• 5 Marketing Methods to Help You Succeed In 2019

    It’s a given that the world of marketing moves fast. Every year brings new marketing methods to engage your buyers. 2019 is no exception. Adapting to the new ground rules each year can be dizzying.

    If you skim the search results for marketing trends in 2019 you’ll see that AI, virtual reality and chatbots are still all the rage. For three years (or more) we’ve heard about the benefits of these new technologies. We don’t deny the power of these new systems, but for most companies these are still inexplicable buzzwords that really don’t make sense for their business.

    Rather than promote bleeding edge programs that verge on science fiction, we present 5 marketing methods to help you succeed in 2019.

    Search Is Still Critical

    As we all know, every purchase starts with a need or a desire.

    Sometimes the urge to buy comes from an organic place: the buyer experiences a real world situation that compels them to find a solution for their needs.

    Other times, the demand for a product or service is generated through the artful use of advertising, which introduces the buyer to something they never knew existed.

    In both cases, the buyer starts the process with online research. That inevitably means they rely on a search engine to find information.

    There is nothing new about search. What’s new in 2019 is where people go to do it.

    It’s not enough to simply write blogs and optimize your site for search engine success. People now use Facebook and Twitter to explore new products. They browse through dozens of images on Pinterest and Instagram. They watch videos on YouTube. They even use voice search (“Hey Siri!”) or visual search to find more information about something they’re looking at directly in front of them.

    Is your company poised to capitalize when your buyer is in the mood to explore? The answer is probably no unless you’re engaging in a sophisticated SEO campaign and regularly pushing content across a wide array of platforms. Even so, many business fail to rank where it matters most.

    Our advice is to quit discounting the most fundamental behavior of buyer psychology. SEO, SEM, social media, and content marketing matter more now than ever before. Invest heavily in a multidimensional strategy that leads buyers to you.

    Expect Fragmentation

    For the last 5 years we witnessed a massive consolidation online. Facebook essentially demolished most of the early competitors in the social media world. Google not only dominated the search engine industry, they also lead the way with online video (YouTube) and digital advertising (formerly AdWords, now Google Ads). Amazon continues to break records for online shopping and now competes for music, entertainment and just about everything else.

    But something predictable happened in 2018. People changed how they consume online media. Thanks to the bitter presidential election in 2016, and as a result of privacy violations across the internet, more and more consumers are diversifying where they spend their time online.

    2019 will bring about more fragmentation in online behavior. People are doing more research on sites that cater to their niche interests. They’re opting in to email lists from companies they trust – while flagging as spam those companies they don’t. They consume considerable amounts of video online all over the internet. They read forums (remember those?) and participate on discussion sites like Reddit. Blogs, podcasts, alternative news sites, the list goes on and on. More profoundly, they’re spending less time on Facebook and Twitter, instead opting for Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Mastodon, Minds, Gab, MeWe, Vero, Signal and more.

    This isn’t to suggest that the Big Three (Facebook, Twitter, and Google) are going anywhere soon. But as personal data becomes a bigger issue for consumers, people will move towards platforms where they can engage with more like-minded users and ensure a modicum of privacy.

    What does that mean for you? Know your audience. Research where they spend their time online and develop a strategy for engaging them all along the way.

    Personalize Your Approach

    You should never send a single email to an entire database of customers. Similarly, you can’t expect a single ad to resonate with all of your buyers. If you speak to all of your customers in the same way you should expect to lose them over time. Buyers are unique. You need to treat them like it.

    Market segmentation is nothing new. Even list segmentation is old news. But are you actually using all of the available tools to speak directly to each individual buyer? Are you appealing to them as individuals and offering them messaging based on their behavior online?

    Remarketing methods, email marketing metrics, Facebook pixel, website behavior tracking… these are but a few of the tools that allow you to analyze the interests and preferences of your buyers. With a CRM and marketing automation platform, you can generate workflows to deliver personalized messages that leads your buyer through the funnel.

    Let’s take this even further for 2019. If you are not developing engaging, original content tailored to the personal preferences of your buyers, you will be missing out on the opportunity to turn customers into brand loyalists. Certainly, buyers buy products because they need them, but brand loyalists buy products because they want them… and they won’t even consider buying from another company. That competitive edge makes your life easier and increases sales.

    Original Engaging Content Means More Than Just A Blog

    Research suggests that the average person is exposed to over 10,000 marketing messages EVERY DAY. Is yours breaking through? We bet the answer is no.

    Everyday people scroll through their social media feed in a somewhat absent minded manner until something stands out. They’re busy. They want to be informed or entertained. They want to be amazed.

