Help Businesses Suffering From COVID-19

Posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 at 2:51 pm    

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As states slowly begin to open, local businesses are still faced with many obstacles to overcome. After being closed due to shelter in place orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are scrambling to get back into the good graces of shoppers with real questions at the back of their minds:
Will my customers come back? How do I sell my inventory when customers aren’t coming to my business?

How do I recover from this?

Needless to say, it can be a nerve-wracking time for any business owner worried about what the future has in store for them, and while not every business has the ability to open to full capacity and operation today, they now have a glimmer of hope in how to sell their product, and this very familiar hope is someplace where consumers spend a lot of their time: Facebook and Instagram.

Digital relief is on the way, courtesy of the biggest of the social media giants. Facebook is launching a new eCommerce service called Facebook Shops that will help turn local business profiles into digital storefronts. You will finally be able to get your products in front of consumers even if you haven’t had the chance to open your store yet, and today, we are going to tell you how.

Source: Plunge in Retail Sales as COVID-19 Spreads

But First, A Little Context to Facebook’s Decision

Facebook, along with the Small Business Roundtable, recently reported that a third of small businesses across the country have stopped operating altogether, signifying how the pandemic has been especially hard for small companies. The survey also reported that an additional 11 percent of those surveyed expressed that their business could go under within the next three months if the pandemic continues.

Despite this terrible news, the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders have resulted in record sales for eCommerce companies, prompting many companies to make the move to become digital entities. As more and more consumers shift to buy products and services online, it would be imperative that your company also follow suit if it hasn’t done so already.

Facebook understands this and believes that helping local small businesses remain relevant online will help them stay afloat. There are currently more than 160 million small businesses using the company’s apps, and if you’re not utilizing Facebook as a way to sell your products, you’re missing out on many potential sales.

Introducing Facebook Shops

The Facebook Shops tool is designed to help small businesses set up shop on the site and sell products across their apps, even Instagram. On Facebook, if a customer visits your shop, they will be able to see your business story, your featured products, and buy those products in their apps.

Facebook Shops will team up with big-name eCommerce entities like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube, and Feedonomics, with the objective to turn the new platform into a top-tier shopping destination that provides a welcomed relief to business owners that suffer from the concerns that current small businesses are now facing during the pandemic: low sales and few customers.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a post that they decided to do this as a means to help small businesses stay relevant amidst so much turmoil because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “As people are being told to stay home, physical storefronts are having a hard time staying open and millions of people are losing their jobs,” Zuckerberg said. “I’ve been personally working with our teams on Facebook Shops every day for the last couple of months so we could accelerate launching it to small businesses who could use tools like this now.”

With Facebook and Instagram expanding their eCommerce services, this platform will be a godsend to small businesses that are aiming to rebuild as the pandemic continues to shape the way we live our lives. By opting in to this free service, even if stores or restaurants have yet to open up completely, customers will still be able to order products online where they can later be shipped, and many small businesses that have never moved their product online will have easy access to do so for the first time.

So just how exactly does it work?

Facebook Shops will have an organic theme built for speed, utilizing an available network of tools that manage the customers’ shopping experience from beginning to end while empowering business owners to decide what level of integration they choose.

“On top of that, we’re building a bunch of features across our apps to help people discover things from small businesses that they might want to buy,” Zuckerberg stated. “We’re building a dedicated shopping tab on Instagram and a destination inside Explore where you can find and buy products you might be interested in. Soon, we’ll also be launching new live shopping features across Facebook and Instagram, which will allow you to shop on live in real-time.”

Looking Into the Future  

While Facebook Shops will use artificial intelligence to improve consumers’ experience, eventually augmented reality technology will enhance how users will shop on the platform. In addition, Facebook will automatically identify and tag products in feeds so people can easily click through to purchase when they find things they like.

“Small businesses will also be able to personalize their storefronts to first show products that are most relevant to you and use augmented reality to let you virtually try on things like sunglasses, lipstick or makeup to see how they might look on you before buying, or what furniture might look like in your room,” Zuckerberg said in his post.

Couple this daring move with Google offering free product listings in search results as a digital commerce lifeline for both merchants and consumers and you’ve got something that shows a trend in how big tech companies will be stepping up to help small businesses stay relevant. Now, two of the biggest and most recognizable brands in the world are connecting your website and products online to help you reach consumers.

What does this all mean? In the big picture, both Facebook and Google are realizing that more customers will continue to not only spend more time online but also do more shopping there as well. 

If harnessed correctly, your small business will have effective tools to help you serve your customers moving forward while attracting new customers as well. If you haven’t done so already, you can start building your online presence across Facebook and Instagram and use their Messenger and WhatsApp tools to communicate with your customers regarding specific business changes due to the pandemic or any particular sales that may be available.

Using Google in conjunction will only enhance what you’re doing on the Facebook end. You’ll now have the ability to reach new customers through ads on social media and best of all, set up an online store experience even if your physical storefront is still closed. These tools are currently open for business and will help you position your company as more and more customers get used to the notion of shopping online.

This graph created by SEMrush details several retailers’ traffic spikes during the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak. Source: semrush.com

Opting Into the Service

Facebook Shops can be accessed on the business side of your Facebook and Instagram profiles. Signing up for the service is simple and quick, and it allows you to capture the essence of your brand, down to the color optimization, cover image, and what products you want to feature.

What is important, however, is that you have a Facebook and/or Instagram account for your business in place, as customers can access your shop via your business page or profile. Customers can also find you via your Facebook Stories and any ads that you may be running as well.

Once your page is all optimized as you see fit, customers can peruse through your entire selection, choose what they want to purchase or save it for later, and order it straight from the Facebook or Instagram Shops page–if your business has enabled checkout in the United States–or be routed to your website to make a purchase there.

If your customer has a certain question regarding one of your wares, they can use Facebook Shops to reach you via WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct for support. Later on, a customer can use these services to make a purchase directly from you.

Make the Most Out of These Uncertain Times

Nothing is more important nowadays than helping out your fellow neighbor, and at Cobalt Digital Marketing, all we want is to just pay it forward to a community that has helped us become the marketing agency that we are today.

When times are hard, good deeds don’t go by unnoticed, and the fact that these tech giants are using their power and resources to help give small businesses a chance at surviving through these unprecedented times is something that we are grateful for.

However, staying up to date with SEO and Google ranking can be a full-time job on its own, so aligning yourself with a digital marketing company that has proven knowledge in converting leads into sales could help take this burden off of your shoulders.

The Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ can help maximize your business’ online presence via Facebook, Instagram, Google’s SERP, and Google My Business.

 

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Source: cnbc.com, Semrush.com

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Secure Your Sales With Google for Free During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2020 at 4:20 pm    

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The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought a sense of doubt to just about every retail sector in America. The shelter-in-place orders have closed the doors to many physical stores that are now relying on digital sales and curbside pickup to stay afloat. 

