Trick or Treat: Digital Marketing Edition

If you want your business to remain in the world of the living, you can’t be afraid to partner with a fearless digital marketing agency like Leverage Digital. We’ll equip you with all the weapons you need to prevent your brand from walking among the undead. When you waste your money on outdated marketing and advertising, your business can become possessed by a spirit that doesn’t fit your brand. Now, that’s scary.

Halloween is approaching and the malevolent ghosts of dead brands are playing tricks on businesses. Not all marketing strategies are effective; there are tricks and there are treats. If your business wants to avoid mummified web design and zombified content marketing that fails to log conversions, you need to be able to tell the difference between obsolete marketing tricks and innovative marketing treats.

Branding – Treat

Halloween is just like any other day of the year if you don’t dress up in a costume, and your business will be just like any other business if you don’t develop a strong brand. If you go door to door without a costume, nobody will be encouraged to give you candy. The same is true for your business; without a strong brand woven into every aspect of your business, customers won’t feel particularly motivated to purchase your products or services.

Branding is a powerful tool. Just look at iconic companies like Coca-Cola, Ford, and John Deere; they all possess instantly recognizable brands that help them connect with customers and drive revenue. When you develop a trusted brand, you’ll never have to worry about scaring away customers.

Billboards – Trick

Some agencies are trying to resurrect billboards as an effective advertising platform. Unfortunately, their attempts to give life to this outdated, virtually extinct form of advertising has lead to inept billboards that lack the ability to track conversions, views, and engagement. Billboards are like Frankenstein, they’re large and imposing, but they can’t clearly communicate your brand’s message and are an eyesore for locals. Billboards are best left resting in peace on the side of the highway.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Treat

SEO is the backbone of digital marketing, so if your business is lacking a strong SEO strategy, the result could be spine-tingling. Maintaining a high ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) helps your business boost traffic to its website and prevents you from joining the vampires on pages 3 and 4 who rarely see the light of day. In order for your SEO strategy to deliver the results you desire, you need to make a strong commitment and remain patient. Organic results take time, but once you’ve established yourself as a page one resident, your business won’t need to fear returning to the land of the dead.

Direct Marketing – Trick

If your business sells physical products, but you don’t have the capital or reputation to procure shelf space in retail stores, you can partner with a direct marketing agency to have your products sold in stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. Unfortunately, direct marketers require your business to supply promotional materials like cutouts, signs, and pamphlets to garnish tables staffed by underpaid college graduates who earn commission or hourly exclusively depending on their sales numbers.

Direct marketers often resemble zombies as they pursue customers around stores with arms outstretched, one hand clutching a hair dryer designed by Kim Kardashian’s stylist and in the other, an activated charcoal face cream promoted by Beyonce. They can be overly persistent, which means driving customers away from your brand is just as easy as driving them to it. Direct marketing might help you sell off some stock in the short term, but the damage to your branding will haunt you forever.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – Treat

If you’re already running a successful SEO campaign, you can boost its efficacy by implementing a PPC campaign, too. In addition to getting listed twice on SERPs, you increase click-throughs to your site and the probability of conversion. It’s easy to get spooked when you invest in a multi-tiered strategy that combines SEO and PPC, but this potent combination works together like garlic and silver bullets to keep your business safe from the marketing monsters.

Television Commercials – Trick

Commercials crawl out of your customers’ televisions to scare away their program for an extra thirty seconds, so it comes as no surprise that people aren’t particularly fond of them. Today, cable television is merely a skeleton of what it once was and the prevalence of streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime have led to an influx of “cord cutting,” or canceling cable subscriptions.

Cable service providers are losing hundreds of thousands of subscribers every year and streaming services are the ones digging their graves. Insights from Nielsen can give you a small-picture perspective of the success of your commercial, but television is outclassed in nearly every way by digital marketing. If you are still interested in representing your brand with video, you can shoot trendy video content on a budget without investing in a full-fledged commercial.

When you partner with an award-winning digital marketing agency like Leverage Digital, you can rest easy knowing that your business is supported with valiant branding that helps you survive the zombie marketing apocalypse. Stay away from ill-conceived marketing strategies that leave your business dead in the water and embrace innovative marketing solutions that keep your brand shining.

Running a business is scary. With competition at all-time highs, there’s never been a more vital time to differentiate your brand from the competition. By outfitting your brand with a customized digital marketing strategy from Leverage Digital, you can outclass your competition on every front and grow your business. Our agency busts the bad marketing ghosts and focuses on strategies that help your business succeed in the world of the living.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

Should You Prime Your Website for Desktop or Mobile?

If your business lacks a strong online presence, you’ll be hard-pressed to survive in our increasingly digital world. Without a dedicated website, immersive social media content, and a strong SEO strategy, potential customers will never connect with your business. To remain relevant, you need to invest in a digital imprint that packages the real-world experience of interacting with your business and delivers it to digital displays of all shapes and sizes.

Whether you already have a website or want to invest in an original build-out, it’s imperative that you understand the importance of optimization. With a skilled web developer assisting you, you can create a website that is optimized for both desktops and mobile, but if you’re just starting out, your site’s initial design and functionality will depend on whether you want to prime your digital imprint for desktop or mobile.

