Author: J_Kochan96

Top 3 Digital Marketing Programs in Michigan [2/4/2020]

What is digital marketing?

Before we discuss the top programs available for digital marketers, we must learn what digital marketing is really about. Marketing itself is all about finding new ways to reach and engage a target audience. The internet and other technologies provide marketers with new ways of getting products/services to customers. Since technology is rapidly evolving, digital marketing has become a new part of business on its own. Universities have begun to teach this subject, and many have made it a major study of it’s own.

Here is a quick list of schools in Michigan with the best digital marketing programs:

  1. The University of Michigan – Dearborn
Michigan undergraduate digital marketing programs

This undergraduate program has 5 required courses:

  • MKT 363 – Digital Consumer Search and Marketing
  • MKT 454 – Marketing Research
  • MKT 455 – E-tailing and Retailing
  • MKT 458 – Communications Strategy and New Media
  • MKT 463 – Digital Analytics and Content

An additional two courses must be taken from the following list:

  • DS 310 – Data Mining for Business Intelligence
  • MKT 382 – Understanding Customers
  • MKT 402 – Marketing Management
  • MKT 457 – Global Marketing and Consumer Culture
  • MKT 460 – Digital Communication Strategy
  • ISM/ITM 321 – Database Systems I
  • ISM/ITM 371 – IT Strategy: Disrupting Industry Norms, Practices, and Structures
  • ISM/ITM 382 – Advanced Computer Applications

This program obviously covers a wide range of topics within the digital marketing world. The digital marketing and business world in general is a very fast paced environment, but the professors always make sure to keep you updated. Professors here give you insight into real work experiences and help you learn from them. It has been very beneficial to apply what I’ve learned in a real work environment. This is the main reason I find the University of Michigan – Dearborn to be the top school for digital marketing.

2. Ferris State University

Michigan undergraduate digital marketing programs

Ferris offers a Digital Marketing/E-Commerce degree that covers the following:

  • Integration of online and traditional marketing for best results
  • Simplifying the purchasing process through e-commerce
  • Database management
  • B2B and B2C marketing practices
  • Ad campaigns through social media

Required classes:

  • ECOM 375: Business to Business E-Commerce Marketing
  • ECOM 383: Business to Consumer E-Commerce Marketing
  • MKTG 383: Direct Marketing

1 of the following courses:

  • AIMC 375: Business to Business Advertising
  • GRDE 224: Web Design & Planning

While Ferris does not cover as many digital marketing subjects, I do like that they offer the Web Design & Planning course. Learning to craft a website for your brand is a great skill to learn and I think a whole class is necessary to teach it.

3. Western Michigan University

Michigan undergraduate digital marketing programs

The Digital Marketing and E-Commerce degree at WSU covers the following topics:

  • eCommerce
  • Data Analytics
  • Digital Marketing
  • Social media
  • Web Application Development

Required courses:

  • CIS 2900 – Web Applications for Business
  • CIS 3900 – Business Web Architecture
  • MKTG 3710 – Marketing Research
  • MKTG 3730 – Digital and Social Media Marketing
  • MKTG 4781 – Advanced Digital Marketing Strategies

Students must also elect 9 credit hours to one of the following studies:

  • Analytics
  • Web Applications
  • Mobile Applications
  • Database Marketing
  • Customized Specialization

This program covers a wide variety of subjects and prepares their students for the ever-changing digital marketing field. WSU is a great place to go if you want to learn more about digital marketing.

Click the name of each university for more information on their undergraduate degree programs!

Keyword Research

keyword research

What is a keyword?

In it’s simplest form, a keyword is a word or phrase that a user types into a Google search query. As discussed in my earlier post about Biddable Media Topics and Techniques, marketers bid on these keywords to have their site ranked highest in search results. If you want to learn more about the bidding process be sure to read my Paid Search post.

Moz is a great place to learn about keyword reserach!

Brian Dean has many great videos on keyword research, but this one lays out some good strategies that you might want to use.

Some of the points highlighted in this video are:

  • Forums: People post of forums mainly because they are looking for an answer to a question that they couldn’t find in a simple Google search. You can use their posts to come up with keywords that you might want to target. The next time they search their question, your site will pop up and provide them an answer.
  • Wikipedia: Enter in a broad keyword and look through the results that wiki gives you. It should provide some more specific topics related to your keyword that you could use.
  • Use “searches related to…” This feature at the bottom of Google’s search results will give you many keywords ideas that you might not find in GoogleAds software.
keyword research
  • Amazon: Search for books related to your keyword. Amazon lets you see the table of contents for the books that pop up. You can use the chapter titles for keywords.
  • Quora: When you enter a keyword here it will show you the most popular related questions. These are often the same questions that users will type into Google and the keywords you should be using. Read through the threads to find additional questions and keywords.

