The Cloud9 Marketing blog covers trending digital marketing topics, industry tips and advice as well as, resort marketing tactics.

Facebook logo - latest updates to Facebook

Facebook has been under a lot of scrutiny lately. While most of their time has been dedicated to dealing with issues in regards to privacy, transparency and security, its developers have managed to put out a few new updates.

Although the platform is constantly changing and adapting, we highlight a few of the latest updates to Facebook that we think are the most important for Facebook advertisers.

Facebook Considering Hiding Like Count

You may have noticed a change to your Instagram feed a few months ago — In an effort to improve user well-being, Instagram removed the like count in 7 countries across the world. The thought process behind this was to bring the platform back to its early days of being more about the content and less about popularity. Now it seems that the developers are achieving the results they hoped for and are looking to expand this change to Facebook as well.

This change poses an interesting question for social media advertisers on whether the amount of likes on a post influences users’ decisions and buying habits. Facebook has confirmed they are considering this change, however, no official trial start date has been determined.

Highlighting Stories From Pages

Although the Stories feature on Facebook hasn’t taken off as developers had originally hoped, it is starting to pick up in popularity and is now at 500 million users daily.

Recently, developers began testing a feature that places stories from pages, including business pages, in a new in-feed panel. The Stories panel is already located at the top of a user’s feed, and this added Page Stories panel will highlight branded stories even more, offering a great opportunity for promotion.

New Business Tools for Messenger

Messenger interactions have become increasingly more important for brands as people take their queries and comments from phone calls and in-person to messaging platforms. Messaging platforms offer ease of use and even sometimes, instantaneous answers with the use of bots. Bot technology has improved exponentially over the last few years and will only continue to grow.

Facebook has announced the following updates to its business tools for messenger:

Lead Generation Flows

As explained by Facebook,
“This new template within Facebook Ads Manager enables businesses to create automated experiences to help qualify leads within Messenger. Businesses can continue the conversation with prospects directly in Messenger and integrate with existing CRM tools to seamlessly track leads.”

Appointment Booking

This update will allow businesses to integrate calendar booking software directly into their messenger bot response flow.

“With this feature, businesses can convert Messenger conversations into in-store traffic, online and phone appointments, and more.”

 

As mentioned earlier, the platform is constantly changing and these are just a few of the latest updates to Facebook.

Are you having a hard time keeping up with changes to Facebook? Or not even sure where to start when it comes to social media marketing? Cloud9 Marketing can create and manage your social media campaigns with effective strategies that drive quality engagement. Learn more about our Social Media Marketing services here.

domain name

Guest Blog Post Written by The Hosting Tribunal

Currently,  there are countless websites with more to come tomorrow, the day after that, and so on. If you want to create a successful website, you’ll need to pull out all the stops to catch the attention of online visitors. This includes having a great domain name as well. It’s 2019, and a lot of the catchiest names have probably been picked. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create a domain name that will never be forgotten.

Go Beyond a Single Word Domain Name

One thing that popular brands like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Yahoo have in common is that they all have single word domain names. Don’t pressure yourself in trying to create something similar, as shorter isn’t always better. People would choose a long and catchy domain name over one that is short but easy-to-forget.

Here’s the deal:

Try using a phrase as a domain name. If you are starting a food blog, go with something catchy like “BoyEatsWorld.com” or “TheFoodie’sGuide.com.” What’s great about taking this approach with your domain name is that you’ll be able to immediately project what your website is about. It’s also easy to remember these phrases once your viewers have associated themselves with it.

…Or Stick With Tradition

While long domain names work, sometimes shorter is indeed better. One challenge when using short, single-word domain names is that you won’t be able to let visitors know what your website is about straight away. On the bright side, short domain names are easier to remember and are very catchy when done right.

Stick With Well-Known Domain Extensions

A domain extension is a word at the end of your domain name that starts with a “.” There are many domain extensions available, and there are some that are more fitting for certain types of websites. It’s best for you to stick with some of the most well-known extensions such as .net, .info, and the ever-reliable .com.

Also, avoid using unique or uncommon domain extensions, as these might lead visitors to believe that your website is suspicious or is a threat to their cybersecurity.

