• Good morning: Change is constant

    Good morning: Change is constant

    MarTech’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s digital marketing leader. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.Good morning, Marketers, and have we reached normal yet?Early on in the pandemic, marketers (and everybody else) realized how true it was that change is constant. Of course, this constant change has always been a reality in the evolving landscape of marketing technology. Kim Davis offered a long view on some of that change, which shows no sign of letting up.And that’s what makes our annual MarTech Replacement Survey so important every year. What change has proven to be most valuable for marketers? That gets to the heart of the survey and of the news and insights we cover each day. We all can be agents of change, and innovative marketers are the agents of change in marketing technology.Chris Wood,EditorQuote of the day. “A cohort is a form of a segment. All cohorts are segments, but not all segments are cohorts.” Eric Sloan, director of strategy at performance marketing agency Thrive Digital.Get the daily newsletter digital marketers rely on.New on MarTech About The Author Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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  • Setting client expectations with a thorough preliminary SEO analysis

    Setting client expectations with a thorough preliminary SEO analysis

    There are at least three huge mutual benefits to performing a comprehensive data-driven SEO analysis of a new client’s website.First, your digital agency shows off its personalized, professional approach to every client by demonstrating that you avoid standardized templates. This gives the client the understanding that you set goals, terms of cooperation and pricing policies on an individual basis.Second, this helps develop trust in your relationship with the client as they get a clear picture of what’s to be expected, how you plan on achieving their goals and why they are charged the rate you set.Lastly, a detailed analysis gives you the opportunity to lay out a clear roadmap, set the right expectations and shed light on the workflow for the now-educated client. Everyone will be on the same page when it comes to understanding what’s working for them and what areas need to be improved upon.Let’s dive into the steps that you need to take to have a successful client-agency relationship.1. Checking the pulse of your client’s website: What parameters to focus onStraight away, it’s essential to understand what kind of website you’re working with. What you want to pin down first is the quality of the domain and how much authority it has in the eyes of Google and other search engines. You also need to check how much organic and paid traffic they are already driving to their site and how many keywords they target to achieve that volume. Next, see how many referring domains they have, what their quality is and how many backlinks they’re getting from those domains. Lastly, but not least importantly, check how the website is doing in terms of its technical setup.To get started, you can use an SEO tool like SE Ranking’s Competitive Research which provides local and global data on domains in a few clicks.Here you can see summary data on any website that includes its Domain and Page Trust quality scores, its volume of organic and paid traffic, the total number of keywords they target as well as the number of referring domains and backlinks. In this case, the U.S. is selected as the target market, plus you can straight away see which other markets this website is getting traffic from. However, to get the full picture, it makes sense to take a look at their worldwide stats as well.With this data — which covers every single country in the world including a huge database for the U.S. and provides pinpoint accurate results — you can get a quick understanding of their website’s performance.Once you’ve analyzed the main parameters of your client’s site as they stand now, take a look at how they have changed over time and determine if they have a positive or negative trajectory.The left-hand side of the screenshot above highlights changes in traffic and keywords total, marking upward trends in green and downward drops in red. Everything is clickable, which enables you to dive deeper into any point of interest.On the graphs on the right-hand side, you can get a good understanding of what your client’s website progress is in terms of traffic, keywords and backlinks. If you see a graph that is not going up as steadily as the example above and contains spikes and drops for any indicator, you can take advantage of an extremely useful feature that enables you to go back in time to that specific month and analyze what happened there. Just select a month in the top-right corner and you’ll be taken to a page containing the relevant data.2. Understanding your client’s target markets and keyword rankingsBesides analyzing dynamics, you can get detailed information on the organic keywords the client targets and their rankings across multiple locations.The markets that your clients are active in play a huge role in terms of revenue. You want to be sure that they’re not spending their budget on countries that won’t yield the desired results. The traffic distribution map provides a visual understanding of how much traffic the client is getting from each country in the world.By hovering over a country, you can see the volume of traffic the client is getting from it. This data is also available in tables if you prefer to analyze it that way.On the main dashboard, you can learn how well the site’s keywords are generally performing in search through the Distribution of organic keyword rankings chart. This allows you to see