2016 B2B Benchmark Report Summary Header

10 Takeaways from the B2B Content Marketing Benchmark Report 2016

By | Content Marketing, Industry News | No Comments

For the last six years, Content Marketing Institute has teamed up with MarketingProfs to bring content marketers a yearly benchmark report regarding the state of content marketing with B2B businesses. If you haven’t read the 2016 B2B report, or you don’t have time read through the whole thing, here are the key takeaways you should be aware of.

1. Effective content marketers do things differently.

This was the key theme of this year’s B2B research, and the four things we content marketers do differently are:

  1. Understand how successful content marketing looks.
  2. Document content marketing strategies.
  3. Record editorial mission statements.
  4. Communicate with team members.

2. Organizations’ effectiveness at content marketing is down from last year.

In 2015, 38 percent of B2B marketers surveyed said their organizations were effective. This year, that number dropped to 30 percent. Respondents who document, are good communicators and have experience had higher effectiveness levels.

3. More B2B marketers aren’t sure what success or effectiveness looks like with their organization.

Fifty-five percent said they’re unclear or unsure about success or effectiveness within their organization, while only 44 percent are clear.

4. The more marketers meet, the more effective they are.

Forty-four percent meet every day or every week, be that in person or virtually, to go over their content marketing program’s progress. Sixty-one percent of the most effective B2B marketers meet daily or weekly.

5. Organizations are more effective when they document their strategy.

Research unfailingly tells us that documenting our strategy makes us more effective in every area of content marketing. Yet, fewer B2B marketers have a documented strategy, 32 percent this year compared to 35 percent last year.

6. Content marketing maturity levels are equally apportioned.

The content marketing maturity levels of respondents surveyed show nearly one-third were in the early stage, one-third in the adolescent stage and one-third in the mature stage. And as you’d expect, findings prove that the more experience marketers have, the more effective they are.

7. Total marketing budget allocated to content marketing is the same as last year.

Twenty-eight percent of B2B marketers distribute their budget to content marketing efforts. But the most effective distribute 42 percent, while the most mature divvy out 46 percent.

8. Two goals should be on content marketers’ radar this year.

During the next 12 months, lead gen and sales are the most important goals for B2B content marketers.

9. Website traffic is no longer the only significantly used metric.

B2B marketers rated metrics by importance this year, and the results were that sales lead quality, sales and higher conversion rates, in that order, also matter.

10. The top priority for internal content creators remains the same.

Like in past reports, the biggest focus for the coming year is producing engaging content.

GA Exam (1)

How to Pass the Google Analytics IQ Exam in 2016

By | Digital Marketing, How-To, Strategy, Tools | 4 Comments

Predicting trends for 2016 have been the focal point of feeds for weeks and there isn’t a better time than now to focus on attainable goals for the present. Here’s one you can begin to check off today:

Take the next two weeks to study for the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) Exam and get certified!

Whether you’re new to digital marketing, or a seasoned guru needing to brush up your credentials to impress clients or C-suites, passing the GAIQ exam is a great demonstration of proficiency and will allow you to better leverage Analytics within your business or agency.

You might have already come across some resourceful guides that demonstrate how to prepare for the exam in a matter of days. Success in such a short time will depend greatly on your previous knowledge and experience using Analytics.

As a GA novice, I found two weeks to provide just the right amount of study-time to get a comprehensive grasp on the content, without leaving a large enough time gap for having to relearn previous material.

Here’s the breakdown of how I studied for the GAIQ exam, while keeping my eyes dry the entire time, and passed!

The Logistics

  • 70 Questions
  • 90 Minutes
  • 80% in order to pass. You must answer 56 questions correctly.
  • Valid for 18 months.
  • Questions will come in forms of Multiple Choice and True/False.

** You will find that in Google’s provided course material below, some Multiple Choice questions will come in the form; Check all that apply, meaning that if 3 answers for a single question apply, and you select 2 only, then your answer for the entire question is incorrect. The actual GAIQ exam is much more straightforward than this, providing 1 correct answer only for each question. Whew!

G exam


What’s Changed?

  • No Charge. The GAIQ exam is completely free
  • No Badge. Instead of a completion badge, you may print your personalized certificate or promote it on your Google Partners profile page.
  • No Revisiting. Questions appear in sequential order and once you have selected an answer, you will not be able to return to the question.
  • No Discouragement. You may retake the exam 7 days after the initial attempt if need be.

The Essentials

While Google Partners offers four courses of actionable material pertaining to Analytics, the bread and butter of the exam are within the first two courses. Be sure to know these well: Digital Analytics Fundamentals and Google Analytics Platform Principles.

Each course consists of a series of Units, with corresponding Activities and a Final Assessment. The units are somewhat lengthy and full of video content (you can opt for the text transcript version if you’d like).

Do take the time to absorb the content of each course in its entirety and take notes; you will be thanking yourself later. Here is an sample 2 week study calendar that helped me to stay on track:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week 1 D.A.Fund

Units 1&2


Units 3&4


Unit 5


Unit 6

Final Assessment
Week 2 Platform Principles

Units 1&2

Platform Principles Unit 3 Platform Principles Unit 4 Final Assessment Take GAIQ Exam

What You’ll See: 

You can almost guarantee to see these topics, covered in the Digital Analytics Fundamentals and Platform Principles courses, on the exam:

 Attribution Models: 

Understand the overviewLast Interaction. Last Non-Direct Click. Last AdWords Click. First Interaction. Linear. Time Decay. Position Based.

Analytics Tracking: 

Know how Google tracks via mobile, desktop, or other digitally connected device. Where do you place the GA tracking code on a site?

Types of Goals:

Goal types are Destination. Duration. Pages/Screens per session. Event. Why define a Goal Value for non-ecomm websites?

Campaign Tracking:  

Practice using the URL BuilderDestination URL. Source. Medium. Campaign Name. Campaign Content. Know the mediums auto-tracked by Analytics vs. mediums needing manual tagging.

