The Basics of SEO Every Business Should Know

SEO is a term that gets thrown around a lot… and frankly, many business professionals don’t fully understand the meaning and relevance that SEO has for their business.

In fact, we see it often – lots of business owners and company employees dump a lot of money into SEO and don’t really see the results they want.

Rest assured, this doesn’t have to be your experience…

Your SEO Success Starts With Understanding What SEO Is

Before your business can grow and thrive on the back of SEO, it’s really important that you understand what it is and how it benefits your business — sales specifically. 

Everything starts with understanding what SEO is.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. 

To break this down, the goal of search engine optimization — SEO — is for your business to be easily found when people search industry related topics, services, or products. And the only way you’re going to accomplish that is by making sure you speak the same language as search engines (Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, etc.). 

Basics of SEO and Keywords in Headings
Do you know where to place your keywords for the greatest impact in SEO for your website?

Speaking the same language as the search engines allows Google and other engines to work with you — not against you.

This is a BIG DEAL for your business. 

If you want to be found online (which we’re guessing you do), you want to make sure you speak the search engine language. 

Basics of SEO Designed to Move Your Company Forward
Creating a plan to use search engines to drive traffic opens up an entirely new type of lead — one that isn’t based upon people remembering to refer work to you, but rather, you actively marketing your business to new audiences who have, most likely, never heard of you.

Making SEO Count for Your Business (Don’t Waste Time)

There are a lot of details you can get caught up in when it comes to SEO… believe us, we know. 

As a business owner, not only do you not have the time to play in the weeds, and good news for you, there’s really only a couple of areas to be aware of to ensure you’re tapping into the power of SEO for your business. 

The first area to be aware of is actually asking a question: “how is your website driving generating new leads that turn into sales?” Is your website designed to move your company forward?

Let’s start with how your website is driving business for you… in other words, is your website set up in a way that’s actually pushing you and your company forward?

Most business websites generate referral leads. A current or past client had a great experience, tells a friend or colleague about your company, and that friend or colleague visits your website and fills out the contact form. Not much different than word of mouth and business cards.

Creating a plan to use search engines to drive traffic opens up an entirely new type of lead — one that isn’t based upon people remembering to refer work to you, but rather, you actively marketing your business to new audiences who have, most likely, never heard of you.

More leads outside of your current network can lead to more business and ultimately grow your company to a preferred future.

Your SEO plan starts with identifying the subjects, topics, and questions that capture the heart of what your business does — and putting content on your website directly related to what you identify.

But before you get to work creating content there is a bit of information you need to know to make sure you’re creating the right content.

Let’s break down the two different types of SEO.

The Two Types of SEO You Need to Know About

Not all SEO is the same. While there are more ‘micro’ categories of SEO that we won’t get into in this piece, there are only two main types of SEO that most businesses need to focus on.

Local SEO and non-local SEO.

Which one is most important to you? Keep reading to find out.

Local SEO

Local SEO is vital for brick and mortar companies – those with store fronts. If that’s you, then you need to have a local SEO strategy. 

Local SEO starts with something called citations. Citations are essentially mentions of your business across various platforms, indexes, and directories.

Citations are the backbone of a solid SEO strategy. Get your citations right and you will see results.

So how do you get a citation right? It’s easy… when you create a listing anywhere (Facebook, Yelp, Google, any directory) it must include:

  • Business Name
  • Business Website
  • Business Address
  • Business Phone Number

The important part of these citations is they are IDENTICAL across all platforms. 

If you abbreviate Road to Rd in your address on one, do it for all. 

If you say Suite #101 in one listing, use the same format for all listings.

You may already be listed on the big sites — Google, Yelp, Bing, Facebook, etc — so audit those listings and make sure the citations are identical from platform to platform.

This one detail will improve your authority with search engines. The consistency confirms that your business as listed on website A is the same business appearing on website B and will improve your overall SEO ranking. 

Non Local SEO

While local SEO is largely everything that takes place off of your website (directories and listings) non-local SEO is a combination of on-site, off-site work you do to rank higher in searches that are unrelated to geography.

For businesses that do not have a physical storefront and, for the most part, can conduct business across city and state lines, non-local SEO is where you will spend nearly all of your time.

