Optimize Your AdWords Campaigns

I have been working with a client to optimize their AdWords campaigns. Ideally landing page content would include the best quality, relevant keywords to help improve AdScores. Doing this increases the opportunity that the ad will be seen while decreasing the cost/click – In other words, optimization of on-page content should lower ad costs, allowing for a bigger bang for the buck. This sounds simple enough and it is, so long as communication flows between the individual creating content and the Ad Manager.

You are shocked to hear that doesn’t always happen, right? The ideal doesn’t always happen though.

As I was reviewing AdWords campaigns yesterday, I realized that one client had edited landing page content based on ideas I had provided. That’s great. The client even created a new and improved URL. I realized though that the search marketing ad created was not directed at this new and improved content. it was still directed at the old page, which is not ideal.

Here are a few quick tips to consider when creating a new AdWords Campaign:

1) Create good on page content that uses relevant keywords.
2) Using appropriate keywords in the URL.
3) Meta tag the page and use Alt Tags for images.
4) Create targeted ads specific to the landing page content.

I love testing ads and landing pages. Simple, direct ads often yield the best results. Don’t over-complicate your marketing. Set your goals. Be direct. Watch to see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Need help setting up your B2B AdWords campaigns? Contact us at 734.995.5000734.995.5000 to better understand your search marketing options.

Buying Links: Is It Bad For Your Website?

A few months ago I got a call from an individual crying about a sudden drop in his website traffic. I researched the analytic information on his website and determined that the traffic drop came almost immediately after one of the Google updates. Oddly that Google update targeted companies that had relied solely upon link building as a primary strategy – Many of the websites that had done this began seeing website traffic drop, as was the case with his website.

I explained the update to the individual and began researching some of the links where his website appeared. Many of the sites where his website appeared were general list directories – Places where long lists of website URL’s without a common theme appeared. I worked with him to have some of these links removed, in the hopes that it would help improve his site. It did.

As a blogger, I know all too well the signs of link-building. I see it in spam comments posted. I know that when I get a comment that is not relevant to the blog’s content, makes little grammatical sense, includes random keyword phrases, is posted to a very old blog post or links to a company or service clearly not mentioned in the original post. I immediately recognize it as spam. It is some poor sap, sitting at his computer monitor at 3:00 a.m., searching out good quality websites to post on so that he can build a linking strategy for someone else. And people PAY for this!

It looks something like this comment posted on a 2012 blog post I wrote about Mothers Day craft events in the area.

link buying strategy

Consider that this may be what you get if you pay for links to be built for your company website. A link building strategy may still be effective, so long as high-quality sites that are relevant to your product or service are considered. Just please don’t buy this!

Their grammar certainly tipped me off, but 4-wheeler rentals in Boston have little to do with Ann Arbor Mother’s Day craft events. It’s spam. It won’t be tolerated. While I appreciate that someone likely paid to have this type of link placed or is expecting some type of money reimbursement, it’s not helpful to the individual paying to place the link.

Are link building strategies bad then? Not necessarily. If done properly they can add to a website marketing strategy. Link-building can add value so long as links are placed in relevant websites or directories.

Consider the following when creating a link-building strategy:

  • Follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
  • Look for niche directories that are relevant to your product or service.
  • Don’t blindly pay a service to add 1,000 links on the web.

Those selling links are getting smarter. They are posting on high-quality blogs, websites and directories. They are hoping that no one sees the comment as Spam and allows it to be published. I have seen this happen on many blogs.  These types of links harm the site where they are posted and the site linked to. Don’t buy links without knowing specifically what you are getting.

Need help with a website optimization strategy? PWB’s search engine audit allows for a fresh set of eyes to identify areas of weakness. We will suggest changes to improve optimization that may be implemented with your internal marketing team or by our search media professionals.

 

 

 

Help Monitor Social Media Mentions with Google Alerts

A few months ago PWB was nominated for best “Ad Agency/Design Firm” in the 2013 Readers Choice Awards by local publication Current. We missed hearing that we were nominated for the honor and that voting was going on, but caught that we placed as runner up once the awards were published. Want to know what tool may have helped us catch that bit of news? Having a Google Alert for PWB Marketing – It’s a smart social media tool that can help track important keywords and phrases. Want to know more about using it to track social media mentions for your company? Tuesday’s Quick Tip can help you out!

I have Google Alerts for all of my clients, but somehow missed adding one for PWB Marketing – That’s been remedied. Google Alerts are great for catching important news in your industry, perhaps competitor mentions and certainly on your company name or names of individuals within your company. Alerts can help you quickly monitor what’s important to your company and they are easy to set up. To set up a new Google Alert, simply visit the landing page, add the keyword or keyword phrases you wish to track and choose the frequency of the alert. That’s it.

Google Alert PWB

Will you try out Google Alerts for your company? The results may surprise you.

Facebook Ads: Do They Work?

There are many ways to market your business website. You can do so through paid search, print ads or outdoor advertising, just to name a few. Broadcasting you business name, products, services or brand has never been easier. However, when I ask clients if they’d consider advertising on Facebook, I often get a blank stare or an immediate “no”.

