31 Digital Marketing Tricks & Treats From The Experts

No tricks, all treats: a col­lec­tion of tips from 31 smart search and dig­i­tal mar­keters on SEO, email, social, con­tent, brand­ing, and more.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 229 comments

No mat­ter how clever your cos­tume is this year, we can’t give you can­dy. But we couldn’t let Hal­loween go by with sim­ply a sto­ry and a fes­tive tweet. So: Our treat to you this Octo­ber 31 is a col­lec­tion of tips from some of the best minds in search and dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing.

Read on to fill your vir­tu­al plas­tic pump­kin with clever ideas and insights, tool rec­om­men­da­tions, step-by-step guides on how to improve the cus­tomer jour­ney and more from marketing’s best. That includes experts from the likes of Frito-Lay, Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Home Depot and The Weath­er Chan­nel, among oth­ers. And you don’t even have to wan­der around your neigh­bor­hood in the cold! What’s more, we reck­on this roundup will be use­ful long after your can­dy is gone. Hap­py Hal­loween from Momen­tol­ogy!

Frito-Lay CMO Ram Krishnan

Ram Krishnan, Chief Marketing Officer of Frito-Lay North America

There are lots of plat­forms and shiny toys, so don’t spread your mon­ey too thin. Instead, pur­pose­ful exper­i­men­ta­tion on one to two key plat­forms and close loop mea­sure­ments is high­ly impact­ful. It’s like­ly you can reach the vast major­i­ty of your con­sumers on these one to two plat­forms. And with very lit­tle mon­ey, you can tell if your idea/campaign will gain trac­tion. Test it in a small way before ampli­fy­ing with lots of mon­ey. Tech­nol­o­gy has been a great equal­iz­er. There is no cor­re­la­tion between the size of the spend and the big­ness of the idea.

Matt McGowan Google

Matt McGowan, Head of Strategy at Google

When it comes to your Google AdWords spend, there are two tools I high­ly rec­om­mend:

  1. RLSA, which allows you to bring togeth­er intent, con­text and audi­ence to help your busi­ness dri­ve sales and leads with great ROI.
  2. Cus­tomer Match, which allows you to cus­tomize mar­ket­ing efforts based on audi­ence seg­ments from CRM data (email lists).

Speak­ing of email, which unfor­tu­nate­ly does­n’t get the atten­tion it deserves, I am also extreme­ly excit­ed about the new­er Automa­tion Tools that ESPs and Mar­ket­ing Tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies like Adestra.com now offer…not only are they sim­ple to use. If you haven’t begun to auto­mate the A/B test­ing and send­ing of your out­bound mes­sag­ing, you are miss­ing the boat!

Bas Image for Halloween

Bas van den Beld, Founder of State of Digital and European Search Personality of the Year

I think one big treat that at the same time is just a tiny bit scary would be to check out the tool Contentmarketer.io. It’s a tool that helps you find influ­encers and out­reach to peo­ple real­ly quick­ly. All you need to do is add in a page like this arti­cle and it will give you back e‑mails, social accounts and more from those men­tioned on the page as well as the author of the arti­cle:

If you want, it can instant­ly help you get in touch with these peo­ple using tem­plates of dif­fer­ent sorts. To me, this is a win­ner trick.

Gareth Hoyle

Gareth Hoyle, Managing Director at Marketing Signals

My search mar­ket­ing treat is based around search term intent and the pur­chas­ing fun­nel. We man­age a lot of paid search spend for our clients and often in research-dri­ven B2C ecom­merce prod­ucts. We alter our cam­paigns and lin­guis­tics based on where the user is in the pur­chas­ing fun­nel. And so should you. Let’s take the exam­ple of a user look­ing to pur­chase a motor­bike. The first search that they may do is broad and could be “motor­bikes for sale.” At this moment in time, we have no idea what bike they are look­ing for. Is it a 125cc learn­er bike or a super fast sports bike? For this rea­son, we keep the advert text very broad and gener­ic. We talk about the fact our client can offer low rate finance or have a real­ly wide range of motor­bikes in stock. We would typ­i­cal­ly place a low­er CPC bid and we are hap­py to be in posi­tion 5 or 6 on the right hand side – we are unlike­ly to get the research click, yet the user should still notice the client’s domain name in an advert. The user will typ­i­cal­ly vis­it 5+ web­sites and browse around look­ing at a num­ber of dif­fer­ent motor­bikes before decid­ing on a make or make/model. Once the user has decid­ed on the motor­bike they want, the next search is typ­i­cal­ly “Make Mod­el for sale.” Let’s use “Hon­da 125 Varadero for sale” as an exam­ple here. We now know that the intent of this search query is much fur­ther down the pur­chase fun­nel. A deci­sion on the item to be pur­chased has been decid­ed and we can work hard­er to attract the click at this stage. Our advert text will include pric­ing infor­ma­tion, stock lev­els and an advert high­ly tar­get­ed to the usage of the bike. In the exam­ple men­tioned above, we include the fact it is a per­fect learn­er bike for the taller rid­er. We would also use site links to link the user to a review of the motor­bike so they can val­i­date the pur­chase deci­sion on our client’s web­site and include address and con­tact details. Fol­low­ing this process should give the user all the infor­ma­tion they need to make the final deci­sion and it’s all found under one roof — our client’s web­site. We have seen this as a very effec­tive way to uti­lize client bud­gets at the right stage of the pur­chase fun­nel whilst still show­ing vis­i­bil­i­ty at the research stage. We just try hard­er for the click the fur­ther down the pur­chase fun­nel they are.