If you have a business that falls into this category, your journey to SEO success starts with identifying keywords that relate to your business.

Basics of SEO and Keywords
A keyword is simply a phrase or question potential clients use when searching for solutions that your business provides

What Is A Keyword?

As it relates to SEO, a keyword is a word or combination of words to create a phrase that people use when conducting a search using a search engine like Google or Bing. In addition to a main keyword, you will also have synonym keywords. These are keywords or phrases that are similar in nature to your main keyword or directly related to the larger topic of your main keyword.

What phrases or questions are potential clients using when searching for solutions that your business provides? 

So let’s look at a tangible example to give you an idea of what we mean.

Let’s say you have an online ecommerce shop that sells replacement auto parts. You might find that specific keywords someone could be using related to your industry would be something like: 

“Toyota touch screen digitizer”

When someone searches “Toyota touch screen digitizers” you want your website to come up at the top of the search — ideally, this would translate into sales for your business.

So how do you rank at the top of this search and other searches similar to it?

In short, the content on your site needs to provide authoritative information on the topic keyword of “Toyota touch screen digitizer” and answer any questions a user may have related to that particular unit. 

Why Choosing the Right Keywords Matter

Identifying the right keyword and synonym keywords for a specific topic is important to you because you want to create content for the terms actually being searched for. We’re not talking about stuffing blog posts with the same keyword over and over… that won’t get you very far. We are talking about providing quality content on a very specific topic.

If you want specific results, get specific in your content.

For our Toyota touch screen digitizer keyword, we will want to create a single page or post on our website that incorporates the keyword in in the following ways:

  • What you need to know about a Toyota touch screen digitizer.
  • What is a touch screen digitizer?
  • Replacing your Toyota touch screen digitizer.
  • Where to buy a replacement touch screen digitizer for Toyotas
  • Do you have a broken Toyota touch screen? Chances are it is the touch screen digitizer that needs to be replaced.
  • How to repair a Toyota touch screen digitizer.

This communicates to search engines that the content on your page is a good match for people inputting the search query “Toyota touch screen digitizer” and they will most likely find what they are looking for on your website.

The number one goal of any search engine is to find the best, most relevant results for every user — this keeps users coming back to that search engine over and over again because they routinely are able to find what they are looking for.

When Google determines that your content is providing answers, they increase your ranking, elevate your search result, and factor it all into how they treat your website as a whole across more searches.

The higher you rank in search, the more website visitors. The more website visitors, the greater potential there is to create a match with a new client… this drives your sales!

What keywords do you need to rank for?

Basics of SEO and Making It Work
Start by identifying what keywords matter most to your business and then move on to creating an outline of “if I were to talk about everything I know related to this keyword, what would that talk include?”

Anyone Can Make SEO Work For Them

Whether you are the business owner, a marketing employee, or an entrepreneurial minded individual just wanting to learn more about making SEO work for you there is good news… anyone can get search engine results!

Pay attention to the basics. 

Learn the language of search engines (headings, titles, descriptions, alt titles, etc)

Optimize your image dimensions

Optimize your image file sizes

Optimize your image naming

Write for humans, not for robots

Be comprehensive

Create backlinks to your content

Just looking at that list can feel overwhelming — it is a lot to consider. Don’t let it get you down. Start by identifying what keywords matter most to your business and then move on to creating an outline of “if I were to talk about everything I know related to this keyword, what would that talk include?”

With that piece in place and a passion for what you do you are in good shape to produce content that search engines will eat up. If in doubt, bring in an expert to help. That could be in an advisory role, an administrative or writing role, or an agency that can run from start to finish with the project.

As long as you understand the basics of SEO (everything we’ve covered is truly the basics) and practice these simple tactics, making SEO work for you and your business will help you get there. 

4 Essentials for Creating High Quality Video Interviews

Are you using Skype, Zoom, FaceTime or another video platform for hosting video interviews? Are you ready to take your video game up a level without breaking the bank? Do you want to learn how to create high quality video interviews that are crisp and clear?

