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April 2015 archive

AdWords – Beyond Clicks to Conversions

A click on your AdWords ad indicates someone may be interested in what you have to offer. Assuming your offer is compelling and your landing page is relevant, they may take their click a step further and convert. A conversion is more valuable than clicking and Conversion Tracking is a way for you to measure that important next step. This is all about what happens after the searcher clicks on your AdWords ad. These steps include buying something if you have an ecommerce site or filling out a lead generation form for service businesses. Conversion Tracking is important because you can see if your ads are leading to activity that brings in new business.

To enable Conversion Tracking, you need to add a piece of code to the page people see after they complete the action that counts as a conversion. For example, if someone makes a purchase and the final page they land on is, then /purchasecomplete.html is where the conversion code is placed. This is an example of form submission tracking which is a commonly used method of tracking.


AdWords Tips for Ecommerce Sites

Your goal with AdWords varies based on the type of website you have.  Sometimes it is to drive people to a lead capture form where the conversion happens offline.  Other times it’s to bring someone into your brick and mortar location, like a restaurant. With e-commerce sites, the purpose is clearer since someone can make a purchase directly upon landing on your site.  Although there are best practices to follow for AdWords in general, here are a few tips specifically for your commerce ads.

Using call-out extensions

Call-out extensions highlight special features you want people to know about your company with a short phrase, or call-out.  For e-commerce, some good call-out phrases include “free shipping” or “next day delivery”.  You may be in a very crowded market so you need to point out something about your business that would encourage people to buy from you.  Experiment with different call-outs so you can discover what appeals to shoppers.  Some people may not care about the speediness of delivery, but free shipping is turns them into a new loyal customer.


Google Set to Flip the Switch on Mobile Friendly Update

This content was originally posted on

google-mobile-algorithm-on-off-660x660Yesterday marks one of the most significant days in search engine history.

On April 21, 2015, the new Google mobile algorithm will go into effect and introduce sweeping changes to the way we use – and work within – the mobile search environment.

Specifically, Google will give preference to websites it deems “mobile-friendly.”

Everything from site security and page load speed to the way content displays on mobile devices will be scrutinized by the algorithm, and those that meet certain criteria will rank higher in Google’s mobile search results.

While this may seem like just another interruption from Google, in reality the mobile algorithm update will benefit both websites and users.


Web Seminar Recap: Getting Started with AdWords

AdWords can be a way to bring in new business… or a way to throw away money. Setting it up correctly from the start and knowing what to watch for while ads are running can help businesses make the most of this tool. In this beginner level webinar, you learned how to properly set up a new account along with best practices for campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords. You also gained an understanding of how to monitor your results so you can maximize your marketing dollars.

This session was presented by Tina Arnoldi on April 21st and covered best practices for getting started with adwords.

Missed this seminar? Catch up by downloading the slides and recording here.

7 Ways to Change Your Content Marketing in 2015

If you look at internet marketing, it’s obvious that it is ever changing. Content marketing in particular seems to be changing so fast we can barely keep up. The constant development of new technologies and software make for rapid evolution. It is important you stay up to date on trends in the industry, as your marketing success will depend on it. Keep these 7 things in mind this year in order to succeed in content marketing.

1.       Spend More on Content Creation

Content marketing has quickly become the top priority for most B2C and B2B businesses. It is predicted that spending for high quality content marketing will grow in proportion to digital marketing in the upcoming year. In order to continue to compete in the market, it is important you adjust your marketing budget to follow suit.

2.       Focus More on Personalization

Internet marketing is incredibly important in almost every companies marketing plan, but advertisements and web pages are beginning to clutter. How do you separate yourselves from the competition? Thankfully we now have access to much more technology and data than we have in years past, giving us a better insight into our customers.

Facebook does a great job of tracking personal information and what types of articles, links and pages their users share and look at to better personalize the ads they see. If you change your relationship status to “engaged”, or start looking at wedding planning articles you will probably start noticing advertisements for florists, photographers, and venues.


3.       Make Better Use of Visuals

If you have been on the internet anytime in the last couple of years, you’ve also probably noticed the increasing trend of the use of visuals rather than text. People respond much better to graphs, charts, images and videos and the content marketing field is no exception. It looks like the trend is here to stay and visuals will only continue to increase in importance, so jump aboard now.


