3 Overlooked Competitive Advantages in Digital Marketing

Competitive Advantage Road Sign

Digital marketing, or SEO as you could also call it, moves fast. You could exploit an opportunity that your competitors close in on in just 30, 60, 90 days, or even 6 months. None of those are a long time in the internet marketing world.

But, what if you could create a competitive advantage that other companies simply couldn’t reproduce anytime soon? For example, it would take years before they could find a way to execute something similar themselves.

They do exist online. And when you find them, they’re huge. Because then, your customers have a reason to do business with you, and not the other companies who do the same thing.

Take a look at some ways of making this happen:

  1. Creating the Perception that You’re an Authority

Becoming a perceived authority, or leading expert, takes a lot of time and effort. Think of Bob Vila, for example.

You can do the same online by getting published at reputable blogs. You might also have many video or podcast interviews.

It takes time to create the perception that you’re an authority. But once you have it made, it’s going to take your competitors the same amount of time, or longer, to catch up.

  1. Making Vastly Superior content Your Competitors Can’t Match

This one’s a little harder to pull off because people typically see content published on authoritative blogs as having more credibility than content posted on your own blog.

But, it’s simpler to do. Check out what your competitors have in place for content. Then, do them 10 times better. Go so far into depth that you become the encyclopedia on your subject.

Yeah, it’s a lot of work. But remember this: the quality of your content determines the quality of the customers that come to you. So, do a quick job of it, and you’ll get low-paying customers that complain or avoid paying entirely.

Work hard, and you’ll get the customers who buy based on value and look for long-term relationships.

  1. Be the First to Do Something New or Different with Content in Your Niche

Any time you use the words “first, new, different” in business, you’re on the right track. Now with content, it’s hard to pull off because there’s so much of it.

And you really have to study what everyone else does so you do what would be “new” or “different.” It could be creating detailed videos of how to perform maintenance on various types of air conditioners and posting them on your website.

Keep in mind at this point that you don’t need to have these videos look “perfect.” They simply need to be clear enough so your audience can see what to do. Your smartphone would suffice.

None of these tactics is fast or easy. But then again, nothing that works well in business ever is. Make sure you keep them in mind to win the internet marketing war.

3 Reasons Why Your PPC Ads Get Low Click-Through Rates


Some experts say that the best measure of marketing’s performance (which is often hard to analyze) is how many people you get to take the next step. That shows commitment and willingness.

Compare that to vanity metrics that don’t have much meaning, which include things like followers, likes, and shares. Just because someone engages with your company, that doesn’t mean they have much of an interest beyond that.

However, if they take the next step you ask them to, that’s a much more powerful sign of interest. So, when you get a good click-through rate (CTR), that’s likely going to indicate decent sales on that keyword too.

Check out these reasons why you may not be getting the click-through rate you want:

  1. Ineffective Ad Titles

The first thing any searcher sees is your ad’s title. It’s big and blue – possibly right at the top of the search results. Every word you use counts. And the precise words you say can greatly affect clicks.

Even if you communicate the same idea, you can get dramatically different results with various words. Aim to use ones that your customers might use to describe the products and services you offer for best results.

  1. Bidding Too Low

It’s nice when you find a keyword you can bid low on, and yet still rank high for that key term. If you target lots of keywords, you’ll undoubtedly have a couple where you have to adjust your bid upwards.

Remember, Adwords is Google’s big moneymaker, so they’re going to do everything they can to make sure those bids stay high and keep Google profitable.

  1. Not Using Ad Extensions

“Ad extensions” let you make little improvements to your ads that actually can boost your CTR quite a bit. However, they only show when you rank in the top two positions for your target keywords.

A call extension, for example, lets you put your phone number directly in the text of your ad. “Sitelinks” let you promote additional links on your ad.

Small, but powerfully helpful for your CTR. And there’s many more extensions than just these.

This guide is a very simple overview to boosting your click-through rates. But, implementing each of these ideas can shoot your CTR through the roof.

The 3 Basics of Influencer Marketing

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“Influencer marketing” is yet another form of marketing you should care about.

