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3 Qualities of a Successful Inbound Marketing Agency

When searching for an inbound marketing agency to meet your inbound marketing needs, it can sometimes be difficult to decide on which business to partner with. Who offers the services you need? Can they provide quality services? Will they be communicative and timely? Will they be flexible if you want things changed or adjusted? These are all necessary questions to ask.

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Over our years of work as an inbound marketing agency, we’ve identified 3 critical areas where skill and reliability should be demonstrated.

1. Attractive Manner

Every inbound marketing agency should work to present their services in a way that demonstrates their trustworthiness and reliability. This starts with the face they give their website. A clean layout, clear information, and easy access to contact info demonstrates organisation, skill, and confidence.

Behind every product or service is a team. The character of a business’s team members can give business owners a glimpse into the capabilities of the organisation. Teams of passionate people that are energetic and motivated will be showcased in the quality of their services and interactions with their clients or customers. They are intentional about providing you great services that meet your expectations and needs.

The best inbound marketing agencies are the ones that won’t leave you in the dust. Instead, as they work to create and develop marketing strategies and content, they are bringing you along for the ride. This means learning about your needs, desires, and ideas so that they are equipped to offer you the best they can give.

At Fannit, we work to make our services readily available to businesses that are looking to increase their sales and conversions. Our staff offers free consultations to learn about the problems businesses are facing and to offer assistance and advice on how to help their company reach new heights.

2. Quality Services

It is very possible for a company to be all it can be in appearance, but lack substantial services. The quality of services they provide and the rate of customer satisfaction will assist in determining if this is a business you can trust with your inbound marketing. Here is a brief list of some of the things to look for in an inbound marketing business:

  • Current, well-informed, content that is powerful and effective
  • Tailored and specialized inbound marketing strategies
  • Skilled use of SEO to create keyword dense content
  • Active analysis of traffic and website statistics
  • Clear and frequent communication with clients

3. Great Results

At the end of the day, you want a inbound marketing agency that you can trust to provide great products and real results. If an inbound marketing agency seems to be providing great services, but can’t seem to get noticeable results, they’re probably not worth your time.

Another way to analyze if a marketing agency is really worth your time and money is to asses the testimonies of previous customers. Great services mean real results, and real results make for happy customers. By taking a closer look at the experiences of current or previous customers, you take into account their experiences and results.

Successful marketing agencies know how to set tangible goals and will decide how they want to reach them. They will actively measure and analyze their performance, and adjust their strategy when seen as necessary. They consider what makes your company unique, and work to make it stand out. In addition to all of this, they must be able to consistently provide great quality content and quality services.

At Fannit, we’re known for our quality services and great results. After having met with clients to identify a marketing strategy, our staff actively works to communicate with customers so as to best provide for their needs.

How SEO is Flawed

Conversion. It’s the reason that we marketers drive traffic to a website. Our goal, the one purpose of doing SEO, is to acquire new customers for our clients and our companies.

To do this, we perform keyword research. We dig in and learn about what it is that users are searching for. We try and put ourselves into the mindset of the people we hope to acquire through persona development and customer interviews. All of this effort comes out as a strategy. A keyword theme is written up, and so begins the process of ranking.

So why is it that, an average 97% of the time, the very people that marketers spend so much time working to attract don’t convert?

Is it that they just targeted really crummy keywords, and the traffic they send is junk? I don’t think so. You’ll often find that a well done SEO effort yields very engaged traffic, people that, you would think, would be highly inclined to buy.

Alas, not so much. Even websites with very high return on marketing spends are usually still in the single digits as far as conversion rate.

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So, what’s the problem?

The problem is this: The assumption that we can tell what a person is thinking just by looking at the phrase that an unknown user types into a single field form is flawed. Why assume we know what they are thinking? Why assume we know why they chose to type in those specific words? Why assume that they are someone we can sell too? We can’t. Not really.

SEO, in this sense, is terribly flawed. If it were otherwise, we would have dramatically better conversion rates.

The simple fact is that the vast majority of users, even users who visit from extremely relevant keywords, simply won’t buy from you. The reason?

They aren’t ready to. And this is where nurturing, informing, and maintaining a relationship with a viewer becomes so vitally important.

