Does the very thought of having to create engaging content for your website give you cold sweats? Or do you think you’re a fabulous content writer but can’t figure out why no one is reading your blog? You’re not a failure. You’re just not following an effective process. Take this advice and your content will never be the same. Keep Reading!
In celebration of Earth Day this week, Apple has launched its “Apps for Earth” initiative in support of the World Wildlife Federation. Twenty-seven apps have added new environmental content, and money spent on those apps, as well as any in-app purchases, goes to the WWF to help advance its environmental and climate efforts across the globe. Some are saying Apple is a tad tardy to the “green” party. Well, maybe. But the truth is, Apple, with its gargantuan brand awareness and massive reach, just might actually be bringing the party.
Think about it.
Apple is the world’s largest company by market capitalization. Over 700 million iPhones have been in the hands of actively engaged customers in more than 150 countries. Over 100 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store. Just one of the apps included in the “Apps for Earth” initiative, Angry Birds 2, has been downloaded 85 million times alone. So, suffice it to say, when Apple rolls, it rolls big. It’s like showing up at the soirée with the kegs, the sound system, a live band, a roving band of hula dancers, the Kardashians, Blue Man Group, Pitbull (Mr. Worldwide, natch …) and the chip dip, to boot.
Apple–certainly as much as any other single company in the world–has the influence, means, cachet, and (perhaps most importantly) audience to spread the message, raise the funds, and make it happen, to use their business—their incredible reach—as a true force for change in the world. And, in the case of “Apps for Earth,” Apple is doing it in a way that empowers the consumer to actively participate in the change they’re trying to make. It’s a way of telling the consumer, “Your purchases can have an impact. You can help change the world with us.”
So, tsk-tsk the Cupertino crew for its tardiness if you must. But here at RED 212, we’re blowing the horns, hooting the hooters, tapping the kegs, and striking up the band. Welcome to the party, Apple. Hey, you’ve only revolutionized the way the entire world works, watches, listens and communicates.
Nice to see you moving on to the big stuff.
Huge news for women in business! Last week it was announced that in 2015, five percent of government federal contracts were granted to women-owned business. This goal was established in 1994, and it’s taken 21 years to finally achieve it.
Professional women’s organizations are making a concerted effort to advocate for greater gender equality in the public-policy arena. Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) is a coalition of 4.7 million women business owners and 78 organizations actively addressing changes to the Small Business Administration’s revision of the certification process for Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program. Red212 CEO Anne Chambers is an active WIPP National Partner.
Another significant challenge they’re fighting is the everyday gender inequality in the workplace. Individual companies can dismantle internal inequities when they recognize problems, and the easiest way to find them is by reviewing corporate culture. It drives everything from policies and procedures to advancement and lunchroom gossip. Looking for biased business practices is difficult to do personally and professionally, but it’s the only way to gather facts.
Patricia Valoy, an engineer and advocate for women in STEM, believes systemic sexism is something most people don’t see. In training sessions, she uses her own experience as an example. She’s frequently the only woman in meetings and is regularly asked to get coffee and perform clerical tasks. There are junior, male staff in the same meeting, but they aren’t asked to do that kind of work. Does this happen in your company? To find out, ask the women.
One practical way to start an internal review is to begin with an analysis of staffing ratios – how many women does your company employ? Then look at pay rates based on gender. Are your male employees making more than equally or more qualified women? Next consider advancements – are women moving up in equal numbers or are they leaving more often than men?
“There might be some women who are highly successful, and other women never (experience) sexist comments. It doesn’t mean that it’s not there,” Valoy says.
Numerous research studies show that diversity across ethnicity as well as gender has a positive impact on the bottom line. One Massachusetts Institute of Technology study analyzed eight years of data that “included both single-gender and mixed-gender teams.” Economists found that shifting from a single-sex office to one with an even split along gender lines could increase revenue by about 41 percent. It’s going to require some careful evaluation and planning, but isn’t that the kind of return-on-investment your company would like to see?
Momentum is building; hopefully we won’t have to wait another 21 years for significant progress. As a woman-owned agency, we at Red212 are excited to see the advancements for women in business.
