About Michael Lewis

3 Free PR Strategies to Make Any Campaign Better

October 7th, 2016

shutterstock_215381881Any digital campaign can benefit from some good PR – and who can argue with free? Getting the most for your digital marketing efforts is vital, and these three tips will help improve any digital campaign on any budget.

Guest Blogging

Aside from its value in exposure, guest blogging is also very helpful for Custom Link Building (CLB ) efforts. The real question here is ‘how do you find the right guest blogs to write for’? It’s all about establishing and maintaining relationships with the right connections. In this case, pitching reporters and blog owners for topics on personal areas of expertise can be very helpful long-term. In the event that they lack solid topics for you – they might be more inclined to point you in the right direction if you have established a good relationship.

The benefits of guest blogging, you ask? Free exposure with useful links that lead to your website can help exposure and your search engine rankings, which can be twice as effective in boosting your digital campaign.

Sourcing Press Mentions

Using free programs like Google Alerts allows users to get news as soon as it hits the web. This gives a PR pro the opportunity to frame the news and make it about themselves or their client. The timeliness is what’s really key for these programs; the more time you have to prepare, the better off you are. You can also get the jump on your competition and be vying for exposure against a thinned herd of prospects. These programs can also be used to track your competitors’ press – this can provide insight as to what direction your company might want to take.

Benchmarking Competition’s Social Media

Social Media Marketing is evolving every day, and like other forms of advertising it’s about breaking through the clutter and getting noticed. While you’re always looking for the next big strategies, it can be very helpful to benchmark your competitors and see what’s working for them. Maybe they’re tweeting to fans more, or using more videos. Regardless, this is a great opportunity to get the idea that can catapult your social media efforts to the next level.

With so many free tools that allow you to analyze your content, you can compare your own data to your competition’s results. With free tools like Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics available, it would be crazy not to take advantage of them! Once you compare the data, you’ll be able to use this knowledge to gain valuable organic traffic.

If you’re not satisfied with your social media accounts, call Active Web Group. We are a full service digital marketing agency that provide social media strategy and account management for businesses of all sizes and industries. We also offer responsive web design, SEO services, email marketing, PPC, and more! For more information: (800) 978-3417.

How to Set Your Email Marketing Budget

August 22nd, 2016

Applying the correct budget is one of the most important factors in creating a successful email marketing campaign. If your budget is too high, you will overspend and lose money, if your budget us too low, you will fall short on your goals. If you are unsure about setting your email marketing budget, follow these 4 steps to maximize profits and ensure your business gets the most for your investment.


See How Email Marketing Can Boost Your ROI

5 Steps to Tracking User-Activity for Optimal Email Marketing Results

July 14th, 2016

Optimal Email Marketing Results

Analytics is the driving force behind digital marketing. Understanding data is one thing, mastering it is what separates the pros from the rest of the group. Tracking user-activity gives marketers key insights such as

  • How much time the user spent on the given page
  • Where the user eventually clicked
  • What page(s) they visited after your landing page
  • How much was purchased

This is all valuable information required to craft the most effective emails because they indicate the strengths and weaknesses of your messaging or discount. Without the right data, how can you be confident that you’re allocating your time to the right cause?

Step 1: Collect the Right Data

This is a straight-forward step. With software like Google Analytics, you’re given the resources to read how your websites are performing. After setting your website up with Google Analytics (for free) you’ll be able to track and modify campaign codes to get the stats needed to optimize your email marketing.

Step 2: Analyze Your Data

The next step is to analyze the data to find what is or isn’t working. For instance: if your emails are showing promising open and click-through rates, but low conversions, there is likely a problem with the calls-to-action or the overall design of your landing page(s).

Step 3: Implement Changes

With potential problems identified, you can now use your data to make a change. Implementing small changes based on your data is a sure way to improve results over time. Just note that you should only change one thing at time, so you can measure what is having the biggest impact.

Step 4: Test

The best way to get actionable data is with proper A/B testing. Test just one thing at a time, and identify the purpose and parameters of the test before you start. Let’s say you move in another direction with your subject lines – this should directly impact your open rate. If you see an increase or decrease in open rate during A/B testing, you’ll know exactly why. Just be sure to keep send times, contact lists, and other potential factors constant to ensure that they aren’t influencing your results (think about independent and dependent variables).

Step 5: Repeat

The importance of repetition cannot be overstated when it comes to testing. The larger the sample size, the more reliable your data will be. The performance of some emails will astound you, while others will cause you to scratch your head – it’s important not to sweat the small stuff.

