Google’s new PPC features are loaded with AI

At Google’s San Francisco marketing conference, held in May, the internet super-corporation made some startling claims about the future of its AdWords tool. Of huge interest to anyone who engages in pay per click campaigns in the UK, the event – named Google Marketing Next – saw a number of innovations added to Google’s current offering. Aimed at larger businesses in the main, their presentation of key new features was certainly designed to be eye-catching, but what of the details which will be of more interest to smaller organisations? Read on to discover the future of pay per click marketing and how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will play an ever greater role.

New Customisation Features Help You Hone In

In the near future, Google will allow e-marketing professionals to perform a query that will let them see who, or what sort of surfer, is accessing their website via a pay per click campaign in AdWords. This means that for the first time it will be possible to tell whether a particular search term is being clicked through on from a genuine customer or perhaps someone simply doing a bit of research. Google’s Director of Audience Products, Bhanu Narasimhan, said that this function will allow for conversion rates for in-market audiences that are improved by ten per cent, on average.

Any in-market search feature is likely to improve the ability to attract specific types of consumer. However, this is not all Google have announced. At the present time, there are just under 500 types of in-market audiences that can be displayed within AdWords. In a further announcement made by Karen Yao, the organisation’s Group Product Manager for Ad Platforms, fully customisable in-market audience will now be possible, too. For example, by adding keywords that might have been used by someone looking for a product or service you sell, it will be possible to customise an in-market audience specifically for them. Thanks to the big data and machine learning offering of Google, this should allow for a much greater targeting of customers, new and old.

Target Your Clients’ Life Events

In the past, life event targeting relied on fairly simple AI, but Google’s Tensorflow processing system has revolutionised it. Getting to grips with would-be consumers who are going through a targetable life event means being able to gain a distinct advantage over competitors.

Whether you market to recent graduates, to people who have just bought a home, or to newlyweds, advertising to people in a more structured and, frankly, intelligent way is now available due to Google’s investment in this fast-moving technology.

Use Attribution Modelling Features to Track Customer Interactions

Google Attribution is already available in AdWords, DoubleClick and Analytics, so what needed to be improved? Basically, the issue with many attribution models is that they are somewhat limited when it comes to reproducing real-world behaviours. People just don’t ‘behave’ online in the way that we assume they might. Nevertheless, thanks to Google’s updated store visit data, better store sales data and a consolidation of data that is easier to read, marketing professionals won’t need to try to use the existing tools in the same way anymore. For example, constantly tweaking models for one-off or seasonal behaviours will be done away with. Due to Google’s machine learning, data-driven models will now cleverly weigh up how each click point in a sales and marketing process contributes to the overall outcome.

In Summary

There are four key points to take away from Google Marketing Next. They are:

1. The growth of artificial intelligence in the way Google will run services like AdWords
2. The increased accent on life event targeting.
3. The ability to customise in-market audiences.
4. The fact that automation is likely to play an ever greater role in e-marketing this year and next.

Therefore, it is going to take even more specialisation and expertise to successfully squeeze the best out of e-marketing campaigns in the future. It looks like another learning curve for agencies and another reason why you shouldn’t attempt to use all these tools yourself!

How Google Killed the Broad Match Keyword?

Sometimes, even for the largest of companies, adjustments and changes in one place can have unexpected consequences. Certainly as the world’s largest advertising network continues to turn the screw on advertisers, the cracks are appearing.

When we first started using Google Adwords, in the early days, it was clear that this was a gravy train for most of our clients – simple, easy way to generate income and business.

What Is a Broad Match Keyword?

A broad match keyword is one which initially matched based on the words appearing in any sequence or spacing in a phrase. So, for example, if your broad match was for: Car Finance

Your advert would appear for phrases with ‘car’ and ‘finance’ in them. From ‘how can I finance my car‘ to ‘What kind of car needs finance?’

However as Google had searches to fill, and also realised that it was a pain to manage misspells, it broadened the reach of ‘broad match’ to being:

Broad match lets a keyword trigger your ad to show whenever someone searches for that phrase, similar phrases, singular or plural forms, misspellings, synonyms, stemmings (such as floor and flooring), related searches and other relevant variations.”

What this means is that actually, no longer is the match broad, it is ridiculously broad. It means that your keywords could appear for phrases like ‘cat finance’ or ‘van financing’. Making ‘broad match’ look more like ‘vague match’.

