11 Essential Influencer Marketing Facts and Statistics

Influencer marketing is a phenomenon of modern marketing that places expert consumers in the role of consultants for buyers looking to make informed purchase decisions – and the power of influencers is growing every day.

Influencer marketing is the management of exchange relationships between service and product providers and trusted consumers with authority over a target audience.

Social media, one of the main mediums for influencers to flex their marketing muscle, has a white-knuckle grip on the youth of the early 2000s. Over the past 10 years, social media has built an entire digital world in which millennials socialize, create, and consume. The majority of their interactions and decisions happen online, and now they are reaching the age at which they are making and selling products and services. The wise marketer should pay attention to the growth rate of influencer marketing and track the statistics that can help craft a successful influencer marketing strategy and campaign.

To get you started and thinking about influencer campaigns and research, we’ve dug up some surprising influencer marketing statistics:

influencer marketing facts and statistics infographic

74% of people trust social networks to guide them to purchase decisions

Three out of every four customers trust the opinions on social media, including friends, family, and influencers, to help them make the right decision about a product or service. If you’re not working with influencers, you could be losing those customers to your competition.

49% of people rely on influencer recommendations

That’s nearly half of all potential customers. Influencers build trust by creating a memorable brand and creating useful and relevant content. When consumers feel safe with influencer recommendations, they follow them and purchase those products.

In 2016, influencer marketing surpassed print marketing

According to Google Trends, the following three marketing channels deserve your attention:

  • Video marketing is still the most promising marketing channel
  • Influencer marketing is moving in on video marketing
  • Print marketing is falling behind in effectiveness

“Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing.” – Tomoson

Customers are blocking ads

47% of customers have reported that they use ad-blocking technology when browsing. Only 14% of people can remember when they last saw an ad and what it promoted. The power is shifting to the influencers – real people with real opinions.

75% of marketers claim to have allocated money for influencer marketing

Unless you’re already actively enticing influencers to try your product or service, your competition has you beat. Marketers know that influencer marketing is a top contender for marketing channels – it’s time to hop on board with social networks and influencers.

Businesses make, on average, $6.50 for every $1.00 spent

Tomoson found data that backs a huge return-on-investment for marketers and companies who use influencer marketing. At an average of $6.50 in revenue for every single dollar spent, the risk is, at least for now, well worth the reward.

Marketers spent $25,000 – $50,000 per influencer marketing program in 2016

Linquia’s deeper research found that spending on influencers has increased, as well. Most budgets for influencer marketing fall within the $25,000 – $50,000 range, which matches the external marketing budgets of small-medium sized companies.

Instagram has 700 million users

And a majority of those users are in the 16-24 year age range. Connecting with youth through social media outlets like Instagram enables access to a wealth of consumers, most of whom are endlessly hungry for consumer goods.

40% of Twitter users made a purchase based on a tweet

At least one purchase based on a tweet at such a high percentage means influencers do, indeed, have the ability to affect the decision-making process for customers. Engagement with influencers over Twitter has the potential to drive sales for goods that have previously been unavailable.

64% of brands are on Snapchat

Plus, they are reaching 301 million active users per month. Though Snapchat requires more creative marketing than most social channels because of the nature of the application, it also yields instant influence in the hands of powerful influencers who market across channels.

67% of marketers promote content with the help of influencers

That 67% goes beyond the 75% of marketers who have just set aside a budget. 67% of marketers are actively engaging with influencers and striking deals to promote products and services using their hard-built trust.

If you haven’t started looking into influencer marketing, take the time to get familiar by logging into your social accounts and exploring the accounts of users with large followings. Observe their words, actions, and photos, then start imagining how they can use those tools to promote your or your client’s products and services.

It’s not too late to get on board and start an influencer marketing campaign. Develop a strategy that includes some of your industry’s top influencers, and show them how useful and valuable your product or service is. If you have questions, talk to the masters of marketing at Leverage Marketing, and check out our Guide to Planning Your Digital Marketing Budget eBook to make sure you’ve got room in your budget to sway those influencers today.

The 4 Most Critical SEO Strategies for 2018

With the new year just a month away, most digital marketing blogs and other SEO thought leaders are publishing their “Top SEO Trends for 2018” articles in droves. More often than not, these articles will contain some key SEO trends to focus on in 2018 but also reiterate many traditional ones as well.