Mel Carson Delightful

Mel Carson, CEO and Principal Strategy Consultant at Delightful Communications

Get it togeth­er with regards to your per­son­al brand­ing strat­e­gy. Dig­i­tal mar­keters of all peo­ple should own their own domain name and have a web­site ded­i­cat­ed to their pro­fes­sion­al life and work. LinkedIn and oth­er social net­works are great for show­cas­ing your skills and expe­ri­ence, but have a place you can call your pro­fes­sion­al home where you con­trol the mes­sage about you and your exper­tise.

Erin Everhart, Lead Manager of Digital Marketing and SEO at The Home Depot

When­ev­er you’re try­ing to get buy-in – either from your client, your boss or even your boss’ boss – for some­thing (a new con­tent cam­paign, build­ing a new page, a new page lay­out, etc.) one of the eas­i­est ways to help strength­en your cause is to show a direct com­peti­tor beat­ing you who’s imple­ment­ed what you’d like to do. No one likes to be told some­one else is doing it bet­ter, espe­cial­ly if it’s some­thing that can be changed quick­ly with lit­tle resources.


Kirsty Hulse, Head of SEO Best Practice at Linkdex

If you want some audi­ence analy­sis to help con­tent mar­ket cam­paigns, Google is cur­rent­ly run­ning $50 off its con­sumer sur­veys here. Take your demo­graph­ic data direct­ly from Google Ana­lyt­ics and use that to cre­ate a tar­get­ed audi­ence for some mar­ket research. This is espe­cial­ly use­ful if you’re a small business/startup with­out a big data­base or huge bud­gets at your dis­pos­al. You can also set up http://www.changedetection.com/ to alert you any time a page changes. It’s excel­lent for track­ing com­peti­tors or mak­ing sure devel­op­ers aren’t mis­be­hav­ing behind your back.

Greg Jarboe with the Vidpow team at VidCon 2015

Greg Jarboe, President of SEO-PR

Get some cus­tom YouTube video thumb­nails from Vid Thumb­nails, Vidpow’s video thumb­nail ser­vice. On aver­age, their cus­tomers expe­ri­ence a 150 per­cent increase in organ­ic views. Here’s how Vid Thumb­nails does it: They will cus­tom design six dif­fer­ent video thumb­nails for your video, A/B test the thumb­nails to see which one(s) get the most views, deliv­er you a report and even upload the best thumb­nails to YouTube or send you the final art­work. And, they do all this for only $8 per cus­tom thumb­nail. Spooky, isn’t it?