What This Meant Until 2016

Until early this year, there was still a way to get broad match to work. This meant doing three things:

  1. Using a + for the most important keywords, which was an adjustment made by Google in response to this concern. So, if you use ‘+car’ then ‘car’ has to be in the phrase you are bidding on, and
  2. Being more aggressive on negative keywords to avoid bidding on the wrong phrases, and
  3. Targeting lower positions in the search rankings to achieve a lower cost per click which would make the lack of targeting affordable

And that was all right for the recent past, but now the final nail has been driven into the broad match coffin – the reduction in listing numbers in February.

This tactical move from Google was designed to limit the amount of positions for Pay Per Click so that advertisers would be forced to pay a premium for advertising or find somewhere else to generate business.

However the knock on effect is that because the targeting is so loose, and cost has risen, the return on investment is no longer there for most broad match phrases. Most advertisers should be looking very carefully at the performance of these kinds of matches.

Was it Really Unexpected, or was it Planned?

Of course, this suggests that this kind of ripple effect is down to a sequence of unfortunate events over which Google has little or no control. Yet we know this is not the case, that Google checks everything, tests everything and launches based on it’s data.

What this change has effectively done is squeezed more out of the busy and competitive phrases, but at the expense of longer tail income. It’s a challenge: search overall is slowly sinking and Google needs to continue the momentum or their share price will suffer.

The Ergo Digital View: Short Term Win, but Long Term Irreversible Loss

We maintain that this is, however, a short term decision and will have a negative impact in due course. It is relying on the inertia of advertisers not to spot that they are suddenly paying more for less.

However there is a problem: the one piece of data which Google cannot work out through short-term testing is long term trends and effects. Inertia is not permanent, and customers will get wise (some fast than others) to the lessening performance.

Given all the tools we have at our disposal, tracking, attribution and conversions, we can see enough to tell us when something needs to be optimised ‘out’.

And, so it’s time to publish the obituary for broad match. It was fun while it lasted.

Goodnight and thanks for all the clicks!

Posted in Ads

The 9 Rules of Social Media engagement (Part II) – Turn Your Audience Into Advocates

In the first part of this article, we covered the first four rules of social media engagement: be brand-centric, listen, the rule of thirds and talk naturally. So, here are the remaining five rules.

5. Be easy to find (and to follow)

Want to increase your reach and influence? Then you’ll need to increase your number of followers. And the first thing you need to be thinking about is to make it as easy as possible for your potential audience to find you and then, provided you can prove to be of use, of interest and sometimes of amusement, to follow you.

Sometimes it’s better to get a deep twitter following (think quality over quantity) than a wide following. So you need to be thinking about relevance with consistency. You need to be following persons relevant to your business objectives, and try to engaging them.

Slow and steady wins the race so consistency is a must – which is important anyway. How do you engage your target audience once you’ve found them?

6.Ask questions, start conversations, engage

Well, the easiest way of engaging anyone, be it on the street, bus etc, is to ask questions. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, so give them an audience – use good open questions to get the conversation started and continue the dialogue with more questions and answers just like in the real world.

But what if the conversation doesn’t go according to plan or, possibly worse still, there is some very direct criticism aimed at you?

7. Criticism can be an opportunity

One approach is to use this as an opportunity to learn from your customers, and possibly to attend to the criticism in question so well that reputational damage is neutral or even enhanced by the incident.

But so many people find this aspect of being online difficult – why? Because people are inclined to take things personally and see any criticism as an attack on themselves. So the first thing that one should do is to look at the criticism carefully and dispassionately. Does the person making the criticism have a point? The first objective of any response to criticism is to draw the heat and emotion which is in the complaint. So, you need to show empathy and consider apologising.

Next, you need to address the source of the complaint (assuming that they have a legitimate complaint – sometimes social media can be driven a little too much by trolls so don’t get taken in here), by making amends if the complainant does have a point. Then state what you intend to do to make amends and check with the person that this addresses the issue. Go to Google and have a look at some of the examples from Dominos of how they address things when the screw up – 100% of us will do this at some time or other.

And try and address this tactic as quickly as it appears. Don’t let it fester.

8. Sharing is caring (and creates communities)

Sharing is caring, and will position you as a person of authority and influence. So put yourself in the shoes of your customers and think ‘what would they find really useful for me to share’.

