If you’re marketing a business in the age of technology, chances are you’ve heard the terms SEO and SEM. But what’s the difference between SEO and SEM? And how can understanding and utilizing both of them help promote your business online?

SEO vs. SEM: What’s the difference?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization”, which essentially asks the question, “What are you doing on your website that helps search engines find you?”. It’s the strategy behind planning and creating organic content with relatable keywords and user-friendly designs to garner traffic for your site. A great SEO strategy will steadily build your brand’s credibility and make it easier to rank on search engines, which will expose your business to the public on a greater scale.

SEM, on the other hand, stands for “search engine marketing.” In essence, business owners pay for their ads to appear at the top of the list of search engines. It’s more of a “pay as you go” expense where business owners use their ad budget on platforms like Google or Facebook and pay per click/engagement. This is a great way to ensure that your targeted ad gets seen, but it’s more likely to be successful on SEO-friendly websites.

Unlike SEM, you don’t have to pay for good SEO. However, it will take a lot of time to build that plan and put it into action, so it may be better to hire professionals to create and push an effective plan. Ultimately, both SEO and SEM rely on keyword research, but they use different tactics to drive traffic and create results.

Building a Stronger Marketing Strategy with SEO and SEM

One common misconception regarding SEO and SEM is this idea that one can work better than the other. In fact, both tactics can be used in tandem and are actually stronger together. energyhill CEO and Co-founder, Dr. Ryan Lowe, says that SEO and SEM are like two pillars holding up one structure; they are both equally important and each play their own role in supporting your business.

The linchpin of an effective SEO and SEM strategy is to find the keywords that people are using on search engines when they search for the goods or services that your business provides. The idea is to put your business in their path and let people know how your business fulfills their needs. A sure-fire way to accomplish this is to be sure that 1.) your ad campaigns include related keywords and 2.) you have a plan to publish content on your website and social accounts routinely.

Enlisting the help of a marketing and design agency can help business owners benefit from these strategies. Professional content creators can help you optimize the perfect combination of calculated leads based on good website content (SEO) and good ad spending strategy (SEM) for your business.

For more information about SEO and SEM, check out these informative videos hosted by Dr. Ryan Lowe. He will take you through the nuts and bolts of SEO and SEM, how to create and use both strategies in marketing your business, and provide examples of successful campaign tactics used by the design team at energyhill.

Marketing with energyhill

Developing a SEO and SEM strategy can be a confusing and time-consuming process. Instead, relying on a marketing expert can not only simplify the process but save you wasted time, money, and effort. Contact us to learn how our award-winning marketing and design team can help your business grow.

Amazon is a great way to reach a wider audience while listing your product with a trusted brand. Since Amazon is such a big platform, you may be confused about how to start the selling process and how to utilize Amazon to fit your marketing needs. However, selling on Amazon can be made easier and more effective by following a few simple steps.

In this episode of Modern Marketing, Dr. Ryan Lowe is joined by our Director of Business Development Matt Roman to provide some tips on how you can start selling your products on Amazon. Matt has served as Purchasing Manager for LivPrime, an Amazon FBA business, and Executive Account Manager for Explosive Advertising Inc.


Five Tips to Start Selling on Amazon for Beginners

  1. Sign up for FBA
  2. Optimize listings for search
  3. Organize your Logistics
  4. Use the Seller Forum
  5. Don’t Rely on Amazon Support

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1. Sign Up for FBA

The first step is determining if you want to be a full-on FBA or be a merchant. FBA, or Fulfillment by Amazon, is a service that Amazon provides to sellers to aid with product storage, packaging, and shipping. If you have a small product, FBA is a highly profitable option; you’ll easily eat the fees.

However, if the product is something big or oversized — for example, a canoe — then it would be more profitable to sell as a merchant. Otherwise, the fees will be too significant and it wouldn’t be worth it from a business standpoint.

It isn’t necessarily the size of the product, but its profitability. Check your profitability and margin, consider the fees, and determine which option is right for you. If possible according to your business model, you should utilize FBA.

2. Optimize your listing for search

Incorporating SEO is vital in marketing and naturally, Amazon. You want to optimize your listing with SEO keywords and there are great tools that you can use to assist with identifying those keywords. The more information and SEO you can incorporate into your listing the better.

Keep in mind that Amazon functions in its own ecosystem essentially. As a result, keywords for Google Ads might not be relevant to Amazon.

Tools for Amazon SEO

Helium 10 is a fantastic tool for SEO. “I’ve actually met the guy– he’s great. They’ve built it from the ground up to not only launch your brand, your presence and to get your images and descriptions out there; but also, to optimize it to make sure that over time you are still ranking and indexing for the keywords you want, and get your ACoS down.” — Matthew Roman shares.

Jungle Scout is a useful platform for resellers and for searching for profitable listings.

RevSeller is another great tool to consider. This chrome extension monitors best-seller rank and informs you how your product stacks up against other competition. For example, if you use RevSeller for a product that you’re selling on Amazon, it will compare your product with the other numerous products on Amazon and tell you specifically where it lands down the line.

