Many clients I speak to about their online marketing needs are concerned about getting ads up for their latest promotion, keeping their Facebook page full of fresh posts and photos, and blogging on their website. But is this the important stuff when it comes to getting the most out of your online marketing?
Simply put, no.
Step 1 – treat your online marketing like every other bit of marketing you do. It is no different, apart from the mediums you use. For example, what would you do before running advertising on a billboard, newspaper or tv advert?
You would keep it aligned with your other advertising, you would look at the audience you are trying to attract, present an offer applicable to that target audience, as well as ensuring you have a way of measuring your results.
If you were about to spend thousands of dollars on a television or radio ad, you would want to know it was going to pay off. You’d expect it to help with both brand awareness and pushing across your latest update, promotion, offer or whatever your draw card may be – same with digital advertising.
The benefit of digital advertising is being able to monitor the demographics, impressions and reach as well as clicks. But where are those clicks landing? Ideally, those ads will be linking to a unique landing page with strong call to actions, little to no distractions like menus, and a good presentation of why your brand is the best.
Something to consider when running digital ads and spending big budgets on banner ads and retargeting is do people really want to see your ad? Are you just pushing around your brand in front of someone who isn’t interested? What if the user had visited a tennis website to look for a new racket for their child. Then they go to a soccer website to check out what Christiano is up to – your tennis specific banner ad is going to follow them around. Sure it won’t cost you unless they click on it, but will it annoy them? Research shows more and more people using ad blocking software to do away with this annoyance. Sure, Google Analytics will tell us how thousands seen your banner ad, and how many clicked on it and even purchased on your website, but what isn’t it telling you and how do we judge this?
With more and more searches being made online through smartphones and tablets, being on Google search is a must. So are text ads on Google search the way to go? After all, the user is looking for something related to your keyword if it shows, and the chances of it being clicked on are immediately higher. With so much of the Google search page real estate now covered by ad listings, it is worth making sure your business is in the game.
Mobile Search is where its at
As more people search from mobile devices, we need to consider the way we approach online advertising. As I mentioned, text based ads are a great way to show up with appropriate online search results on Google search, but what keywords you use needs to be carefully researched.
With many new phones offering voice search, the search terms will resemble more of a phrase than a word. For a long time, we have recommended longtail keywords to target niche audiences. Longtail keywords, rather than single words, are short word combinations that narrow down the options. For example, as well as the word diamond, a longtail keyword might be argyle pink diamond. With voice searches, people are more likely to search for something along the lines of ‘Where do I buy a pink diamond engagement ring from?‘
Negative keywords need to also be monitored with your text ads, you don’t want to be losing budget on words that will never relate or convert into sales for your site. Although they may be getting clicks, are they the right demographic? Are those clicks converting to a sale?
Mobile searchers, as well as seeing text ads on Google search, will also see Google local and business listings, followed by organic results. Organic results are ranked by relativity to the search term and how much Google’s search algorithm decides a site will help provide suitable and helpful answers and information. There are also a lot of other factors that determine page rank.
How to Rank on Google Search
To be found when people search for you, you need to have one or more of the following:
- Google text based ads
- Google Map Listing
- Google Local Business Listing
- Organic Website Listing
Text ads are simple, and all it takes is a well researched Google AdWords campaign, but how do we get you listed in the other 3 places?
For any business, it is essential to have a Google Business page. This will also allow local business owners to verify their location and get a map listing linked with this. We also list clients on Apple maps so no matter what phone people search from, they are bound to find directions to the business.
Organic results can be where things get tricky, as unlike ads, you can’t just throw money at it and they start appearing. SEO or search engine optimisation takes time and a lot of work, but to help you get started faster, we recommend online directory listings.
Even if your website is not listed in the top 5 results, you may find sites like YellowPages and LocalSearch will show results here. So to help people find your brand, we list your business in as many of these directories as we can for your industry or budget. Most of these sites also allow linking back to your website.
Now we find that when people are looking for your product or service, there is a higher chance of your brand getting found on Google as you show up in text ads, Google business and map listings and organic directory listings. Great! Now it’s time to work on your website.
The Hub of Magic and Mystery!
Your website should be as useful and simple to use as it possibly can. We list the most important factors for any website to be:
- Easy to use Navigation on Desktop and Mobile devices
- Clearly defined Call to Actions prompting quotes, sales or enquiries
- Super fast loading times for pages and images
- Lots of useful and shareable information on your product or service
- Easy to find contact details and forms
- Amazingly beautiful, especially on mobile devices
With attention spans going out of fashion real quick, we need to make websites that encourage people to stay on them longer, think video guides, helpful tips, reviews, bonus offers and how to instructional guides. Simple navigation for both mouse clickers and finger swipes, easy to access information about the product or service and where to buy it, and fast loading too. You do not want your customer giving up on your brand because the site is taking too long to load, especially if they are all excited about your brand after clicking an ad or reading about it somewhere else.
By doing all of this, we are not only satisfying the needs of our customers, we are also giving Google everything it is looking for. With recent changes looking to make the search giant favour mobile content, we need to ensure websites are fast and simple to use on mobile devices like phone and tablets.
Now for the magic you don’t see, the on site page optimisation. We need to ensure Google and other search engines know what your website is all about. For this, we use a combination of things including:
- schema markup
- meta titles and descriptions
- image alt tags
- link titles
- internal linking
- category pages
- keyword optimisation
- server and browser caching
- content distribution networks
- in depth site maps
- updated htaccess and robots.txt files
By giving Google all the information it needs when it indexes your site, it will allow it to better match it to appropriate search terms. You will also find that if your off site links and content connect back to your site with very similar tags and content, it will help your rank as Google starts to understand and trust your brand.
Now, its not as simple as I have made it sound, and it definitely involves a lot more, but ticking all these boxes will get you heading in the right direction.
You can tell Google how good your website or brand is, but what counts more is when other people tell Google how good you are. Think user generated content like forum comments, social media comments, online reviews, and blog posts. The more of this you have, tied in with a presence on Google business, will help build trust in your brand and you will notice your ranking in organic search results improves.
Make every Dollar Work Hard
In summary, when we talk about Return on Investment, and marketing budgets, we don’t need to focus on keeping up with the Jones family. Focus on what will connect you with your target audience. Where are they spending time online, what do they interact with, are in your face methods going to work or annoy them?
We recommend to our clients they focus advertising budget on 3 main areas; search text and Facebook ads, website updates and external link and trust building.
By doing so, you are giving users all the information about your brand, product or service when THEY are looking for it, rather than plastering it everywhere all the time. Sure, plastering banners everywhere will help with impulse buys and works well for some products, but not all of them. Do your research.
We are launching a new self serve SEO platform next week that will allow business owners, agencies and SEO freelancers access to resources for link and content building, guest posts and even access to big brand websites like entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post and Engadget. Watch this space, or contact the team at Xmedia Digital Solutions for more info.
What do you believe is most important when it comes to digital advertising?