The power of native advertising

  • By Phase 3 Digital Agency
  • 05 May, 2017
native advertising tips

A company is always trying to think up new and exciting ways to get and keep the audience’s attention. Native advertising is the perfect solution for this conundrum.

 There are many benefits of writing native advertising. Some of these benefits include pulling a higher click-through rate because the articles are relevant to what is already on the page. Your audience is more enticed to click on a native article. Engagement is another huge benefit of using native advertising. Companies are able to reach out to their audience in a way that will not feel overbearing so the person reading the content will stay and interact longer with the site.

 In case these benefits did not completely convince you on why your company should be using native advertising here is a statistic that might change your mind. According to a Business Insider (BI) headline, “Native ads will drive 74% of all revenue by 2021.”

 The future is native advertising, why not look forward to it and give the people what they want; native articles.

 Frightened by the thought of using native articles? Here is some useful information for when your company wants to pursue writing a native article. You may be asking yourself what even is a native article?

 Native articles are content that is considered educational, humorous, inspirational, historical, or biographical.  This may seem like native articles need a lot of information in them but one way to think of a native article is as an article that can last on a website for months at a time.

 In order to make creating a native article incredibly easy here are some items that should not be included if it is to be considered a true native article.

 Items to Not Include:

  • Do not use a daily news story
  • Do not make it an opinion or commentary piece
  • Do not have an article that is considered self-promoting
  • Do not have an article that is slandering competitors
  • Do not have anything stating a specific sales event
  • It should never be offensive or pornographic

 The point of a true native article is to give out information that will keep people interested and for a client to be able to spend a long time without ever changing the article.  A native article is written in a way that keeps people intrigued and that is easy for them to understand.

 Some Ways Native Articles Do This is by:

  • Using a list-style article
  • Cite at least one or two sources
  • Be accurate
  • Tell a story; don’t just list off facts or the reader will get bored and move onto a more stimulating article instead
  • When writing a native article start with the climax, make the story sound exciting because it is and the reader will spend more time on your content

 When writing a native article there are certain requirements.  Most native articles are 500 to 700 words long, the use of third-person narrative is preferred, and when writing the article use the inverted pyramid style.

 Now that you understand more about the importance of native advertising hopefully these helpful hints will give your business the confidence to try writing a native article.

Phase 3

By Phase 3 Digital Agency 26 Jul, 2017
After spending time, money and effort building a website, you'll want to make sure it has the greatest possible chance of being found. In the modern era, it's unlikely your customers are just going to guess your website address. Instead, they're likely to stumble across your website thanks to the help of a search engine.

Search engines check websites and use a number of 'rules' to decide on how they should rank each website. For example, if you're a law firm in London, you'll want to show up on search engines when someone searches for 'law firms in London'. If you've followed the rules, you'll show up among the early search results, but if not, you're not going to appear.

What are the top five golden rules to be aware of when it comes to website optimization?

Give Search Engines a Map

If you're looking for the best route to a new restaurant, then it's likely you'll have a look at a map of some sort. Search engines, like humans, like having a map when they're exploring. If you can set up an XML sitemap, you'll be giving search engines information on how best to explore and then list your website in their rankings. Sites without them do not have a good chance of being ranked highly on search engine results.

What's your Keyword?

Each page on your website should have a focus keyword or phrase. Keywords and phrases are a short summary of the content of a page. For example, 'Website Optimization' could be a good keyword for this article. When creating a page, the titles, body text and images should all include the keyword you set per page.

It is not enough to stuff a page full of the keyword repeatedly in the hope search engines will rank it higher. They won't, and they'll punish you for it instead. You need a more delicate approach. Authentic content and keyword use work best.

URLs are Important

Many people forget the URL structure that you use can play an important role when it comes to optimizing your website. The URLs used for pages should include the keyword from the page they represent, and they should have a file/folder type structure - just like those in your 'My Documents' have on your PC. Both these little tips will help search engines work out how relevant your page is and figure out what the content is on the page in question.

Stay Fresh

Search engines are constantly searching to check up on websites they've already included in their rankings. Ranked websites are searched to make sure that new content is found and listed. Search engines look favorably on websites that produce fresh content on a regular basis. That means once you have a site set up, you need to put a plan in place to keep developing and adding new content.

The Battle is Never Over

SEO rules seem to change all the time as search engines change their criteria and come up with new ways of ranking websites regularly. These shifting goal posts mean even a perfectly optimized website can slip down search engine rankings if the optimization isn't kept up to date with the new rules. For the best results, you need to make sure you're always keeping on top of the news coming out of search engine companies.