3. Organize your Logistics

Amazon uses both UPS and FedEx as shipping methods. From a seller standpoint, you will need to determine which works best for you. The QA — or quality assurance — process is truly an in-house decision and reflects what your business prioritizes. You can either do it yourself or hire a prep center to ship your product for you.

“For us, we had an account with UPS, and it made sense to use that anyway,” Matt Roman said. “As far as your QA process, we took QA extremely seriously when we did it.

“We wanted to make sure that when the product was showing up to the person’s house, it’s everything they wanted it to be. There are no dents, no scratches, it looks great, it functions properly. It’s an in-house determination, so if you want to do it yourself, you can. You can also hire prep centers, which are basically centers where they’ll take care of your products per your guidelines and they’ll send it out for you.”

4. Use the Seller Forum

Amazon’s seller forum is a great community and resource of information that can assist sellers with keeping up to date with new or changing procedures. In addition, it’s an opportunity to engage with like-minded Amazon sellers.

A good example is Amazon Prime Day; in the seller forum, you’ll be able to learn when Amazon Prime Day is months before Amazon would inform you.

5. Support is a Patience Game

Don’t expect the Amazon support team to fix the problem on the first try. Be patient and be prepared that the issue will take a while to solve. Keep any conversations from support so that should the same issue arise, you’ll be able to send the emails to their support team for a faster resolution.

“Shout out to Sean who is awesome and solved my problem in like 20 minutes,” Matt Roman said.

Need Marketing Help?

There’s plenty of advantage to partnering with a marketing agency when setting up your Amazon store. You don’t have to do it alone. Here at energyhill, we would take care of all of those components for you and advocate for you and your product.

We are a creative advertising and marketing company with excellent customer service and experience working with world-class brands. Contact us today for a free quote on how we can help your business grow.

We’ve previously discussed how much of total revenue should go toward your marketing budget, but managing that marketing spend is a whole other story. In this quick tutorial, you’ll learn how to plan out that marketing budget, and where to allocate resources with a marketing budget template in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

With the Google Sheets marketing budget template, you can manage your marketing spend and effectively allocate your digital marketing budget based on the same baseline we use.

download the marketing budget template

marketing budget breakdown

Today’s talk is really about how do you as an organization, brand, or even an individual set up your budget for your calendar year. As in month-over-month, what should you be spending? How much? Where? All of that.

Now, there’s a lot of things that I can’t really answer without knowing more about your business. But I’m going to give you kind of a broad marketing budget template that you could use to help you plan accordingly.

This marketing budget really breaks it down month-by-month based on what I talked about a couple of weeks ago: when you’re setting up your budget, there’s a couple of factors that are involved.


google sheets tutorial: marketing budget template

Today’s tutorial is I’m using Google Sheets to kind of set up some line items and a tactical strategy that you could do as an agency to fulfill your strategy.

So with that said we’re going to get right into it. The first thing you really need to do is set up what your revenue is. I’m gonna set the revenue as a default to $3 million per year as a company. Now it might be way less, it might be way more. It just depends on what you have going on as an organization.

Larger organizations, they’re going to have very different budgets than you and that’s fine. If you’re a startup and you’re funded,  you might really want to make a conscious decision to say, ‘hey, we’re
going to spend a lot more because we really need to get into this market and there’s a barrier to entry that we need to spend a minimum of x and we don’t have that yet.’

I don’t always like that strategy but sometimes that’s what’s needed to get into a new market.

calculating a marketing budget

I set up a very broad kind of template here and that is really revenue $3 million and I can change that. Ten
percent of revenue is an easy calculation for your budget — a normal-based budget, not aggressive, not
safe. We can do very simple math $3 million, 10 percent of that is $300,000.

Now when you spread that out over a month it equals around $25,000 a month. I always want to be careful when I say this because, really, if you’re a new company you should be spending more than ten percent. If you’re an established brand and been around ten or twenty years or longer, you can spend less because of the fact that your brand is already very well established. It does not mean you need to lay back on your creative executions and what you’re doing in the marketplace to get your name out there and saying hey.

adjusting your marketing budget

There are a couple of other things that you notice and that is industry. If you are in a tough highly-competitive industry, you might want to add in some percentage points. I always say depending on the industry you can add three to five percentage points to your budget.

If you say, ‘hey, our reach, we’re not just going to be local, we want to actually go national,’ I would
say add in three percent to increase your ad dollars and your potential marketing spend.

You’d want to talk to us about how aggressive you want to be. I’m always a little bit aware that isn’t a potential for aggression in a marketplace that you can get into. Or is it better to just be normal or even safe and then grow? Then as you see growth then adjust.

You can still manually enter your monthly budget so you have the calculation right above you. You can put in whatever you like based on what makes sense for your organization or brand.

monthly marketing budget

Now this is where it gets a little complicated and fun is that then you have a monthly spend. This tells you what you are going to be spending on a month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter basis. That’s what’s nice about this marketing budget template — it breaks down literally monthly as far as what you should be spending on.