Analytics Process & Structure:

The process flows in this order: Collection. Configuration & Processing. Reporting. Understand how configuration and processing coincide. Structure from top to bottom looks like this: Account- Properties- Views


Image Source: Analytics Academy 

Importing Data to GA:

Brush up on these concepts: Account Linking. Data Import.Dimension widening. Cost data import.

Dimensions and Metrics:

Know the difference between dimensions and metrics and understand scope.

Reporting Tools:

Be sure to get these common reporting tasks down: Date comparison. Table filter. Table sort. Plot rows. Primary dimension. Secondary dimension. Pie chart. Pivot table.

Behavior Reports:

Dig into the Behavior Flow of your Analytics for this one and explore Site Content: All Pages. Content Drilldown. Landing Pages. Exit Pages. Site Speed. Site Search. Events.


What Threw Me:

These few topics didn’t stand out as much to me throughout the course material. Be sure to brush up on the following:

Measurement Protocol:

Developers can measure how users interact with their business from almost any environment.


Know these two types of alerts: Auto Alerts vs. Customer Alerts.

Real Time:

Understand the capabilities and limitations to monitoring instant web activity.

Site Speed:

Know the Site Speed reports metrics measured.

Had Enough?


After 2 weeks of being anchored to the fundamentals and principles of Analytics, you are as prepared as you’ll ever be, so don’t stress! Open up Google Partners in Chrome. Sign up if you haven’t already.

In a separate browser, leave open your notes and an active Google Analytics account, if you have one, or use the one you set up as part of the practice courses. Take a deep breath, and begin!

To help set a mellow, relaxed mood, I went for the Study Time Starts Now playlist. 

Get in your zone and let Google track your time and progress in the bottom corners of the test screen.

 Best of luck to you!

As always, Stryde is here for any web traffic, content, or specific Analytics questions you may have regarding your ecommerce or lead generation site.

What are your study tactics for the GAIQ exam? Let us know in the comments below!

Website Audit Header Image

Digital Marketing for Universities: Website Audit

By | Digital Marketing for Universities | No Comments

In our first post we discussed why colleges and universities need to pay attention to digital marketing, now we will discuss some key initiatives for achieving success moving forward.

Before you start any digital marketing efforts, you need to ensure that the website is fundamentally sound. Moreover, that it’s easily crawlable by search engines, both from a technical and content perspective. A comprehensive website audit reveals the full landscape of your university’s website as it stands today.

Conducting a website audit will also reveal any issues impeding incoming traffic, search engine visibility, and so much more. In almost every website audit performed at Stryde, we uncover at least a handful of issues that need to be addressed. For example, take a look at a crawl report for the University of Phoenix’s website.

Please note that University of Phoenix is not a client of Stryde, and this is only for analysis purposes.

Please note that University of Phoenix is not a client of Stryde, and this is only for illustrative analysis purposes only.

A comprehensive website audit consists of two parts:

  1. Technical SEO Audit
  2. Site Optimizations & Implementation

Both of these parts make up the core of search engine optimization (SEO). As Google has explained, “Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.”

Technical SEO Audit

The function of the technical SEO audit is just as you might expect: ensure that search engine crawlers are able to access your webpages . In other words, the elements you analyze here aren’t visible to the casual website visitor. These elements occur behind the screen in the code and other crannies of the website to communicate with the search engines.

A typical technical SEO audit includes analysis of the following key components:

  • General technical issues
  • URL conventions
  • Information architecture
  • Page consolidation

General Technical Issues

There exists a plethora of technical aspects to websites, influencing what visitors see, how they get there, what search engines see, etc. Some most important areas to include in your own technical website audit are HTML markup issues, audit page load times, review canonicalization, server response codes, crawl errors, 404 handling, IP region and Whois location data.

URL Conventions

URLs are not all equal: some are good and some are bad. A ‘good’ URL structure will be logical, clear, lack parameters and be representative of the page’s purpose. When the URL structure is optimized to label page content and establish hierarchy, search engines and users understand the topic, relevance, and importance of every single page on your website. For example,

  • Bad URL Structure: http://www.phoenix.edu/colleges_divisions/business.html (current URL on phoenix.edu)
  • Good URL Structure: http://www.phoenix.edu/study/business

Information Architecture & Page Consolidation

After an appropriate URL structure is determined, you need to optimize the labeling and organization of your website’s content to conform to search engine guidelines, as well as improving the usability and contextual relevance for your website’s real human visitors. During this time, you’ll also want to review your website for superfluous pages. Consolidating your website’s page to include only what is relevant only positively serves the search engines and visitors to your website.

As you review the university’s website with information architecture in mind, it’s important to consider the algorithmic approach used by search engines to dissect, analyze, and categorize content.

Pertinent signals used by search engines to categorize information include elements like title tags, internal links, and more. We’ll dig into these elements in the following section.

Site Optimizations

A technically sound website is only half of the complete audit process. Part two, the site optimization portion, allows search engine crawlers to associate unique keyword themes to each page on your website. By analyzing a handful of on-page factors, you can optimize each of your website’s pages to their fullest potential.

The on-page elements you should look at when carrying out site optimizations are title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, image file names, image alt attributes, and contextual internal links.

Title Tags

Every page on your site has a title tag, which functions as a descriptive snippet viewable by search engine crawlers and search engine users. It’s what shows up in search results pages, and it’s typically the first thing any user from a search engine will read about your website.

Title Tag where to find

The title tag (the text in blue) is succinct and includes keywords like online colleges, schools, and classes.

Best practices indicate that the title tag should be between 50 and 60 characters. As well as function as a concise, accurate preview of what’s on the page. The title tag should include the keyword theme of the page it represents.

Meta Descriptions

The meta description functions as a slightly more in-depth preview of the page’s content to both search engines and users of search engines. It lives below the title tag and the URL in the search results and gives users a concise synopsis of the content found within the page.

meta description where to find

The meta description (the black text) falls within the character allotment, and includes relevant keywords.

For meta descriptions, best practices dictate a character count of between 140 and 150 characters. As with title tags, you should include the unique keyword theme in where applicable in the meta description.

