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SEO v PPC - what should I focus on right now?

SEO v PPC: what should I focus on?

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SEO v PPC: what should I focus on?

Ok, actually this is a trick question. You should always have your SEO strategy at the forefront of your marketing activities.

Writing a blog? Consult your keywords and web queries.

Planning some campaigns? Again, look at your keywords.

And yet many of us think of SEO as an after thought. Or something to fix once in a while, like when your website is redesigned.

This chart from SEMrush is just great. Look at it. It makes it all so simple, right? You can see that while you’ll get quicker, punchier results from running a PPC campaign, working on your PR or keeping an active social media presence, creating regular content that’s informed by a tight SEO strategy is the MVP. It’s the long game sure, but it works.

marketing channels effectiveness over timeSEO is the central nervous system of your website

Think of it like this: without a strong SEO strategy, your website won’t function properly. Sure, it might look nice and you might get the odd bit of traffic. But you might not convert as many leads. You almost definitely won’t be reaching your full potential.

There’s plenty to get your teeth into here. It’s a never ending job in fact. And it’s not just about keyword identification. Oh boy, there’s a LOT of work that goes into your SEO strategy.

SEO can be split into three key areas: on-page, off-page and technical. Some of these tasks will require experts in the field, whereas others you can learn as you go.

You can have a look at our more in-depth SEO best practice guide here. It’ll help you plan your strategy, identify what you need to focus on and hopefully answer your burning questions about SEO.

That said, SEO is just one part of your marketing ecosystem. You can’t just expect to generate leads and convert to customers from SEO alone. Each channel feeds into the bigger picture.

PPC is the cosmetic, go-getting personality!

While we’re still on the body analogy boat, consider PPC like an injection of confidence. It might turn heads, but it needs the groundwork of an optimised website with compelling content to stop traffic.

PPC is an ideal way to bolster your marketing qualified leads (MQLs) by driving more engaged traffic to your website. These spikes in traffic will depend on your campaigns budget, length, quality etc.

However, your campaigns success also relies on the set up of your campaign being done properly. There are demographics to target. Keywords to research and select. Making sure your creative and landing page are both optimised.

In fact, a lot goes into making sure your PPC campaigns are a success. You can read all about best practice for PPC here.

A good old fashioned list of pros and cons

Because who doesn’t love a list? And this one’s another belter from SEMrush.

SEO v PPC: pros and cons of each channel

As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, it really depends on what you’ve already been doing. If you’ve laid the groundwork for your website with an excellent SEO strategy and all the green ticks are in place, it’s time to go nuts with PPC. If not, you’re never too late. And if it’s really not your bag, luckily it’s ours.

Next steps…

If this means you’re ready to start running PPC campaigns, your next steps are coming up.

Before we begin, it’s absolutely crucial you’ve got your customer personas in order. While some marketers are satisfied to go ahead without, we at DPC+UP really believe they’re an essential part of the best practice process. After all, if you don’t know who you’re talking to, how can you tailor your campaign to speak to them?

If you choose to work with a digital marketing agency like us, we do the “hard work” identifying the best channels. To achieve this, we look at the following factors of your target audience:
The sites they use
What media they consume
What motivates them to convert

Personas in place, here’s your checklist of what to consider:

#1 What do you want to achieve?

We are firm believers that you must start with your goals before you can plan your campaign. It just makes sense.

#2 What channels are best for you

Once you’ve established your goals and you have researched where your personas “hang out”, it’s time to identify the best channels for your campaign. PPC isn’t restricted to Google, y’know:

  • YouTube
  • Facebook (and Instagram!)
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Bing

And those are just the well known ones!

#3 What formats lend themselves best to your campaign?

There’s so much to consider. Will you take advantage of multichannel, multimedia campaigns, or will you keep things simple? A PPC specialist will be able to help make recommendations for what formats to incorporate into your campaign. But to give you a toppling idea of what’s available, there’s:

You can read about what they are and when to use them here.

#4 Campaign essentials

While the devil is in the detail, let’s keep things concise here. The next five factors of your campaign will be the cornerstone of its success:

  • Keywords
  • Landing page quality
  • Creative (both visuals and ad copy)
  • Quality score (Google grades this based on your ads relevance, CTR and UX on your landing page)
  • Split ad groups

Don’t have the resource?

Whether its time or expertise you’re running short on, that’s what we’re here for. We pride ourselves on being a friendly extension of your team, rather than a pretentious agency that makes everyone feel inadequate.

If you’re considering your next steps, leave us your details and we’ll be in touch to help. Whether its your SEO strategy, helping run your PPC campaigns or anything else within the digital marketing realm.

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How to write a blog that people will actually want to read!

How to write a blog that people will actually want to read!

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How to write a blog that people will actually want to read!

Ahh blogs. One of those necessary parts of your website that often gets de-prioritised, but helps contribute to your SEO rankings immensely. Not to mention the part it plays in driving web traffic. Whether you’re already at it, using a freelancer or considering the worth of starting (and maintaining) a blog, this one right here is for you!

It can be tricky to know how to get the best out of your content creation efforts. How do you know if you’re covering the “right” topics? How long should they be? Is there a magic formula that makes them even better? Kind of. It’s not a science as such but there are some factors that separate the good from the ugly.

All about personas!

We bloody love a persona here at DPC+UP. Aside from being super helpful to make sure all your sales and marketing teams are aligned on your target market, they’re great for helping you write. Whether that’s email and social media campaigns, ads or web content.

Think about your best customers. How do they behave? What makes them tick? And importantly, how do they engage with you? It’s important to know this, so you know what language to use without alienating one way or another.

Think about:

  • Their job title and their experience
  • How hands on are they?
  • How did they find you? (e.g. Google, social media, trade show, recommendation)
  • Do they read emails, prefer a phone call or are they following your every move on social media?
  • What are their frustrations, and importantly, how do you solve them?
  • What are their key motivators?
  • Are they super professional and only talk necessary business, or have you built a more friendly rapport?

Where to begin: planning your content topics

As always, let’s circle back to the Rosetta Stone of your marketing: your SEO strategy. Consult your keywords. Explore Google Search Console to see what queries drive traffic to your website. If you need a starting point for inspiration, look at what your competitors are doing and also online tools like AnswerThePublic and Google Trends.

This is only part of the planning process though. You’ll also want to think about your service clusters for what you do. If you haven’t yet identified these, have a look at how we recommend planning them.

The anatomy of top performing articles

Here’s where some of the tried-and-tested science comes into play. While a lot of your content success will rely on a combination of planning and distribution, a good chunk also lies in the structure.

This epic infographic from SEMrush covers the top five areas to consider. With the data of over 700,000 articles under their belt and microscope, the findings are certainly worth factoring in next time you hit the keyboard.

The Key Findings

Longreads of 3000+ words get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length (901-1200 words).

Shorter articles (300-900 words) have zero shares 4.5 times more often than long reads of 3000+ words.

Articles with long headlines (14+ words) get 2x more traffic, 2x more shares, and 5x more backlinks than articles with short headlines (7-10 words).

Articles with list headlines (those that start with a number like “N things…”, “N ways…”, etc.) get 2x more traffic and 2x more social shares than other types, followed by guides and “how-to” articles.

36% of articles with H2+H3 tags have higher performance in terms of traffic, shares, and backlinks.

