marketing

A Beginner’s Guide to Meta Tags

Simply stated, a meta tag is a snippet of text injected on your website to boost your SEO.

Essentially, meta tags are your opportunity as a content curator to describe what your content is about for the search engines, so you can allow your content to be more widely seen.

So, how do you create meta tags that ultimately enable us to achieve a higher ranking, and allow our content to be more widely seen? Here’s a quick guide on where to start.

Write Google-worthy meta tags

Though other search engines like Bing are significant, Google is still king. Focus on writing descriptions that are worthy of the platform. What do you want to communicate about your page in 150-160 characters or less? What keywords need to be present?

Note that in some cases, Google won’t display your meta description at all, and in many other cases, Google will only display a small portion of your description. Choose your words wisely so that no matter what is published as your description, it accurately depicts your work, and boosts your ranking.

Meta tags need to be unique

For starters, duplicating your meta descriptions is an absolute no-no. Right along with keyword stuffing, this sends the message to the search engine that the page is a duplicate, or that maybe you do have too many keywords and are just trying to use them to rank.

Try using schema markup, or creating rich snippets of relevant text, in your descriptions. Include ideas like customer ratings, reviews or product descriptions on a given page to start.

Think about your keywords

Keywords matter. Even if every other description or piece of content was taken away, your audience should be able to understand the basis of your website based on keywords alone. Because of keyword stuffing, keywords won’t affect your ranking as much as in previous years, but based on clarity for your audience and attracting your target market, they are still extremely relevant.

Title tags are relevant

In short, a title tag names your site. The meta tag, or meta description, does just that: it describes your website. Your title tag perhaps has the most important impact on your SEO ranking, and so for chloeanagnos.com most people will search for “Chloe Anagnos,” considering it is a personal brand. Therefore, a title tag is formed.

Data matters

Most people will stop after the above steps are completed, but the most success you’ll have with your SEO ranking is by paying attention to your data over time.

Remember, ranking doesn’t happen overnight, and just like your workout routine, you’ll see performance if you are consistent over time. Every month or so you should be revisiting your data to see if your ranking has improved, and if your pages are being clicked directly from the search engine. Use a tool like Google Search Console, Google analytics, or your website’s built in analytics to monitor your performance and make adjustments as needed.

How to Create Passive Income Online

For most normal people, working 9-5, Monday through Friday can really start to feel like a dead end.

To put it bluntly, most of us hope for a little more in life than working 40 hours a week for the next 30 years or so to maybe retire and have enough money to be sustainable.

So instead of promising another get rich quick scheme, or slipping into your Facebook PM’s to share a special “business” opportunity with you, let me introduce you to the idea of passive income.

With passive income – money never sleeps. So quite literally, passive income is a financial opportunity that anyone and everyone can, and should, be putting into practice.

Here’s the part with passive income most people won’t share with you – it takes work. Passive, income regardless of the form, is an investment, and investments take time and effort. But at the end of the day, if you want to build wealth, quit your day job, and invest your resources wisely – check out these ways to create passive income right now online.

Online Courses

Online courses can be an extremely effective way to generate passive income. Depending on what you desire to accomplish, creating a course and curriculum can be as easy or as challenging as the effort you put into it.

If you have a lower budget and don’t have an established audience just yet, you can use a free platform like Loom to screen record tutorials and host your course on a platform like Udemy that will market it for you. Otherwise, reach out to your email list, and use a hosting platform like Teachable or CourseCraft that will help you launch your curriculum.

Membership Site

Instead of continuing to bust your tail trying to sell content – consider batching it for membership. Batching your content simply means creating multiple pieces of content in one sitting – and with a membership website, you can generate monthly revenue doing just this. Charge a lower price to get clients in the door, and watch your money accumulate over time.

Affiliate Marketing

Different than multi-level marketing, affiliate marketing simply gives affiliates, preferably in a company’s target audience, a code with a discounted rate. The affiliate is paid commissions for the sales they make on your product, and as a result, affiliates drive more traffic to your website.

There’s no pyramid structure or contractual compensation agreement here and the affiliate is paid commission off of their sales. Basically, think of affiliate marketing as selling your product at a lower rate (to pay the commission) to sell more products.

On the flip side, you can also make passive income by becoming an affiliate. If you have a product you love and truly believe in, consider asking that company for an affiliate code to give to your family and friends to give them a discount, and receive a portion of the sale. Just don’t get spammy.

YouTube

Everyone loves YouTube, and you don’t have to be the next big influencer to generate passive income here. Though curated videos and excellent content can be desirable, think of YouTube as a search engine. How often do you find yourself on this platform looking for a tutorial?

To generate passive income on this platform, it’s as simple as creating a channel filming tutorials or explaining concepts relevant to the things you’re passionate about. Then, you can pocket the extra income over time on ads.