Jonathan Allen Halloween

Jonathan Allen, President of Longneck & Thunderfoot

This sim­ple trick cre­ates a treat for blogs, authors and read­ers com­bined, help­ing every­one to suc­ceed on social media simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. For blogs and pub­li­ca­tions that accept guest posts or pub­lish con­tributed con­tent, it is super cool if the Tweet but­ton is con­fig­ured to not sim­ply share the pub­li­ca­tion’s Twit­ter han­dle, but also cred­it the Twit­ter han­dle of the post author. The text can be con­fig­ured to auto­mat­i­cal­ly pull the head­line and mul­ti­ple Twit­ter han­dles in a “by” and “via” log­ic (you can even add hash­tags to the tweet auto­mat­i­cal­ly based on the arti­cle cat­e­go­ry or tag). It’s real­ly sim­ple to do but has a huge impact as it cre­ates an amaz­ing­ly reward­ing expe­ri­ence for both authors and read­ers. It means that when read­ers click the tweet but­ton to share the post, the author will get men­tioned on Twit­ter auto­mat­i­cal­ly. This is great because then authors can instant­ly see that all their hard work writ­ing for a pub­li­ca­tion (unpaid in most cas­es) real­ly has helped them engage new audi­ences online and enabled them to meet new peo­ple. Not only can the author track the pop­u­lar­i­ty of their arti­cle, but also they can instant­ly host con­ver­sa­tions with that blog’s read­ers, which is a fan­tas­tic dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence for every­one involved. The blog or pub­li­ca­tion can also instant­ly iden­ti­fy and engage pow­er read­ers who are shar­ing the arti­cle live and direct from the tweet but­ton, ver­sus those who have social automa­tion set up. This is espe­cial­ly use­ful if an arti­cle gets shared again months lat­er, after it was first pub­lished, as it’s pos­si­ble that the new dis­cus­sion between author and read­er will trig­ger renewed inter­est in the top­ic and dri­ve more views to the pub­li­ca­tion archive in gen­er­al. Fur­ther­more, pub­lish­ers and com­mu­ni­ty man­agers can eas­i­ly map social audi­ence inter­sec­tions and diver­gence between all their dif­fer­ent con­trib­u­tors, which may lead to even more advanced influ­encer mar­ket­ing strate­gies. Reward­ing the author with strong social media expo­sure is a win-win. It costs noth­ing and makes every­one excit­ed about col­lab­o­rat­ing. When I have used this strat­e­gy before, a con­trib­u­tor said to me, “I love writ­ing for you guys because every time my post is pub­lished, it’s like my birth­day on Twit­ter!”

Jon Bailey of Idea

Jon Bailey, Chief Relationships Officer at the i.d.e.a. Brand

If it fits into your Face­book ads strat­e­gy, uti­lize Face­book Cel­e­bra­tions to tar­get peo­ple that just cel­e­brat­ed a birth­day or got engaged. Use very spe­cif­ic ad copy con­grat­u­lat­ing them and give them a lit­tle treat (e.g., din­ner at your restau­rant). Also: Com­ing up with share­able con­tent for our clients isn’t easy, but luck­i­ly there’s Buz­zs­Sumo. Type in a key­word or top­ic and Buz­zSumo will search the web for relat­ed posts. It then sorts the results by social shares and shows the posts with the high­est share count at the top. This can help you under­stand what type of con­tent has per­formed well in the past and influ­encers you should reach out to for engage­ment.

Simon Heseltine AOL

Simon Heseltine, Senior Director of Organic Audience Development at AOL

Set some­thing up that mon­i­tors your own site’s robots.txt — that way when a devel­op­er “help­ful­ly” changes it, you’ll know before large chunks of your site drop out of the index.

Dana DiTomaso Kick Point Smaller

Dana DiTomaso, Partner at Kick Point

Always be run­ning a small cam­paign on Face­book aimed at any­one who has vis­it­ed your web­site (using the Face­book pix­el) but isn’t a fan of your brand page on Face­book. It’s a low bud­get way to get already inter­est­ed vis­i­tors engag­ing with you on social.

Josh McCoy, Lead Strategist at Vizion Interactive

For us dig­i­tal mar­keters, one of the hand­i­est treats I have found at the moment is uti­liz­ing social media adver­tis­ing to help you bet­ter under­stand your tar­get­ed dig­i­tal per­sonas. This can pro­vide direc­tion for what types of con­tent you should be cre­at­ing and for which audi­ence you should be cre­at­ing it for. This tac­tic can be a lit­tle more of a trick well before it becomes a treat. It is def­i­nite­ly a prac­tice that must go through sev­er­al tests. Per­son­al­ly, and depend­ing on client and indus­try, I enjoy test­ing spon­sored con­tent across both gen­ders as well as mul­ti­ple age groups and interests/behaviors. I pre­fer to test con­tent tar­gets in Face­book, Twit­ter and LinkedIn. While it helps to have a slight under­stand­ing of your tar­get­ed dig­i­tal per­sonas before­hand, a few months of var­ied tar­get­ing will help you under­stand what con­tent is pre­ferred by men, women, young, old and — very impor­tant­ly — by inter­est or behav­ior. In much of a wash, rinse and repeat man­ner, con­sis­tent­ly form­ing a bet­ter under­stand­ing of your tar­get­ed con­tent con­sumer will help you to cre­ate the type of con­tent that can “run.” Now, if social media adver­tis­ing seems too daunt­ing for you, you can always fall back on demo­graph­ic report­ing in Google Ana­lyt­ics via a slice-and-dice man­ner. By review­ing spe­cif­ic con­tent by URL data, you can also cre­ate sec­ondary dimen­sions by demo­graph­ic data to bet­ter under­stand user behav­ior met­rics by spe­cif­ic user seg­ment. Whichev­er you choose, take advan­tage of the abil­i­ty to bet­ter under­stand your con­tent con­sumers, because the only greater treat this time of year are Krack­el bars (the best can­dy bar ever made)!

