Articles in the Digital Marketing 101 – The Basics Category

Once you get the hang of it, digital marketing can seem like old hat. Before then, it’s important to learn the basics. In our Digital Marketing 101 blog posts, we offer an education into the ins and outs of the digital marketing landscape. Read these blog posts to learn digital marketing basics, such as creating campaigns, writing effective ad copy, and more.

October 21 2010

Does Your Website Capture Your Visitor’s Attention?

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When visitors land on your website, either through a pay per click ad, organic listing, or simply by typing your URL into Google, Yahoo or Bing, what do they see once they get there? In other words, does your site appear polished, professional and clean? Is it visually appealing and easy to navigate? Are the calls to action strong and do they create a sense of urgency to find out more about who you are/what you offer?

If you did not answer yes to all of the above questions, it is time to go back to the basics. Your website is a direct representation of who you are as a company and no matter what your industry, it ought to wow your audience and keep them coming back for more. You only have about five precious seconds to sway visitors before they make the decision to stay or leave. Below are a few factors to take into consideration when measuring how captivating your website is.

Visual Appeal – A site does not need tons of bells and whistles to be appealing. It should not be overcrowded; less is definitely more. An attractive color scheme can go a long way. An approach to consider is to utilize your brand and/or logo colors. This can be effective, especially if you are trying to create more brand awareness. Test out different backgrounds, font sizes, colors, images, etc. If it’s been over a year since the look and feel has been updated, try making some revisions. Hint: An outdated website looks outdated.

Navigation — Keep it simple. You want it to be as easy as possible for visitors to take a tour of your website. Make sure that all of your calls to action (i.e. download our latest whitepaper, fill out this contact form, view our recent case study, etc.) are above the fold on the page, which refers to the section that is visible without scrolling. No one likes to scroll – and few people will. It is also a good practice to have links to your important pages found at both the top of the site, as well as the bottom.

About Us — This page is super important, yet often overlooked. Who are you? How long have you been in business? What sets you apart from your competition? Why should a consumer buy a product or service on your site, rather than Joe Shmoe’s?

Contact Us — This link should be conspicuously located on each and very page of your site. No if’s, and’s or but’s.

Content — Some will arguably say that content is the most important part of any website.  Searchers are “searching” for information, solutions to problems, answers to questions, products or services they want and/or need, etc. If your website does not provide them with what they are looking for, they are going to be off like a prom dress.   Your site should posses a nice balance of informative, relative and interesting content. Updating your content regularly is an excellent way of ensuring a fresh experience for searchers. SEO hint: Search engines love fresh content; kill two birds with one stone by pushing out new content, which will simultaneously help to give your organic rankings a boost.

An onsite blog is another great way to maintain new, relevant content. Articles and Optimized Press Releases are also beneficial and will keep your visitors interested; retaining them on your site longer. Hint: the longer they are on your site, the more likely they are to convert into a lead or customer.

Invest the time to evaluate your website on a regular basis and source members of your organization to do the same. The rewards of doing so will be well worth the time that you invest.

October 6 2010

Cost per Acquisition Is not Usually Black and White

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We speak with clients and prospects all of the time who are very focused on attaining a particular Cost Per Acquisition “CPA” goal with their search engine marketing campaigns. It’s clearly valuable to put energy into that kind of tracking effort and adjust campaigns accordingly, however I believe that the data can be easily misinterpreted if there is not a process in place to account for sales that occur later when the lead source may be a bit muddier. In other words, it’s essential to be able to properly attribute “leads” that become sales at a later date back to their original lead source, not just the last touch that they received.

With Google Analytics and most of the other tracking / analysis tools, it’s easy to accurately attribute sales on ecommerce websites. It gets trickier when the selling cycle is longer, particularly when companies have a process in place to continue to market to individuals who have visited their sites, but don’t immediately “convert”. Is the sale credited back to the original marketing effort, to a remarketing campaign or to the email campaigns that prospects have been consistently receiving for the past several months?

There is no exact answer to this question, nor is the answer the same in every circumstance. More often than not, the answer is that attribution should likely be shared across multiple sources (contributing factors). That being said, it’s important not to adopt a myopic view when it comes to assessing your lead sources and figuring out where to trim (or add) additional resources to campaigns.

October 4 2010

Only 85 Shopping Days Left Until Christmas – Is Your PPC Campaign Ready?

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The most wonderful time of year will be here before you know it, and ahead of writing your wish list to Santa, I recommend you plan your Holiday PPC campaign first. Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving, is the kickoff of the online holiday shopping season and your PPC campaign should be ready for all of the online shoppers. Here are some tips to maximize your online holiday sales:

  • Review previous holiday PPC trends, like your ad spend, traffic and conversion rates in order to make proper forecasts for the upcoming season. Remember to diligently monitor your PPC budgets to make sure your ads do not stop showing due to budget caps. While most retailers see an increase in sales and online traffic during this time of year, advertising spend sees the same lift and I suggest you increase your daily budget allocations in your search engines to ensure proper exposure.
  • Add holiday-themed keywords like, “Christmas,” “holiday,” and “Hanukah”, to your existing keywords to create long tail phrases in order to be seen in more searches and garner more visits to your site. Also, don’t forget to update your ad copy to include holiday phrases to entice searchers to click on your ads and visit your site. And it’s always a best practice to create special landing pages with holiday themes to tie to your keywords and ad copy to increase your overall quality score.
  • During this challenging economy, consumers have a bargain-hunting mindset and will be searching online for coupon codes and free shipping offers, doing price comparison shopping and online research even though they have plans to make in-store purchases. Additionally, consumers are prone to shop early in the holiday season, but are apt to purchase later. The implementation of Remarketing campaigns would be beneficial during the holidays since it will remind customers of your brand, products and/or offers since they have already visited your site.
  • Lastly, don’t forget about the post-holiday shoppers looking for deals on the gifts that Santa didn’t bring them. Leave your holiday ad budget open during the last week of the year to accommodate for these shoppers.

Happy Holiday PPC building!

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