But why?

McKinsey, one of the most highly respected business research companies, found “marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.”

And think about it…which would you believe? Your best friend’s sky high praise for the most amazing steak restaurant ever…or a TV commercial telling you a certain restaurant has the most delicious steak ever?

The internet is all about relationships and word-of-mouth. Except now, because of the ease, that word-of-mouth works far faster and spreads to more people.

So, “influencer marketing,” which basically means to build relationships with people with large online followings and get them to promote your company, is a big deal.

What makes influencer marketing work?

These things:

  1. Give Them Something First

The easiest way to get an influencer to do something for you involves you doing something for them first. What that looks like depends on what you want the influencer to do for you.

If you want a simple social share, you don’t have to do much. Just send an email making the influencer aware of the amazing content you just published.

If you want a plug in their email, that will likely cost you some money. You may also be able to negotiate promoting your business to their email list in exchange for promoting them to your own list (as long as it’s sizable enough).

  1. Make Sure You Have a Measure of Success

What is it that you really want to get out of your influencer marketing campaign? It could be:

  • Customers
  • Links
  • Social followers
  • Newsletter subscribers
  • Search rankings
  • Guest post opportunities

Whatever is most valuable to you can be your definition of success.

  1. Don’t Look Too Much at the Size of Their Following

To a certain extent, the size of the influencer’s following does make a difference. But, don’t make that your primary determining factor of whether to engage them or not.

Instead, look at how engaged their communities are. How many followers do they have? Now, divide that by likes, shares, or comments per post.

That gives you a much better idea of how engaged their audience is. A smaller, but more engaged, audience drives you far more leads than a large one that doesn’t care.

Does influencer marketing work? Absolutely. And it can do wonders for your SEO when done right.

A Simple Guide to Consumer “Micromoments”

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On the web, marketers talk about SEO, SEM, and PPC as “micro-targeting.”

What’s that mean?

It’s pretty simple.

Basically, digital advertising allows for much more precision targeting than ever before. Think of what’s traditionally been available to you as a small business owner:

  • The Yellow Pages
  • Radio
  • TV
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Posting on local bulletin boards
  • Billboards

How precise are those advertising methods? They’re fairly scattershot. You have a general idea of who you’re talking to. But not a specific one. So, you get lower ROI because you have to spend more money and won’t bring in as many customers as you could.

Now, compare that to “micro-targeting.” With PPC, you can create an ad targeted specifically to people searching for “HVAC repair Dallas,” for example. You know exactly what they’re searching for. And you deliver them a relevant ad experience. You get a much better ROI because you know you’re advertising to someone who wants services just like you offer.

And So It Is with Micro Moments…

The explosion of smartphone use by consumers to meet their daily needs has created “micromoments.” During these moments, consumers want four basic things, according to Google:

  • Wanting to know something
  • Wanting to go somewhere
  • Wanting to do something
  • Wanting to buy something

And this represents a huge opportunity for you because consumers quickly fall in love with brands that meet these needs.

3 Keys to Succeeding in Micromoment Marketing

Google outlines what you have to do when consumers have a micromoment need they want you to fulfill:

  1. Be useful – You must be able to solve the problem.
  2. Be quick – You have to solve the problem quickly. Users want the solution now, or in just a few seconds. Don’t dilly-dally around with the history of air conditioners if you want to sell a new AC, for example. Give the price, the efficiency, and the reason the AC will make a good purchase.
  3. Measure and optimize for all screen types – This includes smartphones, tablet PCs, and desktop computers.

And you know they’ll move on quickly because they have the entire internet right in their own hands. If you don’t give them what they want, someone else will.

That influences your search rankings too. Because, after all, Google does measure the number of visitors to your website who visit once and leave or come back.

Even one click makes a difference. The less looking around your customers have to do, the more likely they are to buy.

Make “micromoment marketing” your focus in 2016 and beyond. It’s only going to get more competitive.