what group of keywords you can focus on to get higher rankings most quickly.To dig deeper into the keyword list, open the detailed report. Using filters, you can see what search queries they target and which ones have improved in rankings, which ones have dropped, which keywords they only recently started ranking for and which ones they put a stop on. Being able to see summary data as well as switch to detailed reports is extremely helpful when it comes to analyzing multiple websites on a daily basis.A great way to get a better idea of what’s working right for your client is to take a look at their site’s top pages and subdomains in organic search. Besides looking at how much traffic each of the top pages drives to the client’s site, it’s worth taking a look at the pages themselves to analyze what makes them tick and stand out in search. Since this is where most of the traffic comes to, analyzing such pages deserves your top priority.To take things to the next level, find out what keywords each page is ranking for and, using SE Ranking’s Keyword Research, analyze the top organic results to understand what they are doing better than your client.3. Evaluating how tough the niche competition isA significant part of this research further down the road involves comparing your client’s website with its top and direct competitors. On the Competitive Research dashboard, you can see a list of a site’s top competitors along with their keyword overlaps, Domain Trust scores and the total number of keywords they target.A semantics comparison with several top and direct competitors can help you easily expand your client’s keyword list. SE Ranking removes all the hassle by pointing out the keywords that are unique to the site’s competitors and that your client’s site isn’t targeting.To identify direct competitors, you’ll first need to compile your target keywords list and add them to your customer’s project with SE Ranking. Then proceed to Visibility Rating. Basically, it takes the top websites ranking in search for your client’s target keywords and lets you know what your chances of driving traffic are.Pro tip: To fully understand who your client’s site is going up against, analyze every competing website the same way you analyzed your client’s site.4. Dissecting your client’s backlink profileMoving on to the cornerstone of any SEO strategy: backlinks. The principle here is that pages with a high number of backlinks from authoritative domains tend to have high organic rankings on Google and other search engines.SE Ranking provides a detailed analysis of any site’s backlink profile, enabling you to get a clear picture of how the client’s website is seen by the search giant. You can get a detailed backlinks report by clicking the number of backlinks on the Competitive Research dashboard or by accessing the Backlink Checker tool directly.Right away, you’ll get top-level data on the number of backlinks and anchor text, the ratio of dofollow to nofollow links, and so on. All of the metrics are clickable.When analyzing the backlink profile, it makes more sense to start by looking at the total number of referring domains and checking their Domain Trust scores. After all, you can have multiple backlinks from a single domain, which is good, but referring domains contribute way more than the actual number of links pointing to a website.Once again, remember that you can always spy on successful competition to see what referring domains they get links from and use that data to build a healthier backlink profile for your clients.5. Defining what technical SEO issues to fix on your client’s websiteLooking at the visual components as well as keywords, traffic and backlinks of your client’s website is a must, but it also is an absolute necessity to check under its hood. The technical SEO setup of your client’s site plays a huge part in its performance in search, both from the standpoint of Google and user experience.This is just a small snapshot of the information that is provided in SE Ranking’s Website Audit report. With this data, you can bring your client’s website’s health up so that technical issues like loading speed and duplicate content, for example, don’t prevent it from getting higher rankings in search and don’t force visitors to bounce the moment they try to access one of your client’s pages.To recap, a diligently performed preliminary SEO analysis and audit allow you to identify realistic long-term goals and short-term deliverables, but that’s a topic for another time. The key to building a healthy client-agency relationship is diving head-first into their project to understand it practically as the client does.So, whether you are auditing a potential client’s website, analyzing a new client’s website in detail, or are keeping track of the progress of your digital agency’s existing clients, SE Ranking is an all-round SEO suite packed with more than 30 tools specifically designed to do the SEO heavy lifting and provide support throughout the entire journey of your client-agency relationship. Join the growing 600k user-strong community and focus on what you do best.New on MarTechAbout The Author SE Ranking is a powerful cloud-based SEO and marketing platform packed with over 30 tools and features. With more than 500,000 users worldwide, it provides entrepreneurs, SMBs, agencies and enterprises with everything they need to get their websites to the top of the search results and stay there, including advanced competitive and keyword research, rank tracking in every major search engine, technical and SEO website audit, backlink analysis and monitoring, and so much more. All housed in an intuitive, user-friendly interface, the all-in-one platform can help you make the most of your digital marketing activities and yield better sales results.