On this example, on advertising we’re going to say Google ad spend is $3,000 a month. It might be you need to spend a lot more based on your industry. But again, that’s where you want to talk with someone in the marketing space so we can help you align with what you should be spending. This also includes social content, email marketing, all the different elements, and again there might be somewhere you have to
put a lot towards it.

On that first tab of the marketing budget template and throughout this entire tab, our monthly budget was updated and the quarterly budget was updated automatically. So you don’t have to worry about going everywhere to update.

The idea is that then you can see, ‘OK, here’s what we’re actually going to be budgeted for and spend and here’s what we have budgeted and set aside for that month.’ You can see the calculation works out.

we’re here to help

I do recommend talking with someone in the marketing space whether it’s us or whether it’s you know any agency to help you make sure: ‘Does this look right? Do my numbers line up?” Because this can be very confusing to get organized.

As always, you can reach out to our team via our contact form if you have any questions.

There’s a lot that goes into a marketing plan and execution for clients. How can you ensure the work is getting done and getting results? That’s where simplifying project management processes comes in.

On today’s Modern Marketing, Dr. Ryan Lowe is joined by guest Orlando Lugo to go through five steps to get your project management process off the ground. Orlando has experience as a former director of project management at a major marketing firm and working in project management for the New York Times, and he’s now managing projects at energyhill.


Download the Project Management Simplified slides (PDF)

Download the Project Management Simplified slides (PPT)

Five Steps for Simplifying Project Management

Orlando and Dr. Ryan discuss the five essential steps for setting up your project management process in this episode of Modern Marketing. You can hear them talk about the importance of each step in the video above, or watch it on LinkedIn.

How to Create a Project Management Plan:

  1. Define the goal.
  2. Come up with a plan to execute.
  3. Work through the plan and keep the team on track.
  4. Keep everyone informed.
  5. Wrap up the project.

Have Questions?

Figuring out a project management plan that works for your organization can be difficult. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us and set up a chat. Our team will be happy to help.

As the capacities of technology evolve and the bustle of life press on, many adults are turning to online learning for its affordability and flexibility. Especially in 2020, many colleges are discovering a sudden increase in online enrollment due to social distancing and government ordinances during COVID-19. These factors are driving enrollment for adult learners.

The number of adult learners will only continue to grow from here on it becomes more mainstream.

Today, universities and other learning platforms must focus on how to retain their influx of adult students. Here are a few strategies to keep adult learners engaged and retain them after they’ve turned to online learning.

six adult learner retention strategies

  1. provide flexible financial options
  2. make support and counseling available
  3. keep your brand simple for adult learners to understand
  4. create content relevant for adult learners
  5. ensure faculty is building relationships
  6. provide convenient and creative deliverables

support systems for adult learners

1. provide flexible financial options

Online learning is typically cost-efficient. This is a result of no need for transportation — so saving on fuel usage and parking costs. Most importantly, tuition is also typically cheaper as online universities and courses don’t have as many staff members to pay.

What attracts many adult learners is the flexible financing options available to them. Options for monthly, annual, or per-credit financial payments provide adult learners with a sense of security and affordability. In summary, deliver flexible and accelerated learning options for adult learners to choose from and they’ll be more inclined to continue.

2. support and counseling availability

Adult learners have their own life with jobs, kids, socializing, and other time-consuming happenings. For this reason, immediate feedback and support keep adult learners tuned in to your educational platform. In the event that there are delayed responses or lack of responses in student services, it can be off-putting and discouraging for students.

Develop a strong, quick, and efficient service delivery platform for your students to be able to easily connect with advisors, administrators, and support staff. Create a one-stop gateway so online learners can effortlessly locate support services. The quality and availability of support is vital in retaining adult learners and keeping them motivated with their education.

3. make your brand simple for adult learners

Your website is essential to building the credibility of the brand and expanding on what you’re all about. Enhance your website for effortless navigation and clear branding messaging. In addition, detail what makes your institution different from others and highlight student services available for your adult learners.

engaging social media

Furthermore, consider how to make your website easy to locate by optimizing SEO. Students want engaging and easy-to-consume educational content that’s sharable. A great way to illustrate education is by utilizing social media and other communication platforms as marketing tools to attract these students. For example, put quiz questions or short lessons onto your Instagram feed.


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effective education for adult learners

4. keep content relevant for adult learners

Motivation plays a key role in encouraging students to actively engage in their education. Of course, this still applies to adult learners. Whenever possible, assess students to determine the type of learner the class consists of and how to effectively retain their interest.

