5 Things To Know: Google Analytics For Beginners

By Michelle Washmuth

EVVUS, Contributor

So you’ve got your website up and running. Now what? How can you know if your site is doing well?

The answer: Google Analytics. Using Google Analytics can help you figure out what people are clicking on, and how you can improve your site. Knowing these qualities is important in creating your digital marketing strategy.

You may be thinking, “I’m not a numbers person. I don’t know how to sift through all these reports. Just show me what to do.” Well, Google Analytics can produce reports that are visual, easy to read and easy to use!

Here are 5 basic things you can learn from your Google Analytics:

  1. Where your site traffic is coming from. With the Audience reports, you get to find out details about your users, like their age or gender. This allows you to learn about who you’re actually reaching on your site, which may change the way you market your product or content. You can also find their geographic location and language they speak. You may find out your audience is in one particular area of the country, and could readjust your marketing strategy with that in mind.

  2. What people are clicking on. You spent all that time creating killer content [7 Steps to Creating Killer Content] (if you haven’t yet checked it out) may have spent hours on content you think is the best masterpiece in the world - but your traffic may show otherwise. The Behavior Flow report gives you a visual of what visitors typically do on your site. The report can also show you how engaged users are with your content. Do users click through the same path on your site? Do they skip over any particular sections? This could be good insight into what content works -- and what doesn’t.

  3. What’s working -- right now! Ever wanted to be a “fly on the wall” while visitors scroll through your site? Google Analytics also offers Real-Time tracking, which is great if you’re looking for instant gratification! You can see what people are clicking on at the exact moment they click, or tap if they’re on your app.  

  4. Are you meeting your business goals? Goals, which represent a completed activity called a conversion, are manually set by you and can be purchases, reading multiple articles on your site or a specific amount of time spent on your site. Google Analytics will let you know what’s leading people to make a “conversion” on your site -  if your website features online shopping, how many people make purchases from their shopping cart? Or do they do research on your site and then go to the store? If you use Google AdWords, a marketing platform that lets you advertise your business, connecting Google Analytics with AdWords can show if your advertising goals are being met.

  5. How people are finding your site. Google Analytics also allows you to track how people are getting to your website. Do people find your site through a web search, or are they directly typing in your URL? Are they getting to you from an ad you purchased? Or is social media your big referral? Once you know what’s working -- and what’s not, you can use your digital marketing budget to make a little bit go a long way.

If this all sounds difficult to follow and overwhelming, Google has got your back. The Google Analytics Help Center has articles on anything and everything there is to know about Google Analytics.

At the risk of sounding too cheesy, knowledge is power, and the more you know about your site traffic through Analytics, the more successful you can make your marketing campaign.

7 Steps to Writing Killer Content

By William Perry

Founder + Creative Director, EVVUS

Hundreds of emails read -- and deleted --  paired with thousands of words read and typed. It all seemed like a blur for me when getting the dozens of the same press releases, in the same format, using the same wording. Actually clicking on the link for more information and being frustrated to find a difficult to navigate website with poor design and lacking in content.

What made me not click “delete?” What made me stop in my tracks and keep reading, or clicking? The answer is simple: content that was engaging.

As a former digital editor in my early professional days, I’ve had my fair share of reading run-of-the-mill content. The content that stuck out was unique and original. Above all, it was well-written, because quality is priority No. 1, which we touched on in the 9 Steps to Creating a Killer (And Effective) Digital Marketing Strategy + Digital Footprint blog a couple of weeks back.

There is no shortage of material to read online and everyone has their own opinion on what they find compelling, here are some other tips on how you can write compelling content:

  1. Get to know your audience and write for them. Don’t just blast out a generic “one-size-fits-all” press release to every consumer and media outlet. Don’t just post the same content, word-for-word, to every social media outlet your business has. If you cater specifically to your audience, you’ll gain more traction and catch your audience’s eye. It may be more time-consuming, but potential for the better results should outweigh the time spent.

  2. Become A Thought Leader. If you’re not an expert in the content you’re writing, try to become one, if possible. Or know how to relate to the audience you’re trying to reach.

