Getting Your Business Ready For A Comeback

Undoubtedly, the last several weeks have been some of the most challenging we’ve ever faced as a nation and franchise community.  The good news is there’s light at the end of the tunnel – the pandemic is receding and discussions are well underway to begin winding back restrictions and reopening the economy in a staged approach over the next couple of weeks.  This is obviously very welcomed news for all of us from both a personal and business perspective.

Through the unprecedented times we find ourselves in, there are unique opportunities out there to both help your business adapt and prepare for coming out of this situation stronger and more successful than ever. Read below to learn more about the tools you can use now to perfect your digital marketing campaign and expand your influence online.

Make Use of Analytics

When it comes to digital marketing, data is king. Analytics (from Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, or other industry-specific brands) offer insight into your customers’ behavior that can be leveraged in a number of ways. If you’re not making use of this tool already, you’re doing your brand a disservice.

For example, you can utilize analytics to better understand which search engines people are using to get to your site. You can also determine the keywords that are producing the most hits, which can help you develop a more effective SEO strategy.

In addition, analytics can be used to find out how long customers stay on your page before clicking away, and which links they tend to follow on your site. And if you’re interested in the demographics of your customers, this tool can provide you with in-depth information about viewers’ locations.

Focus on Building Keyword-Specific Pages

While efficiency is critical in many aspects of your business, it’s not always the goal when building out your website. Rather than creating a single page for a category of products or services, take the time to build individual pages for local terms that include precise on-page optimization. This division of pages can help increase organic traffic to your site and offers more opportunities for you to create eye-catching content.

You can also build campaign-specific landing pages to minimize friction during the purchase journey. Unlike homepages, landing pages that have a clear message unburdened by distracting site navigation options tend to have a high conversion rate.

Embrace Social Media

While most of us are on some form of social media, not everyone feels quite social media savvy. When you think about putting your business on different social media platforms, you may hesitate for fear you’ll make a mistake.

However, social media is just too good of a tool to pass up. Not only is it relatively easy to use and inexpensive considering the broad audience it can reach, but it also makes it possible for you to engage with customers in a way that traditional marketing techniques simply can’t match.

With social media, the options are quite literally endless. It can be used:

  • For anonymously getting an up-close look at your competitors in order to find ways to distinguish your brand from theirs. 
  • As a platform to request feedback from customers.
  • To post minute-by-minute updates of store events, sales, and new inventory. 
  • To shine the spotlight on your hardworking employees, giving your audience the chance to make a more personal connection with your brand.

Stay Relevant with Retargeting

If a great first impression doesn’t do the trick, how about a second? With retargeting tools, you can continue to display ads to viewers even after they’ve left your site. Since retargeting can reach across multiple platforms, including social media feeds, blog posts, and different websites, viewers will be able to keep your brand in mind no matter where their internet travels take them. Finally, retargeting is the best way to keep your product or service in front of consumers’ eyes even when they aren’t actively seeking it out.

Rethinking Your Digital Marketing Through COVID-19

With the news of the impact of COVID-19 changing every day, it can be tough to grasp how all of these new changes will affect your business overall, not to mention what the situation signals for your digital marketing campaign. While there are many uncertainties that lie ahead, there are still concrete steps you can take to maintain a marketing strategy that makes sense for your brand.

In normal times, marketing is all about adaptation – to new trends, new data, and changing consumer behaviors. Now more than ever, that ability to remain fluid through changing circumstances is key.

Your team should be thinking on its feet, while also being sure that any and all decisions are made in a spirit of compassion. This is the time to invest in long-term consumer trust and loyalty, keeping your brand in a positive light throughout the ups and downs that the future holds.

Adjusting Your Digital Marketing Approach During Uncertain Times

Here are our suggestions for maintaining a strategic approach to digital marketing while navigating this uncharted territory:

Aim to pivot, not pause.

While in-store traffic is being curtailed in the wake of the pandemic, TV usage, and at-home online activity are skyrocketing. This presents an opportunity for advertisers to reach their target audience through more targeted investments in different forms of advertising. Rather than pausing your campaign altogether, you can pivot your digital marketing strategy to comprise platforms that are most relevant to the here and now. 