Remember, adult learners differ significantly from younger students. They already have work and life experiences that influence their established ideals. In order to understand what adult students want from the course, use some assessment tools and gauge your audience.

ways to assess the effectiveness of your online learning

  1. send a survey your audience
  2. ask for feedback before, during, and after the course
  3. survey on desired skill acquisition
  4. observe post-course how lessons are used in the real world

5. faculty that build relationships

While professors may be leaders in their professional field, some lack the necessary preparation needed to successfully instruct online courses. Before the course, provide proper training to faculty to ensure that the staff is proficient with any software required for class or necessary for student communication.

In addition, staff members should also reflect your brand’s message. Each staff member is critical in engaging and retaining adult learners. In order to build relationships, faculty should include an introductory video to help students navigate their courses and provide virtual office hours.

6. convenient and creative deliverables

While building the class, include creative and challenging assignments to inspire adult learners. Again, once students are complete with the course, conduct surveys to determine what course material is working.

By the same token, design creative deliverables and convenient class structure to encourage active learning. In addition, include an open Q&A segment in your course for students to ask questions that are available to other students who may know the answer or have the same question themselves. This encourages online discussion and can save student time from waiting for the professor’s response to an already answered inquiry.

here are more creative deliverable ideas for adult learners:

  1. Q&A sessions
  2. Virtual seminars with industry authorities
  3. Video conferencing debates
  4. Real-world branching scenarios
  5. Group brainstorming sessions
  6. Student blogs or vlogs posted to a discussion forum

let’s engage adult learners

At energyhill, we’re passionate about helping organizations of all sizes achieve their goals. We understand how the education industry is constantly shifting and evolving. To keep our partners in line with current trends, we’re regularly creating content and materials today that will be a boost to their brand tomorrow and the next day.

If you are looking for ways to improve your marketing strategies for your educational business, contact us today.

Have you ever wondered if you’re using the right leadership model for your personality? To be a great leader, you have to invest time, energy, and resources into the team around you. Everyone leads differently, but professional development plans are key to keep our team moving toward their individual career goals and higher management positions.

When it comes down to it in marketing and in all business: leaders develop leaders. So by taking the time to focus on your team, you’re building leadership skills in your workforce.


Download the Slides on Leadership Models and Professional Development Plans


Additional Resources on Leadership Models

More about Level 5 Leadership

Read Carson Sublett’s book: “Bosses Are Hired … Leadership Is Earned: Experiences. Lessons. Decisions. Life.”

Read Patrick Lencioni’s book, “The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities.”

Leadership Models and Professional Development Plans: Transcript

Hi everyone, it’s Ryan at energyhill, welcome to another Modern Marketing. Today we are switching gears; we’ve been talking a lot about apps and different tools that we use in-house today I’m going to switch gears and talk about leadership.

We’re going to keep it kind of tight in the marketing and design and brand world, but I did want to talk about how leaders — they can kind of fit into one of four different models. I’m going to say that this is relevant to 10 years ago. You’re like, “why are you talking to me about 10 years ago?” Because really it goes not just from 10 years ago but really from about the 70s and 80s all the way up through early 2000s.

In the coming weeks I’m going to talk about modern leadership and how we should in a sense be adapting. We’re going to talk about Patrick Lencioni and some of the content that really thought leaders are driving in our world. We’re also going to switch it culturally because that’s also relevant now that everything really is a global economy and culture that how are we engaging with partners, clients. customers across the globe in different countries: how do they really approach business and leadership and evaluations and everything.

Professional Development Plans

We are going to talk about something tactile-based on this talk on Wednesday which is about performance evaluations. Everyone’s like, “oh, that’s gross.” I feel we’ve really kind of figured out something pretty special about this and it’s really not just about professional development which is the term we use but it’s really personal development plans and how those engage.

Leadership Models

Today we’re talking about leadership, professional development plans for your organization. So here’s the four elements and emote models that really leaders align into and again this is based on really the 70s but I think you can probably even go further back into generals potentially, as far as how these four models were prevalent and they’re active and some of them still are the thing is they’ve just kind of tweaked and evolved into what they are going forward.

Transactional Leadership

First of all transactional leadership: we’re going to talk about that one. Really this model is about you give me something in return for something, so I will pay you this as long as you do this. I will not pay you this based on this.

And that’s very — I’m going to say that was done a lot in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and really it doesn’t really work today. Not just with specialists and skill-based employees but even non-skill based employees, it’s very difficult.  However, there’s still a place for it.

It’s just one of those things that as an organization is that effective going forward and that’s something that I would say there’s much more cohesive and adaptable models that have really take prevalence in the last decade and decade and a half. But again really this is, “if I if I do this you will give me that.” That’s the whole model. Rewards and punished based on performance in the form of transactional benefit. It’s still done in a lot of cases.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership really these are the visionaries. These are leaders that are able to inspire through words in action and not rewards and punishments so they switch it to, “Hey, I’m going to affirm you I’m going to really make it where you are accepted based on your views, beliefs, what have you and also then monetary will align with that or life, family, work balance will align.

Really this transformational leadership, which really this term is kind of dying, I haven’t heard it much in the last decade but it was huge back in the 90’s where everyone transformational — what type of transformational leader are you?

