digital marketing agency

How to survive working in a digital marketing agency

I work in a digital marketing agency.

That’s a common answer when you ask someone where they work nowadays. If they’re a millennial with multi-colored hair, a well-maintained beard, or  clothes that would look ridiculous on everyone else yet stylish on them, there’s two possibilities about their occupation: they’re either a barista or they work in digital.

People who don’t work in a digital marketing agency imagine workers there processing large amounts of information daily and caving under it. This is only half-true, but you need to know a few tricks to stay afloat.


Find your tools

There’s sites for marketing professionals where they can download software, or pay for programs that include the tools of the trade. The net is saturated with companies touting everything from scheduling software for social media to tools to find the right hashtags. You can play around to find what’s best for you. These, though, are our favourites in the YDS office:

Of course, there’s other things you need to survive in the office. A personal/work computer or device, a good old fashioned notebook and pens, and….


Lotsa caffeine

Caffeine is the go-to stimulant for most people on their morning commute. You’ll see workers around Brisbane toting coffee cups on their way to work each day, again during their lunch break, and once more at the three pm slump.

While coffee isn’t considered a ‘marketing tool’, it’s certainly an essential factor in giving the brain a bit of pep when the work hits hard and fast.


A good wifi connection

Nobody in a digital marketing agency would have a job without it. Any content marketer, creative strategist or SEO expert must stay connected, otherwise they can’t get anything done.


Having an eagle eye

Marketers must keep their finger ‘on the pulse’ so they can help their clients stay on top of new developments in their industry. This includes everything from news updates to competitor rankings.



If you’re not talking, you need to reevaluate your strategy. Whether with clients or colleagues, an open line of communication is necessary to meet deadlines, outline strategies, and more.

evergreen content trees

Keeping yourself relevant with evergreen content

Evergreen content gets its moniker from evergreen trees. These trees keep their appearance all year round, from summer to winter. Evergreen content stays relevant in the market it’s written for. It’s reliable and relevant no matter how much time passes.


How do I write evergreen content?

Start with your industry. What questions are people always asking? What results pop into Google when you type in a keyword? Think about the things you’ve learned in business, the questions you’ve asked. How did you find the answers to your problems? Evergreen content provides guidance and information that people can rely on and recommend to their friends. They’ll even revisit it from time to time.


But there is a catch

There are types of evergreen content that you can write and forget, and others that need trimming (like a hedge). Facts and stats are an example of this. Research and scientific findings change year after year. To keep your “authority” status it’s important to adjust what you’ve written to reflect changes in the facts you reference. A blog on history can change overnight when discoveries are made in the field that discredit or add to previous theories. 


There are plenty of evergreen formats to choose from

So many to list, only so much page space before you lose interest. Below, we list some popular evergreen formats you may have read or reread from time to time.


  • The best — of all time

The best video games, scientific discoveries, biscuit recipes and more. This format needs tending to depending on the niche.


  • How to —

Tested, true and found on websites everywhere. People need instructions, how-to guides give them. Adding your own personal experiences and how the how-to guide worked for you makes the list relatable and will encourage readers to try the same.


  • What does — mean?

Where complicated words or terms exist people will need to know what they mean. Because these terms don’t change quickly or at all, you can simply write and push “publish” without worrying about it going out of date.


  • Things you wish you knew before —

People make mistakes all the time and readers will search for advice before they try the same thing again. Building a guide around how to avoid a mistake, or even fix it, will build trust. Readers might visit your site again if the article helped them with their problem.


  • Titles of places, movies and objects  

This type of evergreen content is found on iMDB, Wikipedia, Rotten Tomatoes and other authority sites. Because tey have a high trust ranking and lots of traffic, they’re usually in the top five on SERPs. Titles and objects remain relevant no matter how much time passes.
Evergreen content remains relevant and trusted among audiences. People visit them for reliable information, and will revisit them if the advice/statistics/information offered to them helped with their problem. Put yourself into your audience’s shoes; what did you want to know, way back when?

seo techniques tips

SEO techniques to avoid

SEO is a hard game where some rules are openly disregarded. Sometimes people don’t know the rules at all and stuff up. Google penalises these “mistakes” and that leads to a drop in rank. This will have a “ripple effect”. For example, in 2014 Expedia got penalised for a link-buying scheme. Their share prices dropped by 4.5%, along with their ranking on SERPs. To avoid the same fate, here’s what NOT to do when you’re chasing a good SEO ranking.