Which one of those five SEO essentials for website optimization have you not been following? Which one are you going to start straight away? Contact us for a free website analysis of your business.
By Phase 3 Digital Agency 25 Jul, 2017

Having a responsive website is imperative, since mobile web browsing has overtaken desktop usage. But when your website appears completely different on a desktop than it does on a small phone screen, it’s hard to shift from catering the design for the desktop to making sure your website is designed for mobile first.  

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating a mobile website.

1. Keep your navigation short. Reorganize your menu so that you have as few items as possible. With the small screen size you have limited real estate above the fold, so you don’t want users having to scroll down very much when going through your navigation. You also want to make sure you are using clear and conventional icons to convey information to your users. For example, use an intuitive symbol like the plus sign to inform users that they can tap to display more options.

2. Link your contact information.  Mobile websites allow users to conveniently tap to call or tap to get directions directly from your site. Use that opportunity to your benefit to increase the chance that your visitors will interact with your business.

3. Make sure your site is fast. Mobile users have a very small attention span and have been found to be less patient when waiting for sites to load than desktop users. When designing your site, make sure you keep it as basic as possible to ensure that mobile users don’t leave your site while waiting for it to load. 

4. Your design should be simple. Mobile users are more easily distracted, since they generally visit mobile sites with a purpose and want to move on as fast as they can.  People searching on their phones are also more likely to be in an environment with a lot of distractions and do not have the patience for complicated sites.

5. Keep your content short and put more focus on visuals. It is always a good idea to include a lot of visuals on any website, but the importance of them increases for mobile visitors. More visuals will help to keep your content short, and you can communicate better with people who are on a small device with images, graphics and videos.

Need help making sure your website is designed for mobile? Contact us for a free website analysis of your business.

 

By Phase 3 Digital Agency 16 Jun, 2017

A primary business goal is always to strive for growth in the ever-changing market economy, and what better way to grow than to invest in marketing to enhance your business’ brand awareness? Better yet, why not invest in the fastest growing, and most profitable marketing sector? Digital marketing.

Digital marketing reaches the largest audiences because viewers attention is predominantly focused on the internet. People today are constantly surfing the web researching, shopping, emailing, and certainly maintaining an active presence on social media. We stay connected with our friends, family, community, and even our favorite brands and companies on social media.

Social media provides an environment in which people can interact with businesses unlike ever before. For better or worse, the public can broadcast their reviews of companies, products, services, and so much more for all to see and read. And likewise, businesses can respond to their active customers and engage with potential new clientele in an immediate fashion. This type of connectivity provides significant, and perhaps unmatched opportunities for companies to grow their brand and foster positive relationships with their customers. Here are a few concepts to keep in mind as your business ventures into the social media space:

  • Chose your channels wisely : The number of platforms and profiles available to market to your audiences on can be overwhelming, but play to your strengths and don’t spread your efforts out too thin. Establish clear outcomes and viewer demos for optimal social media success.
  • Master your bandwidth : On a related note: when selecting Facebook vs. Twitter or Instagram vs. Snapchat, be sure that you have the ability to constantly monitor, navigate and know the various best practices of each platform. Demonstrate social media savviness and avoid a #fail for your business’ presence.
  • Stimulate Shares: The key to successful social media activity for any business is to encourage engagement with your content. Generate simple, eye-catching, and most-importantly shareable posts that truly resonate with your ideal viewers.
  • Be Consistent: In order to grow your business’s brand using social media, a regular flow of familiar, yet interesting material is imperative.
    • Increase recognition by incorporating your logo or alternative branding imagery into every piece of content
    • Multiply your audience by posting regularly at alternating times, with fresh subject matter
    • Plan ahead! Reduce stress and manage your time by organizing a social media posting calendar, but be flexible enough to align with trending topics and popular news. 
By Phase 3 Digital Agency 09 Jun, 2017

In this blog entry we break down the basics of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.

Search Engine Optimization is the process of achieving free, organic search results in Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search portals. Well-executed SEO drives site traffic to a website from general web searches.

Search engines such as Google send crawlers out to millions and millions of websites to read data and store it, in order to materialize the site later when a consumer looks for information matching that data.