    How do you stop the scroll? Make your content awesome!

    If you haven’t taken content marketing seriously up to now, in 2019 you must invest in a strategy that captivates and intrigues your customers. We advise you to think beyond the blog.

    The most engaging forms of content are professional quality photography and video. People by nature are visually oriented. They stop and stare when something captures their attention. This is why billboards are still effective to this day, thousands of years after the first sign was hung for a business. It’s why TV still ranks as the most dominant media form. It’s why YouTube garners billions of users each month.

    We’ll take this even further. If you’re producing brand-related video and photos with a mobile phone it’s highly likely that you’re doing it wrong. Today’s consumers are smarter than that, and they have incredibly high standards for what passes as quality. A poorly lit photo or a sloppily produced video tarnishes your brand. If your product looks less than stellar how does that impact your buyer? It turns them off.

    Diversify Your Ad Strategy

    Earlier on we mentioned fragmentation in media consumption. It’s not that people are no longer using Facebook, Twitter, Google, et al. They’re just not spending as much time there. Much ado has been made about the limited organic reach you get these days on these platforms.

    The cost to reach a greater audience has skyrocketed. It’s a sign of bad times when up to a half of a company’s ad budget goes solely to one company. It’s even more frustrating when these vendors put excessive restrictions on not only WHAT you can advertise but HOW your ad must look.

    The rise in niche sites, independent social platforms, and even new search engines (hello Pinterest!) means there are many more places online to advertise your products. It’s time to explore your options. We’re here to tell you there is life outside of Google and Facebook.

    There are multiple private ad networks that reach industry-specific audiences and capture buyers of niche products. There are influencers and affiliates who can drive sales with a single tweet or shout out in a podcast. And let’s not forget the tried and true standards of the analog ad industry: billboards, radio, TV, magazines, direct mail, and special event sponsorships. All of these methods give you a powerful alternative for reaching your customers.

    Your Brand Still Matters

    At the end of the day you still need a brand. It doesn’t even need to be hip or cute – like so many startups that flood the market. With a strong sense of identity and a good understanding of your buyers, you can use the methods in this blog to reach even more buyers than you did in 2018. While it’s easy to get distracted by shiny new objects like AR/VR and AI, the fundamentals of marketing remain the same.

    What’s changed is the critical requirement to build a diverse strategy. You can’t win the game if you don’t show up to play. Buyers in 2019 will no longer give you a pass for a half-hearted attempt to win their attention. Your New Year resolution should be “Excellence in Marketing”. If you pursue it with intention, you’ll crush your sales goals and succeed while others crash and burn.

    Let Divining Point tackle your marketing strategy, implementation and management. For more information, visit our services page today!

     

  • How To Dominate Your Pinterest Strategy in 2019

    Social media marketing is crucial for brand awareness, customer loyalty, and increasing your overall sales– but we already knew this, right? While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are strong platforms to utilize, having an active Pinterest account with an effective Pinterest Strategy behind it may be the most valuable tool for different reasons.

    Pinterest currently has 250 million active users. As compelling as this statistic is, we also need to consider how Pinterest is a beneficial tool for SEO purposes, making it a unique and invaluable social platform.

    Here’s how to take advantage of Pinterest’s exclusive offerings for a kickass strategy in 2019:

    Pin Often and Consistently

    Like most social media mediums, having a regular posting schedule is imperative. According to PinCoach, you should be Pinning at least 10x a day. Your Pins should be a mix of native and curated content. Native content is content created from scratch by your brand, while curated content is the gathering of existing content such as blogs, photos, eBooks, etc. RePinning other’s Pins to your boards also shows community engagement.

    Additionally, instead of Pinning all at once, you should Pin sporadically so your content is spread out. Part of Pinterest’s algorithm is based off consistency. Once Pinterest sees you are posting high-quality content that is consistent, your impressions will increase, meaning more users will see your content!

    Allure Your Audience With Vivid Images

    Because Pinterest is such a visual platform – much like Instagram – it’s important to have captivating images. Putting a strong effort towards the quality of your images will make a world of difference.

    Be sure your images are well-lit and in focus. The images you choose are a reflection of your brand imagery, so it pays to put forth extra effort in this regard. .

    Research your industry to learn what kind of images perform the best. For example, in the retail industry instead of posting a photo of the product itself, you can produce 30 percent more clickthroughs and 170 percent higher checkout rates if you use a lifestyle photo of a person wearing or using a product.

    Don’t Forget to Write Detailed Descriptions

    While great images are a necessity, it’s not enough to rely on strong visuals. As we mentioned earlier, Pinterest is a substantial SEO tool. In 500 words, your description should pique your audience’s interest while including keywords. These keywords are picked up by Google, and if you have a strong Pinterest marketing strategy in place, this will ultimately increase your search engine results.