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  • ‘Tech for Good’ offers a PR package to minority-led start-ups

    ‘Tech for Good’ offers a PR package to minority-led start-ups

    “We’re focused specifically on diverse founders and it relates back to the passion I have as a female business owner, a female founder. When I look at other companies, I don’t see enough diversity at the top. I would like to see more and this is a big push to support those founders.”Words from Tiffany Guarnaccia, founder and CEO of Kite Hill PR, a high profile agency in the adtech and martech space. Kite Hill has just launched a “Tech for Good” pitch-off, asking technology start-ups with diverse founders to apply for a three-month pro bono communications program. Companies applying must be led by women, BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA founders. They must also have closed a seed or Series A funding round and be invested in ESG (energy, social and governance), clean or green tech, or social good/social justice. Applicants must be U.S.-based.Previous programs highlighted ESG and clean or green techThe new offering grows out of Kite Hill’s established interest in working with ESG or clean/green tech companies. “We have a strong reputation for working with many martech and adtech clients,” said Guarnaccia, “and now we’re seeing a broader demand for ESG communications programs and that growth and demand is twofold. One, it’s within our existing client base that ‘s shifting their broader communications efforts and strategies, so there’s an opportunity there. The other part of that is the demand we’re seeing across new categories, in green tech, clean tech, broader ESG. That’s exciting when it comes to the growth of those categories.”Examples of clients in those categories are Future Youth Records, a non-profit label taht provides an opportunity to create and distribute music that advocates for social change, and Proteus, an underwater “space station” located in a biodiverse, marine-protected location off Curaçao. Kite Hill continues to seek out clients in the ESG and clean/green tech spaces.Read next: How inclusion can lead to diversity in marketing and communicationsCalling diverse and purpose-driven founders“The difference with Tech For Good is, it’s a pitch for purpose-driven and pro-social technology companies. Think of it as a pro bono PR onramp program for diverse and purpose-driven founders of tech businesses,” Guarnaccia said.Early stage companies are often just starting to understand the PR and communications mix and how they can leverage it for their growth, as well as what the right metrics are, Guarnaccia explained. “So we’re offering this as pro bono, but at the same time there’s work we do that’s just about education in the industry — that’s something I personally do a lot of — mentoring, PR, PR metrics, how that comes together.” Winners will be selected by a panel of three judges.If anything, demand for PR rose sharply with the onset of the pandemic. “We’ve continued to earn a seat at the table. In times of crisis, leaders immediately look to their PR team to be at the helm and steer their business through the storm.” She also noted statistics showing an increase in Chief Communications Officer roles.Get the daily newsletter digital marketers rely on.What’s in the program“It’s about providing a bespoke three month PR program, and that initially is evaluating the messaging that the company has within the current marketplace, it’s looking at their existing communications channels,” said Guarnaccia. “It really depends on the stage of the start-up and the company overall. What I see frequently in companies of this size is they’ve done some amount of what I call DIY PR, fueled by the passion of the founders.” Kite Hill will offer an in-depth review and evaluation, identifying audiences and stakeholders, provide counseling on the best way to reach them through earned media, and then execute on that plan.“For the most part,” she said, “that would include some mix of what our core services are. Earned media and thought leadership is usually a part of that, so we would be working with the founder to look at their messaging platform.” Another key element, she explained, is amplification of earned media through both earned and paid social.“They’ve secured funding, they’ve started to build out their platform, they have the framework for running the business and are set up for success, but they really haven’t considered  that next step which is investing in PR and marketing.”New on MarTech About The Author Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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  • How are digital agencies helping marketers transform in 2022?

    How are digital agencies helping marketers transform in 2022?