The easiest part of creating high quality video interviews is using the right video and audio equipment. It is not hard to make a few subtle changes to your process and produce an amazing end product that leaves viewers happy and colleagues wanting to know what you’re doing to produce such high end video and audio.

As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what has happened to me! I realized that the video quality I was achieving was catching the eye of colleagues and friends. For instance, take this comment from my friend, Steve, all the way in Australia.

“Hey Dave, I got a sneak peak of a video you did with Kem Meyer. I think you did an incredible job not only for the interview you did, but the quality of the vision too. I have no idea how you did it as it looked like a Skype or Zoom call? But it was a quality wise like watching a TV interview. Great work. Cheers.” – Steve

In this article you will learn exactly how to duplicate the process I use for my video interviews. You will also walk away with a step-by-step guide to start recording your own video interviews at a high quality level. After we’re done, you shouldn’t be surprised to receive comments just like the one I shared above.

High Quality Interviews Require You Pay Attention to Video, Audio, Environment, and Software

Creating a high quality video interviews requires that you pay attention to four essential elements:

  • Video Quality
  • Audio Quality
  • Environment
  • Software for Recording

Of course, there is a fifth element – content – that is required, but that’s not what this article is about. We’re focused more on the tools required to create high quality video interviews.

It is easy to think that a higher quality camera will make our end product stunning but that is only one piece. If you have amazing video but your audio misses the mark you’re no better off. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that the audio quality of an interview is more important than the video quality.

Likewise, the environment where you are recording your side of the interview is important as well – not just for the aesthetics, but also the acoustics. Aesthetically, you want an environment that doesn’t distract from you or the person on the other side of the video call.

After putting in all the work of getting your audio and video equipment right and creating an environment that doesn’t distract from your interview, it’s essential that you use a software that is reliable and captures your interview at the highest possible quality… assuming that you are the one responsible for the recording.

Your end product is only as strong as each of these elements. Creating high quality video interviews means that you need to take time to intentionally address each element… which is exactly what we’re about to do, starting with video.

The Essential Webcam for Creating High Quality Video Interviews

Most people don’t even think about purchasing a webcam because their computer comes with a webcam of its own. Your built-in webcam is fine for private use like video calls between family members and fun pictures. When you’re creating video interviews for public consumption, that built-in webcam becomes a weakness that is easy to overcome.

“I thought the camera on my computer was high definition?”

There are a log of webcam options to choose from, no to mention, accessories that will let you turn a camera into a webcam. If you’re producing a high end television-like show, maybe you’ll want to look at some of the more expensive, complicated options – for everyone else, there are two cameras that will give you stunning video quality and easy setup all without breaking the bank.

Two Webcam Recommendations for Producing High Quality Video

Remember, we’re talking about increasing the quality of your video without breaking the bank. With that in mind, these two options are far superior to your computer’s webcam and on par with some of the more pricier options available.

The first webcam you will want to look at is the Logitech c930. This webcam is 1080p and built with quality components giving you incredibly crisp video on your end. The c930 has a wide angle lens which means that you can be closer to the camera without fear of it clipping off your head or torso. It also means that it will capture more of your background which, depending on what you have in your background, could be a positive or a negative.

More on that later in this article.

Logitech c930 Image

The Logitech c930 offers a wide angle lens at 1080p, perfect for video interviews that impress.

The second camera I use is the Logitech c920 and it is nearly identical to the c930. It offers the same quality build, same visual excellence at 1080p but has a narrower angle lens. Using this lens, you will not sacrifice any quality and your subject (presumably you) will fill up a greater portion of the screen.

The Logitech c920 offers 1080p, is compatible with Mac and PC and is a major upgrade over the built-in webcam when recording video interviews.

Both cameras range in price from $60+ to just under $100 depending on when and where you buy. The aversion most people have to a third-party webcam is they don’t want to spend the money. If video interviews, or video in general, will play a strong role in your online platform content and you’re not willing to spend $100 for optimum video quality, I strongly suggest you rethink your business strategy.

Investing in one of these two cameras will immediately increase the visual appeal of your video and place the quality of your work above those who continue to use their built-in webcams.

When you’re creating video interviews for public consumption, that built-in webcam becomes a weakness that is easy to overcome.Click To Tweet

Here is an example video where I’ve used the c930 for recording a video interview through Skype Ecamm Call Recorder at 1280x720p.