So these leaders give individual care or set that expectation based on subordinates’ needs so it’s really more custom-based which is what I love. It is based on individuals; that’s an element that again when I’m talking about this you’re going to know who you are if you’re a leader in an organization or if you’re striving to be a leader or if you’re striving to start your own business you’re going to kind of know some of your DNA that aligns with this. But I want to show you that there’s value in all these even the transactional.

Transformational Leadership vs Transactional Leadership

If you are running let’s say you know a manufacturing place and you say,”Hey guys we can make this competitive and still be effective and good and have a good culture and company that aligned with that and a brand and vision that aligned with it.”

However, it’s more about the transaction it’s, “We need to crank out 10,000 units in three hours and that’s our goal.” There’s nothing wrong with that so there’s good in all of them it’s just what makes sense for you and your organization.

Charismatic Leadership

The next one is charismatic: it’s very similar to transformational. They’re similar in the sense that they really they use their innate abilities to build those relations with relationships. They’re typically high in confidence.

These leaders only really need to avoid one thing: that’s fame. I think that the charismatic leader can become, even just in a small way, famous all of a sudden. They don’t even talk with their key players and key teams so that’s where they can kind of run into this element.

So I think there’s that balance there with all of these models but definitely this one runs into that. Unfortunately, with fame can come distraction from their organization or from their company and their brand, that they just don’t care anymore.

Level Five Leadership

Then there’s level five leadership. Again, 2005, so just wanted to date it with what it is. I do like this author, but he talked about level five leaders of studying duality. It’s both modest and willful shy and fearless — these are known as a quiet leader.

It’s not me; I’m saying right now I’m not — I’m very loud and obnoxious at times. But the whole idea is that they’re someone who kind of lead but yet they’re quiet, they’re humble, they have all these traits that are fantastic, that I honestly strive for. But they have calmness and inner peace that allow for a level five leader to remain centered in the worst of circumstances. That’s what I love most is that they’re able to realize their faults, realize their strengths, but they’re still able to remain even keel and whatever the scenario is.

Colman Mockler and Level Five Leadership

I do want to show one example that I think Collins talks about in his book and that is Gillette. So it’s actually Colman Mockler — he was a CEO of Gillette and he’s known as a humble, intense, passionate leader that hired talent and vision carriers.

He really went through kind of a grind from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90s, in a sense they were trying to take over. They were trying to replace him because he was so — I’m going to say he was not even humble he was almost timid. He was definitely an introvert, yet here’s the thing, when those takeovers happen, he was humble but yet he was willing to know what needed to be said and got the job done. In a sense that he was still bold when it was needed, and that’s something that I want to encourage you.

Everyone says, “Oh I can’t be a leader because I’m not charismatic, I don’t have that personality, I don’t have those skills.” You know what, it doesn’t matter. I’m going to say this: Colman was one of the best leaders of our time in the retail world and he really set a set a trend for way the way leaders should engage in and work with their team and employees. I’m gonna say that it’s not always bad to be introverted. However, I think that’s a weakness of mine.

Sometimes it’s good to have that humility and have that quietness, but still show that you still have the strength when it’s needed. Okay, so that’s my talk on leadership.

Why is customer engagement so important and how does it influence every part of your business? It’s simple. Every successful customer interaction that improves their experience is a success for your company.

Customer engagement illustrates your business’s dedication to your customers, adds value to your brand, and encourages customers to return to your business. 

In addition, engaging customers provides invaluable customer data and opportunities for growth. Despite this, studies show that businesses haven’t dedicated enough time to improve their online customer service. Almost 80 percent of companies believe that they provide excellent social media customer service. However only 8 percent of their customers would agree. 

Here are a few ways to develop your customer engagement strategies and why they work. We’ll go into more detail on each below

  1. develop a plan for customer engagement
  2. establish a customer service platform
  3. leverage social media
  4. create interactive content for customers
  5. follow up on customer feedback

1. develop a plan for customer engagement

Personalized customer service is the best approach to customer satisfaction. This can be challenging for businesses if they are unable to envision their customers’ experience. 

Mohanbir S. Sawhney, a clinical professor of Marketing at Kellogg School of Management, proposes that businesses develop a customer experience DNA for visualization. This process can assist businesses to help clarify what areas of their customer experience requires more personalization and investment. Before creating a new marketing strategy for your business, generate a baseline before implementing the plan. With this baseline, you are able to accurately compare the results.

2. establish a customer service platform

Why is building a customer service platform important for your brand? Communication directly influences your business’s success and can be a great tool for brand growth. Additionally, customer satisfaction is key for acquiring new customers and retaining current clients.

In fact, a report completed by Microsoft State of Global Customer Service revealed that 60 percent of customers stop doing business with a brand after one poor service experience. Creating a customer service platform provides an opportunity for customers to quickly and easily resolve any issues or concerns they may have.

