Discussing Digital Marketing Acronyms

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Have you heard the terms SEO, SEM, or PPC being used casually in a business meeting or conversation? It’s easy to nod along, never admitting that you don’t know what these acronyms mean. That’s okay. We’ve compiled a list that explains what these basic marketing terms, so you can feel empowered to use them and make informed business decisions. 

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SEO 

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Effective SEO gradually improves the online visibility of a website or brand through organic, or unpaid, results. SEO involves processes like keyword research and link building. A focused SEO strategy can increase the quality and quantity of incoming traffic to certain website pages. Google, Yahoo, and Bing are the most significant search engines in western countries and they operate using algorithms that calculate what and how to display the most relevant search results. These algorithms change frequently, and it’s essential to work with an SEO specialist who stays informed of these developments. Failing to adhere to updates can negatively impact a website’s visibility. 

In the past, devious individuals learned to bypass and shortcut the ranking process through what we call “Black Hat” aka Spamdexing techniques – such as buying links from link farms, keyword stuffing in pages, hiding words in invisible fonts, and other deliberate manipulations of search engine indexes. Search engines like Google caught onto this pretty quickly and started penalizing websites who weren’t playing by the rules. At Absolute, we deploy genuine strategies to develop effective organic marketing that will generate qualified leads for our clients. 

If you want to learn more, visit our page to read about our services and our successes in building SEO strategies for our clients in Tampa Bay and beyond. 

SEM 

On the other end of the digital marketing spectrum, we have SEM: search engine marketing. SEM includes paid placements, banner advertisements, or anything using Google AdWords which can generate positive results for businesses and brands. Paid activities in the digital marketing world include PPC, CPC, or CPA ads – don’t panic, we’ll explain in a second. 

SEM can be a powerful marketing tool for brand awareness and lead generation. Depending on the industry landscape, the efforts of competitors, and the cost of ads, we recommend a targeted SEM campaign to complement ongoing SEO and maintain momentum for your business. 

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PPC 

PPC stands for pay-per-click, a popular form of paid advertising via Google AdWords and other third-party platforms. These ads allow you to set a limit for the amount you’ll pay per click. This makes it easy to forecast how many clicks you’ll receive within your allotted budget. 

PPC is a powerful tool because you can bid for high placements and get an immediate return on investment (ROI). Ads appear above organic search results, and users are highly motivated to click them since they’re often searching for a specific product, service, or answer. 

CPC 

CPC means cost per click; every time an ad gets clicked, it costs money. CPC tells advertisers the exact price of each click on a particular ad. 

After running a campaign, you’ll be able to see the average CPC and then test variables such as keyword selection, ad copy, position in the ad space, and other factors accordingly. Keep in mind that depending on your competition, keywords can be expensive. For instance, a personal injury attorney or an insurance company should expect to pay double, if not triple, for a single click on their ad compared to niche companies.  

CPA 

CPA can be a useful form of advertising for a business owner who is focused on how much a new customer costs to acquire. The acronym stands for cost-per-acquisition and refers to exactly that: the cost to get a new customer.  

Search Engine Land conducted an extensive study in 2016 and published an article outlining the industry averages for CPA by analyzing more than 2,000 clients in all verticals. They found that the average CPA in AdWords across all industries was $59.18 for Search and $60.76 for display. The CPA’s across industries varied greatly, however, with legal services being a top CPA industry at a whopping $135.17. For more industry benchmarks, check out their article here. 

CPM 

If you want to venture into paid advertising, another option you have is to go with CPM as a cost model. As opposed to CPC, where you pay each time someone clicks on your ad, CPM stands for cost per mille (one thousand impressions). You set a budget based on how much you want to pay to have your ad shared with one thousand viewers, readers, or listeners.

CTR 

You may have heard of marketers talking about CTR, which stands for click-through rate. It’s typically expressed as a percentage because it represents the number of users who clicked on an ad compared to the number of users who solely saw the ad. For example, if you created an ad on Facebook that reached 12,000 people, and 120 people clicked, then your CTR would be 1%. 

Many of our clients ask “what is a good CTR?” however, that question is highly subjective. The higher, the better, but it will vary based on industry and competition. In a study conducted by Wordstream, the average CTR in AdWords is 1.91% on the search network, and 0.35% on the display network. For more information about average CTR’s by industry, visit the guide here.