Consumers, many of whom are staying at home as essential businesses are only allowed to be open, have flocked to purchase goods online, including everything from essential products to apparel to kid’s toys. If one thing is for certain amidst these uncertain times, however, people still enjoy a good shopping spree or bargain find. 

The Benefits of Marketing With Google

The key for businesses–for those who find themselves working with a limited scale of what they are accustomed to–is to continue engaging with these customers by implementing a strategic digital marketing plan.

That is where we believe digital marketing can separate your business from your competitors.

The silver lining of the coronavirus pandemic and utilizing a solid strategic content marketing strategy, is that Google will now show search results primarily consisting of free listings in an effort to help retailers connect with potential consumers. 

This is crucial because Google is the tool that buyers use to access countless shopping searches that affected businesses have in stock but are not necessarily discoverable online commodities.

What You Need to do in Order to Benefit

For those retailers who have been impacted, Google’s “freebie” is a lifeline to sell their merchandise to millions of people who need digital access to their shopping desires. Retailers can maximize potential sales by emphasizing their content marketing plans as well as their products, with the help of their paid digital marketing and Google’s free listing search to work in tandem and draw from a great reservoir of consumers. 

It is worth noting that if you are already employing Merchant Center and Shopping ads, you don’t have to do anything to take advantage of Google’s free listing. 

Those retailers who are new to developing Merchant Center ads can maximize their profits by working with a digital marketing agency that can walk them through the do’s and don’ts of the onboarding process that will develop over the course of the next month or so.

Google and Existing Partners Have a Variety of Tools to Help You Track Products and Inventory

Google’s adjustments will take place in America by the end of April, and the search giant is looking to expand the service worldwide by the end of the year. Local retail merchants will have access to Google’s help center to understand information regarding how to engage in free product listings and Shopping ads.

Google is also partnering with PayPal to help merchants synchronize their accounts, which will help your onboarding process run smoothly and ensure that you are getting a sound search engine results page (SERPs) for your business. 

It would be a smart move for merchants who wish to maximize their digital footprint to align themselves with an affluent marketing agency that can outline an efficient plan that utilizes search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and an appropriate digital marketing campaign that will enhance this great resource Google is offering to merchants all across America.

How to Set Up Google Merchant

Signing up for Google Merchant Center is as easy as having a Google account in hand and entering your business information in merchants.google.com. Everything from your business name to minor nuances like your timezone and familiarizing yourself with
guidelines can be filled out in this section. Reviewing the terms in the Merchant Center will help you on your way to start ranking on SERPs, which is going to help your organic traffic and overall sales.

Cobalt Digital Marketing understands how to navigate businesses through this time of uncertainty and implement an effective digital marketing strategy to go along with Google’s new objective of helping retailers sell products online for free to maximize your business on all fronts.

Our Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ can help your business get back on track while helping your customers find you!

 

 

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Part 2: Unlock the Potential of Google My Business During COVID-19

Posted on Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 at 3:52 pm    

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COVID-19 is bringing changes to all of our lives, so it’s no surprise that it has also changed the landscape of the way many companies tackle their digital marketing strategy. In truth, those that don’t act proactively with their content marketing strategy during this time are not seeing the big picture.

Despite the harm this virus has done, now is an optimal time to pick ourselves up and handle routine maintenance, search engine optimization (SEO), and content strategy. Now is the time to have discussions about keeping up with the current business climate and pouncing on revenue-generating opportunities once–and even slightly before–life returns to normal. 

If there is one thing businesses should be doing to get a leg up on their competition, it’s to proactively transform their Google My Business (GMB) and SEO into something that informs their customers about the appropriate coronavirus safety protocols, business procedures, and hours of operation you will practice during the pandemic, and your catalysts here at Cobalt Digital Marketing want to share some more of that helpful information with you so that you have one less thing to worry about at this time.

The Importance of GMB

 To understand the importance of GMB, you need to think of it as more important to customer acquisition and your bottom line than your own website. GMB has become such a force multiplier in 2020 that you can’t really justify sitting idle on the sidelines — even during a pandemic. Your business will benefit from a manager who is engaged and understands how powerful a search tool Google has become. 

 The tech behemoth has modified it’s search engine so that consumers see their results first, meaning that potential customers may never see your website. The key to harnessing this technology is to recognize the assets available to you so that you can get your foot in GMB’s algorithm door and then bust it wide open. Getting your content in front of as many people as possible is vital to customer acquisition. 

 Below we will explain how to use digital marketing to ensure continued traffic will come to your website during the current pandemic. Ideally, you should consider consulting with a reputable digital marketing agency on your content marketing strategy. Their expertise can help your business survive the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 Game-Changing GMB

 To explain GMB strategy, first we will examine the ways in which Google has changed the way they operate their search engine results page (SERPs). Approximately eight years ago they altered their SERPs to ensure that users will interact with their paid content before ever reaching your website. The de-prioritizing of organic search results for paid ads is known in the industry as “No Click Searches.” 

 Never heard of No Click Searches? Well, you’ve probably seen them. No Click Searches occur when people search for information on Google, but they obtain that data without ever having to visit a website. 

 Google knows that they can only be so cunning when it comes to prioritizing ads over organic search results without clueing in users who might lose trust in the results. Instead, they’ve focused on getting potential customers to remain on the results page until they have to click on an ad. 

For example, you may have checked to see your local weather forecast only to see a No Click Search of Google already giving you the prediction in a text box. Because of this, the chances of you clicking on a website–be it AccuWeather, Weather Channel, or your local news station–is greatly reduced; they’ve already given you the information that you were looking for. If you pay close attention, you’ll likely notice more No Click Searches in your own life, and they’ll probably only become more common over time.

 No Click Searches are affecting local businesses more and more every day. Knowing how you can counter Google’s efforts will help your business not only stay afloat but remain relevant while Google ramps up their growth of No Click Searches. 

 The Data Behind No Click Searches 

 The truth is that No Click Searches equate to 47% of all search queries today. Google is so focused on offering users as much tangible information within their search results as possible that when a user inputs something that the search engine can’t answer immediately, Google has dramatically improved the chances that the user will click on a paid ad. It’s a win-win for Google, and it’s a meticulous and crafty way to add to their bottom line, while local businesses get phased out from attracting potential customers. 

 Companies who used to get residual traffic from search engines previously had to only worry about paid ads that appeared above the organic search results. Now, not only do you have to worry about paid ads, but No Click Searches as well. The data is staggering.

 Key leader and expert in SEO practices, Rand Fishkin, recently stated that, upon examination of all Google search queries, he found that the organic click through rate (CTR) was at 53 percent. Paid CTR accounted for 4 percent of clicks and No Click Searches accounted for the rest, at 47 percent. This means there were 15 organic clicks for every paid click, down from 20 only a year ago. For every 10 organic clicks there were 8.8 searches that resulted in no clicks at all. 