Backlinks, rich, quality content, and focused keyword usage are essential for a healthy SEO ranking. However, these are tactics that have been crucial to search engine optimization for years and are not going anywhere in 2018 (or the foreseeable future). Let’s take a minute to move beyond these long-standing trends and take a focused look at the most critical, up-and-coming SEO strategies for 2018 and what you can do to ensure that your organic Google presence is as strong as possible next year and beyond.

Strategy #1: Focus on Creating a Superb User Experience (UX)

SEO strategy is all for nothing if visitors come to your site only to leave after a few seconds. Thus, our first vital trend for 2018 is creating an excellent user experience on your website.

It is essential for your website to have an easy-to-navigate design, quick load time, and a mobile-friendly user interface. As we will see, making sure your site functions seamlessly on mobile is no longer optional, but rather the new law of the land in the SEO world (more about this later).

The main goal of a business website is typically to draw in the largest amount of visitors possible and get them to convert. This conversion usually comes in the form of the visitor providing some personal information in exchange for receiving some sort of value in return, such as a newsletter, free course, audiobook, or study guide. Another type of conversion (our favorite kind) is a purchase. Google is increasingly gravitating towards approaching SEO and websites more as a real user and less as just an algorithm. Conversion matters!

To prove the claim that UX is a top, critical SEO trend for 2018 and beyond, look no further than Google’s recently launched UX optimization platform, Optimize 360. This should be a clear signal that Google is invested in a continued, growing convergence of user interface and SEO goals. Focus on having the best all-around user experience possible for your website and you will be setting the foundation to not only rank higher in the search engine results, but also have customers who will be much more likely to convert.

Strategy #2: Begin Optimizing Your Content for Voice Search  

voice search SEO trend for 2018

The next important trend that you should prepare for in 2018 and beyond is the rapid emergence of voice search. If you look closely at the rapidly budding technologies like Apple’s Siri,  Amazon’s Alexa, and Google voice search, you will agree that it’s only a matter of time before voice search dominates the billions of queries made every day. Most business owners are unaware that, according to Google, 1 out of 5 searches already come from voice queries. This is vital for business owners who want their website to rank competitively.

The continued rise of voice search means that there will be a rapid increase in long-tail keyword research and a focus on natural spoken language. More and more, long-tail conversational search queries will become the norm. For example, in the past, a local business might want to rank for the SEO keyword phrase ‘downtown bars Austin’. Soon, in order to solidly rank consistently for something along these lines, a keyword phrase will perform better if written in a more conversational way. For example, the search phrase “Where’s the best place to grab a drink in downtown Austin?” is a much more natural, conversational sentence structure.

The sooner you begin taking action to implement voice search into your SEO strategy, the further ahead of your competition you will be as we move into the 2020’s, where voice search will become the norm for the vast majority of all search queries.

Strategy #3: Prepare for Mobile-First Indexing

It’s official. Google mobile searches now make up for the majority of all search queries. According to Google, between 50 to 60% of search queries now come from mobile devices. This is why the third crucial SEO strategy for 2018 is to fully optimize your website for mobile. You must optimize the mobile version of your site in such a way that it is a true equal to your desktop version in terms of content and user experience.

Note: If you have a mobile version of your site or if you have a responsive site, don’t worry. There is nothing special you need to do in regards to mobile as of 2018.

Many SEO articles today mention that a “mobile-first index” is coming soon, but what does this mean exactly? To put it simply, an index is just another name for the database used by a search engine, and Google will soon begin to index data (taking it from the site and adding it to Google’s database) from a mobile site instead of the desktop site as it has always done.

We know that most Google searches are now mobile, but Google’s ranking is still focused on the desktop version of the website. Google wants to fix this, and fix it they will. Google’s mobile-first index began live testing last year, in 2016.

An official mobile-first indexing for all websites will happen more quickly than you or I probably expect. 2018 could be the year that a full-fledged mobile-first index goes into effect. If you want to invest in SEO and truly have your efforts pay off, you must begin taking action to ensure the content, user experience, and web design of your site is fully optimized for mobile users.

