If you are searching for ways to increase sales in today’s competitive environment, there are 5 steps you can take to start generating enquiries.

infographic1.Website performance
Your website is the hub of all your online activity.

Even if you are advertising off-line using press ads or mail drops, the first thing most people will do is go online to check out your website and research your business before taking any further action.

Like a lot of things from designer clothes to product packaging, image and design are important and will create the first impression visitors will have of your business.

Quality of build is also important. What determines how successful your website pages are at being found by search engines will depend on how the site has been constructed, how engaging the content is and the relevance of the keywords used.

It takes the skills of a good designer and web developer with an understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to provide a sound foundation for your website to develop and grow as your business goes forward. With the right management, continuous SEO work and generation of new content, these skills will help you achieve a page one ranking on Google over a period of time.

A good website is an investment and you will reap long-term rewards if you take time at the beginning of the project to work with your developers to give your website the best chance of converting visitors into clients.

2.SEO
Assuming your website has been developed with SEO in mind, this will provide a good starting point to monitor and improve the rankings of your most important keywords on the main search engines.

A new website will take around 6 weeks to settle and start providing the keyword ranking information needed to identify where to concentrate efforts on improving page content to move keywords up the page rankings.

New content and improving existing content are amongst the most important factors in SEO. Having a Blog on your website and regularly posting informative articles will help improve your keyword rankings.

We already work with a select number of our clients to achieve page one rankings. First, we carry out a review of your keywords and competitor activity. Then, if we think we can achieve results for you we would recommend a programme of work to achieve success. We will be honest with you if we think SEO is not the best way for you to achieve results and we consider one of the other steps below to be more cost-effective for your particular business.

3.Social media
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are some of the most popular social media sites. For small businesses with limited time, I would recommend focussing on one social media platform and spend your time there. Social media can be very time consuming if you want to generate quality leads and increase your connections with the aim of sending them to your website or taking the conversation off-line for a more detailed discussion. Call me to find out how.

4.Advertising
Developing a successful advertising campaign will bring a constant supply of leads into the business.

Choosing where to advertise and creating the adverts for a campaign that will generate enquiries will need research into your products or services. Price comparisons, competitor research and an understanding of your target audience will help decide where to advertise and what to say in your adverts.

Online advertising such as Google Adwords can drive traffic to your website immediately. Campaigns can be set up and tested very quickly to find out what works using conversion tracking and Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of click-throughs to your website.

Social media paid advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn is relatively new and can be very effective for some businesses. Like Adwords, adverts can be tested and refined to maximise response rates and conversions to provide a constant supply of enquiries to your website.  

Press and TV advertising are still relevant for some businesses; however, it is more difficult to track responses to justify the cost unless you can direct readers to a specially developed landing page or unique phone number to record visitor numbers.

Whichever route is best for you, your website will be the hub of the activity.

5.Email marketing
Sending regular emails to your clients and prospects, providing you have their permission, is still one of the most effective ways of getting your message to your audience.

If you are writing a regular blog article for your website, as well as sharing on social media, send a link in your email to the article and continue to remind subscribers of your products or services.

Further reading
You will find more information about each of the above steps in some of our previous articles and I will be writing in more detail about each of the above in future articles. Alternatively, visit the Marketing Services section of our website.

Call 01584 890725 to discuss how you can use these and other marketing techniques to grow your business.

Mark Langston.
 
Google_AdwordsAre you already doing Google Adwords or thinking about giving it a go?

Are you getting enough additional sales to cover the ad spend?

Are you getting the results you expected?

You could be wasting a lot of your hard-earned advertising budget if your campaigns are not performing as well as they could.

I have been running successful Google Adwords campaigns since they started over 15 years ago and can make sure that your campaigns are set up correctly to achieve a steady stream of targeted leads to your website.

By carefully researching the keywords your customers use to find your products or services, your advert will appear in front of them on the first page of a Google search.

You can target the geographic area you want to cover. A business may want to target customers within a 30-mile radius, the whole of the UK or the whole world.

If you have not used the Google Adwords interface before, some of the most important factors in setting up a successful campaign are:

Keyword research
Do you know which keywords generate the most searches?
Using Google’s keyword tool and putting in a generic seed keyword, you will discover lots of other variations which may cost less than a generic search term.

Ad groups
Each set of keywords you discover will be allocated to an ad group. You may have multiple ad groups set up with relating keywords. Use the relevant keyword in your ad to improve the relevancy and click through rate. Use the same keyword on your website’s landing page to achieve a good quality score.

Quality score
There are many factors Google uses to assess a keyword’s quality score. Scores range from 1 (poor) to 10 (good). Google will assess the relevance of the ad to the content on the landing page. If you have a higher quality score on your keywords compared to your competition, your bid price will be lower than theirs.

Adverts
Write and test more than one advert in each ad group and continually trial new ads against the old ones to keep improving the click through rate. This will help maintain a high position for your ad on the page without having to bid higher.

Negative keywords
A negative keyword is a word that is related but not relevant to your product or service. Always add negative keywords and continue to add more as your campaign progresses. This will minimise the risk of a wasted a click.

Google remarketing
Whether you're looking to drive sales activity, increase registrations or promote awareness of your brand:
  • You can reach people on your remarketing lists across their devices as they browse over 2 million websites and mobile apps.
  • Show ads to previous visitors who are actively looking for your products or services on Google search.
Will it work for me?
Before we start, I will do some research to find out if Adwords is right for you, free of charge, no commitment, nothing.

If you already have an Adwords account, I can check to see if is performing as it should, again free of charge.

I just need to know some information about your products, your competitors and your target market to find out if Adwords will work for you

If you think Google Adwords can help your business or you need help with an existing campaign, give me a call or request a call back by hovering over "Contact us" in the menu.

Mark Langston

 
These days there are not many businesses that do not rely on their website for generating new leads.

Whether you drive traffic to your website using offline advertising such as adverts in magazines or digital using online advertising, your website will be the first point of contact for new prospects.

Indications are that digital advertising spend will continue to grow during 2017 and with mobile ad spend overtaking desktop in 2016, it is clear where media budgets are going to be focussed in future.

Online advertising provides many benefits over traditional press, radio and TV:
 
  • Online-marketingTargeted to your particular market sector
  • Higher conversion rates due to accurate targeting
  • Measurable results, cost per click and conversion rates
  • Geographic areas can be selected from local radius to worldwide
  • Immediate delivery of traffic to website for information, services or product sale
  • Cost effective, usually pay per click (PPC), pay per action (CPA) or pay per view (CPM)

Online advertising includes social media websites that now incorporate advertising and offer multiple choices of ad formats depending on what you are trying to achieve.

As with the selection of traditional media in the past, choice of digital advertising media depends on your target audience, the business sector you are in, what you want to achieve and your budget.

The digital advertising platforms that are currently leading the way are Google Adwords, Facebook and LinkedIn. Other platforms include Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest and Snapchat.

Overview of the most popular online marketing channels
Google advertising
  • Page one position on Google for your most effective keywords
  • Only pay when someone clicks on your advert
  • Write, change, test and monitor your adverts
  • Set up negative keywords
  • Target your advert to a geographic area or specific radius
  • Set your daily budget
  • Remarketing through Google’s display network
  • Turn campaigns on or off at any time
Facebook post boost
  • Flexible advertising formats depending on your goals
  • Goals include page likes, post likes, offers, show products or services, clicks to your website
  • Measurable results
  • Choose your audience by geographic area and demographic
  • Set your budget and duration of advert
  • Only pay when someone clicks on your advert
LinkedIn advertising
  • New, so fewer competing adverts
  • Ability to target specific job titles, functions and industry sectors
  • Variety of advert formats
  • Set your budget and duration
  • Only pay when someone clicks on your advert
Print vs online
Print advertising is still relevant and can have a place in your overall strategy as the web becomes more crowded and competitive. However, the flexibility, speed and ability to track conversions makes online advertising so much easier to justify and demonstrate a return on investment.

Mark Langston
 
Target_market_1Google Adwords provides a way of delivering targeted customers to your website that is measurable and results driven.

We have helped many of our clients increase traffic to their websites that has subsequently converted into new customers and more business. We use it ourselves and measure the actual revenue generated against expenditure to make sure we get a good return on our investment.

The great thing about Adwords is that it can work just as well for small businesses with limited budgets as it can for large corporations with millions of pounds to spend on marketing.

The key factor is the ability to target your customers with precision. By carefully researching the most suitable keywords your customers use, your advert will appear on the first page of a Google search directly in front of customers actively searching for your products or services.

Another advantage is the ability to select the geographic area you want to cover. A local business may only want to target customers within a 50 mile radius of their business. You can select the area whether it is the whole of the UK or the whole world.

You are in control; you choose your daily budget, the words used in the advert and the website landing page for a particular advert and you only pay when someone clicks on one of your ads.

To be effective, your campaigns, ad groups, keywords and adverts need to be set up to maximise click throughs. There is a lot to learn if you have not used the Google Adwords interface before. Some of the most important factors in setting up a successful campaign are:

Keyword research
Do you know which of your businesses keywords generate the most searches?
Using Google’s keyword tool and putting in a seed keyword such as “website design”, lots of other variations can be found which may be cheaper to bid on than a more generic search term.

Ad groups
Each set of keywords will be allocated to an ad group, so you may have 3 or 4 ad groups set up with specific ads relating to those keywords, for example: ad groups and keywords for “website design” and “Website prices”. Using the relevant keywords in your ads improves the click through rate. You can then take the user through to the relevant page on your website to achieve a good keyword quality score.

Quality score
There are many factors Google uses to assess a keyword’s quality score. Scores range from 1 (poor) to 10 (good). Put simply, Google will assess the relevance of the ad to the content on the landing page. If you have a higher quality score on your keywords compared to your competition, your bid price will be lower than theirs.

Adverts
Write and test more than one advert in each ad group and continually trial new ads against the old ones to keep improving the click through rate. This will help maintain a high position for your ad on the page without having to bid higher.

Negative keywords
Always add negative keywords and continue to add more as your campaign progresses. A negative keyword is a word that is not relevant in your search, for example “web developer jobs”; we are not recruiting so the keyword “jobs” is not relevant and we would not want to incur the cost of a wasted a click.

The subject is huge and complex, I have only touched on some of the many tools and analysis methods available to make a campaign successful. You can waste a lot of money finding out what works and what does not if you don’t know what you are doing. If you think PPC can help your business, give me a call.

Mark Langston

 
One of my previous Blogs talked about ways of getting more visitors to your website; one of the most effective methods I suggested was Google Adwords.

This is something you can try yourself with a bit of effort. Allow 2 or 3 hours to set up your account and some time to research your keywords and competitors. There is a lot to learn at first and you will need to monitor and manage your campaign on a weekly basis to make sure you are getting the most out of your budget.

Start with your keywords

Do you know the keywords people are typing into a Google search to find your products or service?

You will probably have some idea which your main keywords are, but to make sure you are picking up all of your most effective search terms, you will need to use software that will give you your top performing keywords.

Google’s keyword tool can help you here and though some of the paid for software will claim that they pick up more relevant keywords, Google’s tool is a good starting place.

Setting up your Google Adwords account

Once you have signed in you can set up:
  • where you want your ads to appear – nationally or locally,
  • how you want to pay,
  • your budget,
  • maximum cost per click,
  • when you want your ads to appear.
Once this first stage is completed, you can then start your first campaign using your carefully selected keywords.

Create your first Google advert

Have a look at your competition for your selected keywords. You will be competing against their adverts so your own ad needs to stand out.

Include the relevant keyword or keywords in your advert as this is more likely to catch the attention of searchers as it will be relevant to their search, for example:

Keyword search – web design
Advert  –  

Web Design Worcester
Local Experts, Design and Build.
Let Us Take The Strain, Call Today.
www.crystalthought.co.uk
 
You can write multiple adverts and Google provides statistics to enable you to see which of your adverts is performing best.

A relevant advert will improve the “quality score” of your keyword. The higher your quality score the lower you will have to bid for your keyword, see below.

Bidding price of keywords

Once your adverts are written you can then insert your keywords. I would suggest you always set your keywords up for “Phrase match” or “Exact match” or both, never “Broad match”. You can find out what these terms mean in the Google Help menu.

You will have already set your maximum cost per click for all of your keywords. At this stage you can view each keyword to find out if your keyword has a high enough bid to show on the first page and decide whether to increase the bid so that your related advert will show more often to your target audience. You can automate this process and let Google work out how much you need to pay; however, there is a risk you will be paying more than necessary for your keywords.

Test, measure and evaluate

You need to monitor your campaign at least weekly to ensure your campaign is working for you. Continuous testing of new adverts and adding new keywords or pausing keywords that are not performing is required.

Keyword quality scores

Checking keyword quality scores which measure how relative your keyword is to the advert and the quality of the content on the landing page on your website will affect how much you have to bid for your keyword. If your keyword has a good quality score you will be paying less for your keyword than a competitor who has a low quality score.

Summary

I hope this has given you an insight into how Google Adwords works and don’t forget Bing/Yahoo advertising which can provide another source of traffic to your website.

Pay Per Click advertising provides a controllable and very measurable method of advertising which is difficult to match in traditional methods of advertising such as press adverts.

Warning: PPC advertising is not for every business and you have to make sure that the traffic it brings to your website will convert to enquiries or sales. It is also important to control costs and ensure the value of sales or enquiries covers the cost of your advertising.

To find out more go to our online advertising page

Mark Langston

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