Heading Tags

If you think of each unique URL of your website like a book, heading tags function as the chapter titles. H1, H2, and H3 tags describe the topics of your content to the search engines. Furthermore, they allow for ease of scanability by visitors.
Heading Tags
Search engines don’t place a large amount of SEO value on heading tags. That being said, they’re still taken into consideration and provide value to human visitors to your website.

Image File Names & Alt Attributes

With all of the advanced and sometimes even artificial intelligence used by search engines, they still lack ocular capabilities. Since search engines can’t see, they use image file names and alt attributes to determine the content of visual images. Which means your image file names, and more importantly alt attributes, provide additional and critical context to search engine crawlers.

If the images on your site were uploaded with names like “IMG 3480” or something similar, you’ll at least want to give each image a descriptive alt attribute.

Contextual Internal Links

The pages of your website should support each other. One way to show this support is through contextual internal links. In the copy of your website pages, you should link (where appropriate) to other pages on your website. Not only does this show the search engines how the content of your pages work together, but it keeps the visitor clicking through pages of your website and consuming more of your content.
EDU Website internal links

What’s Next?

After you’ve performed the complete website audit process, your university’s website will be foundationally sound and ready for domination of the digital marketing world! But first, you’ll need to set your goals and strategy. You’re in luck, because our next installment of Digital Marketing for Universities, we’re going to tackle goal setting and strategy.

Here’s a look ahead at all of the upcoming Digital Marketing for Universities content:

  • Goal Setting & Strategy
  • SEO Need-to-Knows
  • Platform Identification
  • Tapping Your Content Sources

We’ll see you soon for more! Until then, don’t hesitate to drop us a line or a comment with any challenges you’re encountering with digital marketing for universities.

Digital marketing for universities

Digital Marketing for Universities: Why Higher Education Should Care

By | Digital Marketing for Universities | No Comments

Think about today’s college student. Can they navigate through their college journey — from researching schools up through graduation — without online interaction? It is highly unlikely. A Google and Compete study in 2013 found:

One in ten prospective students now search exclusively online for classes and programs.

Jump ahead to 2016, that number has likely tripled or quadrupled. Further, a study by the U.S. Department of Education projected there to be 20.4 million students enrolled in degree-granted institutions in 2016.

That alone tells you how important the digital domain is to higher education institutions and why yours should care about digital marketing. But, it’s not the only reason. In fact, it’s quite far from the only reason why you need to care and why in order to make it on the short list of schools of today’s potential students you have to implement a solid digital marketing strategy.

A competitive war is raging.

The higher education market is an extremely competitive one. The University of Phoenix, in years past, has spend between $200,000 and $400,000 a day on ads in Google. With a budget of $100 million in advertising, the University of Phoenix alone has increased the competitive landscape online. And the school isn’t stopping there, check out the video series below about getting started and how the University of Phoenix works.

It’s a war out there amongst every university in the U.S. All are competing for more students, more research funds and more partnerships. Essentially, all are fighting to secure their own personal financial sustainability.

The higher education war is fought on numerous battlefields, but the digital battlefield has grown substantially. In order for you to even compete online, time, planning, perseverance and a durable digital marketing strategy are needed.

Your target market is online 24/7.

Whether sending a tweet via their smartphone, online shopping on their tablet or Skyping their parents on their laptop, your target market is online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Technology has allowed them to remain connected to their family, friends and the whole world.

They’re always on, so use that to your advantage when creating a digital strategy.

Research is international.

American citizens living in the U.S. aren’t the only ones conducting higher education research. Online research is an international thing.

As of February of 2015, more than 1 million international students were enrolled in nearly 9,000 schools throughout the U.S. We host more of the world’s international students than any other country. These students would never have been able to discover American universities or quickly apply to their desired schools if they weren’t able to do online research.

Approximately 96 percent of students use the Internet, most notably college-related websites, while making their higher education decisions. If your digital marketing strategy isn’t up to par and your online content unique, your school isn’t going to make it on any perspective student’s short list, whether nationally or internationally located.

It’s a way to attract and retain nontraditional learners.

While there is no set definition for a nontraditional student, the National Center for Education Statistics has acknowledged seven characteristics common amongst nontraditional undergraduate students:

  1. Don’t start their higher education right after graduating from high school
  2. Have a GED rather than a high school diploma
  3. Attend only part time
  4. Work full time (minimum of 35 hours a week)
  5. Are financially independent
  6. Are a single parent
  7. Have children or other dependents besides a spouse

Nearly 75 percent of all undergraduate students have at least one of these seven characteristics, making them nontraditional in some way.

To better attract and retain these learners, students valuable to your institution, you have to understand their unique needs and be able to reach and influence them individually. Digital marketing allows you to do all of the above.

It increases applications and raises student satisfaction.

Because your target market is online 24/7, you have to be able to engage with them 24/7. You physically can’t be awake every hour of every day to answer potential and current students’ questions — but your online content can.

Having content that’s easy to find and access and that’s always available is the best way to engage with your target audience. Actively engaging with students is one of the best ways to increase student applications and raise your current student satisfaction level. Online content offers you and your students a win-win situation.

The University of Vermont displays this round-the-clock content approach with it’s popular UVM Outreach blog. Not only does UVM Outreach provide articles and information on business and career, but also college lifestyle content focused on travel, health, and local Vermont activities.

Digital marketing is what keeps your institution alive and breathing. You need a good digital marketing strategy if you want to remain at the forefront of today’s higher education competitive war.

Which is exactly what we’re planning on providing over the course of the next several weeks. Every week on the Stryde blog, we’re detailing an important aspect of Digital Marketing for Universities. Here’s a look at what’s in store:

  • Website Audit
  • Goal Setting & Strategy
  • SEO Need-to-Knows
  • Platform Identification
  • Tapping Your Content Sources

We’ll see you back here next week for more digital marketing for Universities content!

2015 Year in Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing Year in Review 2015

By | Industry News, Video | No Comments

As your news feeds become inundated with predictions for 2016, let’s take a look back at what unfolded in 2015 within the wild world of digital marketing.

January 1, 2015

Facebook Limits Promotional Content

Beginning in January 2015, people will see less promotional content in their News Feeds.