4.       Utilize Measurement Tools

If you haven’t already fallen in love with measurement and testing tools, now is the time to try them. There are dozens of options to utilize, but content marketers in particular really seem to like A/B testing. A/B testing is when you compare two web pages or other types of content, against each other and see which performs better. This method is also sometimes referred to as split testing, but is incredibly easy.

5.       Go Local with Your Content

Google’s plan to go mobile isn’t just to make mobile versions of websites. It is to make content with mobile in mind. Content marketers are beginning to allocate large portions of their budgets to reach local users in their day to day activities.  Make an effort to reach them while they are grocery shopping, looking for a restaurant to eat at, etc.

6.       Connect Content Marketing and Social Media

We tend to use content marketing and social media so closely that you question if there is even a difference. Although there is a difference between the two, what little lines there are now are set to disappear in 2015. And with the continued rise of social media, it is crucial that your business succeed online. Social media is meant to build relationships, not just post content. Communicate with other businesses, customers, and brand advocates. If you retweet and share their content, they are much more likely to do the same for you.


7.       Collaborate with Other Social Media Users

Use your professional connections to reach more people. Along the same lines of sharing each other’s content, guest post on each other’s pages as well. If Donald Trump posted on my blog or Facebook page it would reach not only my readers, but his as well. This has the potential to expand your reach exponentially.

5 Tips from a Presentation Rock Star

I consider myself an outgoing introvert. I don’t like to go to social events, I don’t like to boast about my work and I don’t like to speak in public. So far, my work has spoken for itself allowing me to quietly build a reputation as a knowledgeable digital marketer. But every now and then if we don’t push ourselves, or in my case get shoved, out of our comfort zones we’ll hit a wall and progression will cease.

I was recently given a “stretch” assignment in the form of a 2-hour speaking engagement for upwards of 75 people. The topic was social media marketing, which is a topic I know well and am passionate about. So I knew I could put together two hours’ worth of strong content. But even with great content how do you keep that large of a group entertained and engaged for two hours? I was terrified. But with a lot of research, preparation and some great advice I came out on the other end proud and ready to do it again.

Throughout it all I learned some great lessons. Here are 5 tips that will ensure your next presentation is a success:

1. Doomsday Prep

So this headline might be a little exaggerated, but the number one thing you must do in order to have a successful presentation is prepare for the worst. So many things can go wrong that could potentially throw you off or ruin your presentation altogether. Here is a must-do list to prevent presentation doomsday:

  1. Using video or sound files in your presentation? Take your own speakers. Don’t assume that they’ll be set up for audio.
  2. Upload a copy of your presentation files to Google Drive. It never fails that your computer crashes at the worst possible time. Or maybe you need to hook your computer to a projector and need a copy of your slides close by for reference. As long as you have a copy on Google Drive, you can view them on any computer.
  3. Bring your own VGA cable. They may have a projector for you, but they don’t know what setup you’ll have. So they expect you to bring your own connections.


2. Videos are Your Friend

No matter how entertaining you are, two hours is a long time for a large group to listen to you speak without getting bored or distracted. Videos can be a fantastic way to break up your presentation and keep your group entertained. It’s also a great way to illustrate real-world examples of how other people and organizations have successfully implemented (or poorly implemented) the strategies, methods and skills you’re presenting on.

There are several ways to include video in your presentation. It is possible to embed a YouTube video in your PowerPoint slide deck, but it isn’t my first suggestion. First of all, it’s difficult to do. You have to use the developer controls within PowerPoint and you have to have several plugins downloaded. If you’re successful in getting the video embedded, there’s still no guarantee that the place you’re presenting at will have the bandwidth to play the video glitch free.

Your best option is to download the video directly from YouTube (or wherever you’re getting it from) as an MP4. With a quick Google search, you can find simple, two-click instructions for downloading and saving a copy of a YouTube video as an MP4 file. Then, when it comes time in your presentation to play your video, you can flip over to your computer’s media player and play the file directly from your hard drive, or wherever you have it saved.


3. Don’t Rehearse

When you rehearse your presentation, you sound rehearsed when you deliver your presentation. The best presentations don’t feel like presentations at all. They feel like a conversation. You still need to know your content. Like really know your content. Spend your rehearsal time getting familiar with the order of your slides, the content in your slides, and any additional information necessary or relevant to the content you’re presenting. If you really know your material, it won’t sound like your reading from a script and you’ll be able to making that personal connection with your audience so that they feel like they’re part of a two-way conversation even if they’re in a room with 100 other people.