While there isn’t an exact formula for making it to the top of the search engine results page (SERP), marketers and web designers alike should be focused on these key SEO factors:

  • Focus on your customer. In the most general sense, create the best web experience for your customer. What’s best for your customer inherently yields quality SEO.
  • Consistently produce robust, quality content. The quantity of links on your domain matters—make sure you are balancing quantity with trusted, keyword-friendly content.
  • Be relevant. The number of websites that link back to your site affect your page rank, though not all links are created equal. You want to be organically connected to websites that have influence in your content category.
  • Make sure your content loads quickly and securely.
  • Drive audience via other marketing channels. The more visitors to your website, the more relevant search engines will see you.
  • Understand how people are searching for your content or product offerings. Utilize common keywords at the page and domain levels.

None of these factors works exclusively. Even if your website has a solid foundation, SEO must be cultivated over time. Search Engine Land has a great Periodic Table of SEO , which visually breaks down the many contributing factors to organic search optimization.

Questions? Contact one of the experts at Phase 3 Digital Agency for a free SEO or other digital analysis of your business.


By Phase 3 Digital Agency 17 May, 2017

Videos are on the rise as a preferred media of choice by many consumers, and they are likewise gaining popularity with marketers who can leverage the affordable medium to inform and entertain prospective new customers. Video provides a rich media experience that audiences enjoy viewing, while also telling a multilayered story that can begin the relationship-building process.

The value of video marketing is vast, with the ability to reach innumerable audience members who will retain a much higher proportion of the visual and auditory messaging, as compared to written text. Video also offers dynamic ways to tell your story on a variety of platforms across the entire globe! From pre-roll ads before a popular YouTube music video plays, to mid-roll commercial breaks during an on-demand primetime television show, and even interstitial ads on the latest app or smartphone game. You can even convert videos to flash and run video ads as standard display.

The options and capabilities of video advertising are seemingly endless and provide a robust medium for capturing the attention of your viewing public. Video is prime marketing content, and thus receives the best accessibility and placement on the internet. The highest search engine rankings are awarded to videos, especially by Google (which owns YouTube) and is positioned in front of the largest audiences.

Ready to start filming? Here are a few key takeaways to keep in mind as you embark on your marketing video production:

S hort – keep the video message brief and succinct

U seful – provide value to your audience

C lickable – promote interaction with the content to find out more

C ustom – ensure your video is edited specifically for online audiences

E ngaging – entice viewers to watch from beginning to end

S hareable – encourage your audience to share the video with their networks

S tatistics – Optimize your videos based on performance measurements

By Phase 3 Digital Agency 05 May, 2017

A company is always trying to think up new and exciting ways to get and keep the audience’s attention. Native advertising is the perfect solution for this conundrum.

 There are many benefits of writing native advertising. Some of these benefits include pulling a higher click-through rate because the articles are relevant to what is already on the page. Your audience is more enticed to click on a native article. Engagement is another huge benefit of using native advertising. Companies are able to reach out to their audience in a way that will not feel overbearing so the person reading the content will stay and interact longer with the site.

 In case these benefits did not completely convince you on why your company should be using native advertising here is a statistic that might change your mind. According to a Business Insider (BI) headline, “Native ads will drive 74% of all revenue by 2021.”

 The future is native advertising, why not look forward to it and give the people what they want; native articles.

 Frightened by the thought of using native articles? Here is some useful information for when your company wants to pursue writing a native article. You may be asking yourself what even is a native article?

 Native articles are content that is considered educational, humorous, inspirational, historical, or biographical.  This may seem like native articles need a lot of information in them but one way to think of a native article is as an article that can last on a website for months at a time.

 In order to make creating a native article incredibly easy here are some items that should not be included if it is to be considered a true native article.

 Items to Not Include:

  • Do not use a daily news story
  • Do not make it an opinion or commentary piece
  • Do not have an article that is considered self-promoting
  • Do not have an article that is slandering competitors
  • Do not have anything stating a specific sales event
  • It should never be offensive or pornographic

 The point of a true native article is to give out information that will keep people interested and for a client to be able to spend a long time without ever changing the article.  A native article is written in a way that keeps people intrigued and that is easy for them to understand.

 Some Ways Native Articles Do This is by:

  • Using a list-style article
  • Cite at least one or two sources
  • Be accurate
  • Tell a story; don’t just list off facts or the reader will get bored and move onto a more stimulating article instead
  • When writing a native article start with the climax, make the story sound exciting because it is and the reader will spend more time on your content

 When writing a native article there are certain requirements.  Most native articles are 500 to 700 words long, the use of third-person narrative is preferred, and when writing the article use the inverted pyramid style.

 Now that you understand more about the importance of native advertising hopefully these helpful hints will give your business the confidence to try writing a native article.