Strategy #4: Begin Strategizing to Rank for a Google Featured Snippet

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to rank in spot “0” of the search engine results page without having to pay for advertising? Google’s Quick Answers, or “featured snippets” as they’re more commonly referred to, make this a possibility. Getting your site into this highly valuable spot can do wonders for your organic visibility.  

First, what is a featured snippet?

A featured snippet is a summarized answer to someone’s search query, and it is placed at the very top of the Google search results page. You have probably seen them many times before when casually searching for “how to” do something.

Example: “how to bake chicken legs”

This is going to be the first thing that you will see in Google’s search results page:


Most SEO experts agree that as voice search continues to grow, quick answer featured snippets will become more prevalent on Google search results page.

Second, how do you rank for a featured snippet?

Although featured snippets have been around for years, many SEOs and business owners are just now wising up and starting to take a serious interest in how to go about ranking for them. Let’s quickly look at a few fundamental things to keep in mind when building a strategy to rank for Google’s quick answers. For more detailed information, check out this helpful article featured in the Search Engine Journal that covers 9 Steps on How to Rank for Featured Snippets.

If your goal is to achieve a spot as a featured snippet, it’s important to know how Google operates.

“When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.”

The core thing that you can do to increase the likelihood of landing a spot as a featured snippet is to create value by answering questions that people are asking in search engines. The following are mediums by which you can provide value by answering questions online: graphs, lists, tables, and quality Q&A information about your area of expertise.

Dominating SEO in 2018

As we move towards 2018, it is evident that SEO is rapidly moving in a new direction. Traditional SEO tactics such as quality content, backlinks, and focused keywords will remain as powerful fundamental SEO strategies for the foreseeable future. However, we must embrace new trends as well. In order to succeed, SEOs and business owners must integrate a strong user experience, voice search optimized content, mobile optimization, and focus on developing content that it’s in line with the requirements to compete for a spot as a featured snippet.

5 Content Marketing Lessons from Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is upon us this week, and everyone’s heads are swimming with thoughts of turkey, stuffing, and cranberries. But beyond being a time for a holiday feast or shopping blitz, Thanksgiving provides marketers with valuable lessons. So, while you are home with family—look to our tips for what to get out of the holiday.

Let’s take some of the lessons you need to pull off a successful Thanksgiving and apply them to an effective content marketing campaign. Make sure your Turkey Day is fruitful in more ways than eating cranberries—learn how to be a better marketer.

thanksgiving marketing words

Start Your Planning Early

For Thanksgiving, it can take weeks of planning to pull off a successful meal and please everyone at the holiday table. You need to start finding recipes, buying groceries, and organizing where family members are going to stay far in advance. Without the proper precautions and planning, a well-organized Thanksgiving can turn into a screaming WWE match between grandma and your Uncle Carl–with mashed potatoes ending up on the ceiling.

On the other hand, when you successfully have your recipes planned, cook dishes in advance, and figure out how to separate contentious family members, your Thanksgiving will be peaceful and harmonious (minus an occasional political argument). This goal is achievable, but it takes hard work to get there.

Content marketing works the same way. Plan your company’s content on a monthly or quarterly basis, but leave time for the unexpected (like Aunt Myrtle bringing her five cats), and you’ll reach your goals. With a combination of detailed planning and the ability to adapt to changes on the fly, your content marketing will be more successful.

Create a Mix of (Content) Dishes

Just like the variety needed for your Thanksgiving menu, you need a mix of content to engage your audience. You can’t only serve a turkey and potatoes for Thanksgiving; you need multiple sides and a delicious dessert. So, too, with marketing: create e-books, videos, podcasts, blogs, and other content pieces that are right for your company and audience.

Remember that serving the same thing to your guests (or your audience) isn’t going to keep them coming back. Variety is the spice of life. Different content types and exciting new side dishes are what keep your buyers and family coming back to the table.

You Can’t Do It Alone

Thanksgiving is a lot of work. Between all the cooking, cleaning, and keeping the family at peace, it can be exhausting. But part of the fun of Thanksgiving is getting the whole family together, having interesting conversations, and learning about everyone’s lives. Take advantage of family and friends coming to your Turkey Day Dinner to delegate. Have other people bring sides, do the dishes, or even help you with the turkey.