When Allison Chaney, Founder & Managing Director of Bare Knuckle Digital, graduated from college, the world of digital marketing and SEO didn’t exist yet. She got her start right when websites were really taking off as a marketing tool, and the company she worked for threw her in the deep end to figure out how to get their site ranked on search engines. Google Analytics didn’t exist yet, so they created their own proprietary analytics software to understand where their traffic was coming from.
“I found that although my background was in marketing in the traditional sense,” Allison described, “all of those concepts still applied in this space. Even though a lot of the things I was doing were really technical, there was still that bigger strategy behind it. We were really ahead of our time, because we were looking for solutions that didn’t exist yet.”
She also freelanced on the side in social media and other verticals that the company wasn’t really working in. She found that an integrated package was the best way to get her clients found on search engines. “I really enjoyed the journey of taking a client from having no idea what’s going on with their website to using it as tool that’s driving the right kind of sales,” Allison said.
Despite having a job at a company she loved, like most entrepreneurs, Allison reached a point that she decided it was time to “take control of [her] own destiny” – time to move on to the next challenge. She left the company to freelance more and eventually start her own business.
She got connected with the SCORE Association who provided her a business mentor to provide advice as she started from ground zero. He guided her towards Bad Girl Ventures (BGV), which helps women-owned businesses get the education & funding they need to launch and run a successful business.
“At the time,” Allison described, “my business development strategy was: if I can get in front of people and teach them what I do, some of them will be able to walk away and be able to implement it, and that’s great. But some of them will realize they need this, but don’t have the time or knowledge to implement it themselves, and they will hire me.”
With this in mind, Allison attended a BGV meeting and met Candace Klein, founder of BGV. “I just thought, ‘Wow, this is an amazing woman,’ and the energy in the room was fantastic…As I was walking out the door I told Candace, ‘Hey I want to teach a class!’”
Candace told her to apply for the classes online. “No, no you don’t understand,” Allison replied, “I don’t want to take the class; I want to teach it!” But Candace saw the “Bad Girl” in Allison, and told her that’s great, but she should also sign up for the class.
Allison became the first person to teach the class and take it. Other classes she took through the program taught her how to get serious about starting and running a business, including how to approach a bank for a loan.
“I’ve taken lots of business classes since then,” Allison said, “but what really made this different was just the energy in the room. It was so powerful. All these women were there to encourage each other, do business together, help each other. You can’t fabricate that – it’s the energy of the right people in the right place. The first time I really knew I was onto something was when Candace and I were having lunch, and she looked at me and said, ‘I believe in you.’ I’d never had anyone look me in the eye and say that to me. And I believed she believed in me. And that was powerful.”
At the end of the BGV program, the candidates compete for a business loan. There was another woman in the class that had a product that saved lives. “I remember we were all sitting there at 4 a.m. the night before the final decision. We were all emailing each other saying that she’s saving lives – she’s the one that deserves to win. We’ll figure it out later, but she needs this money. I just remember thinking how cool it was that we were all competing for the same things, but we’re all pulling for her. That’s a beautiful thing.”
That woman won, and now has a thriving, successful business affecting the lives of so many people.
But Allison still got her loan. Through the BGV classes, and the support from Candace and all the women, Allison gained the confidence to put herself out there and go for it.
“I never in a million years thought I could go to a bank and ask for a loan.” Allison said. But taking the BGV classes totally changed her mindset. She used her new confidence with Candace in her mind saying, “I believe in you.” She went to a bank for a loan, and got it. Bare Knuckle Digital was born.
Check back next week to find out how Allison and Bare Knuckle Digital became a part of Red212!
Patrick McGilvray is the owner and creative director for Focus 5 Design. Focus 5 Design is a one-man creative shop that specializes in modern website design and in his new podcast he interviews our very own Anne Chambers, co-founder and CEO. Red212 is an ad agency whose mission and passion is to create measurable marketing campaigns for socially conscious companies. Businesses are addressing many of the most pressing societal issues these days. And the more successful these businesses are, the more they can do for our world.
Highlights of the Interview:
Anne mentioned Warby Parker as a brand that has turned her head recently. Warby Parker is an eyewear company that partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.