The Case for Desktop Optimization

By optimizing your site for desktop, you give your business the opportunity to represent itself with an industry-leading website customized to your precise specifications. With a talented backend developer working behind the scenes, the only limit to your website is your imagination. Unfortunately, the more resources you pour into desktop optimization, the harder it will be to reformat your site for mobile. It’s up to you to decide which type of device will be used to view your website more often: desktop or mobile.

The Case for Mobile Optimization

On the other hand, mobile optimization utilizes a much smaller toolset to create a website that looks as good as it functions on mobile. Ideally, mobile sites are simple, easy to navigate, and built on the Bootstrap framework. 95 percent of Americans have access to a mobile phone, but only 75 percent of Americans have access to a computer. And although the price of smartphones and computers has decreased steadily over the last decade, smartphones are still significantly less expensive. It’s also worth noting that most households contain only one or two computers, but may contain one or more phones per family member. Since more people are accessing the internet from mobile phones, priming your digital imprint for mobile allows you to reach more customers.

Our Recommendation

Although working with an award-winning digital marketing agency like Leverage Digital means you don’t necessarily have to choose one over the other, if you are working on a strict budget, we recommend optimizing your site for mobile first. 57 percent of all internet traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. If you aren’t focusing on engaging mobile users, you could be losing out on 57 percent of your potential chances to convert customers. A website optimized for mobile can still look gorgeous on 5K displays, but it will be inherently less interactive than sites designed specifically for desktop users. Still, with more users embracing mobile technology than ever before, mobile optimization is a safer, more cost-effective solution to your website woes.

How does your business stack up against the competition online? Every year, the amount of business conducted online increases. If you want to dominate your competition, you need powerful branding backed by quantifiable data. It all starts with a website optimized for your brand’s success. At Leverage Digital, our team can provide you with a website that outshines your competition on desktop and mobile.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

How the Quality of Your Website Can Make or Break Your SEO Success

The quality of your website can have a major impact on the overall success of your SEO campaign. There are two major reasons for this:

First, popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo want to ensure their users are having a positive experience when utilizing their powerful search tools. To accomplish this goal, the top search results must include websites that not only contain information relevant to the user’s search query, but also provide the user with an engaging experience once on the site.

Second, websites must be able to convert visitors into leads and sales. A high quality, professionally designed website has a better chance of converting visitors into leads and sales than a poorly designed site with subpar functionality. Locking down first page rankings will be fruitless if your site turns off prospective customers.

How does your website stack up against your competition? Have your customers lauded their experience on your site? Do you feel like your online presence accurately represents the quality and success of your brand? Ensuring that your website provides your customers with a positive user experience will help you convert traffic from SEO and boost profitability; after all, business is going digital, and your website is your new storefront.

Invest in Professional Design

Having an attractive and professional design is one of the best ways to help your website stand out from your competition.

Captivating designs impress and engage users to increase the amount of time they spend interacting with your site. On the other hand, unappealing designs repel users with frustrating, nonsensical navigation and poorly optimized visuals. These issues commonly contribute to high bounce rates and a significant reduction in the time spent on your site. Over time, search engines will begin to perceive these negative signals as a result of a substandard user experience and reduce your site’s search rankings accordingly.

Additionally, people have powerful reactions to visuals and make strong, sometimes permanent, judgments based on first impressions. For this reason, you can expect lower search engine rankings and stifled conversion rates when supporting your brand online with an inferior website. If your website is unattractive or outdated, our agency can help you preserve the success of your SEO campaign while implementing a 360-degree site redesign.

Create Engaging Content

In order to provide users with a positive experience, your site must contain well-written content that meets the needs of your target audience. Users will succumb to frustration and leave your site if your content is irrelevant to their needs or poorly written.

Conversely, users will stay on your site longer, come back more often, and even share your content if it meets their expectations and is deftly written. So, focus on writing content for your target audience, not for search engines.

When you provide users with engaging content, not only will your site receive superior rankings, but the probability of users converting into customers will also increase.

Provide User-Friendly Navigation

Once a user finds your site, is impressed with its design, and engages with your content, the goal is to keep them on your site as long as possible since the more a user engages with your site, the more likely they are to convert into a lead or sale.

Providing users with a navigation structure that makes it easy for them to find additional relevant information is a key element of keeping users engaged. If users find it difficult to locate relevant content because your site’s navigation isn’t intuitive, they will likely give up, and move on to the next site. User-friendly navigation helps you procure “clicks” on your site. By making it simple for users to navigate to another page one or more times within your website, you reduce your bounce rate and provide your SEO campaign with a nudge in the right direction.

Ensure Fast Page Load Speeds

Have you ever clicked on a search result in Google only to find yourself staring at a blank white screen for what feels like an eternity? Did you wait for it to finish loading, or did you get frustrated and move on?

When it comes to your website, no matter how great the design or how engaging the content, slow page load speeds will drag your user-experience through the dirt. Both your rankings and conversion rates will suffer as a result of stunted load speeds.

The importance of investing in a quality hosting solution that provides fast page load speeds is often ignored. Cheap hosting can cost you in the form of suppressed rankings and a decrease in new customers, so a quality hosting solution is well worth the investment.

