The importance of Website Design in Engaging with and Converting Customers

With any new digital marketing effort, your website is one of the first things you should evaluate. Presuming that your digital marketing is going to do its job of sending good, prospective customers to your website, it’s your website’s job to engage with them and convert them into customers. Is your website up to the task? Here are a few things to consider when evaluating your website and its ability to convert visitors into customers.
Let’s start with the basics. Make sure your website is correctly branded with your name and/or logo prominently displayed on top. Does your website “look and feel” like your company? If you have a dedicated marketing resource, have them share your company’s Style Guide with your website developer. A style guide specifies colors, fonts, design elements, guidelines on the use of images and the tone of your copy. Even if you don’t have a style guide, using the company’s familiar colors and fonts maintains your company’s brand consistency and personality. Consistent brand helps to create a better connection between all of the marketing you do. It makes more impact and helps website visitors recognize that they have arrived at the right place.
Once you’ve got an attractive, correctly branded website in place it’s time to think about your visitors and their experience on your website. If you are running a digital marketing campaign, visitors are likely coming to you in search of answers to their questions or solutions to their problem or opportunities. Does your website answer these needs quickly and simply? Does your website explain how your products and services satisfy their needs? One of the best ways to address customers’ specific needs is to create landing pages that relate specifically to the products or services they are looking for. For example, if you sell excavating equipment don’t send all prospects to the same home page or products page. Instead, send those who are looking for a bulldozer to your bulldozer page and those looking who are looking for backhoes to your backhoe page. The two rewards of highly relevant, tightly-themed marketing groups are 1) those searching for a particular product or service will find exactly what they are looking for and are more likely to purchase and 2) Google Ads rewards relevance between the keyword search, the ad and the landing page with a higher quality score. A high-quality score is one of the factors that impacts a higher ad position and lower cost. Having explained what you sell, your next job is to explain how your product, service, or company is different and better than alternate choices. This is known as your unique selling proposition. Put simply, your website should answer the question as to why a customer should buy from you vs. someone else. Give your prospect a reason to choose your solutions over similar solutions offered by competing companies. A SWOT analysis can also help you to figure out where you are positioned in the marketplace against competing firms. Simply list your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This will further help you to identify solutions or benefits that are unique to your company.
By the time a website visitor has spent at least 15 seconds on your website, they should “get” your brand, know your name, what you sell, and why your solutions are unique or better than what your competitors offer. With that done, your next goal is to engage with visitors and “reel them in”. Engagement tools encourage visitors to interact with you and/or your website. Establishing a relationship with visitors builds trust and gives them a vested interest in continuing the conversation. Engagement tools also provide “jump off points” for prospects to interact with company representatives, bots or apps and these interactions convert prospect to leads. On the landing page or home page itself, make sure your phone number is prominently displayed at the top and frequently within the content. [Contact Us] buttons should be placed strategically as well so that when a prospect decides to take next steps, there is always a button or phone number within easy reach. Live chat is a great way to engage with website visitors, answer their questions and explain the advantages of your products or services. Remember, your visitor arrived at your website solve a problem, answer a question or explore an opportunity. And if you answer those needs via chat or other means, they will have very little reason to leave. You may also consider an automatic appointment scheduling app. These apps integrate with your existing calendar and allow visitors to schedule time with you (by phone or in person) for 15 to 30 minutes time slots based on available time in your calendar. If the product or service you are selling has a short sales cycle (like a book or paid consultation), make sure to add [Buy Now] buttons and keep the buying process quick and simple. These website engagement tactics will help you develop an online relationship with prospects and convert them into leads and sales.
The last important piece of any digital marketing effort is analytics. Make sure to have a good analytics tracking tool installed on your website. Google Analytics is one of the most popular apps of its type, enabling you to track the source, volume and traffic patterns of all website visits. In other words, Google Analytics allows you to track where your website visitors are coming from and what they are doing once they get to your site. Do they bounce, do they stick, do they engage, do they convert to leads or sales? Where do they drop off? A website tracking tool like Google Analytics is critical to the evaluation of your digital marketing efforts. It allows you to compare performance between advertising channels, ad groups, ads and even individual keywords. A Google Analytics Qualified Agency (like AdEdge) will be able to “round up” all of your website traffic and tell you where your paid and unpaid efforts are getting the most traction. With that information, you can make shifts in your marketing investment and optimize remaining channels for even higher performance.
If you need help with website design, digital marketing or Google Analytics, make sure you’re speaking with an agency who has extensive experience and current certifications in Google Ads and Google Analytics. AdEdge Digital Marketing has been offering expert digital marketing management to small and medium-sized businesses for 12 years and we’ve been a Google partner agency for six; and we maintain advanced Google certifications in Paid Search, Banner Advertising and Google Analytics. If you would like a complimentary website evaluation or digital marketing audit, please contact us at 203-682-4585, email [email protected], or schedule a call.

