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Kevin Stalder

Evaluating an SEO Agency

The world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google always seem to be clouded in mystery. Even though it’s 2016 and Google has been around for 18 years, many business owners or marketing managers have no idea how it works or how to get their companies to show up on Google.

This confusion makes it easy for less-than-reputable individuals to take advantage of those who know they need to be found on the web but don’t know how to get there. These unscrupulous SEO firms throw terms around like Algorithms, Penguin, Penalties, and SERP’s – more to confuse and thus convince clients to trust them.

The end result is a company who pays a lot of money for tactics that, at best, achieve no results and, at worse, cause damages that are difficult to undo.

Evaluating an SEO Agency

Top 5 signs you might be dealing with an “SEO” Agency that doesn’t have your best interests in mind.

#5 No Clear Strategy

If an SEO has no way of articulating their strategy for increasing your visibility then chances are they don’t have one.  A strategy is their chance to explain what and why they will be doing certain things. Always ask what and why.

#4 Lack of Reporting

Reporting is a vital part of business operations. If you can’t report out on it how can you assess the ROI? Any SEO firm that doesn’t provide an account of what they’ve done and how successful or not (which is ok, failure if part of the process) it has been, is not being transparent. Lack of access to analytics (Google Analytics), conversion tracking tools, rank reports etc. are a sure sign things are not being assessed properly.

#3 Magical Results

Everyone wants to see their traffic, sales, conversions etc. grow and grow quickly. But be wary of the ‘magical’ results. Organic traffic can grow fast, but use your gut when you see extreme growth. Often these visitors turn out to be inflated or manipulated and provide no value to your company.

#2 Google Guarantee

Any SEO firm or agency that says they can guarantee an organic ranking is, well, not someone to trust. No one can. Google won’t allow it or Google would be out of business. Certain tactics have proven to be more efficient than others, but there are simply too many factors involved for anyone to declare emphatically they can guarantee rankings.

#1 Laziness

The digital world has changed a lot in the last five years. Google has made over 20 changes to how it interacts with a website in the last two years. If your SEO agency is still using tactics from 2010, they’re being lazy.

 

A mix of proven and innovative approaches always gives a company the best possible chance to succeed. A quality SEO firm will explain the tactics they are using and explain why they are important. If your agency isn’t doing that, you need to ask questions.

These are just a sampling of the things you should use to evaluate your current or prospective SEO agency. Our hope is that your agency passes the test and is providing you with a valuable service. Quality SEO makes the web a better place for everyone!

 

At Sanctuary Marketing Group we pride ourselves on having an open relationship with our clients. Our clients look at us as partners, focused on achieving results openly and ethically. If you’ve had a bad experience with an SEO or Digital Marketing agency, contact us. We are happy to listen to your needs and experience, offer advice and help you get back on track growing your business.

How to Evaluate SEO Providers & Avoid the Sketchy Ones
Internal Linking Plan

Internal Linking PlanWhen reviewing a site from an SEO perspective, one thing I always include on my checklist is internal linking. We can usually tell how well a site is optimized by looking over the linking strategy. Implementing a linking strategy is a key step in optimizing your site, so it should be a part of your overall strategy.

We often assume just because we create a page and publish it that Google will find, index and rank that page. It’s the same line of thought as constructing a baseball diamond in the middle of a corn field. The “build it and they will come” mentality may work if the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson tells people to visit the baseball diamond (Field of Dreams reference), but in the online world this is not the case.

Think of internal links as a network of road signs that will tell Google where to go and what to look at. Driving down the interstate, you look for signs to direct you to your exit, and so does Google. Internal links direct the search spiders down the road of your website. Without these links, the spiders may just ‘drive on by’ the exit and miss your page. Eventually, it may be indexed but to help get the job done faster you need internal links.

 

The top 5 ways I approach internal linking

1) Use Main Navigation

Internal Linking

Putting links on pages that are in the main navigation means that those pages are just 1-2 clicks away. A page that is 1-2 clicks away from the homepage can carry some of the link equity through from the homepage. It also helps bring pages that are deeper in the site up on the IA ladder. However, filling the main navigation with links to every page is a bad idea, so don’t do that. Read more about User Friendly Navigations.