OTT-CTV is one example that shouldn’t be overlooked. OTT-CTV advertising combines the impact of traditional TV advertising with the precise targeting capabilities of a digital campaign, including addressable targeting, behavioral targeting, and demographic targeting. 

The use of Social Media in the United States is up 30% in recent weeks. This is the time to make sure you’re staying in front of your audience and reminding them of your services. It’s also a great way to provide thoughtful content and share supportive resources with your audience.

By taking into account how your customers’ consumption of media is changing as their daily lives are altered, you can be sure to reach them as they embrace different platforms. 

Take a leadership role.

Customers may not know how the pandemic is changing how your industry operates, and providing them with more information can help them see you as an authority in your industry. From a quick email blast to social media posts or an informative banner on your website, there are many ways to go about getting clear information out there concerning any processing changes or limitations that are affecting the way your business normally runs.

Ask the right questions.

What do customers need from your brand right now? How can you adjust your services to make them more viable as self-isolation and social distancing measures become necessary? 

Many of these questions can be difficult to answer. Make sure you’re communicating with your digital marketing partner to help you navigate the right path you should be on during these uncertain times.

Strive to stay tonally on point.

In this day and age, certain subjects, images, and types of humor aren’t going to be perceived in the same way as they would have been even just a few weeks ago. Take the initiative to reassess all aspects of your digital campaign, from keywords and copy to visuals and other creative elements, in light of the current situation. Being proactive about tweaking these aspects of your digital marketing creative now can mean the difference between running an effective campaign and running one that is seen as being tone-deaf.

Trying times often call for creative thinking and a willingness to adapt. By taking things one day at a time while also keeping an eye on what the future holds, your team can make digital marketing decisions that give your customers confidence, shine a positive light on your brand, and help make the future a little brighter. 

Perfecting Your Online Credibility With These Digital Marketing Tips

Local SEO can be a tough nut to crack for most businesses. Those with multiple locations have an even greater challenge to tackle! Whether you operate a chain of local businesses or a franchise with locations across the country, it’s crucial you take the steps needed to provide each and every one of your storefronts with plenty of online visibility.

In fact, boosting the online credibility of your businesses can have a huge impact on your conversion rates. Consumers are using their mobile devices to find information about local stores with increasing frequency. The better your online visibility and credibility, the more likely you are to attract customers you may not reach through traditional marketing methods.

Our Guide to Boosting Online Credibility

Putting all these steps together may take some time, and won’t result in overnight success. However, building credibility is a process that’s well worth the effort. Here are some easy steps you can take to promote the visibility of your locations.

Location Based Web Pages

Build location-based web pages

If you have numerous locations, creating a single website isn’t going to benefit your brand as much as multiple, location-based web pages will. Having dedicated pages for each of your locations enables you to optimize your online presence for local searches. Just remember that your location pages can’t be identical—unique content is key. In addition, each page needs to include local business schema specific to the individual location.

After designing individual web pages for each of your locations, you can develop their Google My Business listings. Each listing should like to that location’s URL. 

In order to create separate listings for each location, you’ll have to get them verified by Google. This entails waiting to receive a code by mail to corroborate the location-specific details, as well as taking and posting location-specific photos.

It’s also important to choose the right category when developing your Google My Business listings. Ensure that each location is listed under the same category, and avoid selecting categories that are too broad. 

While this step is easy to overlook in the process of creating your listings, it’s actually crucial for you to select the most accurate category to safeguard your appearance in relevant local search results.

Inconsistencies in your business citations across various channels, such as Yelp, Google, and Yahoo Local, can cause major problems for your SEO efforts and make it harder to attract locals to your storefront. What’s most important is that your business’s NAP—shorthand for name, address, and phone number—stays the same from channel to channel. Google recognizes consistency in this area as credibility; any discrepancies may cause you to be pulled from aggregator sites.

Location-specific reviews are a huge factor in boosting the credibility of your business. Consumers often place the same level of trust in online reviews as they do recommendations from people they’ve met in person, making reviews a signal of legitimacy. Plus, reviews are now a prominent feature in online search results, meaning they’ll be one of the first things people see when they search for your business location.