How to Select a Great Digital Marketing Agency

As most savvy business owners know, digital marketing has become is a very important piece of one’s marketing mix and overall growth strategy. Some businesses work with an agency, some do it in-house, but sadly, some aren’t doing digital marketing at all either because they’ve tried and failed, are uncertain about how to select a reputable agency or are just too baffled by the whole thing. If you’re among the group of business owners who is not doing digital marketing currently, or are unsure about your agency’s performance, below are some tips on how to select and manage a digital marketing agency.

With so many agencies coming at you with so many messages with so many claims in so many formats, it’s not surprising that business owners are confused and frustrated about moving into digital marketing. How do you know who’s the best? Who’s the real deal? Do they even care about digital marketing, or is it just another revenue stream or at worst, a get-rich-quick scheme? These are all valid concerns because many agencies are either brand new at this or have recently added digital marketing to their mix of services. You might be surprised at how many big names are jumping into the game without bringing in experts to do the job… but we won’t name names here!

In banking, loan officers evaluate credit risk by their clients’ willingness and ability to repay loans. In marketing, we evaluate agencies by their willingness and ability to deliver expert digital marketing solutions. The industry is filled with entrepreneurs anxious to get into the digital marketing game. Most have good intentions but some do not. Even among the agencies who are truly interested in doing a good job, many have little to no experience. So how can you identify the agencies who care enough and know enough to do a good job for you? Here are a few tips and if you questions you can ask to help identify agencies that will be looking out for your best interest and will have the capabilities to drive good performance for your business.

First and foremost, find out how long the agency has been in business and research all claims relating to certifications, partnerships and awards. Make sure that any agency you work with has experience in your industry. If they do they should be able to provide you with references, ad examples, and more detailed data like keyword performance for similar clients. Ask about service levels including the frequency of reports and scheduled calls. Many agencies operate with a “set it and forget it” plan. That is, they get your contract, launch the account and then set it on autopilot, freeing up their time to chase new accounts… because in many cases, spending time getting new accounts is far more important than optimizing and managing existing ones. So, always ask how often your advertising accounts are going to be optimized and ask for a list of tactics that they utilize to improve performance on a regular basis; with regular being at least weekly. Ask if the reports are customized according to what you need to see. Are they fully automated or is there a narrative that spells out what they are doing to improve your performance on a regular basis? Does the agency you work rely on contractors or overseas help? This can be dangerous for lots of reasons not the least of which is inexperience with your market. Don’t get me wrong – there are lots of talented people all over the world but when it comes to marketing in the US, especially if your business is local or regional, an overseas resource is not going to understand the finer points of effective marketing including ad creative, demographic and lifestyle targeting, and geofencing high-performing neighborhoods. Find out exactly who will be managing your account and research that person’s level of experience and qualifications. Some of the largest agencies are the worst offenders when it comes to delivering quality account management. They bring in one big gun with great experience, plaster those qualifications all over their website and in their marketing collateral and even task that big gun to help close your account. But once they have the deal sealed, you may find yourself working with an ever-rotating set of newly minted college grads who really have no clue about digital marketing or marketing in general. So again, ask specifically about who will be working on your account. Last but not least, avoid one-year commitments; six months is plenty of time to fully optimize a digital marketing effort.

If you do your homework when researching potential digital marketing agencies, you are far more likely to have a good experience and excellent results. If you are unhappy or unsure about your current digital marketing efforts please give us a shout and we would be happy to evaluate your efforts and give you some suggestions …on the house.