CTA 

In the marketing world, CTA stands for call to action. This is a specific instruction given to your reader. It may encourage calling, clicking, buying, or subscribing. Successful CTAs rely on the persuasiveness and quality of the copy, the value of the promotion, and the price. Make sure to work with an experienced copywriter to develop powerful CTAs.  

MoM 

No, MoM has nothing to do with your mother, or how she may or may not be made of money. MoM is a key performance indicator (KPI) that stands for month-over-month. MoM can be a measure of growth, market traction, business expansion, or any other rates of change. It’s a particularly useful metric for businesses and organizations that are based on monthly subscriptions or memberships.  

If you’re still perplexed, contact the marketing team at Absolute Marketing Solutions. Starting with a free consultation, we’ll put together a strategy to help your business achieve digital success. Call us today at (813) 908-6862. 

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A Guide to Understanding Gen Z in the Restaurant Industry

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Have you mastered managing the Millennial worker? We sure hope so, because a new generation is already entering the restaurant workforce. This post-Millennial cohort does not fit the stereotypes that are often assigned to many of today’s youth. In fact, they are natural-born innovators that are redefining their societal labels. Experts say that this new generation, dubbed Gen Z, shares eight qualities that you need to understand if you wish to attract and retain top talent.

Generation Z (also known as the iGeneration, Gen Edge, Gen Z’s, or Gen Z-ers) supersedes Millennials, meaning they’re born in the late 1990’s. According to a new study, Generation Z now makes up approximately 27% of the population and 61 million Gen Z-ers are about to enter the workforce. When looking to hire Gen Z’s, you must first understand the characteristics that define them. Although all individuals that make up a generation do not share all the characteristics assigned to them, it is still valuable to understand which traits are most identified with Generation Z. Here are some of the characteristics we believe most impact hiring and retaining the newest members of your workforce:

1. Independent

Independence is a major difference between Gen Z’s and Millennials. Millennials are known to value teamwork and collaboration, whereas Gen Z’s favor self-sufficiency. Gen Z’s crave autonomy and are natural entrepreneurs. One article writes that 17% of Gen Z-ers (versus 11% of Millennials) intend to create their own businesses. This generation is eager to bring new, innovative ideas to the forefront.

2. Information-Obsessed

Gen Z-ers have no idea what life is like without the internet and social media. To say that Gen Z’s are tech-savvy is an understatement. They are focused on the latest trends, apps, and news. Gen Z’s are the ultimate multitaskers: they can search the web while writing a paper and texting their family in group chats simultaneously. This information-loaded life has shaped Gen Z to be comfortable in fast-paced environments, effective under pressure, and resourceful.

3. Driven by Growth

Gen Z’s want to enter the workforce as soon as possible. They aren’t interested in hopping from one company to the next, but in promotion and growth. According to Entrepreneur, “about one-third (34 percent) say they are most motivated by opportunities for advancement” as opposed to money. They’re even willing to skip traditional university to get ahead. According to Internships.com, 77% of current high schoolers are looking to get internships now to get their foot in the door. They do not equate money with success. If given the choice between a higher salary or a meaningful mentorship, they’d choose the mentor. In a restaurant, this sincere devotion can be a manager’s dream.

4. Thoughtfully Loyal

Gen Z’s are loyal both in person and online, but only towards brands and companies that they respect. Gen Z’s prefer to choose brands that give back, standing unwaveringly behind authentic concepts. If Gen Z admires your brand, they will rave about it to their digital following. Members of Gen Z are regulars on sites like Yelp and OpenTable, and if they love their experience, it’s likely they’ll leave a review accordingly. Even better, if a Gen Z-er loves where they work, you’ll have a new personal advertiser and brand ambassador.

5. Hospitable

Gen Z wants to feel special and often expect to be catered to, but it’s a two-way street. Gen Z-ers treat others the way they want to be treated. A sense of friendship and understanding is important to everyone, and Gen Z-ers aren’t afraid to admit it. In the restaurant biz, this means getting to know each patron that comes in, forming bonds, and remembering regulars’ orders.