 This effect is even worse on mobile devices which will likely influence a large portion of your customer base. Due to the relatively small screen size of phones when compared to their desktop counterparts, No Click Searches account for a majority of all searches. Smaller screens help Google because ads take up a larger portion of the available screen on mobile phones, meaning fewer organic options appear at all. Google’s efforts to keep users from digging for organic results is also aided by ads that result in No Click Searches. 

 Organic results may not even be seen by potential customers until the bottom of the third screen. This goes to show the efforts Google has gone to to enhance their paid ads with No Click Searches.

 As a business owner, this can be frustrating because all the effort that you put into building your website and optimizing it so that it will rank at the top, or very close to it, could now mean very little. If you’re starting to wonder why your site has seen a decline in search engine traffic, it could be because of these changes.

 The biggest takeaway from this information is that the money that you’re putting behind your website and SEO aren’t bringing the bang for their buck like they used to, and many other digital marketing agencies may refuse to tell you that truth. Their livelihoods depend on you not knowing this information. Not with us, however. We believe that you and your company will be better off understanding the full dynamics of GMB in order to take full advantage of it.

 The Pinnacle of Google My Business 

 While Google My Business has been prominent for quite some time, Google has become more robust in their actions. Google has cultivated traffic results to their benefit, and they aren’t going out of their way to send someone to your website unless you pay for that with advertising. 

 The silver lining, however, is that customers are not only willing to speak to local businesses, they need to. The only drawback is that Google has built their search engine platform by having people connect with local businesses on their own terms. It’s frustrating, but the fact that GMB brings in more customers than your website means that it’s better to be involved than to be dismissive of Google’s methods.

 The fact remains that many people use Google in order to find answers regarding local businesses. Reviews are just as significant as recommendations and, when used correctly, GMB can be an excellent way to acquire customers.  

An effective GMB will result in new customers, the retention of existing clients, and a strong bottom line, all things that are vital to a business’ success. Now is the ideal time to post about what your business is offering: are you open during COVID-19, offering curbside pickup, discounts, delivery, telemedical services — anything that you are doing to service your customer right now should be addressed.  

Cobalt Digital Marketing Helps Businesses Connect with Consumers

 One of the best ways to harness GMB is to link up with a marketing agency that can devise an execution plan so that you can turn GMB into a tool for customer acquisition. Keeping GMB services updated during COVID-19 is essential for keeping your business in operation during this uncertain time.

Aligning your business with a reputable digital marketing agency to tackle your GMB strategy can help you and your business reach all of your goals. That is why Cobalt Digital Marketing is offering advice on GMB, SEO, and content marketing. We have the wherewithal to show you how to keep your business going while your competitors lose out on customer engagement and retention because of the lack of a plan of action during the pandemic.

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Cobalt Digital Marketing Can Help Your Business Weather the Pandemic By Maintaining Your Communication With Your Customers

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Surprise! Google Algorithm Updates Are Shaking Things Up.

Posted on Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 at 12:48 pm    

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Whenever Google rolls out with a core update to its search algorithm, it’s usually a big deal for businesses, institutions, and digital marketers alike. As per usual, however, mum’s the word regarding a recent update to their search algorithm or how it might ultimately affect search engine optimization (SEO).

Usually, that’s for us catalysts to find out.

Our McAllen digital marketers at Cobalt Digital Marketing have put their heads together, using expert Google skills, a little elbow grease, and some good, old fashioned SEO know-how to find any insight on this sudden update. Staying on top of the SEO game is so important to your ranking on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) to prevent catastrophic consequences to your web presence and, ultimately, your business’ bottom line.

Unofficially Dubbed the “Turkey” Update

For the better part of the last month, what started as a few whispers of an “unconfirmed November update” within dark corners of SEO forums eventually turned into a tweetstorm of discussion within the SEO community.

Many marketers, web developers, and business owners noticed unusual shifts when their traffic numbers took a drastic drop in ranking and expressed their concerns. Within these observations, this update only seemed to affect smaller U.S. based websites, and the ones that took a significant hit revolved around the food, travel, health, and lifestyle blogs respectively.

As for Google themselves, it took them a few days to officially put out a statement via Twitter thread. While they did not specify what changes were made to their algorithm, they simply stated that these kinds of “routine” updates happen on a regular basis–which of course they do–and that if there is no major announcement prior, website owners should not have to prepare for anything in terms of adjustments.

Google’s Recommendations For SEO 

As mentioned, any update Google makes is a big deal, especially if it’s in distributed as a curveball.

Since three out of four Google users do not go past the first results page when looking for a specific topic or service, local businesses and institutions heavily depend on digital marketers and SEO experts to place their website on the first search engine results page (SERP).

With that said, Google has previously panned out a number of suggestions for SEO specialists and website owners if their pages were affected at any given point due to an update:

1. Original, Accurate, and Relevant Content Is Key – One of the main things Google has emphasized to its users is to ultimately focus more on creating the most relevant, accurate, and original content that best pertains to what the user is looking for, rather than just focusing on keywords.

While keywords are important, however, your webpage should also focus on precision and consistency with the information being distributed. Users expect to find credible content when they search, so ultimately running a trustworthy and reliable page would, over time, benefits your business, raising you to the top of the SERP as more people visit your website and trusts you as an authority in your particular niche.

2. Optimize, Optimize, Optimize – As mobile technology grows in popularity, it is absolutely necessary for digital marketing to adapt. This means keeping page load times short (often by compressing images), optimizing your site to be mobile-friendly (able to be viewed and formatted for smartphone or tablet users), and giving your content that sleek visual while addressing the walls of text.

3. Compare With the Competition – While nobody likes to think about what their competitors are doing, analyzing the successes and failures can give you crucial insight necessary to implement a digital marketing strategy that can work, giving you a better edge in building revenue for your business.

The Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ Means Adaptability in a Volatile Environment

Our McAllen digital marketers of Cobalt Digital Marketing are always one step ahead of the game as we are always constantly watching out for curveballs that might be thrown at the SEO community.

Our dedicated catalysts strive to build lasting brands from the ground up, designed to ultimately increase your online audience engagement and sales through our successfully proven and award-winning Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ.

Our catalysts are renowned for their attention to SEO updates. So much so that our Cobalt Lab helps other digital marketing companies create content that complies with these SEO updates so that they retain happy clients.

Not only can we create a custom-made formula based on what your goals are for your company or business, but our new service, Cobalt Alpha, can easily help business owners, freelancers, or other creatives build a sleek, professional website all on their own with all the tools you need in a manner of seconds.

 

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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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SXSW: A Digital Marketer’s Dream

Posted on Tuesday, March 12th, 2019 at 12:59 am    

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Our very own Moe Piña is out at SXSW, soaking up plenty of knowledge, expertise, and just a little bit of fun.