This is a screen shot of a call recorded with Ecamm Call Recorder for Skype using the Logitech c930.

There are dozens of mainstream options available for creating quality webcam video. Logitech has released an update to the c920 called the c922x. This newer model will capture footage at 60fps when using 720p quality and has made this camera to “Record clear videos even in dim or poorly backlit settings with automatic light Correction” although, plenty of reviews online have somewhat debunked this claim.

Logitech also has the BRIO which is a webcam capable of capturing video at 4K quality. Most video call services will limit call quality to 720p and even those which allow for high resolution video images will be limited to the bandwidth available. You will also need a computer capable of handling the amount of data produced by a 4K webcam.


The Essential Microphone for Creating High Quality Video Interviews

It doesn’t matter how good your video looks if your audio quality is rotten. Think about it. When was the last time you were trying to watch a video and just couldn’t hear the audio clearly – yet you watched the video in its entirety? There may be an exception here or there, but the majority of the time when we encounter audio that is unintelligible or difficult to make out, we check out.

Don’t Use Your Computer’s Built In Microphone

Just like the belief that the built-in webcam is sufficient for video interviews, it is easy to believe that a computer’s built-in microphone is sufficient. The microphone built into your computer is a convenience and is fine for family video chats, recording quick voice messages, and general personal use. If you’re using it to create content for marketing or strategic business use, you will want to invest in something that lets you sound your best.

Let’s take a listen to what viewers will hear if you choose to use your computer’s built in microphone.

This is a sample of me recording using the built-microphone on my 27″ iMac from a normal distance at a desk.

Don’t Use the Headset Provided with Your Phone

One method that people will use to overcome this issue is by plugging in a phone headset. It is a good first step but there are a couple things to consider when using a phone headset as your microphone.

Many believe that their computer’s built-in microphone is okay for recording videos. It is not.Click To Tweet

The headset’s ear buds bundled with your phone are cheap and low quality. They are included as a convenience and not a selling point. The quality of the microphones in these little plastic earbuds is not much better than what is included in your computer to begin with.

Let’s take a listen to how you will sound to colleagues, customers, and clients using a smartphone headset.

This is a sample of me recording using the Apple earbuds included with the iPhone.

Don’t Use Gaming Headsets or Call-center Headsets

Many users will avoid the earbuds and instead use on-ear or over-ear headsets that resemble those worn by call center employees or gamers. These full featured headsets included better microphone components, they place the microphone closer to your mouth and greatly enhance the quality of your audio. This all sounds great, right?

I am somewhat hesitant to discourage these headsets because a lot of very successful influencers and business leaders get away with these. However, I think the optics of wearing a gaming headset – the same headset 13-year-olds wear at home on their sofa – is less than desirable.

Ideally, you want a microphone that is made for single subject recording, technically known as a cardioid microphone. You want this microphone to capture audio from 12″ to 18″ away from your mouth so it can remain off camera without sacrificing audio quality.

A Recommendation for Creating High Quality Audio for Video Interviews

When I began doing online video interviews I started with the Blue Yeti microphone. The Blue Yeti is a great microphone for video interviews and is actually one of the most versatile microphones available at a budget friendly cost. The microphone has four distinct settings that transform your microphone into a great cardioid (one way) microphone, into a stereo microphone, into a bidirectional microphone, and finally into an omni directional microphone.

Blue’s breakdown of each setting found on the Yeti with an explanation and illustration to explain each.

The Blue Yeti is manufactured by the world renown Blue Microphones company and plugs into your computer via USB. In addition to the Blue Yeti, Blue also offers the Snowball, the Raspberry, and the Spark. I have never used any of the other Blue options, quite frankly, because the Yeti continues to suit my needs since I originally purchased it in 2013. For overall value, you will not be able to beat the Blue Yeti.

This is a sample of me recording using the Blue Yeti USB Microphone.

Unlike 2013, the market for quality microphones that connect directly to your computer is large and full of great options. The Audio Technica at2020 routinely gets high marks and the Samson Meteor is another option.