Content marketing is similar in certain respects. It’s stressful to try to do everything by yourself. Source articles on specific content from colleagues in those fields and use your resources wisely. By delegating correctly, you’ll put less stress on yourself and put out better products in the long run. Working together, much like with the Pilgrims and Native Americans, results in a better outcome. Just treat your co-workers (and Thanksgiving guests) better than the colonists treated their new friends.

Be Grateful and Keep Giving

At the Thanksgiving table, it can be difficult to remember the spirit of the holiday when there’s a food fight or political argument taking place. Do your best to make everyone feel comfortable, even if it means satisfying someone you don’t agree with, or fixing up food for vegetarians or vegans. Thanksgiving is about giving to everyone, even those you wouldn’t usually tolerate.

In content marketing, it’s important to remember that you’re targeting your content to your specific audience, or your buyer personas. It’s easy to think, “me, me, me” and talk about your company solely–when you need to focus on the target audience’s concerns. They don’t want to know how amazing Cousin Gracie’s mashed potatoes are; they want to see the recipe for mashed potatoes—and eventually eat them.

Create content that your audience can use to further their goals, and you will guide them along a path to purchase your product—give them what they want, and maybe they’ll give back by buying what you sell. Just like your unappreciative relatives.

Ignore the Negative and Push Forward

thanksgiving marketing fight

Thanksgiving can be a difficult time to be around family. They can be callous, insensitive, and just plain rude. Perhaps you don’t have the job they wanted you to have. Maybe you’re single, or your relationship is taboo. Don’t sweat it. Many families love to criticize, and for some, it’s just a way of expressing love.

Their opinions matter, but you shouldn’t let their disapproval goad you into doing something you don’t want to or changing your path. No matter what actions you take, someone will dislike it.

With content marketing, you will also face negativity. You might get emails saying your articles are garbage and your product is far inferior to your competitor. There’s no way to make everyone like your brand or product. Even the biggest companies in the world have a niche—even if it’s close to 2 billion people (e.g., Facebook). Write content the same way you live your life—with authenticity. By bringing your voice and personality to your brand and content, you’ll attract a broader audience that cares deeply about what you sell.

Get Ready for Thanksgiving Marketing

Now that you have some tips on how to improve your Thanksgiving marketing strategy, it’s time to get started. Make sure you’re prepared for your family and the upcoming holiday season with more ideas from Leverage Marketing.

Leverage Marketing’s content marketing team knows how to talk turkey. We’ll work with you to develop a content strategy that you’ll be thankful for!

4 Big Social Media Marketing Trends for 2018

We’re well past the days when a business could create a Facebook Page and call it good. As new social platforms, algorithms, and advertising models have arisen, social media marketing has gotten a lot more complicated. Now, some of the latest trends in social media advertising involve using specialized tools and strategies to reach a highly relevant audience at the right time.

Since we’re approaching the end of 2017, we decided it would be a good time to take stock of some of the rising social media marketing trends for 2018.

Chatbots Get Smarter

Chatbots (those chat boxes that pop up online to ask if you need assistance) are already a common sight on business websites. It’s easy to see the appeal: chatbots can simulate human conversation and help website visitors find what they’re looking for without having to call or email a customer support agent.

57 percent of consumers already say they’re interested in chatbots because of their instantaneous responses. As chatbots become increasingly popular, they’ll also be finely tuned to better meet consumers’ needs. In 2018, we’re anticipating a couple of social media advertising trends related to chatbots:

  1. More chatbots will interact with users across multiple platforms.
  2. Chatbots will get better at using consumers’ data to make personalized recommendations.

We’ve already seen examples of these smarter chatbots this year. Facebook released their Customer Chat plugin, which lets businesses integrate Facebook’s Messenger platform with their own site so that customers can continue chatting with a business any time they’re online. The plugin is currently in closed beta, and several airlines are testing it out.

Meanwhile, Twitter has released a feature that lets users interact with a branded chatbot over their Direct Messages. The tequila brand Patron used this feature to run a “Bot-Tender” campaign where a chatbot gave users personalized recommendations for cocktails based on their answers to a series of questions.

Twitter chatbot example of social media marketing trend for 2018

We’re not going to see chatbots replacing human customer service reps anytime soon—chatbots are best-suited to simple queries and product recommendations. However, as chatbots become more sophisticated, we’ll see growing acceptance of chatbots as a means of communicating with brands on social media and beyond.