4. Give them Distractions

Give your audience something to do with their hands during your presentation. Candy or small trinkets (stress balls, mini play dough, etc.) on the tables to play with will actually aid concentration and memory instead of distract. They’ll be more likely to mess with those than they’re phones and devices.


5. Keep It Real

Think of your audience as B.S. detectors. Don’t try to make up an answer to a question you don’t know the answer to. If you start to tap dance, they will call you out. Maybe not immediately, but you can guarantee it will show up in your evaluation or on social media. The best thing to do is keep it real. Be honest with them. Tell them that you aren’t sure about their question, but offer a solution. Give them your card or get theirs and tell them that you’d be more than happy to look into it for them and get them a good answer or connect them with someone who can. But make sure to follow through with your promise.

Now you’re ready. Take a deep breath, be yourself and you’re going to be a rock star. Good luck and be sure to tell us how it goes! Do you have a special presentation tip or trick you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments, because secrets are no fun.

TrueView & YouTube Advertising

YouTube matters for engagement and hopefully encourages your audience to share your content, which is why videos should be added to your marketing mix.  Since YouTube users do search YouTube to find products, it is a viable channel for getting in front of buyers.  There are a number of options for users and networks to choose from on YouTube, and a good place to start is using the TrueView advertising model.  With this model, advertisers only pay when viewers choose to watch the ad.

With a TrueView in-stream ad, it can display before or during another video.  Although users can skip it after five seconds, those five seconds still give you time to do some branding.  The beginning of your in-stream ad is the place to show a logo and build some brand awareness immediately since they may not choose to view the full ad.  This ad is free for these five seconds if users do not choose to watch the whole thing, so it should include a very simple call-to-action and company logo at the very beginning.

With a TrueView in-display ad, advertisers pay only when the user clicks on the ad.  The ads appear next to other videos, either in YouTube Search or on the Display Network.  Here advertisers can target an audience and search terms for their videos.


Is it time for a site redesign?

There could be a number of reasons for a site redesign – you do not like the look and feel of it, bounce rates have gone up, traffic has gone down, engagement is minimal or an obvious one – visitor complaints.  Here are some considerations that may tell you it’s time for a change with your website:

Ask your users

When it is time to do a new site, not everything necessarily needs to be thrown out.  There is no magic formula to redoing everything from scratch.  Realize there may be some things about your site that users love, and be careful to not stray too far from that in your redesign.  A good place to start is to simply ask the users.  This can be with a short survey on the site that asks them if they found what they wanted and provides information about their experience.

Too many features

Too many features added to a site over time results in an experience that is no longer a good one for the user.  They become frustrated and overwhelmed with the significant number of options available on the site. If they are confused by too many features, they may click away from your site.  In that case, a redesign helps a brand reset and make sure they have not strayed too far from their core business messaging.


Web Seminar Recap: Mobile Paid Search – Best Practices

Have you thought about doing more mobile in your paid search campaigns? With the changes in Enhanced Campaigns a couple of years ago, the ability to have a true mobile-only campaign was no longer available. Mobile is becoming the way of the future – and that is also true with PPC.

This session was presented by Diane Pease on April 13th and covered best practices for setting up a mobile campaign, developing stellar mobile ad copy, and bidding on mobile.

What was covered in this web seminar:

• The art of setting up a mobile campaign correctly
• Creating strong mobile ad copy
• Understanding mobile landing pages and responsive design
• Best practices for mobile landing pages
• Mobile bidding strategies
• What’s the latest in mobile ad copy

Missed this web seminar? Find the slides & recording here.

Email is Still a Winner When it Comes to Marketing

Although sending email is still a winner, writing content and pressing “send” isn’t quite enough for a successful email marketing strategy.  Your goals with email depend on the type of business you have, but the below items are definitely worth considering for your next email campaign.

Ecommerce sites

Did the shopper abandon their cart?  There are a number of reasons that can happen, so you can send an auto-responder to remind people they still have items in their shopping cart.   You don’t necessarily need to offer a discount to get them back, because people abandon carts for different reasons. An initial message can simply invite them to come back.  If they don’t come back to their cart immediately, another message could go out with a 10% discount offer if they complete their order in a certain time period, such as 24-72 hours.

Individualized follow up with leads

What is a lead to you?  Filling out a form? Downloading a white paper?  Once you have their email address, set up an auto responder based on their action.  Maybe it’s an invitation to a product demo, or introductory rates relevant to the content in the white paper.  This helps segment data based on customer preferences.

When do you send it?