6. Open-Minded

Gen Z-ers embrace diversity and seek equality. According to Business Insider, 48% of Gen Z-ers identify as non-Caucasian, and their generation is the most likely to have unconventional sexual orientations and interracial relationships. A sense of tolerance goes a long way in any work environment, but particularly in restaurant service, where you’re constantly dealing with unique people and situations.

7. Food-Focused

Dining out has become an integral part of Gen Z-er’s social routine. They view good food as an art form that must be shared, and they’re the reason that so many menu items appear on Instagram. Gen Z-ers even coined the phrase “if you didn’t take a picture, did you even eat it?”. This open-minded group is always looking to try eclectic, new dishes, and of course, publish their discoveries online.

8. Influential

Gen Z’s are young, but they are already experts at leveraging themselves on social media. This generation grew up being told, “be careful what you post online, you could ruin your reputation.” Gen Z decided to prove their parents wrong, creating powerful brand identities for large audiences. Gen Z-ers use the internet and social media to their advantage to promote their image, network, and influence their online community.

Gen Z’s are making a unique name for themselves, but they aren’t too different from the rest of us; they long to be understood and valued, and to find their own place in the world. From the inspired foodie photographer to the determined equality activist, there is no one mold that fits Gen Z. Each Gen Z-er brings her/his own mind to the table, maybe even proving to be your restaurant’s newest asset. If you want more information on Gen Z and their potential power in your restaurant, sign up for our E-Newsletter.

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Phoebe

A recent graduate from the University of Tampa, Phoebe brings an understanding of journalism, PR, advertising & branding to the Absolute team. Her extensive customer service and cross-cultural communication experiences give her insights into various perspectives.

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4 Preventative Measures Can Curb Restaurant Turnover

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It’s Friday night and your best server is nowhere to be found. He worked earlier, but never returned from his break. You have called him repeatedly and his phone goes straight to voicemail. You’ve always depended on this server. He works long hours, double shifts, and rarely complains. Your stomach drops. Has he been overworked?

Frustrated restaurant manager Sound familiar? It should. Restaurant managers are dealing with this situation on an increasing basis. “The turnover rates for hourly and supervisory-level restaurant employees climbed in April 2018 to the highest levels in decades, leaving three out of four places constantly understaffed” according to Restaurant Business Online. There are officially more restaurants than ever before, but fewer employees to staff them.

Restaurant employees often quit on a whim, without warning. There are various reasons ranging from: not a good fit, willy-nilly scheduling, inadequate training, poor leadership, and the list goes on. Here is more information on the ‘why’ behind restaurant turnover. The bottom line is, when employees leave, a ripple effect of disorder ensues. The rush to hire and train new staff can result in negative customer experiences and brand damage. Although complete elimination of turnover may not be possible, you can reduce it if you apply these four fundamental concepts:

1. Find the Right People for the Job

You’re often pressured to hire fast, but if the applicant is not suitable for your restaurant, you will be faced with repercussions. If possible, be patient when hiring new employees and hire smart, not fast. Call references and pay attention to their resume. Ask yourself: “Is this applicant a job-hopper?” Ask them about their intentions to gain insights into whether or not they are just looking for a few months of work or a permanent employment opportunity. When hiring, it’s also important to consider your restaurant culture. The candidate may superficially seem like a good fit, but are they the best fit for your team and brand?

2. Shake Things Up with a Rotating Schedule

Your employees are more than just their ID numbers. They are human beings who lead dynamic lives: whether they’re juggling school, family, or both, managers must understand that the restaurant is not their only obligation. According to Inc., “vacation helps the entire company–from the employee’s mental state and productivity, to the company’s bottom line.” All employees need time to rest and re-focus, so refrain from scheduling someone on four back-to-back double shifts. Whether your employees are burnt-out, or in need of more shifts, keeping a fair, rotating schedule is in everyone’s best interest. If your employees know you will work with them, they will be more willing to work with you.

3. Consistency Breeds Confidence and Loyalty

There is nothing more frustrating than a boss who trains his/her employees haphazardly. Training is crucial to the success of your business. Make it a priority to do it right. Maintain a standard protocol for orientation and integration for all new hires. Nothing sends an employee running faster than disorganized and disconnected leadership. Teach your employees what you want them to know and then proctor a written test that focuses on restaurant concepts, customer service, and menu items to certify that each server is prepared before starting on the floor. This guarantees optimal customer experiences from new team members. Even after the completion of training, continue to teach your staff new skills to peak interest and foster consistent engagement. They will feel empowered and loyal to your brand.