Have a family member that needs help refurbishing furniture? Film it. Got a college degree in film or literature that you’re not using? Teach some YouTube course on that subject. Working on a project for a marketing client? Film a tutorial of the steps you take to do it.

Amazon

Amazon does just about everything now – including more affiliate marketing. Their Amazon Associates program is essentially just a broader form of affiliate marketing that allows you to advertise products relevant to you in order to monetize your website. It’s easy to join, and if you’ve got a passion project type of blog, this would be a great place to make some extra income.

Sell Your Own Product

You used to only be able to generate passive income by selling physical products – but thanks to the internet, you can sell digital ones too. Whether it be an E-Book, template, script, spreadsheet, song, movie, or tutorial, you can sell it online.

How to Use Facebook Pixel to Increase Your Adspend

Have you ever been scrolling through your Facebook feed only to find multiple ads of a product or service you searched for just moments before?

Though some say the Facebook pixel is creepy (and it kind of is),  it’s also an ingenious marketing tool to better serve your target audience.

So what is it exactly? If you’re unfamiliar, a Facebook pixel serves as an identifier.

Essentially, it’s a snippet of code installed on your website, so that you can track your all of your traffic down to the type, information about what your audience likes, how many items users have put an item in their cart on your site, or even whether they purchased a given item or not… so you can see where some people can get uneasy.

But if you use the Facebook pixel correctly, you can see a significant return on your adspend over time by simply installing the pixel on your website to better target your traffic.

Where do you start? I’ll walk you through step by step how to create a Facebook Pixel so you can produce higher quality and targeted ads than ever before.

Create a pixel

You can either create a pixel through Facebook Ads Manager or Business Manager, but if you’re looking to grow your business (which you should be), be sure to stick to the Business Manager to have a dashboard that lets you manage multiple pages, ads, and audience insights all from the same place.

So to create an actual pixel, complete the following steps: visit your business manager account > select settings > select data sources > select pixels > select add. Name your pixel something specific if you’ve got multiple ventures (like your website name or another identifier) because Facebook will let you create up to 15 of them.

You’ll want to be able to quickly differentiate the given purpose of each pixel if you have multiple websites, e-commerce platforms like Etsy or Shopify, etc.

Install your pixel

Now that you’ve got your Pixel created with a name and ID, you have two options: to use a platform integration if you are using a well-known web platform like WordPress or Squarespace, to install your pixel, or take a DIY approach.

If you choose to do it yourself, take the piece of code Facebook gives you when setting up your pixel, and paste it into the header code of your website. Otherwise, the integration will complete this step for you.

Test your pixel

Facebook Pixel Chrome Extension is a plugin you can install directly on Google Chrome in order to test and see if your Pixel is live on your website. (It’ll also reveal how many websites you view are tracking your data with multiple pixels, but that’s another story).

That way if at anytime your pixel shows inactive, you’re able to monitor and adjust accordingly. You can also test traffic through Facebook’s test feature once you’ve completed the proper steps to ensure you’re up and running.

Create a custom audience for your pixel

Now, this is where the magic happens. Once your pixel tracks at least 100 conversions or clicks to your website, you can actually create a Lookalike Audience. Why’s this important?

Though Facebook Ads allows you to target people specifically based on region, pages liked, or other interests when you create an ad, using a Lookalike Audience through the Pixel is 100 times better. No longer are you guestimating your target audience based on these principles, because the Lookalike feature allows you to target people who are already engaging with your website.

This feature takes all the data Facebook has accumulated about your visitors and then matches as many data points as possible to market to the same people. Again, genius.

Create an ad and use your pixel

You’ve done all the legwork, and you’re on the home run stretch. Create an ad with a clear and specific call to action, choose a result that converts, and use the Lookalike feature for the best results. You won’t believe what you’ll find.

Measure your results

Track, measure, and analyze everything you produced via your ad. How many leads did you generate? How much revenue resulted in your ad? How many people engaged with your ad? Take note, implement necessary changes, and watch your investments grow.

Get Hired With These 5 Marketing Certifications

Simply put, digital marketing has changed the face of modern business across the globe. Most degrees are no longer the only deciding factors when hiring. In fact, sometimes they aren’t even prerequisites.

Today, employers are less focused on where you went to school and more interested in your experience and demonstrated ability.

So if you never graduated B-school, don’t be too worried. Marketing positions are constantly opening and the freelance opportunities are endless.

Certifications are an effective way to stay up to speed with your digital skills, make a great addition to your Linkedin profile, and each serves as experience and talking points for your resume. 

Whether you’re looking for a new gig, developing your own business, or on the search for a digital side hustle, here are five certifications to help you get hired and to sharpen your skills.