Stuffing the keywords in

One of the dirty tricks made to look friendly for a search engine, not the people reading the website. Keyword stuffing is when you cram in your target words or phrases as much as possible in return for a better ranking. Google has long since moved to penalise this. You’ve been “stuffing” if you’ve written the same keyword or phrase over three times every one hundred words.


Hidden links

Having visible links from a few trusted sources is an excellent way to get a good ranking. Hidden links from lots of unrelated crummy ones, though, is a good way to lose your position. Blog writers and websites with low traffic aren’t above putting links in full stops and other punctuation marks.


White on white

This is another kind of keyword stuffing when you “hide” keywords on a background. Programmers do this by making the text and the background the same colour. They’d put in the words as many times as possible, often in tiny text. In the past, this was successful, until Google bots started crawling and realised the problem.


Forgetting your metas

Having keywords in your text and website is important but you get extra ranking power when they’re included in your metas. You’re now asking “what the heck are meta-whatsits?”

Meta keywords are in the HTML address on a webpage. You don’t see meta tags; they’re lined in the website’s code. These describe what your web page is about to the internet server, and the bots will crawl to check if the tags and keywords are related.


Level-up plagiarism

Never plagiarize; you’ll get caught, full stop. But when writer’s block hits (or just pure laziness), some website owners and bloggers aren’t above copying and pasting content from one site to their own. When this gets crawled, though, Google will find the exact same keywords and metas in two unrelated sites. The result of trying to manipulate content to get better results on SERPs is a penalty.

Growing your business with unhappy customers

A couple of weeks ago we spoke about Aussie innovation. Innovation comes about because someone is not happy, and they can see a better solution. So unhappy customers must see a better solution too, right?

Well read on because they do! After working with clients on finding their unhappy customer moments, we are finding that it leads to a blind spot you never knew you had, but unfortunately your customers knew all about it. Great news is you can then get on and fix it.

Find your blind spot

We have used the following thought starters to find blind spots to help our clients’ business’ grow. By making a group of unhappy customers happy, we have made the experience for all of their clients better.

Look for the “Friction”

Look for where customers get stuck, frustrated or they simply miss out on some benefit they expected.

1. STUCK: Customers get “stuck” in all sorts of ways. They are typically informational type issues and great spots where digital innovation can help. Approaches such as Six Sigma can help to identify how to improve perform here.

What to look for in your business; Depends on what customers are looking for. Where is your address to collect my order, when is my order arriving, are you open today or what time do you close, do you have this item in stock? This information has to be on your website, it must work on mobile, has to be correct and it has to be updated at public holidays.

2. FRUSTRATED: Points of frustration are where the promise we made to our clients in our marketing is too far removed from what we delivered. This can be in a product feature or in a service delivery. The promise can be made on the packaging or via our sales staff. And hey, we all over-promise at times, getting sales is hard, but overplaying our hand rarely leads to loyal customers (readers of last week’s column on branding should know this). And I think Aussies especially like to call out any BS they see in excess hype.

What to look for in your business; A great example is fast food photographs on the menu board, compared to what actually comes out! Take away their frustration by lending an ear, provide a feedback point such as a “service quality” email address or via social media to capture this sentiment and listen for how you are going.

3. UNMET EXPECTATIONS: Another common friction point is where we are not meeting customer expectations. The hardest thing with these expectations is they can be set by your competitors, and customers that shop around know about them, and they don’t necessarily tell you, they just disappear.

What to look for;  Failing to deliver fully on service promises can be hard for management to track. Ideally you run constant customer feedback surveys. These can be online or via tear sheets that go into delivered goods and services. The best companies do these for every customer interaction because they want to know and understand the problem for one customer today is a growth opportunity for many customers tomorrow.