Most importantly, you should use a domain extension that’s appropriate for the type of website you are running.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Some Help

When all else fails and you still have to come up with a good domain name, get some help from your friends. Alternatively, you can use this domain name generator to find a name or quite possibly some inspiration for what your website should be called. By putting in the nature of your business in this platform’s text bar, you’ll be able to get a list of available and appropriate domain names.

Some web owners say that the hardest part of starting a website is picking a domain name that will stick with the audience. However, if you exert some time and effort into this process, you will benefit from it greatly. Don’t rush this process if you don’t want your website to drown in the vast ocean that is the internet.

Need some helping with your website? At Cloud9 Marketing, we offer a variety of web services including web development, hosting, SEO and more. Read more on our web services here.

 

Best domain name

Infographic source from: https://hostingtribunal.com/blog/domain-facts/

monitor with data - website metrics

Web analytics are an integral part of a successful website. Detailed website metrics tell you about your website visitors’ behaviour and are the key to accelerating continual positive online growth.

With the installation of a piece of code onto your website, called a pixel, platforms such as Google Analytics can collect anonymous data about your visitors and the actions they perform on your website. The data collected is considerable, and can often be very overwhelming for people who are not familiar with analytics and website metrics. 

These are the top 5 website metrics to track in order to measure the performance of your website:

Traffic Sources

Being able to see where your traffic is coming from is a very important tool. This allows you to measure the success of marketing efforts across different platforms such as email marketing or social media and determine where to put your time and money. 

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of users that enter your site and then leave after just viewing a single page. A high bounce rate can be a strong indication of possible issues. These issues could include problems with your website such as slow load speed or problems with your advertising efforts such as targeting the wrong groups or irrelevant keywords. Understanding why your website has a high bounce rate may take some time and research, however, it is important to fix as soon as possible — It doesn’t make sense to be spending time and money on directing people to a website for them to leave right away!

Conversions

Tracking conversions does require some extra legwork as you will need to set them up individually in your analytics platform. In Google Analytics, conversions are set up as “Goals”. Conversions will vary by website. For some, it may as simple as a newsletter signup, for others it could be an online sale in an e-commerce store. Understanding how many users are converting on your website allows you to determine if your efforts are successful. If conversions are low, new strategies will need to be implemented and could include paid advertising, stronger calls-to-action, or other techniques.  

Behaviour Flow

Most analytics platforms will allow you to track your website users’ behaviour flow. This enables you to see your website visitors’ actions as they move through your website. Google Analytics provides a flowchart which shows which pages people are visiting, where they exit your website and their journey from one page to the next. This will give you a better understanding of which content users find the most useful, if your calls-to-action are leading users to the right pages and if people are leaving your website where you want them to. 

Average Session Duration 

Similar to the bounce rate, average session duration allows you to determine if your content is relevant to the people that are finding their way to your website. If people are spending a lot of time on your website, it most likely means that they find the information interesting. However, an average session duration could also mean that visitors are having a hard time finding or understanding the information on your website. This is why it is important to be able to understand various website metrics that could be correlated. 

 

While analytics platforms are relatively easy to install and access their dashboards, understanding the information and using the data to manage and improve your website takes experience.

Cloud9 Marketing offers Google Analytic set-up, reporting and ongoing data analysis with monthly actionable recommendations to improve your website’s page rank, visitation, increase conversions and more.

For more information on our web analytics services, read more here

If you own a business or are building a brand, you may be questioning the importance of social media marketing. You may be asking yourself: Does your business need to be on social media? Does social media marketing really work? The simple answer is, ABSOLUTELY!

As of May 2019, there are almost 3.5 billion active social media users worldwide with Facebook leading the pack at just over 2.3 billion users. The average person spends over 2 hours a day on social media.

Today’s consumers are influenced significantly by what they see on social media. In a 2017 survey, 78% of consumers said that companies’ social media posts impacted their purchases.

If you’re not using social media for your brand or business, that’s a lot of missed opportunity!

Here are just a few of the many reasons why social media marketing is important for any brand:

Brand awareness

Social media platforms offer a great opportunity to build awareness for brands. From targeted advertising, hashtags, geo-tags and more, the opportunity to reach new audiences and gain exposure is vast.