By Phase 3 Digital Agency 27 Apr, 2017

It’s Friday night, and your family wants pizza. No particular brand is family favorite, but your daughter likes thick crust, your son wants a vegetable-only option and you want delivery. How do you decide? Most likely, you'll turn to the internet. In the millisecond after you’ve entered “pizza delivery in my town” into the search box, Google returns the relevant search results, with the most appropriate on top to make it easier for you to make a purchasing decision. “Paul’s Pizza Pub offers thick-crust pizza with mushrooms and onions, and they will deliver it in 30 minutes? I’ll take it!”

As a consumer, the how and why of which search results come up on top is not as important as being able to get to the products and services you want. But as a business owner, you need understand how search engines operate and how you can become a reliable search result so that potential customers—who do a lot more research than pizza consumers—find you before a competitor.

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine” (Oxford Living Dictionaries, 2017). There are two main focus areas of SEO: Onsite and Offsite.

Onsite SEO

Onsite SEO refers to what is happening in the back end of your website. When you built your company’s website, you turned to a website developer or marketing company. In mapping out the plan for your website, you discussed what it would look like and what content you wanted to include. Both of these things are critical to the user experience. Did you also talk about what would be done to the back end to make your site attractive to search engines? Did you discuss the framework, tags and descriptions that would ensure search engines could easily scroll your content to help you become a top result in search? If you did, then you are ahead of many business owners. If not, now’s the time!

The criteria list search engines use for ranking websites is lengthy. Two examples include adding alternative text tags to your images so that search engines easily identify them and giving each page within your site a unique title so that multiple pages that show up in search don’t confuse users. If both of these tactics sound like another language, you’re not alone. The world of onsite SEO uses technology and terms that most of us are not familiar navigating. But whoever builds and manages your website should be concerned with both the front-end user experience of the site and the back-end functionality to get the most out of your efforts. If working to develop your onsite SEO isn’t in their wheelhouse, then finding another source to help you focus on it should be a priority.

Offsite SEO

Once you’ve finished optimizing your website, it’s time to make sure you are visible elsewhere online. Offsite SEO refers to improving your search rank wherever your business is listed other than your website, such as directory and review sites or social media channels. Maybe someone is on Yelp reading local reviews about wedding vendors, or their go-to directory could be Yellowpages.com. Perhaps it starts with Google and moves to Google Maps or Google My Business. All of these websites classify as online directories. There are more than 300 of them, and they all play a significant role in whether your business will come up on top in a search listing.

Google relies on these directories, especially its own, to feed it information about your business and your competitors. After a consumer enters a search word or phrase, it looks to see whether you are listed, claimed and have accurate contact information across your listings. If so, it deems you a reliable search result and moves your website and directory listings closer to the top of the results list. Each directory follows its own set of rules and timelines and requires some degree of hoop jumping to become listed and claimed. But once done, you should start to see improvement in your search ranking.

Working to improve your search ranking is not something you do once, check off your to-do list and move on. It should be considered an operational function of your business because your potential customers are doing the majority of their searching for products and services online. Taking the time to “clean your digital house” is worth the time and investment. Although you won't move to the number one spot in search rankings overnight, you will see your rankings improve and inevitably turn some new leads to your website and business.

 

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By Phase 3 Digital Agency 07 Apr, 2017

 

More than likely, you have a few social media sites that are your go-to when creating campaigns for your clients. These are some of the most popular social media sites that are used to create successful campaigns:

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. Twitter
  4. Snapchat
  5. Pinterest
  6. Tumblr

What about some of the more outdated social media sites?  Are the sites we used to know truly gone or can we somehow integrate them into our current campaigns and keep our clients happy?

Social media sites are ever-changing and sometimes don’t keep up with the current need or want of the client.  Here are a few social media sites you may have forgotten or not even heard of before.

  1. Friendster
  2. MySpace
  3. Orkut
  4. Yahoo Buzz!
  5. Google+
  6. Ello
  7. Foursquare
  8. Meerkat

Have all of these social media platforms been pushed aside by bigger, more well-known sites or have some evolved?

The answer is both, some sites have died out but others found a way to compete with the social media giants.  Social media sites have had to keep evolving over time in order to keep up with the more popular sites.  One example of a site that has died out is Meerkat.

Meerkat was released in February 2015, but was shut down on October 4, 2016.  It had originally started out as an app used for live-streaming videos.  Unfortunately, Meerkat was unable to continue in the direction of live-streaming because it could not compete with other forms of live-streaming such as Periscope and Facebook Live.  Even though not all of these social media sites have lived long enough to become relevant to our clients outside of the social media giants, not everything about them is completely gone.  