Conclusion

Effectively applying your business model to a digital framework is key to surviving in today’s digital economy. If a century-old company like Sears can file for bankruptcy as a direct result of competition from online retailers like Amazon, just imagine the effect on small businesses.

With a professional design, engaging content, user-friendly navigation, and fast page load speeds, your business can outshine your competition in the increasingly valuable digital space. Not only will these factors contribute to improved rankings, but they will also lead to higher conversion rates and ultimately more customers.

At Leverage Digital, we help you dominate your brand’s corner of the internet with responsive digital design that outclasses your competition, compelling content that drives SEO and user engagement, and industry-leading web support to ensure that your brand is always growing, day or night. Our holistic approach to marketing allows us to customize a superior marketing plan that helps you reach your objectives while building a solid foundation to drive your brand’s growth into the future.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

7 Reasons Your SEO Campaign Will Fail and What You Can Do About It

Most SEO campaigns are destined for failure because expectations are too high, budgets are too low, decisions are made based on assumptions instead of data, and customer expectations are misunderstood.

Whether you’re managing a campaign yourself, hiring a so-called ‘SEO professional’, or partnering with an award-winning digital marketing agency like Leverage Digital, you should ask yourself these seven questions to determine if your campaign is on the right track to help your business build momentum for sustained growth in the future.

1. Have You Set Realistic Goals?

Setting unrealistic goals for your SEO campaign, such as dominating Google and Bing for every product or service you offer right out of the gate, will almost always result in failure. Instead, set realistic objectives for your campaign and achieve success incrementally.

For example, most businesses offer multiple products or services. If your business falls into this category, it can be daunting to achieve top rankings for everything you offer. With an incremental strategy, you can optimize for one of your top-selling products or services, and after you’ve achieved success, move onto the next product or service and so on.

Also, keep in mind that a successful SEO strategy can be perceived as unsuccessful based solely on unrealistic goals. This is why partnering with a talented digital marketing agency is vital to the success of your SEO strategy. Without knowledgeable guidance and consistent performance audits, it’s nearly impossible to track the metrics of your brand’s success.

2. Do You Have a Practical Timeframe and Budget?

This is a big one. Most businesses do not have practical timeframes or budgets for their SEO campaigns. They want results immediately, but at the same time, are only willing to make a minimal investment. By consulting with our digital marketing agency, you can determine what a realistic timeframe and budget entail for your business.

The more competitive your industry, the greater the timeframe and larger the budget you should expect. If you go into an SEO campaign with a short timeframe and an unwillingness to make the necessary investment, it will most likely fail because you are not affording your marketing partner the necessary time to test your strategy and make the adjustments needed for a successful long-term campaign.

3. Have You Chosen the Right Keywords?

Optimizing for the wrong keywords is common and often the cause of an SEO campaign‘s failure. Ideally, you’ve hired an agency or professional to manage your campaign and selected the right keywords after performing extensive keyword research. However, if you’ve selected your own keywords based on what you “think” your customers are searching without verifying the results with real data, it’s highly improbable that your campaign is using the right keywords.

If you want to ensure that you’re optimizing for the right keywords, analyze keyword data using a reputable research tool to see what keywords your (successful) competitors are using.

4. Is Your Campaign Delivering the Right Traffic?

If you have failed to select the right keywords, then you’re either not delivering enough traffic to your site, not delivering the right traffic, or a combination of both. A quick sniff test to determine if your campaign is delivering the right traffic is to look at your site’s bounce rate for organic search traffic. If you see a high bounce rate for organic search visitors, then what they’re searching for is not consistent with what they’re finding on your website. It’s important to distinguish the bounce rate for organic visitors from other visitor types (i.e., direct visits, referral visits, etc.) so you can make informed decisions based on your organic search traffic specifically. If you have a high bounce rate for all visitor types, you may have a larger issue to address, such as the design or functionality of your website.

5. Do You Have a Professional Website?

A successful SEO campaign starts with a professional website that engages visitors upon arrival. Visitor engagement is crucial to an effective SEO campaign because engagement ultimately results in conversions, which is how most businesses measure a campaign’s success. The lack of a professional website discredits your brand, therefore reducing engagement and conversions.

Here are some questions to ask when evaluating your website:

6. Are You Writing Content That Your Customers Care About?

A dearth of visitor engagement and the resulting lack of conversions can also be attributed to publishing content that fails to answer prospective customers’ questions. Do not write content simply to appeal to search engines. Have a content strategy in place that answers questions and addresses concerns your customers typically have. Prospective customers will appreciate the extra effort, and they are much more likely to become paying customers as a result.

7. Are You Tracking Data and Making Improvements?

Tracking data and making improvements as needed is crucial to a successful long-term SEO strategy. This can often result in small tweaks that help improve the campaign over time or significant adjustments such as revamping an entire content strategy, or even redesigning a website.

It’s a mistake to simply measure the results of an SEO strategy based on one data point, such as rankings or phone calls. You should look at all of the data collectively to develop a better understanding of how your rankings are contributing to traffic and how that traffic is contributing to conversions. If you look at all of the data points as a system working together, it’s easier to find and fix deficiencies. For example, if rankings and traffic are good, but conversions are lacking, this could be due to poor keyword choices, a poorly designed website, or some other factor that could change the entire nature of the campaign if addressed.