In today’s post, we’re taking a look at some of the weekend’s most intriguing sessions relevant to digital marketing, and exploring how what we learned will build upon our Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ.

Foursquare + TechEthics: Creepy, Cool & In-Between

After a detailed discussion from Dennis Crowley of Foursquare reflecting on how its “check-in” technology has evolved over the last 10 years, he and tech journalist, Laurie Segall, explored the ethics behind data collection.

While all of this information was fascinating, what this particular session uncovered was a multitude of different advantages marketers can benefit from when using location-based ads in their digital marketing campaigns.

To maximize results, location-based search engine optimization is crucial to creating ads and content that target specific customers online — a.k.a. your audience. It can be based off information collected anywhere during their journey through the sales funnel and categorized, creating a database of customer information that can be used to create specific ads or content to entice that demographic to make a purchase.

The new thing that we learned at the session, however, is that we can use Foursquare data to improve specific customer experiences when they physically go to a brick-and-mortar establishment including getting product recommendations based on their needs.

So what does all of this mean for our clients? The best part about this revelation is that, if done properly, a customer can visit your store with the item they need already in mind, while also being presented with additional items they may need in the near future – ultimately increasing your sales.

What’s New With Foursquare

Foursquare is developing a prototype that gives a real-time, bird’s eye view of places and events near you that are trending.

Exactly how it works is quite innovative.

Foursquare understands how phones move throughout the world quite well. So well, in fact, that your own personal privacy is safe. The feature will not reveal personal identification, just what’s trending based on how many phones are centralized in a sanctioned area.

Moe actually got a chance to beta test this feature at SXSW over the weekend.

Think about it. Once this goes live, if your business is booming and attracting a lot of customers, this feature may pique the interest of others, driving them to your business to see what all the commotion is about, increasing your sales in the process. Couple that with some positive, reliable online reviews, and you’re set.

Artificial Intelligence is Your New Design Material

This eye-opening session explored the usefulness of assistive-technology in creating design – and boy were we impressed. Josh Clark spoke about how user experience and product design in AI is critical in defining what comes next in digital marketing.

This particular session highlighted how to use AI-generated content, interactions, and insights to conduct everyday business. The ability to recognize speech, learn, plan, and problem solve is something that AI has mastered as of late. One big industry for upcoming technology that would embrace AI would be the self-driving car.

Needless to say, this session gave us some ideas. Not only can we make our existing Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ better, but we can also develop new services that can greatly improve user experience and, through artificial intelligence, improve the look and design of websites based on data that shows what is proven to work.

Of course, this data would all be collected and implemented by AI.

While simplicity is key with this emerging tech, implementation can be complex. That’s why you’ll want quality support to implement these tools in your digital marketing campaigns.

RIP Websites, the End is Nigh

This session was, admittedly, a little frightening to witness. As the title of the session suggests, Alex Spinelli, CTO of LivePerson, explores how “the website” may meet its gravely end at the hand of smart speaker devices like Alexa and artificial intelligence, otherwise known as conversational commerce.

Spinelli has worked with a lot of top industry brands like AMEX, Citibank, and T-Mobile to name a few, and from all the insights he recovered from working with them, he is confident that conversational commerce will one day seize 90 percent of industry sales.

And he’s right. When we look at how far smart speaker devices have come and what they are capable of, everything is pointing into that direction. In one of our recent posts, we explored how voice search would start to become more popular with estimates showing that by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be done by voice search, and 30 percent of web browsing will be done without a screen.

That’s why optimizing your websites not only for mobile but for voice search is also imperative if you want to stay above water. Failure to accomplish this means missed opportunities to build relationships with potential customers and losing authority in your particular niche.

Luckily for our clients, we’ve already started working that process into our Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ.

Is Social Media the New Fast Food?

During this session, four social media professionals and digital marketing speakers (Amy Moussavi, Zihla Salinas, Melanie Shreffler, and Alphonzo Terrell) wondered if social media will experience the same decline in relevance as many vintage fast-food chains are facing among younger consumers, who are instead opting for healthier, more cost-effective alternatives.

The four explored what the future of social media could become, questioning:

  1. What is healthy content?
  2. What are the ethical responsibilities for creating “healthy” content?
  3. How will it affect engagement and ROI?

The statistics that were highlighted in this session raised a few eyebrows:

  • 21 percent of young people cannot go an hour without checking their social media.
  • 70 percent think that social media is making people less social.
  • 37 percent have taken a “digital detox” (.i.e. where someone refrains from using a smart device in order to stay away from social media).
  • 46 percent have temporarily deleted social media.
  • 36 percent permanently deleted their social media.

On the other hand, it appears as is social media still has quite a grip on users.

The ever-popular, Snapchat, boasts a 95 percent satisfaction rate among users. Snapchat is still a big medium to use for digital marketing as over 188 million active daily users are on the app. Instagram has over 500 million daily active users.

You can rest assured that as “healthy content” becomes more purely defined, Cobalt Digital Marketing will implement it into its already proven social media strategy.

Designing for Films at Pixar Animation Studios


While Pixar animation isn’t really a part of digital marketing, a lot of value was taken from this wonderful session, particularly learning about their creative process.

For some of their characters, they designed elements that complemented them. For example in “Up,” every design element was based on Carl. In other films, they all had their unique design sets based on characters.

The three speakers (Paul Abadilla, Joshua Holtsclaw, and Deanna Marsigliese) reflected on the creative process they took in creating a scene in Incredibles 2, and it got us thinking: “Why can’t we use that same creative process to create websites that really stand out?”

This session has inspired us to consider many other different aspects about web design that we overlooked beforehand, and with a renewed vigor, we look forward to creating websites that catch users’ eyes and solidly captures your brand’s identity.

Ready, Set, Action! Building for Google Assistant

This session was quite a treat. Four speakers from thirteen23 (Morgan Gerber, Tom Hudson, Laura Levisay, and Max Wade) discussed Google Home’s great functionality and improved customization.

But the value that we got from the workshop was in learning how to create our very own Google Assistant Action, along with the best practices. They even taught us how to create our very own horoscope with it, but we decided to ditch that and create a test project bot that referenced one of the restaurants we run digital marketing campaigns for. That’s when the ideas began to flow.

Imagine creating a Google Assistant Action for visitors trying to book reservations at a restaurant or what if we created a bot that could update clients on their legal cases. These bots can make a big difference in how information is input or retrieved for our clients, and that is something that we are DEFINITELY looking to perfect and implement into our Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ.

Thanks to SXSW, Our Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ Just Keeps Getting Better and Better.

Can you believe we learned all this over just the weekend? That’s right. There are still four more days left of SXSW, which means plenty to learn and absorb, so we can provide the most up-to-date digital marketing for our clients.

