• FAQs

          Search engine optimization (SEO) helps businesses drive visits to their website through organic search traffic. Given that the top organic search results receive a third of the clicks, a decline in ranking could be detrimental for your business. Implementing SEO best practices on your website will help to ensure that your web content is seen by as many potential customers as possible. The more visitors you have, the better your chances are of converting those visits into sales!

          Local search engine optimization (SEO) helps local businesses gain visibility by optimizing their local business listings for local search. A business that leverages local SEO will include its address, phone number, local opening times, and exact location in the form of a local citation. The goal is to rank for local searches which are usually performed by people in a specific geographical region looking for a business near them.

          We typically see results within the first 30 to 60 days, but when it comes to SEO, there are many factors at play. It's important to remember that SEO is a long-term strategy and results may not come as fast at you wish.

        • FAQs

          Digital advertising uses the internet to send advertisements to customers who are online through different websites and social media platforms like Google, Bing, LinkedIn and Facebook.

          The price for Google Ads management depends on the monthly ad spend. For accounts with $1,000 in monthly ad spend, the price is $550/month. Between $1,000 and $5,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $950/month. For $5,000 to $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $2,000/month. For more than $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $4,500/month.

          The price for Social Media Ads management depends on the monthly ad spend. For accounts with $1,000 in monthly ad spend, the price is $550/month. Between $1,000 and $5,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $950/month. For $5,000 to $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $2,000/month. For more than $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $4,500/month.

        • FAQs

          This depends on the complexity and size of a redesign and if eCommerce is needed. On average, it takes around 14-18 weeks from the web design intensive stage to launch.

          If your website experiences the following issues: it’s not responsive on all devices, has a slow loading speed, the design appears old and tired, users don’t spend long on the site, sales are stagnant, or your business is going through a rebranding - your website needs a redesign to boost your brand awareness and sales.

          Sometimes there’s no need to rebuild a website. Minor edits, refreshing page content and images, or restructuring page layout for SEO best practices can boost traffic and sales.

        • FAQs

          Semantic search launched in 2013 with the release of Google's Hummingbird update. Since then, Google's search engine has become more complex. The integration of machine learning, with RankBrain, and NLP, with BERT, has enabled the search engine to better understand the context of a query and deliver more personalized and targeted results. Semantic SEO is the process of creating machine-readable content using structured data and linked open data to help search engines better understand your content.

          On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page SEO refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals. From meta tags to page content, website structure, and HTML, on-page optimization services are focused on making your website more visible to search engines.

          Structured data refers to any organized data that conforms to a certain format, such as information in a relational database. When information is highly structured and predictable, search engines can more easily organize and display it in creative ways. Structured data involves using a piece of code that is laid out in a specific format easily understood by search engines. The search engines read the code and use it to display search results in a more dynamic way.

        • FAQs

          An SEO agency has experts in different areas of search engine optimization that may be out of the realm of your marketing team's abilities. SEO can be very complex and time-consuming. Furthermore, as search engine algorithms change it can be difficult to stay current on the latest ranking factors and strategies for improving online visibility. You will likely see a greater return on investment and better results from using a professional SEO agency than you would from tackling this on your own.

          As a digital marketing agency, SMA Marketing provides products and services in four areas: SEO, Local SEO, Digital Advertising, and Web Design

          We focus on building authentic, long-lasting relationships with our clients. We’re goal oriented and results driven and believe in doing good and making a difference in the world.

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The Problem With Personas & How We Can Fix It

The idea of creating and using personas to help create a better user experience and engagement was birthed in the software industry 30 years ago. Computer software was clunky, hard to use, and had a terrible user experience. Allen Cooper, a software inventor and architectural consultant, interviewed actual users and used the information and feedback they gave him to help shape and create more user-friendly software. The persona was born. Over the years personas have become the foundation of good development not just in the software industry, but in the design and marketing worlds as well. While I believe they are essential to success, the way many develop personas is outdated.

Context is the key to effective communication. It sets the tone and the basis for understanding what is actually being said. Good marketing and design start with good communication. It’s the duty of the communicator to set the context and tone of the message in a way that makes it more palatable for the end user. Persona development is key in helping marketers and designers create a better context for their message.

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The Problem

Because of the lack of real research during the persona development process, many questioned the effectiveness of personas. If we are to create personas that are actually useful and user-driven we must be willing to do the hard work. This means not settling for assumptions and going deeper than the surface level.

Persona development involves dissecting and breaking down intrinsic and extrinsic data. While the hard data such as demographics, job titles, and geographic location are easy to collect, it’s the intrinsic data that is hard to collect and make use of. Just having one or two phone calls with a current or potential user isn’t going to give you the information you need.

Personas are supposed to be as close a representation of your ideal client or users as possible. When interviewing people we have to remember one thing, they are human. While we hope they would give us authentic answers, an interview rarely produces 100% accurate results. What people say and what they do are usually very different. So trusting your interviewees to give you all the info you need is a dangerous assumption.

The Fix

People are emotionally driven creatures. We base much of our decision-making on how we will feel after making the decision. This is true for both intellectual and relational decision-making.  The more we uncover the emotional motivation for why our personas do what they do, the better we can understand their needs. Developing empathy skills is crucial for marketers, designers, and researchers.

One practical way to hone your empathy skills is to learn how to listen. Listening is not about waiting your turn to ask another question or make a comment. Listening is about stopping, hearing, and trying to understand the other person’s point of view. As Zeno of Citium said, “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” When you listen more, people tell you more. It shows you value what they say and are interested in them. This allows them to open up and tell you the truth.

As I stated above, what people say and what people do are usually very different. This doesn’t mean we should forgo the interview process during persona creation. It just means we shouldn’t necessarily take our interviewee at their word. Today we have some amazing software that can help compare what people say and what they do online. This will help us find the intersection where their words and actions come together. When you find this, you are on the right track. Here is a list of a few of my favorite tools.

  • Hotjar: Hotjar is a heat mapping tool. It gives you an understanding of how your user naturally uses your site. You can even set up recording and watch how users browsed your site and content.
  • BrightInfo: Brightinfo is a personalized marketing platform. Where it’s really helpful in persona development and understanding users is in the analytics. Using the data you can see where your users are similar in their likes and interests.
  • HubSpot:  HubSpot is mostly known for marketing automation, but it also helps you understand your users. The timeline tools that show how an individual contact has journeyed through your funnel is very insightful. While the full software is an investment, they are getting ready to release a free version. Learn more here.
  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a great tool. The demographics, interest, and behavior data are very helpful in better understanding your users. Best part, it’s free!

Traditional marketing segmentation and persona creation focused a lot more on demographics than psychographics. The internet has really made the world a lot smaller. This has blurred a lot of the traditional regional demographics, making them less reliable. If we are to understand our persona’s real motivation, we must understand why they do what they do. This is where psychographics comes in. Personality profiling using Myers Briggs is a great tool, as is the Four Temperaments Assessment. These assessments will give you a clearer picture of the “why” behind your users’ actions.

Personas are extremely important for marketing, advertising, and UX design. As the world evolves and changes, so must the processes. We cannot rely on outdated methods to deliver the same results. If we are truly going to be able to effectively reach our audience and help our customers engage, we must get to know them on an emotional level. Below is a link to our updated buyer persona template. It is designed to help you go deeper in your persona development. Check it out and let me know what you think!

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