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Get Early Access to Our State of the Agency 2020: Here's How
By now, our State of the Agency report is an annual tradition. We gather insights on how marketing agencies truly run their businesses—how they price their offerings, how they hire employees, and so much more.

Well, it’s that time of year again. And this time, we’re asking you to help us out by filling out a quick survey so we can create our biggest, most detailed, most comprehensive report yet.

Here’s what’s happening. And, new this year, here’s how you can get involved in this year’s State of the Agency survey—and get the official report first.

State of Agency recap

Our State of the Agency is the resource for understanding what your peers are doing right now to stay successful in a very competitive market. We survey hundreds of digital marketing agencies, and the end result is a report full of data-backed insights that allow agencies to learn from one another and explore different tactics on how to grow their business.

Whether you're just starting out, a seasoned veteran, or somewhere in between, the data is invaluable.

Year after year, for instance, we’ve found that acquiring new clients is one of the biggest challenges that agencies face.




These findings aren’t just helpful for agencies; they’ve influenced serious WordStream evolutions. Because winning new clients is a consistent challenge, we’ve created webinars on how to market your agency, and we’ve released the New Business Center, a suite of agency-specific tools to help generate proposals and pitch prospects so that you can grow your business.

And this year, we want to do more. We want to ask smarter questions that can help shape WordStream’s future and give us all a fuller picture of the agency industry in 2020. But that takes some work!

Get early access to the State of the Agency 2020!

The new state of the agency

WordStream has always been committed to helping agencies grow and building tools to make it easier, and the State of the Agency helps us do this.

So, we re-imagined the data gathering process and elevated our approach.

We started by creating a cross-functional team curated from members of marketing, sales and product here at WordStream. This way we had perspective from across the company. Then, we flushed out which questions we liked from years past and which questions we should axe.

Next, we added...
The Small Business Guide to Online Reputation Management
You own a small auto shop in Worcester, MA. Things are going well, but you can’t shake the feeling that you could be growing faster. Referral marketing isn’t bringing you as much business as it used to, and you don’t have the time or the resources to run a commercial on local TV.

So, you decide that it’s time to get serious about digital marketing. To get a high-level sense of where you currently stand, you do a quick Google search for your shop’s name. Much to your chagrin, you find this on the search results page:

This, unfortunately, is a list of your three biggest competitors. Not only are their names featured prominently on the page, but they’ve also made it extremely easy for their prospects—i.e., your prospects—to get in contact with them.

Not ideal.

The good news is that yours is a simple problem to fix. With online reputation management, you can turn platforms like Google, Facebook, and Yelp into major revenue generators. Let’s dive deeper.

What is online reputation management?

Online reputation management, otherwise known simply as ORM, is the practice of improving the perception of your business in the eyes of potential customers. To break that down further, online reputation management involves two things:

Identifying the online resources that potential customers may use to learn more about your business.
Taking steps to make sure those resources cast your business in a positive light.
(If a potential customer does a Google search for your business and finds nothing but information about your competitors, it’s unlikely that they’ll perceive you in a positive light.)

Having a presence like this in the search results makes you look trustworthy.

As you might expect, the goal of online reputation management is to grow your customer base and increase your revenue. As you might not expect, it doesn’t need to be expensive. If you’re savvy—and if you heed my advice—you’ll be able to manage your online reputation without breaking the bank.

Here are the practices and platforms I’ll discuss in today’s guide:

Search engine optimization (SEO)
Google My Business
Facebook (including Messenger)
Online reputation management for small businesses

As I’ve tried to make abundantly clear, this is a guide to online reputation management specifically for small businesses. If this were a guide for large brands and...
5 Strategies to Make Your Agency More Profitable & Scalable
If you work at a digital marketing agency, you’re familiar with the fast-paced work environment—your staff needs to work quickly and accurately, while managing both internal and external expectations. It’s not an easy task.

Why is it so challenging? The answer is probably obvious. In addition to competing with other agencies for business, you're also up against companies bringing these services in-house. With the number of rivals growing in the industry, it’s important to look at all aspects of the business to ensure success. Your clients come first, but agencies that focus on increasing profitability and scalability, beyond just providing excellent client services, are the ones that find long-term success.

It’s a tough balancing act—understanding that you want to deliver the best results to your clients, but not at the expense of it costing your agency more time than anticipated—but it’s not impossible.