Call to Action
Remember to keep and cultivate all of your relationships. The act of doing business with someone creates a very trusting and sometimes very intimate relationship. And as we know, we’re all in the relationship-building business. So, if you want to build a thriving business, hold a space and keep nurturing all of your relationships.
More about Warby Parker and their socially conscious purpose can be found here.
In the world of search marketing we often joke among ourselves that it’s a new job every Monday. Well thank you, Google, for shaking things up again with the latest announcement that they are removing ads from the right side of the Google search results page.
On Friday, Search Engine Land disclosed: “Google is rolling out a dramatic change that removes ads from the right side of its desktop search results, and places ads only at the top and/or bottom of the page. At the same time, the company says it may show an additional ad — four, not three — above the search results for what it calls ‘highly commercial queries.’”
According to our sources, the change should be completely rolled out and permanent by today, February 22nd. Needless to say, this was the hot topic of our Monday staff meeting, and predictions for what this means to our agency and our clients began!
Here’s what we think about the latest Google shake up here at Red212:
Why did they did it (let conspiracy theories begin):
- In 2015, Google announced that more than half of it’s search queries were from a mobile device. Could Google simply be conceding to the fact that most users are mobile, and therefore, even desktop experiences should mirror the mobile experience?
- Google has stated that the click-through rate on right-side ads is low. They’ve noted for a long time that 20% of search traffic clicks the ads on the side of the page, and some reports have shown this even as low as only 6%. As a business decision, we get it: place the revenue-generating ads where users are more likely to click.
What this means for you:
- There’s only so much real estate on the page. If paid ads are going to push down organic listings, it may become more of a challenge to rank organically on the first page.
- Cost-per-click could go up, meaning your entire budget could significantly increase. If side ads are no longer an option, the other space just got even more competitive!
- If you’re a small business or have a limited budget, your money might be better spent where it can be targeted to a more specific audience that is closer to the conversion. Facebook ads are looking pretty good right now aren’t they?
- Your SEO program should be running like a well-oiled machine, fueled by a stellar content strategy with interesting, engaging content. To win in that even more competitive organic search result space, you will need to produce the quality content that gets you to page one.
- If you sell products and list them via AdWords, you still get that real estate on the right side of the page. PLA’s (product listing ads) are an exception to the new rule. So e-commerce sites, breathe a sigh of relief. You’re safe!
At Red212, we make it our business to stay on top of this stuff so that you don’t have to. We’re here to guide you through the changes as they happen. Our best advice – don’t panic yet! Even though the rumor on the digital streets is that this change will roll out completely today, we still don’t see the change yet. Give this time to let the dust settle – Google might still have a couple tricks up their sleeve. It’s always a good idea to wait to see how things shake out before you dump more money into AdWords or shut down your site because you think SEO is dead. Always be creating amazing content that speaks to your audience, and watch your analytics. Even if traffic starts to tank, or your cost per click starts to skyrocket, a solid content strategy will always deliver results. Stick to that, and your marketing won’t fail you.
We don’t just create content, we create a strategy that delivers results. Measurable marketing is the only way to market. Recently Search Engine Watch outlined 25 tips for measuring success in content marketing. Here’s how we use them at Red212:
The Obvious Metrics
This is the easiest set of data to measure. Google Analytics can determine if there is an improvement in metrics like traffic, page views, unique users, average time on site or pages and average number of pages per visit. Even if you get thousands of visits to your site, are they the right people? While it’s great to show an uptick in traffic as a result of increased content creation, the real goal is delivering the right content to the right people. More isn’t always better.
Engagement and Social Metrics
Thanks to social media, we have much more insight than we used to on how interested your audience is. If no one is liking, sharing, or commenting, your content probably is not reaching the right people or it is just bad. Keep your business objectives in mind when analyzing engagement metrics as well. You may have posted something really controversial about our current presidential candidates and stirred up a lively conversation. But if you are trying to sell baby blankets, and sales haven’t gone up, you might be “conversating” for the wrong reasons. It’s also important to know that not all engagement leads directly to sales. If the sales-cycle is long, and the purpose of your blog is to gain subscribers, keep producing content that earns their trust. Eventually they will convert.
