How Google Changes Will Affect Your Digital Strategy

Google announced plans last week to end support for third-party cookies.  Third-party cookies fuel much of the digital advertising ecosystem. Other browsers have already begun a phased removal of third-party cookies. This is a significant blow to the advertising industry and will definitely affect your digital advertising strategy. Let’s discuss why this is a big deal.

Third-party cookies are placed on a website by someone other than the owner of the website – this is the third party. The cookie collects data for the third party, enabling businesses to monitor online user activity and develop behavioral targeting by tracking users across domains. This enhances their success at marketing the right message to the right user at the right time because they are seeing a full picture of behavior across sites and not by just looking at data from when the user interacted with the owner’s site. 

Third-party cookies are a powerful way to help drive sales up and increase website traffic. Here’s how:

1. Target Messaging

Data can be gathered from online purchases, frequently visited websites, Internet searches, etc., to better understand and predict consumer behavior. Using this information, marketers can target the right consumer and feed them relevant content. 

2. Optimize Results

Third-party cookies provide the ability to track and value all marketing touch points specific to each consumer, which leads to campaign optimization. This also leads to the ability to measure the impact of each gathered touch point and approach with a higher degree of accuracy. This insight into how individual channels are performing against one another helps determine where to spend marketing dollars for optimum results.

If Third-Party Cookies Are So Great, Why Are They Going Away?

Good question. It’s because of enhanced data privacy laws that aim to make things more transparent about how consumer data is being gathered, used, and shared. They also work to give consumers greater choice and control over how their data is used. This move has led some businesses to implement permission-based third-party cookies. Others are choosing to phase third-party cookies out completely and are seeking new solutions.

What Will Replace Third-Party Cookies?

While there is no one single solution as of yet, there are several workarounds coming: 

The Privacy Sandbox – This is Googles solution that works to protect consumers while also helping marketers. Google will create targeted groups based on anonymous data that can be used by marketers to target, retarget, measure, optimize, etc. 

Authenticated Traffic Solution – This solution is by LiveRamp. It will gather real-time, consented user data without the use of cookies. The single opt-out option for platforms and publishers offers greater control and privacy for consumers while still providing targeted information to marketers. 

It’s important to remember that third-party cookies while incredibly valuable, they are one part of the marketing whole. For example, businesses that put the time in to building their CRM database already understand the value of the first-party and zero-party data they collect. Another option along those lines is direct partnerships with publishers and businesses to collect first-party and zero-party data about customers to target them directly. 

The demise of third-party cookies has been in the works since the beginning due to consumer privacy concerns. It’s taken awhile to get to this stage. I’m certain additional solutions will be offered, and Google will eventually create a new standard for marketers to adopt that will be an effective replacement for third-party cookies. 

If you need someone to help you navigate through this,  let’s talk


4 Ways to Improve the Performance of Your Website








Is your website underperforming and if it is, what can you do about it? To help determine the performance of your website, start by establishing the following benchmarks:

  1. What is my site’s domain authority?

Do Google and the other search engines see your site?  Are your pages properly indexed and optimized?  Domain authority helps indicate how well your site performs in a search engine. This tool provides your site with a score between 0-100.   There are several online tools that will look at your site and provide you with this score. Let us know if you need help with this, and we will happily assist you with providing your site with its domain authority.

  1. Where is the traffic to my website coming from?

Google Analytics provides you a tool that will show you where the traffic is coming from.  Generally categorized as free and paid traffic, Google separates traffic by referral (coming from other sites), direct (paid traffic), organic (free search), and social (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter).

  1. What is the net traffic to my website?

Google Analytics provides the number of visitors to your site.  Calculating the number of net visitors is the number of visitors subtracted by the back rate or bounce rate.  The back rate is the number of visitors who leave immediately after they visit the site.  The bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).

  1. What is my site’s conversion rate?

Conversion rate represents the percentage of visitors who complete your desired action.  That could be filling out a form, purchasing a product, or calling a telephone number.  Simply, conversion rate is the number of conversions divided by the net number of visitors to your website.

Establishing these benchmarks is important to setting goals that will help improve the performance of your website.  And, the beauty of website performance improvement is that you can increase revenue without increasing advertising spend!

Our white paper How To Improve Your Website For More Leads and Profit is full of additional ways to turn your website into a powerful lead generator. To request your free copy, click here.

Have you had success turning your underperforming website around? If so, tell us how you did it.