Building brand awareness doesn’t always have to come from the brand’s side either — when customers feel loyalty to a brand, they are often compelled to share their love in posts and photos, spreading the awareness even further.

Authenticity

Social media allows brands to show their human side and be authentic. Authenticity resonates well with customers and allows them to feel a personal connection.

Engagement

Whether through comments on posts or direct messages, social media provides a great way to connect directly with customers. Engagement on social media can also improve customer service experience in the event of an issue as customers are able to communicate with a brand instantly.

Traffic Increase

Social media is a great way to drive traffic to a website. There are numerous opportunities to direct people from social platforms to a website such as links in posts, posting blog posts to social media, using product tags on Instagram, and many more. Social media advertising allows even greater opportunity to drive traffic to a website.

Customer Insights

Most social media platforms and social media scheduling platforms offer great analytics tools which can be used to dig into information about customers and followers. This analytical data provides brands with access to real-time data which can be used to improve marketing strategies and increase effectiveness.

 

Looking to boost your brand’s social media presence but are not sure where to start, check out our social media management services here.

With Cloud9 Marketing managing your social media, we boost your brand awareness, improve online credibility, and increase sales and/or customer acquisition.

woman using mobile phone and desktop to search for products

We all know that the last few years have seen a dramatic rise in mobile searches. But how prominent actually is it? Studies have shown that even though most searches are done on mobile devices, 80% of conversions still happen on desktops. Here is how you can tailor your strategy for today’s modern consumer.

Think about Mobile

You need to think about what your audience is looking at when they are using their mobile phone. Users are usually spending time texting, scrolling social media and doing some basic searching. You can use this to think about how you can reach your audience. Creating ads that are engaging that won’t seem disruptive, will help reach customers at an earlier stage of the sales funnel. You should note as well that mobile devices account for more clicks. While most conversions happen on a desktop, you should still make sure you adjust mobile bids to get the best results for your campaigns.

Send customers to stores

You may be surprised to hear that 90% of sales still happen in actual brick and mortar stores. Use this information to send customers straight from their mobile devices into your physical store rather than solely focusing your mobile efforts on directing customers to your website. Consumers use mobile devices to access coupons, compare prices and check reviews to make sure these elements are all optimized.

Think about the sales funnel

You can reach the right audience at the right point in their sales journey by thinking about the sales funnel. If you tailor your mobile ads to consumers first showing interest while creating desktop ads aimed at increasing conversions your sales will dramatically increase.

Boost Shopability

Customers who want to buy, often want to buy right now. Make it as easy as possible for them to complete an online purchase. You can add chatbots to your site to help users who have questions.

Smarter Search Strategies

You will find by creating a smarter search strategy you will generate more conversions. Make sure your business listing is up to date with the correct address and opening hours. Use ads to promote local instore inventory and have an in-store pick-up option.

Analytics

Don’t forget to use analytics to analyze data. You can use the results to tailor your strategy to make sure you’re reaching the right people at the right time to sell more of your product.

Here at Cloud9 Marketing, we can help you maximize conversions. Book a free consultation now!

 

computer showing trending topics

You don’t need to be an SEO wizard to know that engaging, SEO-friendly content is the key to generating organic traffic. Here are some ways to help you stay on top of trends and produce relevant, engaging content.

Trends

If you’re already seeing lots of articles on a topic, it’s a sign you’re already too late to produce anything worthwhile. Getting ahead of a trend may seem like an impossible task, but there are many tools out there to help you. You can look at Google Trends to show popular rising searches related to your keywords. Take advantage of hashtags on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn about trending topics that your audience are interested in.

Look for opportunities

Creating content about trending topics doesn’t mean you have to create something totally from scratch. Look at what your audience is interested in and what your competitors are talking about. Think about what has worked well in the past and how you can link this to the trending topic.

Create engaging, shareable content

You should think about what the best format is for your topic. Think about whether your message would work better on a video, a blog or even a cartoon. If you want to create content that people want to share, you need to reach a wider audience. You want your content to be found and shared, so it needs to be optimized for both search engines and for sharing. You should follow search engine optimization best practices and make sure you include clear sharing links.