Articles with 5 lists per 500 words compared to articles with no lists get 4x more traffic and 2x more social shares.

The anatomy of top performing articles

And drilling down further into their point made about how content length impacts performance, here’s another visual for you!

Content length: impact on performance

Evergreen content is the MVP

So we’ve covered how to inform your content topics and the anatomy of the ideal blog… but what else should you consider? Evergreen content. Topics that will be around for the long-haul. Good old reliable content that you can reuse, repurpose and not feel overly worried about it becoming horrendously dated.

What is evergreen content?

Think about what is an on-going topic for your industry. For us, it’s how-to and best practice guides for digital marketing. It should answer the age-old questions that don’t hugely change (although it’s good to review and update your evergreen articles when required, as search engines also appreciate that).

For example, compare these two graphs.

#1 How to start a blog

How to start a blog: interest over time

#2 Christmas cake recipe

Christmas cake recipe: interest over time

The How to start a blog graph shows a fairly consistent level of search over time. There aren’t any major spikes or flat-lines. Whereas the Christmas cake recipe spikes and goes flat consistently.

Maximising the value of your evergreen content

Evergreen content is great for many reasons. Let’s examine:

#1 SEO rankings

Of course, one thing that’s always on our mind is Google. It’s the apple of our eye. If you plan with your keywords properly, it should rank competitively in search engines, driving consistent and frequent traffic to your site.

#2 Driving traffic from email and social media

The beauty of using email and social media as drivers for traffic is that you only need a small summary before the link. No one expects (or wants!) to read the entire article on page, the entire purpose it to win that click through (without being considered click bait).

We often recommend when planning for this type of content sharing to pin-point the key take aways. You might want to look at the subheadings within the blog, for ease of example. From there you could easily have around 3 – 5 pulls that you can reuse over time.

#3 It keeps its value

Because you can keep reusing this type of content, it holds its value better. Particularly if it drives quality traffic to your website.

There’s still room for contextual content!

While we do think evergreen content is valuable, we’re all about that ecosystem. And when it comes to blogs, yours should be a good mix of relevant, contextual content (e.g. industry updates, trends and what’s relevant right now) and those reliable evergreen articles.

So you have a blog, what next?

It’s time to distribute! Make sure you are taking advantage of UTM tracking on all links you share, as this will help attribute source, medium and campaign in Google Analytics. Our favourite online tool to build these links easily is the Google Analytics Campaign URL builder.

N.B If you run email marketing campaigns, your provider should already have link tracking set, but it is worth checking!

#1 Social media

It’s more than just copying and pasting a link and hitting share. You need to think about what your post is going to be: what’s the one key take away you want to promote from this blog? (and if there’s more than one, excellent, that means you can share again in a few weeks).

What’s more, make sure you’re taking advantage of things like hashtags (where relevant) and tagging associated contributors or colleagues.

#2 Your lead nurture campaigns

If you’re not yet on the marketing automation bandwagon, here’s some food for thought. If you have an active blog (or are thinking of starting one), building an email funnel is a great way to distribute the content you’re already in the habit of creating.

If this marketing channel is new to you, check out our blog on building a compliant database and our five steps to email marketing success.

Our inbound marketing 101 blog covers off exactly what you need to do to build a successful journey, the types of content to use at each stage of the funnel.

Keep putting your blog on the back burner?

Let’s face it, sometimes there are bigger fish to fry than sitting down to plan and write a couple of thousand words. You know it, and we certainly do. Hell, this is one of the key reasons a digital marketing agency like us exists! So if you need a helping hand planning your content strategy, producing blogs, campaigns and the like, let us know. We will be more than happy to discuss over a (digital) cuppa.

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marketing in a recession

Marketing in a recession

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marketing in a recession
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Marketing in a recession

There’s a lot going on right now. A lot. In fact, let’s not even delve into the shitstorm that has been 2020. There’s a trend of uncertainty, which does make us all feel more conscious of where and how we’re spending our money (professionally and personally). Now more than ever, we’re striving for quality and maximising our budgets.

First things first…

Yes, we all want to get the best possible price, no one wants to be overcharged. But keep in mind that:

good + cheap = slow

good + fast = expensive

fast + cheap = more often than not, crap

good fast cheap

We’re more present, especially online

One minute we’re all at the pub or having a BBQ with family and friends… the next we are cringing at the return of Zoom quizzes, as we strive for any kind of social interaction outside of our own four walls. One thing’s for sure right now: we’re online more than ever before.

While saying “take advantage of it” seems tasteless, it’s true. Your audience are in theory easier to reach than usual. But word to the wise, it’s essential to get your messaging on point. Be sensitive to the current climate and national mood.

The people want guidance!

It’s time to step up and present yourself as a leader in your industry. Your customers want guidance on how they can work smarter, not harder. And marketing is your best way to execute that.

At this time, some businesses are dubious about marketing. You often need to spend money to make money, whether that’s through resource or advertising (or experts that can cover projects out of your remit).

“It may seem like a paradox, but recessionary periods actually provide fertile grounds for marketers to grow their brand’s market share if they’re prepared to think long-term.”

(M. Riston, 2020, Marketing Week)

These are words to live by. We’ve survived recessions before now, and while this one looks a little different, we can make it out of this one too. But to do so, we need to be present, and marketing is how we keep our business present.

Marketing is not a switch; it’s an engine

If you read our blogs, you’ll know we love analogies. They’re great explainers. Here’s a great one for this very situation. Marketing is an engine. It becomes more efficient the more we harness it, and harness it well. If it’s stop-start constantly, it’ll haemorrhage money.

Where to spend and why

Your focal areas will very much depend on what you do already, where your ideal customers tend to discover you, and of course, you budget. So let’s have a look:

Your SEO strategy

Regardless of what you do, as a company and your marketing strategy (or lack thereof), SEO is top of the list of priorities. After all, if you’re not being discovered online, what’s the point?

SEO, or search engine optimisation, in a nutshell is making sure you are visible on Google. It’s a combination of knowing what keywords your website visitors are using to find you, and creating content to answer those queries and build a reputation.

The key to note, is that it’s an ongoing process that includes a mezze of ingredients to cook up a recipe for success (see, I said we love an analogy):

  • content creation (which is a role in itself…)
  • link building
  • an active social media presence (yep, another person to the team)
  • technical stuff like site speed, scripts… (and throw in a developer for good measure)

You get the idea, there’s a lot that goes into it. It can seem daunting if you don’t have a team with the experience in these areas, but that’s where agencies like us can help. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Whether you want to tackle some of it yourself, or just brush up on your understanding, here are two (hopefully) helpful guides:

#1 A best practice introduction to SEO

#2 How to develop a winning SEO strategy

Content creation

Next up is content creation. And no, you don’t have to be replicating dance videos on TikTok or be an expert in animation to do this (but if that’s your bag, go wild).

Firstly, fresh content feeds into your SEO rankings. Google loves it. Whether that’s creating brand new articles, portfolio pieces etc., or refreshing older pages.

Secondly, good quality content helps position you as a leader in your area of expertise. Talk about what you do, how you can make your customers and leads lives easier, show off how you have remedied your customers woes. You get it.

Your website

It’s no longer the passive shop window to your business. If optimised to it’s full potential, your website can be your best performing salesperson, servicing your business 24/7. But to achieve that, you need to invest resource and budget.