LinkedIn vs. Facebook

Advertising Battle of the Social Networks:

If you’ve been tracking performance of your social media advertising campaigns or that of your clients, you’ll know that LinkedIn has gotten more expensive in terms of simple cost per click while under-performing other social networks. LinkedIn’s biggest challenge for marketers is it tends to be a place for “Hunting” rather than a network like Facebook which is a site for “Gathering”. In a gathering situation like Facebook, users are more open to exploring possibilities with an open mind such as reading about their friends’ meanderings, checking in on a favorite restaurant, reading about weekend activities, catching up with friends and family, and so on. LinkedIn on the other hand, tends to be a place where visitors have a more singular focus whether it’s connecting with an individual in a particular industry, looking for a job or finding a networking event for a certain industry or topic. Being hunters, LinkedIn visitors are less distracted… and that’s not a good thing for marketers.

The other advantage of Facebook advertising is that ads appear directly in the news feed of targeted individuals, to the extent that they are often indistinguishable from organic posts. It’s not the same on LinkedIn where most ads appear in the right rail and on desktop only. Being in their line of site, Facebook users notice and read news-feed ads on desktop and mobile devices. Users are far more likely to notice and read ads if you’ve done a good job of targeting for relevance by geographic, demographics and specific areas of interest or lifestyles. Add to that, Facebook’s latest and greatest targeting tactic, Re-targeting which allows marketers to present Facebook users with ads based on their search history. This breakthrough gives Facebook ads the relevance of Google Search, the visual appeal of banner ads and a platform that already commands a great attention span. Add video, and engagement with Facebook ads can rival that of Google Paid Search and YouTube advertising.

But don’t throw the towel in on LinkedIn just yet. They recently came out with a new targeting capability that combines LinkedIn targeting (by company information, industry, professional title, etc.) with Bing’s search engine. Thank Microsoft who owns both companies. This new capability now allows you to run a Bing Paid Search campaign with additional filters based on users’ LinkedIn profiles. This can come in very handy when you are running a national campaign or one with a limited budget that benefits from targeting by search combined by company industry or title. For example, you may want to reach people searching for “Cloud Storage” or “Cloud Backup”. But your solution is built for larger enterprises, not consumers or small businesses. Not a problem. Just add LinkedIn filtering to reach only those individuals affiliated with companies with over X number of employees or further target by the title or level of the individuals you are trying to reach.

Like all digital marketing, your industry, goals, audience and length of your sales cycle all play a very important role in determining which channels of marketing you should pursue and which targeting tactics you should utilize within. If you’d like some insights on how to most effectively reach your targeted audience with digital marketing, give us a shout and we’d be happy to chat. Contact [email protected] or give us a call at 203-682-4585.

 

Online Branding

The chronology of any effective marketing campaign is branding, engagement and conversion otherwise known as “the sales funnel”. While there are various version of the funnel, building awareness with branding is always the place to start. Digital branding generates recognition of your logo, name, colors, and your industry or specifically, the products or services your sell. Your brand can come into play at every touch point a customer has with your business online including your digital banner ads, social media presence, website and blog. Effective branding is consistent between digital channels and the message and images you put out create a feeling or personality about your company that begins to connect with prospective clients. While banner advertising is the most widespread tool for digital brand building, social media and blogging can be effective as well.

Social media is an excellent place for brand building due to the more engaged and open state of mind people are in when surfing their social channels. Messages that appear in social news feeds are consumed with more focus and attention than banner ads. While many companies are getting smart to brand building, engagement and direct response advertising on the social networks, many fewer are utilizing blogging. While the brand-building benefits of blogging is more subtle than social media or banner advertising, you may think of it as a “step two” in branding. With awareness created, visits to your blog from social accounts can be a great way to educate prospective clients about your company and affirm your expertise and leadership in your industry. Many clients we speak to avoid blogging due to the additional time required in writing a piece every week or month, but doing so can help to keep you thinking about and up to date on industry trends, competitive pressures, new technologies and other things that may be important to your prospects. Don’t worry about educating your competitors via your blog because the benefits of educating your prospects and competitors outweighs the cons of educating neither.