How can businesses increase customer satisfaction and retain customer loyalty? Businesses or other software can supply flexibility for your business to develop a customer service platform. This way, you can ensure you’re staying on top of the company’s customer needs. In addition, produce help materials so customers can readily assist themselves with simple queries. Monitor customer communications on a regular basis and develop a system to identify critical concerns and generate orderly responses. 

3. leverage social media

Create a Facebook group or another social media community for your customers to connect with and invest value into your community. Host Q&A sessions, run giveaways, or create blogs that provide an opportunity for customers to engage with your business. The end goal should be to create a dialogue with your audience. A study completed by HubSpot showed that 81 percent trust their friends and family’s advice over advice from a business. In addition, 71 percent of consumers who’ve had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.

Communication — not just automatic replies, but real human communication — is vital for a successful and engaging community. Research shows that social networks are the biggest source of inspiration for consumer purchases. To illustrate this, one study showed 37 percent of consumers find purchase inspiration through social channels.

4. create interactive content for customers

Don’t just create content that promotes your products and brand. Specifically, create content that allows your community to interact with you in unique ways. Such as a question, poll, or asking expressly for feedback. Interactive content encourages customer engagement, keeps the customer’s attention, and improves customer appreciation. 

Quizzes, polls, interactive videos or tools can provide relevant data and insight into modern trends. These features should be a part of your overall social media strategy to continue engaging with customers online. Coupled with a strong engagement plan, the information you collect from your audience can be used in many ways. Of course, as you continue to create more targeted content, you will find what works best, what gets more shares, and how people are connecting. 

5. follow up on customer feedback

These are already uncertain and frustrating times, don’t further complicate it by responding late or unsuccessfully to customer’s inquiries. Social media not only provides customers with insight into your brand, but it also allows instant communication. 

Businesses should monitor their social media to consistently assist their customers. Prompt responses to posts and comments appease confused or disgruntled customers and also demonstrates the company’s dedication to your social media following. 

Approximately 50 percent of consumers reported that seeing user-generated content would increase their chances of buying products through a brand’s social media. It’s important to remember to always involve

Customer Engagement

HubSpot flywheel

your customers in your online activity.

In general, we think of the HubSpot flywheel. The wheel shows how your marketing efforts, engagement, and customer feedback are all connected and should work in tandem for your best results. As HubSpot partners, we use the wheel to guide much of what we do to help our partners.

start generating customer engagement today

Are you aiming to improve your customer engagement? It can be a journey to improve engagement. In the long run, it will greatly benefit your business to put your interactions with customers first. At energyhill, we have the tools you need to help you connect with your customer’s needs.

Contact us to assist in developing new marketing strategies to reach your business goals. Learn more about what we can do for your company, call today for a free quote or contact our team and we’ll be in touch.

website SEO

If you want to increase your website SEO, remember, it’s more than just keywords. Writing compelling copy matters to your long-term SEO strategy.

You can pay for search ads all day long, but that can get costly — and it still doesn’t pack the punch that organic search results can. Organic results are 8.5 times more likely to get the click and they lead to far higher closing rates

Getting that organic search results comes from a marathon approach to maintaining your website and creating informative content. You have to write right, from beginning to end, and keep the fresh content coming.

To help you do that, we’ve pulled together six tips to help you improve your website’s organic SEO by strengthening your copy.

1. use a keyword planning tool

Too many businesses think of their website as an online brochure — something you direct people to once you’ve met them, so they can browse your offerings. If you do that, you’re missing the point. 

keywords help customers find your website

Maybe you show up first when people search the name of your business combined with your city — if so, good on you. But how many people are directly searching the name of your business? The truth is, you probably haven’t met your best customer yet, and if you don’t create a way for them to find you, you never will. Creating strong organic website SEO by targeting relevant keywords is key to meeting those customers.

keyword research tools

It’s time to change your website from a brochure to a beacon. To do that, start with a keyword planning tool and start building a strategy. At energyhill, we also use Spyfu and Google Trends to do keyword research for our site and clients, but there are several other tools out there.

Keyword planning tools help you identify the words and phrases people are searching on the internet to find you, your business and what you do. Do you know the phrases people in your target location are searching to find your products? Are you powering your product pages with those keyword phrases? Are your SEO page titles using these keywords? 

If not, stop what you’re doing right now. Go to the Google Adwords Keyword Planner (or the free Keyword Tool) and find out what people are searching. Write it down, and come back for the rest of the tips.

how to use keywords

Got those keywords now? OK. Let’s recap. If you’re a university with an amazing online MBA program that nobody knows about, you need to collect the words and phrases your prospective students are actually searching online. Then integrate them into the copy on the pages that talk about your amazing online MBA program — in your titles, headlines, and copy. That’s how you start building great website SEO.

2. write SEO headlines and subheadings

When it comes to the headline of your page, you’ll want to integrate the keyword or keyword phrase early and with confidence. It takes a touch of copywriting alchemy to write headlines well. On top of including your strongest keyword phrase, you’ll also need to keep it concise— under 65 characters is best — and engaging.

use keywords in headlines

Remember, if you do your job well, your new page is going to show up in search results. You want that headline to stand complete in the search results (and not be cut off mid-thought). You’ll also want it clearly correlated with the search phrases to get the click.