Another example to take note of is the social media app Foursquare.  You probably remember people using this app to try to be ‘Mayor’ of your block or a certain location.  Although Foursquare itself did not continue to grow into something more, it is still around today.  

The concept of Foursquare has been used in many other apps such as Pokémon Go.  Instead of shutting down completely, Foursquare found a way to license the technology they used for location. This in turn helped them to stay alive.    

While some social media sites are no longer useful to our clients, the main point is social media sites; even old ones can still be relevant. Social media is changing so quickly that we need to be prepared for anything.  Some of the most popular sites like Facebook, and Twitter may not always be as relevant as they are today.  

Some social media sites are too outdated to be considered useful in our line of work anymore.  Although some social media sites may not always be at the forefront of our minds, their technology can still be used to influence some of the next big sites.  In order to better assist our clients, we as our company’s representatives need to be aware of different types of social media, even the ones that are no longer considered popular.  Some of the sites that are no longer popular are now the backbone of the technology we have today.

Some of the technology that came out of the outdated social media sites is still incredibly useful and has paved the way for new sites that our clients frequently use.

Our job should be to continually evaluate not only the most well-known sites but also keep our eyes on less popular, potentially even underutilized sites that might have an especially unique opportunity for our clients.


By Phase 3 Digital Agency 28 Mar, 2017

For every online marketing campaign we look at the unique needs of each client. We strategize over targeting options, which form of online advertising to use, the creative message and how to best execute the overall strategy. Here at Phase 3 Digital, in order to get those bottom line results, we don’t just focus on the targeting, the medium or the message. We focus on conversion and how we can turn your online traffic into leads for your business. How do we do this? We ensure your online advertising is going to a landing page set up for visitor-to-leads-conversion. In this post, we will discuss landing page best practices and common mistakes.

Landing Page Best Practices

  • Be sure that your landing page is mobile friendly. Remember, over 50% of users are on their mobile phones.
  • If you're running an online advertising campaign, you probably have some amazing creative with a strong call to action. Be sure when people are clicking through your ad, you are sending them to a landing page with a matching headline and similar look and feel
  • Keep your main call to action above the fold so it’s the first thing people see.
  • When capturing leads with a form, keep the amount of form fields to a minimum. Try to only ask for the bare minimum of information you need.
  • Use testimonials and video. Both of these ensure trust and increase engagement.
  • Install Google Analytics and be sure to watch the inbound traffic coming to your website. Use that data to make adjustments to your landing page if necessary.

Common Mistakes Made with Landing Pages

  • Don’t send people to a home page or a landing page that doesn’t directly address the reason that they clicked on your ad in the first place.
  • Don’t have multiple call to actions or too much content. Keep your landing page clean in design and make the call to action clear
  • Don’t ask for too much information. You will deter people away if they have to provide too much information.

By Phase 3 Digital Agency 09 Mar, 2017

There are many benefits of running social media contests. They help your business build awareness, increase engagement and are a rich source of data. To reap these benefits, you must make sure that the contest is run properly and effectively. Below are some tips that will help you make the most out of your contests.

The first step when building a contest is to determine a goal. Do you want to grow your subscriber list, increase social engagement or generate more sales? Maybe you want to do all three. Whatever your goal may be, make sure your goal is S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely).

Setting a goal will help you to determine the type of contest that you want to run. Sweepstakes contests are the easiest for users to enter but photo or video contests with fan votes are always great for engagement.

Make sure you have clear contest rules. The rules should include a description of how the winner will be selected. You should also be sure to include an eligibility section where you specify age and residency restrictions. It’s also important to include the contest entry period, explain how to enter, and let your fans know how their personal information will be used.  In addition, know the laws for your area or consult someone from your legal team to be sure you have included everything that you need.

You should create a contest hashtag that reflects your contest and also promotes your business and brand. A hashtag will tie your contest across various social networks but keep in mind that on Twitter and Facebook there is such a thing as too many hashtags. We recommend having only 2 hashtags on those platforms but on Instagram, more is better.

Your contest should have nice, eye-catching images that reflect your brand. Include your logo and use resources such as Canva or Photoshop to create professional looking artwork. 

Limit the amount of information you collect from the entrants. A good rule of thumb is to limit the form fields to three or less. Decide what the most important pieces of information to collect are that will be beneficial to your marketing efforts. The more form fields you have, the less likely people will be to enter your contest.

Lastly, don’t forget to promote your contest! One great paid option is to use Facebook advertising because you can tailor the ads to your specific target audience and can spend as little to as much as you want.

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