When it comes to long-term testing, you should be looking for consistent changes that come as a result of the tweaks you have made. These shifts in data will give you additional information for making even more changes. These slow, yet steady changes will lead to constantly increasing results.

Data Drives Profits

By following the data, you can increase sales, and your emails will gain effectiveness over time. Email marketing is not only great for increasing sales to new customers; it will also turn some of them into repeat customers. With everything said and done, effective email marketing is only possible when you analyze the data and utilize it to implement positive changes overtime.

What You Need To Know About the AdWords Update

June 16th, 2016

Google Adwords Update

Google has announced some major updates for AdWords that they expect to take effect later this year. Designed towards mobile, early testing from Google has suggested up to a 20% increase in clickthrough rates for some advertisers in the near future. This will have a significant impact on how brands decide to customize digital ad spend.

What has changed?

The update was designed to better suit what Google calls a “mobile-first world”. Tailoring its new rules to better conform to digital advertising on mobile devices, AdWords has changed and brands have to adapt accordingly. As a result, AdWords will optimize screen sizes to fit the most popular smart phones and have new expanded text ads, which will allow brands to add more product information to their ads.

Additional freedoms have also been made for bidding as brands will be able to set individual bid adjustments for each device type (desktop, mobile, and tablet).

Advertisements from AdWords will now be responsive, meaning new ads will be able to adapt with diverse content all throughout the sites and apps on the Google Display Network.

The three most significant adjustments are as follows:

1. Ads will allow for more prominent headlines

As it stands, one 25-character headline is permitted. The new update will allow for two 30-character headlines

2. More leeway will be added for description lines

Currently two 35-character description lines are given; the new update will consolidate them to one 80-character description line.

3. Relevant Display URLs will be implemented

Right now, the display URL has to be entered manually. While this isn’t entirely pressing, any mismatch between the final display URL and the URL(s) of the landing page(s) will be disapproved altogether. With the new AdWords update, user domains will be automatically extracted from the final URL, removing any chance of human error and promoting more accuracy. The option to customize the URL path will also be made available with the new update.

What does this mean?

With the new update heavily favoring mobile marketers, there will be drastic changes to the way that brands advertise through AdWords – starting with the freedom of customizing ad placement (mobile, tablet, or desktop). With new guidelines surrounding ad copy and display URLs added, brands will adapt and never see and use AdWords the same again.

Active Web Group is a full-service digital marketing agency with experts in Pay Per Click Management, Digital Branding, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and many other practices to help businesses grow every day.

The Key Differences Between Digital and Traditional Marketing

April 28th, 2016

Differences Between Digital and Traditional Marketing

There are many misconceptions as to what digital marketing really is and how it differs from traditional forms of marketing. The question often asked is, which is more effective? Digital marketing is certainly more effective because of its ability to track data – but that’s not to say that traditional marketing is dead, because they both have their niche. Despite where your audience may or may not be, one thing is for certain – the impact of technology on consumers is increasing, showing no signs of slowing down.

Digital marketing has become more profitable in recent years because it works directly with the digital world we live in. Global Consulting Director, Dr. Thomas Oosthuizen talks about how measurable data is affecting how businesses can better understand their ROI. To learn more about measurable data and ROI read his corresponding blog. If your business has a website or another type of digital presence, there are ample opportunities to increase exposure, and drive more traffic to your website, ultimately making your business more money. The number one thing to always consider when investing in a service is the ROI (return on investment). The key to a good ROI is efficiency, which is pertinent for digital marketing. Let’s see what exactly makes digital marketing so efficient:

Audience Segmentation

Audience segmentation is a key component in the world of marketing. The goal of the marketer is to reach and communicate a message with their intended audience, not just anyone. This is certainly possible for traditional marketing, as you can choose what magazines you place your ads in, and decide where you place your billboards, but that’s very conservative when compared to the way that digital marketers segment their audiences.

The same could be said with digital marketing – you can choose where you place web banners and measure the stats of your social media posts, but digital marketing is measured to an exact science. For example, say you were on a website looking for shoes and you decided to think about whether or not you wanted to buy them. You eventually go on Facebook, and you notice an advertisement for the shoes you were thinking about buying right next to your trending topics. With the introduction of remarketing, consumers are constantly being exposed to advertisements for products they have already searched for and viewed online, making interacting with that product again much more likely, and even perhaps leading to a sale. There is no way traditional marketing can gauge their audience better. Traditional advertisements are unable to track or measure viewing habits, which brings us to our next example.