Make sure to keep an eye out for more blogs as we cover SXSW 2019.
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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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How to Get More Customers Online: E-Commerce Strategies to Enhance Sales

Posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 at 6:23 pm    

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There are 5 areas of digital marketing that our Cobalt Digital Marketing catalysts focus on in order to attract quality traffic to our clients’ e-commerce websites.

This is information you can quite literally take to the bank. Check it out.

 

1. Paid Traffic

“You’ve got to spend money in order to make money.” We’ve all heard that one before. And it’s the truth — at least as far as digital marketing is concerned — that paid traffic is one of the best ways to generate sales leads for your e-commerce business.

Before we continue, however, there’s no need to hyperventilate. Sure, we’ve all heard the horror stories of paid traffic costing way too much, and/or netting zero returns, but hear us out for a minute. It’s all about:

      • Not spending so much on a campaign all at once. Effectively budgeting can help you to accomplish your paid traffic goals while keeping expenses to a minimum.
      • You may likely strike out on a particular ad campaign, but don’t get discouraged. You can always create another one. Experiment with copy, images, and what you are offering.
      • Creating multiple ad campaigns with variations. Then, monitoring their stats and metrics to see which ones work and which ones don’t.
      • Knowing your target audience so that you can use all of the nifty advanced targeting options that certain social media platforms carry. We’re talking about creating Buyers’ Personas; creating a quick survey of the people that signed up for your email list can help you create one.

By keeping these four tips in mind, paid traffic won’t cost your business as much as you fear it would, while still netting you a solid return.

2. Blogging

We’re not talking about writing a review on your personal blog. No, business blogging has taken the digital marketing world by storm, bringing in quality traffic to e-commerce websites.

This widely successful strategy is used by digital marketing agencies the world over because, if done right, it can grab a lot of attention through proper keyword usage that matches search queries.

However, while it is true that blogging may attract traffic to your site, you can’t just rely on a single piece to sustain your business. Like your ad campaigns, you’ve got to constantly track the effectiveness of your blogs as part of your online marketing efforts. You’ve got to see what works and fix what doesn’t.

You’ve also got to focus on delivering factual and helpful information on your blogs. The last thing you would want to happen is for a customer to not complete your call-to-action or to abandon their cart after reading your blog because they didn’t receive enough valuable information about your product.

This can negatively affect your bounce rate and your average session duration, in turn, causing you to lose ranking with Google. Lose ranking with Google and your website becomes less relevant and visible, and that means less potential customers.

3. Social Media Marketing

In some instances, social media can seem like the Wild West to the inexperienced, but to an experienced digital marketing agency — like Cobalt Digital Marketing — it’s about understanding that certain rules and decorum must be adhered to at all times.

What does that mean?

      1. Politeness and manners are appreciated.
      2. Expert knowledge and charisma win over customers.
      3. Foul language turns people off to your brand.

Adhering to these easy-to-follow standards helps to establish your brand and your business as a trusted source of information with dependable products or services. Social media marketing also improves customer relations and communication, fulfilling their need to be heard should they have any feedback to give.

People that appreciate the customer service provided and trust in your company are more likely to visit your website and buy your product. At the end of the day, you just can’t run an effective digital marketing campaign without social media marketing, full stop.

4. Referrals

Developing a referral system does take some work to make it a viable source of clients. To be truly successful, your business must:

      1. Focus on making a great product or service at an affordable price.
      2. Provide legendary customer service (or at least excellent).

These two areas are what really make an impression on your customers. A happy customer is a talking customer, and word of mouth marketing is the best type of marketing there is. Why?

It can be a challenge for a company to sell a product to, what is essentially, a complete stranger. But if you’ve got a customer putting rubber to the road and telling their friends about your great, affordable product and your excellent, friendly, and informative customer service, these other potential clients will trust your customer’s judgment. This sparks interest in your brand.

Want to be even more appealing? Create a referral marketing program. If you already have a system in place — say through a referral marketing software or email list — the process can be automated and used to encourage existing customers to spread the word for a reward like a discount or free item on their next purchase. Get creative!

5. Email Marketing

Another cost-effective marketing strategy, email marketing utilizes many of the strategies listed above into a single digital marketing package.

A quick email to those in your email list can inform clients of:

      1. New products
      2. Sales or promotions
      3. Recommended products
      4. Similar product to ones purchased before
      5. Customer discounts for those that have not made any recent purchases
      6. Tips or interesting insight about the product or service they purchased

All of these show that you appreciate your customers, and returning customers are important to generating a sustainable revenue stream. An appreciated customer will also voice their satisfaction to others, read your blog, follow you on social, and open your emails—which will increase your click-through rate as a nice side bonus.

 

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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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Holiday Hustle: Fantastic Tips to Start Prepping Your Digital Marketing Plan Today

Posted on Sunday, October 7th, 2018 at 2:03 pm    

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Preparation is the key to success and this rings especially true for businesses and e-commerce companies looking to make the most out of the upcoming holiday season. While consumers might not start making their purchases until late-October, it doesn’t hurt to already be on their mind with the right messaging.  

Of course, you’ll want to temper any heavy holiday messaging until the holiday season gets a closer. But if you already have your plans laid out well in advance, the transition between your non-holiday digital marketing plan to your holiday marketing plan will be seamless and your promotions will be much more effective.

The last two months of the year are notably crucial to your business, with the National Retail Federation noting that 20 to 40 percent of yearly sales for small and mid-sized retailers takes place during this time frame. Within this two month period, there are a couple of specific days that you’ll want to target including:

  • November 24, Small Biz Saturday:
      • In 2016, 112 million consumers supported Small Business Saturday by shopping and dining out.
      • Total spending reached approximately $15.4 billion in 2016.
      • 72% of consumers reported they were aware of Small Business Saturday.  
  • November 26, Cyber Monday:  
    • In 2017, Cyber Monday sales reached a record $6.59 billion. (CNBC)
    • In 2017, Cyber Monday mobile sales reached $2 billion in a 24-hour period. (CNBC)
    • Cyber Monday sales increased by 16.8 percent from a year prior. (CNBC)

While these three days are definitely worth recognizing, there’s still plenty of joy (and sales) for the remaining holiday season, especially for e-commerce businesses:

  • Online shopping totaled $108.2 billion during the 2017 holiday season. (Adobe Digital Insights)
  • During the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, shoppers spent $19 billion. (Adobe Digital Insights)
  • Retailers had their best holiday season in 2017 since 2011. (EMarketer)
  • 2017 saw a 17.8% increase in retail e-commerce sales. (EMarketer)
  • E-commerce sales are expected to expand by 15.3% in 2018. (EMarketer)
  • Mobile sales will account for 52% of total sales. (PracticalEcommerce)

If you’re ready to get in on the action, your catalysts at Cobalt Digital Marketing have some fantastic holiday marketing strategies to keep your holiday season Grinch free.