    Writing a solid description doesn’t necessarily mean including a brand name. In fact, 97% of Pinterest descriptions don’t. This is because Pinners are searching for specific terms or items, not brands. Think about humanizing your brand and how your audience is using Pinterest.

     

    Don’t Skip Out on Hashtags

    Hashtags are a great search tool on Pinterest. Hashtags are used to search for the most recent content so you should incorporate both timely and timeless hashtags such as #Christmas and #GiftIdeas. Also be sure to use evergreen hashtags and industry-related hashtags.

    Engage With Other Accounts

    Having a Pinterest marketing strategy is great for SEO, but it should also be treated like other social media platforms. This involves engaging with other accounts including repinning, saving, and liking, other user’s Pins. In turn, this will increase your own engagement.

    Another way to increase engagement is to create a group board where you can invite others in your Pinterest network to contribute with their own pins.

    Use Analytics to Skyrocket Performance

    Monitoring your Pin’s performances can help you learn what’s working and what isn’t. You can then tweak your Pins for optimized results. Be sure to avoid vanity metrics, numbers that are easily manipulated and don’t necessarily provide quality to your brand. Instead, audit which Pins are sending traffic to your website, which should be the ultimate goal.

    Analyzing your successful Pins will also help see how others view your brand and spark ideas for future campaigns. Gaining insight into the demographics and interests of others will assist in providing the right content to the right people.

    With a strong Pinterest Marketing Strategy in place, you can expect to strengthen your brand, drive heavy traffic, and widen product exposure in 2019!

    Need help with your Pinterest Marketing Strategy or other social media management? Contact us today to get started on all your social media needs.

     

  • SEO: The Basics

    Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. Through the practice of SEO, a business is able to place its information at the top of those billions of daily searches, making it much more likely that a potential customer will visit their website for more information. But how do you go about the process of SEO? We breakdown the basics to demystify this critical component of any digital marketing strategy.

    VOCABULARY LESSON

    There are a few terms & acronyms you’ll need to know before you can jump into understanding the processes of SEO. So, let’s begin:

    1. SEO: search engine optimization; tactics used to organically push websites and pages to the first page of Google and other search engines.
    2. Black Hat SEO: unethical tactics to attempt to reach the first page of search engines; can result in your website being banned from search engine results pages
    3. White Hat SEO: ethical tactics to attempt to reach first page of search engines
    4. SERP: search engine results page… the page that pulls up all results related to your search query in Google (or Bing, if that’s your search engine of choice)
    5. Crawlable: a crawlable site allows search engine bots to visit its web pages to index its information
    6. Indexing: a search engine’s process of collecting and categorizing website data
    7. Keyword: a word or short phrase used to identify the focus of the web page
    8. Keyword Density: the ratio at which a keyword is used in the page’s content compared to the total number of words; ideal keyword density is around 2%, but there is no perfect number and trying to force-fit a keyword in will just make your content read poorly
    9. Duplicate Content: reusing content across multiple pages; will often result in negative SEO impact (Google doesn’t like reading the same thing twice any more than you do)
    10. Alt Tag: (also known as alt text) a word or short phrase used to label an image on a web page; allows search engines to “read” an image, since an image itself would not otherwise translate into an optimizable language
    11. Title Tag: represents the page title as read by search engines; is seen in the tabs of a browser and as the title of a web page on SERP
    12. Meta Description: a page description found under the title tag on SERP; does not directly affect rankings, but allows viewers to see what page is about, increasing click-through rates
    13. Links:
      1. Internal: links on your webpage that link to other pages within the same website
      2. Outbound: links on your webpage that link to other pages outside of the same website
      3. Backlinks: links on another webpage that link to a page on your website
      4. Stop Words: filler words commonly found in phrases, that can usually be removed from key phrase (Examples of this would be “the”, “of”, “for”, “an”… you get the picture.)

    TACTICS

    Now that you understand the terminology, let’s jump into implementation! The two methods we’re going to break down are On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.

    On-Page SEO

    Key pieces of quality on-page SEO include site speed, mobile optimization, content and an up-to-date site map.