Conclusion

Most SEO campaigns are destined for failure, but yours doesn’t have to be. If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you now know where your campaign is lacking and where to focus on making changes. We can help you make those changes.

At Leverage Digital, we help you dominate your brand’s corner of the internet with responsive digital design that outclasses your competition, compelling content that drives SEO and user engagement, and industry-leading web support to ensure that your brand is always growing, day or night. Our holistic approach to marketing allows us to customize a superior marketing plan that helps you reach your objectives while building a solid foundation to drive your brand’s growth into the future.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

Bridging the Gap Between User and User Experience

When you browse the internet and visit the websites of corporate behemoths like Amazon, Walmart, and Toyota, you’ll rarely find yourself wishing the user experience was more streamlined or more fully featured.

Clearly, these companies have invested heavily in competitive, industry-leading websites, which is why search bars find what you’re looking for, carts populate when you add items to them, and checkout procedures are quick, simple, and easy.

This is because successful brands understand that in today’s economy, the internet can either be the birthplace or graveyard of a business depending on how much time and effort they afford to optimizing their digital imprint.

Fortunately, by partnering with an award-winning digital marketing agency like Leverage Digital, you can achieve comparable results even if your business isn’t pulling in billions of dollars in revenue annually.

On the surface, developing your brand’s online presence helps your business reach more potential customers, but the significance of representing your brand online goes much deeper than that. Online optimization isn’t a luxury, it’s an expectation, and if your brand fails to commit resources to stake your claim in the digital space, you’ll fall by the wayside faster than a McDonald’s representative at an organic food convention.

Establishing your brand online requires an ardent commitment to full stack web development. Even the prettiest websites will be shunned if they lack functionality; and likewise, a fully optimized website will never get the chance to prove its worth if its homepage looks like it was designed on the Windows ‘98 version of Microsoft Word.

As more and more business is conducted online, your website will essentially become a global point of sales system where you can procure new business 24/7. Unfortunately, malicious entities maraud the internet for opportunities to create chaos. When your payment processor suddenly disconnects from your bank account, or Google starts flagging your site as “not secure” because you lack an SSL certificate, having dedicated web developers on your side can prevent you from losing out on thousands of dollars or more in potential business opportunities.

When you partner with a digital marketing agency to grow your brand, ensure that their team contains web developers specializing in front-end and back-end development. In order to bridge the gap between user and user experience, you need to ensure that the aesthetics of your web pages are backed by stringent coding that improves responsiveness and optimizes your site for mobile.

Developing your brand’s website requires an equal commitment to style and substance. Regrettably, most advertising and marketing agencies are focused solely on presenting their clients with attractive deliverables; but that’s only half of the job. You wouldn’t purchase the newest iPhone with the oldest iOS, so why would you invest in digital solutions that fail to improve the user experience on an aesthetic and functional level?

Without inspired design, responsive functionality, and a watchdog mentality ensuring that your server and database are healthy and happy, your website will never reach its potential. In fact, without a skilled web developer maintaining the technology that powers the components of your website, it’s impossible for your website to exist at all. And as you’re probably aware — if you’re not online, you’re not in business.

Leverage Digital was established in 2008 to help businesses transition from humble, brick-and-mortar beginnings into digital-savvy industry leaders. Today, our clients benefit from award-winning web design and industry-leading web support that outclasses the competition; all wrapped up in a multifaceted digital marketing strategy customized specifically for your needs. If you’re noticing a dip in revenue because your website is underperforming, our team can help you get back on the right track so you can dominate your competition.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

10 Photo Challenges for Instagram Beginners

With over 1 billion users actively snapping and uploading photos every day, there has never been a better time to take advantage of what is quite possibly the most powerful social media marketing platform in the world: Instagram.

Before your business can start generating leads and converting new customers using Instagram, you will first need to spend some time getting used to this intuitive visual platform. The best way to gain a fundamental understanding of how Instagram works is to dive in head first and start posting.

These 10 photo challenges are perfect for Instagram novices who want to start posting relevant content that engages users, gain a better understanding of how hashtags work, and break into Instagram’s coveted discovery feed.

1. 52 Photos, 52 Weeks

The first rule of Instagram: post consistently. You don’t need to start posting daily from the jump, but a modest goal, like one photo a week, is an effective way to incorporate Instagram into your marketing stack. By posting once a week, you can engage established clients and customers while maintaining a small degree of visibility with fringe customers.

#52photos52weeks #weeklypost #weekinreview

2. Wellness Wednesday

Everyone knows that Instagram users are fixated on health and wellness. This fixation even lead to a brand new career field: fitspo models (essentially fitness influencers). Showcase your brand’s dedication to health and wellness by posting photos of your team enjoying the outdoors, eating a healthy meal together, or exercising. This is a great way to drive casual engagement with users. These types of interactions typically lead to continued engagement over time.

#wellnesswednesday #workoutwednesday #healthyeating

3. Throwback Thursday

Quite possibly the most popular Instagram challenge, Throwback Thursday inspires users to post a photo from the past. Funny baby photos, awkward high school pics, or photos of your business from long ago make for compelling content that cultivates likes and makes it easier for users to connect with your brand.