  3. Evaluate your content length. Is it super intricate, chock-full of data and needs to be a long form-style article? Or is it a quick, conversational blogpost? It doesn’t have to be the longest article you’ve ever written every single time. Quality over quantity. A short, well-written blogpost or web article can be more memorable than the one that took 30 minutes to sift through.

  4. Shoot for quality. Speaking of quality, always spell check and proofread. Nothing destroys your credibility more than a giant error. Obviously no one is perfect, but just a quick copy edit can save you the grief that comes with a silly typo, factual errors or poor grammar.

  5. Hook the reader. Pull the reader in with a strong lead and a intriguing headline, but don’t mislead the reader. I always try to put myself in the reader’s virtual shoes. What would make you click on an article when you’re online? The headline and lead are like the cocktails and appetizers of a fancy meal – if those aren’t that great, the overall meal experience is affected. Once you hook in the reader, you tackle the question of “why should I keep reading?” You don’t want to mislead readers, so your content should also deliver what’s promised in the headline.

  6. Take it for a test drive. Have coworkers, friends or family read over your content to see how they infer it before releasing it to the public. Each reader has their own opinion and you may come across in a tone that you weren’t intending to. It’s also always good to have another pair of eyes for proofreading. Hey, I had at least three other people read over this before posting!

  7. Add eye-catching visuals. If all else fails, make your content look good on your website, email blast or social media posts. Display it neatly on your website with an eye-catching picture or graphic. No one wants to buy the dress that’s crumpled up in the corner, they want to buy the dress that’s perfectly placed and accessorized on the mannequin in the front of the store with the uplighting. This again is based on personal opinion of “what looks good,” but the effort alone of trying to can make a difference. Also, make sure your content display also works effectively for mobile users. Most people are scrolling on their phones while online, not at a desktop computer.

It’s nearly impossible to please everyone, and there is no perfect formula to creating compelling content every time. Sometimes, the content lends itself to being compelling without you even having to try. But using the tips above to brainstorm and self-evaluate, while in the content creating process, can help you get on the right track.

9 steps to a killer (and effective) digital marketing strategy + digital footprint

By William Perry, Creative Director + Founder - EVVUS

Let’s start by stating the obvious. The world has gone digital. We can access just about anything from anywhere, but you already know that.

The real question is, have you kept up with the digital evolution when it comes to your business?

A few more questions for you:

  • Can your potential customers easily find you when they’re actively in a buying mindset, searching for products and services that you offer?
  • How is their mobile experience? Let’s face it, they’re probably looking at your website and content from their phone.
  • Do your potential customers feel the same way about your brand as you do?
  • How much potential revenue can you be missing out on by just trying to get by and not doing things right?

Are your wheels turning? That’s the first step.

The creative process is now underway. For us at EVVUS, it’s the best part. The creative process is how we begin pushing ourselves forward. It’s how we begin evolving.

Now that the wheels are turning in that creative little brain of yours, let’s get to the meat and potatoes. So where’s the best place to start? Right at the beginning of it all.

Here are 9 steps, with our three killer keys to each, to help you start building your perfect recipe, no matter whether you’re a startup, small business or major brand in need of a kick in the butt.

The key when looking at each of these areas, is being completely honest with yourself on where your business and/or company stands. It’s the only way to truly take your company to points you’ve always wanted it to go.
 

Phase 1 - setup

1.    Branding: logo + messaging

In many instances, before you are ever able to engage with a potential client or customer, they form their opinion on you, your company, product or service based on what they observe and see. It’s a natural human reaction.

Your logo and your messaging, will say a lot about who you are, as well as who your aren’t. Does your logo and messaging evoke the kind of feelings you intend? Is it professional and of high-quality or did your best friend create your logo in Microsoft Word? Consumers can definitely tell.

When creating your first logo or going through a rebrand, make sure your brand marks and messaging represents you positively and how you intend. You can easily attract and even turn away potential customers without ever even knowing.

Three EVVUS tips to branding:

  1. Take the time to figure out who you want to be + what you want to stand for
  2. Make an impression + differentiate from your competition
  3. Be authentic + consistent

2. Website

After you have your logo designed, you’ve worked on your mission statement and decided how you wish to communicate, it’s on to the website.

Ohhh, the dreaded website. This is often a sore spot for many business owners. Reason being, on most occasions, the process is never handled properly from the beginning, often times, trying to tackle this part of the process on their own to save some cash.