Software for Recording High Quality Video Interviews

The most popular video calling service is by far and away Skype. While many will complain that since being acquired by Microsoft the quality has steadily decreased and bugs have steadily increased, it is often the best free option available. FaceTime has become more popular and is a viable option, however, it’s limited only to those either running Macs or using iOS devices. Zoom is another option and is very popular because of its generous free offering. Whatever service you use, you’ll want to make sure that you are able to record your audio seamlessly and in a format that is acceptable to you.

Once you choose your service, you need to choose the software you’ll use to record your call. For Mac, I recommend Ecamm Call Recorder for Skype which runs on the Mac. This software provides a variety of recording options. The most valuable option in my experience is recording each speaker on separate tracks. Meaning, the audio and video for my camera are recorded on one track and the audio and video for my interview partner are recorded on a separate track. This is a great feature because it makes editing your final product a lot easier as you have two completely separate tracks.

While Ecamm Call Recorder for Skype is Mac only, Skype keeps a running list of recorder options available on its website. If you’re using a PC, you can use this list to find an option that works for you. Access Skype’s list here.

Another option available to you is Zoom. Zoom is much easier to use as it doesn’t require individuals to:

  • download Skype
  • remember their username
  • remember their password
  • hunt to find your username and profile or vice versa

The problem with Zoom is the lack of control over your recording.

While Ecamm records separate channels of audio and video – leaving you with one video for you and one video for your other party member – Zoom records everything onto one track. This is problemsome if you would prefer each party to take up the screen the entire time they talk or if there are portions you needed to edit out. For instance, as the person you’re interviewing is talking, you need to cough or take a drink of water.

Zoom captures everything and it will be impossible for you to edit out any of those details. Zoom is really ideal for conferences and non-front facing videos. On a budget, it could be a good starting point, however, it’s worth noting that alternative Skype plugins are fairly inexpensive and the overall audio and video recording quality on Skype is superior to Zoom, allowing it to hold up to greater scrutiny.

When you record a conversation in Zoom you get all video screens on one video layer as depicted in this screen capture.

There are other broadcast softwares such as OBS or Wirecast that you could use to gain more features or increase production levels, however, for this article we’re looking for the most accessible and easiest to use options that still provide a professional level of quality.


3 Steps to Prepare Your Computer for the Best Possible Video Interview Experience

One factor that few think about before hosting a video call is their computer. A newer machine with decent processing power is definitely a point in your favor. Beyond that, here are a few things you can prepare your computer for maximum video quality prior to making and recording the video interview.

Restart Your Computer. No matter if you are using a Mac or PC, restarting your computer will clear out any processes that were active or dormant, releasing your computer’s RAM and give your machine a fresh start. This alone has greatly improved call quality for my video interviews.

Turn off all unnecessary apps. Dropbox and Google Drive are two programs that use a lot of power on your computer as well as internet bandwidth. Even if they are not actively syncing files, the impact they have on your call quality is noticeable. Also consider turning off any backup software, remote control apps or applications that sync up with a cloud somewhere. For my video interviews, I use a 27″ iMac with an i7 Intel Chip and close all programs except for those necessary during the call. If I need a computer in front of me for notes or other non-video related purposes, I will keep my laptop in front of me to prevent having to open programs on my video computer.

Before recording a video interview restart your computer, quit all apps and hardwire to your network.Click To Tweet

Hardwire your internet connection: do not use wifi. Going through the trouble of connecting your computer via ethernet may seem overkill but when we’re talking about achieving the best quality possible for a video interview, being connected to your internet source via ethernet is a huge advantage. Even though wifi has come a long way, it is still not nearly as dependable and high performing as a hardwire connection.

The Essential Office or Home Environment for Recording Video Interviews

The last item to discuss in regards to creating stunning video interview footage is the location where you will actually be recording. Your location will impact both the audio and video quality of your video interview and can be an asset or a major liability.

Your location will GREATLY impact your audio recording. If you are in a room with no carpet, no seat cushions and all hard surfaces that location will produce a very distracting echo with reverb. You want to record in a location that has plenty of natural sound absorbing material. If that is not possible, you have two options.