The rejection in using Facebook ads has perplexed me – If well thought out, advertising on a popular platform like Facebook could bring a large return to the client. I just didn’t have many clients willing to play along.

A few weeks ago though, I received a free Facebook advertising opportunity after my Page reached a certain number of “Likes.” At first I too was stumped. The Facebook Page for my personal blog is certainly popular enough, but what would I really offer? For my Ann Arbor Mom Facebook Page, the answer was simple – I offered new fans the opportunity to find information on free and low cost family activities in the area. That meant that my Facebook ad campaign should be one to generate more “Likes.”

So with a $50 ad campaign, I ran a 10-day trial spending it on a $5/day budget. What did I get you ask? A lot! The 10-day campaign increased my pages likes by 62%. It actually improved fan engagement drastically too! As a blogger, that allows me to give more to my fans through relevant, well thought-out content.

facebook ads

Running a 10-day trail of Facebook ads increased on page Likes by 62%

Was it a fluke? Could I do it again? A few days later, I was happy to realize, that yes, I could try it again. The PWB Facebook Page was sent a similar offer.

Once again I set off with $50 in free Facebook Ads, but this time it was for a company that markets to B2B. The free ads for PWB only generated a 6% increase in “Likes” however it also improved user engagement and the overall virility of our posts. Our content didn’t change much, however the increased visibility the ads afforded us allowed us to get further with our Facebook Page.

facebook ads

For PWB, running a brief Facebook Ad Campaign, improved user engagement and the overall virility of Facebook posts.

With two “wins” under my belt I was very excited to try ads a third time which happily happened when another client Facebook Page that I manage was offered free advertising dollars. The client is a Ypsilanti bariatric surgeon, and with obesity being in the media often enough, I wondered how the campaign would run. Would it gain a lot of new “Likes”? Would engagement improve like the other campaigns?

Engagement did improve, and the Facebook Ad campaigns did generate a 10% increase in the number of “Likes”. What was enlightening to the client however, was viewing the demographic data provided by Facebook analytics. The client was also able to clearly see that many Facebook fans come back to the page with a much frequency, which indicated a good amount of brand loyalty!

Facebook ads

Running ads on Facebook can certainly provide new “Likes” and greater user engagement, but often the analytics prove to clients that they reach a cetrtain demographic or that that they have strong brand loyalty.

One of our current clients is going through a website redesign and has indicated that they will use targeted Facebook ads, so I’m in a holding pattern. Through the three brief trials I ran, Facebook ads have certainly proven helpful on many levels.

Want to know more about advertising on Facebook or through other online marketing? We can help. Let us help you define a roadmap to help you reach YOUR business marketing goals!

Blog Crash!

A few weeks back – probably a few more than I care to admit – We had an error with our blog. Specifically I couldn’t access the blog. In fact I thought I had made a HUGE error that caused everything to crash. Coincidentally that happened shortly after many GoDaddy sites got got taken offline by hackers. Turns out that hijacking caused more trouble than we realized at first, and ultimately it caused an error with our WordPress blog that we couldn’t fix.

I was told that our blog posts my still be retrievable but that I shouldn’t hold my breath. I suppose I whined enough here in the office (or maybe they took pity on me) however I eventually got our quasi-IT guy, Keith to take a look. He told me that he’d likely have to rebuild the blog and that he could do a download of the database which housed the blog posts.

Our content was often shared and mentioned on social media sites, so losing 2+ years of data was going to be a very painful thing. I was told, “Best case scenario – We get everything back no problem. Worst case scenario. In rebuilding we lose everything.”

Turns out it was somewhere in between. In doing the data dump, a lot of gibberish was pulled down. And in that VERY LONG list of gibberish our blog posts are hidden.

My eyes may be bleeding now, however it appears that the PWB blog posts may be salvageable. Slowly but surely they’ll be added back online. I know many of you are waiting with baited breath, so please hang tight!

Hot off the Press

Everyone knows that the web is the place to go to find a business. Any client that comes to us knows that to have legitimacy for their business, they’ree going to need a web site that looks professional and stands out in order to get them noticed on the web.

Some clients have a generous budget and want us handle their sites from concept to completion and beyond. Most understand that to deliver value and drive traffic, regular content updates are needed. This used to mean an expensive custom content management system (CMS), adding staff trained in HTML, or hiring us to do all their updates. But there are a growing number of clients with limited budgets and a desire to regularly add content. They’re looking to us to provide a one-shot solution that will give them not only a great looking site, but also the means to manage it on their own after it’s built.

For these clients that need sites they can manage on their own and a modest budget, our recommendation is to build them a WordPress site. You can get a custom looking site if you know what you are doing and you can work miracles if you are seasoned in HTML and CSS. Meanwhile, the client will be able to go in and add, or edit content, pictures, video, and whatever else tickles their fancy by using the rich text editor and never needing to touch any code whatsoever.