All of these strategies should be done to make a list of the most relevant and popular keywords for your site. After your list is compiled, use the GoogleAds Keyword Planner to organize/optimize your keywords.

keyword research

keyword research

Short-tail vs long-tail keywords

A good keyword plan will consists of many variations of short and long-tail keywords.

  • Short-tail: general queries that are usually one or two words
  • Long-tail: queries consisting of more than three words
  • Ex: “Egg” is a short-tailed keyword, but “Sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich” is a long-tail keyword. Both of these can be relevant depending on what you’re trying to sell.

Onsite SEO

Onsite or on page search engine optimization consists of the many things you can do to your website to make it rank higher in Google’s search results. While providing a quality answer to a consumer question is great for boosting your sites rank, there are many other tips and tricks that can help. The following video will give you a couple ideas for your website.

The techniques highlighted in this video are as follows:

  1. Short URL’s
  2. Use target keyword in URL
  3. LSI keywords – Words that are closely related to your target keyword
  4. The more content the better. The longer the content has been published the more reliable your site looks to Google.
  5. Title tags and CTR – Google recognizes when a user clicks on your website as an indicator of the quality of your content. The more people that click through to your site, the higher your rank will go. Adding numbers, brackets, and parentheses to your title has been found to increase CTR.
  6. External link out to your resources for every blog post. Google uses this as a factor for ranking your site.
  7. Internal links back to old blog posts on your site, specifically to the pages you want to rank higher.
  8. Use premium website hosting and a CDN for the fastest websites.
  9. Multimedia makes the experience better for the user. Google measures the experience of people on your site and uses that information to rank it.
Onsite SEO

Some other techniques not included in this video are meta descriptions, alt text, and site navigation.

Meta description: This is the short summary of the website listed under the search result. Writing quality copy that is rich with keywords is another way to boost your rankings.

Alt text: Keywords should also be used on a picture file for when Google crawls the site. This will tell Google that your site has the keyword all over it and may be a quality answer to someone’s question.

Site navigation: A site that flows well and is easy to read will boost your rankings. This is because Google considers the experience of the consumer on your website. If someone clicks on your site but only stays for two seconds, maybe your site needs some work. The longer you can keep someone on your site the better.

Managing the quality of your website should be the first thing you do to optimize your search results. Implementing all of the above techniques will drive your site up through the rankings. Now that you have learned about onsite SEO be sure to check out my post on Offsite SEO.

Onsite SEO

Offsite SEO

Offsite SEO

Once you have optimized your website for the best Google search results you can then do stuff outside of your website. Offsite SEO is made up of a few things: backlinks, domain authority, and promotion through social media.

The techniques highlighted in this video include:

  • Guest blogging – Write about your content on another website with a link back to your original article. Post your blog with the same quality of work that you would have on your own website!
  • Do a Q&A about your topic. This makes you a more reliable source of information.
  • Create social media accounts that best fit your website. An example of a good fit would be a photography blogger who also posts their content on Pinterest.
  • Backlinks to your site. Paste the desired URL on other sites so users and Google have another way to reach your website. This does not mean that you should spam your link on other blogs. Google and blog moderators can tell a quality comment/ blog post from spam and will delete your post if you spam.
  • Work with social media influencers. Match with influencers who already have your desired target audience. For example, if you are trying to grow your blog about football, you might reach out to someone like JuJu Smith-Schuster. Since he is an NFL player, he will likely have a similar audience to you.

offsite seo

Offsite SEO is very important for building your brand. When you frequently discuss a particular topic, you will earn a reputation for it. People will come to you for all the information on that particular subject and Google will recognize that. Once Google sees that you are a trusted source of quality information, your site will fly through the rankings. Your site rankings can also suffer if you are constantly posting poorly written blogs and spamming your site’s URL.

More on backlinks

Link building is widely considered the back-bone of search engine optimization and it needs to be done right. First you should know the difference between do-follow and no-follow backlinks. Do-follow links are those sites that allow crawlers to follow the link you dropped back to your website. These sites provide another way for Google and other crawlers to discover your website. No-follow links are sites that block crawlers from following your link to your website. When manually setting up backlinks for you site, be sure to use use do-follow sites for the best results.

offsite seo

Manually dropping links on other blogs sites is necessary, but it can get tedious after a while. For those who can afford it, there are many Link Building Services that will make your life easier. These services will drop a link to your site on other relevant, quality sites. When done right, link building can be one of the strongest factors in getting your site to rank higher.