And to curtail a possible objection that you might be thinking of, targeting your content to focus on just the people at the bottom doesn’t seem to work much better. So called commercial intent keywords convert people into sales well, but again, only a paltry percentage actually convert. All too often, the people who use commercial intent keywords just aren’t ready to buy.

What is the Solution to This Failure of SEO?

The conversion process can be summed up in the three word phrase “Browse, Compare, Buy”. It’s one of those things that any online marketer has had burned into their minds. Unfortunately, that places just as much focus on the Buy stage as it does the Browse stage. In our minds, the process looks a bit like this:

conversion path

In reality, the time it takes for users to come to an understanding of what they feel they need, how they are going to approach satisfying that need, who or what they are going to choose to satisfy the need, making a decision, and committing to that decision, is entirely different:

Capture

Making the decision and acting on it is usually the smallest part of the process. People can spend days or weeks thinking about a dress or a pair of shoes, but it only takes a moment to purchase, and yet we as marketers spend an enormous amount of time focusing on just that final step.

Take a look at the time it took to actually make that purchase. During that entire time, as the user gets the information they want and makes the comparisons that they need to make, they are being exposed to your competition. They may even forget you exist.

So What Can Marketers Do to Compensate For This?

This is where the importance of nurturing comes into play. Email nurturing, paid ads, social media contact, and so on are all ways that you can keep your visitors engaged, interested, and aware of you. Maintaining a clear conversion path is also important — part of conversion rate optimization (CRO) is to make sure that next steps are intuitive, so that people naturally and easily move themselves down the sales funnel to purchase.

Instead, we need to stop thinking about just the buy stage. The bottom of the funnel isn’t where the people are. Using ebooks, guides, and coupons as offers and backed with a solid email marketing effort, we can stay top of mind with our customers during the browse stage, help guide them through the comparison stage, and ultimately be the only choice for them.

Winning our customers isn’t just about keywords and rankings. It’s about being there every step in their journey.

If you are in need of help with your SEO and inbound marketing strategies, give us a call.

Content Marketing and SEO: Winning the Battle Against Page Rank

There’s a big misconception about how SEO works in the business world today. Many business owners think that SEO is the “unseen magic” that happens behind the scenes. If you’re a marketing manager or a business owner and you’re thinking of hiring a company to take care of your SEO, then you need to understand how content plays a huge role in your SEO journey.

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Is Content Marketing Important?

Sure, content marketing is an important thing. It’s huge! However, if you’re not using the right type of content then you’re not going to be able to rank the right keywords. While I see SEO as a healthy methodology (we call this method Inbound Marketing) at its basic core, SEO is the manipulation of Page Rank. 

You might be wondering if manipulation is a bad thing? Doesn’t that go against the Google Webmaster Guidelines? Well, the short answer is, it could. However, I see this as an issue of, “With power, comes great responsibility”.

The responsibility is to provide the end user with high quality content. If you’re failing at this responsibility, then you’re really not a marketer, you’re just a hacker of Page Rank.

Hey, being a hacker can be good. Even Neil Patel has branded himself as a “growth hacker” — but this is different.

Is SEO Really That Valuable, or is It Dead?

I like this handy-dandy pie chart that shows the irony of how SEO’s spend their time.

how seo really works

Ok, So Let Me Do My Job and Try to Teach and Convince You of SEO’s Value : )

Previously, I said that SEO is a methodology. I call this methodology, “Inbound Marketing”.

Inbound methods take conversion rate optimization, paid search, marketing automation software, e-mail marketing, press release etc… into one approach that fixes the three main problems our clients deal with:

  1. Increasing traffic
  2. Converting traffic to leads
  3. Converting leads to sales

You could say that the perfect marriage for increasing organic rankings for your Seattle area company is a strong technical search engine optimization and content marketing team. The two go hand in hand. Yes, Google algorithmic changes do have a large part of the search engine optimization world “throwing their hands up in confusion” over what really works for search rankings but the fact is, the same thing that affected rankings in 1999 still affects rankings today.

However, high page rank back-links are not the only part of SEO that makes a website more relevant to humans and Google. Fresh content is imperative to rankings as well.

Fresh content is like search engine food. It’s the digital meal that you serve up to please human curiosity and needs. In return, your website looks more relevant to search engines and you get higher rankings. In this case, back-links are not necessary but can be earned by consistent content marketing efforts.

