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Once you have created and setup the many necessary ad groups that make up your adwords account, you may be tempted to think you are now finished- you couldn’t be more wrong! Adwords accounts take consistent optimising and improvements in order to maximise the return on investment that you will receive.

The amount of work that your adwords account will require differs based on a number of things. Clearly, the larger the account, the more work that will be required to constantly update and ensure your ad groups are not being matched against irrelevant keywords, and that the account is converting effectively. Another way to judge the amount of work that your adwords account will require is to look at the number of broad and modified broad keywords in your ad groups. If you have a high number of broad keywords in your account, then those keywords are highly likely to be matched against many things that are irrelevant to what you are offering. This will mean you will need to constantly check to see what your ad groups are being matched against. If you discover a keyword that is not appropriate to what you are offering, then you will need to add it in as a negative to your adwords account.

In order to check all of the keywords that your adwords account is being matched against, you will need to examine your search query reports regularly and ideally schedule them to arrive weekly via email.  This will allow you to  find new ad groups or keywords to use in your adwords account.

For example, you are a company that sells large quantities of office equipment. The broad keyword: “printing paper” is matched against “wholesale printing paper”. You may wish to then create a separate ad group containing the exact and phrase match keywords of “wholesale printing paper”. This will then mean you can write a more relevant ad for this ad group, containing the exact words within the ad. A more relevant ad means a higher chance of it being clicked, which means a higher quality score resulting in lower costs for that keyword. Furthermore, using the search term report to find additional ad groups like this will allow you to discover different thought processes of your potential customers. This will allow your adwords account to reach a larger number of people and increase your return on investment.

To conclude, updating your adwords account using the search term report is highly important. If you do not have enough time to do this on a regular basis, then you are better off using fewer broad keywords when you first set up your adwords campaign. The reason for this is that broad keywords are going to result in more impressions, which means you have a higher chance of being matched against irrelevant search terms.   Of course, if you don’t have time to manage your AdWords account on a continual basis, you’d be better of using a PPC Management company such as ourselves J

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Recently, you may have heard people talking more and more about local search. For the uninitiated, local search refers to things such as SEO or PPC adverts tailored to a local audience or posibly making use of features such as Foursquare or Facebook ‘check in’ to promote local businesses. It is something that is fast gaining prominence, but is it actually worth it?

The short answer is yes, it can potentially help your business. The somewhat longer answer is as follows…

One of the main ways local search can benefit businesses is through search engine advertisements. For instance, imagine that a web user is searching for coffee shops in Manchester. They type their search into Google or another popular search engine and wait for their results. Wouldn’t it be great if it was your business advert that popped up? Of course, you would need to own a coffee shop in Manchester for this example to work, but it can be applied to all sorts of businesses in locations across the world.

It also helps you to tailor your pay-per-click campaigns more efficiently: after all, if you save your settings so that your advert only shows when someone types in ‘coffee shops in Manchester’ or a related phrase, you are more likely to get relevant clicks as a result – and the web user will benefit because they will get more exact search results. This is particularly useful for small businesses that are located in a specific geographical area and only have a limited amount to spend on online advertising; it means that, when done properly, local search can help them to maximise their useful returns and, with a bit of luck, turn that into business as a result.

Another way that local search can help businesses is through social media. As mentioned above, Facebook has a feature that allows users to ‘check in’ at local businesses. When they check in, it then shows up as a message in their news feed so that all their friends can see it. This can act as good advertising for businesses.

There is another potential benefit here, too: some businesses have started to offer special deals or discounts for those people that ‘check in’ to their location on social media. For instance, to use the above example, the coffee shop in Manchester could offer anyone who ‘checks in’ to the shop on Facebook a 10% discount on their next purchase, or even something free such as a free biscuit with a cup of coffee.

This helps not only to create brand awareness among a wider audience but it also helps to build customer loyalty: if customers feel as though they are getting something in return for helping promote your local business, they are much more likely to use your services again. Plus, offering a discount could persuade them to make a purchase where they might otherwise not have bothered, so you could even be generating new business for yourself (a 25% discount for first-time customers could be an option here).

Overall, then, local search does matter. It’s unlikely to ever replace other forms of marketing and you should never neglect other marketing, such as through blogs, websites and wider campaigns, but it can be very useful and bring good results, so it is definitely something worth considering.

Need some help with your local search marketing? Get in touch!

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A great infographic showing the areas in which Google makes the most money. Not surprising to see insurance related keyphrases as the biggest revenue generator!

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Online marketing is increasingly big business, especially with so many companies now competing for a share of an ever-more-crowded market. This means that it’s crucial you take the time to ensure your online marketing is completed to as high a standard as possible. To help get you on the right track, read on for five common online marketing mistakes you really must avoid.

Neglecting Websites and other Media
One big error is to set up a website and then ignore it or forget about it. The very best websites are dynamic; updated regularly and always full of fresh, relevant content. It’s important to do this for several reasons: one is that search engines like sites that have recent content; another is that web users like this, too. A website that’s glaringly out of date will put people off rather quickly.

Similarly, if you make use of other media such as social networking, it’s important that you keep on top of it and engage with your social media friends on a regular basis. It’s essentially an extension of traditional networking, so give it the attention it deserves.

Forgetting about the Competition
Another common online marketing mistake is to forget about the competition. Lack of research into relevant markets is one reason so many firms fail to have the impact they were hoping for online: make sure you know who you’re up against so you can find better ways of carving out your own, individual niche. You can also find inspiration from your competitors – if they’ve done something well, you could tailor it to your own online marketing and benefit as a result.

Not Proofreading Content before Publishing
One of the most common online marketing mistakes (actually, one of the most common marketing mistakes overall) is failing to proofread content before it’s published. From advertising banners with only a few words to an online magnum opus, you need to make sure that everything has been spell-checked, grammar-checked and generally been given a thorough going-over. Good quality content is useful for your SEO and it also helps to inspire confidence in the people who read what you write.

Forgetting the ‘Call to Action’
Some businesses spend ages on their marketing campaigns. They spend time on their SEO, they do their research, they write fantastic copy… but then they forget the call to action. It’s really important to get your message out there, but there also needs to be some sort of follow-up. If you’re promoting a service through blog posts, for instance, what do you want people to do? Most likely, you want them to click a link so they can find out more and (hopefully) make a purchase. Don’t forget that all important links so people know what to do next.

Not having a Clear Strategy
Finally, many companies fail to define a clear online marketing strategy. It’s amazing how much success you can achieve from even the smallest of marketing budgets, but without a plan, it’ll be hard to get anywhere. Think about it like you would any other aspect of your business: first define your aims, and then take the appropriate steps to achieve them.

We all make mistakes somewhere down the line – hopefully you’ll avoid these five now you’ve read this!

What mistakes have you made and learned from in online marketing?

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