    Site Speed

    Better site speed allows search engines to crawl your page faster (and is less frustrating for your audience) so improving site speed is an effective way to increase your overall on-page SEO. Here are a few steps to faster site speed:

    1. Utilize tools like Google Page Speed to automatically apply web performance best practices to the pages of your site.
    2. Caching temporarily stores copies of web pages a user has visited, requiring less bandwidth for them to return to it. Install caching on your website to prevent lag from multiple users on your site at one time.
    3. Larger images take longer to load, so reduce the size of your image files for faster site speed; luckily you can shrink images down significantly without losing quality.
    4. Minimize your RTTs (the number of requests made when a user accesses your site). Each piece of your page that needs loading is requested individually, so the fewer that need to run, the better.
      1. A few ways to do this
        1. Combine CSS and JavaScript
        2. Minimize DNS lookups
        3. Minimize redirects
    5. Turn off unused plugins or extensions because each one requires individual loading that bogs down your site speed.

    Mobile Optimization

    In 2017, mobile devices accounted for more than 50% of all online searches. As mobile users increase year over year, the likelihood of your customers looking for you from their smartphone is high and getting higher. A mobile friendly or mobile responsive site isn’t enough anymore, mobile optimization is crucial. But what does that mean? We’ve provided a few key features for mobile optimized sites, does your website check all the boxes?

    1. Simplified navigation that’s touch screen-friendly
      1. Larger buttons to allow easier clicking
      2. Easy scrolling so viewers can browse your website without accidental clicks
      3. Avoid the need for typing
    2. Condensed copy for less scrolling to read
    3. Avoid pop-ups
    4. Resize images & videos to fit smaller screens

    If your customers are more likely to visit your site from their mobile device, you may even consider a mobile-first design: designing your site around mobile (typically in a single-column layout, which can then expand for desktop browsing).

    Sitemap

    Once your website’s been constructed, you’ll need to create a Sitemap. Simply put, a Sitemap is a file containing all of your webpage’s URLs. It should be easy to find so search engines don’t have to work hard to crawl it. The most common place to create your Sitemap will be in Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools), but other options are also available.

    Content

    The biggest piece of your on-page SEO is content. Your site should be filled with relevant content, but it’s not just about creating content filled to the brim with keywords, but putting it together in a way that’s easy and enjoyable for your audience to read. Let’s start there…

    1. Readability: The term itself is pretty self-explanatory, but something to keep in mind: Google “reads” at about a fifth-grade level, so in order to improve readability, follow a few very simple steps
      1. Keep your sentences short
      2. Don’t use too many big words—there are exceptions to this rule of course, but if you’re writing for the average reader, ditch the thesaurus and keep it uncomplicated simple (so long as it doesn’t take away from the personality of the content).
    2. Length: 300 words is your minimum, but the longer the better. The more content you provide, the more opportunities search engines have to crawl and index your page based on keywords.
      1. Exclusions to this rule: website home pages, gallery pages, etc. (this is an age-old battle between SEOs and web designers… general rule of thumb: don’t sacrifice design for content because even if it makes Google happy, it will deter people from visiting and that’s the real goal in all of this)
    3. Keywords: You’ll build your page’s SEO around this word or phrase. You’ll incorporate it in copy, title tags, meta descriptions and alt tags.
    4. Heading Tags(don’t just bold!): Heading tags break up your content to make sure it’s easy to digest for readers and search engines alike. Bolding a word or phrase, followed by a paragraph won’t cut it in Google’s eyes. You’ll need to use H2, H3, etc. tags so search engines can read it as an actual heading.
    5. Images (Alt Tags): Use alt tags as an opportunity to incorporate your keyword in another place. Be sure all images on each page include your keyword.
    6. Slugs: This is the piece of your page’s link that follows the main site URL (website.com/page-slug). Keep it short, incorporate your keyword into it if you can, and exclude stop words as much as possible.
    7. Links: Linking your page to other pages either within the same website or to other sites creates associations between your content and other pages’ content, which builds relevance for your page.
      1. Linking to pages on other sites also encourages others to do the same for you, building your backlinks, which looks great in Google’s eyes. The more places pointing to your site, the better.

     

    Off-Page SEO

    Alongside content, links are the leading ranking factor in all of SEO. Link building is the process of accumulating links from outside sources that point back to your website. There are a number of ways to approach link building, but let’s cover the most common:

    1. Manually created links are links that you generate through outreach. You can reach out to bloggers, journalists and influencers to request they create or share content that links back to your website. This is a pretty time-consuming task, but can be effective once you’ve developed strong relationships.
    2. Self-created links are link you put out on your own through various platforms.
    3. Directories: the most common directories include Google My Business, Bing Places and Yelp. There are oftentimes industry-specific directories you can utilize as well.
    4. Blog comments & forums: Joining the conversation on relevant blogs and forums allows you the chance to weigh in on what your customers are talking about, while incorporating an additional link back to your website.
    5. Guests posts (other blogs): Acting as a guest blogger on an already established site leverages that blogger’s audience for you to get in front of.
    6. Advertorials: A long-form advertisement, often written in the form of an article or editorial and promotes a product or service.
    7. Profiles: Much like directories, creating user profiles across various online networks gives you the opportunity to create a “personality” behind your brand, and link back to your website.