Of course, there is a downside to encouraging customers to review each of your locations: you open yourself up to the possibility of receiving negative reviews. Be prepared to draft a thorough and professional response to any neutral or negative reviews that appear so that you can make the most of this opportunity to leave a positive impression on potential customers.

Businesses with multiple locations can utilize backlinks to increase their online legitimacy. One of the best ways to do this is to partner with local entities such as Chambers of Commerce, charities, and other local organizations whose links to your pages can bolster your standing as a fixture in your community.

While maintaining an appearance in local search results is essential, it has also become crucial for local businesses to promote their presence on social media platforms. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can use networks like Facebook and Twitter to connect with consumers in your community and remain relevant in the minds of previous and potential customers. Creating a listing for each location on these platforms and posting fresh and engaging content will only help support your online credibility.

Qiigo Named Top Marketing Company In Atlanta

For the 4th consecutive year, Qiigo has been named one of the top companies in Atlanta by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. We’re excited to announce that we came in #12, a jump from the #21 spot we secured in 2019.

The see the entire list of winners, click here.

The Real Benefits of a Paid Search Engine Marketing Strategy

With such a wide array of digital advertising options out there to try, you may not know where to begin when it comes to formulating a digital marketing strategy that makes sense for your business and budget. Paid search engine marketing is one often-overlooked route that can help you reach your target audience and boost your marketing ROI.

Read on to learn about some of the benefits that come along with this dynamic marketing technique.

Why Try Paid Search?

One of the biggest players in paid search, and the one you’ve surely heard of, is Google with their easy-to-use Google Ads platform. However, there are plenty of others to look into, including Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, and LinkedIn Ads. YouTube, Yahoo, and Bing also offer their own paid search channels.

If you’re not already using paid search advertising, also known as pay-per-click (PPC), you may be missing out on both traffic and revenue. Here are just a few of the benefits of giving PPC a go:

You’ll Reach the Right Customers

With paid search, improving your market saturation is simple. These ads increase brand recognition, as they place your business in front of high-quality leads in a natural manner. Most importantly, you get to decide who sees your ads and when this exposure occurs. 

It’s also possible to target a specific geographic area so that your ads are most relevant. While many traditional marketing strategies waste time struggling to capture the attention of a large audience in hopes of landing a handful of leads, paid search eliminates wasted effort by ensuring you only reach out to a specific group of people.

You’ll Bolster Your Image

Some of the biggest companies in the world make use of paid search, meaning viewers recognize these ads as being used by credible brands. This type of advertising can help underscore your brand’s credibility and convey the right message to potential customers.

You’ll Take Advantage of a Great ROI

Of the full spectrum of digital marketing methods, paid search has one of the strongest ROI when implemented correctly. Of course, in order to take advantage of this benefit, you’ll need to spend some time optimizing your campaign for keyword relevancy, engaging copy, and precise demographic targeting.

You Can Combine It with Other Marketing Channels

PPC works especially well with SEO, meaning you’ll find that your SEO efforts are reinforced by your decision to invest in paid search. After all, the two digital marketing strategies both target people who are using a search engine to discover products and services. Plus, data from PPC regarding conversions, clicks, and impressions can provide you with valuable insight on what keywords to prioritize through SEO.

You’ll Have Access to a Range of Targeting Options

PPC enables you to take a multifaceted approach to digital marketing. You can try a mix of text ads, remarketing, and pinpointing specific audience demographics to ensure you’re getting the full benefit of this tool and the optimal number of impressions for your efforts.

How to Manage Your Paid Search Campaign

While setting up a paid search campaign is easy, it does require a little maintenance in order to run effectively. It’s important to take stock of the results of the campaign on a regular basis and to make adjustments to your marketing tactics based on these measurements. Without these check-ins, you simply can’t expect to realize the full potential of your paid search strategy.

Cost per conversion (CPC) is an especially significant number that you’ll want to pay attention to as you find the sweet spot for your digital marketing campaign. This number signifies how much it costs to convert a viewer through PPC. By comparing the conversion rate of a few different ads, you can make educated decisions to reduce the CPC and ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

It’s also crucial to remember that click-through rates aren’t the only signifiers of the success of your ads. If people arrive on your homepage but don’t stick around, then you have some work to do. Establishing a solid landing page with engaging content and a compelling call-to-action is just as important for boosting conversion rates.