Turn those frowns upside down

So start looking for the unhappy customers, not dodging them. Actively listen to their frustrations and as you turn those frowns upside down, you might send your revenue line up as well!

 Next week we will cover off how we consciously innovate around the opportunities we have uncovered.


Mark Jones is managing director of Your Digital Solution.

If you have a question for Mark, email

As first published in Townsville Bulletin, February 11, 2016 12:00am – Used with permission.

Tis the season to be IT Secure

Avoid the Grinch, Gremlins AND the Ghostbusters this Christmas

Did you know security risks double each year at Christmas? The primary reason is the hacker community know that you and your IT help are all about to go on holidays. They literally double their efforts to breach your security and have some fun while no one is home.

Take a few preparatory steps this week to reduce the chance that this happens to you and ease the pain if it does. And by ensuring the following three areas are clear you will be assured of a peaceful break.

The IT Grinch will steal your Christmas – don’t let him

Don’t let a major IT security issue steal your Christmas. Prepare ahead of time. Batten the hatches before you go away and be sure to return to work with all as you left it.

Two areas to check that will ensure your security is good to go are;

  1. Update your passwords
    1. Most security breaches are human in origin. Someone, somewhere has a password to get into your systems and they shouldn’t. This week why not update your passwords to key services and ensure only the people that should have access still do.
  2. Ensure you have back ups?
    1. Having a security breach is often not a question of if but when. And when it happens the next question is how long before we are back up and running.
    2. Ensure your website, databases, customer records and files are backed up off-premise.

Keep out the Gremlins – Whitelist friendly access

  • This means ONLY certain computers or devices are allowed to access your servers and network. In this way you can exclude and almost reduce to zero the chances of an unwelcome and unfriendly visitor.
  • If this is too hard, consider restricting admin or server rights to overseas traffic, just this will reduce the access to 99% of harmful efforts to access your systems.
    NOTE: Before you do be sure to check your network access is never routed via off shores services.

Know “Who ya gonna call” – not the Ghostbusters?

Now before everyone (including Elvis) leaves the building, have yourself a list drawn up of who you need to call inside or outside of your organisation in the event of an issue. In most businesses there are 3 to 4 key players who have the keys to most cabinets. You need to know how to reach them.

Simple advice is often the best

Now I know this advice is pretty basic, but every year we will get at least one client calling to get help on a system that we can’t get access to or can’t raise the people we need to help them get it fixed.

This year may not be your year to suffer at the hands of the Grinch, Ghostbusters or Gremlins – but if it you can send me my Christmas card thank you via this column!

Have a wonderful festive season, relax with your IT in good hands and we will see in the new year for more business marketing, technology and growth tips.


Mark Jones is managing director of Your Digital Solution.

If you have a question for Mark, email

As first published in Townsville Bulletin, November 12, 2016 12:00am – Used with permission.

Choosing keywords in competitive markets

WHERE we find a business operating in a mature segment against well-established competitors in their core (or obvious) keyword phrases, we may need to seek out Long Tail keywords that have higher value, but not necessarily the greatest volumes.

What this means is we begin to look for terms that are more obscure, but still relevant to the topic. The terms we start to look for are not searched for by users thousands of times, they may only be searched for by users 10 times per month. This means that to acquire traffic of any significant volume for the client we need to be managing and targeting a larger number of these keywords phrases.

For example if we are targeting search traffic for the phrase “family lawyer” we might find the cost per click for advertising is anywhere up to $100 or more. Given that almost half the traffic to our sample site bounces (returns to Google by the back button), this makes it almost $200 per user to simply have a look at our website. You can see this is going to get expensive very quickly, and Google loves that!

So instead we need to break down our family law business into segments, and if we find enough of them the ‘sum of these segments’ will provide sufficient volume to meet the level of inquiry we need. These might be Separation, Divorce, Child Custody, etc and within each of these categories we can look to find a myriad of lesser searched phrases, but the cost per click will now be below $10 and heading toward $5.