6 Reasons Organic Search is Superior to Paid Search

6 Reasons Organic Search is Superior to Paid Search

When you first start marketing your website online, you have an important decision to make.

Are you going to focus on paid or organic search at first?

The simple truth: neither strategy is “better.” Both have advantages and drawbacks.

But today, we’re going to look at the major reasons why organic might work better for you than paid search.

And here are some of those reasons:

  1. Searchers Trust Organic Results More

Since anyone can just pay to get to the top of the PPC listings, why should consumers trust those? When you hit #1 – 3 consistently across multiple organic searches, you get a whole lot more trust and credibility.

So you get more clicks and sales (over the long-term) as a result.

  1. It’s Easier and Less Costly to Keep Your High Rankings

Getting high organic rankings is the hard and costly part. Staying there isn’t as difficult. Your search listing can rank high for months, or even years, with little additional work.

  1. Organic Works Better for Products and Services with Longer Buying Cycles

If it takes months for a business owner to research your service and compare it with multiple other companies, organic is superior. Searcher’s intent with organic searches is usually to learn more. With PPC, they’re much more ready to buy.

  1. Organic Search Works Well for Selling Services

Products are ordered quickly and then the customer’s done. Services, however, include much more hassle. Will the contractor provide a good service? How much will it cost? What are the comparable options? Plus, you usually want to get a good long-term relationship out of the deal. So you’re going to be more careful and do more research before hiring someone to perform a service.

  1. SEO Boosts Your Rankings on All Search Engines

With PPC, you get a top position on Google or Bing, and that’s it. When you optimize for SEO, you gain visibility on all search engines.

  1. SEO Also Increases Awareness of Your Brand

While you’re getting all of these SEO benefits, it also increases your branding. So even if someone doesn’t click on your search result right now, they’ll get familiar with your name. After seeing you several times, they might realize it’s time to give you a closer look and click on your search result.

Using SEO and PPC together works best. But if you have a limited budget to spend now, these are reasons why you might go with SEO instead of PPC.

Should You Use Livecasting to Market?


Have you heard about Periscope? It’s the latest social media craze to hit the web.

More than 1 million people signed in to use it in its first 10 days after it launched on March 26 of this year. So far, it’s only found on iPhones. So that means it still has to launch on Android, which would expose it to millions of additional users.

Not quite 6 months later, Periscope now has more than 2 million users. So even though there’s thousands of social media apps, most of which never make it to public attention, it’s fairly likely Periscope will hang around for a while.

Plus, Twitter owns it.

What is Periscope Anyway?

It’s a pretty simple social media app. Periscope lets you stream live video to an audience. They can make comments or ask questions as you broadcast. Since Twitter owns it, it’s easy to pick up followers and grow your account almost immediately.

Facebook’s actually doing something similar. But they’re only allowing select celebrities to stream video. If you’re following that celebrity, you’ll get notified of their upcoming broadcast if you recently engaged with their posts. Initially, Martha Stewart, The Rock, Serena Williams, and Michael Buble agreed to do a live stream.

How Could Your Small Business Use Livecasting to Increase Sales?

Well, much of that remains to be seen. With social media, you can be as creative as you want. So there’s plenty of opportunity to innovate and increase sales.

Some ideas that come to mind:

  1. Contractors could livecast jobs – For example, you’d pick a typical air conditioning install. You could let potential customers watch and ask their common questions. You could also do the same for common maintenance issues for air conditioners.
  2. Give a “behind the scenes look” at your office – Personal experiences sell. Your customers want to get to know your company and feel like they have a strong relationship with you. Give them a “behind the scenes” look at your workplace. Stay away from being corny, uptight, and stilted. Be your natural selves and have fun.
  3. Let customers chat with your company leaders – Again, personalization is the idea here. How often do customers get to talk with your CEO? Let them do it with Periscope.
  4. Tutorials and product demos – It’s easier to buy something if you know how it works, isn’t it? So show your customers that with Periscope. Have an employee show customers advanced functions they might not know.

Periscope is probably here to stay for some time. It’s new and unique. Businesses and customers can’t get enough of that.