Nichola Stott, Owner of theMediaFlow SEO Agency

My num­ber one tip would be to get famil­iar with rel attrib­ut­es that can real­ly assist with describ­ing the rela­tion­ships and hier­ar­chies between pages, thus help­ing search engines to under­stand when con­tent is or is not dupli­cat­ed. Get­ting this nailed can make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence to index effi­cien­cy, page equi­ty and tip-top per­for­mance in the SERPs – par­tic­u­lar­ly for large ecom­merce sites. One exam­ple of this is rel=next and rel=prev, which are attrib­ut­es that pag­i­nate con­tent and work per­fect­ly on those long cat­e­go­ry land­ing pages you might find at the top of a prod­uct range. Imag­ine I search for “shoes” and there’s over a thou­sand in stock; using rel=next and prev allows me to describe the rela­tion­ship between the page 1, 2, 3, etc. of my results so that I can get all these pages indexed with­out wor­ry­ing that they are all sub­stan­tial­ly sim­i­lar. The rel attribute takes care of explain­ing that.


Andrew Smith, Director of Escherman

One of my recent favorite tricks is cal­cu­lat­ing accu­rate viewing/readership fig­ures for news sto­ries around a giv­en top­ic that appear in Google News. Step One: Use the free tool from Cus­tomer Dev Labs to search for rel­e­vant sto­ries in Google News and then auto gen­er­ate a CSV file with all the rel­e­vant URLs. Step Two: Copy and paste URLs into Cov­er­age Book — this auto­mat­i­cal­ly cre­ates a report that pulls in read­er­ship data from Sim­i­lar­Web and then cal­cu­lates a spe­cif­ic view­ing fig­ure for each arti­cle based on a vari­ety of fac­tors. It will also detect if any of the sto­ries con­tain links back to your own site/content. You now have an accu­rate sense of how many peo­ple may actu­al­ly have read the news arti­cles con­cerned — either in terms of your own brand ref­er­ences or to get a gen­er­al sense of lev­els of aware­ness for giv­en top­ics.

Lisa Williams, Associate Director of Digital Engagement at Oregon Health and Science University

When work­ing on dig­i­tal inte­gra­tion with con­tent, search and social teams, first val­i­date their audi­ence goals then show organ­ic search bench­marks that sup­port them and edu­cate them on ways to grow organ­ic to fur­ther sup­port their goals. Remem­ber it’s not about you, it’s about them. It’s also great to get every­one on the same page regard­ing your organization’s dig­i­tal vocab­u­lary. If you use cat­e­gories like Paid, Owned and Earned, make sure you all agree what belongs in each buck­et. For exam­ple, do Paid Social Con­tent Dis­tri­b­u­tion strate­gies belong in Paid or Earned? Mak­ing sure every­one buys in to how you struc­ture your strate­gies as well as your analy­sis is a great treat for teams who want to inte­grate. It’s also sweet for the cus­tomer jour­ney.

Jose Truchado, Online Marketing Consultant, Founder of Loud Voice Digital

Hal­loween is a time of the year that has a big­ger pro­fes­sion­al mean­ing to me than cos­tumes and scary stuff. It’s the time to make sure that your strate­gies for Decem­ber and Jan­u­ary — the biggest months of the year for most com­mer­cial sites — are aligned. Per­haps it is because of Hal­loween that Google unof­fi­cial­ly unleash­es its naughty side around this time of the year, but some­how many com­pa­nies usu­al­ly find them­selves rely­ing on paid adver­tis­ing cam­paigns for the Christ­mas sea­son due to their sites being affect­ed by some kind of algo­rithm update. Make sure you don’t have a big scare this year by think­ing and act­ing ahead of time. Although keep­ing your knowl­edge up to date by read­ing arti­cles like the SEO Trends for 2015 is very help­ful, your sites will react to these trends indi­vid­u­al­ly and you need to make sure you know what will work for your site and what won’t. I’ve always found it very use­ful to have “satel­lite sites,” sites that are in the same sec­tor as your main site but are com­plete­ly sep­a­rate from it (no link between them, dif­fer­ent class C IPs, etc.), where you can try apply­ing new tech­niques with­out the risk of ruin­ing your busi­ness. This is where being a bit naughty and exper­i­men­tal can prove use­ful. What­ev­er changes you apply to your main site, make sure they are bul­let­proof — Google algo­rithm updates are more fre­quent and tar­get more aspects of your SEO strat­e­gy than ever (links, con­tent, mobile, adver­tis­ing, etc.) and it’s hard to keep up with them, so be proac­tive rather than reac­tive, study user behav­ior on your site and read about user trends in gen­er­al. SEO strat­e­gy changes usu­al­ly come months after new user behav­ior trends are dis­cov­ered and talked about wide­ly, so lever­age that knowl­edge and you will be ahead of your com­peti­tors. We always say you should write con­tent for peo­ple and not for search engines, but rarely men­tion usabil­i­ty. Think about these ques­tions: Am I answer­ing my users’ ques­tions or needs? Would my users nav­i­gate my site this way? Would users from this site find a link to my site use­ful? Which social media out­lets would my users use? You will find the answers to all these ques­tions in your ana­lyt­ics. The impact in rank­ings of mobile readi­ness, adver­tis­ing and page lay­out are all part of Google’s inten­tion of keep­ing up with how users use the Inter­net nowa­days, so think about how Google might change in the future rather than how it’s changed in the past and adapt your site accord­ing­ly. It’s sur­pris­ing how many major brand sites are not yet mobile friend­ly when the major­i­ty of their users are or will be using mobile devices to access their site.