Preparing Your Digital Marketing Strategy for 2020

As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on both the mistakes and successes of the past year while also looking forward to the year ahead. Make the most of this opportunity for a fresh start by creating a marketing plan that sets your company up to thrive in 2020. 

Digital marketing is a dynamic field that is constantly changing, and it’s important that your marketing plan is driven by optimal marketing tactics that reflect these new developments. In order to create an effective marketing strategy for the new year, you’ll need to do some big-picture thinking. 

Start by taking a look at the goals you’re aiming to achieve, and work backward to determine the types of tactics that can make those results a reality. This method can also help ensure you’re building a budget that enables you to maximize your efforts rather than hindering your progress.

Keys to a Successful Marketing Strategy

Because change is a constant in the world of digital marketing, it’s sometimes difficult to know which strategy changes are worth making and which elements should stay the same. Read below for some tips that can help you make the most of the many opportunities that digital marketing offers.

You company’s website can either act as an open door for potential customers or an obstacle that they need to overcome. Small details like quick load time and bold visuals can have a major impact on customers’ ability to interact with your website and ultimately connect with your company. It’s important to look at website design through the lens of digital marketing, so don’t forget to include website optimization as part of your 2020 digital marketing strategy.   

The popularity of programmatic advertising is in perpetual growth thanks to its effectiveness at targeting and converting consumers. By utilizing programmatic ads, you can accurately target consumers at a variety of touchpoints throughout the decision-making process. Multiple touchpoints allow you to reinforce the benefits of your brand’s product or service and encourage the conversion from shopper to customer.

With mobile ads outpacing desktop ads and mobile devices comprising the majority of internet traffic, making mobile your main area of focus is key. However, that doesn’t mean that desktop is dead. In fact, desktop often plays a huge role in the final purchase process. Aim to develop a marketing strategy that is fluid enough to follow users as they shift between platforms.

Location targeting has made it easier to market business services to a specific area. Of course, this tool needs to be used correctly in order to reap the benefits that it offers. For example, brick-and-mortar businesses should target a smaller radius, while companies that can deliver their services throughout a broader area, such as a lawn care company, can focus on multiple neighborhoods.

Taking the time to segment your audience beyond a few general groups enables you to personalize the messages that you send to these micro-segments and nudge them towards a purchase. After all, not all potential customers are ready to “Buy Now!”. Some need to be directed to specific information or services before they make a decision. By understanding the needs and preferences of different segments within your audience, you can increase your ability to reach a greater number of people.

Even some of the best digital marketing strategies aren’t immediately effective, and that’s ok. It takes time to make different tactics work for your business. You’ll need to go through a process of testing, assessing, and honing your strategy before you begin to see results. Avoid abandoning new methods without investing enough time for them to be fruitful.

With more and more data available at your fingertips, you may not know how to put it all to use. Hiring an experienced digital marketing agency can help you accurately assess data, implement effective tactics, and streamline your overall strategy for success in 2020. 

How Online Reviews Impact Your PPC Campaigns

Pay Per Click (PPC) is one of the most reliable channels that multi-location and franchise brands use to generate more leads, build local awareness, and increase quality site traffic.

While it can be a powerful tool, one of the most important and often over looked channels that can affect the performance of your PPC efforts is online reviews and reputation management. In this post, we’ll discuss how reviews affect PPC conversions, why they have such a big impact on PPC campaigns, and what you can do to improve your online reputation.

Studies Link Online Reviews to PPC Conversion Rates

Reviews play a significant role in online purchase decisions. According to Google, 90% of its users express high levels of trust in online reviews. And in surveys, similar numbers show consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.

Most businesses understand the importance of online reviews. But many of them don’t realize how reviews can impact other aspects of digital marketing, including PPC.

Yet studies have shown that online reviews do influence PPC conversion rates. According to these studies, even a minor fluctuation in reviews can have a dramatic impact on PPC campaigns.

One study tracked the conversion rates of Google Ads compared against brands’ Google My Business ratings. Brands with ratings below 3.5 stars saw average conversion rates around 10.5%. But for brands with ratings around 4.5 stars, conversion rates were nearly 14%!