Google Ads

According to SEO Tribunal, Google is responsible for 96 percent of all smartphone search traffic and 94 percent of total organic traffic. 

Google Academy for Ads offers a free certification course, and will guide you step by step on how to implement successful campaigns for your business or for your clients. This platform is king considering most online purchases are still made in search before they’re made in social.

Hootsuite Social Marketing

Though Hootsuite has had some competition over the last few years as more social scheduling platforms have come on the market, they are still the first platform with the most credibility when it comes to scheduling social media.

Hootsuite’s certification exams do start at $200, but their social media certification is arguably the most well-rounded. Their course focuses on core strategies to develop your social media presence as a brand and will give you the foundational principles you need. 

Hubspot Inbound

Inbound marketing is an excellent strategy in the digital marketing world, and is essential to understand and implement – especially as a small business. Hubspot’s inbound certificate is free and focuses on fundamental marketing concepts that many of us tend to skip right through. This course builds an excellent foundation on how to engage your audience, target prospects, maintain a pipeline of leads, understand the buyer journey, and really know your audience.

Google Digital Marketing

Google’s Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Certificate is yet another free certification that lays a strong framework for almost every area within digital marketing. If you don’t have a marketing degree, this course covers just about everything you need to know in terms of building a digital marketing foundation. This course covers multiple platforms and strategies from email marketing to social media.

Facebook Blueprint

Social media has shifted more into a “pay-to-play” model, so unless you’ve got a strong personal brand and/or became an “influencer” before the market became saturated, you’ll want to consider Facebook advertising. Facebook’s certification is $150 and will get you up to speed to ensure you get the most value for your dollar. 

How to Pick Winning Keywords

When it comes to your search engine ranking, keywords can make or break your performance. As a result, the growth of your online status hinges on your success with keywords.

Finding winning keywords doesn’t have to be as challenging as it may seem. If you think about it, all keywords consist of are the terms and queries people enter into the search engine.

No one knows your business or brand better than you. Therefore, you have an edge and advantage that no one else online can compete with.

You’ve already done the leg work in developing your brand. Now all you have to do is translate your brand into the phrases you and I type in every single day on Google.

Here is an easy-to-implement strategy to help you pick keywords that will get you ready to win your SEO ranking every single time.

Make a list of relevant and related topics to your business.

What are your primary objectives as a company or brand? Grab a clean sheet of paper or an empty spreadsheet, and start jotting down words and phrases that come to mind when describing your business. Consider terms that you use in pitching your business to others. What do you say? You can also consider what you are most likely to blog about.

What common themes continue to emerge? As you notice trends, begin to use concise language and organize your queries into topics, grouping similar ideas together. Then begin to refine the language you use.

Know your target audience, and think like them.

Now that you have a frame of reference, begin to think like your buyer persona would while looking for you online. If your ideal client was looking for you online, what would they be searching for? Knowing your audience and the target you want to reach can further refine the process. If you haven’t yet developed a buyer persona, consider asking close friends and relatives what terms they would use to search for your product or service, and take note of any trends.

Develop a list of potential keywords.

With general topics and queries in mind, it’s time to start generating a list. Begin to jot down 15-20 words that you can begin testing to see what potential leads may be generated for your business.

Don’t rule out long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords can consist of queries any more than three words, and also include phrases. Though their search volume may not be as high as shorter words, the traffic generated from long tail keywords is significantly more relevant.

Use low competition keywords.

Low competition keywords are considered by some to be a type of long tail keywords, as they are more specific than general searches. Compare the query “marketing” to “digital marketing strategies”. Marketing is a broad enough term that will generate more traffic, but digital marketing strategies will reach a niche market that is more closely related to a type of company.

Know your competition.

It’s important to know what your competitors are using on their websites. Look at their meta tags and gauge keywords off of their descriptions. You can use similar ones or some of the same queries to boost your traffic. Also, be mindful that your competitors may do the same to you, so it is important to ensure you are monitoring them to see if adjustments must be made on your end as well.

Consider using negative keywords.

Negative keywords are a factor to consider when advertising with a search engine. Because ads typically charge based on the number of clicks on your ads, it is important to generate the right kind of traffic to bring in quality leads. For instance, let’s say you’re a digital marketing agency that specializes in WordPress plugins.

Your ad may focus on web development plugins for your site, and as a result, you may draw in traffic from prospects that use other web development platforms. If you want to target WordPress users only, you could use “Squarespace” or “Wix” as negative keywords.

Review and analyze your performance.

Review, review, and review. Monitor your analytics and any ad campaigns you generate to monitor the words and phrases that perform well. The words that do lead to more clicks are ones you want to continue to incorporate in your web descriptions and future ads.

Take advantage of your keywords, and be mindful to incorporate them across your social networks, blogs, and content. Your keywords will only help distinguish your digital footprint to lead your dream clients directly to you.