Another way to get outside the obvious, highly competed-for phrases is to go upstream or downstream. By this you need to think about what the searches might be for a user before or after your product and target them. For example, our Family Lawyer might target “relationship difficulties” or “counselling” prior to Divorce, as people might search for these before they feel they get to the end of the line with their relationship. But our family lawyer can still build some awareness at a far lower cost given lower competition.

By adopting these two approaches we can more economically test our traffic, and we are also confident that more targeted users will be closer to making an inquiry and more likely to convert.

In all SEO work be sure to adjust your site so the landing page (the page your link points to) for the content fits the new targeted phrases, and even your ads and navigation labels will want to be aligned to your target audiences. These all help your site to appeal to you various target segments.

Be sure to keep in mind the balance between core search terms and long tail search terms to ensure that your spread of phrases are giving you the volume of traffic that you require, and these users are converting into actual customers when they do get through to your website.

In this way you will be able to appeal to and capture enough traffic to your site despite significant competition.


Mark Jones is managing director of Your Digital Solution.

If you have a question for Mark, email

As first published in Townsville Bulletin, November 12, 2016 12:00am – Used with permission. To view the original article click below: 


Long Tail and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Time to get your math nerd on! Long Tail refers to a Power Law graph, which is a particular shape of data when describing the frequency of each event in a distribution. It has become widely adopted in SEO circles to explain the thinking needed when selecting the keywords you wish to target.

CAUTION: Using this thinking will reduce your cost per click and improve your conversion rates! ;o)

Where is it from?

It was originally popularised in the late 40’s by economists after the war to describe some of the market dynamics of the time. Typically you show demand/popularity across a number of variants/products. It can be used for sales volumes, plotting population of animal species, supply and demand or anything that takes your fancy.

How does it work?

It doesn’t work, quite so much as it is evidenced. And it is seen where a small number of an observed population account for a large portion of the activity.

For example if we recorded the colour of cars on the roads we would find white cars make up a large portion of the distribution, while yellow cars a lot less. Yellow cars would be in the long tail.

And in a market place like Google it is very effective at highlighting those terms that are hyper-competitive (in the head) and those that are less often searched for but similarly less competed for by other websites (in the tail).

How this might look when it comes to SEO is as follows;

Power Law graph used to describe SEO behaviour.

Power Law graph used to describe SEO behaviour.

How do we target Head Terms vs Tail Terms?

For sound SEO we need to target terms that are in all three areas – Head, Body and Tail.

The head terms are those that any competitive business needs to target, but are competitive as most businesses are targeting them. For these terms we often go stronger with SEO activities and aim to build organic rank, with some ‘top up’ of ad spend.

For the tail terms we find we can get high conversion from users who know what they are looking for and we might find costs per click are a lot lower (certainly relative to head terms). So we often find ourselves steering more of our ad spend into these terms for a solid return on investment.

And for Body Terms it is generally a 50/50 as to how hard you want to focus on them.

So what do I do about it?

As in all SEO and marketing this is a guiding principle. Every case is slightly different and how you define your market has a huge influence over the competitors and traffic you are targeting.

So do solid keyword research, target the areas of your business that are unique and try some new angles while measuring the outcomes and adjusting accordingly.

And if in doubt at all drop us a line, our team will only be too happy to help you amke the right choice or even do this work for your business.


Materials for Social Media – Intermediate Session

Great to see you at the recent session on managing Social Media – Intermediate. I hope that after our session you won’t feel like you are feeling your way in the dark like the guy above!

In addition to the pack that was emailed out to attendees, the following resources will be helpful.


A copy of the PowerPoint pack from this morning

Please feel free to share with other business contacts who you think this might help. Though without the face to face delivery it can be a little out of context. So ideally you might encourage interested folks to come along to a session. YDS_RCC_Social Media_Intermediate_120416 (1.9MB)

Our Social Media planning template

Feel free to schedule in up to half your posts. Plan them by segment you target and do the rest in response to comments, activity in the market or other ideas you have that you think will help your customers. Click the link to download our sample template: Social media calendar sample 2016-17. If you get stuck using it just get in touch.


The Brand Colour Guide

Use this colour guide to set the branding colours for your next post.