Accelo recently partnered with WordStream on a new integration that aims to make scaling your agency much easier. Today, let's take a look at some strategic ways your agency can scale and remain profitable without sacrificing a vital part of your business—fostering and maintaining strong client relationships.

1. First, don't stop prioritizing superior client service

While project manageability is a top concern, client service should not fall off your radar. As your business scales, it’s more important than ever to focus on fostering and maintaining client relationships. Referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations are incredibly valuable when garnering new business, so making that a top priority sets up an agency for success.

Part of providing great client service is ensuring that you are properly staffed and that employees are making the most of their time spent at work. It costs so much more to acquire a new client than it does to retain an existing one, so focusing on providing an impactful and seamless experience for your clients remains a top priority.

2. Stop sweating the small stuff

Agencies run into a lot of roadblocks when focusing on scalability and profitability. Around 43% of agencies do not have time to work on administrative tasks, which leads to longer days, inaccurate information, and decreasing productivity. Employees at all levels spend time and energy running campaigns, running reports, filling out...
Here's Everything You Need in Your 2020 Tech Stack
There is no one-size-fits-all option for marketing technology, but a good tech stack generally includes tools for marketers’ most pressing needs, like analytics, automation, communication, content, customer relationship management, and SEO. Figuring out which marketing tools are most pressing ultimately depends on individual business needs.

“In order to pick the right tech stack, you need to, first of all, have your goal clear in your head and a very firm idea of what you need the stack to achieve and how it should help you to do this," said Polly Kay, senior marketing manager at the retailer English Blinds. "From there, look to build a tech stack that will be scalable and only then get into the fine details of comparing the pros, cons, and extras of all of the various apps that could make up your eventual solution.”

How does your tech stack up?

Now, this is certainly not a comprehensive list of all possible tools, but it is an extensive, crowd-sourced guide to the tools that marketers need to consider when building out a tech stack in 2020. Oh, and it’s alphabetized by marketing function so that you can read through or jump to a high-priority section based on your marketing needs.

Here's what we're covering:

Behavioral analytics
Content management system
Customer data platform
Customer relationships management
Email marketing
Graphic design
Marketing automation
Project/task management
Site audits
Social media marketing
Workflow automation
Let’s get started.


Marketers have tons of data at their disposal—and they need something to make sense of it.

According to Darren Taylor, principal consultant at digital marketing resource The Big Marketer, the analytics tool all marketers should use in 2020 is Google’s web analytics service, Google Analytics.

“The impact of analytics in determining and modifying strategy, conversion rate optimization and customer behavior is phenomenal,” he said. “It's the core tool that will allow you to decide where to invest your marketing budget. It's the tool that justifies all other tools.”

Calling it “an oldie but a goodie,” Tommia Hayes, digital communications manager at Community Health Charities, said Google Analytics provides insightful data that can provide a better understanding of what site content resonates and how to improve...
3 Major Differences Between Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising
It does not take much effort for an advertiser to import their campaigns from Google Ads straight into Microsoft Ads. But the most common mistake I tend to see is optimizing Microsoft Ads in the exact same way as with their Google Ads account. There are several differences between the two advertising platforms that advertisers need to remember to better optimize their campaigns.

Microsoft Advertising search ads might look similar to Google Ads, but it’s important to remember the differences. 

In this post, I’ll share three major differences between Google and Microsoft that you need to know to get started. That way, next time you go in and optimize the mentioned areas in the channels, you will feel confident you are making the right decisions!

Ad scheduling

One way users can target their ads, or even just make certain bid adjustments, is with ad scheduling. Advertisers can choose the time of day and day of the week they would want their ads to be shown. They can also schedule times to make certain bid adjustments. What advertisers may have to be careful of doing is making the same ad schedule adjustments in both Google Ads and Microsoft Ads by default. It’s important to remember that these are different channels, so you need to know how ad scheduling works for each channel and check the data to see what performs best for your account.

In Google Ads, when you go to edit your ad schedule (as seen above), Google reminds you what time zone your account is in. This is because your ad schedule in Google is based upon the time zone you chose when you created your Google Ads account. In the image above, the account is Pacific Time and targeting all days at all hours. If this account is targeting the United States but wanted to change the hours to 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., then they would have to keep in mind that users on Eastern Time would see the ads from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If this does not sound ideal, the advertiser will have to create separate campaigns if they want to keep every time zone set to the same hours.