4 Marketing Musts to Keep Your Strategy on Point

When it comes to marketing, there’s always something else you could be doing. Another platform to be on, another software to utilize…the list goes on and on.

But when it comes to your strategy, there are four significant components that can and should be considered in every decision you make.

Establish your target audience

If you shoot for nothing you’ll miss every time, and by trying to reach everyone you’ll end up helping no one. You must have a target audience and it has to be specific.

For instance, by simply establishing your target audience as WOMEN, you are targeting 3.8 billion people. That’s essentially half of the world’s population. On your first ad campaign, you’re probably not going hit them all.

A buyer persona is a helpful exercise to establish who your ideal client is, but again, you must have a target audience. It will significantly narrow down the platforms you invest time on and the kinds of content you need to create.

Establish a marketing strategy

A marketing strategy is a must (hence the name of this blog). And mentally knowing your objectives simply isn’t enough. So plan, plan, and plan.

It doesn’t mean every decision you make has to be by the book, but you should have a plan in place as a framework and foundation to guide your brand. It may not include your daily workflows or the most minute decisions on your agenda, but your strategy is your foundation for every marketing decision you make.

If you’ve never formulated a marketing strategy, now’s your chance to start. Open your favorite bottle of wine and check out these quick and easy to use templates to inspire you. Your plan will develop and grow over time, but putting a strategy in place will help when you’re caught in a rut.

Be consistent

Consistency is key, and before you take on anything else, make sure you are consistently executing the marketing practices you have in place now.

Automate as much as you can with platforms like Later, and wait until you’ve done something consistently before you analyze the results for at least a month (preferably a quarter) before you drop it or change it substantially. Sometimes, you just have to show up, rain or shine. (And until you show up consistently, you won’t know what to fix or improve.)

If you loathe a particular strategy you know is effective for your target audience, hire someone.

Websites like Upwork can help you find talent so you can delegate the tactics you don’t necessarily enjoy.

Whatever you’re doing, do it well, and just do it consistently.

Follow through your objectives

Finish what you start, and take action. Telling someone else about your idea or writing about it in your journal isn’t going to wish it into existence. You have to do. So take action.

If you’re overwhelmed with being consistent with everything you’re implementing already, schedule what you plan to do. Create an annual calendar with benchmarks of the goals you would like to accomplish this year. And if not this year, the next one.

Need to ramp up your understanding of SEO? Put it on your calendar. Set alarms.

Along with that calendar, keep a running tab of all of the ideas you’d like to implement. Instead of becoming distracted, keep your list in a document close by where you can quickly jot down your objective. When you have time, revert back to the list…and schedule it! To be successful over time, you have to follow through.

You are important, and your goals and aspirations are a priority. Implement these marketing musts to ensure you are being proactive in investing in the one thing you have got to stop brushing off: yourself.

Why Your Email Strategy Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)

I spent a year working for an email marketing firm on The Hill and quickly learned that email marketing is just as much an art as it is a science. 

I also realized that despite the rise of other popular platforms, it is still one of the most critical strategies that simply isn’t used properly by most marketers.

So, why is email so important?

It should be part of your strategy because it’s one of the only platforms where you own your customer’s information and can engage with your audience directly.

Although social media and other marketing platforms are constantly changing, it’s important to pay close attention to email analytics to figure out why your email marketing strategy is or isn’t working.

Here are some reasons why your current strategy just isn’t making the cut.

You’re triggering spam filters.

Subject lines or preview text with language in all caps, special characters like exclamation points or asterisks, and language that seems deceptive will trigger inboxes to send your email straight to spam folders. Look at your spam folder now and notice a trend of subject lines that look like this:

**ACT NOW FOR YOUR EXCLUSIVE OFFER!**

Are you ready to cure your male-patterned baldness?

“Fwd: [Your Subject]” Finish Your Subscription

Avoid language and punctuation like this in your subject lines and preview text.

You’re not getting to the inbox.

Just because you “send” an email doesn’t necessarily mean that it gets to your users’ inbox. Emails bounce, they get into spam filters, or they could just be invalid.

Depending on your list size, you can clean the list yourself for invalid users or you could hire an agency to do so for you – and if you aren’t technologically savvy, I suggest the later.

You’re not fully engaging your audience.

If a user hasn’t opened your email for more than six months, well, maybe they’re just not that into you.

If that’s the case, then it’s time to implement a re-engagement campaign to get users to start interacting again.

Make sure your subject lines, preview text, and copy is crystal clear. Use specific call-to-actions to re-engage your lists. Short surveys, petitions, and special offers can go a long way.

Moral of the story? Don’t ignore your email list. It may just bring you more leads this year than you ever thought possible.

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