Consider, does you website need a refresh or redesign?

A refresh includes looking at the functionality, user journey, user experience and subtle tweaks where necessary to your branding. This could be through the use of colours, fonts and imagery.

An entire redesign would also look at rebranding. A complete overhaul of your company’s look and feel, messaging, personas, tone of voice. The whole shebang.

Both can feel equally daunting, particularly if you or your stakeholders are attached to how things look at the moment. But it’s important to consider if it’s working for you. Consider:

  • are you generating quality leads?
  • what’s the typical user journey on your website?
  • what keywords are you ranking for, and are they relevant?
  • is anything broken on your website?grayce mobile optimised website

Find out how we helped Grayce refresh their website.

What are you doing with your website leads?

It’s all well and good to get plenty of website visitors, but what happens next?

A well planned out inbound marketing strategy is crucial to converting leads into paying customers. Mapping out the process from website visit through to activation may take some time, but it’s worth doing.

When broken down into steps, you’ll want to identify the following:

  • your ideal customer personas
  • the content channels that they engage best with
  • how to nurture them from prospects to hot leads, ready to convert

What about inbound marketing vs. paid advertising? Both have their pros and cons, and a successful digital marketing strategy will use a balance of the two. For instance, inbound or organic content is a great foundation to building consideration.

Whereas paid (or ads) are great for driving awareness and boosting conversion. They do this by reaching targeted leads who are further down the sales funnel, ready to make a decision.

Mum&You social media advertising facebook

Find out how we helped Mum&You with their digital ad strategy.

Social media

Let’s not forget social media. An extension of your website, focussed on the community that follows it, social media is top of the league when it comes to raising awareness, driving consideration, and boosting engagement. But only when it’s done well.

Again, a strategy is paramount. You’ll need to consider if your tone of voice needs adapting to fit the audience who use that particular channel (think how you might choose to be more professional on LinkedIn vs. the more accepted colloquialisms on Instagram).

It’s so much more than just sticking a few links on Facebook. If you want to be successful, it’s an entire role, filled by an experienced marketeer. You’ll need to understand how algorithms work to maximise organic reach, how to manage a community (think crisis management) and of course, an always on approach.

And that’s not even scratching the surface of what you can achieve if you put budget behind it…

PPC

Last, but by no means least, is PPC (pay per click). Ideal for quick results, paid campaigns give your website visitors a boost by directing highly targeted leads. You can run your ads across a range of platforms including:

  • Google
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Bing

…and more!

While it does seem to be a magic wand to generate leads, you need to make sure your marketing ecosystem is healthy. Directing engaged leads who have intention to a website with poor content, broken links and a rubbish journey is a recipe for disaster.

Ultimately, it’s down to your analytics

There’s a great divide between data driven marketers and those who are… well, less excited by numbers, shall we say. Regardless of your stance, it’s absolutely necessary to keep track of performance. Not only because it’s good to have an idea of what’s really going on with your marketing, but also as it helps you to understand what to do to plug the gaps and convert more leads!

Do you need a helping hand?

From time to time we could all do with an extra pair of hands on a project. Whether it’s that you don’t have the expertise, resource or simply enough hours in the day! We can help you. Whether it is content creation, marketing automation, website design, digital advertising, print design… you name it, we’ve got an expert for that!

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The ideal marketing eco-system to bolster your success

The ideal marketing ecosystem to bolster your success

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The ideal marketing ecosystem to bolster your success

As an agency, our clients often ask us what should I focus my marketing efforts on? As predicted, the answer is not as clear cut as that. It depends heavily on what you’re already doing, what’s working out well and where you need to plug the gaps.

An ecosystem for marketing, you say?

There absolutely is a marketing ecosystem. You need to nurture ground-level work before you can ascend to tall forests… Or something similar. It’s about getting the balance right. Mastering some basics. Walk before you can run type of stuff. But what does that even mean?

Marketing Qualified Leads = Sales Qualified Leads

Most of us are familiar with sales funnels, but what about the marketing channels that power the leads through them. This great diagram from The Marketing Blender simplifies the process into two stages: marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs), and the content silos that are most effective at driving success.

marketing qualified leads > sales qualified leads

Let’s get planning!

When your website was built, chances are you worked on a user journey through the content. But over time this can become cluttered and need a bit of TLC. If your website is particularly old, you might want to consider refreshing it to bolster your lead generation and nurture processes.

MQLs need to be directed to your website before they can qualify as SQLs. But we’d urge you to work backwards on this process.

#1 Identify your service clusters

Of course you know what you sell, but have you identified the product/service clusters? There are likely to be areas that fit into groups. For example, our clusters are: web, digital and creative.

Once you’ve identified these, it’s time to work through your website. And essentially tag the pages that are most relevant to each.

#2 Journey planning

So you know your service clusters, and you’ve tagged your pages to fit into each. It’s now time to think about the content journey:

  • Intrigue (blogs, videos, hints and tips)
  • Discover (whitepapers, guides, resources)
  • Consider (product features, case studies)
  • Decide (pricing, demos, sales interactions)

You can read more about the content structure for lead nurture processes in depth here.

#3 Is your content up to scratch?

Analyse your pages and look at your conversion and bounce rates. How are those stats in particular looking? Chances are, if your conversion rate is low, and your bounce rate high, you need to address the content. Working with a UX specialist and content marketing specialist may help you identify what needs to change.

#4 Are you ready to start driving traffic?

If you’re happy with your service clusters, content mapping and journey plans, you’re ready to begin. If you’re not happy with these, don’t worry – we can help!

What are my options?

Once you’ve ticked everything off the list above, it’s time to start looking at your options to drive leads:

SEO is the foundation of your website, so this should always be high up on your list of priorities. Along with fresh content, it provides consistent, long-term results.

Social media and press releases will feed into your traffic, bolstering your efforts consistently, provided you maintain an active presence. You’ll need to identify a strategy behind these in order to get the best success.

Lastly, PPC will likely give you the quickest results. That said, you must be sure that you’ve set up your ads correctly, otherwise it’ll fall flat.

marketing channels effectiveness over time

How should I prioritise these?

Your marketing ecosystem needs strong roots to weather storms. It also needs a strong base in order for you to fully optimise it to reach your nirvana state.

  • Content & SEO are the key drivers, without these, your campaigns are gutless.
  • Social media (and PR to an extent) only work if you sustain the input. It’s no good to be super active for a month and then let it all go. You need to build trust, reliability and consistency.
  • PPC is great when you need a boost. So long as you have a goal in mind, you’re golden. But you’ll need quality content to get more bang for your buck. Remember, Google assigns a quality score to campaigns. This is based on the relevance of your ads keywords, the landing page content and user experience (e.g. bounce rates and conversions).

But wait, there’s more!

Oh, there’s always more. This diagram helps break down the activities even further. Once you’ve mastered the basics, consider this checklist as the next steps:

marketing ecosystem: seo, content, social media, targetted

I don’t have the time!

It’s a delicate balance making sure that your marketing ecosystem is optimised for success. Yet most of us are time poor when it comes to starting additional projects at the moment. Whether it’s additional resource or expertise, we’ve got you covered. Working with a digital marketing agency need not feel like you’re treading on anyone’s toes or replacing anyone. We like to think of ourselves as an extension of your team.

