Cousins Speaks on Her Career – And Marketing

Carrie Cousins, the senior digital strategist for LeadPoint Digital, was recently featured for her design and leadership expertise in an interview with 20i, an innovative British web hosting company.

In the interview, Cousins spoke of her longtime interest in design and writing — both dating back to her childhood. In addition to her design and digital marketing work for LeadPoint Digital, Cousins writes extensively about design — especially user experience design — for websites like WebDesignerDepot, Design Shack, and Fast Company.

Though she didn’t get a degree in graphic design, she sought out extensive training once she got involved in design during her days in newspapers. “I wanted to ensure that my visual ‘gut’ instinct aligned with some of the practical theory and technical skills to ensure that I was designing and not just decorating,” she said.

“One of the hardest parts of design is keeping up with trends”, Cousins said. “Visual evolutions seem to be happening on fast cycles,” she said. “The challenge is that a design can begin to look dated fast. This makes it more important than ever to be agile and create with an element of urgency.”

20i also asked Cousins about her marketing expertise. “Every business – from a micro-business to a small location with a few employees – needs to connect marketing to actual business goals,” she said. “It’s not enough to do marketing because ‘you should.’ Marketing with a strategy rooted in goals and outcomes will generate the best potential results. It’s ok to start with small goals and grow them with your business.”

Cousins also recently delivered presentations at the AAF District 3 Conference in Raleigh, NC; and was on the RBTC WoTech Women in Technology panel during Game Changer Week in Blacksburg, VA.

If you are interested in working with recognized leaders in digital design and marketing, contact LeadPoint Digital.

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One of the most common dilemmas in search engine marketing is whether to advertise for your brand name or keywords your company is already ranking for at the top of the search engine ranking pages (SERPs).

Here are a few strategies we’ve used in the past that have proved successful.

Branded Search Engine Strategy

The branded search engine strategy revolves around generating as much top-of-page search share as possible. This strategy focuses on targeting keywords you’re already ranking in the top 5 listings.

Why? Depending on the search query, there could be as many as 4-5 paid advertisements above the first organic search listing. Even if your business is ranking within the top 3 listings, you still have potentially 5-7 competitors ranking above your listing. That’s approximately a 14% chance of someone clicking on your organic listing. If you have a paid ad, the chance of someone clicking on your listings jumps to 28%.

This strategy will displace your percentage of organic search traffic as paid traffic in Google Analytics. However, in most situations, combined visitors, user engagement, and conversions increase.

Teeter-Totter Search Engine Strategy

The teeter-totter search engine strategy is all about capitalizing on search queries that your business is missing out on today while you let your SEO strategy work. This strategy starts with a large advertising budget bidding on keywords you’re trying to rank organically through an aggressive SEO plan.

As your SEO plan starts ranking keywords in the top-5 listings, the advertising budget reduces, so you eventually only have an SEO expense. This strategy is ideal for businesses that don’t have organic visibility in the search engines but need to boost revenue fast while improving organic visibility.

Coverage Search Engine Strategy

The coverage search engine strategy generates as much search exposure as possible, both organically and paid. This strategy avoids targeting keywords that your website is already ranking for organically and focuses solely on keywords that your website will less likely rank for.

Often, the advertising budget never reduces and is a static part of a digital marketing plan.

This is an ideal strategy for businesses that have plateaued in SEO and still have opportunities with search queries that are a little outside of the website’s intent.

Here’s the Point …

These search engine strategies have a place in any digital marketing plan but aren’t made for every business. The ideal search engine strategy is a comprehensive strategy that mixes coverage and branded models. These two strategies combined ensure you are reaching your targeted audience and increasing SERP share.

Find out what search engine strategy is best for you by scheduling a free consultation with one of our experts.

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Working with What You Have

I’ve always enjoyed business signage that takes a risk of not generating tangible returns for the business. Recently I drove by a sign for a small farm that read “Bloom Where You Are Planted”.

At that moment, the message resonated with me because I have one tulip that blooms in the middle of my yard every year. The soil in my yard is infertile, covered in shade and my landscaping company even said: “…nothing will grow here”.

So I have this tulip in my yard that defies all odds and I have these questions that run through my mind every year. Was it planted there by a person? Did it get there naturally by storm water run-off? Does it get more nutrients because it’s the only living thing in my yard?

This flower was a living example of the statement on the farm sign.

Here’s the Point …

As marketers or business owners, it feels like we always have a small or less-than-ideal budget for marketing and business development.

Rather than finding excuses why marketing isn’t performing, or sales aren’t increasing we should make the most of what we’re given. Instead of spreading our budget thin, maybe we should put a majority or all of our budget where it will return the most.

Typically, digital marketing is the best place to optimize a small marketing/business development budget because it’s highly measurable. Start off by building an email list of all your contacts that include family, friends, clients, partners, vendors, and prospects that you’ve connected with. Depending on your target audience, you may also want to boost or start a search engine advertising program through Google AdWords, Microsoft Ad Center, Yelp, or other equivalents.

Let digital marketing help your budget bloom.

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