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Marketing Series, Part 4: Broaden and Strengthen Your Digital Strategies

Strengthen your digital-marketing strategies with text messages, a business blog and pay-per-click ads.
Photo Credit: Unsplash

Author: Cassie Gasaway

Digital marketing helps businesses quickly and easily communicate to current and potential customers. In the first three parts of this series you learned how to use social media, point-of-sale systems, and email-marketing strategies to advertise and promote your business. This article offers three more marketing efforts, including text messages, a business blog and pay-per-click ads.

We spoke to Emerson Scherer, Celerant Technology’s digital marketing director, and Michele Salerno, Celerant’s marketing director, for insights into these efforts.

Here's a breakdown of how to tell if a Google result is pay-per-click or SEO driven. Photo Credit: ATA

Blogs and Articles

Scherer said most people start shopping on a search engine like Bing, Yahoo or Google. The more content you have – whether it’s your bowhunting blog, a DIY video commercial or a website article from Archery360.com – the more opportunities you create to connect your content to consumers, which improves your marketing efforts.

Search engines help by generating results or listings based on your content’s Google ranking, which is based on your content’s relevancy to the user’s search. If your content matches a user’s search term, Google places your webpage or website near the top of the search results. Google then ranks your material based on your customer’s action.

“Google rewards you with traffic and improves your Google ranking based on how your page performs when a customer clicks on your listing,” Scherer said. “Your content must be engaging enough to satisfy your customers’ search so they don’t hit the back button and continue looking for different content.”

For example, if someone searches for “archery lessons,” Google scans websites for the phrase and relevant material. If your website appears in the search results, and people click the link and find what they need, they’ll likely terminate their search, which boosts your Google ranking. However, if they click your link but then hit the back button to keep searching, Google disconnects your content from the applicable search term, which decreases your ranking.

Businesses want high Google rankings to ensure more customers find their site and business through online searches. Scherer said you can achieve higher rankings by writing engaging titles and descriptions that inspire customers to click your listing. Your page content must then be complete and compelling to satisfy users.

Good search-engine optimization techniques, like using links and keywords throughout your blogs and articles, also improves your rank. So does posting regularly. Read the ATA article “Generate Profit-Driving Content for Your Website” to learn why, how and when to create and post content.

If you need content to boost your page, install the ATA’s Archery 360 widget and Bowhunting 360 widget on your website. These widgets are free for ATA members. They populate your site with fresh, unique archery and bowhunting articles, making your job as a content creator easy. Click here to learn more.

 

Pay-Per-Click Ads

Pay-per-click marketing lets businesses and advertisers buy visits to their websites, rather than earn visits organically, according to WordStream. In other words, businesses can create all-text ads that search engines place atop a user’s search results. Each time a reader clicks the ad, the business pays a fee to the search engine. Hence the term, “pay-per-click advertising.”

This marketing strategy is cost-effective because businesses must bid for ad placements in a search engine’s sponsored-links section. If your bid wins, your ad appears atop a user’s results when searching for your specific keyword. PPC marketing is also targeted because businesses can ask search engines to only show their ad based on a user’s location, keywords or demographics. Plus, PPC marketing delivers fast results.

As WordStream writer Larry Kim said: “The moment your PPC campaign is approved (provided that your bids are high enough to merit priority placement), your ads will immediately be displayed for millions of people to see. The traffic will almost be instantaneous.”

Kim said PPC ads are great to use …

–  If your website isn’t optimized for SEO;
–  When you’re promoting a time-sensitive offer;
–  When you’re targeting a niche group;
–  If you want to dominate search results for your keyword.

Google Ads offer a common and effective PPC advertising system. Scherer said ATA members can easily incorporate PPC ads by doing a little research. Most search engines don’t require businesses to create visual ads. Instead, they provide text that appears once a user types in the keyword your business bids on. That’s why it’s important to use high-performance or well-known niche keywords and phrases, like “archery range,” “bowhunting gear,” or “beginner bow.”

Scherer advises ATA members to dedicate most of their PPC marketing budget to local listings. That ensures nearby potential customers see your ad, which increases the chances of them visiting your store. It’s more likely for someone 20 miles away to drive to your shop than someone 80 miles away.

“Be realistic,” Scherer said. “You’ll make mistakes, so don’t spend too much money on one ad campaign.” Instead, he suggests trying new keywords or changing your demographic filters to see what works best for your business. If you want help, talk with a MyATA service provider.

Cell phones are always within reach, so try sending text message alerts. Photo Credit: Unsplash

Text Messages

About 90% of people have a mobile device within reach all day and night, according to a Morgan Stanley study. That means people are forever connected to their phones, which makes them easy to reach through texting, aka SMS marketing.

Scherer suggests business owners use a mass text-messaging service to send alerts, updates, event details and time-sensitive offers to customers. These texts must be short and pointed.

Scherer recommends businesses have their customers “self-segment” when signing up for texts. Self-segmenting gives customers options, and lets them select what they prefer. Create several text subjects or categories, such as sales, events, new products and special promotions, and let your customers pick which texts they want to receive. Segmenting your communications helps you deliver relevant information, which improves open rates and customer relationships. Good point-of-sale systems help you collect and organize customer data, which can also help you create segmented lists.

To build your SMS list, TextMarks.com suggests business owners …

–  Offer sign-up incentives;
–  Promote the service on their website, printed receipts or social media;
–  Promote the service on the radio and let people sign up by texting “Yes” to the SMS business number;
–  Ask recipients to forward the message to friends by writing “Please forward” or “Plz Fwd” – depending on your audience – at the end of the text.

Sending mass texts can be done by select telephone, internet and mobile-ready systems or companies. For example, the ATA-vetted company Celerant Technology will soon offer SMS marketing through its point-of-sale system. Other ATA-member service providers currently offer SMS marketing. Log into your MyATA member dashboard to learn more.

People consider phones to be personal, so don’t routinely interrupt their day or lifestyle. You must only send texts that provide real value. The Upland marketing company suggests companies send four texts per month. Higher send frequencies push customers to opt out or ignore your communications. Be sure a competent person proofreads your texts before you hit send!

SMS marketing is a challenging space to conquer, especially without good buy-in, but it can be effective if you build your list and follow good SMS marketing strategies.

 

Final Thoughts

Scherer said digital marketing efforts work. Plus, they’re affordable and measurable, which makes them easier to justify. He suggests using Google Analytics to ensure you’re investing time in effective digital marketing. Google Analytics is a free service that reveals how visitors find and use your website. It helps you track whether customers came to your site from email, a text, a blog, an ad or a social-media post.

Scherer said creating a Google Analytics account takes only minutes to set up. Once you’re in, you’ll get a “ton of metrics and competitive information” to fine-tune your marketing techniques.

Not sure where to start? Consult an ATA-vetted marketing company to learn how to improve your efforts. Click here to log into your MyATA member dashboard, and then click “Download Free ATA Resources” to access the ATA’s Resource Website. Next, click “MyATA Service Providers” from the drop-down menu to explore your options.

Salerno said the digital world is constantly evolving. You must be disciplined and regularly monitor your digital-marketing efforts. Keep adjusting your strategies to stay relevant, be successful, and ensure high returns on your investments.

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