Kristine Schachinger

Kristine Schachinger, CEO of The Vetters Agency

In today’s dig­i­tal envi­ron­ment, it is no longer suf­fi­cient to rely on one method or strat­e­gy for site vis­i­bil­i­ty. This means diver­si­fy­ing your traf­fic sources and work­ing across chan­nels. Social, search, PPC — the list is wide and deep. This means it is impor­tant to know what works and does not work for your com­pa­ny and/or ver­ti­cal. You want to make sure your cus­tomers and chan­nels meet some­where in the mid­dle. To that end, we have found uti­liz­ing Face­book’s Remar­ket­ing and/or Tar­get­ed Audi­ences in Blind Ads have pro­vid­ed some real­ly excel­lent qual­i­fied traf­fic at a low cost. This is espe­cial­ly true for clients with a focus on local mar­kets. In fact, we were able to extend one com­pa­ny’s sea­son by 4 weeks, just by using Face­book Ads com­bined with Organ­ic and PPC. So when you need a lit­tle bump, give those a try.

Purna Virji Bing

Purna Virji, Senior Bing Ads Client Development and Training Specialist at Microsoft

As a treat to your­self that helps you trick and out­smart the com­pe­ti­tion, I’d rec­om­mend using Bing Ads Auc­tion Insights. Found with­in Bing Ads Intel­li­gence, it’s a handy tool to see how your ad per­for­mance com­pares against com­pe­ti­tion. Chan­nel your inner James Bond as this tool is great for spy­ing on the com­pe­ti­tion. It enables you to see trends around which com­peti­tors are show­ing up in the auc­tion with you, how many times their ad ranked high­er and how much impres­sion share you have. These insights can help you piece togeth­er their strat­e­gy — what terms do they bid heav­i­ly on? What are the times they’re upping spend? What sea­son­al trends do they fol­low? It’s a real­ly handy tool to help you out­ma­neu­ver the com­pe­ti­tion and per­form bet­ter. There are three key things to keep in mind: 1. Use Auc­tion Insights One Key­word at a Time at First A com­mon rook­ie move is load­ing the tool with all 3,000 of your key­words. More than a hand­ful of key­words can be mis­lead­ing – the data is based on impres­sions, so a sin­gle high-vol­ume impres­sion key­word with a dif­fer­ent set of key­words will cloud the data. Drilling into the top terms will give you a sol­id pic­ture of your com­pet­i­tive land­scape, espe­cial­ly on brand terms. Typ­i­cal­ly, you’ll want to ana­lyze your top-per­form­ing or top-pri­or­i­ty key­words from brand terms to key­words you just added because your client says it’s a must.  When pos­si­ble, ana­lyze one key­word at a time. 2. Be Aware of Your Qual­i­ty Score Remem­ber, a huge chunk of qual­i­ty score is a com­pet­i­tive CTR bench­mark – how well is your ad per­form­ing ver­sus the com­pe­ti­tion. So com­bin­ing qual­i­ty score and Auc­tion Insights is very pow­er­ful. If your qual­i­ty score is 10/10 for the key­word, you have lit­tle room for improve­ment in CTR. Focus on bids and tar­get­ing. If your qual­i­ty score is 2/10, focus on bet­ter ads, neg­a­tives and poten­tial­ly restruc­tur­ing the cam­paign. 3. Com­pare Dif­fer­ent Time­frames on the Same Key­word In addi­tion to pro­vid­ing a look in to the pre­vi­ous­ly men­tioned met­rics, the Auc­tion Insights report can be a valu­able tool in trou­bleshoot­ing the occa­sion­al CPA spike at the Key­word, Ad Group or even Cam­paign lev­el. This is best done by iden­ti­fy­ing inflec­tion points in your account per­for­mance — points where your CPA takes a notice­able turn for the worse, in this case.  Auc­tion Insights is his­tor­i­cal, mean­ing you can see how it changes over time — so if you see a spike in your aver­age cost per click, look­ing at the before and after in Auc­tion Insights might just clue you in to a com­peti­tor muscling in on your ter­ri­to­ry.