     

    Let Divining Point tackle your on-page and off-page SEO strategy, implementation and management. For more information, visit our services page today!

     

  • 5 Digital Marketing Methods to Help Upstream Oil & Gas Companies

    The energy industry has seen some tough times. Now that a recovery appears to be upon us, many upstream oil and gas companies are trying to redefine themselves in a new marketing era. Although it’s only been a couple of years since many companies reserved respectable portions of budget for marketing, the marketing landscape has changed – and keeps changing.

    Although conferences and trade shows still dominate oil and gas marketing budgets (somewhere around 30%-40%), many enterprising operators are redirecting sizable chunks of budget that was previously dedicated to print, brochures, collateral, and traditional media. Consumer media consumption has changed significantly over the last 10 years, which is especially true for B2B buyers. Your buyers don’t take off their business hats when they switch to their own personal consumption, and now that they’ve adapted to digital media guess where they spend all of their time doing professional research?

    Digital marketing for upstream oil & gas doesn’t have to be complicated. Think of it like raising awareness about your company, establishing your brand, and driving buyers to your door. By using your website and social media to connect with B2B buyers, you can share your story and deliver technical information to the people who want it most. Below are 5 digital marketing methods that upstream oil and gas companies can develop an online marketing strategy.

    1. Improve Your Website

    By now you know how important your website is to the sales process. Your website is the first comprehensive experience potential buyers will have with your company. Over 80% of people look up a company online before contacting the business or deciding to buy. This applies to the energy industry, too. No matter if you’re selling miles of rebar or barrels of crude, your business must be explained in a compelling way that engages the visitor from the moment they arrive at your site.

    If you’ve had the same website for a couple of years, it’s time for an update, especially to implement a mobile responsive design. People in the oil and gas industry understand that mobile is crucial to growth and they’re investing in it heavily: $8 billion was projected to be spent on mobile oil and gas apps in 2015, and according to Oil & Gas IQ, 71% of workers use mobile devices for work purposes, especially those in field operations, technical roles, and senior decision makers. As you can see, the emphasis on mobile technology is strong and will continue to grow as more industry professionals start using their smartphones and tablets in the field. If you want your site to be accessed by your ideal clients, make sure that it’s designed to adapt to their usage and provides the info they’re seeking. It should be designed to tell your company’s story and provide meaningful ungated content (aka: freely available reading material) so that your visitor doesn’t immediately bounce from the page. If you make it easy for buyers to view your site no matter the device, and find helpful information, they’ll be more likely to pick up the phone and contact you with questions.

    1. Invest In SEO

    SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell, it’s the act of making your website perform better to bring higher quality traffic to your site from search engines. It is pretty well established that engineers and C-level executives read tons of research and market news. Regardless if they read online periodicals or search for information using Google or Bing, your company must claim top ranking at every stop along the way.

    As an owner of an oil and gas company, you’re trying to position yourself as a leader in your field. In the spirit of leadership, you can reach your clients when they seek to answer questions online. To optimize your site’s SEO, your goal is to identify the most likely keywords and long-tail search terms your buyers use to seek out products and services like yours. Using these keywords, your marketing partners can create blog posts, white papers, or articles that bring these engineers and executives to your site. It’s not enough to just optimize on your website, your off-site SEO activities must inspire your buyers to explore your site further.

    1. Bid For PPC

    Pay-per-click (PPC) represents an effective shift in the way B2B companies handle advertising. Instead of pumping tons of money into print advertising, you can now compete for who sees your ads once they’ve searched for terms that are relevant to your industry. This represents a more efficient model to conserve your budget, potentially, since you only pay for the interest you’ve generated from your ads, i.e., the number of people who click your ad.

    For example, if someone searches for “remote monitoring for oil and gas”, you can present an ad that highlights your company’s SCADA solutions for integrating dispersed assets across the oilfield. Once clicked, you can direct the visitor directly to the landing page on your website to lead them further into the funnel. Because PPC allows you to specify which keywords will prompt your ad to show, it won’t show up when someone searches for something like, “remote baby monitor.”