Have a chat with us to see how and where we can help you achieve marketing excellence.

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A best practice introduction to SEO

A best practice introduction to SEO

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A best practice introduction to SEO
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A best practice introduction to SEO

What is SEO?

In the simplest of terms, SEO (or search engine optimisation) is an on-going process that helps make your website visible in Google. There are a few components that impact how well your website performs, which we will delve into in this best practice guide.

On page / off page

On-page SEO generally includes factors like:

  • Page titles and headings
  • Images
  • Meta descriptions and tags
  • URL
  • Fast-loading pages
  • High-quality and regularly updated content
  • Internal linking

Off-page SEO really comes down to one major factor, which is high-quality backlinks to your site. The more of these you can get, the better, but, at the end of the day, it’s really more about quality than quantity because you want backlinks from sites with higher domain-authority ratings.

And of course, there’s technical – which is often best to get an expert of developer in to help with.

How to develop your strategy

First and foremost, we recommend consulting your customer personas to analyse if the “right” people are visiting your website. Following that, we look at what your website is currently ranking for.

Once you know this, it’s time to create your SEO strategy, which could look like this:

#1 Define your focus keywords for every single page on your website. Once you’ve done this, optimise the content on that page to include those keywords.

#2 Make sure all your pages have a word count of at least 500 words.

#3 Improve meta data for your pages and make sure all images have alt tags.

Next:

#1 If your keyword research shows users are looking for answers to questions, use this in your content plan. Write articles, create infographics and videos. Generally creating a good mix of content that helps answer the common questions.

#2 Similarly, if there are other keywords you want your site to rank for but they don’t fit into your core pages, content like this is an excellent way to start attracting users to your site.

SEO and blogging

According to Hubspot, B2B companies with an active blog generate 67% more leads every month than those without! That said, not all blog content is created equally. You need to align your topics with research. Look at the keywords and phrases that your website visitors are using to land on your website.

Using something like Google’s keyword planner is a great tool to help here. It can help elaborate on the keywords used, but also suggest similar and related searches, as well as ‘people also ask’.

As well as this, planning a user journey for your website will help. A mix of internal and credible external links will help bolster your SEO efforts.

What’s a blog (or website, for that matter) without imagery? Boring! But what’s an image without an alt tag? Not good. Make sure all images you upload to your website have an alt tag that’s descriptive, and better yet, optimised for the content it compliments. Think about the blog title or exactly what it’s showing if it’s a diagram.

What about backlinks?

Backlinks are links from a page on one website to another. If someone links to your site, then you have a backlink from them. If you link to another website, then they have a backlink from you.

So, because the definition of a backlink we’ve used links back to ahrefs website, they now have a backlink from us.

Ok, why are these little links so important? Three key reasons:

#1 They boost your rankings in search.

#2 They make you more ‘discoverable’ as search engines constantly scan for new content, so if you’re mentioned in someone else’s new blog, you’re up there with them.

#3 They create referral traffic if clicked.

How do I get backlinks??

Create. Earn. Build. Ok, that’s not very helpful.

Earned

These are organic backlinks, so that could be someone sharing your blog on social media or similar, without any prompts from you. They’ve simply discovered your content and want to share it.

Created

This could be like a business directory, replying to a forum or commenting on a blog and leaving your website details in your signature.

Built

Backlink building is when you get in touch with other website owners and ask for them to link to your page. This could be a guest blog, a replacement link for one that’s broken, finding mentions of your company that aren’t linked etc.

It’s key to clarify the value proposition though, as there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

9 Best Practice Tips

Here are nine solid tips to help:

#1 Align your content with search

When you look at the search queries that have driven traffic to your website, factor this into new content. Look to solve the queries that are coming in (e.g. how to improve your SEO > write a blog on SEO improvements).

#2 Optimise your title tags and meta description

Here’s something we always bang on about when we audit websites. Every page of your website has a title and a description. It’s all well and good having something reasonably generic there, but if you optimise it with keywords that visitors actually use, it’s so much better!

According to Google:

Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. It’s often the primary piece of information used to decide which result to click on, so it’s important to use high-quality titles on your web pages.

A meta description tag should generally inform and interest users with a short, relevant summary of what a particular page is about. They are like a pitch that convince the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for.

#3 Optimise images

There are a few steps at play here:

  1. Choosing the best file type for your image to maximise page load times and website speed

Remember: JPGs are better for photos and PNGs are better if it’s a diagram, contains text or is a vector

  1. Compressing your images before you upload
  2. Making sure you have alt text for all images! (And think about describing what the purpose is, so perhaps the blog title)

#4 Maximise your page load speed

The good folks at Google have a PageSpeed Insights web app that analyses your website load speed for free, and gives some recommendations. Though, unless you’re an expert, this is best handed over to your website developer.

#5 Your internal linking structure

By creating an internal linking structure, you’re influencing the journey your website visitors take. If done well, it can improve session time and pages per session, which combined boosts your rankings.

#6 Review user experience

Imagine walking into a store and not being able to find what you’re looking for. Let’s think about supermarket structures. You’d expect to find fruit and vegetables together, chilled in one section etc. You’d be totally confused if you found ice cream with cleaning products… that’s if you found it at all. Your website is the same. Think. It. Through.

#7 URL structure and keywords

Google says: 

A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organising your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers).

#8 Building authoritative backlinks

In short, Google see’s backlinks as guarantors of the internet. The more, quality backlinks you have, the more confidence.

#9 Create long-form content

According to research conducted by SEMrush:

Long-form articles (posts with 3000+ words) get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length (901-1200 words).

For that reason, you should aim at publishing 1-2 thoroughly researched, long-form articles that include helpful information to Google users.

Content length impact on performance

Summary

SEO is a never-ending work of art. There’s always a tweak here, something to optimise there, and of course, well informed content to publish somewhere. If the thought of it all makes your head spin, or you simply don’t have the time, let us help you! Fill out your details below and one of the DPC gang will be in touch.

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An introduction to PPC best practice

A best practice introduction to PPC

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A best practice introduction to PPC

When you think of PPC (pay per click), I’ll bet you’re thinking about Google. But PPC covers so many more channels than Google Ads, here are some other popular platforms you can also run campaigns from:

  1. YouTube Ads
  2. Facebook Ads
  3. Linkedin Ads
  4. Twitters Ads
  5. Bing Ads
  6. Bidvertiser
  7. RevContent
  8. AdRoll
  9. BuySellAds
  10. advertise.com

So why Google when there are so many options out there? Because it’s the most popular search engine, so much so, it’s become a brand verb: “let me Google that”. We even tend to focus around Google’s best practices when looking at SEO. And as a result of this, it delivers an insane amount of traffic, therefore delivering more impressions and clicks than any other.

Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches on a keyword that is related to their business offering.

So, what is it and why use it?

Even if you’re relatively new to marketing, you’ll more than likely be aware that PPC campaigns are drivers of web traffic. One of the key things to know is that your campaign is only as good as the website/landing page you’re driving your prospects to. There’s no point in spending time and money on the ad itself if the page is irrelevant and boring.