For example, if you’re a credit union, and you find that people are searching the “best free checking account Tampa,” your free checking account product page should probably be something like “Sign Up for the Best Free Checking Account in Tampa.” Make sense? 

subheadings (a subheading about subheadings!)

Your subheadings should support that SEO title. This breaks up the text and creates a sort of map for the reader. These should still be talking about the free checking account and its benefits, with more keywords that relate to the topic.

Another point to keep in mind when writing your copy — search engines like Google crawl a website the way most people would read it. They look at the headline — is this about the topic I think it’s about? Yes, I’ll keep going. Then, they scan the subheads — does this offer me information I need or want on this topic? Yes, even better. Then, they look at the actual words you’ve written. Do these words continue with that idea? Does it explain it well? Yes, great. Bonus points!

So it’s always in your best interest to keep your consumer in mind first, with your keywords in mind, second. Lastly, keep your subheads in order so search engines can easily index them.

3. create useful content

You’ve come all this way — why would you go cheap now? Your content needs to be a lot more than just a few bullet points. Sure, you might get a nice initial scan by the search engines or the readers because of your excellent headlines and subheads. But if you don’t back that up with true, relevant content, you’re going to lose them all. 

blogging for SEO

And since we’re close enough to talk about length now, I’m going to take the opportunity to suggest you incorporate a blog or news page on your website. 

Your blog or news page would be the perfect tool to create a perpetual stream of SEO-charged content — blog posts or news articles that talk about your products and services, industry-related tips and information, happenings with your company, and all those things that your customers want to know. Re-writing your website for strong SEO is great, but having fresh content with strong SEO is even better.

what’s the right word count?

A good rule of thumb for a minimum on word count is 400, but try to write much more if possible. First of all, pages and articles with more useful information are more likely to be read and shared. Second, search engines are smart, and you will be downgraded in your SEO score if you aren’t following through with rich informative content on your pages. 

This is one of the few times in life where less is not more, so enjoy the excess, and don’t leave out any details.

4. write custom, enticing meta descriptions

Meta descriptions don’t directly impact search ranking, but these descriptions are just as important as the content itself. Meta descriptions should quickly summarize the post and give your audience a reason to click and read. 

meta descriptions

In organic search, meta descriptions are just as important as the on-page text because they can quickly engage the reader. Just having a dedicated meta description is proven to increase click-through rate. Use these snippets to share your posts on social media — another crucial part of your content marketing strategy.  

Make sure these meta descriptions for pages and blogs include your keyword or keyphrase and keep it under 160 characters — the quicker they get to the point, the better.

5. use a strong call-to-action

If you’ve done your job, your company’s products are showing up on that first search page, you’ve earned the click from your target audience, and you’ve gotten the customer’s interest. They’re there, they’re in the buying mindset. Now you need a strong call-to-action (CTA)

That CTA can be anything from “Get started” to “Buy now” — but you need to close the deal and create a path for them to reach you. Either have the option for them to sign up for or purchase your product right then and there, or at least include a “Request Information” form. 

Whatever you do, make sure you incorporate a CTA. That way, you can make the connection when the time is right.

6. build internal and external links to boost credibility

Great content is one thing, but that traffic needs to be converted into sales and interested potential customers. Part of your website SEO strategy must be to link to the important pages on your website, but also to high-authority external web pages.

The reason for building out links is two-fold. First, linking to internal pages on your website keeps users on your site longer and boosts your high-authority pages in search engines. Second, quality external links (or links to other websites) back up your arguments with valid sources and boost your site’s relevance in the process.

don’t overdo your links

You shouldn’t go crazy with links. For example, don’t start putting two links in one sentence. Be conscious about how much you’re linking off your site. It’s confusing for the reader and can be distracting. Don’t force it. Instead, use links when they’re extremely relevant to what you’re writing. 

write right

Strategies for SEO are endless, and you should constantly be adapting to find holes in your SEO plan and address them. Stay persistent and you’ll find results.

Write with your target consumer in mind, make it easier for them to connect to your products and services by using the right keywords and phrases, and give them all the information they could want. 

In the long term, you’ll build your website SEO, and you’ll build relationships with the people who matter. Don’t we all love a win-win?

If you enjoyed this info and want some more help on building your website SEO strategy, reach out via email, phone, or just click the chat bubble in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. We’ll chat IRL.

company blogging

Every business wants more website visitors — more visitors equates leads, and leads generate sales. But how is your website giving value to your customers? Blogging should be a cornerstone in your content marketing strategy to help drive steady traffic to your website.

Of course, if your blog content is engaging and provides something to a potential customer, they’re more likely to value your business. By combining valuable content with search-engine best practices, businesses will see steady growth online.