March 3, 2015

YouTube Spaces Further Shows Platforms Strength

By March 2015, over 10,000 videos had been created in YouTube Spaces and generated over 1 billion views and over 70 million hours of watch time.

April 22, 2015

Mobile Update AKA “Mobilegeddon”

Mobile rankings would differ for mobile-friendly sites starting on April 21st. The impact of this update was, in the short-term, much smaller than expected.

June 16, 2015

Twitter Native Videos

Twitter gives functionality to upload, edit and share videos straight from your smartphone to the platform, just as you do with photos.

September 9, 2015

Instagram Opens Worldwide Advertising Capabilities

Instagram ads, previously available only in 8 countries, now are available in more than 20 others. Including Italy, Spain and India.

September 27, 2015

Google Announces Customer Match and Universal App Campaigns

Google introduces new advertising capabilities including upload email lists to reach new and existing customers across Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube.

October 25, 2015


Google executives unveiled their advancements in artificial intelligence by revealing the technology that’s been processing a large portion of its search queries.

What’s next for 2016?

Never miss a milestone. Get updates right to your inbox when you subscribe to the Stryde newsletter! Just fill out the form on the right and you can forget your FOMO.

TOP 50 digital marketers 2016

Top 50 Digital Marketing Experts

By | Digital Marketing | No Comments

Some time ago, we featured the top SEO, social media, and content marketing experts in three special posts on the Stryde blog. However, we all know how fast the world changes online. Experts fall out of favor, new voices emerge with innovative ideas, which means a changing landscape of industry experts to follow.

Which, of course, means a brand new list of experts for 2016 needs careful crafting! That’s exactly what the Stryde team has done here. Instead of breaking the world of digital marketing into silos, we know that the best strategy is a holistic one. Accordingly, we’ve amassed the top experts in digital marketing for 2016. To determine individuals included, we used things like Twitter followers, frequency and quality of interactions in the social realm, breadth and depth of experience, insight sharing, as well as impact on the industry as a whole.

By no means is this list exhaustive! Furthermore, it is listed in alphabetical order.

Alex Mandossian, CEO & Founder of Marketing Online

Over nearly three decades of tireless work in the internet marketing field, Alex Mandossian has earned the nickname ‘Warren Buffet of the Internet.’ Need we say more?

Amanda Maksymiw, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Lattice Engines

Amanda Maksymiw has amassed a hoard of awards over her 7 plus years in the digital marketing realm. You can find her contirbuting expert content to Content Marketing Insititute and MarketingProfs.

Amber Naslund, SVP Marketing at Sysomos

The success earned by Amber Naslund is only matched by her larger-than-life personality. Naslund’s passion for social media as a driver for change sets her and her company apart in the digital realm.

Amy Porterfield, Social Media Strategist at Amy Porterfield, Inc.

If Facebook was a language, Amy Porterfield would be highly fluent. Porterfield has helped countellss companys large and small demistify marketing on Facebook, and experience real results.

Ann Handley, Head of Content at MarketingProfs

In the content marketing world, Ann Handley needs no introduction. As the head of content for MarketingProfs and consistent contributions to Entreprenuer Magazie, LinkedIn Influencer Program, and Huffington Post, Handley’s ability to transform her thoughts into wonderful pieces of content knows no bounds.

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist at Marketing Interactions

Ardath Albee’s 30 years of experience give her a one-of-a-kind perspective on the digital marketing landscape. Albee’s focus is, and always has been, conntecting the process and people together.

Arnie Kuenn, CEO of Vertical Measures

A highly recognizable face in digital marketing is Arnie Kuenn. He frequently displays his knowledge from working with the worlds top brands like CBS and NBC at numerous speaking events across the country.

Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google

Avinash Kaushik’s book, Web Analytics 2.0, is standard introductory reading for anyone involved in the digital marketing space. Through that bestseller and others, Kaushik is a highly respected voice on how to leverage data to alter their digital existence.

Barry Feldman, Founder at Feldman Creative

Barry Feldman is no stranger to accolades, he’s been named a Top 40 Digital Strategist by the Online Marketing Institute and as one of the 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by Linkedin.

Chris Goward, Founder of WiderFunnel

When the biggest companies in the world want to optimize their online presence, they call Chris Goward. He and his team at WiderFunnel supercharge business’ web and mobile driven sales.

Danny Sullivan, Founding Editor at MarketingLand

For over a decade, Danny Sullivan has been the go-to expert for web masters, marketers, and everyday web users alike. Sullivan is a true SEO pioneer, it’s as simple as that.

Diane Rayfield, Founder of Harp Social

Speaking of pioneers, Diane Rayfield was one of the first 40 people in the entire world to become certified in social media marketing. Rayfield provides customized social media training, and anyone lucky enough to learn from the master should take the opportunity!

Doug Kessler, Creative Director & Co-founder at Velocity

Velocity touts itself as the “B2B marketing agency to the stars.” With content marketing expert Doug Kessler as creative director, it is sitting comfortably in this position.

Dr. Pete Meyers, Marketing Scientist at Moz

Dr. Pete Meyers sticks to the belief that the best ideas and data are useless unless they can be clearly communicated. Dr. Pete is on a mission to make data cool, and we think he’s doing a pretty amazing job.

Duane Forrester, VP Organic Search Optimization at Bruce Clay, Inc.

With nearly 20 years and two books under his belt, Duane Forrester’s expertise cannot be denied. Few individuals are as well versed in direct search marketing and online marketing as Forrester has proved to be time and time again.

Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia

Gary Vaynerchuck and his agency, VaynerMedia, remains to be a rare breed. Helping Fortune 500 companies find their social voices and build their digital brands through storytelling.

Greg Sterling, VP Strategy and Insights at Local Search Association

The depth of Greg Sterling’s industry knowledge is astounding. But Sterling isn’t content on resting on previous insights, he’s constantly refining what it means to be a ‘local search guru’.

Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist at Canva

A member of the board of trustees for WikiMedia Foundation, brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz USA, and chief evangelist of Canva, Guy Kawasaki has been and remains to be an expert in online activities. If you haven’t used Canva yet, you seriously need to check it out.