 

2) Use Your Homepage

The homepage is typically the most visited page on a site. This means a large portion of traffic is flowing through here. Utilize the homepage to gain exposure to high-value pages. This will do two things: First it will tell your visitors what is important and direct them to pages that are going to make you money. Secondly it will send a signal to Google and other search engines that these are important pages for them to crawl, index and rank. Links on a homepage are as important as the design of the homepage.

 

3) Capitalize on Popular Pages

This is my favorite tactic for starters. Capitalize on popular pages within your site. Find out which pages have the most external links (and presumably the most authority), pull this list together, and start dropping links to these pages throughout the site. This is a great way to build and share the link equity. External links are a completely different discussion but work in a similar manner. There are many different ways of gaining external links, just watch out for Google Penguins when doing so.

 

4) Use Breadcrumbs

A breadcrumb is a perfect place to capitalize on anchor text using targeted terms. Breadcrumbs also allows for several pages to link directly to each other. They can have 3 or more levels of links which allow for link equity to flow through each page. We always recommend using a breadcrumb whenever possible. They are part of our Best Practice for local SEO and rankings.

 

5)  Develop a Content Hub

Develop a hub of content that is similar or related. This hub will allow for curation of content that can be linked together. When content that is related is linked together, it provides context for the users and will help link equity flow between the pages. It also allows pages to be linked together that might never be connected otherwise. Blogs, related post plugins, categories, and pagination are all ways to achieve this.
These are just a few ways of executing good internal linking. Remember, internal linking is the thread that connects different pages of your site no matter how they are separated. With proper implementation, a good internal linking plan can be another notch in your SEO belt and provide one more signal to Google that you are ready to be found.

 

Get Help with Internal Linking & Digital Marketing for Your North Canton Business

Sanctuary Marketing Group in North Canton can help with developing a strong internal linking strategy. Give us a call @ 330-266-1188 or contact us here to talk with our strategist. We specialize in helping North Canton, Ohio businesses grow through effective digital marketing.

Internal Linking Tactics
Retargeting & Remarketing

Retargeting is an extremely valuable tool in the digital marketer’s toolbox. It can impact the bottom line of any business if done correctly. Using thiRetargeting & Remarketings strategy is also a great way to increase brand awareness and make the most of your marketing budget.

You’ve spent the time and budget to get visitors to your site, but eventually everyone is going to leave. If they bought, great! But typically, only 2% of shoppers buy on their first visit to an online store. They might be doing research or price comparison, and you don’t want to get lost in the crowd. Not to mention that repeat business is often the lifeblood of many companies.

If you have thought about doing a retargeting campaign or are just trying to improve what you already have running, here are 5 Best Practices to follow.

1) Cap That Frequency

“Annoying,” “Pestering,” “Relentless” are just a few words that we’ve heard to describe different retargeting campaigns. No one wants to see the same company every day, everywhere they go. Users will begin to ‘tune’ out the ads, a phenomenon known as banner blindness. Even worse than banner blindness, users may start to associate negative feelings with your brand, something that is extremely difficult to overcome.

Cap the Frequency, or limit the number of times a user sees your ads, to between 12-15 times a month. These numbers are a good starting point, but test and see what works best for your business and customers. Not every user will be at the same point in their buying cycle. If someone is close to a purchase, a decrease may work effectively. If they are new to your brand, an increase my help solidify your place.

2) Segment that Audience

Just like you do in analytics, segment your audience. Segmentation allows you to provide tailored ad messaging to users from different ‘segments’ or sections of your site. Say you sell pet supplies; if a user comes to the section of your site that sells fish supplies you don’t want to retarget them using dog food ads! Meet them where they are.

A general rule of thumb is this: homepage and high-level page visits are great for targeting general brand awareness. Anything deeper on the site should be specific to whatever topics they visited. Doing this reinforces to the user that you understand their needs and provide an effective solution or product.

3) Rotate that Creative

As with anything, people get tired of seeing the same things over and over again. We just being to tune things out once they become familiar. We can even become ‘turned off’ of a brand because the ad creative is repetitive, which is the same reason we monitor frequency.

Studies show that using the same set of ads for months on end will result in a lower performing campaign, even if you hit it out of the park on the first try. According to a ReTargeter study, click through rates decrease by almost 50% after five months of running the same set of ads.

Developing new creative, testing and rotating every few months can help you easily avoid experiencing these dips in performance. Changing images, colors, calls-to-actions and messaging are all things that can help keep your campaign running strong.