4. Reciprocity Makes a Difference

Treat others as you want to be treated is more than an adage, it is a key to business success. According to Forbes, approximately two out of every three employees feel underappreciated and 66% of employees will leave their job if they feel taken for granted. Among Millennials, those numbers jump as high as 76%. Appreciating your employees goes far beyond pay. To ensure employee retention, managers must regularly recognize efforts, offer support and positive reinforcement. Consider honoring an employee of the month with a reward or giving an anonymous, monthly survey to see if your employees feel that they are treated well. Most importantly, never underestimate the power of a “thank you.”

Even if you do everything right, turnover will still occur. However, focusing on hiring, training, scheduling, and employee management will help you keep your staff and your customers satisfied and coming back regularly.

We hope this will be useful to you when it comes to staffing and overcoming high turnover rates. If you’d like to receive more information about this topic, sign up for our newsletter. If your restaurant reputation has been damaged and you’re looking for digital marketing assistance, contact us at Absolute Marketing Solutions for brand management consulting.

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The Restaurant Turnover Rate Explained

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Now Hiring It’s busy season in your restaurant, but you’ve lost several servers this month, and you can’t figure out why. You’re not the only one; according to Restaurant Business Online, the turnover rates for hourly-level restaurant employees climbed to the highest level in decades as of April 2018. There are various internal and external factors that contribute to the cycle of employee loss. The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that there is one. Understanding the reasons for turnover will help you maintain a full staff and smoothly operate your business.

THE STUDENT REVOLVING DOOR

The restaurant industry is the leading employer of teenagers and students. According to National Restaurant Association, one-third of all working teenagers in the U.S. are employed in a restaurant and 27% of all food and beverage employees are enrolled in school. Students often work in the hospitality industry as a way to earn fast cash before they graduate. In fact, students rarely work full-time while they are pursuing their college degree. This could cause conflict between the employer and employee due to changes in school and work schedules. As a restaurant manager, it is necessary to understand the likelihood of losing student employees.

COMPETING FOR RESOURCES

Turnover rates increase when the economy is doing well. This is due to a higher number of opportunities at other restaurants and businesses. You’re not just competing for customers anymore, but for valuable workers. Forbes labels a strong economy as a catalyst for high employee turnover. “More jobs mean more choice for workers looking for the right company fit. When an organization no longer seems like a good match, an employee is more likely to move on.”

EMPLOYEE TREATMENT

Long hours, low pay, little recognition, and poor work culture can contribute to high turnover rates. If you’re not paying any attention to employee’s states-of-mind, they’re likely to leave. Recognizing that each employee has a life outside of the restaurant is crucial in keeping them around. Make it a habit to inquire about your employees’ family, school, or hobbies. Know what your staff is doing outside of the restaurant and show that you care about their work-life balance. Understanding their outside life is important, but creating an engaging internal culture is just as vital. The New York Times reports that “employees are engaged when they feel productive, think they are contributing to their company’s mission, have trust and confidence in their managers and are given the opportunity to grow and advance — not necessarily by climbing the corporate ladder, but by learning new skills.” Creating a valuable company culture isn’t easy, so we’ll be posting another blog soon that explains how to do so.

THE REASON COULD BE THE SEASON

Some employees leave with the seasons. The National Restaurant Association reports that there are more than 500,000 restaurant jobs added in the summer… up North that is. In Florida, summer is the slow season. Fewer customers mean fewer tips: a server’s worst nightmare. Regardless of where you live, during off-seasons, front-of-the-house staff suffer and may seek employment in another industry.

Although you don’t have control over economic and seasonal issues, you can prevent losing employees by becoming familiar with the risks and providing a supportive, inviting company culture. Read more about some of the ways you can curb turnover rates here.

To keep up to date on trends that can affect your restaurant, sign up for our newsletter. If you need help marketing your restaurant or repairing your brand, contact us at Absolute Marketing Solutions.

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