A side benefit of blogging is it helps your organic rank in the search engines. Google rewards frequent, relevant content updates on your website and inbound traffic to your blog from popular relevant sites and is an effective SEO strategy. If you’re struggling to come up with topics for your blog, start with your customers point of view. What do they care about most? What problem can you or your product/service help them solve? What insights do you have about about your industry that isn’t common knowledge? Answering these questions illustrates value to your clients and builds you up as an expert in your field. Take a bike shop for example. While it may be tempting to write just about new bikes that are coming out for sales purposes, think a bit deeper about why your customers may be buying a bike and what they care about. People may want a bike for fun, adventure, exercise or camaraderie. Talk about these things in your blog to connect with your prospects in a more personal way. Creating a virtual personal relationship with prospects is a great way to de-commoditize the bike industry and create preference for your brand, regardless of price. For example, you can write about biking club trips you’ve taken, personal biking adventures you’ve been on, cool places you’ve been with your bike, and fellow bikers you’ve met on the way. Your customers are people first, who connect with great stories and great content, so make that your goal whenever you write a blog post.

Social Media is another digital channel where brand building can be extremely effective, and the opportunity to build brands on the social networks has grown substantially in the last few years. In addition to stories, you can use photos, illustrations and now, video. Take a look at the social media pages of some of the most successful brands like Go-Pro, Mercedes, American Express and Adidas. Notice that they all focus on personal customer experiences that create excitement about their brand. Go-pro shows us the best athletes in the world with amazing footage created wearing their cameras. Mercedes builds brand by showcasing the amazing interiors of their cars from a customer’s perspective in various driving settings. American Express tells success stories of all the businesses that use their services, and Adidas showcases their brand by posting about the athletes that love their products and perform better (apparently) because of them. No matter what industry your business is in, the focus of any social branding campaign is most effective when illustrated through customer experiences. Since blogging and social media branding doesn’t cost anything but time, even small businesses with some spare time or budget to hire a digital marketing firm can get involved.

If you’d like to get some ideas about how to build an effective sales funnel for your business or which channels of brand building will be most effective for your company, give us a call at 203-682-4585 or shoot us a note at [email protected] For regular monthly tips on best practices in digital marketing, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Website Importance For Business

Website design is a key part of your online presence. You don’t get second chances at first impressions, so it’s important to put your best foot forward. Looks aside, why is your website so important? What makes one website better than another? How can you improve your current website? We’re here to answer these questions and give you some insights regarding the importance of your website as it relates to digital marketing.

Marketing Tool: First and foremost, your website is a marketing tool. When a user visits website, it’s usually because they are interested in your products or services. How you engage with first-time visitors, capture their attention and begin to develop a relationship is critical. Everyone knows that marketing is about delivering the right message to the right person at the right time; and there is no place more important to practice this than your website. Make sure that your website has an attractive and correctly branded design, uses clear and engaging language, and navigation that allows visitors to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Make your unique selling proposition known early, above the fold on your home page and landing pages so that visitors know how you are unique and better than competing companies.

 

Website design: Good web design goes far beyond aesthetics. Yes, a great looking website helps glue visitors to your site but what else do you need to think about? Website load speed is very important for SEO and for a positive user experience, especially if you’re sending traffic from a paid search campaign. Even a slight delay will cause many visitors to turn tail. We all know mobile friendly is important but considering that around 60-70% of all traffic is now mobile, it should now be your primary focus with desktop design being secondary. Fast mobile is critical for SEO and an attractive, easily navigated site will reduce bounce rates. Remember, the [back] button is just a finger’s flick away. What about content? Again, good content with appropriate keyword density improves natural rank and interesting content with compelling calls to action encourage visitor engagement and lead generation.

 

Engagement and Lead Generation Tools: When a customer arrives on your site, what are some ways your can improve their experience? How are you going to cater to their needs, and make their online interaction with your brand memorable? Some examples of great engagement tools include live appointment scheduling, live chat, free e-book downloads, and pop-up forms/leadflows. If unfamiliar with these tools or how they work, don’t worry, we’re about to dive in! Live appointment scheduling is a great tool that allows visitors to book appointments with you without having to call. The “appointments” can be calls, visits, webinars, tours, etc. You set the times you are available and prospects can book time with you at their own convenience. Appointment scheduling can integrate with your Outlook or Google Calendar or you can create a new calendar. Live chat is an amazing tool that can either be manual (live) or automated via chatbots. Chat is especially effective in competitive industries where prospects to bounce in and out of websites, looking for the best solution. It also works in industries involving more complex products or services, or those involving long sales cycles so that customers may ask questions or get assistance from an expert. Offering free e-books or downloads is another way to provide value to website visitors. They also build you up as a trustworthy authority in your field. Website pop-up forms and leadflows are another great tool you can use to capture leads at a higher rate then your competitors. During the time you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve probably seen the pop-up form on our website inviting you to join our monthly newsletter. Give it a try and let us know what you think! Pop-up forms are also useful for presenting an offer in front of prospects or customers while they’re browsing your website. Sales, special offers and notifications about upcoming events all work well. The beauty of pop-up forms/leadflows is that they are completely customize-able.

 

Landing Page Testing: Even if you’ve done a great job on your website, it’s still important to test what’s working best to convert customers. Your home page or landing pages are the first thing visitors see when they arrive on your website. Landing pages are especially important for paid traffic both because 1) paid search visitors are more fickle or flaky than those who arrive organically and 2) you are paying for those visits. Testing landing page performance can be difficult without the right tools …which is why Google Analytics is so valuable. Google Analytics allows you to evaluate what happens after the click from all sources of website visits. It tells you where your website visitors are coming from, what pages they view, how long they spend on your site, whether or not they become a lead and, where they leave your site. More advanced tools like heat maps show where the visitors tend to place their cursors on the screen so you can see what they are interested in, and what they tend to avoid. These analytical tools will help you test various landing pages and elements of landing pages such as design, graphics, copy, titles, calls to action and more. Testing landing pages side by side gives you insights into what is connecting with your prospective clients and what is driving lead and sales conversions.

 

Site-Map: One crucial element of a website is a site-map. Think of it as a tree that shows the organization and flow of your site. The homepage is the trunk that holds it all together, with branches containing the major navigation to services, about us, contact us, etc, followed by the leaves which you can think of as content on each page. It’s up to you to create a site-map that guides the user to where they want to go, even if they may be unaware of it. Without knowing it, website visitors are controlled by the website’s site-map. Something as simple as a well organized site-map can direct visitors to visit pages you’d like them to see and take actions that lead them to engage and convert. When building or redoing your website, create a site-map that illustrates the top-level pages, sub-pages and what the ideal user experience or path should be.

 

Conclusion: Your website should be simple, attractive and to the point. Too many links or images can be confusing and too much copy, boring. Make sure your site leads visitors to goals. If you’re an established business, you probably have a website …but is it great? Use these tips to help you improve your website design, usability, and most importantly, it’s effectiveness as a marketing tool that converts visitors into leads and leads into customers. If you would like a free evaluation of your website and some quick and simple tips and ideas to improve it’s impact on your digital marketing performance, give us a call at 203-682-4585 and speak with one of our experts (not a hard-hitting salesperson). If you’d like to get monthly tips on the latest and greatest tactics in digital marketing to help grow your business, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Re-marketing & Re-targeting

What is Re-marketing?

Re-marketing, also known as re-targeting, is defined as a type of online advertising that shows ads to people who have visited your website, or a specific web page, and may have exhibited a specific behavior (e.g., not converting into a site conversion goal). For example, let’s say you were browsing on Amazon but didn’t make a purchase. When you go to another website, you will see an ad for that product from Amazon. Re-marketing, using Google Ads and Facebook, is a great way to reach previous website visitors and make your digital marketing more successful.  It is a second chance to advertise, an opportunity to cross-sell, up-sell or nurture your audience with your content marketing efforts. Rather than having to rely on targeting customers that have filled out a form for an e-book, call, blog, or newsletter, you can re-target ones that have interacted with your site. You can engage with visitors even when they leave your website and work to convert them at their own pace.

Why Re-marketing?