Ian Anderson Gray, Founder of Seriously Social

Ian Anderson Gray is armed with over 10 years of experience helping everyone from individuals to large organizations achieve a successful online presence. Gray’s training as a professional singer gives him a unique communication ability to transform technical jargon to beautiful music.

J-P De Clerck, Consultant and Analyst at i-SCOOP

Since 1992, J-P De Clerck has worked passionately at the intersection of technology, marketing, and management. Clerck’s ‘connected’ view of business gives him a unique and valuable viewpoint on strategic planning.

Jason Falls, SVP at Elasticity

Speaker, educator, strategy, to consultation, Jason Falls does it all. Most notably is Falls work on Jim Beam’s “The Remake” video contest, which won a 2009 SAMMY Award for best cross media campaign.

Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert

Attempting to summarize Jay Baer’s experience here would be a futile effort. Legendary speaker, New York Times best selling author, and most of all, a digital marketing success story.

Jim Boykin, Founder & CEO of Internet Marketing Ninjas

Founder and a regular speaker on the industry conference circuit, Jim Boykin’s extensive list of areas of expertise is impressive, to say the least. Boykin and the team at Internet Marketing Ninjas pride themselves on being recognized industry thought-leaders.

Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute

We use the word “content marketing” because of Joe Pulizzi. He started using the term in 2001 and founded the leading content marketing education resource for enterprise brands, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).

John Bell, Enterprise Digital Marketing at Travelers

Travelers selected the expert mind of John Bell to drive it’s Enterprise Digital Marketing. A smart move, Bell is constantly designing new ways to market and how to execute each flawlessly.

John Doherty, Founder & Consultant at Credo

John Doherty has plenty of technical marketing experience, which only serves to heighten his ability to help businesses grow their business. Doherty’s company, Credo, is focused on bringing transparency to the consulting process.

Jose Maria Gil, Founder of EMO Marketing

Jose Maria Gil is one of the most passionate individuals in the internet marketing world. Gil truly loves what he does, and urges everyone he works with to dare to try new things and live without fear of making mistakes.

Krishna De, Strategist, Mentor & Professional Speaker at Biz Growth Media

With a truly global viewpoint, Kirshna De knows how to grow businesses internationally. De frequently speaks at industry conferences across Europe.

Larry Kim, Founder of WordStream

Is Larry Kim the busiest person in digital marketing? We wouldn’t bet against it. Kim has brought countless tools to marketers that they would consider ‘irreplaceable,’ and consistently shares his unique insight as a columnist at Inc. Magazine and Search Engine Land.

Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing

Lee Odden is no internet marketing spring chicken, he’s been involved in the industry since the late 1990s. Now, Odden shares his expertise with marketers at countless speaking engagements across the country and builds marketing strategy for his clients at TopRank Online Marketing.

Maria Pergolino, VP Marketing at Apttus

Before joining Apttus, Maria Pergolino was a key leader and early member of the Marketo Marketing Team. She has extensive expertise in marketing automation, campaign optimization, inbound and social media marketing.

Mark Schaefer, Chieftain at Schaefer Marketing Solutions

Creator of one of the top marketing blogs the world over, Mark Schaefer backs up his success with advanced degrees in marketing and organizational development. Schaefer is an authority on social media and has even appeared on several national TV shows.

Michael A. Stelzner, Founder of Social Media Examiner

Michael Stelzer is the man behind the curtain at some of the most popular social media events, including Social Media Marketing World and Social Media Success Summit. In addition, Stelzer is the author of several books and a valued voice in the social media industry.

Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group

Not only does Michael Brenner have nearly 20 years of experience serving a multitude of industries, he strongly believes in the power of a customer-centric culture and creating highly engaged employees. Michael also serves as the managing editor of SAP’s Business Innovation blog and contributes to Forbes AdVoice and the Economist.

Michelle Robbins, Vice President of Technology at Third Door Media

Michelle Robbins brings a holistic view of technology, programming, web developing, and marketing together into an innovative package. As the master behind all of the Third Door Media brands, Robbins industry knowledge and execution is unmatched.

Mike Filsaime, Online Marketing Expert at mikefilsaime.com

Mike Filsaime’s internet entrepreneurial expertise has earned him the description, ‘Michael Jordan of Internet Marketing.” Just like MJ, Filsaime has remained a powerful force in innovative marketing strategies for many years.

Mitch Joel, President of Mirum Agency

“One of North America’s leading digital visionaries.” That’s just one way Mitch Joel has been described. Joel’s experience includes working on the very first search engine and building the very first search marketing strategies.

Neil Patel, Entrepreneur at QuickSprout

Also in the running for busiest person in digital marketing, Neil Patel is constantly finding new ways to display his insane eye for digital marketing and analytics. Patel co-founded some of the biggest assets for those doing business online: Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics.

Noah Kagan, Chief Sumo at AppSumo

Noah Kagan’s approachable and laid-back style only adds likability to his clearly extensive web knowledge. Promoting cool stuff, making awesome things, and eating plenty of tacos, Kagan is undeniably enviable.

Pam Dyer, Marketing Chief at Agile Alliance

Pam Dyer prides herself on becoming the voice of the customer, which is probably why her strategy and execution is always immaculate. Dyer’s love for collaboration and networking only add to her industry prowess.

Pam Moore, CEO of Marketing Nutz

Pam Moore actively participates in speaking, training, and custom workshops. Moore is constantly recognized for her achievements, and is included on Forbes Top 5 Women Influencers in Social Media as well as the Top 10 Influencers in Social Media.

Rebecca Lieb, Author, Speaker & Strategic Advisor at rebeccalieb.com

At the forefront of digital marketing since it’s inception, Rebecca Lieb is a high-profile and respected analyst. Lieb’s understanding of marketing and media for global technology companies is unmatched in the field.

Scott Stratten, Owner at Un-Marketing

Scott Stratten’s term “Un-Marketing” is all about positioning yourself as a trusted expert in front of your target market. Then, when a need arises, customers choose you. Stratten and his team have seen this idea through from inception to industry-wide acceptance.