Use this colour guide to set the branding colours for your next post. It is a great guide to help you think about the colours that strike an emotional chord with your users before you say a thing.


Handling Social Media Complaints

Handling social media issues with your team – us the US Air Forces guide on how to manage your response and instruct your team.

USAF Blog Triage

Like us on Facebook

We post regular tips on digital marketing and inspirational examples of business innovation to our Facebook. Keep in touch and let us know when you like something so we can keep in touch!


Drop Mark a line

If you had any questions we didn’t get to in the session just drop Mark a line anytime. If he can’t answer it readily himself, he will be sure to know someone who can.


Mobile for anything more urgent: 0407217080.


See you again soon

We hope to see you at future sessions and we will be sure to announce these as events on our Facebook page for your convenience.

Feedback and suggestions on sessions are always welcome!



What you measure matters

What you measure matters!

Measuring the behaviour of your website users will lead to more profits. It is that important.

We have all heard that “what gets measured, gets managed”. In our physical operations their is often only financial data available. With digital tools we can now track customer behaviour, this is a powerful tool to tell us if we are becoming more or less appealing to more users. Today we will look at the three top metrics that can be your guide to staying on the right track to more profits.

Websites and mobile apps offer a range of benefits to your business. But the often overlooked advantage is the data they create. Data that allows you to KNOW what customers are responding positively to, rather than GUESS.

For a while I have followed the commentary of Aunash Kaushik, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist (his real title). He is considered one of the world’s leading lights on what data leads to better business decisions for increased profits. And why not, he sits on top of the world’s biggest data capturing monolith. He should have a better perspective than most!

BOUNCE RATE: The number one metric to focus on is Bounce Rate. Bounce Rate is the percentage of single visits that leave your website from the landing page without going any further. The bounce rate indicates that the page the user has landed on, from an ad, email or another website link, is not relevant or not what they expected. This means the page has not clearly delivered on the expectation the user had for what they might find. And if you have paid for the user to take that link then this is clearly a bad situation.

If every link is a promise of what a user might find, then clearly the promise has not been met; not a good start in building a new relationship. It is rare to get a bounce rate below 20%, but a good goal is to achieve around 35%. Anything over 50% is something to actively work on reducing. To improve bounce rate review the ‘promise’ you make in your advertising and ensure that promise is clearly met with the first impressions of the landing page. Typically this means the call to action on the landing page must align with the promise of the link that got the user there. You might also find the traffic you are acquiring is low or no value and should be reviewed.

LOYALTY: The number of times the user visits within the given period. For a typical retailer it might be per month, for a service it might be visits within a week if the user is nearing an actual purchase. Loyal users are often past customers, or new ones planning to purchase. And any returning purchaser is more likely to be an advocate so the more of these you have, the better. If loyalty is low you may need to look at more content, connecting with other similar communities and making more regular updates to your online products.

RECENCY: This shows how quickly users are returning to your site between sessions. As this number builds we see users are more inclined to purchase or make enquiries and you find your website will convert far more strongly. To find Recency go to Behaviours in your Audience reports in Google Analytics and you can review New Vs Returning users, the Frequency & the Recency of users. All of which imply the Engagement you have with users and therefore the likelihood of them becoming a customer and in turn repeating purchases.

So go look at these measures for your website and monitor them weekly and monthly and in a few weeks you will be sure to start to see an improvement in the quality of traffic and likelihood of sales will rise.

Mark Jones is Principal of Your Digital Solution, a Brisbane-based digital strategy agency. Mark contributes to various media outlets as a contributor on business strategy, marketing and technology. This article first appeared in the following group of newspapers in Mark’s weekly column:
Daily Mercury – Mackay, The Morning Bulletin – Rockhampton, The Observer – Gladstone, NewsMail – Bundaberg, Fraser Coast Chronicle, The Gympie Times, Sunshine Coast Daily, The Queensland Times, Warwick Daily News, The Northern Star – Northern Rivers, Daily Examiner – NSW North Coast, The Chronicle – Toowoomba.

Got a question, get in touch: