PPC is still a useful tool for your online marketing strategy

Pay per click (or PPC) marketing is still relevant in today’s online marketing strategy and should not be dismissed. It can be particularly useful for local businesses wishing to attract new clients. It can be used positively as part of a comprehensive strategy or just for a short term boost. In order to be effective, you need to know your market and tap into the keywords and key phrases that are relevant to your sector and which are being searched for.

Many small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) focus heavily on their organic search rankings. After all, it’s “free,” and if you enjoy a high ranking, you can derive excellent business from it. But, even if your business ranks well in local search (and especially if you don’t), there are great reasons to consider some paid search advertising, aka “PPC.”

While I have a reputation as a local search optimization specialist, but I consider myself to be broader in that I am a marketer, period. As such, my philosophy is that companies should promote themselves within as many channels as they reasonably can afford, and they should also go with what works.

Local SEO definitely works and works well, but my back-of-the-napkin math indicates that targeting local search results rankings has its limits for a great many of the SMBs out there.

In larger metro areas and for more popular business categories, there can be hundreds and thousands of businesses that vie for the same customers. If you’re a hotelier, florist, attorney, accountant, plumber, or contractor for instance, you may be trying to capture consumers’ attention along with hundreds of others in your field.

For instance, there are around 600 florists in Miami, 1700 accountants in New York City, 390 Web designers in Seattle, 475 plastic surgeons and dermatologists in Los Angeles, and a whopping 6,000 attorneys in Dallas! (Estimates of numbers of companies in various category/market combinations vary by business directories.)

However, there’s only a limited amount of exposure available in search engines. In Google, most users see the default of up to seventeen organic/non-paid listings per page, including a few choices from the Map Search results. Click here to continue

Further reading

Why PPC should be part of your online marketing strategy

Why PPC complements strong organic results

Are you PPC curious? An FAQ for PPC beginners and hopefuls

Are you optimizing for mobile?

SEO is one of the keys to getting good organic rankings but with so many people accessing the internet via other devices, does the SEO have to be different now? Well the short answer is yes because what comes up in the rankings on a pc may differ greatly from those coming up on a mobile device and as mobiles are being used more and more, businesses cannot afford to be left behind. Take a look at the following information which may help you improve your rankings across the board.

 

The proportion of search traffic from mobile devices grew ever larger during 2012, peaking at 46% on Christmas Day for some retailers.

And Google probably isn’t alone in predicting that mobile search queries will soon surpass those made on desktop.

But despite the increases in traffic and paid search spend, we’ve seen evidence that show brands aren’t fully aware of how to optimise pages for mobile search.

To give an broad overview of how mobile search differs from desktop and some of the issues that sites need to be aware of, I asked three SEO experts for their advice.

This is the first in a series of posts that will examine the intricacies of mobile search in more depth…

In a nutshell, how does mobile SEO differ from desktop SEO?

Aleyda Solis, SEO and web analytics consultant

Mobile SEO differs from desktop SEO since it’s specifically targeted to the mobile search environment, taking into consideration the specific mobile user’s search behaviour and intent, and the characteristics, requirements and restrictions of the mobile web platform from a content, interface and technical perspective.

Although the principles of mobile and desktop SEO are the same, the environment characteristics and restrictions are different and in order to make the most out of the mobile search ecosystem it’s important to specifically optimize your presence for it.

Andrew Girdwood, media innovations director at LBi

Modern SEO helps digital assets, such as websites, earn the quality signals necessary to be considered appropriate by search engines for a prominent recommendation in response to a query from a user.

Modern SEO is about turning the success search to success in business; turning traffic and exposure into ROI and brand strength.

In desktop SEO the result pages, the recommendations, are complex with a variety of choices and options for the user. A sizable number of desktop searches are considered “long tail”, with multiple keywords, or entirely unique. Searchers are typically on good internet connections. Click here to continue reading

Further reading

How to best optimize your mobile site for SEO

Mobilize your SEO: making the most out of the mobile search opportunity

How to do a mobile SEO audit

Everyone has a blog these days, make yours interesting

Everyone has a blog these days and some are more successful than others. Part of this could be due to how interesting the blog is or how entertaining. Sometimes it can be really difficult to write an interesting blog particularly if the subject is thought of as being a bit dull. We have found some great tips to help you improve your blog writing skills, so take a look and maybe it will help you get your blog noticed.