Topher Kohan Weather Channel

Topher Kohan, Senior Product Manager of SEO at the Weather Channel

Make con­tent cre­ators and devel­op­ers your part­ners for great SEO. No mat­ter how big or small your SEO team is, you will still need help. And one of the best ways to do that is to work with the teams that cre­ate the con­tent for your site and the devel­op­ers that deal with on page code and work with your servers. So many times they can be seen as the “oth­er folks” or the “ene­my,” when in real­i­ty, if you make them part of your team and train them up in good SEO best prac­tices for your site, not only can you get the things done you need to hap­pen faster, but you might even see a big­ger impact from them soon­er. I like to get to know them and then give them own­er­ship of get­ting the project done. It is a teach-the-man-or-woman-to-fish method. Not only do they feel more invest­ed in the project, but they also are now advo­cates for SEO in their part of the site. Win win! Once the project is done, keep them in the loop for the impact the part they worked on have and give them the cred­it to your boss and to theirs and I guar­an­tee that next time you have a “quick turn” item they will hop on it with­out you hav­ing to ask twice.


Dave Davies, CEO of Beanstalk Internet Marketing

The down­side of being an adult is that there just aren’t as many tricks and treats offered up on Hal­loween. That’s why sites like Momen­tol­ogy work to fill that gap. When I was first asked to sub­mit an SEO trick or treat, I pon­dered for awhile what would have wide appli­ca­tion and be use­ful. While I found myself pulling some code from a cheat sheet I keep handy it struck me: htac­cess rules. So here are a few of my favorite and most often used addi­tions to vir­tu­al­ly every htac­cess file. While you may be famil­iar with some of this, won’t it be nice to have a few key htac­cess rules handy and Book­marked? You might not think this is handy, but if you didn’t know this exist­ed you’d be sur­prised how often you use it to quick­ly recov­er larg­er vol­umes of link weight in a short­er peri­od of time, espe­cial­ly with old­er sites that used ear­li­er CMS.

Matt Riley Swiftype

Matt Riley, CEO of Swiftype

Don’t scare away your cus­tomers by not hav­ing a slick site search expe­ri­ence. One way to do this is by incor­po­rat­ing auto­com­plete into your site search. Cus­tomers want to get to your prod­ucts and con­tent as quick­ly as pos­si­ble. So, don’t force them to hit enter if you don’t have to. Auto­com­plete for the search func­tion should take cus­tomers direct­ly to con­tent, not result pages. Most search engine auto­com­pletes sim­ply sug­gest what the search query should be, and once a cus­tomer selects one, it takes them to a search result page for that query. This is fine in the con­text of a Google Search, where a cus­tomer is typ­i­cal­ly search­ing for some­thing that they hope exists, but it is not as good on an indi­vid­ual site where more often some­one is search­ing for some­thing they know exists. After inte­grat­ing an auto­com­plete expe­ri­ence that takes cus­tomers direct­ly to the page, take the expe­ri­ence a step fur­ther by mak­ing auto­com­plete more func­tion­al. Com­mon prac­tices include dis­play­ing dif­fer­ent types of con­tent, such as videos, thought lead­er­ship pieces, and prod­uct pages in the options. For com­pa­nies with an ecom­merce pres­ence, con­sid­er adding an “add to cart” or “buy now” but­ton next to each sug­gest­ed page. For mar­keters focused more on demand gen­er­a­tion, include spon­sored or fea­tured con­tent in the auto­com­plete expe­ri­ence.

Jozlynn Rush Taco Bell

Jozlynn Rush, Social and Digital Manager at Taco Bell

At Taco Bell we have a fan first phi­los­o­phy. Our fol­low­ers on social media are our biggest fans and we con­stant­ly eval­u­ate our con­tent with them in mind to ensure it con­tributes to their lives in a mean­ing­ful way — and doing it as a friend, not a cor­po­ra­tion. By ele­vat­ing the emo­tion­al con­nec­tion you go from a brand peo­ple buy to a brand peo­ple buy into.

