Every Business Needs a Website, Right?
Of course, we are going to say that, aren’t we? We’ll tell you that you need funky business cards, glossy brochures, a nice prospectus, cool flyers, wicked posters, eye-catching bumper stickers, a shiny new website and some SEO and PPC services thrown in to boot, right?
Well, yes. We do all that. And more. We are Clever Marketing.
But we are not going to advise your business to do everything, especially if, in our experience, we can see it’s not an essential for you. Not every business will need brochures and flyers, posters and stickers.
However, every business needs a website, right?
Cast your mind back 25 years…
It’s 1992. John Major is the British Prime Minister, the Sierra is still Ford’s family car, Diana is going through that rocky patch with Prince Charles and the “rave scene” is in decline as the country’s moral champions tackle the corruption of our youth (despite Mr Blobby riding high in the UK singles chart). The Black Wednesday stock market crash is real, a pint of bitter costs just £1.31, petrol is around 48p per litre and you can still buy a house for around £40,000.
You need a plumber. Where do find one?
Easy – You’ve got a big fat copy of The Yellow Pages or the blue book called the Thomson Local that sit in the cupboard or shelf under your telephone. You look up “P for Plumber” and you browse the ads, both text-only and graphic, for the purveyors of plumbing principles that somehow attract your attention. You ring around, you get quotes and then you decide upon which one meets your criteria. Job done.
Back in 1992 that was the best option you had of finding a business, almost the only one. That local phone book was quite a large volume, whilst today’s tome is a shadow of its former self and there’s a very good reason for that…
We’ve seen online directories come and go. They were once where the Internet saw the future of business being – hard-coded lists of firms in a flat HTML site. But directories are no more. Even the once-mighty DMOZ is dead now.
Yellow Pages and Thomson both migrated from analogue to digital. But ask yourself this – if you want to find a business, what do you do? You “Google it”, right?! Or are you the sort who likes to “Bing and Decide”?
And so, if anyone is going to Google a product or service, where do you think you need to be?
For your business to have any credibility in today’s world, you need to be on the web and you need your own website.
As a business, you will already have an address and a telephone number but those alone don’t work in 2017. Potential customers will be looking to see who you are and what you do as a business. They will want to take a good look at your “shop window” but, without the constraints of High Street opening times, they will step right in and browse. In addition, potential clients can see reviews and case studies, check out your portfolio, read testimonials and get a really good understanding of how and why you are the right business for them.
A phone number and an address don’t do that. A half page ad doesn’t do that.
A web page, however, does ALL of that and more. A LOT more.
You can show off your products, provide information on everything you do, sell goods and services 24 hours a day and even allow interested clients to register for updates and receive your regular email newsletter.
Web addresses are everywhere these days, showing just how significant websites are to businesses in the 21st century. You’ll see www addresses on the side of vans, posters, bus shelters, TV ads, on business cards, even hear them on the radio.
So, if you want to have a business that can provide information and services 24 hours a day, that can collect information from prospects and save enquiries to a database whilst you’re busy or away, then you’ll need to get your website in order.
If you need to discuss the creation of your next website, whether you’re a new business, just starting up, or your current site is in need of a revamp, then call Surrey design agency Clever Marketing on 020 3146 4341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org because every business needs a website, right?
With Pay Per Click advertising being all about buying visits for your website, rather than gaining visitors organically, it’s essential you have a good PPC Manager or digital marketing agency partner. After all, everyone wants to be rewarded by search engines for devising great PPC campaigns that are relevant, targeted and effective. To ensure you generate the desired levels of leads it’s fundamental you have a good PPC Manager but what kind of traits should you be looking for?
Whether you have a PPC Manager in-house or you’re using a digital marketing agency like Clever Marketing, both must have a good grasp of your business. Not just the products or services you provide but how the business makes money and what the value of each lead is.
Your PPC Manager should always advise on which strategy will generate the results you require. It’s not just about the tactical activity. A PPC Manager must be someone who is truly focused on your business and who can seek out those opportunities for you. This doesn’t just mean the leads and revenue that was generated yesterday but understanding wins and the losses as well as making necessary adjustments. A proactive PPC Manager will also test your accounts more often and be on top of the results so you can gain a competitive advantage.
Always on the ball
You want your PPC Manager to be continually asking questions about the results of a campaign, spot any consistencies and verify your budget is on track. This is in addition to checking the top spenders, verifying ad positions and following channel performance. New campaigns, ad groups and keywords need to be watched carefully too so any amends can be made swiftly.