Dynamic Ads Get Personal

Chatbots aren’t the only thing getting personal. Marketers are getting better at tailoring their content to the interests of specific consumers, and social media platforms are making it easier for marketers to customize their ads. Dynamic ads are now one of the biggest emerging trends in social media advertising.

This fall, Facebook unveiled a new dynamic creative tool which will show different combinations of ad components (such as images, headlines, and calls to action) to audiences based on their preferences. This dynamic ad tool will put the ‘big’ in ‘big data.’ Advertisers can add up to certain assets to each ad, resulting in up to 6,250 unique combinations. Facebook will analyze which versions perform best with each audience, giving advertisers the insights they need to run more effective social ads.

YouTube also has a new tool, called Director Mix, that lets marketers generate thousands of different variations on one video ad. Marketers supply all the video ad components (including voiceovers, background, and text), and Director Mix puts together different versions to align with different audience segments.

Campbell’s Soup is one brand that has already benefited from YouTube’s Director Mix. They used the tool to directly relate their product to the content their viewers were about to watch. For example, someone who was watching a clip from the show Orange Is the New Black would be served an ad with the copy: “Does your cooking make prison food seem good? We’ve got a soup for that.” Appealing to their audience’s personal interests paid off for Campbell’s: the campaign netted them a 55 percent lift in Simply Soup sales.

Live Video Becomes a Must for Marketers


Branded video has been one of the fastest growing social media advertising trends of the last few years, and most businesses are using video marketing in some capacity. According to Hubspot, 85 percent of businesses have staff and resources to produce videos in-house. And even businesses with limited internal resources can benefit from live video streaming on Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms.

The less polished, more personal nature of live video makes it a good medium for sharing company events, clips of products being built, behind-the-scenes workplace footage, and quick news updates. Live video lets brands break down the typical formality of advertising and interact more authentically with their audience. And, as an added benefit, Facebook’s algorithm pushes live videos to the top of the Newsfeed, increasing a brand’s likelihood of being seen organically.

If your business decides to use live video next year, keep in mind that “less polished” doesn’t have to mean amateur. If you’re streaming a live interview, for example, you should still make sure you have good lighting, a camera on a tripod, and a company representative who is comfortable in front of the camera. If you’re streaming something a little less structured, like your team’s charity event, you should still have a clear understanding of the story you want to tell.

Pressure to Report on Influencer Marketing Increases

Interest in influencer marketing has grown dramatically in the past five years, as evidenced by Google Trends:

Google trends graph influencer marketing

In the (relatively) early days of online influencer marketing, brands with large marketing budgets would pay celebrities to endorse their products on social media. This allowed brands to get their products in front of a celebrity’s large social media following, and many brands saw this visibility alone as a win.

However, as influencer marketing matures, businesses of all sizes are realizing that they need to do a better job of measuring the results of their campaigns. This is especially important as brands increasingly seek to partner with micro-influencers who don’t have the reach of celebrities like Kim Kardashian or DJ Khaled, but who do have engaged followers in their niche and may deliver a higher ROI than bigger-name personalities.

Businesses may be able to get away with only tracking impressions if their sole goal is brand awareness. However, businesses who have engagement and conversion goals must measure:

  • Likes, comments, shares, retweets, and reactions
  • Growth of social media followers
  • Website traffic (businesses need to set up campaign URLs so that they can identify the traffic coming from an influencer campaign)
  • Sales (businesses can attribute sales to influencer campaigns by giving influencers a unique discount code to share with followers, or by using affiliate links and UTM tracking parameters)

Influencer marketing will continue to grow in 2018, but marketers must be able to measure their success to prove to the C-suite that this strategy is worthwhile.

Think we missed one of the biggest social media trends for businesses? Let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for more digital marketing news, tips, and predictions.

Email A/B Testing: What You Can (and Should) Test

A/B testing is your secret weapon when it comes to optimizing your marketing emails.

Email A/B testing, also known as split testing, involves taking two variants of some component and seeing which one performs better. This is done by splitting an email list into two groups at random and showing a different variant to each group. You can then look at metrics like open rate, click-through rate, and website conversions to evaluate which email version performed better.