Andy Ferguson

Andy Ferguson, Freelance Creative Director

I think that the trick to search, as it relates to mar­ket­ing, is to remem­ber that peo­ple want to be informed and/or enter­tained. Ide­al­ly, they pre­fer a com­bi­na­tion of the two. So when­ev­er you’re putting con­tent out into the world, you have to real­ly con­sid­er if you’re achiev­ing both of those met­rics. On top of that, peo­ple also enjoy being sur­prised and delight­ed. So if you can pro­vide them with enter­tain­ing infor­ma­tion, in a sur­pris­ing and delight­ful way, you’re mak­ing their day bet­ter and you’re giv­ing them some­thing to share with their net­work. Recent­ly, I helped Com­e­dy Cen­tral relaunch “The Dai­ly Show with Trevor Noah”. Part of that effort was to con­sid­er search as part of the mar­ket­ing expe­ri­ence. We knew that the audi­ence was curi­ous about Trevor and they had a lot of ques­tions. So we turned that curios­i­ty into a game. We cre­at­ed a whole series of unique video con­tent in which Trevor answered their antic­i­pat­ed ques­tions in fun­ny and mem­o­rable ways. Videos were cre­at­ed answer­ing search queries like “How old is Trevor Noah” (His Answer: 72) to “Trevor Noah Girl­friend.”

Darrell Willams SEOWorks

Darrell Williams, Digital Analyst at seoWorks

The best tip that can be used across var­i­ous ver­ti­cals not per­tain­ing specif­i­cal­ly to an SEO com­pa­ny is to take full advan­tage of web tools. We live in a fast-paced world. I am sure any­one can attest to only hav­ing 24 hours in a day but need­ing extra hours to com­plete tasks. Here are three tools I tend to use that give me the illu­sion that I have more hours in a day than oth­ers on this plan­et. Per­haps you will feel the same way after apply­ing some tools list­ed below in your day-to-day work life.

  1. Boomerang: This handy tool helps sched­ule emails to go out at spe­cif­ic times.
  2. Gram­marly: This is a great tool for cor­rect­ing those pesky typos. This tool goes way beyond your basic spell check.
  3. Excel-add-ins: Excel has addi­tion­al tools that you can use called add-ons. Do you have dupli­cates on your sheet? Down­load the pow­er edi­tor tool in Excel.

Bianca Lee of White Rose Consulting

Bianca Lee, Founder of White Rose Marketing Solutions

The hard­est thing for most mar­keters to do is to give their audi­ence con­tent that isn’t about the brand. It just feels wrong. How­ev­er, in today’s world, where peo­ple are on 100 per­cent of the time, you have to keep your audi­ence engaged. It is nec­es­sary to be the source of var­i­ous types of infor­ma­tion and giv­en the vol­ume of con­tent nec­es­sary to con­sis­tent­ly engage audi­ences, the con­tent can­not be 100 per­cent brand mes­sag­ing. If you want your read­ers to open your emails or fol­low­ers to share your social media posts or even click through to your web­site, the trick is to engage them con­sis­tent­ly with con­tent that THEY want, not con­tent that you want them to have. Focus on the con­tent that they want to read, see, hear, share, etc. In order to do this, you have to know your audi­ence. If you ask them what they want from you, they will most like­ly tell you. Then you deliv­er that con­tent to them con­sis­tent­ly. Do they want your brand to report cur­rent events in pol­i­tics? Do they want moti­va­tion­al quotes? Do they want beau­ty tips? Keep­ing con­sumers engaged in the brand is the best way to get them to search and share con­tent which will ulti­mate­ly do well for digital/search mar­ket­ing. The trick is, there is no trick – give the peo­ple what they want!

Kyle Reyes of Silent Partner

Kyle Reyes, President and Creative Director of The Silent Partner Marketing

The best trick is a phi­los­o­phy that ulti­mate­ly ends in treats for all. It’s sim­ple. Be where the eye­balls are.  Be what the con­sumer needs. Just because your com­pe­ti­tion is doing it when it comes to tra­di­tion­al adver­tis­ing does­n’t mean you need to be. For exam­ple, we’re killing it right now for clients by being ear­ly adver­tis­ers on Insta­gram, by rolling out Snapchat mar­ket­ing strate­gies and by now being two years into Face­book Dark Posts. We’re extreme­ly bull­ish on Periscope, Meerkat and we’re ear­ly adopters of Blab and Yik Yak, along with 360-degree videos. Why? Because it’s where the eye­balls are. And it’s that trick of being where the eye­balls are that brings the treats in the form of rev­enue for our clients…and in turn, rev­enue for us.