There are different types of campaigns you can run, each with their own purposes and merits when used correctly:

  1. YouTube
  2. Search
  3. Display
  4. Social media
  5. Remarketing
  6. Google Shopping

Let’s explore what and when to use these:

YouTube

Did you know that YouTube is the 2nd most used search engine (beaten only by Google)? Think about it. It’s heaven for a breadth of activities, from tutorials to wild conspiracy theory rabbit holes that you fall down when you can’t sleep. And the fact it’s owned by Google means videos hosted here are optimised to appear in search.

You can run paid campaigns (pre-roll etc.) through Google Ads too, so it’s definitely worth considering.

Search

These are the ads you’ll see at the top of the search engine. They’re simple text ads, labelled clearly, and look like a standard search result, example here:

These ads are targeted based on keywords (search terms or phrases). It’s the most popular form of PPC due to how effective it is. Not only this but the positioning is favourable as it can bump above the top organically ranked pages for that search.

Display

Display ads are similar to search, but are visual with a little more targeting behind them. Because of this, you can create highly targeted segments, with your ad placed in relevant spaces all over the internet. It’s ideal for increasing brand awareness, as you can utilise visuals as well as text.

Example of a display PPC ad

Social ads

Take advantage of the wealth of data social media channels collect on their users! You don’t even need a highly active, wildly successful social media presence to run these ads, just a business account. There are many different ad types you can run, with the emphasis being on visuals – so it’s important you get that right. You can read more about social media advertising here.

Remarketing

Ever looked at a pair of shoes, only to find them following you around the internet? That’s what a remarketing campaign is. This type of PPC can be really effective when targeting people who have already shown intent on your website by clicking around but haven’t completed an action. You also have the option to create a series of ads that will change over time, known as sequential remarketing.

Example of a remarketing PPC ad

Google shopping

As the name suggests, Google will show product links to e-commerce websites that are running ads, like this:

Google shopping PPC example

Top 5 best practice tips

Ultimately, the key areas to maximising the success of your campaign will come down to these five factors (as well as proper set up of your ad accounts):

#1 Keywords: make sure you have created a solid list of relevant keywords for your campaigns, tight keyword groups and strong ad text that incorporates them.

#2 Landing page quality: Your landing page should be optimised for your campaign, across devices and contain relevant content with a clear call to action. Make sure it’s targeted to the search query and your audience persona!

#3 Creative: It goes without saying that powerful creative will win over something cobbled together. While you don’t need to be a graphic designer, it is handy to know one.

#4 Quality score: Google grades your ad content and its relevance, based on your CTR and landing page experience. The higher your score, the lower you’ll pay for your clicks (and in theory, you’ll also get more conversions).

#5 Split Ad Groups: create smaller, relevant segments for your ad groups so that you can optimise your ad content and landing pages. This will help improve CTR and in turn, your quality score.

Let’s get back to keywords

It’s fair to say, keywords are the main driver for all PPC campaigns, regardless of the type.

An effective keyword list should be:

Relevant: this is obvious, otherwise you won’t get the conversions you want. If you search for dog food and are served up shoes, you’re wasting your money. Plus it’ll negatively impact your quality score.

Exhaustive: in addition to the most popular keywords, make sure you also cover the more niche ones. Think about long tail keywords too (these tend to be a full query rather than a keyword). These can actually make up the majority of traffic from search, and as they’re less competitive (due to being more specific), they’re often less expensive).

What is a longtail keyword?

Thorough: A good PPC campaign isn’t set and forget, it’s one that evolves. As you monitor your results, optimise!

Contain negative keywords: reduce waste with negative keywords. These act as a filter so you can remove similar but irrelevant searches.

KPIs for PPC

You can read about these in depth on our blog about setting realistic KPIs for your digital marketing, but in summary, you’ll want to cover:

  • Clicks
  • Click through rate (CTR)
  • Quality score
  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Cost per conversion/acquisition (CPA)
  • Conversion rate (CVR)
  • Average position

Summary

As you’ll see, PPC is so much more than Google ads. And while this blog barely scratches the surface, hopefully it has helped bolster your understanding of what PPC is, best practice tips and the KPIs used to measure the success of your campaigns.

Keep in mind, PPC works best as part of a digital marketing ecosystem. Ideally making sure you are on top of your SEO game and have some kind of regular email marketing (or marketing automation) program in place.

If PPC campaigns are something you’d love to try, but simply don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself, leave your details below and we will be in touch to help you!

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Five steps to email marketing success

Five steps to email marketing success

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Five steps to email marketing success

Who doesn’t love a list? If you don’t maybe go burn some money, or whatever else it is that you oddballs like to do. Here’s our paint-by-numbers guide to making your email marketing program a success.

#1 Devising your email marketing strategy

Defining a clear vision is essential for setting up an email marketing channel for your business. There’s little value in collecting data if you aren’t going to do anything with it.

Firstly, it’s important to define what you want to achieve:

Are you looking to engage with your existing customers?

Do you want to nurture leads?

Or perhaps it’s a combination of the two.

It can be as simple as a weekly newsletter, or as sophisticated as setting up an automated program for renewals. The key is consistency. The moment you lapse and stop sending for a few weeks or months, you become unreliable and easy to forget.

It’s important to have enough content to power your email program for at least one quarter at a time, whether you’re sending weekly or monthly. Creating enough relevant, evergreen content is not only good to power the machine, but it also means you can recycle it further down the lifecycle.

Once you have your goal, it’s time to think about your content and the subscriber journey:

  • What kind of content are you sharing? Think blogs, case studies, product pages etc.
  • Will you treat more engaged subscribers differently?
  • Are you keeping in touch with a newsletter or are you creating a specific sales funnel?

There’s a lot to plan, but the clearer you are about it, the easier it will be to map out what you need.

#2 Template essentials

Hubspot lists these 12 best practice essentials for your email templates:

  1. Craft a strong subject line
  2. Write an attention-grabbing preheader
  3. Be concise
  4. Keep your email on-brand
  5. Utilise the layout to enhance your email’s user experience
  6. Personalise every email
  7. Incorporate unique visual content
  8. Don’t be afraid to use emojis
  9. Use a responsive design
  10. Optimise your email with calls-to-action
  11. Add an “unsubscribe” button
  12. A/B test your design

A few things to avoid in your emails:

  • Attachments! Instead, host that PDF on your website and link to it. Reason being spam filters detect this to be suspicious activity.
  • Keep your email concise: long emails will truncate (in layman’s terms: the content won’t display after a certain point, which looks unprofessional). Remember: the digital attention span for email is less than 10 seconds!
  • Broken links: make sure you test all your links are working before you send an email, and that they’re going to where you expect.

#3 Best practice for subject lines

You’ve no doubt seen some shockers in your time. You’ve likely seen some good ones that intrigue you. A lot are somewhere in the middle though.

Let’s start with some of the recommendations of what works (according to Hubspot’s observations):

  • Keep it short and sweet.
  • Use personalisation tokens.
  • Segment your lists.
  • Do tell them what’s inside.
  • Use concise language.
  • Start with action-oriented verbs.
  • Make people feel special.
  • Create a sense of importance.
  • Use numbers.
  • Pose a compelling question.
  • Don’t be afraid to get punny.
  • Combine with some engaging preview text.
  • A/B test your subject lines

#4 Testing, 1 2 3…

Avoid embarrassing typos, dead links and designs that don’t render properly by testing (or visually proofing) your campaigns. All reputable email marketing platforms will have something built in that shows how your email renders in a number of popular email clients, devices and browsers. It also doesn’t hurt to have a look yourself.