Then do it – don’t be a hoarder of information – start to use the share button, the like button, retweet and repost and start to build a community of followers which are within your target audience (assuming you are playing to your strengths and sharing stuff which is within your brand or service ecosystem. And over time, this ecosystem will come to sustain you and help to grow your business.  And the wider you share, the wider your spheres of influence.

And finally… 9.!

If I do have a summary it’s this – be true to your brand and make sure the personality you create is as you meant it to be. Be as natural as possible, engage person to person. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

So what are you waiting for? Jump in – the water’s lovely!

3 Examples of How to Get Social Media Marketing Very Wrong…

linkedin failEver had one of those days where your time and attention was taken up by meaningless things?

We know what it’s like, for every email that matters, you get ten that don’t. And finally, to cap it all off we receive contacts like this.

This LinkedIn connection request prompted this post – to help us sharpen the mind and give you three tips to improve your social media communications. After all, I’d prefer to be at the  receiving end of good quality communications and connections.

Learning 1: Get Real in Your Social Media Connections

So, this is why this LinkedIn approach is initially amusing. First question: who is ‘Better Link Advertising’ and is Link his/her middle name, or is it a double-barrelled surname? That photo doesn’t look like a real person either and, worst of all, they have given me absolutely no reason to connect with them.

However, it’s not just for amusement. It needs to be treated more seriously than that, you need to do two further things:

  1. Consider why they are trying to connect with you: this approach, in my opinion, has much more value to them than to me. I am not connecting to anyone in particular but they are getting ‘endorsement’ from me and access to my contacts.
  2. Place a value your identity above just gaining contacts: you need to connect with people you know personally, ideally business contacts, but more than that people who you have an ‘even’ relationship with. Be very careful about connecting with those who’s interest is merely in your contacts (for example recruitment consultants and competitors)

If you’re not sure, then ask. Challenge them on why they want to connect with you.

Learning 2: Don’t Be Boring With What You Share in Your Feed

Boring LinkedIn post

Just because you can post, if you don’t have anything interesting to say, then it’s best to be quiet.

This post highlights just how bad it can get. I don’t mind your narcissism, but your post is painfully dull.

Why should I follow you when all I might get is rubbish like this? And hashtags don’t work in LinkedIn anyway so clearly this is just a tweet.

We like the quote:

“Wise men, when in doubt whether to speak or to keep quiet,
give themselves the benefit of the doubt, and remain silent.”

We prefer to have connections where quality is valued above quantity. Our feed would be less busy and more interesting and, ultimately, make our Social Media experience stronger.

Learning 3: Don’t Go On About ‘You’

boring video share on linkedinOf course it’s easy to do so, but don’t just go on about your business, your skills, your awards and your successes.

Mix up what you share, how you share it. Make it engaging, opinionated, informing and friendly.

Remember that incredibly dull person you met at a dinner party who kept on talking about themselves?

That could be you. Don’t fall into the same trap.

Ultimately there is no perfect formula for Social Media Marketing. It’s frustrating, it’s funny, it’s time-consuming and it has to be ‘you’.

How to Optimise Your Company Blog for Lead Generation Success

Carving out a niche for your company in today’s lead-generation is much more complicated than in the past, thanks to search engines’ complicated formulas and the array of technological marketing techniques available in a cutthroat marketing world.

Luckily, there are a few ways you can optimize your website to receive a greater amount of traffic and consequently a higher number of clients. Creating a blog for your website is an oft- overlooked way to connect with your customer base and market your wares in a less traditional way. Blogs are great for not only increasing your website’s traffic but also for demonstrating your understanding of and dedication to your clients in a way that is sure to help your sales – if done in the right way.

What should you keep in mind if your company is starting a business blog to help bring its marketing and sales to the next level?

Keep the same formatting and style

To be most effective in increasing sales and not just traffic through your website, you should make sure that your blog looks and sounds similar to the rest of your website. This shows that your company is well-organized and makes it incredibly simple for clients to click through to your main website. An online advertising agency or web design agency can help design your blog if you are having trouble.

Make your blog interconnected with your website

Along the same lines, it is always a good idea to link to some of your other blog posts or internal web pages. This lends a sense of connectedness to your website and makes it more likely that customers will click through to your other articles and the rest of your site.

business blog

Use the blog to connect with your customers, not as another sales pitch

It is important to remember that, although you are making a blog as part of your marketing strategy, a blog’s central purpose should not be to sell a product or service. Instead, use the blog to connect with your clients on a more personal level. It should be like an extension of the FAQ section, though more general in scope. Post blog entries that answer the concerns of your customers, both those directly related to your products and those only somewhat related. This will increase traffic to your blog and demonstrate your dedication to your clients’ satisfaction and not simply your company’s profits.

Be consistent

The failure of many blogs to increase traffic or sales for a company has to do with its lack of consistent posting. For a blog to interest clients, it must not only have interesting information that is applicable to your customers, but also up-to-date resources. Keeping your blog updated shows that the information therein is still valid and that your company is investing energy in continuously connecting with its customers. Try to post something at least once a week.

Make your blog into an entry point

Your blog is not only a great way to connect with your clients that have come upon your website on their own, but also a convenient way to enlarge your network. By inserting several opportunities (links, icons, etc.) for your customers to share the information they are learning on your blog through social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, your company’s message and products can be distributed throughout your clients’ networks as well. In this way you can take advantage of a much greater pool of customers, all through the help of your existing clients. A social media agency or digital strategy company can help you effectively incorporate social media into your blog maintenance.

Make your website stand out from the rest by taking advantage of the many benefits of adding a company blog. Blogs can be easily optimized to help increase traffic to your website and, if done well, increase sales.

Unsolicited Marketing Email and LinkedIn Spam: The Seven ‘Tells’

We get about three of these emails a day, they drop into our inbox and we normally delete them. It’s easy to read the ‘tells’ that give away they’re spam. However we were surprised that clients still forward to these for our comments, so thought it best to help by showing you what we do to evaluate this kind of contact.

Here’s a typical email and how we deconstruct it:

Email Spam Advice

1. Sent From a ‘Free’ Generic Email Account

Let’s start with the obvious: it’s sent from a gmail account. Anyone can get a Gmail account (or Yahoo! or Hotmail for that matter). They are free, but also they don’t tell you anything about the sender, so immediately we are on ‘amber’ alert.

2. Sent to Your ‘Catch All’ Email Account

This one was sent to info@[clientsdomainname], some try, admin@ or sales@… it doesn’t really matter, but if the email is not sent to a named email address and you’ve never heard from them before, the chances are they don’t know anything about you or your business.

3. Impersonal Greeting / Salutation

If they’re going to start telling you things about your website and get all personal, it would be nice for them to approach you by name – it would show they know (or, in this case, don’t know) who they’re talking to.

4. Kicking Off With a Bold Claim

The easiest way to get attention is to poke someone in the ribs. Therefore the first item on the list is to tell them something that they would like to improve – rankings, visibility, traffic, sales. Everyone, even the successful, could be doing better, so this is an easy ‘win’.

5. Give Them the Reasons

However out of date, however unsubstantiated, these emails are normally filled with seemingly impressive reasons and claims for findings.

6. No Evidence of Success or Skills

At the same time, the emails fail to give any evidence of the claims made, because they almost certainly have not visited the website in question and prefer not to even identify themselves.

7. Poor English

Most of these emails emanate  from outside of the UK, commonly Asia or Eastern Europe, they often reveal the hurried and chaotic approach of the sender and give you a clue as to what kind of service to expect.

What Action Should You Take?

The  next time one of these emails drops into your inbox, use these checks. If the email sent to you contains most or all of these tells just ignore and delete. Whatever you do, do not reply, or you will waste further valuable hours of your life!

LinkedIn Spam – The Approach is Closer to Home

And, here’s a new one received the other week through LinkedIn, sadly it was from an agency based in the South of England. We can apply the same logic and checks to see if we can pick out the tells in this one.

LinkedIn Spam

Firstly because it’s through LinkedIn there’s no credit to the sender for getting a name and location from a LinkedIn profile. The clumsy use of the location in my salutation actually put me off, because it’s not actually where I work, just the nearest town. I suppose it demonstrates a modicum of effort on the part of the sender, but after that it goes rapidly downhill.

The thing is here we can see two things:

  1. That the sender is pitching for new business but offering no real evidence in the email of even realising he’s sent this (probably accidentally), to another marketing agency
  2. He’s very kindly given two business names so we can take a look at his website and  judge for ourselves

If They Tell You Who They Are, then DDD: Do Due Diligence

So, how can we tackle this? The best way is to judge the various claims he’s made in the email.

  1. ‘Awesome websites’: OK, let’s have a look, his site is OK (I mean really on the moderate side of OK), the client sites listed, really un-awesome.
  2. ‘Design, eCommerce, branding, print design and everything in between’: again, sounds great, must have a whole army behind him and been in the business years. Er, no, checking his LinkedIn profile shows that this outstanding digital agency has been going less than a year – and previous jobs hardly spark excitement or give evidence to this broad range of skills.
  3. ‘SEO company’: ah, so, in less than a year all of these amazing things aren’t enough, he’s also got a SEO company. So let’s see how well optimised his current website is. He can’t even get onto page one of Google for ‘web design in [TinyTown]’ (the town his business is based in). So, if he can’t even optimise his own, what chance would a client have?

We hope this demonstrates, either way, that you can easily discover for yourself whether one of these emails is worth taking the time on. If you start from the basis of ‘probably spam but prove me wrong’ then we’re confident you’ll come up with the right answer in your investigations.

What Action Should You Take?

That’s up to you, I think this kind of approach makes a mockery of what LinkedIn should be – proper value-added networking opportunities, not unsolicited lazy spam.

So I replied to the sender and marked it as Spam in LinkedIn. And, if you’re reading this in the forum he went through in the first place, we can share the joke too.

Happy hunting!

Content Marketing Techniques: You Need to be Smart to Win!

We all know that technology develops seemingly at the speed of light, leaving those behind that don’t stay with the times. Of course, the same holds true for effective link-building and content marketing strategies on the internet.

Recently, Matt Cutts of google declared that guest posting, one of the most popular forms of network building on the web, is essentially dead due to overuse and bad quality content. He says the new age of content marketing will largely center on social media and high quality content posts that really grasp the attention of the reader.

While guest posting most assuredly is not dead, but rather evolving, in moments like these it’s worth reflecting on potentially diversifying your avenues for online marketing.

blog

What Went Wrong with Guest Posting?

Guest posting is different from “regular” blogging in that bloggers post their articles and information on other websites or blogs with links back to their own content, in this way expanding their networks and hopefully increasing traffic to their own website. Guest blogging has been one of the easiest ways to advertise a website or blog and has been used by digital marketing agencies and SEO suppliers for a while.

The problem with guest posting is that many people have abused it to spam websites with very low quality content simply to get clicks through to their website. This has resulted in an abundance of bogus and repeated posts that do little to help the internet community at large.

Cutts’ announcement that guest posting is essentially dead worries so many people because it implies that the Google algorithm ,which can have a huge effect on the success of a website, will frown upon guest posting in future updates to its ranking formula. For many bloggers, guest posting has been their main source of self-advertisement. If guest posting is no longer welcome on the web, how can you promote your website?

Make Sure You Only Post High Quality and Interesting Content

Despite some interpreting Cutts’ words in an extreme way, he did not intend to say that all guest posting is dead. What he intended is to discourage the thousands of spammy posts we see on the web every day. High quality guest posts are, of course, still great ways to enlarge your network and share your opinion or information.

You can still generate links to your personal blog or website through guest posting, just make sure you are saying something unique that is actually useful for your audience. High quality guest posting is far from dead!

Social Media is the Way of the Future

social media
Quka / Shutterstock.com

In the spirit of diversification, however, it’s always good to take a look at alternative marketing methods. Cutts and many analysts agree that, in addition to high quality guest posting, social media is really the best way for link-building and content marketing. Social media has soared in popularity in the last decade or so, with millions of people connected to sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram every day.

You can easily establish a presence on these networks for free, take advantage of the secondary networks of your existing contacts, and quickly see your message and links to your website spread around the internet like wildfire. Social media agencies and online marketing agencies are great resources for advice if you would like to try out these lead generation forms of content marketing.

A great tip for content marketing techniques is simply to make your posts as informative and interesting as possible. Take advantage of the rising popularity of infographics or create a useful guide to something that people need. This will allow your links to be accessed through a variety of indirect sources and show your audience that you are here to actually help them out, not simply to increase traffic to your page.

What are you waiting for? Expand your network with high quality content that grabs the attention of your readers. Create an online presence through social media. Get your website out there! Just call us on 01962 605 000 today.

Local SEO: How to Design the Perfect Digital Marketing Strategy for Your Local Small Business

Small businesses sometimes get the short end of the stick when it comes to digital marketing strategy. Without the size of national corporations or the capital for huge marketing campaigns, it can feel like you’re relegated to old-fashioned marketing techniques to bring in a steady trickle of clients and customers. But before you give up on digital marketing as a whole, you should know that the tactics used by larger companies can be harnessed for local SEO and applied to small businesses for huge results. Here are some of the best tactics to make sure your company gets the local exposure it needs to be successful.

Email Marketing

shutterstock_103449926According to MediaBistro, a whopping 98 percent of companies already use some type of email marketing. But while newsletters and promotions might help drive traffic to your company, they can also seem impersonal – particularly when you’re trying to grow a local audience. If you do plan on utilizing email marketing, try dividing your email contacts by national customers and those who are local. After all, some services – a nail salon, for instance—won’t make much sense on a nationwide sphere. By targeting only those who live within your service area, you spend less time clogging up email inboxes and more time extending offers to those who are most likely to patron your small business.

Social Media

If email marketing is the most broadly used type of digital marketing strategy, then social media is the friendliest. Social media gives customers the chance to get to know your business on a more casual level, and shouldn’t be skipped. Whether you start a Facebook page, a Twitter feed or have chats on your company’s LinkedIn profile, social media gives customers a chance to get to know you. Even smaller local businesses can gather “Likes” on a Facebook page that lists your business’ hours, location and even reviews all from one place. And, the bigger Web presence you have, the better chance at scoring customers and getting feedback.

Web Content

shutterstock_153218306While marketing is sometimes seen in a negative light, content marketing has changed the face of digital marketing strategy completely. Instead of advertisements being sent to prospective customers, content causes customers to actually seek out your business using articles, videos and other digital content. Whether it’s a funny video on your site or an interesting article that incorporates some of your services or products, content allows you to offer something to your customer: Information. It’s a simple way to drive local traffic to your site, particularly if your content is targeted to a local geographic area.

Optimised Search

shutterstock_119873725Of course, content marketing could be a moot point if you don’t optimise your search options. By applying local SEO strategy to your website, social media and overall brand, you help searchers find exactly what they’re looking for— you. The right keywords make all the difference in the SEO sphere, so making sure your content is location-rich and utilizes the places within your service area helps improve search results and eventually, website traffic. Small businesses can look to an SEO agency for help to choose the right type of content and best keywords for search optimization for the best results and biggest bump in traffic.

Along the lines of SEO, a carefully structured local PPC strategy will provide a low-cost alternative to help direct target customers right to your website using local keywords. These types of keywords tend to have a lower cost per click, therefore local business with moderate marketing budgets can leverage this avenue as well. In addition, PPC will also help your business understand which keywords work best to draw traffic to your website before investing time and resources into ranking for a given keyword in organic search.

While it may seem like a brave new world out there for small businesses, what may seem like a daunting menu of marketing options can actually serve up success for local companies. By detailing your marketing strategy to include content, SEO, PPC and social media accounts, you’ll gain local attention fairly quickly—and new customers.

Digital Marketing: why it pays to take a holistic approach

Generalists versus experts

So what’s it to be? Are we all generalists these days or does the world really belong to experts?Businesswoman in dress with arms crossed

Do we all need to carve increasingly narrow furrows in order to achieve?

It’s a debate that’s raged for years and been thrown into sharper relief by today’s business imperative for everyone to be able to ‘do more with less’.

Does that mean therefore, that people are increasingly becoming generalists and this skill is becoming more valued? Or is the complexity of our modern, fast paced and technologically infused business environment mean that people have to be an expert in something to enable them to be able to contribute meaningfully?

A recent expert review concluded that both skills are required, but at different times and what’s really important, is demonstrating versatility and being able to interchange these skills for different situations.

And how does this question translate into the digital world? Let’s imagine you are looking to employ a digital agency to help with some specific marketing activities, for instance search (whether organic or paid or both)? Do you go to a specialist SEO agency or PPC agency or a more ‘broad brush’ digital agency (like Ergo Digital for instance)?

The pitfalls of a narrow focus

Well, the specialist SEO agency is going to be great at SEO (you would hope so wouldn’t you!) and will improve your score on the organic ranking. Naturally the PPC agency is likely to be good at driving the appropriate traffic to your site according to some carefully chosen keywords. However, and it is a big however, each agency is likely to ‘bang the drum’ for their particular expertise, they’d be silly not to, and invest an inordinate amount of value to what they do , even if the activity was of narrow or possibly limited utility.

The knock on effect of this is that often businesses commit to a solution which may not be the best route to growth and performance. Certainly unless you are 100% sure that you know that a specific method is the best means to grow your opportunity, you may be left disappointed.