Now with Microsoft Ads, ad scheduling works differently. As seen in the image above, you can see Microsoft’s ad scheduling is based on the location of the person viewing the ad. So the same advertiser could still target the entire United States, keep the hours to 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and not...
Employee Spotlight: Ian Woodward, Yacht Rock Enthusiast
WordStream has some impressive employees in our ranks: from industry influencers to marathon runners, from analysts to authors. The Employee Spotlight series aims to highlight the talented individuals who work here. Each month, we’ll be featuring an interview here on the blog and on our social accounts.

For this month’s Employee Spotlight, we’re featuring Ian Woodward, who’s been at WordStream for about five years. He was also the inaugural Employee of the Year at our first Core Value Awards. We talked with Ian about why he wanted to join WordStream’s sales team, his Yacht Rock playlist, the new brewery across the street from his apartment, and more!

What’s your position at WordStream?

My current title is senior manager of sales operations, but what I do has definitely evolved over time. When I first started, I was a member of the sales team for about a year and a half before moving over to a sales enablement role. That job required me to provide general sales training to the floor and onboarding for all new hires on the team. My responsibilities have since grown to include maintaining all of our sales technical systems and managing a team dedicated to sales support, as well. Operations can be pretty broad and luckily that's allowed my projects to be wide-ranging, which is definitely a perk.

How did you hear about WordStream? Why did you want to work here?

How I came to WordStream is a lot different from how we hire now. I was actually working with an outside recruiter who had successfully placed two of my roommates, so I knew she had a good track record. When I interviewed at WordStream, I really liked the team I met and was impressed by how much emphasis there was around internal growth and promotion. The major thing that attracted me initially about the sales process was that it offered the opportunity to work with so many different small and medium-sized businesses, which never gets boring.

WordStream's sales team at last year's holiday party.

What’s your favorite thing about working at WordStream?

How easy it is to find new challenges. On the sales team, that could be joining one of our departmental cross-functional teams to help shape the future of our product or contributing to our growing library of training collateral for newer members.

On my team, I make sure that the folks working for me always have the...
How to Do a Backlink Audit to Improve SEO in 5 Easy Steps
The post How to Do a Backlink Audit to Improve SEO in 5 Easy Steps appeared first on BuzzSumo.
Boost Your Facebook Video Views with These 6 Tactics
Wisely, you’ve taken the dive into video marketing. Whether you’re using video to create educational content or product-focused advertisements, you’ve made the right decision. It is, after all, the year 2020; any digital marketing strategy that lacks video is incomplete.

Now that you’re in the game, it’s time for the hard part: figuring out how you’re going to increase your Facebook video views. Getting users to pay attention to your content—whether it’s paid or organic—is a daunting task. If you want to keep your prospects from scrolling directly past your videos, you need to put together some kind of plan.

Let’s kick things off with a quick refresher on Facebook ad campaigns. Then, I’ll dive into my six tips for increasing your Facebook video views this year:

Study the competition
Give users a reason to come back (i.e., provide value)
Create content specifically for Facebook
Make audio optional
Experiment with a home video aesthetic
Always be flexible
P.S. Don’t bounce after the sixth tip; I’ve got some examples that everyone can learn from!

Facebook video views campaigns

If you’re thinking about putting some money behind your Facebook videos—which, for the record, I wholeheartedly recommend—this refresher is for you. For those of you who are strictly interested in organic video, the tips in the next section are still applicable!

Facebook offers 11 different types of campaigns to their advertisers—video views being one of them. When you elect to run a video views campaign, you send a simple (yet important) message to Facebook’s algorithms: Getting people to watch my content is my top priority. As such, the platform will optimize the delivery of your ads in order to get your videos in front of users who are most likely to engage.

Although audience targeting and placement targeting are important considerations, I’m not going to discuss them in this post. For our purposes, what I really want to focus on is budgeting (handled at the ad set level of the campaign creation process). When building out your budget, the first thing you have to decide is what you want to optimize for. In the case of a Facebook video views campaign, you have two options:

ThruPlay (default setting): If your video is shorter than 15 seconds, Facebook will deliver it to users who are likely to watch the whole thing. If it’s longer than 15 seconds,...
How to Find Thousands of Hot Ideas for Your YouTube Content Creation
The post How to Find Thousands of Hot Ideas for Your YouTube Content Creation appeared first on BuzzSumo.

Number of Total Worldwide Registered Domains Updated: Feb 24 2020