 

See Green on Black Friday

Black Friday is a hectic day and will require everyone on your team to be on the same page to handle the high volume of customers. If you want to make the most out of the day, you should start by:

  • Organizing for any major sales and preparing your inventory to ensure that you’ll have product favorites and the staff to effectively pull off any event you might hold.
  • Build anticipation beforehand by creating a teaser campaign that includes ads geared towards special products you’re going to have on sale.
  • Make sure that your website speed is up to par. If you’re dependent on online sales, a lagging website can be disastrous for your Black Friday. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly as well.
  • An email marketing campaign is a necessity. Just make sure to target past and potential buyers.
  • Developing landing pages can complement your email marketing campaign. Keep things general enough so that a single landing page can work for the entire holiday season.
  • Regardless of the season, social media should always be in your digital marketing plan. Posts should highlight products, sales, answer questions, and provide insight into your product (lifestyle pictures always work wonders, too).
  • Include a countdown timer on your website to drive the urgency of your Black Friday sales. Even a stock count can keep customers on their toes if they know a specific product is limited.      

 

Small Business Saturday To-Dos

Small Business Saturday is the perfect tool to promote your business for the busy holiday season and into the new year. There are a number of tactics that can be used to drive sales including:

  • Remind people about Small Business Saturday through social media, email newsletters, and website banners.
  • Offer sales that run before Small Business Saturday and until after Cyber Monday to keep customers coming in after the day passes. Plus, you’ll be able to better manage your inventory and have a clearer view of what items customers want.
  • Offer a special service or product like free gift wrapping, a limited-edition product, or a special menu item that big companies can’t match.
  • Make sure your website is mobile-optimized since 64% of shoppers use mobile search on smartphones before heading to the store.
  • Post plenty of visuals on social media and don’t just tell people about sales.
  • Make sure you have enough staff on hand as this may be the first experience with your business for many new customers.
  • Millennials love local businesses, so your local business should love millennials – target them.
  • Offer a fun and joyful environment if you have a brick-and-mortar store. Free refreshments, treats, and family-friendly activities are always a good choice.

 

Make Cyber Monday Spectacular

Your digital marketing strategy should be developed early enough (think NOW) in order that the transition between these prime shopping days is as smooth and seamless as possible. You’ll definitely want to utilize some of the same strategies on all three days (i.e. plenty of heavy social media coverage on your sales and special items) but you can also enhance your marketing strategy for Cyber Monday with:

  • Cyber Monday specific promotions are a must and a great way to get consumers excited about any special items that might be on sale only on this day.
  • Contest and giveaways build excitement and have the added benefit of helping you collect data that can be used for email marketing campaigns or to tweak ad copy to better meet consumer expectations.
  • Cyber Monday is a mobile mega-day, so make sure your site is mobile optimized. In 2017, Cyber Monday saw over $2 billion in mobile shopping alone. Don’t miss this opportunity.
  • Millennials are the biggest Cyber Monday spenders and you’ll want to target this demographic group.  
  • Recommendations and reviews need to be in place. Today’s shoppers are savvy and often base their decision to make a purchase based on reviews of your company and products. Offer some benefit to clients to leave you a positive review (think discount).
  • Place a countdown on your product pages to let clients know when an offer is beginning and ending. A time-sensitive sale can encourage customers to make the purchase immediately rather than hold off.
  • Don’t be afraid to surprise customers and extend your sale. Cyber Monday is not the end of the holiday season and extending your sale can work wonders to remind clients who haven’t made their purchase to get it done.
  • Retargeting ads is one of the most effective tools that you have in your arsenal. Most website visitors will pay your site multiple visits before making a  purchase; these leads simply need to be converted and targeting ads are just the thing.

 

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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 Time is Now: eCommerce and Your Business

Posted on Friday, April 6th, 2018 at 7:16 pm    

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Statista has some very jarring stats that any reasonable business person should really take into consideration. Global retail eCommerce sales are expected to land just below $3 TRILLION this year. (Yes…that is trillion with a T.)

But that’s not all. That number is expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. That’s a mere 3 years away. That’s also an anticipated 246 percent increase from 2014.

Seems like easy pickings, right? Not without the proper e-commerce marketing plan in place.

Whether you’re in the process of expanding your business or developing your eCommerce website, there’s plenty of data-driven trends and techniques that you can use to your advantage to ensure your eCommerce marketing strategy is getting you sales.

[bctt tweet=”Global #ecommerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. #CobaltDigitalMarketing” username=””]

Some E-commerce Basics

If you’re a beginner to e-commerce, let’s run down some of the basics. E-commerce websites are essentially websites where businesses and their customers can participate in a transaction of goods or services and payment. Nowadays, there are plenty of eCommerce platforms – such as Shopify – which allow merchants to design and develop websites, market, and sell their goods to consumers around the world (or nationally if chosen).

Another form of e-commerce focuses on mobile devices. With mobile e-commerce estimated to reach 70 percent of all traffic this year, it’s safe to say that mobile has already become the preferred method of e-commerce shopping and payment.

While the most common form of e-commerce website is retail, there are various types that are sure to meet your business’s needs (and they come with their own little acronyms):

  • Business-to-Business (B2B): This form of e-commerce occurs between companies (e.g. a parts manufacturer that sells their product to car manufacturers via an online sales portal).
  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C): E-commerce between companies and individual consumers (e.g. online retailers such as Amazon )
  • Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C): E-commerce between consumers that generally requires a third party to assist with the transaction. (e.g. eBay)

A few more non-traditional forms of e-commerce can include:

  • Consumer-to-Business (C2B): Businesses pay consumers for online real estate on the consumer’s website (can include social influencers on various forms of social media).
  • Business-to-Government: E-commerce business between businesses and government bodies or public administrations.

Whatever type of business you may have, you’ll do well to utilize an e-commerce platform to – at the very least – get your name out there. With 56 percent of in-store purchases influenced by online activity, an e-commerce presence will help get you in front of the right audience.

[bctt tweet=”#mobile #eCommerce is estimated to reach 70% of all traffic this year, becoming the preferred method to shop online. #CobaltDigitalMarketing ” username=””]

E-commerce Marketing & Channels

Naturally, if you have an e-commerce site then you will want to promote it to raise awareness about your brand and products or services. This is where e-commerce/digital marketing comes into play.

Using the right digital marketing strategies and channels will allow you to do a number of things including:

  • Drive traffic to your site
  • Convert shoppers
  • Take control of your brand image
  • Grow your company
  • Improve customer experience
  • Improve product(s) based on customer preferences

Effectively marketing your e-commerce company gives you the competitive edge you need to improve your revenue stream. Getting to this point, however, is going to require you to take full advantage of the proper marketing channels. These are crucial tools that will help build your brand and get you in front of your potential customers.