It doesn’t take a lot of technical know-how to get started with split testing. In fact, A/B testing tools are built into most major email marketing platforms, including:

  • MailChimp
  • Pardot
  • Constant Contact
  • Campaign Monitor
  • HubSpot Email

Why Should Email Testing Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy?

email A/B testing first and second place concept

Email testing gives you real feedback from the audience that matters to you most: your current (or potential future) customers. With email A/B testing, you can answer questions like: Are my subscribers more likely to open my emails in the morning or evening? Do subscribers prefer a more formal or casual tone? and What promotional offer most appeals to my customer base? Once you have answers to those questions, you can optimize your emails to increase the number of recipients who open your message, click a link to your site, and ultimately convert.

A Few Email Testing Best Practices

While it can be tempting to jump right in and test as many email components as possible, it’s best to only test one variable at a time. That way, you’ll be able to pinpoint what recipients are responding to, rather than trying to guess what combination of five changes increased your click-through rate.

In most cases, you’ll want to start by running an A/B test with a small percentage of your list, and then send the winning email version to your whole list. (Most email marketing platforms will let you do this easily.)

However, there’s also an argument to be made for running an A/B test with your whole list, because you’ll have a larger sample size (and stronger test results). This type of large-scale test is best to run if you’re planning to change something across multiple emails, such as the layout of your weekly newsletter or the button on your monthly discount offer.

9 Email A/B Tests to Try

Time of Send

time of send email A/B testing conceptWe can’t tell you the best day of the week or time of day to send your emails because there’s so much variation by industry. The only way to find out is through email A/B testing. The results may surprise you. For instance, as a B2B marketer, you might think that 8 am is the best time to send emails because business buyers are arriving at the office and checking their email, but after testing your hypothesis, you might find you get a higher response rate when you send in the late afternoon.

Subject Line

If your open rates are low, you may want to start by A/B testing your email subject lines. Here are a few ideas for email subject tests you could run:

  • Shorter vs. longer
  • Different tones (e.g. funny vs. urgent)
  • Including the recipient’s name or leaving it out
  • Making the focus of the email clear or playing on the reader’s curiosity
  • Including emojis or not

Just remember that it’s an email testing best practice to only evaluate one variable at a time.

From Name

The From name is another good variable to test if you’re trying to improve your open rates. Try running a test where half your list gets an email with your company’s name as the From name and the other half gets an email from an individual at your company.

Call to Action

CTA email A/B testing example

Example of a CTA button in an email from Bed, Bath & Beyond

Maybe you’ve been seeing decent open rates but unusually low click-through rates. In this case, you might want to test your call to action (CTA). You could test:

  • The wording of the CTA (e.g. “Buy It Here” vs. “Shop Now”)
  • Placing the CTA in a button vs. a text link
  • The placement of the CTA button in the email
  • The color of the CTA button

Length of Email Message

Depending on your audience and offer, you might get a higher click-through rate if you keep your email message short and sweet or go longer and provide more information. Leverage ran this test on one of our recent email campaigns and found that with our audience, the short messages got a higher response rate. However, there’s no guarantee your business will get the same result, and you won’t know until you test.


Your text isn’t the only thing you can test—you can also use email testing to optimize your design. For example, you might try split testing a single column vs. double column layout, or more vs. less white space. And considering that 66% of emails are now opened on mobile devices, you should definitely test elements that will affect how readers interact with your emails on a small screen.

The Specific Offerspecial offer email A/B testing concept

Find out what best motivates readers to click through to your site by testing different email offers. You could, for example, evaluate whether you get more clicks (and conversions) when you offer readers a mystery gift with their next purchase vs. 25% off their next purchase.


Images can be a great way to entice email recipients to click through to your site, especially if you have visually appealing products. Visual variables you could test include:

  • The size of your images
  • The number of images
  • Your color palette (e.g. brighter vs. darker)
  • Photos vs. illustrations

Just keep in mind that not every email recipient will be able to see your images, and run emails that will be cohesive whether the images show or not.

Other In-Email Elements

We’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to email A/B testing. There are many other variables you could test, including elements like videos, animations, and testimonials.

Whatever you decide to test, pay close attention to the metrics that tie into your business goals. Increasing your open and click-through rates is great if you’re running an awareness campaign, but if you’re trying to increase sales or sign-ups, you should be paying attention to the percentage of recipients who complete a conversion after clicking your email.

