Everything I Learned Binging Marketing
Podcasts for 7 Hours
It feels like just yesterday, podcasts were a flicker on my radar. While podcast have roots going back to the 1980s, they recently exploded in popularity (likely in congruence with the release of Serial). Now, podcasts have become a big part of my life and career. With so much material to sort through, it’s difficult to prioritize what to listen to and where I can get the most value. With a short commute and difficulty listening to podcasts while working, I decided to dedicate a recent 7-hour drive from Charlotte, NC to Annapolis, MD to listening to nothing but digital marketing podcasts.
Here’s what I learned:
Not all podcasts are created equal
This is a relatively obvious one. If you ever find yourself in the same situation during a long drive, or simply looking for new content to download for your commute, do your research and ask for advice. You want to weed out the good material from the bad before you’re 20 minutes into a podcast and start falling asleep at the wheel.
I learned this lesson the hard way when I downloaded one podcast without researching it first; it was about a specific marketing service that I was interested in learning more about. I’d say this tactic has a 50/50 shot of working out, but it doesn’t hurt to scour the internet for reviews ahead of time. The podcast opened to a monotone narrator, then he and his guest went over beginner-level knowledge of email marketing and things I already knew about the system. I’m not saying that the information wouldn’t be valuable for someone, but the situation wasn’t ideal for a seven-hour drive.
The other podcasts were great. Right off the bat, you could tell that they had an energetic narrator with knowledgeable and well-spoken guests. I mostly enjoyed the shorter podcasts as they helped the drive fly by. The shortest podcast ranged from 4-7 minutes and since has become an essential part of my morning commute. One of my initial concerns was that the hosts would try to squeeze as much information into the short time as possible, but their thought nuggets were relevant, quick and effective.
For me, anything between 5-30 minutes was the perfect amount of time to keep me engaged and learn about different topics.
SEO is only as good as the tools you use
There’s no question that Google is the most-used search engine world. A recent study by Stat Counter showed that Google has consistently held their top rank with approximately 85-90% of the search engine market share in the U.S. and worldwide. So, when it comes to rankings, it makes sense for digital marketers to place such a strong focus on Google to build their online strategies, rather than Bing or Yahoo.
Google knows this, which is why they have created multiple tools that marketers can use to better target and reach their desired demographics. What better way to create a custom digital marketing strategy than to use data and trends straight from the search engine itself? Three tools that we use in the office and I specifically loved learning more about were Google Analytics (a must), Google Trends and Google Search Console.
Google Analytics Quick Tip: This tool makes it easy to analyze the website users’ behavior. Use this information to cater content to their needs, A/B test and help drive conversion.
Google Trends Quick Tip: Many clients have products or services that may have a high seasonal demand. Check out Google Trends to find and compare different peak periods to customize your content based on the time of year. Another great use for trends is to use the Google Correlate feature to see what people are searching a week or two before they Google your keyword. This can be a great tool for writing content that helps move people along their buyers’ journey, from awareness to decision.
Google Search Console Quick Tip: Use Search Console, previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, to monitor your website’s overall configuration and look for potential errors and areas for site optimization.
In addition to using Google tools, running your marketing strategy with complimentary tools such as Buzz Sumo, Answer the Public and Moz will elevate your success. It’s all about listening to the needs of your audience, and what better way to get inside their heads than to analyze and track their search engine activity?
Did you know these factors help with SEO?
Google is picky when it comes to what they consider quality content, and they should be. The search engine wants to deliver the best possible information to its users in a timely manner. So, when you’re designing your website or online strategy, don’t forget to pay attention to these three, lesser-known ranking factors:
If your website has a loading problem (i.e. it takes over three seconds to load a page) then there’s a 40% chance that people exit out of the page. Naturally, the percentage of bounces will drop off the longer the website takes to load.
As of July 2018, Google launched a new ranking algorithm for mobile search, which includes a “Speed Update.” Since almost 60% of google searches come from mobile, this is an important factor for all business and website owners. While the exact amount of time it takes for Google to consider the website to be too slow and drop in rankings is unknown, it’s best to make sure your mobile speeds are up to snuff, preferably less than 5 seconds.
While desktop speeds are an important factor to consider for user experience, Google doesn’t take them into consideration.
As it turns out, hosting can be an influential factor in SEO and can hurt where your website ranks on Google. Three hosting factors that can cause long-term SEO damage include: server uptime or downtime, speed and location. So, be mindful when choosing what company you want to host your website on, because the cheapest option is not always the best.
Time on Site
It’s no question that Google rewards pages with high user engagement. That’s why lower bounce-rates and more interactive content with call-to-actions that move your user throughout the site will help with higher rankings.
Email marketing is here to stay
Before actively working in email marketing, I couldn’t stand the barrage of emails that reached my inbox each day. However, I’ve grown to truly appreciate the effectiveness and conversion potential that personalized email marketing presents, if done well.
Chances are that when you ask someone, ‘What mobile app do you use the most,’ they won’t think to answer Gmail, or whatever email application they use. Most people check their email at least once a day, but the actual number is much more frequent than that. With the desire for businesses to connect with their leads, why not reach them in a place that’s convenient for them?
When properly used, email marketing can be extremely effective, but you shouldn’t start the approach with one foot in and one foot out. The systems that are available for email marketing today allow marketers to send content that is entirely behavioral based. Now, we can send extremely personalized messages to speak directly to the needs or interests of our leads to convert them into customers.
If email automation is done right by making the buyers journey easy and relevant for the lead, this tactic can have a positive impact on conversion. So, since email is not going anywhere, neither is email marketing; and in my opinion, it will only get better from here.
You can try all the digital marketing tricks in the book, but it’s a waste of time unless you monitor your changes and track your progress. Instead of sorting through your emails to find what change caused what uptick in traffic or conversion, one easy way to do this is to make a note in your Google Analytics account. With a detailed note, you can properly analyze how your changes effected trends and keep track of what works and doesn’t work.
What I Listened To:
Here are the podcasts I downloaded during my drive. You can also check out Epic’s list of 7 Marketing Podcasts to Add to Your Playlist Today – you’ll notice some overlap!
- The Agents of Change
- Marketing School
- Marketing Over Coffee
- The Online Learning Podcast