Why Marketing is Often the Biggest Missed Component to Content Development

Content by itself is healthy for your website and search engines, but content that is syndicated out to other sources is 1000% more effective. There’s two ways of looking at back-link earning with fresh content.

  1. First, content that is merely developed and not syndicated will receive organic rankings that will earn back-links over time. If you have a lot of content out there then, you’ll organically earn back-links (as you provide value to human searches).
  2. Second, content that’s syndicated via social and a niche related site like business2community.com. Google + is also a great place to syndicate your content as this helps you develop your authorship with others in your niche.

Both methods are effective for earning high quality PR links to you inner pages and home page but the second method earns links much faster. Step one is a long term process that may or may not work. However, marketing to your current database of fans through e-mail, social, and Press Release will yield high quality links much faster.

Where ROI Happens With Content Marketing

ROI happens with organic search. Your content is the arrow. Your target is a demographic that converts well for you. If you’re hitting your target with your content and marketing you should be receiving high quality leads from the organic results.

Back-links are Bad??

Ok, maybe you’ve heard that back-links are bad from…somewhere. And frankly, there’s been a huge shift in our industry away from back-link development to things like content marketing and paid search campaigns. However, back-links are still the strongest ranking factor in use by Google. As long as you have a good foundation with your on-site SEO work, back-links are huge.

The Perfect Link

You need a highly relevant back-link with a high authority and trust. I use Majestic.com metrics to determine if the link I’ve attained for a client is high quality or not. trust and relevance are the biggest factors for determining if a back-link is quality or not.

The different between links today and links “pre-Penguin” are that now links are weighted by not only authority but also trust. It’s possible to have a ton of links that produce an authoritative website but, if those links are not trusted… then there’s going to be a big problem.

Here’s the difference, authority can be scaled by the number of links pointing to a page but trust is measured by the amount of healthy sites that are linking to that page. This is why you will see sits that have huge citation in Majestic but low trust. You want a lot of trust! Majestic is not able to measure all forms of trust either.

Nofollow links from quality social media sites pass a measure of trust (not authority) to websites. This is why you can rank a website purely off of nofollow links (a tactic used by many SEO’s today).

If you’d like to have a conversation with us on increasing your web traffic… contact us or download this great guide below!

 

Common Local SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Are you a local business or marketing manager who is trying to get an edge over your competition by ranking some keywords to the top of Google? Congratulations, you’ve taken the first step to becoming or managing SEO.

Believe me, the journey is rough. You’re probably going to find a system that works great but Google is going to seemingly change everything on you on the next “furry animal update”.  You’re also going to deal with hundreds of other businesses and affiliate marketers in your local area niche who want to rank for the exact same key-term.

Local SEO Competitors

Do you want to get ahead of the pack?

I’m glad you asked, because most competitors fall short on local SEO by making the same mistakes over and over. I’m going to let you in on a little secret, you can avoid those mistakes… here’s how.

The first step of great local SEO is to make sure your website is properly setup with onsite optimization. Check out our article on how to do proper onsite if you’re not sure what that means.

Second, Avoid Doing These Things:

Don’t Use Multiple Brand Names

It’s the life of the serial entrepreneur, I know! However, you need to avoid using various names for various locations. This can harm your rankings. Use your brand name plus your city area for a specific location. Don’t try to use a specific niche key-term and city name. This is a huge mistake that will confuse Google on how they should be ranking your site.

BIG TIP: Remember, anytime you change your name, address, and phone number (NAP) you risk some serious problems with your local SEO. It’s important to keep the branding of your NAP consistent across all of your local citations.

Do Not Just Change Your Domain Name

See, you’re current domain name is probably localized and has a bunch of authority and trust. If you just change your domain name, you’re probably going to lose out on all of that.

However, changing your domain can work if you’re using a proper 301 redirect but that’s only if you’re redirecting the original domain to the new domain. You’ll want to be sure to tell Google Webmaster Tools that you’ve made this permanent change.

Never Forget to Update New Business Data

Your business “NAP” (name, address, phone number) information is probably going to change at some point in the future. You’ll want to be sure to update all your information across all your local citations.

Start with the main local data aggregators and then use a tool like Whitespark to find less authoritative citations then, fix those.

Don’t Forget to Re-brand Properly

If you have changed your brand name You need to make sure that all your website and citations include “formerly known as {OLD BRAND}” language. People might be searching for the old brand on Google or Yelp which means you need to make sure that your new brand shows up on old brand search queries.