But you have to ask yourself, how much am I losing by not doing it right?

One of the most commonly overlooked parts to the web development and creation process is the user experience. So many companies and small business owners fill their websites with information in the same fashion in which they would decorate their home. 

You hang pictures of your beautiful children on the walls, you place beds in the perfect spot in the middle of the room and stack all the boxes and bins in the garage so neatly. And it works for you.

Now, let’s stop for a second and think. How differently would you go about this process if you had a blank canvas? What if you could design your home, thinking with the end in mind, with design intentions, and how you wanted that favorite chandelier your grandmother gave you to accent the grand entrance of your marble foyer?

When designing and creating your website, think the same way. Most people don’t understand the psychology behind UX (user experience) design. There are methods used in the industry to almost guarantee a users experience, based on the positioning, content and CTA’s chosen for each page. 

I would encourage you to think about how users will navigate your site and find information. Is it easy? Are you strategically directing them through, building the value of your product or service? Is the foyer grand without a design detail missing or is it like walking into your doctor’s office?

Think like the consumer and how they will interact with your content and information. Oftentimes too, less is more.

Three EVVUS tips to website design + development:

  1.  Consider your user experience
  2.  Create calls to action for lead generation
  3.  Keep it simple: the less clutter the better

3.    SEO

Every business owner wants to be number one in Google for various keywords.

Let’s just put this out there right from the get go. Promise, you won’t get mad at me here?

In most cases, especially nowadays, it is extremely difficult (there are always exceptions to the rule) to get your company to the first page of Google’s search results, let alone the number one position.

Here’s another great nugget of information you’ll love hearing as well. The number one spot, really isn’t the number one spot anymore anyway. Depending your business type, there are likely about three Google Ads above the first organic listing, as well as Local Listings for physical locations. In some instances, No. 1 on Google, the first organic spot, can even be the 17th potential opportunity for a click when scanning from top to bottom of the page.

Here's an example searching for "lawyer Orlando". Take notice of the digital ads, followed by the local listenings before evening getting to the No. 1 organic spot.

Now, don’t get me wrong, being number one, or on the first page is still important, but it isn’t everything. There are so many ways and strategies you can incorporate in driving traffic to your website. We’ll touch on some of those later.

SEO and being found in search results goes far beyond just the keywords on your page. Modern SEO also takes into consideration things like domain authority, credibility (sounds pretty intangible right), backlinking, off-site content, geographic location and whether you previously visited the site, and so much more. Because in Google’s mind, they want to ensure they are delivering the utmost relevant content to their users, so remember that when you’re not ranking for chocolate cake recipes. Remember, we’re building your perfect recipe. Unique and original. Like no one else’s.

When creating your website or optimizing a current one, always start with the basics. That means writing your content keeping in mind how users are searching to start. Then covering the technical fundamentals of getting all of your title and img tags filled out and your meta descriptions just how you want them. 

Focus on quality content. If users continue to consider your content to be valuable, over time, your authority and credibility increases in the eyes of Google.

From there, start working on your backlinking strategy. Back linking consists of linking with other credible sources online, including blog material on your product or service, that links information and content back to you and your website. This is where the domain authority and credibility piece begins to play a factor again. Make sure these online referral sources are reputable. There are many that aren’t.

The next two topics we will touch on, Directories and your Google setup, will also play into your SEO process.

Three EVVUS tips to SEO:

  1. Focus on quality of content to bring credibility and relevant traffic to your website
  2. Establish local search + business listing opportunities
  3. Develop an off-site strategy to direct traffic to your website

4. Directories

Directories are a fantastic free way to direct traffic to your website. Directories should be a part of your off-site strategy in directing that traffic to your site.

Some great directories to take advantage of are: Wikipedia, Yelp, Yellow Pages, LinkedIn and many more. There are bound to be industry specific places to list your website and information that is totally free. Why not take advantage of it?

Three EVVUS tips to Directories:

  1. Take advantage of free resources
  2. Look for industry-specific listing opportunities
  3.   Optimize your content to stay consistent with your other branding and SEO guidelines

5. Google environment setup: Analytics, MyBusiness, Places

Many businesses haven’t even claimed their Google Business listing! Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

I bet you’re searching your business as we speak, double checking that your Google card is showing up. This is the feature that shows up on the right hand side on the Google search page.