And it’s not just ratings that affect PPC conversions. The same study found that increasing your reply rate to online reviews can sway conversion rates. Brands that replied frequently to reviews saw conversion rates 30% higher than less responsive brands.

Why Reputation Management Matters on PPC Campaigns

The impact of online reviews on PPC can be surprising to some business owners. After all, if a user clicks on a PPC ad, they’re directed to a landing page. If a brand has weak reviews, they can leave their rating off of their landing page. That means the customer doesn’t see the rating, right?

Unfortunately, no. Many users will perform brand research before making any kind of purchase decision. Even when they make an impulse purchase, they’ll take a minute or two to conduct basic research. And that’s all the time they need to find out about your online reputation.

Let’s say a user clicks on one of your ads. They like what they see, and they’re thinking about making a purchase. But before they commit, they want to check your online reviews. All they need to do is open a new tab and Google your business name. As soon as that happens, they’ll see your Google My Business profile, which includes your Google Reviews.

And if a user decides to perform more detailed research, they’ll start looking at other businesses. That means they’ll be comparing your online reviews against the competition. As a business owner, you need to ask yourself: If my online reviews are compared side-by-side with one of my top competitors, is my business the winner or the loser of that comparison?

How to Boost Your Online Reputation and PPC Performance

If you’re serious about improving your online reviews — and boosting your PPC performance in the process — you’ll need a reputation management game plan. Here’s a snapshot view of what that game plan should include:

Encouraging Positive Reviews

A positive online reputation depends on lots of positive online reviews. So, you’ll need to find ways to encourage more positive reviews from satisfied customers. But you’ll need to make sure you don’t break rules about soliciting reviews.

Volume of Reviews

As a business, it’s easy to fixate on your average review rating. But if you do that, you might overlook your number of reviews. But customers pay close attention to this figure. The lower this number is, the less likely they are to choose your business.

Recency of Reviews

When customers look at your online reviews, they expect to find recent feedback. Newer reviews are perceived as more accurate, and they demonstrate that your business is still relevant.

Consistency of Reviews

An easy mistake to make is generating tons of reviews all at once, then throttling back on reputation management. If most of your reviews fall in a very narrow timeframe, that’s going to look suspicious. Reviews need to be generated sustainably, over a longer period of time.

Responding to Negative Reviews

Every business will eventually generate negative reviews. The important thing is how you respond to these reviews. Developing an effective system for responding to bad reviews can go a long way toward improving your online reputation.

Using Direct Mail to Power your Digital Marketing

Until recently, marketers loved direct mail. It offered low costs and strong returns, and it combined precise targeting with a broad overall footprint. That all started to change with digital technologies. USPS mail volumes are down almost 30% since 2006, and direct mail budgets have been in decline for several years.

Despite this, direct mail tactics and data remain useful to digital marketers. That’s particularly true if you implement addressable geo-fencing on programmatic ad campaigns. With addressable geo-fencing, brands can serve ads to users based on their street address — just like direct mail.

This opens up a world of possibilities for brands with robust CRM databases built via offline marketing. All of that offline location data can now be harnessed for programmatic campaigns.

Plus, you have the option of coordinating these campaigns with offline marketing efforts. You can even run campaigns where programmatic ads and direct mail materials work in tandem.

Addressable Geo-Fencing: What It Is & How It Works

If you run programmatic ad campaigns, you should already be familiar with geo-fencing. This method allows you to target devices within a specific geographic area. Typically, this is a city, a neighborhood, or a single targeted area. You define the area, and ads get shown on devices with GPS coordinates that match the target area.

Addressable geo-fencing takes this concept and makes it even more hyper-specific. It works by geo-fencing individual properties. Instead of targeting a single geo-fenced area, it targets a series of street addresses by geo-fencing the property of each address. Marketers upload a list of addresses, and ads get served to users and devices associated with that address.

There are several advantages to addressable geo-fencing. But the biggest, by far, is the opportunity to harness existing CRM data. Now, marketers can use street address data for digital campaigns. This way, they can start transitioning offline data to digital campaigns. Or they can develop coordinated digital/direct mail campaigns.

Using Addressable Geo-Fencing for Programmatic Ads

There are a number of ways that marketers can use addressable geo-fencing for programmatic ad campaigns.