4) Test

Since you are going to be rotating your ad creatives, it would be the perfect time to test! Testing different elements is as simple as swapping out an image or changing a call-to-action. You don’t truly understand how your ads will perform until you try them. On an in-house example, we replaced the word “free” on a set of our creatives. We then targeted the same segment that had seen ads with the word free in them and saw different results. Simply by removing one word we saw a 22% increase in click-throughs.

Test images, messaging, colors, layout, CTA’s, image sizes, and word count. All of these are things that can improve the performance of your ads. Remember different segments may react differently and the same ad may not be as effective across your segments.

5) Brand and Brand again

Make that subliminal connection between your brand and your audience. When your audience encounters a need or a problem, you want them to remember your brand and the solutions you have to offer. Retargeting guarantees that your ads will stay in front of your audience, but will they remember who you are when they need you the most?

Making sure your logo is clear and highlighted on your creatives will help ensure your ads don’t go unnoticed. They’ve been to your site before, which is why they see your ads. A clearly branded ad helps keep your business at the top of their minds.

 

 

There is a lot more that can and should go into your retargeting campaigns, but following these simple guidelines will help you get off to the right start in building an effective retargeting strategy. For additional insights and tips feel free to call 330-266-1188 or contact us here.

Share your additional tips or experiences with us! Comment below or use my contact info to message me directly. I would love to hear what things have worked or not worked for you.

5 Best Practices for Retargeting Campaigns
Yelp Reviews

Google Stars They say any press is good press in Hollywood. In some cases that might be true, but in the respected business world a bad review can set a business back and do damage to the bottom line. Local businesses depend heavily on word of mouth, column reviews, Yelp reviews and other types of positive press to grow their business. But what happens when someone posts a negative review?

An average customer who has a positive or pleasant experience is less likely to leave a review without being prompted. However, if a customer perceives a negative experience, they are highly likely to express their opinion without any prompting. Thanks to the explosion of social media, these negative opinions can spread like wildfire and be very difficult to overcome.

As a local business in North Canton, it’s critical that you make a dedicated effort to build a library of online reviews that enhances your business’s credibility and showcases both the positive experiences and your positive responses to negative experiences alike. Here is a compilation of Sanctuary’s top advice for developing healthy online reviews.

 

Overcoming Bad Online Reviews

Wreck-it-Ralph said, “I am bad, and that is good, I will never be good and that’s not bad, there’s no one I’d rather be than me.” You can think of a bad review in the same way. Bad reviews can often shed light on deeper issues and if treated the proper way can build strong relationships between a business and its customers.

Yelp Reviews Chris Auman addresses this subject in his article “Why Online Reviews are Important and How to Get Them.

His first rule of thumb is simple, Don’t Fear Reviews.

“There will always be difficult customers and you can deal with them directly. But if you run a reputable business, your overall reviews should give an accurate picture of your business. If you’re afraid of reviews then maybe you have deeper business issues to deal with.”

It may sound backward, but dealing with negative reviews is the first step in getting positive reviews. It’s a reflection of your business model, which dictates how your business operates. “A perfect business isn’t one with perfect reviews; it’s one that deals with their reviews and feedback perfectly.” – Mike Ramsey.
Continue reading Online Reviews Are Important…

 

Onsite vs. Offsite Reviews

Part of combatting negative reviews is having plenty of believable positive reviews from happy customers. , And that’s why offsite reviews are important.

It’s a great practice to have onsite reviews and testimonies from real people. Nothing helps to sell your business better than the words of a happy customer. BUT we all know that onsite testimonials have been cherry-picked. We’ve even seen some that are completely false and made-up. As a society, we’ve become very cynical and untrusting of these reviews. A sad state to be in, but nonetheless it’s where we are.

Chris Auman states “The key to an effective review strategy is to encourage reviews on external web sites. If a business has a substantial amount of good, offsite reviews on external websites, it will instill confidence that real people have given their honest opinions about a business. But more importantly, reviews are an important signal that Google uses to determine search results.”
Continue reading Onsite vs. Offsite Reviews …

 

Getting Reviews in Google

review-us

Getting positive reviews in Google is important. They will show in the search results, and the more you have the better positioned you will be to outshine the competition. We’re talking more than just reviews from other sites showing up in a Google search; we’re talking about Google+ and those coveted gold stars!

Google doesn’t make this incredibly easy for users to do, but that is the point. They don’t want countless, mindless reviews flooding the market – and neither do you. Reviews are always a matter of quality over quantity.