The most effective channels for eCommerce include some internet giants – like Facebook and Google – as well as techniques that thrive on organic traffic generation. These eCommerce marketing channels include:

  1. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) – This channel works through data, keywords, and strategy. The two largest players of this channel are – surprise – Facebook Ads and Google Adwords. Both systems can provide you invaluable data (if you know what to look for) to help you adequately target your market – but it literally comes with a price. Search engines earn money on a per-click basis, so each keyword or phrase involves you bidding on those used to create your ads.
  2. Search engine optimization (SEO) – SEO is the technique used to boost your organic results across search engines, with the the most important being Google. Ranking high in organic results requires a combination of digital marketing best practices including meaningful and frequent content creation, social media engagement, on-page and off-page SEO, social media engagement, and other factors.
  3. Retargeting – This can be a really powerful tool when used correctly. At its basis, retargeting allows for you to advertise to users who have already visited your eCommerce website. Cookies follow users as they browse the Web and allow for retargeting ads to appear when they search keywords related to your product.
  4. Email marketing – Email marketing is still a valuable weapon to have in your repertoire. Whether it’s reaching out to potential customers about abandoned carts on your site or targeting current and past customers about new items and sales, the right, personalized email marketing can help you achieve your goals. Just make sure to spend some time on them.
  5. Display advertising – The only way to get your name out there is to get you in front of an audience. This is where display advertising shines. This form of marketing is essentially purchasing online real estate. These advertisements appear on other websites and can include banners, sidebars, and other visual advertisements.
  6. Content marketing – This is the common thread that ties in all of the previously mentioned channels. One of the strongest forms of marketing, the right blog, content piece, video, or engaging quiz can really draw customers to your eCommerce site. Make sure you always give your content its just due.

These channels all play a role in your larger digital marketing scheme and should work in unison, providing you the advertising advantage you need to drive traffic to your online store.

What’s Happening in the World of eCommerce Marketing

The world of eCommerce can be a competitive one, so it’s best to strategize and use effective industry practices to place yourself in a position for growth.

Because the online world is ever changing, however, it requires you to constantly be on your toes to keep up with the latest industry trends. Search engines (read: Google) are frequently changing their algorithms, and advertising platforms change their requirements and stipulations. This means that you have strike the right balance between proven tactics and emerging marketing channels.

Doing so doesn’t have to be too much of a challenge, though. Let the good folks at Cobalt Digital give you a bit of insight into what’s happening in the world of eCommerce marketing in terms of established strategies and burgeoning methods.

What to Execute

  1. Design for sells. A poorly designed website with horrible user experience (UX) functions can really put dent in your sales. Intuitive and easy navigation, solid product descriptions, plenty of meaningful and quality visuals, and an easy ordering process will help improve your online store.
  2. Product reviews are essential. There’s no way around it. It’s estimated that more than 88 percent of online shoppers take reviews into consideration. This can be especially beneficial (or harmful) for small, local businesses. Online reviews are becoming increasingly important for businesses (and consumers), so make sure to offer a reward for a review. If you happen to get that occasional bad review, make sure to respond in a timely manner (and take it as a learning experience).
  3. Mobile optimization. This is a hot term in the digital world for a very good reason. There are 125 million U.S. consumers on smartphones and 62 percent of smartphone users have a made a purchase on their mobile device within the last 6 months. Of course mobile optimization doesn’t only mean having a site that’s mobile ready. Your website will benefit from plenty of visual content (here’s looking at you, video), easy navigation, easy-to-fill-out contact forms, tap-to-call phone numbers, and ease of purchase tools.
  4. Engage, engage, engage. There’s plenty of opportunity for you to actively engage with your audience. Whether it’s through social media, email newsletters, featured blogs, online promotions, and other touching points, keep your engagement fun, honest, and personal.
  5. No more cart abandonment. This is the top fear of any eCommerce business – the dreaded abandoned cart. While the number isn’t written in stone, most studies place cart abandonment between 55 to 80 percent. Regardless, even having HALF of all your shoppers leave your site without completing a purchase should motivate you into action. Email recovery campaigns, wishlist reminder emails, pre-order specials, and adequately managing out-of-stock orders will help reduce the number of carts abandoned, generating much more revenue for your business.

[bctt tweet=”Cart abandonment can reach 55-80% of your sales. Let #CobaltDigitalMarketing secure those sales for you with our proven Cobalt Formula™. ” username=””]

Trends to Watch For

While certain industry best practices (e.g. mobile optimization) are gold standards and a necessity for any new or established eCommerce business, there’s also new trends and advancements in technology that change the landscape essentially every year. While you won’t want to jump at every shiny, new tool, it doesn’t hurt to experiment with them either.

A few of the more intriguing trends to be on the lookout for include:

  1. Voice Search – According to an estimate made by ComScore, more than 50 percent of searches will be voice-based by 2020, and mobile is playing a major role.
  2. Chatbots – Chatbots are quickly becoming the go-to solution for customer service, sales, and for providing information. Because they can essentially function 24 hours a day, chatbots act as the perfect option for a customer base that wants an immediate response.
  3. High-Quality Videos – Showcasing your product through high-quality video gives potential clients exactly what they need to understand its functionality and design. Plus, videos offer the ability to tell a story much more efficiently than a strictly text-based ad.
  4. Social Media – While not new, social media platforms are constantly changing, and digital marketers constantly develop new means by which to use these channels. Take, for instance, the Facebook changes that took place earlier this year. Business profiles were going to take a backseat to family and social ties; what we took from that was the importance of developing an actual community around your product or business. Simply selling your product through Facebook or Instagram isn’t going to be enough. You’ll have to reach new audiences through social media influencers and effective branding.
  5. Brick-and-Mortar –  There’s still plenty of value in a traditional brick-and-mortar store, and tying it in with your eCommerce site can prove to be worthwhile. You’ll need an adequate tool that can gather data from your social, mobile, online purchases, in-store inventory, analytics, and various other sources to find the correlation between your eCommerce marketing and in-store purchases. This can help you better define your ads and marketing scheme, ultimately creating higher-conversion and sales.

Ready to get your eCommerce hustle on? Cobalt Digital Marketing has the expertise, experience, and solutions you need to get ahead of the pack.

Our proven Cobalt Formula™ integrates social media, website design, PPC, content, SEO, and email marketing to harness the power of the internet and get you tangible results. Contact us today to get started on the road to eCommerce dominance.
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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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Get A Hold of Your Online Rep…Before They Do

Posted on Monday, August 21st, 2017 at 11:48 pm    

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We’re looking at you politicians.

You’ve probably heard some horrendous online stories.

Viral celebs spouting nonsense and becoming YouTube famous. Crazed individuals having very public meltdowns on live streaming.

How about the Facebook weekend escapade that’s a little too personal. Photos of outlandish behavior after a few margaritas too many.