    The majority of agencies are looking to partnerships and outsourcing as ways to improve marketing technology services and capabilities, according to a new study commissioned by marketing analytics and business communications platform CallRail.The study surveyed U.S-based agency professionals in December, 2021 and came away with strong majorities in the response to their 2022 priorities. The verdict was that 87% of respondents said that partnerships are a top priority for their agency, while 78% said outsourcing was a top priority in the new year.They also expect the job market to get more competitive for in-house hires. Of those surveyed, 81% believe that hiring will be more challenging in 2022 than it was during the previous year.This doesn’t mean that agencies feel like they’re playing catch-up, they’re just keeping the momentum going. For instance, 86% of agency pros surveyed said their agency added a new offering for clients. An overwhelming 98% said they are satisfied with their agency’s positioning in the market.Why we care. It almost goes without saying that there has been whiplash in every organization as marketers pivoted their strategies to navigate the pandemic over the last two years, and continue to do so. Agencies often play a role by providing digital services and executing digital strategies for clients as part of their digital transformation.Services that digital agencies provide shift with the priorities of their clients. The change from 2020 to 2021 is telling. From the same survey, for instance, 43% of respondents said website design and development was a top service provided by their agency in 2020. This dropped down to 25% in 2021. Marketers, with the help of their digital agency, made website redesign a priority early in the pandemic, and didn’t have to do as much development the following year.The top priority for late 2021? Social media, for 34% of respondents.New on MarTech About The Author Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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  • What clients need from your marketing agency today