There are ways to get reviews in Google, which you can read about in our post “How to get Reviews for Your Business on Google Plus.

The number one way to do it is to ask for it. A follow-up email after purchase, a link in a Thank-You page or a card you hand out with steps to follow are all good ways to achieve this. Remember, people are slow to post a review unless they’ve had a bad experience, so you have to ask for them. Amazon figured this out a long time ago and if you’ve ever bought something from them, you’ve received a follow-up email 5-7 days later asking for a review. It’s good practice.

However, asking and paying for reviews are two different things. Do NOT pay for reviews. It’s not worth it, and if you are a small business you could get into troubled waters that are hard to get out of. And it should go without saying that paying for reviews is  simply an unethical practice.
Continue reading Getting Reviews in Google + …

 

Get Help with Online Reviews for Your North Canton Business

There is a lot to know about encouraging good reviews on Google+. Allow Sanctuary Digital Marketing Group to manage the gathering and promotion of your positive reviews. Contact us today for a no-cost, upfront marketing consultation. We can take a look at your whole internet presence and tell you what’s working and what’s not.

Call 330.266.1188 and tell us a bit about your North Canton business. Let’s chat about your marketing needs and how Sanctuary can facilitate your online marketing presence.

Getting Online Reviews
Cross Device Conversions

As a business owner in North Canton, there is no doubt that you have seen the shift of marketing. From mailings to local newspaper advertisements then to the need to have a website. Now you hear rumors of the growth in mobile device usage and the complete, utter necessity to have a website that can handle the Mobilegeddon transition.

With all that you juggle, between inventory reports and employee management, my hope is that Sanctuary Marketing Group can be a helping hand in your digital marketing efforts. For that reason, this is what we have been learning about mobile marketing. Most of this will be directly tied to a webinar offered by Marin Software and SocialMoov, but I’m boiling it down you can understand and hopefully apply these mobile marketing insights. Here we go!

Mobile Use is Growing

Foremost, the reason that we are even having this conversation is because mobile devices and mobile device usage is growing, therefore mobile marketing is growing. Most of us wake up with phones in our hands and are also put to sleep by their glowing screens. Think about your day today, how many times have you used your phone? Personally, I have packed the following mobile device usage into my day:

  • Turned off my phone’s alarm clock.
  • Checked my email.
  • Scanned social media.
  • Texted my brother (all of that before getting out of bed).
  • I used the timer on my phone to know when to finish my french press.
  • I checked my bank account.
  • Rescheduled a bill payment.
  • Read a chapter of a book.
  • Played a game
    …and it is not even 11:00 AM!

Neni Pogarcic (Global Search Lead, Google) pointed out on the webinar that this is not an atypical morning for those of us going about our day. Not only that, but most of this can be done without even touching a computer. With that in mind, how are you going to appropriately reach the many who traverse their morning without touching traditional Google search or a desktop computer? The next question, beyond reaching those individuals, is how are you going to provide means for them to convert?

On-Device Conversions, Now Think Cross-Device

Device conversions, particularly in the world of digital marketing, used to be computers only, but think through all the conversions that take place on your phone now. Think for a moment, how many devices have you used today and how many conversions have taken place? 98% of users say they are cross-device users throughout the day. Users quickly bounce between websites, tablet apps, and smartphone notifications. Are you, as a local business owner, catering to the next generation of buyers?

Cross Device Conversions

Can My North Canton Business Win the Mobile War?

Here are three steps to succeed with mobile:

Three Steps to succeed with mobile
1) Incredible Experiences

While many understand that the desktop version of your website should include as much detail as possible, Google has spent a lot of time recently on spelling out the absolute best mobile design for websites, especially for businesses. Google has business owners ask questions about how close together your website’s buttons are, how wordy your pages are, and how usable your mobile website is? You can learn all about that in our summary of their updates — basically, ask yourself how easy it is to use and convert on your website? We’re here to help if you need any suggestions or work done. Just let us know your need help!

2) Relevant Advertising

Advertising should always aim to be relevant, but when you’re seeking to land on a mobile device it has to be all the more fine tuned. Do you know your audience and do you know how to reach them? Marketers have mere moments to reach individuals when they’re using their mobile devices (Google calls this Micro-Moments). Are you providing the absolute best imagery, copy text and advertisement destination URLs for your audience?