Repurpose across platforms

Sharing a link to a blog post on Facebook is great, but it isn’t always the best way to generate viral content. You should think about how you can repurpose across different platforms. Make a YouTube video summarising your blog topic, or address the article on Facebook live. You can even include it in your business’ Instagram story or share your blog to Facebook groups. Creating an email campaign with the link, or connecting with influencers are also effective ways of getting content out there.

Creating content your audience will engage with and share isn’t as difficult as you might think. Struggling and want some help? At Cloud9 Marketing, we have content wizards who will help you.

summer marketing

Staying on top of trends is something that is essential to every marketing strategy. Summer is the time to heat up your marketing plan. Here are some ways to keep your strategy looking fiery and how we can help you.

Go Mobile

You may think it seems obvious but the warmer weather drives more people outside and away from their computers. You need to adjust your marketing efforts to mirror this. Think about how well optimized your mobile site is. If you are using paid advertising, increasing bids on mobile devices will create positive results.

New ideas to boost engagement

Summer is a great opportunity to try new ideas to boost engagement. Just because your business is winter focused doesn’t mean that you should drop off the radar in summer. Think outside the box. Contests are a great way to engage with your audience. Get them to post their summer pictures or share your posts.

Get involved with the community

Summer events mean plenty of opportunities to reach out to the community and connect with a new audience. Sponsor a sports team or even create your own event. By having fun with your marketing strategy you can build solid relationships that will benefit you later in the year.

Pick a theme

Choosing a theme for your summer marketing strategy can be really effective. Tell a story around it using tactics that build on each other throughout the summer.

Focus on visual content

The sunshine means people have less time to consume content, therefore you really have to grab their attention. You can post images with shorter captions, do a vlog, or even start a podcast. Creating downloadable content that people can view when they don’t have cell phone reception is effective too. You may find that social platforms that are more visual, such as Instagram are more effective in the summer.

Evaluate last year

It’s always important to take some time to step back and think about what worked last year and what you could have done better. Evaluate the results and build on successful campaigns and learn from unsuccessful ones.

Build momentum for Fall

If your business is seasonal, you want to be using summer as a time to plan your marketing campaigns for the winter and build momentum coming into fall! Network with new and potential clients, or create buzz for a product or service that you will launch once the summer ends.

Need help with your summer marketing strategy? Book a consultation at Cloud9 Marketing today!

Search engine optimization

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, we all know it can be very time-consuming. But it doesn’t all have to be hard work. Here are some simple SEO wins to help you get ahead of the game.

Remove outdated and low-quality content

 You may be reluctant to remove low-quality or out of date content but it can negatively effect your ranking. You should start by first identifying the pages you want to prune. Using software like Screaming Frog will help you with this by crawling your site and identifying a list of URLs with their position on Google and impressions. You don’t just have to delete pages, however. Most of the content you’re removing can be redirected to a stronger higher quality page. Although if you can’t find a relevant page, you should let the pages go to a 404 – page not found.

Tip: utilize your 404 (Page Not Found) page by adding a search option.

Improve content

You don’t have to get rid of every low scoring page. Building upon what’s already there is an easy way to improve ranking. You can use your previous Google history and develop it. Review your Screaming Frog results and use the pages that rank anywhere from position 5 to 30. You can improve content by ensuring pages have 300+ words, are useful and well written. Using a plugin like Yoast will give you a readability score which you can use to improve content. Make sure you answer frequently asked questions and include long-tail keywords you want to rank for. Adding media to your page will encourage viewers to stay on the page longer, thus improving ranking.

Update internal links

You should review and identify your internal links from time to time to ensure they are still relevant. Using a site like Screaming Frog will help identify any redirect chains.

Page load speed

You may have heard the words ‘page load speed’ but not be sure what they mean in terms of SEO. Simply put, if your webpage takes too long to load, potential customers will likely leave your site. Though these improvements require an element of technical skills, the results will cause a significant improvement.

You can help by upgrading from a budget web hosting site. Cheaper web hosts can be overwhelmed with traffic. By investing in a higher quality web host, you’ll be surprised what it does for your site speed.