Seth Godin, Author, Speaker & Much, Much More at sethgodin.com

Not only an author, but also an entrepreneur, marketer, and seasoned public speaker, Seth Godin is a big freaking deal. With classic quotes like “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible,” Godin is one of the top experts in the online space.

Shiv Singh, SVP Global Head of Digital & Marketing Transformation at Visa

Shiv Singh has nearly 20 years of experience in building powerful worldwide brands. Recently, Singh was recognized as number 11 on Adweek’s Top 50 Marketers list and The Internationalists’ Top 100 Influential Leaders list.

Stephanie Tilton, B2B Content Marketing Consultant at Savvy B2B Marketing

Few people understand the holistic effort required to successfully execute a content marketing campaign. Stephanie Tilton, however, is one of the few that understand that fact completely. Not only does Tilton help craft content that engages customers and advances the buying cycle, but she helps formulate buyer personas and carry out content mapping.

Steve Pailthorpe, CEO of Iconic Digital

As the CEO of London’s premier digital marketing firm, Steve Pailthorpe’s results-driven mindset helps his clients achieve continuous success. Pailthrope’s passion for connecting companies with the right resources to communicate their brand sets him and his agency, apart.

Tom Pick, B2B Marketing Consultant at Webbiquity

Tom Pick is solely responsible for increasing his clients visibility and success online. Over the years, Pick’s efforts have aided single-person businesses to $1 billion corporations.

Tristán Elósegui, Cofounder of El Arte de Medir

Tristán Elósegui specialities in strategy, web analytics, and social media have been honed since he began in 1999. Today, you can find Elósegui authoring books, teaching digital marketing, and sharing his insights on his personal blog.

Vanessa Fox, CEO of Keylime Toolbox

Vanessa Fox is an SEO consultant, blogger, and author. Fox has been named one of Seattle’s Top 40 Under 40, Top 25 Innovators and Entrepreneurs, and one of the Top 100 Seattle Women in Seattle Tech.

Who did we miss?! Please share his or her name in the comments!


E-Commerce SEO Best Practices

By | eCommerce, SEO, SEOchat | No Comments

If most of your business’ revenue comes from online purchases, then you know well that ’tis the season for your best marketing performance of the year! While you may already have your promotions in place, and email and twitter blasts are well on their way, you’re not fully maximizing the return on your marketing efforts if SEO isn’t on your top priority list.

By tweaking your product pages and adding a few SEO-focused tactics into your online marketing strategy, you might surprise yourself with a jolt in holiday sales. Last week’s #SEOchat focused on the best practices to incorporate SEO into your e-commerce marketing strategy. Here are some of the highlights from what we covered:

Q1: When should a brand begin an SEO campaign for the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays?

Q2: What does your content strategy look like for the holidays?

Q3. Let’s pretend you’ve been hired as an SEO consultant for a website that sells cameras and camera accessories. How would you begin competitor research?

Q4: Which area of the customer buying cycle do you execute on? Do you outsource anything?

Q5: Walk us through your auditing process. Our camera site sells 26 brands. Would you optimize every product page? Why/why not?


Q6: What’s the right balance of transactional and informational keywords you should target?


Q7: How would you recommend organizing category pages in the navigation? By BRAND, by TYPE or other?

Q8: What linkable asset would you create for the camera site to drive traffic and social shares?

Q9: What’s your favorite site to shop from for the holidays?

Trends in SEO are constantly on the move. Let’s keep up on #SEOchat! Join in every Thursday at 1 pm ET.

How are you using SEO as part of your holiday marketing strategy? Share your thoughts below!

REBRANDing in 2016

Rebranding Your Business In 2016: 5 Things To Consider

By | Branding | No Comments

The most overused tagline for advertising around the new year is “New Year, New You.” Moving to a new year suggests to us that we can start over and do some things differently. For businesses, a new year means new budgets and new strategies.

For some businesses, it means building a new identity through rebranding.

When discussing a rebrand, it’s important to look at your business and the industry to see what changes have happened. Rebranding is not something that should be done frivolously, because it is expensive and will have a lasting impact on your business. As such, it is in your business’s best interest to consider your reasons for rebranding. A rebrand does not provide your business with the direction and purpose; it happens because you have both of those. Maybe what your business needs is a refresh.

As you consider the reasons for rebranding, look at these five areas and the predictions for 2016 to help you not only decide whether to rebrand, but also know how to do it successfully.

Demographic Shifts Among Consumers

Demographic shifts are happening regularly as new groups step to the forefront armed with buying power and new consumer trends. Appealing to this new group of consumers is one of the most compelling reasons for a business to rebrand.

Many businesses have been content to market to those originally called Baby Boomers. Now known as the Aging Boomers, this consumer group will shift into an elderly group who are more concerned about living off their retirement fund and spending their fixed income on health care and other essential products. Your business will not be able to survive if you continue marketing to the same consumers.

Many businesses have already recognized this and tweaked their marketing to reach a new growing group known as millennials. Studies are predicting that by 2017, this consumer group will be spending $200 billion annually. If you are not reaching this group by next year, you will have lost your opportunity.

As you build your plan for rebranding, it is important to learn from your consumer and understanding how your brand will be relevant to them.

  • What do millennials value?
  • Do these value align with our brand?
  • What problems does our brand solve for millennials?

These are some questions to consider to help you determine how your brand can continue to market your products long-term to Millennials. You may discover that all your business needs to is to revitalize and create a new campaign that speaks directly to this new audience.

Personification of Your Brand

Your brand is more than your logo or your business’s name — it is your business’s identity. Going through rebranding process means that you need to give your brand an identity, complete with a personality, values and interests. Determining WHO is your brand is the only way to start differentiating your business from others in the industry.

There are various ways to identify your brand’s personality. These exercises can have you finding the car or celebrity that is most similar to your brand. For some businesses, personification leads to the creation of an easily identifiable character like the Aflac Duck or the Keebler Elves.

One of the most important brand characteristics for millennials is whether or not the brand fits their personality. Your business needs to have your brand personified in a way that will invite your new customer base in and make them just as loyal as they were before the rebrand. When you take a minute and strategically engineer your brand’s personality, you see what kind of customer experience you want to shape. This process will help you plan your strategy and define other aspects of your rebranding including communication.