3) Insightful Measurement

If you are not appropriately measuring your efforts and providing insightful reporting, you might as well put a stop to all that you are doing. By putting the proper measures in place, you can use the results (whether positive or negative) from your efforts to refine future efforts.

This is a very brief summation of notes from the webinar The Path to Mobile Success, hosted by Neni Pogarcic (Global Search Lead, Google), Luca Angeli (Analytics Manager and Bidding Optimization Specialist, Marin Software) and Hoiling Wong (Product Marketing Manager, Marin Software).

The team at Sanctuary Marketing Group is available to help answer any questions that you have about Mobile Marketing.

Three Steps for Mobile Success
Local Mobile Search

You already have a mobile friendly site? Better be sure of that! On April 21, 2015 Google’s mobile ranking factors will kick in. Those who do not have a mobile friendly site will begin to see a “significant impact” in their search results, according to Google. This roll out will happen over the course of a week and will be a “Yes/No” on whether your site is mobile-friendly or not, there are no degrees of mobile-friendliness in this algorithm.

Mobile Usability
Our Mobile Planet: Understanding the Mobile Customer

Mobile is something we all should have been paying attention to anyway. According to a survey sponsored by Google and Ipsos MediaCT, smartphones have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. Smartphone penetration has risen to 56% of the population, and Smartphone owners are becoming increasingly reliant on their devices. In 2013, it was reported that 67% of smartphone users accessed the internet everyday on their phone and most never leave home without it. These number have undoubtedly risen.

Google is now stepping up the game with this update by ‘requiring’ businesses to have a mobile friendly website to be found in mobile search results. And it makes sense: Google wants to deliver results that their users can be happy using. As a business, you should have the same goal! Make your site easy for people use, and they will use it. To be clear, this will mostly likely only affect non-branded searches done through Google on your browser or the Google App. Those searching for branded terms will likely not see any changes in the results.

Local Mobile SearchOur smartphones allow us to research anything, anywhere. The moment an idea crosses our mind we can pull out our phone and begin the process of getting “more input.” Statics tells us that 94% of smartphone users have looked for local information on their device, and 57% of these users do it once a week, with a whopping 25% doing it every day. Being optimized for local search is a key part of being found.

So how do you make sure you’re ready for April 21st?

Usually updates come up with little or no notice, but Google said it wanted sites to prepare; so, you have some time to make your website mobile-friendly which is a big benefit for business owners. Assuming you have a mobile site already some of the usability issues can be quickly fixed to comply with what Google is looking for. We do offer web design services that can quickly identify any issues, and affordably provide you with a solution. If you don’t have a mobile site at all, we can help with that too.

Identify Mobile Usability Issues

Mobile Friendly LabelKnowing if your site is mobile friendly or not can be done by simply doing a search for your site on your smartphone. Since late last year, Google has been using a ‘mobile friendly’ label on sites which it has identified as being such. If the site does not have this label, then that means it has not passed the test, and there’s a strong possibility it will be affected by the update.

Identifying the issues that are keeping the site from being mobile friendly can be done quickly with a few tools Google provides. Each one of these tools offers varying features and should be used in tandem to assess current issues with usability. Google Webmaster tools will give you the specific items Google is looking for and alert you if the site is not in compliance. It’s also important to understand the potential impact on traffic, which is why I suggest looking at current mobile traffic. Understanding how these mobile visitors are getting to the site and what they do while they are on it will help in making decisions on improving the usability. Identifying landing pages, exit pages, and other metrics will provide information on hurdles users faces and potential areas of improvement.

  • Site validation: Validate your site with Google’s mobile friendly test tool. It’s important that all the elements of your site are crawlable.
  • Current user behavior: Google Analytics provides a wealth of information on mobile users. Identify how they enter your site, where they land, what they do and where they convert. This information will help you understand any hurdles they are facing.
  • Search appearance: Google Webmaster tools will show you what queries your pages are showing up for, what position they hold and which search results these users click. There are features with GWT that will alert you if Google finds usability issues and provide some guidance on the what to fix.

As with most Google updates there tends to be a “freak out” moment where we wonder if we’re going to make the cut. Remember this one simple rule, one that I live by, Don’t optimize for Google! Optimize for the user. If your site is built with user experience at the forefront, then you have nothing to fear. My colleague Jackie Baker has written extensively about The Best SEO Strategy is Always About Your Customers (Not Google).