A first option you have to diminishing echo and reverb from your location is bringing in every cushion and pillow you have to your recording location and set them around your computer and microphone. That’s what I did when I first started podcasting. My office was hardwood, high ceilings and no padding anywhere. I would confiscate every couch cushion and bed pillow we had, along with hanging blankets around the room to get rid of the echo.

Home office acoustic treament with pillos

Using pillows, blankets and other cushions you can dampen the sound in a room with no natural sound treatment.

Another option available to help you diminish echo and reverb is to invest in sound treatment material, which can be expensive. An inexpensive pseudo sound treatment can be found at nearly any army surplus store. Egg crate foam can be mounted onto foam-core boards and then positioned like a science experiment exhibit around your setup. This will cost you under $50 and give you a decent amount of sound absorption.

After treating for acoustics, you’ll want to get the clearest picture possible. How do you do this? Lighting. Lighting. Lighting.

The lighting of your environment will make all the difference in the world. The best way to get the best lighting is to pick a location that has plenty of natural light. Windows and open doors that let in light directly onto your face will allow your webcam to capture you at optimum settings.

Natural light isn’t always possible. In my office, I do have natural light, but my setup does not face the window. I use two office lamps that I purchased from IKEA and placed a diffuser over each. You can see in the images below the improved quality of my video interview by simply turning on these two lights.

Video still showing now extra lighting for the video interview.

This still shows you exactly what the picture looks like with only the natural light and overhead fluorescent lighting.

Video still showing household lighting fixtures brightening up the image.

This is the same spot with my IKEA lights turned on.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get adequate lighting. These two lights and the diffusers cost me $100. You could do the same for far less using small desk lamps.

Bottom line, quality video interviews depend on quality lighting. There is no substitute for good lighting at the time of your video interview. Not even the best video editor in the world can make up for bad lighting.

How to Achieve A “Wow” Factor with Your Video Interviews

The white wall background and the “looking down into the camera” style of video interview is old and tired. That setup is fine for when you’re talking to your grandparents on your birthday. When you’re creating online marketing material to promote your brand you want video interviews with flattering and complimentary backgrounds.

You don’t have to be a designer in order to have an attractive background. Just be intentional.

You don’t have to be a designer in order to have an attractive background. Just be intentional.Click To Tweet

For me, I use a whiteboard, a fake plant from IKEA, some pictures on painted trivets and some accessories on my desk. That’s it!

Video still showing simple, yet vibrant background color and decor.

Adding color, contrast and depth to your video is a great way to up the production value without spending a lot of money.

Example of a simple video background

A vibrant background is not difficult to achieve. Just be intentional about where you are, what’s behind you and the lighting.

In the early years of Shrein Media, I worked out of my home office and installed whiteboards on the back of the doors, hung curtains over my windows and placed pillows on the couch in my office sporting my brand colors. You can see what a difference that decor made.

If you can have more depth in your background, meaning more room behind you and apply the use colors in a complementary way it will give your videos a greater depth of field and produce that “pro” look that you’re used to seeing on other blogs.

You can turn any room into a decent video set with color, contrast and depth. This is my original office.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Creating High Quality Video Interviews

The list of ways to improve video interviews can become so long that it is difficult to know where to begin or, if you can’t make all the changes immediately, it’s tough to know if any changes will be worth it.

Here is our step-by-step guide that anyone, even you, can begin following on your own timeline to start producing high quality video interviews ASAP.

Step 1

Get an ethernet cable long enough to run from your recording location all the way to your router. You may need to make your own and in that case, here is a 100′ cable that should be able to reach just about anywhere you need. Even if it has to be a 200ft cable, you will be grateful when you see the improved quality of your calls throughout the entire video interview.

Step 2

When you go to record your next video interview, turn off all applications on your computer that you are not using.

Step 3

If you are already using Skype and Ecamm Call Recorder for your video interviews, great! Keep going. If you’re using Zoom or something else, consider upgrading to Skype and benefiting from everything mentioned in the software section of this article.

Step 4

Upgrade your microphone by adding the Blue Yeti or something comparable to your setup.

Step 5

Improve your webcam. If you decide to skip step 4 and go straight to step 5 that’s okay because the microphone that will come with the Logitech c920 or c930 will be higher quality than the one built into your computer.