#tbt #throwbackthursday #lookingback

4. Friday Funday

After a long week of working (and hopefully posting on Instagram), it’s always a good idea to unwind with a simple photo challenge like Friday Funday. This challenge is self-explanatory; post a picture of your business having fun. By utilizing a call to action or positing a question to your target audience, you can organically generate comments and likes.

#fridayfunday #funfriday #justforfun

5. Lunch Break

Instagram is the king of foodie photography. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an account without a single picture of food. Our fascination with pictures of food is logical — food is typically bright, photogenic, and easily staged — and the fact that we eat lunch every day means we’re afforded the opportunity to post every day. Photos of lunch allow you to spotlight your team when they’re not working, which helps you connect with your target audience and break bread digitally.

#lunchbreak #lunchstagram #foodieblog

6. Jumpstagram

Do you remember the ending of every 80s and 90s movie ever? Typically, the conflict is resolved and then something magical happens: all of the protagonists jump skyward as the shot freezes mid-air and the credits roll. The Jumpstagram challenge tasks you with recreating this type of iconic image. The benefit of this challenge is twofold. First, it shows your target audience that the members of your team are close, which inspires confidence in your business. Second, it’s a fun activity to break up the monotony of the day.

#jumpstagram #jump #photofinish

7. Pet Portrait

Pets are universally loved by Instagram users. Incorporating your furry friends into a content-lite post helps to humanize your staff and engage your target audience. Interacting with pets makes people happy even if that interaction takes place from the other side of a mobile display. Pet lovers have a tendency to vocalize their love for animals on social media, so pet-related posts commonly result in comments, likes, and shares. Dogs are the most popular pets on the internet, but cats, lizards, birds, and fish are all capable of helping you engage with your target audience.

#petportrait #animalsatwork #petstagram

8. Love What You Do

Prospective customers are more likely to utilize the products and services of a company that truly loves what they do. Why? When you love what you do, you’re more likely to deliver high-quality results and put forth the extra effort necessary to separate yourself from your competition. Posting photos of your team working happily shows that you value a healthy work-life balance and allows your workers to complete tasks diligently without feeling overburdened. Confucius said it best: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

#lovewhatyoudo #worklove #lovemyjob

9. Quotable

You can create fresh content for social media by repurposing new and existing SEO content as a shareable graphic. Quotables, or visual content that focuses on a quote as the focal point of an image, are easy to design and even easier to share. Promote existing content by posting a quotable on Instagram that redirects users to the article hosted on your website. If you put in the effort, you can create a content marketing strategy around existing SEO content.

#quotable #quotes #inspiration

10. Past and Present

How has your business grown over the years? As you evolve from humble beginnings and achieve true success, it’s always a good idea to take a retrospective look at how far your brand has come. This is an effective Instagram challenge for a number of reasons; most notably, it allows you to showcase the growth of your business without coming off as braggadocious and it allows you reconnect with long-time clients who have stuck with you since the beginning. You can utilize Instagram’s photo album feature to provide your target audience with separate images for your past and present challenge on the same post.

#pastandpresent #changes #thankyou

How do your customers view your business? Do they see you like they see any other business? Or do they see beyond your operations and into the heart of your brand? In today’s economy, competition is stiff, so it’s imperative that you find ways to set yourself apart. Humanizing your brand using curated visual content can help you connect with your target audience and convert new customers. Our agency has the tools and expertise to help you develop a customized social media strategy that grows your brand with measurable results.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

Shooting Trendy Video Content on a Budget

If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, it follows that one of the most important aspects of branding is imagery. Whenever your customers interact with your brand, their brains relay sensory information from your visuals to develop a perception of your company. Everything from your color palette to choice of fonts affects your target audience’s perception of your brand.

And that’s only your static visuals.

Visuals are an integral part of any marketing strategy. Your target audience will engage with visual content more readily than written content because the human ability to process visual information is substantially more streamlined. The Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT) found that “the human brain can process entire images that the eyes see for as little as 13 milliseconds,” which means that well-worn cliché isn’t as ridiculous as you might believe.

If your brand is already running a successful marketing campaign utilizing a combination of SEO and PPC reinforced by original visual content, intelligent web design, and a dedicated social media presence, you should consider taking your visual content to the next level with video.

The idea of entering the audio-visual space can seem imposing and unrealistic, but with the help of our award-winning digital marketing agency, you can produce trendy video content on a budget that demonstrates its worth with measurable results.

Video Stories

A video story is usually comprised of a series of short clips that combine to tell a story, deliver a message, entertain your audience, or explain a product, promotion, or service. Generally, video stories expire after 24 hours, which means there’s no time to get lost in pre- and post-production. Your story is meant to be timely and spontaneous. It should give your target audience more insight into your brand. Fortunately, video stories are inexpensive, customizable, and easily branded:

Creating a unique graphic to introduce your story will grab your customer’s attention. Since video stories are primed for mobile, you’ll always be shooting in 1080px by 1920px.

Although you can start posting stories on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat at anytime, you want to be wary of what you post and always post with intent. It only takes a few minutes to shoot and post a story, which gives your brand the freedom to supplement your content output frequently, but posting for the sake of posting isn’t advised. Your brand should always aim to provide value for your target audience.

