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It’s Not All About Google. What About Bing?

The story of Google and Bing is straight out of a comic book or film: it’s a classic case of one character getting overshadowed by the bigger, showier one. In the SEO world, we always talk about what Google is looking for. What Google wants. In fact, Google is so gargantuan and all-encompassing in its power and reach, that it’s easy to forget that other search engines actually exist.

So what about Bing, Microsoft’s search engine – should you be paying attention? Sure, it hasn’t worked its way into people’s everyday habits and lexicon in quite the way that Google has (have you ever heard anyone say “Bing it” as a way of finding the answer to an obscure question? Didn’t think so). But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it entirely when thinking about your marketing, and particularly PPC, strategy. Here’s why.

How is Bing different from Google?

Bing started life as Windows Live Search – and was then revamped in an attempt to steal some of Google’s thunder. Its many contrasts with Google range from the aesthetic – the homepage is colourful and busy; large-scale graphics and music are a sharp departure from Google’s sterile, white page – to the strategic – Bing powers Yahoo Search, upping their market share. The two combined now account for 1 in 3 US searches, according to comScore.

Like Google, Bing offers more than just a search engine. Maps, SEO and travel are just a few of the additional services offered.

While it’s unlikely that Bing will topple Google anytime soon, it’s worth knowing a thing or two about Bing, as it looks as though it’s sticking around – Comscore also discovered that Bing has enjoyed a 20% rise in the UK over the last 12 months. Apparently, 1 in 5 UK users now use Bing.

What advantages does Bing hold for the digital marketer?

The main draw that Bing offers is value for money when it comes to your PPC campaigns. According to Econsultancy, Bing Ads (Now called Microsoft Advertising) have an average CPC (cost per click) of $0.75 compared to $0.93 on Google. This is especially effective when targeting older users (55-64-year-olds), as Bing is traditionally weighted toward this market.

And although cost is obviously important, Bing offers a number of other advantages when it comes to your PPC campaigns. One of the most interesting is that earlier this year, Bing introduced a change to their service which allows marketers to target users effectively, regardless of device. How does it work? Marketers can create a single PPC campaign, instead of one for users on desktop, tablet on mobile. This not only saves time and effort but budget, too.

In addition, Bing is constantly adding new features to improve its ad offering to marketers. Earlier this month, it added a new data visualisation tool to help you understand how many searches your Bing ads are reaching, as well as the demographic and location of your searchers.

“But I don’t have time to cater to two search engines!”

This is a common complaint amongst brands and one of the main reasons (alongside dismissing Bing as not worth the effort) that more people aren’t creating campaigns with Bing in mind. However, this problem can be combated by using a cross-channel advertising cloud tool, which will allow you to optimise keywords for both Google and Bing from the same interface.

Clever Marketing - Surrey Digital AgencyHere at Clever Marketing, Berkshire, Surrey and Hampshire’s premier digital agency, we stick to SEO best practice. What we do in digital marketing is best for the search engines, be they Google or Bing.

So if you want better rankings but you don’t know how to go about it, give us a call now on 01276 534 680. We have a range of SEO and PPC packages and also social media options to suit your budget.

Clever Marketing, digital agency in Hampshire - Call 01276 534 680.

What Is Native Advertising?

“Native advertising” was one of the terms we heard a lot in the digital marketing sphere last year, making the rounds as the next big thing you just have to be doing. But what is native advertising, and should every brand be getting involved?

Native advertising basically refers to the practice of creating editorial content for a publishing platform with the purpose of promoting your brand. The piece should not look outwardly promotional and should be written in the house style of the publication you’re writing for. In essence, it should offer real value to a reader and they shouldn’t know that it’s a piece of advertising until they see your logo underpinning it.

So what’s the point, and how is it any different to sponsored posts? Let us explain.

Native advertising vs sponsored posts

Sponsored content and native advertising are very similar, as both forms of editorial promote a brand while also building trust in a consumer. The only difference, as explained by Reuter’s Felix Salmon, is that the latter aims more towards going viral.

Where will I find native advertising?

Once you know what you’re looking for, native advertising is easier to spot than you’d think. LinkedIn, Forbes and Buzzfeed are just a few popular publishing platforms which regularly feature this kind of content.

The benefits of native advertising

If you’re already creating social media, blog and website content, the prospect of another content type might make you want to bang your head on the keyboard in frustration. We get it; content can be time-consuming to produce. But native advertising might just be worth your while. Here’s five reasons why:

  1. It appears “in-stream” – meaning that your native advertising messages appear in the stream of your audience’s content on their favourite social platforms and sites.
  2. You can use a programme like Outbrain to become one of the “related articles” at the bottom of popular content, driving more traffic to your piece and therefore, to your website.
  3. They’re ads, that don’t look like ads. We all know that most advertisements just get ignored. Native advertising sees consistently sees higher click through and conversion rates for this very reason.
  4. Native advertising is always created with the interests of that particular publishing platform’s audience in mind, so those who click through are likely to be highly relevant and targeted.
  5. It’s evergreen content. You can keep re-targeting a particularly strong blog post, thus expanding its lifespan.

OK, OK. How do I get started?