Paid Search – GoogleAds

Paid Search Defined:

“Paid search marketing affords business the opportunity to advertise within the sponsored listings of a search engine or a partner site by paying either each time their ads is clicked (pay per click) or less commonly, when their ad is displayed (CPM or cost per thousand) or when a phone contact is generated (pay per call).”

paid search - googleads

This image shows you ads that are found at the top of Google’s search results for the phrase “sell your car”. Companies used GoogleAds to bid against each other to rank first in the results.

This video does a great job of explaining what exactly paid search is and why it’s effective.

Unlike the ads on TV or in a magazine, paid search ads are tailored specifically to the search query. This means that if you search up “best pizza near me” you will only find ads that are related to pizza. Because these ads are relevant to the search query, they are more likely to be clicked on than an ad for a random product. GoogleAds allows the marketer to customize their ad copy to really tailor their ad to a customer’s need. For example, a good copy for “best pizza near me” would look something like this:

paid search - googleads

Notice how the words “best pizza” are in the ad copy. It is important to include the keywords you want in the description under your ad.

There are two different factors in determining which ad will be displayed first:

  1. The bid: the max amount that advertisers pay for a click on their ad. The max bid (sometimes less) is paid when a user clicks on the ad. The advertiser does not get charged if no one clicks on their ad.
  2. Quality: Google rewards ads the are relevant to the keyword used. Sometimes relevant ads can outrank others that bid higher.

Paid search is a form of biddable media that allows you to better reach a specific customer who has a specific question. GoogleAds gives you the ability to personalize the ad experience to your target audience. The more personalized and relevant and ad is to a user’s search query, the more likely it is to be clicked on.

paid search - googleads

Display Advertising – Google Ads

What is a display ad?

Display (Programmatic) Advertising - Google Ads
Click on “What is a display ad?” for a great source of information.

Display ads are visual advertisements you’ll find all over the internet. Google’s Display Network is made up of over two million websites and apps. This giant network spans over roughly 90% of internet users. This shows the great potential advertisers have in reaching their audience with display ads. Below you will find two examples of Google display ads.

Display (Programmatic) Advertising - Google Ads

Display (Programmatic) Advertising - Google Ads

These display ads are another form of paid search advertisement, but the difference being they include an image. Users do not have to search for these ads to find them. They are all over the internet and are meant to draw attention to a brand. You can see in the image directly above a display ad for Lowe’s. A good display advertiser will use cookies to get more information on their customer. The user in the above image is searching “How to Build a Ground Level Deck” so a relevant ad for Lowe’s pops up.

This video gives a quick summary and example of display ads.

Unlike Google search ads, display ads are not found while a customer is looking for a solution to their problem. Display ads can be found when a user is consuming content (blogs, YouTube, etc). The user is not currently looking for the solution that the ad provides, but maybe they’ll remember that ad when the time comes for a solution. If you are an advertiser looking to increase your conversions off ads, then you’d probably want to stick to search ads. Those looking to build and remind customers of their brand should invest in display ads. Customers may not click on your display ad, but it serves as a constant reminder that your company is there.

Types of Google display ads:

Different types of display ads are necessary to make your ad most appealing to customers. There are two main types:

  1. Uploaded display ads are those ads that are completely designed and managed by the marketer. Advertisers with the resources and ideas to create their ads can opt to do it themselves. Below are the sizes of ads available to advertisers:
    1. Mobile: 300×250, 320×50, 320×100, 250×250, 200×200 
    2. Desktop: 300×250, 336×280, 728×90, 300×600, 160×600, 970×90, 468×60
  2. Responsive ads give Google more control over how your ad will look. These ads will automatically adjust their appearance to fit the ad space. This takes work off the advertisers plate, and makes the ad more appealing on a variety of different devices.

The ad space for display ads is determined through the bidding system in GoogleAds. Advertisers do the same bidding on display ads that they do for search results. You may be wondering why anyone would bid on something if they are not sure it will reach their target audience. Well GoogleAds allows the advertiser to create targeting parameters for their ads. Advertisers can get very specific with who sees their ad and when they see it. This reassures advertisers that they are not wasting money on ads that will never reach their target audience. Overall, Google display ads make a great addition to a GoogleAds campaign with a goal of increasing brand awareness.

Display (Programmatic) Advertising - Google Ads

Digital Marketing Careers

Because digital marketing is a rapidly changing environment, companies are in desperate need of people who understand it. This field is also one that demands a lot of continued education. I find it most helpful to watch YouTube videos on any areas that I’m unsure of. Below is a video that goes over many careers available in the digital marketing field.

Some of the careers highlighted in this video are:

  • Data scientist
  • Paid media
  • Creative – video, social, etc.
  • Videography
  • Podcasting
  • SEO

You can find a longer list of digital marketing career paths here.