Testing your email campaigns in Litmus

In addition to how it looks, make sure you’re clicking all those links to make sure they’re working and going where you intend.

Lastly, it’s a great idea to get a fresh set of eyes over your work. So ask someone else who hasn’t previously seen it to cast an eye. They will be more likely to spot mistakes or if something doesn’t look quite right.

#5 Can’t decide on something? There’s a split test for that!

As the cheesy anecdote goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results. Similarly, you should aim to keep things fairly consistent with your emails. But with both those sentiments, how do you know specifically what is and isn’t working? Easy: by split testing.

We recommend testing one variable at a time. That could be link colours, buttons vs. text links, from names, content length, images. The list is endless! But it’s essential you keep it one at a time so that you can know with confidence what effected the result.

You can find out more about split testing with Hubspot here.

The age old question: when should I send my emails??

“In general, the highest click-to-open rates are 10 AM, at 21%, 1 PM, at 22.5%, and have seen a spike at near 6 PM. The data reflects when most audiences begin or conclude their day and have the most time to check their emails.”

Hubspot

Depending on the purpose of your marketing, have a think about when you’re most likely to give your inbox some attention. Chances are you’ll look at your personal emails at different times to work ones. Factor this in when you schedule or send your emails and monitor the results (and of course, test send times too!).

What KPIs to use?

Your email marketing platform of choice should give you a pretty decent dashboard of the results from your campaigns. It’s subjective, to an extent, what stats you and your business find more important and beneficial to report on. That said, some of the crucial ones are:

  • Database hygiene (new subscribers vs. unsubscribes)
  • Click through rate
  • Web traffic and conversions

Looking at industry benchmarks are a great way to measure how your campaigns are performing comparatively.

Summary

To operate a successful email marketing program, planning your strategy and analysing your results are crucial. A bit like your website, planning your subscribers experience and journey are also really important factors.

If you’re thinking about stepping up your email marketing, leave your details below and we will be in touch to discuss.

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Six simple steps to build a compliant database

Six simple steps to build a GDPR compliant database

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Six simple steps to build a GDPR compliant database

Email marketing is dead. No, it’s alive. Actually it’s dead. Whatever. Email marketing isn’t going anywhere, so let’s end that debate here and now.

With an informed strategy behind it, email marketing can be your very best asset. It can:

  • Nurture leads to paid up customers
  • Create sales opportunities
  • Keep your customers engaged with your business
  • Drive web traffic

But that’s just the thing. It needs to be done well. If you send random emails as and when you like, to people who don’t know your business, full of typos, broken links and a whole host of other catastrophes, it can be a lethal weapon (cue 80s hair and saxophone music).

If email isn’t your jam, we can help. As a digital marketing agency with in-house email marketing nerds, we know our stuff.

You can’t have a successful email marketing program without a GDPR compliant database. But where to begin?

#1 CRM database

Before you can do anything, you need a compliant database home that is secure. Enter CRM systems, check your Excel spreadsheets at the door please! Many email service providers will come with something built in, and all will integrate with the big players such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.

Your CRM platform should have the data fields mapped so that it collects and stores exactly what you need. This should also include the date and time that your subscribe signed up and confirmed their opt-in intention.

#2 Sign up forms

With the GDPR bursting onto the scene in May 2018, a lot changed about how you can collect, process and store data (you can read about that here). But if you start out with all the elements in place, it need not be such a headache.

First things first, make sure your form has a transparent description. Simply saying Sign up for our newsletter just won’t cut it anymore. Your wording should include:

  • Sending frequency
  • Your content
  • What you’ll be doing with any data (if it’s more than simple name and contact details)
  • Contain a link to your privacy policy
  • Have an unticked (yep, that’s important!) tick box as a statement of intent to sign up

A great example is this below from dog food brand EUKANUBA. Let’s examine:

GDPR compliant email marketing sign up form

  1. Sign up for monthly expert tips and incentives – an overview of what and when
  2. Track your dog’s development… – reason for collecting additional data (e.g. breed size and age)

When you create your form, it’s also a good time to have a think about anything extra you need to collect to run your email program. Ideally, you want your form to be quick and easy to complete, otherwise you won’t get many conversions. You can always collect more data at another time, with specific campaigns.

#3 Form placement

So you’ve got your form, now it’s time to place it. If you have just one sign up form, it is best placed in the footer of your website, as it’s easily accessible.

If you have multiple forms (e.g. for gated content downloads or to sign up to different lists perhaps), those should be embedded only on the relevant pages.

You can also consider pop ups where you have reason to believe the website visitor is primed to sign up. This could be based on session duration, pages or something else. The key here is balance, so that you don’t annoy your subscribers.

#4 Purchasing data..?

One of the biggest debates in marketing. It’s a big no no for consumer goods. It’s slightly less contentious for B2B, but you need to have a decent prospect workflow to make it work.

If you’ve made the decision that you want to buy data to bolster your lists, it is absolutely essential to make sure it is verified, compliant and up to date. We can help direct you to trustworthy database consultancy services.

#5 Keep that list clean!

Most spam laws now mean that having a double opt-in mechanism on your database is standard. This means that once a person signs up to your list they’ll receive an email asking them to click to confirm they meant to sign up. This is the first step to a sparkly, clean and compliant list. This should also mean that your subscribers have a timestamp against their confirmed sign up in your CRM platform.

Keep an eye on bounces. Most email service providers will have automated rules in place that after 2 or so bounces, email addresses will be removed from your list.

Hubspot says:

Bounce rates are one of the key factors internet service providers (ISPs) use to determine an email sender’s reputation, so having too many hard bounces can cause them to stop allowing your emails in folks’ inboxes.

Whatever you do, never ever scrape websites for email addresses. It’s really not cool and is the lowest of lows, not to mention illegal. No further explanation needed (hopefully).

You can read more about list hygiene here.

#6 Sender info

When you’re setting up your email marketing platform, you’ll be required to set a subdomain of your website. This is so that should anything go sour, it won’t affect the infrastructure of your website and internal email addresses. It’s usually a case of appending “newsletter.domain” or something similar.

Not only this but it’s really important to set up an inbox where you can receive replies to your marketing – automated and actual responses. Make sure it’s not someone’s existing email address for reasons above, but it must be monitored. GDPR law states that manual unsubscribes are mandatory, as well as information requests (e.g. how did you get my data).

It’s really poor show, not to mention against data laws, to send using a “noreply@domain” address!

Summary

Making sure your email database is compliant really can be that simple, provided you know what to do. While it is a big task, if you break it down into these fail-safe steps, you’ll have it under control in no time.

If the thought of organising your existing database (or starting from scratch) gives you a burning feeling in the pit of your stomach, fill out your details below. And, probably go see someone about the stomach pains… it doesn’t sound healthy!

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How to set realistic KPIs for digital marketing projects

How to set realistic KPIs for your digital marketing projects

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How to set realistic KPIs for your digital marketing projects

What is a KPI?

Chances are, you’ll know that KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. And there are all kinds of KPIs you can use for any kind of project. It’s basically a way of measuring the success of what you’re doing.

But there are so many metrics to measure, especially when it comes to digital marketing. In fact, it can become an endless task of numbers, graphs, charts and buzzwords after a while. And let’s face it, they can be rather dry.