If you ever do need to change your business name, start by fixing the data aggregators then go to the “Google My Business page” to update your NAP information. The GMB page is also a great place to help you speed up the ranking recovery process.

BIG TIP: Remember, one of the primary reasons a lot of SEO’s don’t rank you locally is because they do not do a very thorough job of cleaning NAP data.

Keep these four things “top of mind” when you’re doing or managing your local SEO and you should see your website do well in the SERPS.

If you’re not sure you can manage your own local SEO, be sure to connect with one of our professional local SEO’s for some insights into how you might be able to rank better in your local area.

Knowing the Difference Between a Good and Great SEO

great-seo-good-seo-seattle-marketing-company-marketing-managerAfter several visits to our existing clients to review the SEO work Fannit is doing for them, three things became very apparent to me;

  1. Most business owners or marketing managers do not know what strong SEO does to help boost their internet marketing results
  2. SEO has become a very complicated set of tasks that required full-time attention if your business wants to do it well
  3. Fannit could do a better job of explaining SEO in simple terms

I hope this post helps you understand how to best use an SEO resource and why the really good ones, like Fannit, deserve top dollar.

What is Great SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), according to Wikipedia, is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s (Google, Bing) natural or un-paid (“organic”) search results.

You have all heard the statistics, one of which is that 90% of people who search will click on content that appears on the first page. While I can’t personally speak to the validity of that statistic, it sure sounds good.

And it is this fact that leads most people to believe that ranking keywords is the most important – the only – thing an SEO can do.

But this idea is only partly true. Ranking is important, but there is so much more to good SEO than that. Knowing why you rank, which keywords you rank best for, which keywords you are not ranking for,  and how traffic obtained by ranking those keywords in engaging your site is what a strong SEO should figure out for your business.

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STRATEGY – Take the Time to Understand Your Business

A good SEO knows that to affect the visibility of a web page, they (and therefore you) must first understand the following about your business.

  • Do your prospects care about the content (blogs, press releases, landing pages, etc) you are producing on the internet? Does it attract their attention when they search?
  • How often are key terms searched for in the location (city, county, state, country) you are trying to attract new prospects?
  • Which content that prospects search for right now is getting visitors to your website(s) and those visitors are engaging your business? (ie. do visitors call you, request more information, request to be contacted?)

DELIVERY – Doing the Work to Make the Right Kind of Difference

If your SEO is teaching you the following about how your website is performing, they are doing 50% of the job they need to be doing. Read on if you want to learn what it means to do 100% of the job of great SEO.

  • Do search engines find your site more relevant and authoritative on the content you are producing for your site or page?
  • Are the keywords used in all your content attracting the right type of prospects from the right places on the internet?
  • Do you obsess too much over ranking and not focus on the marketing and sales results?

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RESULTS – Closing the Loop Between Marketing and Sales

The best SEOs (and there are only a few now who do this) will provide you with information about the results a business owner cares about so you, as a Seattle marketing manager, can make decisions on the best strategies. If your SEO does not currently closing the loop with you, they are not focused on the right results.

There are 5 pieces of data needed to close the loop between marketing/SEO efforts and the sales returns those efforts receive.

  • Traffic – visitors to your site in which you know the source (organic, paid, referral, direct). More traffic does not always mean better — better converting traffic means better.
  • Leads – these are visitors to your site which “convert” to leads by filling out a form to give you permission to contact them or market to them in some form.
  • Sales – someone who engages your business and then buys your product or service with money. In the case of eCommerce sites, these are orders. Service businesses may not close a sale in the same month they obtained the lead.
  • Revenues – the money your business earns from sales.
  • Expenses – the investment you make in the marketing you do. Fannit recommends you track your spend by campaign track the cost of various aspects of that campaign so you can determine how well your investment paid off.

Once you close the loop between marketing and sales, you will be able to calculate your marketing ROI, acceptable cost per lead and revenue per sale. These are key metrics to have if you want to scale your business with the marketing you are doing.

There are so many companies these days who claim they do great SEO and the fact is, there are only a few of us (like Fannit) actually doing it. What is even more disturbing is that most business owners don’t demand it.

Interested in working with great SEO? Contact us to get an inbound analysis of your website and to talk with our SEO about how we can improve your business.