 

For a good chunk of my career I suffered from a mental disease that targets corporate marketers.

It’s called Dull-itis.  It isn’t lethal but it does repel readers and success.  The crazy part is that Dull-itis sufferers believe (incorrectly) that the cure is to simply be more dull.  They obsessively work to drain life and emotion from every single communication.  They spend hours in conference ways crafting obtuse words to describe simple situations.

Once I sat in a meeting where my management team accused me of making things too simple.  Essentially, they were afraid that client’s wouldn’t pay for straight-talk.

Dull-itis strikes again.

 

The symptoms can be seen in business blog posts.  The post start with a mind-numbing thesis. Next comes a astonishingly boring dissection of the mundane and ends clumsily like two preteens experimenting with their first kiss

These dullard blogs are ignored and often forgotten, hidden out of sight until someone has the courage to pull the plug.

If you suspect that you suffer from Dull-itis then take the following prescription. Click here to continue

Further reading

How to write great blog content

How to write a blog people want to read

For The Want Of A Nail

For the Want of a Nail

You will probably heard of the poem starting with the words ‘For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost’, the story going to say that loss of the shoe led to the loss of the horse, it’s rider, the message he was carrying and in turn the loss of a battle and the whole kingdom.

To me, this shows the importance of the little things and how something as insignificant as a nail can have dramatic consequences if lost / not there at the critical time.

But what has this to do with modern life and online business…..

Well, it is all to do with an order I placed for an aquarium recently. I did the normal sort of searches on Google and narrowed down the number of potential suppliers, going through these again to choose the one I was going to buy from. I was sure to select one that looked good, had a bricks and mortar address, in short one that looked the part. I even checked that they said there was one in stock. I did not however do what I should have done and that was to check for reviews on the business, as if I had I would have seen that they had a terrible reputation.

But still what has this to do with Online Business?

Looking at the site you could conclude that they were doing things well, the site being easy to navigate and to order from. Their online marketing was good too, they had good organic rankings and were using Google Adwords to good effect. All would seem to be perfect.

But this is where it all goes wrong. They have the order, they acknowledge it by email and the site gives you an order status, but this does not change from ‘Awaiting Picking’ even after two days, odd for something that is said to be in stock.

It boils down to poor customer service

So you try calling them and their phones are busy or not answered. You send an email via the site, and no reply comes, so you try a normal email and still nothing. At this point any customer will start to lose faith and trust in the supplier and will in most (all?) cases decide to cancel the order (I managed this by finding their fax number, otherwise it might have been impossible).

So, for the want of a little bit of customer service an order was lost, even though the site and it’s marketing were good.

For the want of a nail, the smallest of items, the whole process fails….

It is a salutary lesson for all ecommerce site owners, and one that bears a little thought, the best advice I can give is to look at your operations and see if you have lost, or are about to lose, any nails….

Running a successful PPC campaign

A successful pay per click campaign depends upon careful planning before it is embarked upon. Make sure you spend some time finding good quality keywords so that you can get right in there from the get go. The whole point of running a PPC campaign is to get the right visitors to your website. Targeting the right audience is essential for a successful and efficient campaign.

  • 1How to Create a Local PPC Campaign with Google AdWordsGoogle AdWords is a paid advertising platform that can generate a great deal of traffic to your website while simultaneously creating brand awareness and generating leads for your company. Using a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign allows local businesses to take advantage of the thousands of daily local searches performed on Google. A PPC campaign can guarantee local businesses a spot on a page of related search results query. The goal of a PPC campaign is to target users looking for products or services, with specific search terms, in the buying cycle. There are a number of tools and programs that can be used to set up an AdWords campaign.

Before you can embark on an effective local PPC campaign with Google AdWords, you must first become familiar with the tools and programs used to make it work. Many of these tools are free, and Google even provides some of them.