Another feature of video stories is the ability to broadcast live and engage in real-time chats with your target audience. Perhaps you’re hosting a birthday party in the office and want to let your customers be a part of the celebration, or maybe you need a platform to disseminate timely information about a new piece of legislation that will affect your brand; either way, live stories create active engagement for virtually zero investment.

Nonetheless, these easy to use but powerful tools are best utilized in conjunction with a veritable marketing strategy. Shooting your own video stories is fun and easy, but if you want to maintain the identity of your brand, consult with a digital marketing agency before proceeding with any haphazard video content.

Interviews and Testimonials

Shooting your own commercial is a costly endeavor. Video production companies usually bill by the hour, and the time it takes to brainstorm a concept, shoot a commercial, and edit it in post-production can take a substantial amount of time. The goal of any commercial is to attract new customers by showcasing your value, but we often find that a utilitarian approach is more suitable for our clients.

Interviews and testimonials are a powerful tool for growing your brand and demonstrating your company’s value to its clients and prospective customers. There’s no need for special effects and the post-production work is minimal because interviews and testimonials focus on clearly communicating your brand’s message directly without the unnecessary foofaraw commonly found in television commercials.

In addition, since interviews and testimonials aren’t technically TV-friendly — since they usually stretch past the 15- to 60-second length associated with commercials — there’s no need to pay for advertising space. Instead, you can boost your ad spend online to increase engagement with your target audience. Promoting your interview or testimonial through these digital channels allows for a much greater degree of customization than television ads that target a general demographic during a specific time slot.

Interviews allow your team to showcase their expertise, while testimonials offer your clients a chance to talk about their experience with your company.

Presentations and Tutorials

Whereas interviews and testimonials are designed to introduce your brand and encourage prospective customers to utilize your services, presentations and tutorials are a tool for educating your target audience about relevant topics that can have a direct effect on your professional relationship.

Although the quality of presentations and tutorials largely depend on your budget, the most important aspect of this type of video content is your information. Is your information clearly stated for your target audience? Is the audio and visual quality of your video sufficient for users on mobile? Have you developed a clear, attractive title for your video that will entice users outside of your target audience?

Presentations and tutorials show that you’re actively working to help your industry grow and prosper by contributing valuable resources to your customers and the world beyond.

It only takes a few minutes to create an account and start posting videos on Youtube using your existing Google account. Your videos can be shared across social media or embedded on web pages as a resource for visitors. Once you have proven your value to enough users, you will start to amass subscribers and establish your case as a bonafide thought leader in your industry. Youtube has expanded their default upload size to 15 minutes, but you can upload videos up to 12 hours long once you verify your Google account. This allows for virtually endless flexibility, so post as much or as little as you desire, but always remember to stay on brand!

Are you ready to start publishing content that outshines your competition and provides more value for your customers? Video content allows you to connect with your customers on a more personal level to express your ideas and proliferate your brand’s message. You can start shooting promotional video content for your brand today. Our videographer has all the tips and tools to help you round out your marketing efforts with professional video content that resonates with your target audience and delivers more traffic to your website.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

Newsworthy Branding: Media Coverage for Your Business

There’s nothing quite like seeing the business you’ve poured your life into gracing the front page of the newspaper. Newspapers and magazines seem to be disappearing from the newstands, but they’ve gained renewed support online; and now, digital issues are even more common than the real thing.

People interact with the news more closely than they did in the past. Smartphones chirp every time a news story breaks, and apps like News deliver curated content tailored specifically to our reading and search habits. While some experts claim that print media is dead, the truth is that it packed its bags and moved to a boundless format with endless possibilities.

The news media is still alive and well; and for businesses looking to spread their name and reach new customers, media coverage is still an effective, cost-free mechanism for increasing your brand’s visibility in the physical and digital world.

However, it’s impossible to advertise your brand in the media without a story. If you want to advertise for the sake of advertising, you’ll have to purchase ad space from a publication. If you want the opportunity to grow your brand organically using media coverage, you will need to do something newsworthy, write a press release, and contact multiple publications or media companies.

Making Your Brand Newsworthy

Similar to the way your brand is vying for visibility on search and social, news stories battle for prime real estate on the first page of the newspaper or homepage of a publication’s website. If you want your brand to stand a chance against breaking news from the White House and your local area, your brand will need to find a way to attach itself to a big scoop.

Whether you’re seeking local or national coverage, there’s one common thread that connects most new stories — they all feature news that has an effect on people. When you introduce a new product or service for your customers, your primary goal is to grow your business. Unfortunately, growing your brand doesn’t constitute news without incorporating your community. Most news outlets are willing to let you spotlight your brand during a feature as long as you showcase something compelling for general readers.

Does your business engage in social outreach programs that benefit your community? Have you thrown events that welcome your community and aim to improve the lives of the less fortunate? Are you introducing a product or service that will have groundbreaking implications on customers and non-customers alike? These are types of stories the news press considers ‘newsworthy’.

Hosting fundraisers, social gatherings, and contests are a few ways you can get involved with your community in a newsworthy way. Partnering with other local businesses is also an effective tactic for helping your brand get featured in print or digital media. Charitable contributions are almost always worth talking about, too. If you want your brand to be featured in the media, you need to show that your company is more than just a business.