All-Encompassing Communication

When you see your customer experience laid out, it becomes easier to identify every touchpoint for your new customer base. The most noticeable touchpoint is always the tone of the new brand’s communications directly to the customers.

The biggest headache for consumers is when a rebrand happens. There is a sense of betrayal as their favorite brand tosses aside everything that they used to know and love to try and get a new audience. The way your business communicates the story for the rebranding will determine your success of maintaining your current customer base while bringing in a new one.

A shining example of navigating this post-rebrand customer communication was displayed by Utah marketing agency Eli Kirk  following its recent acquisition of Riser and the rebrand that followed. The merging of the two firms into EKR meant merging customer bases, as well. Bill Brady, President and CMO of EKR, and his team knew that communication would be critical during the transition.

Accordingly, Brady and the folks at EKR crafted 50 case studies to serve as the foundation of the brand’s new website. Clients from both sides of the merger are featured in the content, so both groups  feel a continued partnership with the agency while gaining exposure to its expanded capabilities and clientele. Brady attributes an extremely smooth merger to the process of creating content that would make all clients feel at home while getting them excited about new possibilities for their own brands. “The content we created has made the transition extremely smooth. We haven’t dropped a single client—everyone is really excited about what’s happening,”   he said.

EKR case studies screenshots

The story is critical to be communicated, but also the tone and voice of the new brand will be the consistent thread to carry customers through the rebranding experience. Your customer needs to know from the beginning that their important values are not lost in this new direction.

Ever-expanding Technology

Technology has continued to play a big part in any business’s future. From the launch of Apple Pay this year and to the rise of Snapchat, there is always going to be a new channel or a new technology tool that will be adopted by your customers and may affect your business model. During the rebranding process, your business has to look into the future and consider how people may be communicating in the future.

This year, many websites were hit with Mobilegeddon and most experts express that this is only the beginning. If you haven’t considered mobile technology for your product or even website, you are already behind the crowd. When your business rebrands, you can make the changes to help your business grow in a new direction more quickly than if you had tried to do a refresh.

Content Remains King

Regardless of all these changes and meetings you are having, your content still reigns as king in the castle and cannot be neglected. Remember EKR’s case studies? Through content you will effectively communicate your new identity to your new consumers. You must make sure that your content remains true to your business’s values and purpose.

The rebranding process can also give you the chance to expand beyond your current content media and channels to your new audiences. Old Spice turned their business around and built a YouTube channel by rebranding through a campaign. “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” video has now received almost 52 million reviews and their YouTube channel has amassed over 500,000 followers. Old Spice realized their rebrand opened new doors to sharing their content that made more sense for the new millennial audience.

The new year is a few weeks away and while others may be rushing to finish holiday gift shopping and plan budgets for 2016, it’s a great time for your business to take a minute and consider whether it’s time to rebrand. Or as others say, “Out with the old, and in with the new.”

keyword challenge post

The Keyword Challenge on SEOchat | How to Compete for Your Site’s Searchability

By | How-To, SEO, SEOchat, Strategy, Tools | No Comments

Keyword research, grouping, implementation, tracking, and measurement can certainly sound like an uphill challenge, but its also the starting platform for any online marketing campaign. The competition for being found by your top keywords can be steep but getting a grasp on new tools and tactics from other professionals can make all the difference for a steady climb to greater organic search outcomes.

Stryde administers a weekly Twitter chat Thursday at 1 pm ET for marketing pros and padwans alike, to openly discuss their strategic approaches and tips to digital marketing success. In a friendly space, we share and learn from one another about the trends and updates in SEO and marketing.

Last week’s #SEOchat discussed how to use keywords to compete for your site’s searchability. Knowing the exact terms that your audience is searching for allows you to optimize your content for better search visibility across all channels. Keyword insights can also reveal where you rank next to your competitors. In case you missed out, or would like a recap, here are the highlights from what we covered on #SEOchat:

Question 1: When starting off on a brand new SEO campaign, at what point does keyword research come into play?

Question 2: What are your favorite tools for finding keywords and phrases that you are already ranking for?

Question 3: How do scale the competitiveness of keywords for which you would like your brand to be found?

Everyone shouting out to SEMrush>>

Question 4: What factors do you consider in determining whether SEO or PPC is best to put your brand/clients’ dollars toward?


We skipped right ahead to…

Backtrack to Q6, keeping everyone on their toes…

Question 6: What is the average life of your kw list used across content, social media, & link-building?

Flash forward to Q8… no whiplash intended

SEO is always changing. Let’s keep each other up to date through chat! Be a part of it every Thursday at 1 pm ET. Find us at #SEOchat!


What topic would like to see on #SEOchat? Comment below and we’ll chat soon!

aligning channels for success from stryde

Traditional, Meet Digital: Aligning Your Channels For Success

By | Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Traditional Marketing | No Comments

Let’s say someone gave you the choice to have a piece of cake or a piece of cake with a scoop of ice cream. Cake is good by itself, and so is ice cream, but when you pair the two together, it’s the best combination there is (at least in my opinion).

Traditional marketing and digital marketing are like cake and ice cream.

Each is good by itself, but when integrated together, they’re a lethal combination.

The most effective marketing strategy your business can have isn’t choosing between traditional or digital only tactics; it’s finding the right balance between the two, crafting the perfect integrated brand message for your target audience and giving each customer exactly what they want.

Alignment in the Wild


Image courtesy of Nordstrom via Business Insider

Nordstrom is a textbook example of a brand that does just that. Whether in store or online, Nordstrom focuses on the

customer, giving them what they want, when they want it, and making everything visible to the consumer. Nordstrom shoppers receive above-and-beyond customer service in store and online, free shipping and returns all the time and you can buy something online and have it shipped to your home or to the nearest store to pick up. The user experience is seamless across Nordstrom’s digital and physical channels.

It even encourages social interaction while customers shop in-store. Take for example the 2013 ‘Popular on Pinterest’ badges that Nordstrom locations across the country affixed to real user-favorites on the widely-used app.