Here's an example here for the Winter Garden Athletic Club.

The importance of local search is increasing. Potential customers are looking for you right in their backyard, and it starts right here setting up your Google Business listing. Plus, you can bypass all the organic efforts with being listed “No. 1” by having your physical location setup for local search. Optimize this listing and make sure you continue to keep your information up to date.

Another area of your Google environment you will want to set up is Google Analytics. Google Analytics allows you to see how users are reaching your website, what content is popular, where users are coming from geographically and so much more. It’s a very intuitive tool that can help you improve the user experience on your website. And again, it’s free! All you’ll need to do is create your Google Analytics code and add it to your website.

Three EVVUS tips to Google environment setup:

  1. Make sure business contact information is accurate and correct
  2. Optimize your content to stay consistent with your other branding and SEO guidelines
  3. Begin analyzing how users are reaching your site with Google Analytics

Phase 2 - reel em in!

In phase 1, we focused on getting yourself set up just to start marketing and make it a little easier for potential customers to find you online. In phase 2, we’ll focus on the your hook and lure strategy, so you can start reeling in the fish.

6. Content

You might be asking yourself, why start here?

That’s because without great content, you mine as well forget about steps 7-9.

Social media, digital ads and email marketing are all dependent on great content, which means, you're going to have to spend some valuable time creating or acquiring such content.

At EVVUS, we place major emphasis as the visual design of our content. We always want to give an impression of quality and legitimacy. Content in this sense consists of acquisition and retention pieces used to attract and further engage customers, consisting of blogs, videos, graphics, photos, ebooks and more.

Surprisingly, so many businesses, business decision makers and business owners look past this part, which would be like skipping the stretching, nutrition and recovery steps to your marathon training. You can’t just show up to the race expecting to perform. 

Most of the work comes in the preparation and planning for your performance, so why would you not put the same amount of effort, energy and preparation into your content when it is the direct link to your current and potential customers in the online world? 

You wouldn’t and you shouldn’t.

By this point, I hope you’re nodding your head in agreement.

Your content should always evolve and stay up to date, but don’t be afraid to recycle material as well. You put a lot of effort into creating it. Use it again. When you used it the first time, it wasn’t likely to reach everyone anyway.

Three EVVUS tips to content creation:

  1. Quality is priority No. 1
  2. Create content for your users, not for you
  3. Include relevant keywords in blog posts

7. Social Media

At EVVUS, we are big on the philosophy of, do it right, or don’t do it at all. This especially applies to social media. We wrote a blog a few months back if you would like to check it out, ironically titled, “Social Media: Do it right, or not at all”.

The reason we are so big on that philosophy is that, social media when done right, is very time consuming and when not done right, really won’t produce results for you and really isn’t the best use of your time, if you don’t put in the work.

If you are going to incorporate social media as part of your strategy, commit to it. Just like a runner training for a marathon, you wouldn't start day 1 running 26.1 miles, but you might start with a 5k.

Likewise with social media, start committing a couple of hours per week with a strategic approach. Your following, reach and results will grow over time, but only if you stay committed to the process. From there, you’ll want to do a deep dive as you’ve become comfortable and familiarized yourself.

So what does that process look like? 

The two most important aspects in creating your social media strategy are: 1) knowing who your target demographic is and where they are hanging out and 2) posting unique, original content.

Each social media platform has it’s strengths and best uses. Instagram is great for visual brands, typically to a younger demographic. Twitter is a conversational platform, where two-way communication flows back and forth. Pinterest largely caters to a female demographic and Facebook, from a business perspective, will take leveraging ads to get your content to potential interested customers.

Alongside of that, each industry is different. If you are a B2B service-provider, you’re better off spending your time on LinkedIn vs. Instagram or even Facebook.

In summary, think of where your potential customers might be on social media, go there and connect with them. Create and share unique and original content, including blogs, videos, graphics and information that benefits them (this is the most important part) and remember, just like interpersonal communication, it’s a two-way street. The fastest way to turn people off is turning your Twitter feed into your soapbox.