Step 6

Upgrade your environment. This one is last because it’s often the one factor you have the least control over. You can add cushions and blankets to your recording location immediately, but what you really want is an environment that screams professionalism and add the “wow” factor to your video interviews.

In Conclusion On the Topic of Creating High Quality Video Interviews

The truth is everything we’ve gone over here is only one half of what makes an amazing video interview that builds your brand. The second half is the content. If you have amazing content but your video interview recording quality is bad, you are selling your content short.

The opposite is true as well.

If you have an amazing setup, great equipment and a perfect location for recording but your content is boring, you are not engaging and the overall feel of the video drags, you won’t get the benefit of having an amazing system.

This article gives you half of what you need and it’s up to you to go out and make the other half happen!

7 Digital Marketing Tools That Can Be Leveraged for the Small Business

This is a guest post from Mia Clarke at Userful.

With technology rapidly changing and improving, there’s no telling which direction it might go in from one day to the next. Services become all the rage, and then fade away, whilst TV advertising is not the all-powerful monolith it once was. Much of the focus of advertisers when they are writing their campaigns is now on social media and email marketing.

As such it is extremely important for advertising agencies and businesses to keep up with the digital marketing trends & technologies in this area and adopt them early. Below, we have reviewed 7 of the technologies that can be used in conjunction with email and social media campaigns that could change digital marketing forever.

The Amazon Echo Technology

Similar to Google Home but holding a much higher voice-controlled speaker market at a staggeringly high 70% in 2018 alone, Alexa users along with Google Home users have been known to use natural language more – which clearly displays the user intents. As mentioned above, vendors and business owners have to start considering adding question phrases to their digital marketing campaigns to ensure that their business shows up first on the list to be read out loud by Alexa or Google. Likewise, Amzon Echo has become almost like a social Unlike the traditional text searches with queries such as “fish food”, where users could simply be reviewing the types of fish food, or shops selling fish food nearby, voice search users will reveal their intentions clearly so that the search results are highly relevant. They will search with question phrases – what, who, how, where and the like – and it was found recently that these voice searches are geared towards local areas.

This means that local vendors will need to start adding on to their online presence now more than ever! Your local, business and crowd-sourced sites need to be regularly updated and active to ensure that your business can be found by these voice assistance. With these searches on the rise, it is important to ensure that your listings include the correct & updated phone numbers & addresses so that you are not left out in these long-tail queries searching for your services & products.

Though the Amazon Echo doesn’t integrate with a social network per se, Amazon has improved the features so that it can BECOME your family and circle of friends’ social network. Thus, any product that is featured on and advertised through the Echo can find itself on the social networks of many people, being shared far and wide. As we know, if we like something, we tend to tell people, and the Echo is amazing at facilitating this.

Video Wall Technology

While still not very common in suburban areas, multi-display digital signage and video walls are growing to become something more mainstream in bigger public places; Airports, restaurants, hotels and transportation centres – frequently high-traffic areas – are employing this method of digital advertising to market their ad slots to other businesses when they are not using it to further advertise their new services and products. Most of these video walls will include front and rear displays, and while these can feature LED, LCD or plasma displays, about 90% of the video wall market is filled by front projection walls and LCD displays. This could perhaps be due to the smaller bezels and lower prices for displays larger than 32”.

Whereas digital signage typically takes up the size of a plasma TV, these video walls are much bigger and recently with touch integrated into these walls with infrared technology and capacitive touches, immersive experiences for users become the main goal of their ad projection. The ads need be interesting before this was in, and now it is also important that the ad truly engages with its audiences. User experience for video walls will be quite drastically different as compared to touch experiences on smaller devices such as by using a tablet. Video walls containing several smaller screens are different from and better than having a single big LCD display – due to the resolution required and how immersive the user experience can be on the video wall projection. If you are a social media user of you advertise on social media platforms, you can in increase your audience through video walls, as anyone who attends the event will be able to see the your campaign, and you can also encourage people to share via their social network accounts.