Write a Press Release

Once you’ve confirmed that your brand is involved in a newsworthy story that will captivate readers, it’s time to write a press release. Depending on the intent of your story, you will choose whether to send your press release before or after your news.

For instance, if the story involves your brand hosting a community picnic, you will want to send out the press release ahead of time so the story can be published before the event to boost attendance. Conversely, if your business already engaged in a newsworthy act (e.g., donated textbooks to underserved children, paid for a community member’s chemotherapy and recovery) you will want the press release sent out afterwards to tell the story in its entirety.

Regardless of when you send the press release, it’s imperative that your press release contains a few vital components:

First and foremost, consult a public relations specialist who can write a compelling press release that immediately hooks reporters. At Leverage Digital, our content strategists have worked in public relations and the news media, so drafting successful press releases is second nature. Regrettably, writing your own press release can be a fruitless time sink. Outside of the stringent formatting requirements, deciding what content is pertinent to the press release can be tough. If a reporter picks up a press release from the newswire, but finds it to be incorrectly formatted or lacking clarity, they will ditch it instantly in favor of a press release written with a higher degree of professionalism.

Second, your press release should include direct quotes from relevant sources. If you want to have a story about a fundraiser published in the newspaper, you will need to collect quotes from important members of your organization as well as people who attended the fundraiser. Provide full quotes so the reporter can edit them for publication as needed. If your quotes are too short or fail to illustrate why your story is newsworthy, the reporter will likely dump them and scrap your story.

Finally, no press release is complete without images. Stories are thrown out regularly because they lack visuals. News stories always benefit from pictures and photographs that grab the reader’s attention. If you supply your own visuals, the reporter won’t have to submit a photo request form thereby saving time and money. Our digital marketing agency can improve your press release by supplying you with professional-quality photographs that capture your brand at its best.

Contact Multiple Publications

Sending out your first press release can be nerve-wracking. You spent a lot of time (or money) ensuring that your press release was well-written, so you don’t want to be rejected; but, more often than not, you will be. And that’s perfectly normal.

There are numerous publications on the local level in most areas, and your options expand significantly when you start reaching out to national publications. Plus, specialized, online-only publications give your brand the ability to reach users you might have never considered in the past. Once you’ve decided which type of news platform is best for your brand, send out as many press releases to as many credible publications as possible to increase your chances of landing coverage.

Your story could get picked up by one publication, zero publications, or ten publications. Regardless of the outcome, you’re taking the necessary steps to expand your brand’s visibility thereby generating new leads and improving your brand recognition. Best of all? This process is essentially free. You pay for advertising. You don’t pay for news coverage.

Growing your brand organically starts with SEO, but what comes next? There are countless ways to promote your brand without a significant investment of capital, but these methods often require the expertise of a talented digital marketing agency like Leverage Digital. Whether you want your brand positioned on the front page of Google or the front page of your local newspaper, our team is ready to help you elevate your business and enhance your brand. With over $100 million in revenue generated for our clients, our fearless approach to marketing is sure to deliver the measurable results you’ve been waiting for.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

4 Reasons You Should Run a Paid Search Campaign Alongside Your Already Successful SEO Strategy

One of the common misconceptions in digital marketing is that SEO and paid search are mutually exclusive. If search visibility is achieved through SEO, why invest in paid search? Although it might seem unnecessary, running a paid search campaign using AdWords can bolster your SEO strategy and ensure that your brand has a commanding presence on search engine results pages. Here are four reasons why using AdWords strengthens your SEO strategy.

Reason #1: Organic Rankings are Volatile; Ad Rank is Not

Organic rankings can be volatile. Unless you work with a proven team of digital marketing professionals and skilled content strategists to continuously produce high-quality content, your rankings could fluctuate unpredictably. One day you’re in the top five for a high-priority keyword, and the next day you’re nowhere to be found. With Google’s constant algorithm updates and user-interface changes, organic rankings have grown increasingly volatile. Tackling these issues alone can be a daunting task.

This is not the case with AdWords. Once you have the right mix of quality score and budget, your Ad Rank (your ad position relative to other ads) is fairly consistent. However, reaching this point can be challenging without the insight of a designated Google Partner like Leverage Digital. Paid search campaigns require a fair amount of work to achieve the right Ad Rank for the right price, but you have far more control over the ranking of your ads than you do over your organic search rankings.

Reason #2: Earn Twice the Visibility

The Google search results pages contain a lot of information, all of which competes for searchers’ attention. So, while being listed on the first page is great, being listed twice is even better, particularly if both your organic search ranking and ad are listed in the top three organic and paid positions.

Furthermore, if your competitors are listed once on the first page for a priority keyword, while you’re listed twice, you have double the visibility and thus a clear advantage if the rankings are comparable.

Reason #3: Increase Click-Throughs

A natural byproduct of increasing search visibility is increasing clicks to your website. Even though clicks are not a measurement of success, they are a prerequisite for conversions.

Google conducted a study in 2012, which concluded that 50 percent of clicks generated by paid ads are not replaced by organic clicks when the ads are absent and the website has a first position organic search ranking. The study also shows that as the organic search ranking decreases, the percentage of clicks not replaced by the paid ad increases. This implies that organic search alone cannot drive as much traffic to a website as organic search combined with paid search.