Calm under pressure
A good PPC Manager will always be testing and willing to take risks. It’s a great way to stay ahead of the curve. They should be calm under pressure too. If something is not working, they must be able to find the source of the problem and get it back on track. Good communications skills are essential to ensure all relevant parties are kept fully up to date.
You want your PPC Manager to review your account frequently as it’s the most effective way to ensure your paid campaign’s a success. Accounts should be reviewed at least weekly and more frequently if it’s a new campaign. It takes time to filter out the irrelevant searches so this is especially important. Data is a key part of paid search with conversion rates, analysis, landing pages and ads all providing essential information. A good PPC Manager or PPC management agency will be able to discuss conversions, margins and return on ad spend with you so you can get the best return on investment.
For more information or support with your paid search, feel free to contact Digital Marketing Manager Paul Mackenzie Ross at Clever Marketing on 020 3146 4341.
With the introduction of expandable text ads and trends like audience targeting, device bidding, local search and video advertising, Clever Marketing takes a look at the top PPC trends to use in 2017.
Expandable text ads were introduced at the end of January and they’re already generated good results within PPC advertising. While standard pay per click advertising will continue to be visible alongside, it’s not possible to edit the content. Expandable text ads have two headlines in place of the standard one with 30 available characters instead of 25. There’s also an 80 character description field so you have a greater level of personalisation. These ads also use your final URL domain rather than the display URL. All expandable text ads are mobile optimised.
With audience targeting, you can be even more accurate when it comes to selecting who sees your PPC advertising. Custom combinations can be created for existing audiences and new customers can be attracted based on an interest category for example. Typically a visitor will browse your website an average of six times before getting in contact or making a purchase so it’s important to get this right. Keywords might be the initial trigger but you need to ensure they return. Consider how effective your remarketing campaigns are and whether you bid for the “user intent” based search terms. Speak to your PPC agency if you require support here.
Mobile is the most used channel for web browsing and we’re set to see another rise in usage this year. It’s estimated there will be around 6 billion smartphone users globally by 2020. As such, Google has introduced device level bidding in AdWords (mobile and tablets) so you can adjust bids based on user searches and incorporate these into your marketing plan. This means you can set a default for one kind of device and adjust the others providing you with more flexibility. With CPC’s on the rise, a more targeted campaign will result in lower expenditure and an improvement in conversions. It will also enable you to identify any campaign weaknesses and have greater control.
With more people searching locally from their mobile device, it’s essential to think about your competitors – especially if you’re a local business or a non-local brand targeting local traffic. If your business doesn’t come up in search results, it could be a missed opportunity. It’s not just about optimising local search results but local search on mobile. Google places such emphasis on this, it prioritises mobile friendly websites with its algorithm. Customers viewing websites from their tablet or mobile are more likely to use a service or buy a product than those that don’t. Their need is more immediate than if they were at home browsing from a desktop. With local search, your PPC ad has to feel local to encourage click throughs so you must maintain that local feel and use mobile ad extensions where feasible.
Video advertising is not only on the rise, it’s evolving all the time with platforms continually emerging. Social media has seen a huge increase in video content over recent years. Not only does it engage consumers and provide an emotional connection to a particular brand, it’s shareable. While Facebook (and live streaming service Facebook Live) is a dominant player, Twitter now allows creators to monetise video and Pinterest have launched promoted videos. Mobile video is also becoming increasingly popular with 2017 likely to be the year of mobile.
If you’d like to speak to someone about your PPC management, contact Paul Mackenzie Ross at PPC agency Clever Marketing on 020 3146 4341.
Google replaced standard text ads with expanded text ads (ETAs) last month. This change has been regarded as their largest since AdWords launched with expanded text ads visible across all devices.
Expanded text ads are designed to maximise web presence and mobile search results as they have a longer headline and description. They offer more prominent headlines with two 30-character fields instead of one. It’s worth highlighting headline one is more important the second headline but the two need to work together.
Descriptions have been merged into an 80-character field, previously there were two 35-character description lines. In addition, AdWords now automatically extracts the domain of your final URL and shows it as your ad’s display URL. This can also include two “path” fields where you can add copy to show visitors what they can expect when they click on your ad.
With these changes comes an opportunity to create much more eye-catching ads, resulting in greater visibility. Expanded text ads are mobile-optimised too so there’s no need to alter the settings when creating or editing. They’re also supported by the same AdWords tools as standard text ads were.