    1. Capture More Leads With Gated Content

    Gated content is highly-valuable data or information for which a visitor to your website is willing to trade their contact information. Putting it simply, in order for the visitor to gain access to this materials they have to pass through a “gate,” such as a contact form, where they provide their name, email, number, and company information. This allows you to capture information about who is visiting your site and generates leads for your sales team to field. Additionally, the gated content sets you up as a thought leader in your industry. The better your gated content, the more likely your ideal client will put their trust and faith in you.

    Gated content, like whitepapers and survey results, is an ideal way to collect info on potential leads. But, before you start requiring all site visitors to fill out a form, grow their trust and appreciation. You can do this by giving away high-quality content that is NOT gated, such as industry-oriented blogs, useful market news, or even special announcements about your company. If your followers see that you offer quality free content they will be more willing to provide their personal details in order to get your gated content.

    1. Social Media

    Nothing confuses oil and gas companies quite like social media. Social media is the place where relationships happen. A research paper by International Data Corporation stated that 84% of B2B C-level and VP-level buyers use social media for purchasing. And, overall, 75% of B2B buyers consult social media when making purchasing decisions. The key to using social media for upstream oil and gas is to choose the right platform. If you’re the CEO, you might use LinkedIn to post a job opening for a rig engineer or share news about your newest drilling rigs. LinkedIn is also a great place to connect with other professionals in the industry to share your knowledge. By joining LinkedIn’s Groups, you can answer questions about the upstream market and establish yourself, and your company, as a thought leader.

    Facebook, on the other hand, is a good platform for providing insight into how your company operates, sharing news about your company culture, job openings, announcing recent hires or photos/videos of your product. Beyond updates about your company, Facebook also makes it easy to share interesting articles about the upstream industry or to re-share posts from your clients, partners, and vendors. Finally, Facebook’s advertising platform is as robust as Google’s pay-per-click Adwords. The vast amount of user data and advanced ads manager make it easy to directly target your potential buyers and decision makers using well-crafted ads and messaging.

    Putting It All Together

    The Upstream Oil & Gas industry is competitive and fast-moving. To grow your business and gain new buyers, your marketing strategy has got to put you at the forefront of the industry. A comprehensive digital marketing strategy will not only grow your brand online, it will also help you target the right people at a time when they’re looking to be informed, educated and entertained.

    We speak “Engineer” here and would welcome the opportunity to launch your digital marketing strategy. Our client roster includes numerous B2B companies, from engineer to tech, and we’ve helped each one develop a unique plan for implementing and optimizing their marketing efforts. Next time you’re making a long drive out to a drilling rig, we invite you to take a few minutes and give us a call.

  • 8 Marketing Ideas for Home Builders

    Home builders may design and construct dream homes in desirable neighborhoods, but if nobody knows about these homes, there won’t be much sales action. Traditional advertising, like direct mail, radio and newspaper ads, don’t produce the same results they once did. These days, buyers need to see more than just your offer. They want to see interior videos of homes, read online reviews from happy customers, be invited to groups on social media and more.

    We’ve compiled 8 creative marketing ideas for home builders. Being savvy with digital marketing doesn’t necessarily require a ton of technical savvy. You just need a genuine approach to build a connection with potential buyers and provide the most important information they’re seeking.

    1. Use Pinterest to build a portfolio of interior & exterior photos that link back to your website

    Pinterest is an optimal social media platform for showcasing a home builder’s work. The image-based site provides a perfect canvas for photos of kitchens, exteriors, bathrooms, landscaping, and more. The grouping of the photos is flexible; the home builder could organize photos by floor plans, by elevations, by room in the house or even by color scheme. Each Pinterest photo should link to the website so that you can drive traffic to explore more.

    1. Use social media to show pre-construction activities – specifically focusing on craftsmanship and quality.

    Instagram and Facebook are perfect for engaging buyers before home construction is even complete. A new home is a big investment, and home builders want to please future owners. Posting regular project updates of new home construction not only lets your buyer feel like they’re part of the process, it also reinforces your solid construction quality to potential new buyers. By highlighting your dedication to craftsmanship and quality, buyers will feel confident in their decision, while new prospects will appreciate getting an inside look at the process.

    1. Pulse the market with PPC ads

    Pay-per-click (PPC) ads give home builders an opportunity to be very specific, and efficient, with their digital advertising. If you have quality ads and a great understanding of which search terms drive the most traffic, you can stretch a smaller budget with PPC. It’s easy enough to turn on and turn off your campaigns in time with the fluctuations of the market or compete for specific search terms with less frequency. By pulsing the market you can nimbly edge out your competitors during the times of the year when you need sales the most.  