If you want to be like retail giant Nordstrom and correctly craft an integrated strategy of traditional and digital, then you need to consider three important factors:

What’s the customer journey?

What is the customer experience like for your customers, from that initial contact to a long-term, loyal relationship? What steps do your customers take to engage with your company?

What are the appropriate and available channels?

Print, radio, TV, website, social networking platforms, email, etc.

What’s going to move the needle?

Brainstorm and find the right process involving digital and traditional marketing to help achieve your overall marketing goals.

Know the Customer Journey

The customer journey isn’t what it used to be. There’s no longer just one path a consumer follows to make a purchase.

But no matter what path they take or what questions they ask, they want to feel as if the path they take and the content they receive on their chosen path were custom-made for them. You have to use the proper targeting and messaging tactics to personalize your marketing messages. And 52 percent of marketers agree, saying that being able to personalize web content is fundamental to a good online strategy.


Image courtesy of McKinsey & Company via Forbes

With the myriad of platforms and technology available at your fingertips, you also have a long list of targeting tactics available. The two that will give you the conversion numbers you seek are behavioral targeting and content personalization.

Consumers visit websites and social platforms with different things on their minds, like doing research or wanting to purchase. Target these different types of consumers with personalized content using behavioral data, i.e. keywords they search for, whether or not they’ve visited your website before and their buying history. Besides interest-based behavioral data, use geographical and demographical data (location, gender, age, etc.) to create different types of personalized content for your different customers.

As for messaging, knowing your target audience’s online habits helps you determine what voice and tone to use with your messaging in your personalized content for them.

Marketing has always been about the customer, and you can ensure the customer stays at the center of what you’re doing by applying the three types of data you’ve gathered online — interest-based, geographical and demographical — and using it to help you better reach consumers at offline touch points. Integrating your online and offline touch points allows you to deliver personalized content to more consumers on more channels, giving consumers the answers they seek and helping move them along the customer journey.

Use the Appropriate Channels

Customers ask different questions because they’re looking for different information, and they use different channels to find those answers — channels and answers that hopefully lead them to your brand. The three types of channels you should focus on are social platforms, paid promotions and earned media.

Types Benefits
Social Platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ Increase brand recognition, develop and maintain loyal brand-customer relationships, more opportunities to convert
Paid Promotions Promoted tweets, PPC and SEO campaigns, content discovery platforms like StumbleUpon and Outbrain Guaranteed audience, highly-targeted campaign
Earned Media Media publications, industry influencer blogs and websites Free, improves brand credibility, helps you become an industry thought leader 

Knowing which channels to use means knowing your audience and understanding the different consumer engagement patterns. The two engagement patterns are passive and active. Traditional methods are more passive, while digital is more of active engagement.

Think of looking at a print ad in a magazine. You may take the 15 seconds to read it, but that’s usually where it ends. It’s a one-sided conversion that usually ends right there, even if there’s a CTA to visit a website or call the company’s number. That doesn’t mean a traditional print or radio ad isn’t valuable. It reaches a widespread audience and is easily digested by your audience since it doesn’t take long to absorb the message.

But when consumers need more, they need online interaction. When traditional leaves holes, digital marketing fills them in. It provides immediate answers to consumer questions and allows you to maintain an active presence online with your customers.

Integrating offline with online channels maximizes your audience reach and provides both types of engagement so your active and passive customers are completely satisfied. Just be sure that as you marry the offline with the online, you make it easy and meaningful for everyone involved.

Move the Needle

Move the needle is a common phrase in marketing, but for any of you who’ve never heard of it, it simply means to take action that generates a positive reaction. That positive reaction you want from your marketing methods is achieving your marketing goals.

Just like how each brand has different goals it wants to reach with each marketing campaign, i.e. gain more website visits, double eBook downloads, increase revenue, etc., there are different approaches you can take to achieve — and maybe even exceed — your goals. The following are three different approaches you can choose to take. Knowing which one you should take depends on your goals and which one you believe will create the most positive impact for your brand.


aspirational consumer

If you don’t know who the Aspirational consumers are, you need to. According to BBMG and GlobeScan research, Aspirationals make up 36.4 percent of our population. They love shopping, wish for responsible consumption and trust that brands will act in society’s best interests. You want them on your brand’s side because they’re one of the world’s biggest consumer groups, guide companies to take a more integrated marketing approach and want to share their ideas and experiences with brands to help them create a better product or service.

Mitch Baranowski and Raphael Bemporad, cofounders of BBMG, gave five ways to reach and engage Aspirational consumers:

  1. Give them something to believe in.
  2. Give them something to belong to.
  3. Amplify their voices.
  4. Give them social status.
  5. Give them a platform for action.

Your aspirational marketing strategy needs to be all about emotion. Appeal to their emotions and their aspirations, rather than their realities, and give them a purpose for their purchase.



Most consumers are very tight-knit with their community, be it their city, state, sports team, political party, etc. If you’ve ever taken a dig at someone’s sports team or where they’re from, then you know just how passionate (and defensive) they can be.

With a community approach, you have to really understand your customers’ affections to their city, state or whatever community you choose to target and use that to your advantage. Are there common passions or loyalties your local audience shares that you can supplement or attach to your content? Not only will doing so personalize content for your local audiences, it will get those very passionate and loyal consumers on your side — and since you probably know how passionate and loyal they are with their community, then you also know how good it is to have them be that way about your brand.


solidarity across traditional and digital channels

A solidarity marketing approach means having a united front no matter what channel is being used. Everything you say and do with your traditional marketing methods needs to complement your digital methods.

If you put an ad in the local newspaper, be sure to include your website address and let readers know where they can find you on social platforms. Add your social URLs and website address to your business cards. Share your press releases you create and send out in print easily online. If you release a new product, be sure your website and social profiles are updated with the latest information regarding said product so any consumer who sees it in print and wants to know more can find what they’re looking for during their online research.

In order for your brand to be successful, and for you to reach your overall marketing goals, you need to utilize all that traditional and digital marketing methods offer. Properly aligning the two will drive the results you desire and take your campaign to the next level — just like how combining cake and ice cream takes the dessert game to the next level.