Do take advantage of the additional characters as longer headlines increase your clickable space. You must, however, ensure you review your entire ad creative when devising your expanded text ads. Write compelling and relevant copy that outlines your key point of difference while not forgetting about keywords, which feature in the path fields. The quality of your ads matters to Google, so don’t rely on the additional characters doing the leg-work for you!
Test and optimise your expanded text ads ensuring each works well on mobile and do experiment with different variations to see what performs best. You should test both new and old format ads next to each other, evolving your expanded text ads until they surpass the standard ads. Standard ads should continue running alongside expanded text ads up to this point.
If you’d like to read more, see the PPC Services we offer.
Need to get more out of your text ads? Contact Paul Mackenzie Ross, our Digital Marketing Manager at Clever Marketing, on 020 3146 4341.
The New Year is all about re-evaluating and that means it’s the perfect time to refresh your website. A lot can change in the space of 12 months so it’s a great opportunity to ensure you’re attracting and retaining the right kind of customers. January is an ideal time to review your website and how it’s performing so it’s in line with your business objectives. Here are our top tips to refresh your website so you can position yourself ahead of the competition.
Your first port of call has to be an audit. Think about your target market, how you attract new clients and encourage repeat or lapsed customers. Consider what clients and prospective clients visit your website for.
Review the content on your website to see what copy, images or keywords should be updated. Links should also be looked at to ensure none are broken and functionality must be tested across all browsers. Consider how you drive traffic to your site, generate leads and whether your website accurately reflects your business goals for 2017. This might also include updating case studies, asking clients for testimonials and creating an editorial calendar for blog post content.
If you need professional assistance with an audit, we can perform a free website audit to assess your performance, mobile-friendliness, SEO and security,
Once you’ve undertaken a review of your website, you need to take a look at the typical customer journey. Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective client and imagine what information you might be looking for.
Is your website easy to navigate from the landing page or will prospects need to hunt around for what they require?
They might click away if they’re time short. Ask colleagues and friends who are not familiar with your website to review the customer journey too. More often than not they’ll spot things which could really improve your website usability. Your website should always be refreshed with your target audience in mind. At the very least, they will want to know what your approach is, whether you have the necessary expertise and how knowledgeable your team is.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is fundamental to the success of your website. As search engines refer users to websites that have the most relevant information, content, performance and authority really are critical. Consider the text, titles and descriptions on your pages, the speed of your website and how easy it is to navigate.Authority is also a key factor – are you considered an authority in your field and does your website reflect this? As a specialist, you’re expected to reflect that level of expertise and, if your site has enough in-depth information, it can be considered an authority site.
Authority is also a key factor – are you considered an authority in your field and does your website reflect this? As a specialist, you’re expected to reflect that level of expertise and, if your website has enough in-depth information, it can be considered an authority site or at least have authority pages and these URLs are the ones that top the search engines results pages (SERPs).
One example is this page about cycle tyre sizes – Written by the former CTC’s technical officer, it was often remarked about as “being far too long” and “nobody’s going to read that” but then it was their top traffic page for years!
Many of you will have reviewed Google Analytics data on an ongoing basis. At this time of year, it’s important to understand how your website has performed over the last 12 months. This should include the number of visitors and dwell time plus how many pages have been visited, most popular pages and conversion rates. This information can help drive your content moving forward.
Using Analytics you can segment your visitors to see:
Look at what has changed over the past year, you’ll probably notice that mobile traffic is on the increase. This will give you insights into where you need to channel your efforts in order to stay customer-focused.
Before you embark on a website refresh, it’s essential you conduct a competitor review so you can identify your point of difference. Consider how each competitor is positioned, how easy their websites are to navigate and how up-to-date the content is. Evaluate what works and what doesn’t as well as noting specialisms and location. You can also get a feel for what they’re like through case studies, a blog and social media channels.
Again, if you were thinking of performing a website audit on your own site, see if you have time to audit thecompetition. A professional audit can take time, so consider outsourcing the task to your friendly local design agency…
Once you’ve reviewed your website, you’re ready to refresh it for the year ahead. If you have any design, digital or search requirements, feel free to contact Woking web agency Clever Marketing on 020 3146 4341. We are more than happy to do the heavy lifting and be your digital marketing department, providing expertise in SEO and PPC to increase your visibility and boost your traffic.