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    Learning More about Digital Marketing

    In a digital world, we talked to Michael Steel, CEO of Flywheel Digital, to find out the secrets of digital campaigns.

    Before starting with digital advertising, what are the steps a startup has to take in order to run an effective campaign?

    Running effective digital advertising campaigns is all about matching the audience to the ad and landing page. For more established businesses, they typically have a good understanding of their audience, but often their landing pages are less polished. So our job is just to define that audience online and improve their digital experience.

    For startups, the opposite is true. Many startups have invested in solid online presence, but they often have more learning to do in terms of what the perfect market for their product is. So the most important step a startup can take is define for themselves (or with us) what their perfect market is, so we can create a plan to reach them.

    For entrepreneurs who are unfamiliar, what is CRO and how is it used to improve on-page conversions on websites?

    Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a systematic approach to improving your website’s performance.

    Instead of simplying designing a new website and then letting it run, a CRO approach is to create a site (or take an existing site) and create hypotheses about how to improve it. Those hypotheses could be user experience-based, such as “We can improve conversions by adding a zoom feature to the product images”, or value propoistion-based, such as “We can improve conversions by emphasizing the cost savings instead of the convenience in the headline”.

    Once we’ve created a hypothesis, it is systematically tested for significance through A/B testing (serving two versions of a page at random to its visitors). If the hypothesis proves to be correct, it is added to the live site.

    This way of website testing takes a lot of the opinion out of web design and ensures consistent improvement over time.

    How do you create logic-based email and SMS campaigns and how would you recommend a business start with them?

    Creating logic-based marketing communications is actually much simpler than people think. Tools like Twilio, and even MailChimp, have vastly reduced the amount of custom coding needed to have an exceptional site.

    When we’re planning these campaigns, the first step is mapping out the customer journey, from awareness through to post-purchase. Then we look at opportunities: where would the customer benefit from direct interaction with the brand? Typically this is around either the final conversion or a micro conversion.

    When it comes to viewing campaign analytics, how do you create a user-friendly database? Are you using Google Data Studio?

    Yes, we report almost entirely out of Google Data Studio. I’m not sure people realize how much the analytics landscape has changed in the last few years. For a long time before that, digital marketers reported largely out of the tools themselves, in disparate silos. For example, you would get some of your metrics from Google Analytics, some from Facebook, and then likely compile them all in a spreadsheet.

    Dashboarding tools, and GDS in particular, have progressed to a point that virtually all marketing reporting can be done out of one source of truth. They aggegrate multiple data sources and remove the limits on ways to visualize that data.

    The end result is bigger than just saving time, as well. By having all data in one place instead of multiple, you also open yourself up to insight you may never have seen otherwise. For example, if your Facebook CPCs decline at the same time your direct traffic rises, there may have been a third factor, such as an offline campaign, driving both of them. Without centralized reporting, you’d almost never catch that.

    When you’re optimizing websites for SEO purposes, what do you want companies to know about how to prepare their content?

    Two things:

    1. If you want to rank for multiple keywords, treat every page on your site as if it were a landing page from Google. Ask yourself, if a searcher arrived on this page from Google, having never heard of my business, would it be clear what I’m offering?

    2. Google gives plenty of (free!) tools to help you understand how you’re doing. The Lighthouse Audit, Search Console, Structured Data Testing Tool, and many more give you a first-hand look into exactly how Google thinks your site is doing. Take advantage of these.