With our long history in SEO, this is our favorite area of data analysis. With the majority of users starting an online search for something on Google, it’s critical that you appear at the top of search results and drive quality traffic that converts. Did your Google traffic increase after a series of blog posts? Are you driving more traffic for more relevant keywords? Are other relevant sites linking to you and sending traffic to your site? Then your content is starting to hit the mark.
Are online users searching for your brand more often than they did before? If your brand messaging is clear in your content, and your goal is to raise awareness, you better have the numbers to show that the content is working in your favor. Reputation is also a very important factor. Some say even bad press is better than no press at all. But online, in Google’s world, their ability to detect sentiment can have an adverse effect on your traffic. Google knows if users are not happy with your brand, and they will rank or not rank you accordingly. Don’t just throw content out into the interwebs – make sure you know what people are saying both on your site and off. Ensure that comments and engagement are positive or that you’re addressing any negativity that arises.
The most important piece of measuring your marketing campaigns is the ROI. Ultimately, you are in business for a reason, and it’s just smart to make sure that your marketing efforts are getting a return on your investment. Is your content driving users to purchase or inquire for more information? Are you improving the user experience in some way? Whatever stage of the funnel you are trying to reach, or whatever the objective, measuring your success is critical.
When you know the data inside and out, you will know the effectiveness of your content. More importantly, you will be able to deliver content that is useful and drive conversions. Remember, we’re here to help people, not just to play the numbers game.
While we may not have any fortune tellers or psychics at Red212, we have a good idea on where marketing is going this year.
- Measurement dominates:
Data analytics tools are ever-growing and provide deeper insight into target markets. Brands are expected to spend 73% more on analytics in the next 3 years. It improves effectiveness by measuring results and allowing marketers to understand what works best, and thus maximizing Return on Investment.
- Relationship marketing drives content:
Great content won’t go far without a community that wants to read it. By focusing on the relationship first, marketers can better understand consumer needs and wants, and then provide content that fulfills them.
- Increase in transparency:
Trust is key in relationship building. Consumers are becoming more and more demanding of authenticity. The Internet has empowered consumers to be choosier than ever, no longer limited to what is physically in front of them in the store. They want to know a brand’s values match up with their own, and now more than ever, they have access to that information through a quick Internet search.
- Brand ambassadors become more wide-spread:
95% of Millennials say their friends are their most trusted source of product information. Brand ambassadors add this human element to a company or product, making it seemingly more accessible and therefore, more trustworthy.
- Ad blockers:
As more people adopt ad blockers onto their computers and phones, we will see a decrease in interruptive marketing (traditional display ads). Marketing will have to become more relevant and personalized to reach the consumer on their terms.
- Mobile becomes the center of everything:
According to Think with Google, 87% of people have their phones by their side day and night. 30% of all US eCommerce comes from mobile shopping. Everything is become more and more interactive, turning something as simple as ordering pizza into a digital experience.
Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to their device to act on a need – to learn, to watch, or to buy. Wall Street Journal reported that 91% of smartphone users look up information on their device in the middle of a task, and 82% consult their phones while standing in a store trying to decide what to buy. Marketers need to connect with these consumers at that moment – delivering exactly what they’re looking for the moment they’re looking.
- Location-based marketing:
From text alerts when the consumer is in proximity of a store, to RFID chips at events, this is a new technology that’s only going to grow in popularity. We can’t wait to see how it evolves in 2016.
- Wearable technology:
Marketing will adapt to the increasing adoption rate of wearable technology such as the Apple Watch, Google Glass, and Fitbit. It’s time marketers take advantage. For example, here in Cincinnati, the company Strap is using “Human Data Intelligence” to power email marketing campaigns. As the consumer hits certain goals such as number of steps or active minutes, they are sent reward coupons that correspond.
- Account-Based marketing:
The new “it girl” of Business to Business Marketing. Gone are the days of a single decision-maker in a company. While account-based marketing has been around for a while, it has been picking up speed lately. ABM makes it easier to reach the collective decision makers without multiplying the effort.