Three EVVUS tips to social media:

  1. Have a strategy: don’t just blindly post
  2. Engage + connect: it’s a two-way street
  3. Know who your target audience is

8. Digital Ads: Facebook + Instagram

Facebook and Instagram ads are one of our favorite ways to drive web and brand traffic. Facebook and Instagram ads are extremely cost effective when compared with other digital advertising options, AND you can target your ideal customer AND there is instant engagement data to base future campaigns off of. 

How cost effective you might ask? Costs per click can be as little as under $0.50. We’ve even seen them less than that. But don’t just blindly boost posts however, there are so many targeting options to get your product or service to your ideal customer. You’re throwing away money if you don’t utilize these options.

Great ads have 3 important pieces:

  1. Interesting visual
  2. Intriguing copy
  3. Call to action

If you don’t tell the user what to do, they’ll go right on by!

Three EVVUS tips to Facebook + Instagram Digital Ads:

  1. Use A/B campaigns to compare
  2. Constantly monitor, adjust + optimize
  3. Have a goal, a plan + pre-prepare your content

9. Email: MailChimp

You’ve done all this work luring potential clients and customers in, you’d be silly not to keep them engaged.

Que email marketing.

There are plenty of email clients you can use, but some of the best are MailChimp and Constant Contact for the depth of the software and ease of use.

List building, in and of itself, can be a full-time job, but it absolutely should be a part of your strategy. 

Utilizing email marketing, you can: 

  • schedule emails
  • send unique content (blogs) direct to subscribers
  • send promos and push sales
  • direct web traffic
  • and even just inform your customer base 

Now keep in mind not to over bombard your database with dozens of emails. Don’t give your subscribers and customers a reason to stop opening your emails or even worse, send you to their spam folder.

If you begin incorporating these steps into your marketing strategy, you are well on your way to driving the awareness and traffic around your brand that you have always wanted and hoped for and if not, you are way behind the curve in today’s digital world.

Three EVVUS tips to email marketing:

  1. Don’t spam your users: Keep their trust to ensure they’ll continue to open
  2. Always offer valuable content to your users: blogs, tips + relevant info
  3. Stay away from purchased lists: it’s the fastest way to get yourself in trouble with email hosts

Want to learn more on how EVVUS can help evolve your business?

SEO: commit as you would a long-term personal investment

By William Perry - Founder: EVVUS

Regard your SEO strategy as you would any long-term personal investment.

The goal is long-term financial security, continuing commitment to overall growth and staying up to date with the latest trends.

The same goes for your commitment to your SEO strategy.

A commitment to SEO is NOT a quick fix. It is however, a maturing property gaining equity and increasing in value over time.

Most business owners and company executives know they need to do something about SEO because everyone has told them it’s important, but many really don’t know what it means, what it stands for and what the heck to do about it.

Let’s start first by breaking down the basics.

1. What is SEO

SEO stands search engine optimization. At its most basic form, this means presenting content on your website in a way that makes it easier for search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, to find your content and content related to your product or service. Content meaning the images and information on your website.

2. How does SEO work

When a user goes to Google to search for a product or service, Google delivers relevant content related to that user’s search.

Optimizing your website includes strategically labeling images, headlines and text throughout with certain “keywords” so Google can connect the dot between a user’s search and your content. Having a set of these “keywords” associated with your business casts a net that helps users find your website and in their search results based on common searches.

For example, if you are a construction company in Orlando, your keyword set could look something like this: Orlando construction, new home construction Orlando, commercial construction, etc.

These keywords are then used throughout your website, which allows search engines to deliver your content when a user is on Google searching for “new home construction Orlando”.

3. SEO goes beyond just initial optimization

Setting your website up for success is just the beginning.

The key is a long-term supportive strategy that continues to incorporate your strategic keyword set. This is what is known as content marketing.

By continuing to leverage content related to your brand through blogging, social media, email marketing and video, search engines gain an extensive library of authoritative information associated with your website. And search engines like information and authoritative sources!

With all of these pieces of information scattered across the internet, the effect is exponential. Your influence grows bigger and bigger over time, gaining online equity for future growth.

Like anything though, there are always best practices, do’s and don’ts but skipping the basics of SEO can leave your site a mess and prevent you from being found when a user is pursuing the product or service you offer.

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