About Michael Lewis

Mobile Browser vs. Native Apps

December 12th, 2016

While many have said that native apps were the future, research suggests that mobile websites have already become the more dominant source for mobile information.

While apps were once requisite, it’s become increasingly apparent that they have become unnecessary for most of the functions required to facilitate using mobile devices. Native Apps began as a result of connection issues, which we no longer face thanks to our 4G and Wi-Fi-everywhere world.

Native (or Mobile) Apps are great for frequent tasks like communicating with friends and co-workers. For these necessary actions, dominant apps such as Facebook, Slack, and WhatsApp will clearly continue, even gain in popularity. The same however, cannot be said for smaller native apps.

While native apps are ideal for some things, we have found that they trail responsive websites for many other actions. In short, everything that the dominant native apps can’t give us, browsers can.

Apps like Facebook act as a hub for discovering social and general content based on our interests, which makes them incredibly valuable. Many Americans download zero apps per month, which means they use their must-have apps (Like Facebook and WhatsApp) and see no need to look for additional apps.

While dominant native apps will almost definitely have a place in the future of mobile, don’t be surprised if companies start to shift their focus toward responsive websites instead. Having a solid, responsive website ensures its accessibility everywhere and anywhere for everyone. Once active, a responsive site also leaves no lack of continuity for information or design between desktop and mobile, which is essential for brand messaging.

This is not only effective for functionality, but works from a cost perspective, as well. In 2016, over half of online users are using mobile devices, which means that a responsive website has become imperative. Additionally, Google has begun to “favor” sites that have responsive versions as opposed to those that do not. Having to download a mobile app to make one or two online purchases might also affect the buyer’s mood, which makes having a fully responsive website even more important.

When we talk about the future of mobile, we have to consider what people are using now and why. The top native apps are thriving, while the rest are falling short to mobile websites that are better equipped to handle user’s needs. Technology will always evolve around what users want, and the demand for mobile browsers over native apps has proven to be just that.

5 Steps to Enhance Your B2B Branding

December 2nd, 2016

Enhancing your brand can be one of the most profitable long-term decisions a business can make. Effective branding leads to cohesive messaging, which communicates more to your audience than just your name. A well-executed identity strategy can create the opportunity for long-term profits. It’s what sets your brand apart, ensuring more business and greater ROI.

Establish a Brand Style Guide

Having guidelines sets the rules for all brand stakeholders. This provide a best practices manual for your logos, fonts, colors, and anything else that would be used to visually express your brand’s identity. With these guidelines in place, everyone will be able to work towards the same goals, protecting the same brand, thereby creating effective branding continuity.

Revisit Your Mission Statement

Mission and vision statements can become outdated and lose their true meaning over time. As your company evolves, so should your mission statement. An updated mission statement will ensure a business never loses touch with its core goals, or its targeted demographic.

A mission statement should identify who your company is, its long-term goals, and how to achieve said goals. If this mission statement (which is essentially a formal executive plan) is written correctly, its execution is simply to pursue your company’s stated business goals, within the stated timeline.

Strengthen Your Company Culture

Every part of your business should represent your brand, including your employees. You have to live by your brand daily. Successful branding should tie directly into the company’s desired public perception. Any lack of cohesive messaging can skew your brand’s unique meaning and intent, which can negatively impact public perception as a whole.

Put the ‘Social’ in Social Media

Social media is an excellent way to extend your brand messaging. Using Disney World as an example, brands can make themselves instantly recognizable, just by their logo design, choice of font, coloring, or wording they choose. Perpetuating this messaging can be as easy as sharing your latest updates and communicating with key audiences on social media.

Implementing Public Relations Strategies

Creating relationships with third-party endorsements that tie into your brand is also beneficial. Having someone considered an authority in another field talk about your brand establishes its credibility and extends your brand’s reach by association.

While the right relationships are essential for any successful brand, it is especially crucial to maintain a custom link building campaign, which can attract more qualified traffic to your website. The process is organic, and takes time and effort, as it is essentially a relationship-building exercise. However it can reap sizeable benefits in higher rankings, drive more quality site traffic, increase conversions and ROI.

If you have questions regarding B2B branding, call Active Web Group. We are a full service digital marketing agency that provides and branding initiatives and account management for businesses of all sizes and industries. We also offer responsive web design, SEO services, email marketing, PPC, social media campaigns, and more! For more information regarding an effective AWG B2B Branding campaign, contact us at (800) 978-3417.

3 Sources to Boost Your Persona Research

October 18th, 2016

shutterstock_228129856The most effective marketing campaigns require extensive preparation before moving into specific strategies. Effective initiatives and campaigns are developed from an understanding of your goals and objectives. Funneling these goals and objectives into detailed marketing personas has become a popular and efficient way of understanding target audiences and assisting marketers to channel their efforts directly to their stated demographic. Realizing these personas will chart your enterprise’s course for success.

Social Media Research

One benefit of social media data is that it users have basically laid out their interests and views, which allows for easy market segmentation. To take this up one more level, social analytics tools like Facebook Insights and Audiense can supply ample information to be used to create the ultimate marketing personas. This data can easily provide insight into how your customers think, and what drives them to take action. Social media monitoring tools can also help find potential customers based on what they’re looking for, which in turn supplies more data for your ever-growing marketing persona.

Customer Surveys

Encouraging customer feedback from is one of the best ways to learn from them. Customer surveys are especially unique because they give direct responses. Consider a survey with 7-10 open-ended questions posted on popular sites like Survey Monkey can give actionable information that you don’t have to interpret. Few (if any) methods are more informative than direct responses, as these provide straight forward answers based on customer experience. No further analysis is required until all the data has been gathered.

Website Analytics

Knowing what your customers are looking for is crucial when analyzing them from a marketing perspective. Using tools like Google Analytics can provide insight as to where (your) site visitors are coming from, what keywords they used to find you, and how much time they’ve spent on your site. In addition, these analytics tools can also shed light on where these visitors are clicking, providing indirect feedback as to what is or isn’t resonating with your audience and what is driving the digital customer experience.

For over a decade, Active Web Group has provided our comprehensive Digital Agency skillset to promote businesses of every size and in almost every industry. Utilizing performance models such as customized performance personas, we assist our clients to achieve their business goals and objectives. We also provide social media strategy, account management, programming, email marketing services, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and web design services. For questions or to learn more, please contact us at (800) 978-3417.

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 is 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.

email-marketing

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.

  1. 1
  2. 2