Studies show that, 96 percent of visitors that land on your website will not convert into a sale or new customer.   No matter how attractive or creative your ads, getting a  first time conversion is unlikely, happening about 4% of the time on average. Currently, most clients do not use re-marketing and approximately 63% digital marketing campaigns on Google and Facebook do not use re-marketing tactics.   This is a big opportunity to businesses to reach the 96% interested viewers who did not yet convert. When browsing the web from a desktop or a smartphone, it is easy to get distracted. So re-marketing is a great way to keep your brand front and center in the minds of your customers and potential customers. It has been proven that returning visitors have a higher chance of converting. This is because returning visitors recognize your brand and, with each subsequent interaction, their recall increases.

Types of Re-marketing?

Google

Google began re-marketing offering for display advertising in 2010, with Google Search following in 2013.  Google’s Display Network works with some of the most highly trafficked sites at a much more affordable price than working directly with the site.  Through Google Ads, you can re-target visitors with ads that show the products they viewed on your website. For the search network  you can also use something called re-marketing lists for search ads (RLSA). Basically, you can reach people searching for specific keyword terms who have previously visited your site.

Social media

Facebook launched custom audiences in 2012, its version of re-marketing. In re-targeting ads on Facebook, not only are you seeing a special offer with a clear call-to-action (CTA) – you also see how many of your friends “like” the fan page.. This is often called the herd or pack mentality – when people mimic the behaviors of those around them. This adds credibility to your brand, which can help boost conversion rates for people who are on the fence.  The average click-through rate (CTR) for Facebook display ads is 0.07% when the CTR for re-marketing ads is 0.7% – 10 times higher. Studies show that people are 70% more likely to convert with a re-marketing campaign than with an initial campaign.

Email

Using your current email list, it’s possible to show ads specifically to people on your email list.    The email mailing lists can be uploaded directly to Facebook and Google. But you can also use re-marketing to create audiences using email addresses you’ve collected from your current customers or through lead generation. Also, anyone who opens your email can be served a follow-up advertisement related to the email.

How it works?

The most common type of re-targeting is known as pixel-based re-targeting. This works by placing a piece of JavaScript on the browsers of visitors to your website.   This pixel is a snippet of code that will be able to track users for the campaign to serve ads when the time is right. After they leave your site and continue to surf the web, they will be served ads based on what they viewed on your website.    In some cases, initially you may find that re-marketing volume is actually small. Keep in mind as time goes on you can build up a larger list with historical data.  The typical 30-day window to build an audience could be too small to reach an audience.   It’s possible to go up to 180 days from the last time a user visited the website. The minimum list size in Google Ads is 1,000 users, based on your typical CTR (click rate) and CVR (cost per view)  you may need a higher threshold. For example, if you typically see a 5 percent CTR and a 2 percent CVR, 1,000 impressions will produce up to 50 clicks with the minimum list size.    

What should my message be for re-marketing ads?

A common assumption is that someone who did not convert may need an extra incentive in the form of repeated and/or more compelling messaging. Many users in their discovery phase are not only researching potential solutions but also confirming that the problem they are looking to solve is indeed the right problem to be solving. When setting up re-marketing, test both a sell message and a cross-sell or up-sell message. Give users more reasons to keep you in mind, particularly if your site offers products that are common supplements or complements. The sell message entails saying the same thing users heard before in a different way: with a more direct call to action and/or an exclusive, one-time offer. It is important to note that you must notify all visitors to your site that you will be using cookies, i.e., the Facebook pixel, to track them for advertising purposes.  This is typically done on a privacy policy page.

Conclusion

Re-targeting can seem overwhelming or confusing at first, especially with all these terms, platforms and information overload. In simple terms, It’s just like trying to bring window shoppers into a physical store. , It is the digital version of selling to a customer after you’ve already met and had a conversation with them. To learn more about re-marketing and how it can help your business you can contact us at 203-682-4585 or sign up for our our newsletter to receive monthly updates about the latest digital marketing tactics.

 

A/B Testing Introduction

A/B testing is one of the best ways to determine which marketing, promotional, and online strategies work best for your business. It can (and should) be used to test everything from search ad copy to banner ad graphics to website calls to action to newsletter subject lines. There’s virtually no limit to what can be tested and the more you test (subject to sample size limitations) the more insights you’ll gain into what works and what doesn’t for your particular business.