Sanctuary Marketing Group is ready to assist businesses to make sure they don’t lose rankings and quality traffic on mobile searches after the change is made. Contact us at for a free consultation.

Google Mobile Friendly Update
Content Amplification

Content Amplification is the buzzword for digital marketing in 2015, and understanding what it means is the first step to putting it to work for your business. Let’s start by breaking it down:Content Amplification

Content = This word has 7 or more different meanings, however, for the purposes of this discussion we are only going to concern ourselves with two of them. “Content” is:

  • something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts.
  • substantive information or creative material.

Amplification =  (amplify) to increase in volume of sound or to make something louder.

The sole purpose of amplifying anything is to reach more people, after all, that’s why we turn our amps up to 11!

In a nutshell, amplifying content is making your creative material reach more people online. You want your content to reach as many people as possible because each person it touches is either a potential sale or a potential referrer of a sale. It’s not enough to just create content, publish it and hope it brings in traffic. You have to work actively to get the word out.

So where do you start? Well, if you haven’t read “How To Amplify Your Content” by Chris Auman I’d recommend you start there. It’s a lengthy read chock-full of ideas to get you started — including The Sanctuary 7 Phases of Content Amplification.

Three Ways to Amplify Content

It all starts with a great piece of content. 5 Tips to Nail Planning Your Content Marketing Campaign can get you started in the right direction. Once you have an optimized piece of content ready for launch, there are three basic methods you can use to amplify it:

  1. Owned Amplification (You own the channel). These are your own social media channels, sites and email list. Hopefully, you are already engaged in different channels and have created some sort of following. This is the perfect place to start. You have a built-in audience that will (if you’ve done your homework) find your content engaging enough to share. Be sure to be creative with each channel and tailor the message in an appropriate way. Each channel has best practices, so be sure to follow those.
  2. Paid Amplification (You buy exposure). Don’t be afraid of pay-to-play amplification. Often paying for distribution can be a quick way to gain some traction for a campaign. Depending on your budget level, there are many options to choose from. Promoted tweets, boosted Facebook posts, content amplification services and more are all available. Do your research and find the best option to meet your budget.
  3. Earned Amplification (When others promote your content). It’s hard. It can be time-consuming. Earned amplification comes from doing amazing work. If your content is less than awesome it will be hard for others to share. Sharing something means attaching your name to it, and no one wants their name on junk. Think of it as quality link building, because that’s what it is. You want to gain a quality link, and most people want to give a link to quality content, so you need to produce quality material. You won’t be afraid to ask for a link if you are proud of your work.


What is Content Amplification in a nutshell?
Getting your strong, quality, content in front of the right people. Check out our Content Amplification Checklist. An easy to follow checklist that covers each step in the amplification process.

Content Amplification in a Nutshell
Freedom Health Logo

FH logo color

Company Description

Aurora, Ohio based company Freedom Health LLC is dedicated to finding, perfecting, and delivering superior, innovative products that address real and significant health-related issues for animals and the people who care for them. Focused specifically on digestive health in horses, Freedom Health is heavily involved in research, education, and awareness-building in addition to manufacturing several products.

Freedom Health is the maker of SUCCEED Digestive Conditioning Program and the SUCCEED Veterinary Formula, digestive support supplements for horses, and the SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test, a diagnostic tool for equine veterinarians. Freedom Health currently sells its products throughout the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Challenge

After connecting for the first time at an Equestrian New Media Meet-Up event in February 2010, Freedom Health reached out to us for a number of reasons:

  1. They realized they were up against consumers’ outdated beliefs and mis-understanding regarding key components of horse health and care. They needed to engage with horse people and share their perspectives on horse health and nutrition before their products could be discussed – and recognized that much of this conversation was starting to happen online.
  2. Their approach to online strategy had been to educate, and was primarily one-way and academic. They recognized that internet usage and consumers were evolving, and their strategy needed to evolve to match. This meant moving away from a heavy emphasis on print advertising and PR and towards a more conversational, two-way communication online.
  3. They were in the midst of market research and redrafting Freedom Health’s core marketing strategies, making it the perfect time to address their web marketing effort.
  4. They were attracted to our personal experience in the equestrian industry in addition to our online marketing expertise.