If your business doesn’t blog, it should start. What a lot of businesses don’t realize about blogging is the potential for growth and online visibility that they offer. Even a few blog posts a month can increase your web presence, engagement and improve your SEO.

Not convinced yet? Here are the three main ways blogging can benefit your business.

1. improves site traffic & SEO

Search engines love new content, and blog posts are a great way to create fresh content focusing on your brand and what you’re all about. Use your blog posts to inform your customers about the products and services that they love, give them how-to’s, and help them connect more deeply to the value you bring to their lives. 

In doing this, you’ll naturally incorporate the keywords and phrases they are using online when searching for this information. As a result, you will align your content with what they’re looking for, improving your SEO and increasing your visibility on the web.

In turn, you have more indexed pages — or pages that can be found in search engines. And all of them relate back to your business. You can also power up on that SEO with quality links, with related posts or other pertinent information.

blogging creates content for social media

With a content plan in place, you can distribute your blogs on social media channels to get the word out and drive even more traffic to your site. Essentially, information and bits of content from your blog can be reshared across social platforms to keep social feeds fresh and updated.

In addition to an evergreen timeline, new potential customers can begin to find and interact with your brand through various social channels.

2. builds relationships with customers

Earlier we touched on helping your customers connect more deeply with your brand. That’s how great relationships are built. 

Your blog can help you strengthen the connection you already have with loyal customers, and also build new connections with potential customers. As you share your business expertise and inform them of upcoming trends, specials and news, you will be letting them know that you care about them personally.

write useful blogs

The number one rule here is: Be helpful. Your business blog is not all about salesmanship — it’s about providing something of value to your audience. To be successful, you should always write with your audience in mind. 

Blog for your customers, and don’t be afraid to keep them on their toes! Ask them for feedback on a topic, share funny stories, and celebrate holidays and events with them.

3. establishes brand authority

Blogging gives your business a voice and is the perfect place to let your company’s culture and personality shine through. 

This is your platform with which to share your expertise and set your business apart as a leader in your market. Blogs are a place to show what your business is made of and shout out your successes. 

How do you want people to think of your business? Your blog provides a place for your brand, creativity, enthusiasm and vision to be heard. Make sure your message is loud and clear, so people will understand and remember you when the time comes to make a purchasing decision.

start writing blogs!

Business blogs are a wonderful way for your company to interact with your consumers, improve your SEO and build your brand. And best of all, it’s not only a very profitable form of marketing, it’s also one of the cheapest available. 

Blogs can stay online forever, so they will continually create new traffic even as you create new ones. So now, your business has no excuses to avoid blogging any longer. Create an editorial calendar or talk to us and get blogging!

Post updated: May 18, 2020, 12:10 p.m. EST

In the ever-changing industry of marketing, it’s easy for a brand to get left behind. Staying on top of the latest trends and staying aligned with an audience requires constant self-analysis and research. Take it from the big brands; they’re continually morphing their look and messaging to stay current and maximize their reach. But how do you know whether your company needs a complete rebrand, or a brand refresh?

It’s important to always keep an eye on the market to determine whether or not it’s time for change. However, rebranding is not always necessary. Instead of planning a complete overhaul, sometimes all companies need is a refresh to reflect the ongoing changes in the industry.

Throughout the years, Starbucks has refreshed their look to stay relevant.

When Do I Refresh?

A brand refresh involves keeping the bones of your company the same and simply giving the surface a good makeover. Usually when your brand feels like it no longer stands out, it’s time to revisit your marketing tactics and find out what’s not working. You can also tell by your sales whether or not it’s time to refresh. Consider a refresh if:

  • You want to attract new customers or team members
  • Your messaging and visuals are confusing
  • Your brand feels stale
  • Your website needs work

How Do I Refresh?

A refresh can be thought of as a spring cleaning for your brand. Take a look at your messaging, color palette, images, videos, website, and logo. Sometimes all it takes is fine-tuning your slogan and refreshing your marketing materials. Choose a new font, tweak your current logo. Don’t worry about revamping your entire image.

Buzzfeed’s rebranding made them look more like a quality news source.

When Do I Rebrand?

Sometimes when you opt for rebranding, you risk doing more harm than good. Pulling off a successful rebrand requires a lot of planning and research. You have to create an entirely new brand “personality” and possibly go into a different market than before. Consider rebranding if:

  • Your audience has changed
  • Your company’s identity is dated
  • Old marketing tactics are ineffective
  • The industry has changed
  • Logo, website and messaging don’t align with your mission

How Do I rebrand?

Rebranding is all about changing the way your audience sees you. In order to do that, you need to really determine what you want to accomplish with your rebranding. Setting a clear goal helps to steer you in the right direction. Examine your competition, but don’t copy them. Focus on what makes your company unique and build a new identity based on the core values of your business.

energyhill branding services

At energyhill, we help businesses find their voice or just freshen up their current one. We understand the changes in the industry and advise the businesses we partner with accordingly. If you are looking to modernize your brand’s identity or are looking to start from the ground up all over again, contact us to get the conversation started.