Ashley Orndorff Visual Impact Group

Ashley Orndorff, Director of Marketing for Visual Impact Group

The best treat I have to pass along is to focus on user expe­ri­ence – real­ly, seri­ous­ly focus in on your user. User expe­ri­ence is so much more than the look and feel of your web­site. Every­thing you do should be focused around your user, more specif­i­cal­ly your buy­er per­sonas. These fic­tion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tions of your ide­al cus­tomers should fil­ter through every­thing you do, from the con­tent you cre­ate and how you deliv­er it to the way you have your inter­nal process­es set up and every­thing in between. If you want your users’ busi­ness, you have to be able to con­nect with them. You have to think about how they nav­i­gate a site, what they like to see there, what their goal hap­pens to be, and the eas­i­est way to get them there. Along the way, you have to deliv­er the con­tent they want to see and find inter­est­ing, in the way they want to see it. Are your users active on social media? Then, make sure you’re there too, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with them the way they want to com­mu­ni­cate with you. Do your users love eBooks? Then, make a land­ing page with an eBook offer to cap­ture their infor­ma­tion and build an engag­ing rela­tion­ship. Fig­ure out who they are, how they nav­i­gate life online and offline, and then use all of that to ensure your user expe­ri­ence goes beyond how your site looks and turns into a real, per­son­al con­nec­tion with your brand through­out every step and inter­ac­tion.

Patrick Tripp Adobe

Patrick Tripp, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe Campaign

When it comes to mar­ket­ing, con­text is king. Con­tex­tu­al data con­sists of the visu­al and invis­i­ble cues that make a mes­sage rel­e­vant to that per­son on a spe­cif­ic device at that par­tic­u­lar time. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, there’s a dis­con­nect between the suc­cess of per­son­al­ized emails and real­i­ty: while 68 per­cent of mar­keters feel they are doing a good job in regards to per­son­al­iza­tion, 70 per­cent of con­sumers think mar­keters are doing poor­ly. Con­tex­tu­al mar­ket­ing is all about cre­at­ing help­ful and time­ly expe­ri­ences for con­sumers as a brand. This approach lever­ages tru­ly rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion to improve the con­sumer-engage­ment expe­ri­ence, cre­at­ing real-time val­ue and inter­ac­tions that cus­tomers will actu­al­ly care about the moment they open an email.

Cory Edwards Adobe

Cory Edwards, Head of Adobe’s Social Media Center of Excellence

Social media is one of the most influ­en­tial chan­nels for brands to com­mu­ni­cate and engage with cus­tomers. While most lead­ing com­pa­nies have brand pres­ence on social media, they can make a larg­er impact by empow­er­ing employ­ees to be their ampli­fi­er — just by being social­ly active. The most impor­tant part to empow­er­ing employ­ees is social media train­ing. The focus for this train­ing is not to teach employ­ees the sub­tle nuances between shar­ing con­tent on LinkedIn ver­sus Twit­ter ver­sus Face­book. The goal is to edu­cate them on the company’s objec­tives on social media, equip them with judg­ment so they can eas­i­ly dis­cern what con­tent to share, and appre­ci­ate the need for and lim­its of a dis­claimer. Many brands social media to just mar­ket­ing depart­ments, and those brands are miss­ing out — their voice will grow increas­ing­ly qui­et as more com­pa­nies mag­ni­fy their voice through an empow­ered work­force of employ­ees.

Nancy Harhut of Wilde Agency

Nancy Harhut, Chief Creative Officer at The Wilde Agency

1. Bub­ble, bub­ble, toil and trou­ble. Peo­ple judge phras­es that rhyme to be more true and accu­rate than phras­es that com­mu­ni­cate the same thing in a non-rhyming way. Researchers believe it is because the rhyming phras­es are eas­i­er for the brain to process. This brings new insight to “Nation­wide is on your side.” Or, for some­thing a lit­tle more macabre, “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Think about this before writ­ing your next head­line or sub­head. 2. Miss­ing dig­its. When you’re list­ing price, use the for­mat with­out the dec­i­mal point and cents after it. When you’re express­ing sav­ings or val­ue, use the dec­i­mal point and the numer­als after it. Why? The brain per­ceives the for­mer as small­er and the lat­ter as larg­er. Even though $20 is the same as $20.00, choose what you put on your land­ing page based on whether it’s price or val­ue. 3. Bloody true. Include the word “because” in your copy. Sci­en­tif­ic research has proven that when peo­ple hear or see the word because, they auto­mat­i­cal­ly assume what fol­lows is a good, ratio­nal, truth­ful rea­son – with­out real­ly pro­cess­ing it. It’s a deci­sion-mak­ing short­cut we often take. Because we like to con­serve men­tal ener­gy and not put the effort into weigh­ing every bit of infor­ma­tion that comes our way. 4. Want some can­dy lit­tle girl? Use ques­tions strate­gi­cal­ly. Researchers at BI Nor­we­gian Busi­ness School found that tweets and ad head­lines phrased as ques­tions out­per­formed declar­a­tive head­lines by 140 to 150 per­cent.

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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