The most important programs and tools to have are:

  1. Google AdWords
  2. AdWords Editor
  3. Spyfu.com
  4. Microsoft Excel
  5. Hipcodes.com

Each of these has a different purpose and when used in tandem will lead to the launch of a successful PPC campaign. Click here to continue reading

Further information

Don’t let your PPC campaign fail

PPC success through keyword management

The 7 most common mistakes in PPC campaigns

Are You Losing Sales Because of ‘Friction Cost’???

There is a little known department in Whitehall called the ‘Behavioral Insights Team’; their job, to subtly alter the ways we in the UK act, look after ourselves and obey the law.
Known colloquially as the ‘Nudge Unit’ it was at first thought of as all a bit nutty, but now because of a series of successes is firmly embedded into Government policy. But what has this to do with businesses in general?

It All Started With Home Insulation

This is where their first coup comes in and it was all about home insulation. The problem, back in early 2011 was that despite the fact that with the huge subsidies being thrown at the issue (to reduce energy use) people were just not buying it, even though it would pay for itself in just a few months.

The team therefore set out to find out the reason for the low take up, and using common sense and a bit of research soon found the answer, people it seems, could simply not be bothered clearing the loft so that the insulation could be laid…

bill butcher - loft insulation

image courtesy of Bill Butcher

The answer was therefore simple, arrange for the company laying the insulation to clear the loft first, getting rid of any rubbish for you in the process. This simple change caused the uptake of the insulation to increase by 500%…

But What does this have to do with YOUR business?

Let me introduce you to the term ‘Friction Cost’. This is all about the simple fact that if you make it too hard for people to buy from you they simply won’t bother, not even if it will save them money..

This goes for both online and offline businesses. The ones online are very obvious, websites that have poor navigation, or make it too hard to buy from (having to register as a customer before you can buy in all cases is one sure way to reduce sales) are the most common. The answer here is an easy one, get your site checked over by a usability expert, they will quickly point out problems and thus reduce ‘Friction’.

But what about offline businesses? We have seen that in the case of home insulation that people will, even though it will save them money, not buy. So maybe you are the cheapest in town, but what iif your customers can’t get a car close enough so that they can put that heavy item in, and you don’t have any staff to help carry it for the customer. Or maybe, like the insulation issue you don’t offer to get rid of the old appliance?

Whatever, it could pay dividends to think about anything like this that could be holding back your sales…

Time for a brainstorm session I think…

 

 

Pinterest, a very useful tool for business

Pinterest has become a very useful tool for businesses who wish to showcase their goods or products whether these are aimed at the public or other businesses. There are over 48 million users of Pinterest with more being added every day. It is a place of creativity, inspiration and sharing. It can be used in many ways to promote brand awareness and the use of competitions has revolutionized this type of marketing.

Everyone is looking for guest post opportunities these days, but one avenue that doesn’t get discussed about often is leveraging Pinterest for guest post opportunities.

Before we dive in, here’s a quick overview of who’s on Pinterest.

Since it launched in March 2010, Pinterest has risen to 48.7 million users and they all spend ridiculous amounts of time on site! It has become a prominent hub for creativity.

Let’s set aside the stereotypes for a second and give Pinterest some credit. It’s filled with popular bloggers, crafters and industry opinion leaders showcasing inspirations of all kinds, and they create tons of buzz! Sure, a fair amount of pins are centered around hairdos, home decor and high heels, but that’s not all you’ll find. Pinterest is a digital billboard for a variety of industries, which makes it somewhat of a marketer’s playground.

Ok let’s dive in.

1) Find Relevant Pins Using Pinterest Search

Pinterest relies on pin descriptions to deliver relevant results. So, start by searching for industry-related pins by performing searches based on keywords just like you would do on any other search engine.

Keep your eyes peeled for images that have garnered loads of re-pins. More re-pins = more leads for alike images. Although more shares and re-pins are better from a data standpoint (more details later), any pin will do really. There’s no way of knowing where a pin will take you until you actually click on the image to view the original page.

Alternatively, you can find popular pinners from Google. Surprised? I was toying with this and while it’s not an end all solution, it’s a start. Click here to continue

Further reading

Why business should use Pinterest for B2B

Why retailers are pinning their hopes on Pinterest

Pinterest: a new social media site for the creative mind