If you’ve decided that you want to give native advertising a go, the best place to start is by taking a good look at the content you already have. We’re all a bit stretched these days trying to keep on top of everything, so why make more work for yourself by creating something from scratch?

It’s more likely than not than an old e-book, blog post or email campaign can be converted into a piece of native advertising. Key things to look out for when sourcing a piece of content are: something which is relevant and useful to your target market, which doesn’t have a “sell-by date”, and which has done well on social media in the past, as social sharing is key to the success of native advertising.

Next, make sure your piece has a clear call to action. If you’re intending your article to be purely about brand awareness, that’s fine, but you’ll see the best return on your piece if you interweave calls to action carefully throughout. Think about what you want readers to do: sign up to an email list? Visit your website? Always include this at the end, and anywhere else it occurs naturally throughout the piece.

The next step? You can either approach publishing platforms with a pitch, or publish on Facebook and other social platforms using the “boost” function, which will ensure it reaches many more feeds. Measure how well your piece performs through metrics like shares, engagement and click throughs, and you’ll begin to realise what works and what doesn’t. You’ll soon start to see just why native advertising is an essential part of your marketing strategy.

Clever Marketing - Surrey Digital AgencyNeed help with your advertising?

Call Clever Marketing now on 01276 534 680 and we will help out in print or online.

5 Ways To Make Your Emails More Engaging

Is no one opening your marketing emails? It’s a common problem. 68% of content marketers say that email marketing is integral to their business, but many also find it a tricky medium.

You’ve got so much interesting content, but aren’t really sure how it translates into a succinct email designed to encourage click-through.

Or maybe you’re struggling to think of ideas for your emails and they’ve become repetitive and dull.

Both of these scenarios only have one likely conclusion: the trashcan.

Don’t waste time, effort and budget on marketing emails that don’t work. Here are 5 easy ways to make your marketing emails more engaging. Read more

Clever Marketing, digital agency in Hampshire.

Inspiring Trust Through Print Marketing

These days, the general impression is that digital rules the roost. Wherever you look, there are experts and blog posts dictating to you that online and social media are where it’s at. It can seem like there’s no alternative, and that’s where your budget should go.

But as we’ve talked about before, print isn’t dead, and actually plays a pretty vital and irreplaceable role in your business marketing strategy. That role is all about building and maintaining customer trust.

Trustworthiness is one of the most important impressions you want to create. It’s what inspires customers to choose your business time and time again over competitors. Whereas anyone can get started in the online world with little to no reputation or budget – it costs nothing to set up social media channels – print marketing takes planning, networking and investment. In other words, you need to be a legitimate, serious business to do print marketing well, and it’s likely that this reality is in the back of people’s minds when they come across your print advertising. Here are just five more ways that print marketing can inspire trust, and how you can make the most of this to boost your sales.

1. Tangibility

There’s just something so authentic and trustworthy about something you can actually pick up and touch. Essentially, it’s physical evidence of your brand that can’t be faked or misinterpreted. Customers are becoming increasingly wary of online advertising over fears of spam and viruses – so the fact that print marketing is inherently “safe” works to its benefit.

Your commitment to a print piece also shows that you care enough about your business and your customers to invest in this tangibility, which brings with it an authenticity that can difficult to achieve online. It’s also unique in that it retains a certain permanence; it’s delivered straight to your customer on their doorstep, and may stay in their homes for years to come.

2. Strong design and branding

Your print pieces, such as flyers, brochures and leaflets are the ideal place to showcase your business branding and design. Whether you have an in-house design team or outsource this to a specialist design agency, sleek and professional design is a powerful way to prove your credibility and inspire trust in prospects. It shows customers you have money, creativity and savvy.

Make sure your design is consistent with your other marketing channels to create a cohesive brand image and an unstoppable marketing force!

3. Social proof

While customers tend to scan online content, they’re much more likely to spend longer really reading a physical piece of print marketing. Therefore, it’s the perfect place to position all those hard-won testimonials and reviews from your loyal customers. By now you’ll know just how important testimonials can be, as praise from your business looks so much more authentic coming from an impartial third-party than it does coming from you!

4. The “jumping off point”

Print marketing is the perfect place to provide routes into your other channels. Include links to your social channels, website and designated landing pages to create the impression of an established and active business. These specially-built landing pages can act as extensions to your print marketing, helping to build upon and continue that trustworthiness and credibility.

5. Copywriting

Good copywriting that is concise, compelling and free from errors will benefit you in all of your marketing, but especially in print. Errors online can be quickly edited and amended, but once your brochure or flyer has gone to print, that’s that, so it requires a particularly meticulous eye for detail.

A professional copywriter can help you to use copy to pick out the specific and unique benefits of your products or services, and is well worth the associated cost. A well-written piece of print marketing not only makes you look professional, but can be the ideal platform on which to showcase your brand tone of voice, continuing to build that essential relationship with customers and prospects.

Clever Marketing - Hampshire Digital AgencyDoes your business use print marketing to inspire trust? Need some Clever Marketing to impress your clients?

Then take a look at our print portfolio and then call 01276 534 680 or fill in our easy contact form.