    1. Capture video from the communities and publish on social media

    People love videos – ESPECIALLY home buyers! Videos are a great way to provide useful information, while also building a connection with the viewer. Home builders can use marketing videos to do give tours of their communities, provide helpful DIY advice, or even share testimonials from happy customers. Videos are also a perfect method for showcasing a home’s floor plan, features, exterior and landscaping. With video, home builders can build demand and entice buyers to visit your models.

    1. Run lead ads on Facebook

    Compelling ads can drive leads to a home builder’s website. Facebook has stepped up their game by offering home builders a quick and easy way to capture new leads. It’s already well known that you can create custom audiences for your ads based on location, age, income and other demographics. With a lead ad, an interested buyer can conveniently provide contact their info with one button click on their mobile device in exchange for more information or special offers.

    1. Encourage your happy customers to write reviews on Yelp, Google, and Facebook

    When it comes to advertising for home builders, the best resource are happy customers. Future buyers want the real scoop and to feel like they can trust what a home builder promises to do. The best way to earn a buyer’s trust is not to tell them, but to let them read the positive stories of happy customers. Create business profiles on Yelp, Google and Facebook and then ask your happiest customers to provide feedback about their experience with your company and their new home. It’s well known that unhappy customers will leave negative reviews (everywhere), but happy customers need to be reminded. Ask them to post a review after they’ve moved in and are at their most satisfied moment.

    1. Host more special events & share them on social media and on your blog

    Special events provide an opportunity to connect with future buyers without the pressure of asking for a commitment. Try hosting community open houses and inviting social media followers to tour multiple homes and explore neighborhood amenities. Similarly, you can organize informational events to provide answers to common concerns on the home buyer’s journey – like how to apply for a mortgage, how to make kitchen design decisions, how to pick the right school, etc. Any event you organize should be shared on social media platforms, on your blog and possibly in email campaigns. The more enjoyable and informative the events, the more you’ll see attendance grow.

    1. Post about open houses on social media

    Social media’s fast-moving news feed is a prime spot to promote your open houses. As potential buyers scroll their daily updates, they’ll see your announcement, beautiful home photos and details. Posting open houses on social media also provides a way for you to answer questions about the property, or community, without the interested party having to pick up the phone and call. It also drives traffic back to your website where you can gather lead information or remarket to them with ads tailored to their interests.

     

    For more home builder and real estate marketing inspiration, click here.

  • SEO in the Oil & Gas Industry

    What is SEO?

    SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In a nutshell, it’s the act of making your website and its content to perform better and drive higher quality traffic to your site in greater quantities. When someone uses a search engine to search for a keyword, a results page pops up with a list of sites. The order in which a site is listed is based on the site’s SEO. As a result, sites with better SEO rank higher. If you want your site to be listed first, you can improve your site’s SEO in two ways:

    • Onsite: By regularly using your website to publish fresh, original content on a specific topic, you’ll rank higher. If you own an oil and gas drilling company, for example, you can start to establish your site as an online authority by publishing regular blog posts on rig maintenance tips or critical issues facing drilling activity.
    • Offsite: You make search engines happy when other websites link back to your site. When other websites link to your blogs, or when people share your posts on social media, you have a better chance of moving up the ranks in search results.

    The role of SEO in Oil & Gas

    As an owner of an oil and gas company, you’re trying to position yourself as a leader in your field. In the spirit of leadership, you can reach your clients when they seek to answer questions online. The terms they type into a search engine are called, “keywords.” To optimize your site’s SEO, your goal is to identify these keywords and use them to create blog posts, white papers, or articles. Engineers and leaders in technical industries are most likely to conduct their research online. If you know the answers to their questions, you can use this knowledge to create SEO-friendly and compelling content that markets your services.

    The ultimate tip for winning at SEO is knowing how your potential clients search for information. Learn the unique specifics about your target market and your ideal customer, and then use a marketing SEO tool,  like Google Keywords Planner, Google Trends, Moz, Keyword Tool.io, etc., to research the keywords they search. Let’s say you’re a tech company with a remote monitoring system for rigs and you’re targeting oil fields in Texas. You may want to include keywords such as “remote rig monitoring in Texas for oil & gas engineers”. With this search string have the product + location + the industry target. These “longtail” keywords are specific and speak directly to people with unique problems you can solve.

    Another strategy is to use a marketing tool, like SEMrush, to research the keywords being used by your competitors.  These tools offer you the ability see which keywords are used the most, which in turn allows you to improve your own site’s SEO performance and move above your competitors in search results.

    Armed with the most popular search keywords, you can start writing blogs, social media content, and more using the language of your oil & gas clients. Remember to tell stories with your content and include images and videos. Content with visuals is a powerful way to educate your client and connect with different generational audiences.