The Freedom Health website was highly technical, not optimized, and didn’t lead consumers toward a specific action. But the real challenges were developing high-quality targeted content that showcased Freedom Health’s unique message and innovative products, navigating a strict regulatory landscape that restricts information sharing, re-educating an audience notoriously set in its ways, and expanding their customer base to include diverse equestrian disciplines and, later, veterinarians.

The Solution

We took the in-depth research and strategy work that Freedom Health had already done and applied it across their online media, synching up with offline tactics as well. This initially included launching a completely overhauled website at succeed-equine.com in September 2010 with a fresh design, a blog, a store locator, lead generation forms, and all-new search and conversion optimized content developed around the new positioning. And that was just the beginning.

In the four years since the new site launched, we have continued to guide and implement Freedom Health’s complete online marketing strategy, adjusting regularly to complement and support changing business needs and goals. Just a few highlights include:

  • Managing the SUCCEED blog and planning, researching, interviewing, and writing 4-5 blog posts every month.
  • Developing and maintaining social media accounts including running several contests.
  • Planning and creating email newsletters, promotions, and announcements.
  • Developing an educational awareness campaign with a separate website, social media accounts, and an annual awareness month.
  • Running surveys and performing ongoing research to better understand the audience and adjusting to meet their needs.
  • Creating several e-books from blog content and developing processes on the website for building Freedom Health’s email list.
  • Analyzing site performance and visitor behavior and constantly improving the website and strategy to increase conversions and improve results.

Freedom Health is a great example of a company that truly knows and understands its audience, its products, and its business needs – and has worked with us to integrate that into everything that they do online.

The Results

Freedom Health

With the former website and online marketing strategy, Freedom Health received less than 1,000 visitors to their website each month – and didn’t know if any of them were actually becoming customers.

Four years later, the main website is getting, on average, 12,000 visitors to the website every month – and that is constantly growing. As of Fall 2014, they receive a minimum of 20 email leads, 50 email subscribers, and 15 veterinarian registrations every month – not to mention the several hundred people who go to the website and use the store locator to find out where to buy Freedom Health products.

And with the heavy emphasis on high-quality, optimized content, 78% of the visitors who come to the website do so through search engines, mostly from non-branded search terms relevant to specific needs and questions, and convert at a rate of 2.44%.

“We decided to work with Sanctuary in 2010 because they seemed smart, made the effort to understand our business quickly and approached our business as part of our team to help achieve our goals. We continue to work with Sanctuary because they not only live up to those early impressions, but they continue to bring new ideas and approaches to the table, and they work with us to continually evolve and improve our online marketing efforts as our business evolves and as the online world around us evolves. The icing on the cake is the people – all top notch talents with great personalities and a ‘let’s get it done’ attitude. I can’t imagine working with anyone else.”

Patrick Warczak, Jr.
VP of Marketing, Freedom Health, LLC

Case Study: Freedom Health LLC

Sanctuary Marketing Group has donated a new logo to support the MNK Project. The MNK Project is a new division of The Kaderly Foundation. This new division will honor the memory of a brave young Manchester girl, Megan Nicole Kasmar with a memorial scholarship for Manchester High School graduates.

MNK-Project-logo-FINAL

Megan’s Story

Megan was a brave, loving daughter, sister, and student of Manchester High School. She loved life and lived it to the full. Megan was a cheerleader and a member of the homecoming court. At 11 months of age, Megan had developed Rhabdo Myo Sacrcoma (lung cancer). After years of many treatments, in and out of the hospital, and lots of prayer, Megan overcame the cancer, and she was cancer-free for 10 years. But the cancer and the treatments had left scars in her lungs that later became the problem that took her life. At the age of 15, Megan got a cold that developed into pulmonary fibrosis. To survive, Megan would need a double lung transplant. That transplant never came, and Megan went home to be with the Lord on March 17, 2011, her 16th birthday.

What Megan Taught Us

Megan fought her battle bravely. She was a girl of courage and faith. She taught us to trust God and to fight hard. Megan taught us to live the Golden Rule. Just as she wished for an organ donor, Megan was an organ donor herself. Although her time may have faded, her spirit is very much alive.

The Kaderly Foundation

The Kaderly Foundation honors the memory of former Manchester Football Coach Rick Kaderly with 2 scholarships. The Kaderly Foundation also donates items to the youth programs of the area to help enhance the participant’s experience. They are proud to announce the formation of the new division which houses another scholarship.

MNK Project Gets New Logo