Reason #4: Increase the Probability of Conversion

By increasing traffic to your site, you also increase the probability of conversions. We have seen increases in conversions as high as 200 percent as a result of combining SEO and paid search. While your conversions may not necessarily increase 200 percent, it is logical that they will increase as a result of higher search visibility and an influx of traffic to your site.

Conclusion

With the right execution, a paid search campaign combined with an already successful SEO strategy can deliver traffic and conversions that you would otherwise miss by relying solely on organic search.

If you want to dominate the search engine results pages, you need to implement a digital marketing campaign that goes above and beyond your competition. At Leverage Digital, we employ innovative digital marketing strategies to help you engineer your own success. Our award-winning agency combines industry-leading design with thorough statistics tracking to ensure your objectives are met with measurable results.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.

5 Steps to Execute a Site Redesign Without Compromising SEO

You’ve spent years investing in SEO, and now your brand dominates the rankings, but you’ve neglected your website and now your customers are stuck interfacing with an outdated platform that isn’t even mobile friendly.

It’s time for a redesign.

You’ve probably heard all of the horror stories that tell of disastrous site redesigns killing your search rankings and negatively influencing all the progress you’ve made with your SEO strategy, when in fact, your reluctance to embrace an updated design is the true culprit.

Don’t believe the ghost stories. Let a team of dedicated marketing specialists show you how powerful a well-executed site redesign can be for your brand. Here are five steps to ensure that you are able to successfully execute your site redesign without compromising months or possibly years of investment in SEO.

Step 1: Evaluate Your SEO Strategy

A site redesign is the perfect time to evaluate your SEO strategy and figure out which keywords and landing pages are providing the most value, and which ones are providing the least. This will allow you to assess which keywords and landing pages to prioritize during the redesign.

During this process, you may find keywords that rank well, but perform poorly at delivering quality traffic. These keywords may not be worth including in your post-redesign SEO efforts, which presents a great opportunity to refine the keywords you’re targeting to ones that will drive higher quality traffic to the site.

When evaluating your SEO strategy, you may also find that certain landing pages fail to engage visitors and convert them into leads or sales. We believe a site redesign presents the perfect opportunity to address page level engagement and conversion issues, too.

Ironically, by evaluating your SEO efforts prior to a site redesign, and addressing issues that you may have otherwise overlooked, you can actually end up with a superior SEO campaign once your redesign is complete.

Step 2: Keep the Same URL Structure or Implement 301 Redirects

As it pertains to SEO, it is ideal to maintain the same URL structure when executing a site redesign, but this not always practical. You may be moving the site to a new platform that has different requirements, or you may have reorganized your content, which resulted in changes to the URL structure. In any case, when you change your URL structure, it is imperative that you implement a page level 301 redirect.

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. It helps retain rankings by guiding search engines from the old URL to the new URL where the requested content now lives. 301 redirects also preserve inbound links and internal links, both of which help retain rankings.

Retaining a positive user-experience is just as important as retaining good rankings. By preserving inbound links and internal links, 301 redirects prevent visitors from being greeted with a “404 Not Found” error message when accessing the site through inbound links or navigating the site through internal links that point to defunct URLs.

Step 3: Maintain On-Page Optimization

Maintaining on-page optimization might seem like an obvious step, but a site redesign can often involve moving, revising, and adding new content. All these moving parts can make it easy to forget the basics.

Use this as an opportunity to not only maintain, but to improve, on-page optimization. Start by making sure any keyword changes are incorporated into the appropriate pages. Then, review each title and description tag. Make sure they’re unique for each page, incorporate the target keyword(s) for that page, and accurately describe the content they’re associated with.

Once this has been accomplished, review the site’s URLs and make sure they’re optimized for each page. Finally, check for broken internal links and review all anchor text to make sure it is consistent with any keyword changes that were made in step 1.

Step 4: Create HTML and XML Sitemaps

Create HTML and XML sitemaps to help search engines discover any new or existing content that has moved to new URLs. HTML sitemaps are also useful to site visitors because they help them discover new and existing content that has been relocated.

After creating an XML sitemap, be sure to submit it to the major search engines to expedite the crawling of any new or moved content. This step, combined with page level 301 redirects, will ensure efficient crawling and indexing of your content.

Step 5: Monitor, Measure, Improve

Once the redesigned site goes live, carefully monitor your rankings and traffic data. You can determine whether or not your site redesign was successful and meets your goals by asking yourself questions like:

A site redesign should not be a one-and-done project. Just like any other marketing initiative, the results of your redesign should be monitored, measured, and improved over time, preferably with the help of a dedicated digital marketing agency that is ready to stick with your brand over the long haul. Our agency can help you execute a flawless site redesign without compromising SEO.

Is your website old and outdated? You might be driving traffic to your site, but if the user experience is lacking, you will face a significant challenge when trying to retain the interest of your target audience. At Leverage Digital, we utilize a comprehensive approach to SEO that deftly handles the technical side of SEO while facilitating organic growth by improving the user experience. Your brand is ready to grow. We can help.

Ready to partner with an award-winning agency that delivers results? Let’s get started.