Optimize

Optimizing images and media files will increase the swiftness of your site. You can reduce the file size by resizing, making sure the image is saved in the correct format (JPEGs are best for photos whilst PNG files are best for images with solid areas of colour) and compressing the file. WordPress has some great plugins for compressing images.

Don’t worry you can leave the JavaScript/ CSS weird complicated stuff to us.

We know that SEO can seem a bit daunting. You don’t have to worry as we’re here at Cloud9 Marketing to help with all your SEO needs. Want to see how your site’s performing? Book a free consultation or a site audit!

 

phone showing social media strategy

Devising a proper and effective social media marketing strategy can make a massive difference to return on investment from your social media efforts. Every post should be well thought out and aligned with your brand and goals. Here is how you can devise a proper strategy and how we can help you stay at the top of your game.

Set goals and measure them

It may sound basic, but if you don’t have any goals, you won’t be able to track what you are achieving. Establish your objectives and set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based Goals. If you follow this framework, you’ll find tracking your own progress far easier. Use data from Analytics to see where you were when you started so you can monitor how far you’ve come.

Learn your audience

If you want to engage with your audience, you have to understand their social media needs. By tailoring your posts to mirror what your audience are engaging with, you will get better results. Don’t just guess. Use analytics to see where your audience comes from, what their interests are and how they interact with your brand. Studies have shown that when this data is used properly, it results in a 40% lower cost per referral.

Research your competition

Having an insight into what your competition is doing well can work wonders for your own social strategy. You can find opportunities by analysing competitors. If your main competitor is marketing heavily on Facebook but not on Instagram, you can use this as a chance to build a fan base on that platform.

Find inspiration

For the best content plans, you need inspiration. Have a look at your favourite accounts and see how they are delivering their content. Ask your followers what they like seeing and what they’d like to see more of. Informing your followers about events in your area or industry news will help you to appear as an expert in your field and gain more of a following.

Create a content calendar and schedule posts in

Creating a content calendar not only makes your content varied but ensures that you post regularly at the times that your followers will engage. Make sure you schedule in your posts, so you don’t have to dwell on whether you’ll remember to post.

Here at Cloud9, our team of social media experts can help you devise the perfect content strategy for your business. We have a range of social media packages tailored to suit our different client needs. Book a free consultation today!

Marketing business concept on the virtual screen

Spring is in the air! You may be aware the longer days and beautiful sunshine in Whistler mean it’s time to dust off the ceiling cobwebs and clean all the places you’ve been neglecting all year. But spring cleaning isn’t just important for your house. Here are the top ways you can spruce up your digital marketing strategy.

Check Your Goals

You can’t tell if you’ve made any progress if you haven’t set any measurable goals. Set specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and time-based goals (SMART Goals.) Use Google Analytics to work out what you want to achieve. Break these down so you have an achievable figure to work towards. By having proper goals, it’s a lot easier to track your progress and check your marketing strategy is where you want it to be.

Freshen up your strategy

What’s working? What’s not working? What were you doing when you had high levels of engagement? Think about how you can create a new strategy that will engage with your audience and reach the people who are more likely to become customers. Devise a social media content plan and focus on engagement.

Ensure your branding is consistent

Having a strong brand can really help your business be recognized and grow. But if you’re not consistent with your branding, it can confuse your customers. You should take a look at your online profile, fonts, colour schemes and print ads. Make sure they are consistent across the board. If you find they’re not, evaluate what you like, and create some brand guidelines. If you don’t think your brand looks modern or relevant anymore, it might be time to think about rebranding.

Explore all social platforms

Social media is an essential tool for engaging with your audience and getting your brand voice out there. Make sure you are utilizing all platforms to reach a wider audience. Each have their own merits so make sure you don’t overlook any.

Check social platforms are closely monitored

Studies have shown that users expect an almost instant reply from a business they have posted to on Twitter. Check all your social accounts are properly monitored. Replying to both good and bad comments in a timely manner can really help build trust and connect with your customers.

At Cloud9 Marketing, we have experts to help you in any area that you’re finding difficult. Whether you want to devise a more solid social media strategy, want to produce more original content or want help with branding we can give you all the advice you need! Book FREE a consultation now!