How to run an A/B test:

First, figure out if you want to run an on-site or off-site test. On-site tests refer to any sales-related systems of your website including forms, landing pages, buttons and other calls to action. Off-site tests are basically any other marketing outside of your website. Off-site tests can involve broad tests such comparisons in performance between channels of marketing such as social media ads vs. traditional banner ads or paid search performance on Google vs. Bing. Off-site testing can get pretty granular including the color of buttons in your banner campaigns, banner ad sizes, the length of email subject lines, and performance differences between various demographic groups or personas. In the case of ad testing, if you can prove that one format performs better than another that format becomes the “control” and that winner gets the lion’s share of ad spend. Same with email. You can test subject line copy, length, urgency, personalization, etc. Differences in open rate and post-click performance will help you to determine winning subject line attributes to use in the future. Lay out all the variables you’d like to test and narrow them down to a few that you think will be the most impactful performance drivers you are going to test. For example, if you’ve decided to drill into your email performance, some attributes to test in addition to the subject line are the headline, copy, design, length and calls to action. In-depth testing takes time and each variable needs to be tested independently in an A/B test, but the results are usually worth it.

What Should I Test?

Just because you can test just about anything and everything when it comes to your digital marketing effort, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. A better strategy is to focus on components that you think will have the biggest impact on your results. Some elements worth testing on a website for example, are headings, content, downloads and calls to action. Paid search ads are simpler and easier to test. Start by testing the title, copy, offer, call to action and/or vanity URL.

How Long Will It Take?

Whenever conducting a test, it’s important to allocate enough time to capture enough data so that your results are conclusive. How much time really depends on what you are testing. For example, testing for length of time on site takes far fewer visits than testing for lead- or sales-conversions. Don’t test too much at once too fast or you risk not knowing what is impacting performance. At AdEdge, we take a minimum of one month to run a test or longer for smaller sample sizes.

Can I Test Multiple Things At Once?

The simple answer to this question is, yes… but that will turn your A/B test into a multivariate test which is much more complex. If you’re new to testing, start by keeping it simple with one A/B test at a time. A/B testing refers to testing one attribute at a time. For example, if you want to test four different ad headlines, that’s actually considered an A/B test. However, if you want to test various headlines and calls to action, that is considered a multivariate test since it involves more than one ad attribute.

If you would like some advice on which digital marketing channels are likely to perform best in your industry or if you’d like some insights on the best attributes to test and whether to use A/B testing or multivariate testing, feel free to schedule a free consultation with one of our digital marketing experts.

Voice Search Optimization

Voice Search Optimization

We’re sure you’ve heard the term “Voice Search” before but if not, you’ve come to the right place! So what is Voice Search, exactly? Google Voice Search aka Google Assistant is a feature that allows users to speak their question into a computer or mobile phone that is then translated into text which is then searched. Why get involved with voice search? Maybe you’ve had great success with traditional search ads and are hesitant to change but in Digital Marketing, early adapters almost always win the performance game. Naturally, the ability to search for the information you want by speaking instead of typing is far more convenient, and this trend is only likely to become more prevalent in the future. We’re here to show you how voice search is going to play a significant role in the future of search marketing and how you can adjust your strategy to make sure you still show up for voice searches.

Here are five tips to help you prepare:

1) Audit Your Current Content: Before moving forward with anything else, it’s important to evaluate your current strategy and see what has worked for you and hasn’t. Reviewing keywords that have brought success can help you build a separate voice search campaign with relevant long-tail keywords. Think about what you would say when searching for information on your phone. For local businesses, terms like “near me” or “closest” or “best” are all going to be used frequently, so optimizing your campaign to fit the mold is a great way to prepare.

2) Consider Position Zero: Position zero, also called featured snippets or answer boxes in Google, refers to the block of text at the very top of a search results page, and it answers your search query. Showing up here gives you a competitive advantage for two reasons, the first being that your name is the first thing the user sees on the screen, and part two is that you are establishing yourself as an expert on the topic which improves your reputation. So how can you appear in position zero for voice searches? A great way to start is by searching for questions pertaining to your business and seeing what doesn’t currently have a featured snippet answer in position zero. Then you can take your list and create relevant content on your website. You will have a better chance to earn that ranking before any competitors if you take the time to optimize your own page for these search query’s.