With so many areas to examine, it’s hard to know what’s meaningful and what’s a vanity metric.

Let’s look at the KPIs for web, PPC, social media and email marketing.

How often should I report?

Depending on what you’re looking at, you’ll want to consider if you’re reporting on a project basis or as a department. For smaller projects, you might want to look at weekly, but most others monthly will suffice.

While comparison is often the thief of joy, for projects it’s often the best way to measure success. If you’re just starting out, it’ll be good to compare future projects where you have more experience and know-how. Consider comparing month on month and year on year.

How to set realistic KPIs

Firstly, you’ll want to gauge what your current baseline is for your marketing channels and website. Familiarise yourself with the last 3 – 6 months of statistics for your website, email and social media. If you’ve not run any digital ads prior to this, have a look at benchmarks for both what channels you’re working on and then for your industry.

You can also analyse it by looking at your cost per acquisition (CPA). This means to consider the conversion rate for anything from clicks and downloads to sales.

The equation for this is:

CPA = total cost of campaign / total number of conversions

This can help you get an idea of things like:

#1 What is one customer worth

#2 How many leads do I need to speak to, to convert a paying customer

#3 What is my average conversion rate from lead to customer

What should I measure per channel, and what do all these terms mean?!

Web

Visitors

Reviewing visitors can tell you a lot about your websites effectiveness and if it’s attracting the right people. You can review new vs. returning visitors, their frequency and recency, as well as things like their location, language, most popular time of day and day of the week.

Session duration

Looking at the time spent on your website is a great indicator of whether it’s serving its purpose. If you have great content on social media, email or ads, but your visitors are leaving within 10 seconds, chances are something’s not meeting expectation.

Bounce rate

This stat reflects the number of visitors who leave quickly but can also impact how your website ranks in search going forward. It can be an indicator of poor UX, slow load times or low quality content.

Conversely, it can also be the opposite. For example, a contact us page might have a high bounce rate as the user finds what they need immediately (e.g. phone number or address).

Devices – mobile/desktop/tablet

Looking at how your website is consumed will give you a good basis for what to optimise design-wise. If you’re predominantly seeing mobile and tablet users, think about layouts that work best for smaller screens.

Most viewed pages

This will give you a good insight into what your visitors are most interested in. Of course, some of the results will fluctuate based on things like how you’re driving traffic (email, ads, social media) and how well they rank in search.

PPC

Clicks

Starting simple, this equates to how many people saw your ad and clicked on it.

Click through rate (CTR)

Click through rate = total clicks in the reporting period selected / total impressions

It’s a good indicator of how your ad is performing, as it’s literally looking at what percentage of individuals clicking after seeing it. If you have lots of impressions but low clicks, chances are something’s not quite right. That could be your call to action isn’t strong enough, the offer isn’t compelling or simply it’s not what they’re looking for. In which case, it could be back to the drawing board. And of course, consulting your personas.

Quality score

This metric often confuses marketers are it’s not quite as cut and dry as the rest. Google essentially scores your ad content and how relevant it appears to be based on your CTR and landing page experience.

According to search engine journal:

Google improved how Quality Score is reported in Google Ads in 2017, but it still comes down to this simple fact:

A good Quality Score (between 7 and 10) means you pay less money to advertise with Google Ads.

A bad Quality Score (6 or lower) means you pay more money.

Cost per click (CPC)

While when you set up at PPC campaign you’ll assign a total budget, there’s also your maximum bid per click, otherwise known as CPC. Think of it a bit like eBay, you’re bidding against other competitors using the same criteria, and the highest bidder will win the auction.

Cost per conversion/acquisition (CPA)

In the simplest of terms, CPA is the average price paid for every new customer acquired.

Delving a little deeper, you can also look at Targeted CPA, which is a bidding technique that can be applied when setting up your campaign. It helps advertisers optimise bids to get as many conversions as possible, based on a predetermined CPA.

Conversion rate (CVR)

This is usually the percentage of your traffic that turns into paying customers. It can also refer to traffic to clicks or other actions, such as download or data acquisition.

Average position

When setting up a PPC ad for Google (or dare I say, Bing), there are a few possible positions for your ad to be placed. You can’t always be in first place, even if you are the highest bidder… so your position will be based on ad ranks.

Ad Rank = Quality Score x Max CPM

Keep in mind, the first ad isn’t always the most successful position. But that’s another rabbit hole for another time!

Social media

Reach

This is the total number of unique people to have seen your post. It can be increased by any engagement with the post (e.g. like/react, comment/reply, share/retweet) as well as if you choose to boost your post by sponsoring it.

Growth

Reviewing your likes/follows monthly is a good indication of brand awareness.

Engagement (likes/reactions, shares/retweets, comments)

Arguably, engagement is much more important than community size. As above in ‘reach’ engagement can help drive visibility. So if you have an account with a lot of followers, but your content isn’t resonating, what’s the point?

Website traffic and conversions from social media

Ultimately the goal of social media is to raise awareness and drive consideration for your followers to use your products or visit your website for your more in-depth content. So this metric is a good indication (if links are used sensibly in your content strategy) of the strength of your content.

Email marketing

Database hygiene

Keeping an eye on the growth and churn of your database makes good sense. There are a number of reasons why subscribers may opt-out of your marketing, from irrelevant content to no longer requiring your services. Depending on your sector and offering will influence this too. Your digital marketing agency will be able to explain this based on what you’re doing.

Click through rate

The most important metric to report in email is click throughs. It reflects the strength of your content and call to action.

Why not open rate?

Did you know what if you don’t have images switched on from a sender but you still read the email, you won’t count as an open? In the simplest terms, every HTML email sent will contain a pixel that tracks your activity but this will only work if images are showing. And yes, that counts even if you’re sending emails without images. So for this reason, open rates just aren’t so accurate.

Website traffic and conversions from email channels

The same as with social media, it’s always a good idea to look at cross platform interactions. So checking to see the acquisitions tab in Google Analytics to see what can be attributed to your email marketing programs is a good way of gauging performance.

Summary

Hopefully this has helped explain the various KPIs that are most useful for your digital marketing. And while the answer is subjective, hopefully you have a better understanding of how to set a realistic KPI by looking at benchmarks, both for channels and your industry.

As always, if you need any help looking at your digital marketing projects, let us know by leaving your details below.

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Social media advertising best practice

Social Media Advertising: Best Practice Tips

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Social Media Advertising: Best Practice Tips

Social media advertising has revolutionised the face of marketing. More affordable than traditional OOH, television or radio, they are straightforward to set up (once you know what to do), highly targeted and provide a whole heap of insights.

While there are tons of social media channels these days, this best practice guide focuses on the big four: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These are the most common channels we use with our clients, and for good reason: they get results.

Benchmarks

First, let’s look at the kinds of results you can expect. Of course, this will differ according to a number of variables, such as your budget, demographics and content.

For example, here’s what you can expect from Facebook:

Facebook advertising benchmarkBusiness accounts

Often, the page you create for your business is a ‘personal’ account by default. This means you won’t have access to all the insights and options as a business account. So converting the account is a crucial first step.