Coming up with an email marketing testing strategy may seem daunting, but it’s a lot easier when you have an experienced digital marketing team in your corner. Contact Leverage today to learn more about our email marketing services.

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6 Steps to Rank for Competitive Keywords Using Long-Tail Keywords

One of the essential metrics that a clever SEO uses to determine how viable it is to pursue ranking for keywords is keyword difficulty. Various SEO tools use custom algorithms to determine keyword difficulty for words or word strings in their databases, but most of them agree on which keywords are most difficult to rank for in today’s search.

As a rule, we try to avoid going after highly-competitive keywords with a high keyword difficulty. That’s because the most competitive keywords are dominated by websites with a long history on the internet and vast, nearly unmatchable resources. But if you have the patience, you can take the slow-and-steady approach to ranking for competitive keywords by building your authority (over time) for long-tail keywords related to your target keywords.

Try these six steps with several different keyword sets. Tweak and experiment to find a strategy that works consistently for your target market.

Identify Competitive Keywords

moz keyword research result for space

Find highly-competitive, high-difficulty keywords using keyword research tools. Most tools are designed for use by marketing agencies or large businesses, and they require a subscription to use. However, you can do limited keyword research with free accounts on some keyword research websites. Try some of these:

Most sites label the metric you’re looking for as keyword difficulty, but you may also find it labeled as keyword competition or something similar. Keywords with a difficulty factor of 70+ (usually on a scale of 100, but may differ between sites) are well-established keywords that you’ll need to employ long-term strategies to rank for.

Find Related Searches

related keyword suggestions from moz keyword research tool

Using the same keyword research tools, plug your competitive keywords into a search that looks for and indexes related searches. Most keyword research tools are very clever and have an advanced understanding of the semantics of searches, which allows them to produce lists of less-competitive keywords that searchers use to find the same or very similar results.

Discover Long-Tail Keywords with Similar Meanings

related searches for space with similar keywords highlighted

Log the related searches and check their search volume. Start compiling lists of long-tail keywords that are nearly identical. Look first for keyword strings with minor lexical or grammatical differences. Then tack on strings with similar meanings, and find minor variants of those as well.

Be as thorough as you can – the object is to build lists of low-competition long-tail keywords around which you can base your upcoming content strategy.

Produce Content that Targets Long-Tail Keywords

keyword list in excel for brainstorming long-tail keyword targeted content

Once you’ve recorded a few lists of low-competition long-tail keywords, use your lists to build a plan-of-action for content. Consider themes that the long-tail keywords represent and brainstorm concepts around those ideas. Vary your content style between written content and visual content, and create similarly-themed content pieces that have a unique message but overlap in subject matter.

Build Authority

example SERP for long-tail technobabble space keyword search

Put your targeted content out on an ongoing basis and keep your expectations grounded. Again, the objective isn’t to immediately push high-authority sites out of top-ranked positions for competitive keywords; your mission is to dominate associated long-tail keywords, then begin to target the most competitive keywords.

It’s a win-win: You get traffic and leads for searches related to your high-keyword-difficulty keywords, and you build domain and page authority (two vital SEO metrics) over time. Most of your competitors don’t have the patience or resources to do so, which gives you a distinct advantage that will take your competition years to catch up to.

Produce Content that Targets Competitive Keywords

keyword list in excel for brainstorming competitive keyword targeted content

It’s going to take lots of time, but long-term strategy is at the heart of business success. Once you begin to rank highly for long-tail keywords, start producing content aimed at your short-tail, high-competition keywords.

Because you’ve spent time building your authority for the highly-competitive subject matter, you’re likely to get an automatic and significant boost in authority for high-keyword-difficulty keywords. You’ll benefit from:

  • An audience who trusts your expertise on the subject matter
  • A measurable history of content production for the subject matter
  • A hearty page authority and domain authority that gives you an automatic edge in search algorithms

However, it’s vital to stay realistic in your expectations. Keyword difficulty measurements exist to allow marketers like us to weigh the risks of pouring resources into target keywords against the benefits. Be prepared for a tough road with plenty of bumps – but if you make it to the end, you could achieve rankings and business growth unmatched by even the most robust SEO strategies to date.

How do we know so much? We’re no-kidding, all-out masters of SEO. Start ranking better with our help.