Data is Measured More Effectively

As far as measuring data is concerned, digital marketers are able to accurately track how well their marketing efforts are working – allowing them to make better decisions moving forward. Let’s remember the key to effective marketing is knowing how to analyze your data and implement changes based on what your data tells you. For traditional marketing, can you really say for sure how many people saw your billboard? You can estimate by generalizing how many cars drove by it, but then you have to consider the accuracy of your guess. Do you know how many people were in each car and how many of them saw it and paid attention? There is a lot of room for error. For digital marketers, measuring data is a different story because they are given a long list of statistics ranging from a simple impression (views of a particular piece) to something more complex, such as how much time someone spent on a web page and where they clicked (which can lead to why).

A Potentially Larger (and More Personal) Reach

The ability to correctly, and successfully target your demographic is crucial to your campaign’s success. For digital marketing, your demographic can range from a local to a global audience, which is something much more difficult to achieve with traditional marketing tactics. A billboard is stationed in one place and a magazine only covers so far, but the internet is everywhere. If there’s a language barrier, most, if not all internet browsers can translate the text instantly. This shows marketers that the digital world grants a potential infinite reach to their audience.

A digital presence also brings the opportunity for interaction. For instance, social media managers can respond to comments or questions, taking advantage of the opportunity to establish a personal connection with their audience. Never before has there been an interactive approach like this, other than traditional customer service.

As we shift towards a digital world, it only makes sense to adopt a method of marketing that can best reach our digital audience. By adding the element of digital tracking to the equation, an effective approach also becomes a cost-effective way to invest in your business’ marketing efforts.

You can read more on our blog on how social media has changed customer service here!

Active Web Group is a full-service digital marketing agency with experts in PPC Advertising, Digital Branding, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and many other practices to help businesses grow every day.

Active Web Group Builds Trust with Game Day

April 21st, 2016

Jeff and Designers Team

“The Office Triathlon of Fun… and Trust”, hosted by Long Island Digital Agency, Active Web Group has just ended, and the final results are in! But before we get to the final scoring, let’s get a quick recap – 

After picking their names out of a hat at random, Active Web Group’s contestants were designated into four teams. The four teams – Minions that Say Papaya, Jeff and the Designers, Team Three & Occasionally Mike Perna or Sung, and Dream Team were introduced, allowing the torch to be lit and the games to begin.

The intense three-week affair consisted of three events that pushed everyone to their limits… of trust. The first event was “two truths and a lie”, a true test of cognitive capacity in which teams had to forge two truths and a lie about themselves and get their teammates to recall them, all while stumping the opposing competitors.

The second event proved to be even more treacherous than the first. It was an office scavenger hunt. Just a few of the mandatory items to be found were magazines in the waiting lounge, exactly 27 cents, and an expo marker. The final challenge was to complete a math problem in the conference room, a problem that deemed itself too challenging for some of the contestants.

For the record, here’s the problem: “Replace x with the correct math symbol to make the expression true: 18 x 12 x 4 x 5 x = 59”

Dream Team made a historic comeback, beating Jeff and the Designers by a mere 0.38 seconds. This event earned Dream Team 40 points, propelling them to a first place lead!

Minions Papaya Team

The third and final event was no challenge for the weak. For the final event – the deciding factor of who would be victorious, each team had to work together and build an architectural structure from 20 raw spaghetti strands, 8 inches of string, two feet of masking tape, a pair of scissors, and a marshmallow. Each team was allotted 18 minutes to construct a building with a marshmallow on top, the marshmallow that reached the highest peak, without any help staying up won! Team three & Occasionally Mike Perna or Sung came out with a spectacular victory, earning them 50 points. The final 50 points won Team Three & Occasionally Mike Perna or Sung the battle and the war, here are the final results:

1st Place: Team Three & Occasionally Mike Perna or Sung – 92 points

2nd Place: Dream Team – 53 points

3rd Place: Jeff and the Designers – 49 points

4th Place: Minions that say Papaya – 46 points

Despite Team Three & Occasionally Mike Perna or Sung’s success, the other teams declared that the battle is over, but the war is in fact is not, suggesting there will be more action to come. Stay tuned for more!

The Dream Team

Active Web Group is a full-service digital marketing agency that provides social media strategy and account management for businesses of all sizes and industries. We also offer responsive web design, SEO services, email marketing, PPC Advertising, and more!

How to Use Social Media for Advertising

January 12th, 2016

Social media is how users share everything from delivering important world news to funny cat pictures. It also affects how users make purchasing decisions. Just as consumers once relied on print ads and televisions spots, social media is where customers are getting information about products. Due to this shift, brands have to think about how social media can be leveraged for advertising. Read More »