    Plan to spend around 20% – 30% of your marketing budget on digital marketing efforts. Use different social media platforms – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest – to build your brand, share your content, connect with clients and engage curious browsers. With SEO optimized content, your digital audience will be more likely to repost this information on different networks or share your blogs with decision makers that their company. By meeting oil & gas clients at the “search step,” you’ll establish yourself as a reliable leader in the field and quickly pull clients into your sales funnel.

  • How To Decide Between Organic vs Paid Traffic

    Unlike the iconic movie Field of Dreams, no one comes to your website solely because you built it. With over 1.2 billion websites online as of March 2017, standing out among the crowd has become no mean feat.

    Whether you have a great idea for an online business or simply want to get your existing business on the web, you need visitors. You need them fast, and you need them the flow of visitors to be sustainable over the long haul term.

    It’s obvious that visitors are needed to generate sales and thus create revenue, but determining the best way to obtain these visitors is much less obvious. Given that the rich visitor data and analytics on your website is critical information for a company’s future decision-making, how do you decide which strategy to take with your digital marketing?

    Let’s start with the basics.

    Organic Traffic

    Organic traffic is any visitor that comes to your page without paid advertising. When people search for your site, or specific keywords, your site appears in a natural ranking in the search results. When a person clicks thru to your site they are ranked as organic traffic.

    Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing rank your website based on a variety of factors like content, coding, backlinks, and website architecture. These search engines consistently seek to provide search engine visitors with website results that are both trusted resources (for the searched keywords) and that provide quality content. Companies invest heavily to optimize their websites for better search ranking (Search Engine Optimization – SEO), because they know that over time organic traffic will increase and outperform paid traffic.

    Paid Traffic

    Paid traffic is any visitor that comes to your page as a result of a paid ad on a search engine or advertising network. This type of advertising is called “Pay Per Click”. Paid search ads include a call to action (CTA) and are ordinarily identified as advertising in the search rankings. When a person clicks thru to your site via an ad they are ranked as paid traffic.

    Paid ads are a fairly deliberate technique to get instant gratification. Your website is listed either at the top of the page or to the side based on the budget and keyword strategy you develop. Rather than working to establish backlinks or develop rich content, you can go directly to the top of the page – with the right budget.

    Breaking It Down

    Paid placement allows you to get visitors immediately and thus gives you the ability to quickly gain market share. For a company that needs to demonstrate sales right away, a paid campaign will do that. You can control your sales volume despite your organic ranking. However, it also ends the moment you run out of cash, which can result in start/stop interruptions that affect nearly every part of your business.

    If an SEO strategy is in your future (or now!), paid placement gives you essential data on keywords and visitors to devise your SEO strategy. Only 20% of searches result in an ad click, so your market share with organic search will outpace paid ads over time. But the paid placements give you quick, reliable insight into which terms should be included in your search engine optimization.

    Organic traffic will outperform paid placement in the long run for nearly every measurable statistic. Organic also outperforms paid for other important measurements like overall percentage of traffic, quality of traffic/visitors, and ROI. Organic will have higher costs and longer timeline to reach your first sale, but those costs will go down over time thereby allowing you to pull back on your paid ad efforts – or eliminate it entirely if it’s not needed for market share or testing new areas to expand your SEO.

    The only way to effectively determine your SEO strategy is to know which keywords are being searched for and which ones offer the highest conversion rates. With this information, calculating your costs and strategy are as simple as conducting a professional evaluation of the competition, determining what it will take to compete with them, and what costs will be associated with reaching that level.

    This is why you should always be wary of any company that offers tiered SEO packages with a “one size fits all” approach. Since SEO strategy is exclusively tailored to your industry and your company, “Bronze, Gold, and Platinum” packages are highly dubious terms that offer almost no insight into how your website will perform six months to a year down the road. Don’t be deceived.

    So which is better: Organic or Paid?

    The answer largely depends on your goals.

    Want to generate immediate traffic? Use paid ads.

    Want to outperform your competition in organic search engine ranking? Invest in a long term SEO strategy for organic traffic.

    Want to quickly earn market share? Paid.

    Want to taper off of Paid ads? Invest in SEO.

    Want to figure out which SEO strategy will give you the best ROI? Test the market with paid ads.

    Were we to counsel you on a comprehensive plan that promptly builds website traffic and keeps it long term, we’d tell you to start with both. Invest in a paid ad strategy to get quick results for immediate sales and market share while also investing in SEO to give your website staying power in organic rankings. Over time you can pull back on paid ads (or not) while still benefitting from a steady flow of visitors reaching your site through organic search results.

     

    Want to move your business forward? Let’s talk.