Understanding Google’s Search Engine Results Page and Why It Matters

Marketers understand that in order to have a strong online presence, a website has to rank high on Google (or any other search engine) or prospects will likely have a hard time finding it. This is where Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) comes in. The SERP is the page of options that comes up when you do a search. Each SERP is unique depending on the keywords and search engine used. It contains two types of content: organic and paid results. It also includes featured snippets, images, videos, and location-specific results.

This is Google’s way of trying to make users’ search experiences easier and more relevant. The SERP enables users to see on-page content without having to click into an organic result. This is great for users, but it can be problematic for marketers looking to capture attention in organic search results.

Marketers need to stay current with SERP features to learn how to rank higher. Search engines are increasingly more sophisticated. A few years ago if you searched the word “pizza” you would get a listing of pizza restaurant websites, a directory listing, review sites, and maybe some blog posts. Today that same search provides so much more. You’ll see an ad, a map with the closest pizza location to you, a Wikipedia page with pizza nutritional information, etc. This makes it harder for even the #1 ranked pizza place to be visible. There are ways around this.

Rich Snippets Enable You to Share More Info Before A Click

Rich snippets allow you to include images, reviews, descriptions, pricing, etc. that will come up in the search so users are more enticed to click.

Paid Search Results Put Your Site At The Top Of The Page

These are the ads and sponsored posts that you see at the very top of the SERP. Google differentiates paid searches from organic using visual cues that include providing a “sponsored” or “ad” label or by boxing off the paid search results.

Organic Search Lists Your Site Below Paid Search Results

In an organic search your site will appear in the order Google ranks it based on your SEO. It will be listed below the paid search results. Ensuring your site has engaging, relevant, keyword-rich content will help boost SEO to keep your ranking high and your site visible in organic search.

Here’s a visual for what each of these options looks like on Google.

What Experiences Are Your Prospects Looking For Online?

As marketers we’re always interested in what experience prospects are looking for when they go online. AOL recently asked more than 50,000 people this very question. They polled individuals in eight countries including the United States, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Spain.

Researchers boiled the responses down to eight so-called content moments or experiences users want when they log on. The infographic below illustrates the results AOL found from the survey.


As you can see, most prospects go online to be inspired, feel good, and see fresh ideas. Consider keeping this in mind as you develop your digital content and strategy.

Tips to Help You Select the Best Facebook Ads for Your Goals


Last week I discussed the different types of Facebook ads available. Today, I’m going to cover how you choose among the options.


  1. What are your goals?

Like with any ad campaign, before you begin you must first establish goals or what it is you want to achieve with your campaign. Goals can be to drive leads to your website, increase store visits, or encourage attendance at an event, etc. Know your goals and then build your ad campaign around them.

  1. Which ad type(s) are relevant to your goals?

Now that you know your goals, take a look at the list I published last week. Which ones are relevant to your goals? You can see how this narrows things down for you, making your work easier and far more targeted. Another thing you’ll quickly notice is that more than one ad type will apply. Great! Make use of all of them! This is a great opportunity to gain some valuable analytics, testing one Facebook ad type against another to see which one(s) work best for your needs.

  1. Whom are your talking to?

You must know who your target audience is and then speak to them directly. Create compelling ad copy that addresses their needs, concerns, interests, etc.

  1. What is your call-to-action?

Facebook can help here. They supply you with different calls-to-action you can use on your ads. This is another opportunity to test different calls-to-action to see which works best for your prospect.

  1. What does your ad need to look like?

Facebook’s Ads Manager tool can help you with this one too by offering an array of options for your ad design. Not only can you choose between image, video, photo grid, and carousel layouts, but you can also customize your ads for mobile and desktop audiences. And, make sure you vary your design. Don’t use the same template for every ad.

  1. Test, analyze, and repeat.

The real beauty of digital advertising is that it makes testing, analyzing, and optimizing future ad campaigns relatively easy. If you want a high ROI, you must study your data analytics over time and make the proper adjustments.

Armed with these six tips, you should be in a strong position to begin your Facebook advertising. Remember that successful advertising is all about proper layering. You need to get your message out on several different platforms. If you’re not currently advertising on Facebook, I encourage you to give it a try.

Six Ideas to Make Your Next Webinar Successfully Drive Leads


I’ve done a lot of webinars throughout my career. What I like about them is that they enable you to connect with your prospects in a very personal and specific way. And when you do them right, they are also really great at driving leads. If you haven’t considered doing a webinar, I think you should. And, if you’ve already done webinars, I think this information will be helpful for you too.