    What clients need from your marketing agency today

    There’s never been a better time to be an agency. After a rocky 18 months, 80% of small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) say they’ve recovered from the impacts of COVID-19 – and nearly half (43%) say they plan to invest more money into developing marketing strategies over the next year. But that’s not all. A full 94% want to hire external agencies to help improve their marketing efforts as pandemic restrictions get lifted, and 96% of those businesses said they are open to paying their agencies more. Yes, you heard that right – they’re even willing to pay more for certain services. How do we know? We recently surveyed 600 U.S.-based business owners (companies employing up to 200 people) across various industries – financial services, home services, healthcare, real estate, legal services, automotive, and advertising agencies. We learned exactly where businesses are looking for agencies to step up to the plate and help. We also discovered that there’s a goldmine of opportunity for agencies who can position themselves as strategic partners and make businesses’ lives easier. Help set the long-term strategy SMBs are big believers in the value of a marketing strategy. In fact, 81% say that a marketing strategy was critical to the success of their business during COVID-19, and 71% say they wouldn’t have survived the last 18 months without a marketing strategy. Still, many businesses scaled down their marketing efforts to survive the widespread economic uncertainty. However, nearly half (43%) say they plan to invest more money into developing marketing strategies over the next year. Yet only 16% of surveyed businesses have a long-term strategy that covers the next year or more. The majority, 81% of companies, only have short-term, three-to-six-month marketing strategies in place. Tip: There’s an excellent opportunity for your agency to be a strategic partner by helping clients take a multi-year view and build out long-term strategies that will create growth and deliver a strong return on investment (ROI) for years to come. Expand digital outreach We heard loud and clear in our survey that businesses want agencies to do more to help them, especially when it comes to expanding their digital reach. From a tactical perspective, improving or building a website, improving lead generation and expanding outreach were at the top of the list. Websites are one of the most important ways SMBs can sell their brands and communicate with customers. And since the beginning of COVID-19, the need for every business to have a website has only increased. However, 51% of businesses are still without a website (we know…that stat blew us away, too!). The good news is that 40% of those businesses are ready to do something about it. If you add in the 60% of companies that want to improve their current website, there is a treasure trove of opportunities for agencies to help. Tip: Many business owners may not have invested in a website because they question its value or aren’t sure where to start with such a complex and daunting project. To get them on board, make sure your clients understand how important it is to establish a digital presence and how a website can significantly increase visibility and contribute to lead generation. In addition, give your clients a road map for how you will approach the project together – including milestones for key dates like web copy delivery, wireframe delivery, launch date, and more. This will help them feel more comfortable starting a new web project. Focus on customer service When we asked businesses why they love their agencies, the top response was the agency helped them improve their customer service. In fact, 96% of businesses said they’d be willing to pay their agency more for customer service training. If customer service isn’t one of your core offerings, don’t panic. You don’t need to be a customer service guru; you just need to give your clients the right tools to improve the customer experience. By using business communications software with integrated analytics, including the ability to analyze call recording transcripts, you can quickly surface customer insights at every stage of the customer journey. You can then take action on those insights to improve your customer service and the overall customer experience. Tip: Customer service is table stakes for every business in today’s review-centric consumer environment. When you turn customer service into a genuine value driver for your clients, you’ll not only help your clients win their customers’ trust, but you’ll build their trust in you — a win-win. One way to help clients improve their customer service is by using a tool like CallRail’s Lead Center. It allows your customers to capture the entire customer experience timeline – from the initial phone call to purchase and all contact points in between. Together with your client, this enables you to identify potential lapses in their customer service and highlight individual team members in need of additional training to improve the customer experience. Prove ROI Despite a willingness for businesses to pay more for certain services, their budgets are tight. Over half (57%) of businesses said they stopped working with an agency because of budgetary strain due to COVID-19. Another 34% said budgetary pressure unrelated to COVID-19 caused them to halt working with an agency. In fact, budget constraints were by far the most common reason businesses dropped their agencies. The key to overcoming the budget hurdle is to prove ROI – and quickly. But to do this, you need to have the right data to connect the dots between your efforts and ROI. Partnering with innovative tech providers can help. For instance, by using  business communications software, which collects detailed analytics like cost per lead reporting that includes calls and form submissions, you can show your clients how your marketing campaigns positively impact the bottom line. Tip: To prove ROI quickly, use data to show clients how you will be allocating their budget so they get the most bang for their buck. Then, review the data monthly or quarterly with clients to ensure that their budget continues to be allocated to those activities that deliver the greatest ROI. Go beyond the tactical and get strategic Tactical help, like lead generation, is often why businesses reach out to agencies in the first place. But if you stay at the tactical level and don’t become a strategic business partner, you’re missing a big opportunity. We heard from 48% of SMBs that they don’t like working with external agencies that don’t provide assistance beyond lead generation. Another 46% said they dislike when agencies turn out not to be a strategic business partner. On the flip side, we heard that businesses really love when agencies step into a strategic partnership role and help them with things like improving customer service (55%), vetting and recommending new technology to help grow the business (51%), and improving workflows between marketing and sales teams (43%). As an agency, don’t just work within the limitations of your client’s existing tech stack. Instead, work with them to improve their stack on an ongoing basis. This will ensure they have technology that provides transparency and visibility, which is key to your clients’ seeing the true ROI from all your efforts. What’s more, you can use this technology to help your clients achieve other goals – like better customer service and improved workflows. Tip: Invest in technology that helps your clients organize lead information, delegate and manage sales tasks, track prospects at various stages in the sales pipeline, and coordinate engagement to close more deals all in one place. Having these tools allows clients to streamline their customer service and improve their sales workflows. This way, they can create a seamless, memorable customer experience for leads and customers alike. You may also want to look for tech partners that offer revenue sharing, like CallRail’s Agency Partner Program. By creating these types of partnerships, you’ll be able to enhance your service offerings to your clients while also earning additional revenue for every client you bring on. Add value, remove friction, and give business owners more time to focus on their businesses Business owners are looking for consultative partners who truly understand their businesses and make data-driven recommendations to improve their operations. They’re also desperate to get more tasks off their plates so that they can focus on their businesses. Three-fourths of business owners told us they’d rather spend time on their business than on marketing, and 59% said they don’t have enough time in the day to complete all their job responsibilities. The best way to help your clients achieve these goals is by implementing a comprehensive business communications and analytics platform that provides clients with a single place to store and manage all their customer communications. Want more insights into what SMBs want from digital marketing agencies? Read the full study, Clients tell all: What small businesses need from marketing agencies today. Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here. About The Author CallRail is a leading marketing platform that helps businesses like yours accelerate growth. It gives you tools to market smarter, drive more quality leads, centralize communications, and turn leads into customers. Call Tracking, Form Tracking, and Conversation Intelligence reveal insights across touchpoints along each customer’s journey. Lead Center helps you connect with customers on their terms, with a unified inbox and integrated communication tools, including softphone, text, and chat. Top-ranked on G2, over 175,000 businesses worldwide trust CallRail’s straightforward, powerful marketing platform to accelerate and sustain growth. For more information, visit www.callrail.com.

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