One way is to simply replicate direct mail tactics for programmatic ads. If you have a list of addresses that you’d normally use for direct mail content, you can start serving programmatic ads to these households.

If you want to target prospects and leads more granularly, you have a few options. You could narrow down your list of addresses using your existing CRM data (e.g., targeting past customers who bought a specific product or service). You could add additional parameters to your programmatic campaign (e.g., targeting users in a specific age group). Or you could do both!

Things get really interesting when you look at coordinated campaigns that include both programmatic and direct mail content. Let’s say you run a furniture store that puts out a quarterly catalog. Here’s a quick, 3-part example of a coordinated direct mail/programmatic campaign:

  1. The week before you send out your catalog, you run a programmatic campaign targeted at customers on your mailing list. This ad announces your upcoming catalog and gives a sneak peek of key products or deals.
  2. Your catalog is sent out to your mailing list. Thanks to your initial ad, customers are expecting the catalog and eager to learn more about this quarter’s selection of products. In it, you include an attractive limited-time deal on a sofa.
  3. A few days after your catalog arrives in customers’ mail, you run a programmatic campaign for this deal. The ads highlight the sofa, the savings, and the limited-time offer, with a call-to-action that gets customers to your store.

This is just one example of how addressable geo-fencing can be uses to bolster direct mail campaigns. More importantly, it shows how valuable offline data can be harnessed for online marketing.

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Google Ads Retires Average Position: What This Means for PPC

Earlier this year, Google announced that it would retire the “average position” metric from Google Ads. The news was both surprising and unsurprising for PPC marketers. On the one hand, this metric has been used for 15+ years, and it feels like a part of Google Ads’ DNA. On the other hand, it has become steadily less reliable and useful in recent years, both as a measurement of where ads appear on page and as a tool for bidding on ad slots.

Despite average position’s shortcomings, it remained popular with brands and marketers. With Google’s announcement, many wondered how they would manage without this metric.

Thankfully, Google introduced new metrics in late 2018 that can be used in place of average position. In most cases, these metrics will offer a more accurate sense of where ads appear in search results.

Wondering how this change will affect your business? Let’s find out…

Why Is Google Getting Rid of Average Position?

In the early days of Google AdWords, average position was one of its most important metrics and tools. But over time, its accuracy and utility have steadily decreased.

Originally, average position was a reliable measure of where your ad was located on the page. Based on the average position metric, you had a strong sense of where your ads appeared in search results. But as Google made changes to ad layouts and ad formats, that started to change.

Today, a #1 position can have you at the top of the page for certain search results. On others, it will appear near the bottom. But that change in ad location isn’t reflected by the average position metric.

What’s more, there’s a much bigger gap today between top-of-page and bottom-of-page ads. When Google removed ads from the right column of search results, it eliminated valuable real estate for mid-ranked ads.

Now, the question isn’t: “What’s your ad position?”

Instead, it’s: “Does your ad appear at the top of the page?”

What’s Replacing the Average Position Metric?

Google didn’t want to get rid of average position without replacing it. So in late 2018, it introduced a set of new metrics, including:

  • Absolute Top Position Rate: The percentage of your ads that appear at the absolute top of a given page.
  • Top Position Rate: The percentage of your ads that appear within the top section of ads on a given page.
  • Absolute Top Impression Share: The number of impressions you’ve received in the absolute top position divided by the estimated number of top position impressions that you were eligible to receive.
  • Top Impression Share: The number of impressions you’ve received in top-of-page positions divided by the estimated number of absolute top position impressions that you were eligible to receive.

These metrics give you a much more accurate sense of where your ads are actually appearing in search results. So if your goal is to measure the placement of your ads or maximize the number of impressions your ads receive, these new metrics will be a welcome change from average position.

How Will Brands & Marketers Adapt?

In the vast majority of cases, the retirement of average position will have a neutral or positive effect on Google Ads campaigns. Brands and marketers will have a more accurate sense of ad placement, and it will be easier to target top-of-page positions.

The important thing is that you’re proactive. If rely on average position until it disappears, you’ll have a rocky transition to the new metrics. But if you familiarize yourself with the new metrics ahead of time, you’ll make the switch much more easily.