Canva – Visual Marketing Technology

If you advertise via social media or email, you will know that visual campaigns (ones that contain visual content rather than merely text) are more successful. However, commissioning graphic design for every campaign is very expensive and time consuming. Canva is just what you need. It offers a  number of templates and design features for creating visual content, which can free up your designers and your cash for more important projects, and make your existing ones more successful. All of this can be integrated easily into your campaigns and will suit every budget, as there are free and paid features.

Artificial Intelligence Technology

Artificial intelligence, and below we will discuss other forms of AI, is now very important to advertisers. Though to a certain extent email marketing may seem anachronistic, it is actually the most successful form of advertising, mainly as a result of automaton and audience segmentation. The first is when advertisers send emails based on things like website interactions, for example, in a confirmation link, which is sent automatically when users complete a sign-up form. Audience segmentation allows for personalization, and splits your customers into groups based on their behavior, which can completely individualize your marketing. Research has shown that individualized marketing exponentially increases sales and take-up of offers, which makes this a no-brainer for advertisers.

Facebook Messenger & Chatbot Technology

Automation is getting stronger day by day, replacing needs for actual human workers and positions. Basic customer service-related questions can be answered with pre-set keyword-based questions and answers to ensure that customers get their replies instantly. Facebook is one of the first few platforms to utilize this function – pre-programed chatbots. Business owners can set up several question and answer sets that users can click on, and without even being there, these same owners can set an auto-response to indicate that the users’ messages have been received and will be replied soon. This is, of course, only if there are no pre-existing answers to answer the users’ queries.

Bigger brands like RedBull have started utilizing this feature on their Facebook page to connect with its users, and this is an amazing opportunity for advertisers, as now you can engage with your customers in a much more organic way, though much more cost-effectively. By simply entering the chat, users will be greeted with multiple-choice questions such as “Are you interested to know more about the recent RedBull events?” or “Send me promotional details!” that they can simply click and get an answer for immediately. These answers can point to specific pages of their website, or just a simple answer if so desired. With enough time spent configuring the messages, businesses can potentially leave their chatbot unmonitored for a while, even while setting the chatbot to send visitors to the page of their latest promotion as a greeting or end-message. Imagine the possibilities this feature could entail!

Deep Machine Learning Technology

You might know this better as artificial intelligence, although technically, deep machine learning is a subset of AI. This is the basis of how chatbots, which we have mentioned previously, can function. Basically, a personalized digital experience is created from a huge collection of data, which frequently gets updated as the algorithm networks grow to mimic human intelligence as closely as possible. While this is not entirely new, deep machine learning has just begun to slowly creep into the digital marketplace to help organizations with their marketing processes, allowing them to be increasingly automated.

How far can you automate with deep machine learning, you might wonder? Since machine-learning technology is advancing quickly, it enables a large amount of analytical data to be processed to gain some insights that actually leads to some critical information. This information could be used to improve your marketing campaigns by using detailed targeting towards the audiences that you might not have noticed before. Since they slowly build their algorithm network, you can be sure to gain insightful data that are more personalized and lead-driven. Eventually, this will allow you to gain enough data about your clients, e.g. through their posts on social networks or their emails, to completely tailor your marketing content to their individual needs, which, for any advertiser, is gold.

Alphabet’s Waymo Technology

If you were not familiar with Waymo, this is a project started by Google in 2009 as a self-driving technology company. While this is still in its infancy and is only slowly rolling out in the United States, the concept of self-driving cars can bring a huge change in digital marketing. Imagine if you do not need to focus on the road while driving. Users who are already mobile-heavy would be able to utilize their phones even more, pretty much focusing their entire concentration on their screens, which potentially brings huge boons for those who engage in advertising on social networks or via email, as customers will have much more time to check content. This would mean that billboards, road signs and small posters by the road will serve less and less function as self-driving cars become even more common anywhere around the world. Instead, the focus on mobile advertising via social networks and email could become more important than ever. Like the VR concept and augmented reality however, it will be a while before this kind of technology becomes the norm.

This also brings the possibilities of advertisements on third party apps such as Google Maps, Waze or other navigation apps.

Mia Clarke is part of the content and community team at, experts in all things video wall and display solutions. When Mia is not spreading the word about video walls she is often found discovering the great outdoors, walking or cycling.