As a bonus of being built on a blog platform, you have a web site optimized for search spiders AND viewing on mobile devices. Though we’re early in the process of exploration, we haven’t yet discovered a downside to the WordPress platform for modest sites. Everyone wins – our clients get a functional site for a reasonable investment, and we;’re able to deliver a great web presence at a price point that was previously impossible. Stay tuned for more as we explore this platform!

Three Reasons to Love QR Codes

QR codes have great potential for savvy marketers. The technology has been used in Asia for a number of years and is beginning to gain traction in the U.S. With the rapid increase in smartphone adoption rates, the use of QR codes will continue to increase. According to Wikipedia:

A QR Code is a two-dimensional code, readable by QR scanners, mobile phones with a camera, and smartphones that came into being in 1994. QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

Need three reasons why we love QR codes

Reason #1:QR codes easily bring online content to the offline world. QR codes placed in magazine ads or outdoor billboards make it easy for a person to visit a marketer’s website to get more information. Instead of stopping and typing in a lengthy web address on a tiny smartphone keyboard, a person can simply snap a photo of the QR code and be taken automatically to an online destination. It’s smart and easy.

Reason #2: QR codes are trackable. The technology is able to measure how many people scan the QR code. Furthermore, some service providers also have the capability to report on general location and time. Imagine having this data to optimize your offline campaigns. Bear in mind, the data is anonymous and cell phone numbers are never tracked.

Reason #3: QR codes enhance traditional offline campaigns. A business-to-business company selling automation control systems can use a QR code to trigger a video showing the features and benefits of the product. A local bank can put QR codes on their printed promotional materials to connect customers to their mobile website or landing page with a special offer.

Power(less) Point

I sat through not one, but TWO genuinely awful presentations from good companies with solid products this week. This was a good reminder of a blog topic – effective use of PowerPoint.

As a former college speech instructor, I would remind you that PowerPoint is a tool, it isn’t your presentation. A good presentation tells a story, has a structure, and is SUPPORTED by a presentation tool like PowerPoint. Bad structure = bad presentation. The world’s best PowerPoint can’t make up for a poorly constructed presentation structure.

With that said, I often develop in PowerPoint as it parallels my thought process. But, when you do this, be sure to return with a critical eye and do some judicial editing. That final PowerPoint should serve as signposts on the journey of your presentation, as well as providing some key emphasis on critical takeaways.

With that in mind, here are a few pointers:

  • One sentence or thought per bullet. Maximum. And no more than five bullets per slide.
  • Any point with subpoints should have at least two subpoints – if you have less than this do some reworking until it can collapse upward.
  • If you have to add a “key takeaway” in writing to your slide(s) then you haven’t done your job – it should be obvious if you’ve supported your arguments.
  • Black type on white background with your logo is BORING. At least try the supplied templates, or better still have a talented agency like us design you a brand-appropriate master template.
  • People like pictures. Sprinkle a few appropriate ones in. Try monkeys –  everyone likes monkeys (that was sarcasm, if you missed it!).
  • A PowerPoint is not a technical white paper. A screen filled with 8 point mouse type is illegible at any distance over 6′.

As a presentation guru I once heard speak said: Be Bright. Be Brief. Be Gone.

Thank You.

I was talking to a friend the other day about the importance of feeling appreciated in my decisions on where to spend my money. Consistently, I find I patronize places that show me they value my business. Which got me thinking about how that applies to our business here at PWB.

We try to be very good about showing our appreciation, but it seemed like a more public thank-you is in order to:

    • Our clients – who can choose to spend their budgets at many places, but put their confidence in our creative and strategic talents
    • Our production partners – who help us do more with less (and faster) for our clients
    • The media – who help us optimize and select the best channels to reach target markets
    • Our resources – who help PWB operate smoothly by providing legal, accounting, IT and other advice
    • Our prospective clients – who thought enough of PWB to consider us as a resource
    • Our team – the great folk who work here and help the magic happen

To one and all –  a heartfelt thank-you. We couldn’t survive in this challenging economy without you.

Let’s Get Small

In the current economic correction/downturn/recession, I see an alarming trend. The biggest organizations seem to be the most effected – GM, CitiGroup, Bank of America. Something I’ve noticed is that bigger organizations seem the most disconnected, both from their customers and from themselves. All the layers and functional roles seem to cloud people’s thinking and judgement. Many are afraid of losing their job, so they’re thrashing about trying to implement SOMETHING, rather than the RIGHT thing. You even see it in government – witness the NYC/Air Force One debacle this week. Did we REALLY need to spend $328,000 for a new photo? Really? And maybe someone should have stopped to think that perhaps it was going to trigger panic in Manhattan?

But what to do about it? Think small. Another trend I’ve seen is that I have many clients in the Small/Medium Business (SMB) segment who are doing quite well. They’re not caught up in the panic, and they spend their time thinking about how they can serve unmet needs in unique ways. With segmentation, any business can be an SMB. I work with a division of a Fortune 100 company who has chosen to not get embroiled in the politics of the parent and focus on their marketspace. The result? Last year they set a 10-year sales record.