In our experience, digital marketing doesn’t respond to the narrow approach – its more interconnected than that, and the importance of one particular tactic versus another is likely to fluctuate according to each situation you are looking at.

Every business needs to nurture and grow every opportunity

New Opportunities - Green Pushpin on a Map Background.

Another difficulty with putting ‘all of your eggs in one basket’ is that every business is never just a static enterprise. All businesses change and evolve with time. Some grow, others shrink, but they all, to a lesser or greater degree change. Which means that your digital marketing tactics likewise should not stay static but needs to change as your business evolves.

Finally, we now know that it takes a number of touchpoints with potential prospects in order for them to convert into being customers – so often a journey can start with, say, AdWords, then move on to organic, possibly then email marketing and finally social – so banging a single drum may not have the best impact.

So the picture now looks a little more complicated, doesn’t it? There seems to be more of an imperative to look more broadly when reviewing your likely digital partner. So how do you recruit the right agency?

Let’s outline the ideal characteristics for ‘the perfect’ agency and think of some of the benefits these characteristics would bring:

  • Possesses an ability to see the bigger picture (its important to recognise which tactics are of greatest value at this point in the company’s evolution)
  • Has the required degree of specialisation to be able to leverage successfully each digital tactic
  • Has an understanding of the full suite of digital marketing tactics and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each when applying to different situations
  • Possesses flexibility, versatility and independence – to apply tactics when they are needed rather than because ‘we do this’

Or, if you wish to keep things simple – just employ Ergo Digital. More traffic, more conversions, more business….

Dangerous Mistakes in Email Marketing: How Your Business Could Flatline Before You Hit Send

Despite all of the recent hype about new marketing techniques that use SMS or social media, “classic” email marketing is by no means a thing of the past.

In fact, email marketing still has an extremely high ROI of over $32 for every dollar spent, with the average now being around $42. Of course, such success rates hold true when a company takes advantage of email marketing to the best of their abilities, using data about their customer base and smart email optimization techniques.

If you are already using email marketing and not seeing these sorts of results, make sure you are following the best email marketing strategies available.

Use some of these tips to take your email marketing campaign to the next level:

Make Your Readers Want to Open Your Email

opening door like emailsOne of the biggest hurdles in email marketing is getting your customers to actually read your message. This is because other common marketing problems, like knowing that your message has been delivered properly, are minor concerns when it comes to emails, which send you a response when your message hasn’t sent properly or other technical difficulties arise. Similarly, people have been found to check their email on average 34 times a day—largely thanks to the popularity of smart phones—meaning your email can be read dozens of times throughout the day. In light of this knowledge, your challenge is actually getting your customers to open your email and not send it directly into the trash.

You should consider the subject of your email very carefully. If you think this might be what is inhibiting your email campaign’s success, you can contact an email marketing agency or digital strategy agency to find out what messages your clients will best respond to. Research like this could increase the rate of opening by over 25% at times.

Perhaps most importantly, you must ensure that your website landing pages are optimized for mobile devices. If a potential client accesses your site via mobile device and it takes forever to load, or is difficult to navigate, you will have shot your entire marketing campaign in the foot. Responsive email design is a crucial party of your campaign—so don’t overlook it in this era of mobile phone mania.

Pay Attention to Alt Tags

Estimates find that over 80% of users have images disabled on their email accounts, probably to avoid downloading malware and to speed up processing. If one of your readers with this feature opens your email and only sees a bunch of empty frames, they will obviously ignore your message and odds are they will unsubscribe from your list. Add alt tags to all of your images. These should be concise, but still contain your SEO keyword and the basic message you want to get across to your customers.

Make the Email Interesting and Interactive

email marketingThere’s nothing worse than getting a form email that simply tells you to buy a product because, well, your company thinks they should. You have to make your email applicable to the clients that are receiving it and actually interesting for them to read. Don’t send out generic form emails to all of your customers – make groups based on whatever characteristics are applicable to your company’s product or message. An even better way to engage with your audience is to place a “call to action” in the email. Ask them to leave their opinion, vote for their favorite item, enter into a contest, complain to their local officials, or whatever makes sense given your organization’s goals. The point is to give your customers a way to really interact with your business or at least the cause that it is based on. Asking your customers to actively participate can be the difference between a successful email marketing campaign and a dud.

Take your company to the next level with an email marketing campaign tailored to your specific customer base and company needs, and use these tips to make sure you see the ROI you have been looking for!

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