I know, it seems counterintuitive to think of sharing the spotlight when you are doing a webinar to promote your brand and drive leads to your business. But, here’s why I suggest finding a strategic partner for your webinar. When you partner with a complementary company, you are able to create a much more interesting message that appeals to twice the prospects – yours and theirs.


Another advantage to having a webinar partner is that the workload is shared. However, even if you don’t partner with another company, it’s crucial that everyone involved knows the expectations and what their role is in completing the job. Create a plan and distribute it to everyone involved. Not only must you decide on the content of the webinar, but you also need to address the promotion of the webinar. More on that later.


Whether speaking just to your audience or to a shared audience, the goal is the same: create meaningful and interesting content. What is the message, who will say it, and how will they say it? You want to use fresh ideas that build on the other content you have already created – something they can’t Google and find on their own. Webinar attendees want to learn about new ideas, tips, tactics, industry secrets, etc. There need to be good takeaway ideas. Also, it’s so important that you have someone who is comfortable in front of the camera doing your webinar.


Webinars are no good if no one sees them. You have to have a plan to promote the webinar. You’ll need to create a compelling landing page that entices prospects to sign up to attend. Then, share links to the landing page via your social media and e-mail campaigns. You should also consider writing a blog about the webinar and posting links to it on your social platforms as well.


During the webinar, you will want to engage with your audience in real time via live tweets. Your tweets should include screen shots of interesting data, key information via a quote, photos – whatever is beneficial and of interest to your prospects. And, make sure you respond to all questions.


Just because the webinar is over doesn’t mean that its effectiveness is too. Build off the momentum of your webinar. Create a blog that recaps the webinar. Include photos, video, charts, etc., to engage those who missed the webinar.

Webinars are great lead generators and a necessary component of your content marketing strategy. They allow you to reach your audience like no other medium, simulating an in-person conversation. Take advantage and consider adding at least one webinar to your 2017 plan.

How to Beat the Holiday Slump


Everyone knows the holidays can be anything but jolly when it comes to your e-mail campaigns. From November to January, just about everyone notices a dip in their leads. Here are some tips to help you ride out the remainder of the holidays and get a better response from your e-mails.



  • The week before Christmas Eve has a high e-mail response rate, so if you’re sending during the holiday season, this is your sweet spot.


  • Another high e-mail open rate occurs just after New Year’s Day. Four days after to be exact.

You’ll want to keep these fast-approaching dates in mind and plan your holiday e-mail communications accordingly.


SEO and Content Marketing: Your Dynamic Lead Gen Duo


seo-and-content-marketing-working-togetherYou know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You’re creating content for your marketing plan. But, are you connecting the dots between the two? SEO and content marketing must be viewed synergistically. The content you create appeals to the prospects you want to convert to sales. SEO helps the right prospects find your content at the right time. Stripped down to the basics, you can see how reciprocal the two are. That’s why you have to consider both SEO and content and how the two will aid each other when you are developing your marketing plan. Here are some suggestions to help you do this:

  1. Perform an SEO audit and make the necessary changes. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds and is very necessary to let you know how your website is performing. You want to make sure your website is up-to-date with the latest search engines, using the relevant terms and phrases. There are lots of SEO audit DIY instructions online, or I’d be happy to assist you.
  2. Create valuable content and create links. If you do, your content will most likely be optimized for search based solely on its high quality. That means it gets ranked, found, and read, which is exactly what you want. If your content doesn’t get linked and doesn’t have links, it doesn’t get ranked.
  3. Use keywords in your headlines so your content gets viewed strategically. By legitimately using keywords in your headlines and throughout your copy, you optimize your content so it speaks to your prospects where they are in the buying process.
  4. Don’t forget about social media and its important role. Social media platforms are vehicles to assist you with SEO and content. Social media helps you deliver content to talk directly to your prospects, engaging them personally. Social media can help you deliver the solutions prospects are looking for.
  5. Use your employees to help build SEO and content. Businesses can take advantage of their employees’ social networks to build links and help promote their business. For example, an employee with a personal blog can link to the company’s website to share the company’s expert content. This benefit is double-sided. The company gets traffic to the website, and the employee builds his/her online reputation.
  6. SEO is a process of trial and error, but it’s worth it. Data analytics will tell you how well your SEO optimization is working. And, this information is very valuable. You can use it to reshape and retarget your content marketing strategy. But, you have to look at your analytics, and you have to react to what you’re seeing – good or bad.

By following these six steps, you’ll ensure your SEO and content marketing are working together to give you the most benefit.