Yup…that’s a pink slip on Monday.

And then, of course, there are websites of prominent political and cultural figures that just aren’t what you expected.

Whether you like it or not, your reputation is on-the-line (and online) anytime you decide to post to your social media accounts. And if you’re really unlucky (see link above), then somebody else is deciding your online rep for you.

Yes. The Internet is huge and it’s basically impossible to protect yourself at every corner of the virtual world.

But that doesn’t mean you should let everything slide. Especially when you have a solid reputation to uphold (we’re still looking at you politicians).

Whether you’re on the hunt for a new job, a well-respected business owner, or on the campaign trail, you need to have a grasp on your online reputation – especially as you climb up the ladder.

If you weren’t aware of this, Cobalt Digital Marketing is here to provide you some vital insights.

This Is the Reality…

Source: https://www.journalism.org/2016/02/04/the-2016-presidential-campaign-a-news-event-thats-hard-to-miss/pj_2016-02-04_election-news_0-02/

Suffice to say that news websites, apps, and social media are a mainstay resource for learning about politicians and their platforms. And while stats point towards a relatively younger demographic using the Internet as a research tool, it should go without saying that as we go forward, these numbers are going to increase.

As for local news – which would entail local political news – a 2012 Pew Research Center survey found that residents of urban communities tend to stay informed through Internet searches, Twitter, blogs, websites of TV news networks and newspapers.

It was also noted that urban and suburban residents are more likely to consume local news on mobile devices. The study showed that 53% of urban and 57% of suburban residents found local news or information via cell phones or tablets. Small city and rural residents stood at a still respectable 45% and 35%.

This role of cell phones and social media in politics should not be underestimated. From 2010 to 2014, the percentage of registered voters who used their cell phones for political news doubled.

Additionally, there was more than 150% growth in the number of Americans who followed candidates or other political figures on some form of social media in that same time frame.

And for your peace of mind. The digital world is truly non-partisan. Democrats and Republicans tend to act along the same guidelines when it comes to digital campaigning.

In the world of politics, especially in local elections, every vote counts. Being able to reach your constituency in the mode they best prefer is not only ideal but necessary…

Because (Tragically) It’s A Dog Eat Dog World

No. We’re not encouraging badmouthing. Cobalt does NOT condone spreading false allegations or dealing with unfortunate situations by fighting fire with fire.

But we do recognize the importance of a digital marketing campaign for politicians that includes online reputation management in order to reduce the collateral damage caused by rumors, disgruntled ex-employees, and political mudslinging.

Whether you recognize it or not, your online reputation is developing. Without ever having posted on Facebook. Regardless if you’ve ever tweeted an emoji. Even if you have never Liked or Snapped. Your political career – and your personal story – are likely to be floating in the ether that is the Internet.

This is the game:

  • People talk. On social media, websites, forums, and news sites alike. You need an opportunity to tell the truth. A digital marketing campaign is the perfect outlet.
  • You’re a politician. You need be to amongst the people. In the digital world and real world alike.
  • Controversy happens. Be ahead of the news with real-time social media campaigns.
  • Your political opponents are online. Are you?
  • Local residents are upset for a just cause. Don’t ignore them.
  • This happens. You need to take care of it.

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes – Charles Spurgeon

Mr. Spurgeon hit it right on the nail. But, thankfully, Cobalt Digital can help to spread the truth out just as fast.

Online reputation management for you political campaign includes a number of pieces all working in unison to get your message across to the right audience – and to those who need to hear it most.

Online reputation management should include:

 

  • A campaign website

 

One of the best tools to get your name and platform across is through a website. Search engines place a high value on domains that include the politician’s name and will frequently appear on the top of search results.

Being in the top position on the first page of Google is ideal as studies show that click through rates for the first position in 2017 gets 44.64% of the clicks. But a first results page position isn’t bad either considering that first page gets 89% of all clicks.

This ability to get in front of the right audience will be of immense value to get your message out there for voters to find. We can also help to build an e-mail data base so that you can provide potential voters with meaningful content, information, and news about your platform and campaign.

A mobile optimized site is also essential as 40% of voter aged 30-49 used their cell phone to follow candidates in 2014.

 

  • Social.

 

To try and separate social interaction from politics would be a fool’s errand. What better way to keep in touch with potential voters – in real-time no less – than a quality social media campaign.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the go-to social media platforms for politicians that are serious about gaining an edge. The ability to deliver curated content and messages to your constituency and potential voters is pivotal for your campaign.

A 2010 Facebook study determining the efficacy of Facebook marketing in getting people to vote in a congressional election was astounding. The nonpartisan message reached a  total of 61 million people and created an additional 340,000 voters.

Branding is another element of social media marketing. We can help to build brands by utilizing unique hashtags as a powerful visual tool and conduit to engagement. We include this branding on social media posts, website, digital advertisements, and blogs.

 

  • Content is king.

 

A steady stream of quality content that includes press releases, video, blogs, online interviews, and email campaigns for your website and social media accounts will boost your reputation.

With the Cobalt Digital team, you are guaranteed to have hot topic content scheduled on a regular basis. Fresh web content will push “web crawlers” to update your web page ranking more frequently and increase your chance of getting up to those pivotal top spots on Google.

When done correctly, other websites will link to meaningful content on your site and provide you with authority and increased traffic.

Experienced politicians understand that negative PR is bound to happen. Counteract that negative publicity with positive, quality material that you control.

 

  • Email marketing.

 

Email marketing can be a slippery slope. You want to provide potential voters and social media influencers with enough information about your platform. But you don’t want to bombard them with useless campaign updates that will lead them to unsubscribing from your mailing lists.

Cobalt Digital understands the nuances of email marketing and will provide personal messages to those who matter most – voters.

We also reach out to individuals known as influencers who can help to further your message. These include bloggers and website owners who can help you to break through that trust barrier traditional marketing often has.

Email marketing can also help you to manage your online reputation by providing you the ability to counter against any negative messages that may be floating around out there. You can appeal to your audience’s emotions and push them into action.

 

  • Targeted SEO and advertisements.

 

Search engine optimization (SEO), in technical jargon terms, is the process of on-site and off-site coding, link building, and content creation with certain keywords that are guaranteed to reach your audience.

These strategies include analysis of big data and social media data to increase advertisement reach, the success of your campaign, your ability to educate voters – and ultimately – generate votes for you.

But be wary of so-called SEO experts that utilize Black Hat tactics. These individuals will end up getting your site penalized because of their use of keyword stuffing, link spamming, and other negative strategies.

It’s challenging enough to maintain a positive image without the destructive actions of another making your brand look worse.

Cobalt Digital for 2017 (and 2018, 2019, 2020…)

There’s no way around it. Politics, just like the rest of the world, is quickly becoming digital. Online reputation management and the right digital marketing plan are absolutely essential and will become even more so in the future.

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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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