As well as ‘unlocking’ the advertising side, a business account also opens up reporting and communication streams. This includes followers being able to send DMs (direct messages) and:

  • Follower demographics
  • Engagement metrics
  • App integrations

Each social media platform has an equivalent business advertising platform, seen below:

Social media business accounts

Budget

As with most platforms that allow advertising, there are a number ways to manage your spend: total budget, daily budget and setting bids based on clicks (CPC), impressions (CPM) and delivered InMails (CPS).

You can be as conservative or extravagant as you like. Hubspot has created a helpful calculator to give you an idea on spend and return for social media ads.

LinkedIn

  • 690m members
  • 180m senior-level influencers
  • 63m decision makers
  • 10m C-level executives
  • There are 675m monthly users
  • 40% of those monthly users login daily
  • 63m unique mobile users, monthly! (so make sure that ad is optimised)
  • 57% of LinkedIn users identify as male

LinkedIn users worldwide 2020Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn works best when you’re targeting professionals. While arguably professionals also use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it’s more likely that they’ve got their business and decision making hats on when they’re active on LinkedIn.

Not only this, but you can really zone in on those B2B segments, provided that users keep their profiles up to date.

Ad types:

  • Carousel
  • Conversion
  • Dynamic
  • Jobs
  • Lead gen
  • Message
  • Single image
  • Single job
  • Text
  • Video

LinkedIn Promoted post adLinkedIn ad example - job

LinkedIn recommends the following best practice tips to maximise success when advertising across it’s channel:

  • Write ad headlines that are under 150 characters. Concise headlines lead to more engagement.
  • Keep descriptive copy under 70 characters. Note that anything over 100 characters could be truncated on desktop.
  • Embed larger images instead of standard thumbnails. An image size of 1200 x 627 pixels is recommended. Content with larger visuals tend to get up to 38% higher CTR (click-through rates).
  • Feature a clear CTA (call to action), so your audience knows how to act on their interest.

Facebook

  • 2.6 billion monthly active users
  • 1.73 billion daily active users
  • 60% of internet users have a Facebook profile: which breaks down further to 83% of women and 75% of men
  • 96% of active users are most engaged via mobile devices
  • 58.5 minutes per day is the average daily use
  • 54% of users identify as female
  • 85% of Facebook users watch videos with the sound off

Why Facebook?

The social media channel we all love to hate (but we’re all addicted). Whether it’s nosing at people we used to know, laughing at memes or discovering new brands, Facebook is the reigning monarch of modern day social media (sorry MySpace!) with 60% of all internet users reported to have a profile.

This in theory provides the most varied reach. And with so many data captures along the way (in addition to what you fill in on your profile, a shout out here to page likes, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger), there’s potential for incredibly in-depth segmentation possibilities.

Ad types:

  • Video
  • Image
  • Collection (formally known as product catalogue, customised for the individual)
  • Carousel
  • Instant experience (formally known as Canvas, full-screen, mobile optimised)
  • Lead generation ads
  • Offers
  • Post engagement (boost)
  • Event responses
  • Page likes

Best practice tips from Facebook business

Here’s what the Facebook business manager team themselves recommend to optimise your campaigns for success:

  • Use vertical videos: Use a vertical or square aspect ratio. Most people hold their phones vertically, so you’ll cover more of their screen.
  • Avoid text on images: If you can, use the text/headline/link description boxes instead. If you have to use text on your image, try a smaller font and fewer words to lower the proportion of text to image. Our text overlay tool can help you get your ad approved. Learn more about text on images.
  • Shorten text: People on Facebook and Instagram scan quickly. In research conducted by the Mobile Marketing Association, it took 2-3 seconds for two out of three for people to see and cognitively recognise desktop ads compared to 0.4 seconds on mobile. Keep your text short, clear and concise to get your message across.
  • Add multiple images using the carousel format: Carousel allows you to show several images for people to scroll through at the same cost. It’s a great opportunity if you have lots of product or brand images. Get carousel tips.
  • Add movement: Ads with movement stand out in News Feed. When you make a Stories ad, you can use free templates that automatically animate your ad. You can also edit the colours, images and fonts. You could also try these free apps:
  • Hyperlapse – Create timelapse videos
  • Boomerang – Loop videos
  • Legend – Animate text
  • Videoshop – Edit videos
  • Adobe PhotoShop Express – Edit photos
  • Adobe Spark – Build videos from templates with text, images, photos and narration
  • Use calls to action: A range of call-to-action (CTA) buttons are available for Facebook and Instagram ads. These buttons draw attention and encourage people to engage with your ad. Based on what you want people to do when they see your ad, experiment with the CTA buttons available for different ad objectives and formats. See which ones get your audience to take action.

Instagram

  • 1 billion+ monthly active users
  • 500 million+ daily active users
  • 500 million+ stories uploaded daily
  • 4.2 billion post likes daily
  • Apparently, 56.3% female (although this is interesting as this isn’t a formal data capture… hello data sharing)
  • 60% of adult internet users have an Instagram account
  • 130 million users tap on the shop call to action to learn more about products, monthly!
  • User generated content has 4.5% higher conversion rate for brands using Instagram

Why Instagram?

Instagram and Facebook are connected. So it’s easier to target your audience based on Facebook data. All budgeting and scheduling tasks, the setup and creation of ads are done through Facebook. So you don’t need to start from scratch and learn about Instagram, once you’ve already used its sister platform for marketing and ads.”

Although Instagram is essentially the same platform as Facebook, the demographic differs slightly, as does their engagement. It is thought that Instagram users are more engaged with brands than any other social media platform.

Ad types

social media ads instagramTwitter

  • 1.3 billion+ accounts
  • 330 million monthly active users
  • 152 million daily active users (42% of users)
  • 500 million tweets daily
  • Average session is 3.39 minutes

Why Twitter?

If your target demographic is mostly male, Twitter is a good place to advertise. According to Omnicore stats, 66% of its users are male, making up for 24% of all male internet users.

Not only this, but according to Kantar, 53% of Twitter users are likely to be early adopters, being the first to buy new products.

Twitter is also a good balance between the strictly business interaction of LinkedIn and the more personal uses of Facebook and Instagram.

Ad types

  • Reach (maximise your ad’s reach)
  • Video views
  • Pre-roll views (pair your ad with premium content)
  • App installs
  • Website clicks
  • Engagement
  • Followers
  • App re-engagements (get people to do something in particular with your app)

Twitter text only ad Twitter promoted imageTwitter promoted account

Best practice tips from Twitter business

#1 Choose an ad format that works for your campaign goals

Promoted Tweets: Create a regular Tweet with your account with text and/or images. With a Promoted Tweet, visibility is boosted to help your content reach more people.

Promoted Videos: Have a great video that you want to draw more attention to? Share it on Twitter, and then launch a Promoted Video campaign.

Pre-roll videos: Pre-roll videos are advertisements from one of our 200+ content partners that are played at the beginning of a video.

Website Cards: Image and video Website Cards enable your brand to share eye- catching creative that seamlessly drives to a landing page of your choice. Create a card and attach it to a Tweet to share with your audience.

App Cards: Twitter App Cards drives both app installations and engagement, and allows you to present your app and the supporting content in a rich and interesting way.

#2 Understand the creative guidelines for each format

#3 Embrace video best practices across multiple formats

Summary

Social media is a great way to create affordable advertising campaigns for any budget. If you’re thinking about dabbling with social media ads but aren’t sure where to begin, leave your details below and we will be in touch!

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