3) Consider Your Online Reputation: Just as with regular search, your online reputation is vital when it comes to voice search. Anyone looking for your products or services will always take online reviews and testimonials into consideration when deciding who to buy from or which service they want to use. Most businesses have a Google My Business listing to showcase reviews and improve their online reputation, anything less than 4 stars is a sign that there is an issue and you should do your best to resolve the issue with that customer or at a minimum, respond to it. If you think your online reputation could have been damaged in any way it may be a good idea to consult an online reputation management service to resolve the issue. You can schedule a free consultation  with AdEdge to discuss our online reputation building program to ensure your business has the online reputation it deserves.

4) Use Simple Language: Like we mentioned earlier, it’s important to incorporate terms on your website and in your ads that will pertain to voice search. Most people will be short and concise with their requests because they will be on the go when searching for the information they want. Unlike with regular search, it won’t be ideal to use long tail keywords as much as short phrases in order to optimize for voice search. Keep this in mind with any content you’ve already published, and when creating new content moving forward.

5) Create Relevant Content: Focusing on content that pertains to your ideal customer is what will give you an advantage with voice search. Instead of talking about broad topics, target your topics toward those specific individuals who’s business you are trying to earn. you will likely gain more traction this way when it comes to voice search and have a higher ranking on the search engine results page.

Takeaway: As voice search becomes more popular, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate your current efforts. Optimizing your content, and implementing best practices will ensure you have success with voice search and ensure your business continues to rank on Google’s SERP’s. If you have any questions about the new voice search trend, you can contact one of our digital marketing experts for a free consultation or visit AdEdge Digital Marketing for more information.

SEO Trends In 2019

Every year, there are new trends and best practices that change the digital marketing landscape. This year is no different, especially when it comes to SEO. Here are three SEO trends to kick your organic rank up a notch and prepare you for a successful 2019.

1) Voice Search Is Growing: Voice capabilities are no longer just an idea. Thanks to Google Home, Amazon Echo, Microsoft Cortana, Apple Siri and more, people are using voice commands more and more to search online. You’ll even find voice search capabilities in many new cars. As a result it’s becoming more important to optimize your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns for voice searches rather than typed search terms alone. Is your website content phrased in a way to answer questions that people ask with voice? Are your answers short and simple? Do they answer questions in a way that is selfless and of true value to those who are searching? These are just a few ways to check if your content is optimized for voice search.

2) Shift From keywords To Topics: Just as search is getting smarter with voice commands, search engines are getting smarter by recognizing topics of searches instead of individual keywords. This creates opportunities for marketers to reach audiences who are interested in topics and optimize for those searches instead of relying on hyper specific keywords to trigger ads. By creating content that is smart, well thought out, informative, and answers questions that are topic related, smart marketers will be able to rank higher in search results than competitors who may be simply stuffing keywords into their web-pages or blog posts. This ties into content marketing which will continue to grow this year as well.

3) Long-term Mindset: This may not exactly be a new trend, but it is essential whenever discussing SEO. Optimizing your website for search is an ongoing process and like nearly any marketing activity, great results take time and effort. Creating informative and valuable content consistently, and answering questions typically asked online will slowly increase your website traffic. And this will improve your brand equity as an industry leader. Building valuable and relevant content on your website and other online assets will establish your business as the “go to” in your industry and will eventually build your organic rank. As the internet gets more crowded, the key to SEO success will be to generate forward-thinking content. Keep these trends in mind when creating your SEO strategy and your business is more likely to stay “on top” in 2019 and beyond.

If you would like to learn about how SEO can help your business generate more online traffic schedule a free consultation or visit www.adedgemarketing.com for more information.

Google Plus Will Shut Down April 2nd

Say goodbye to Google Plus! Google has officially announced that they will be shutting down the Google+ social network on April 2nd.

Why this decision? Google is well known for being one of the giants in the online world, so where did they go wrong with Google+? They gave several reasons for the shutdown including the network’s low usage, and struggling to live up to expectations; however the main reason is rooted in a security issue they encountered which left a large number of users exposed online to third party app developers. Google has decided that due to the poor performance and security issues, Google+ was simply no longer worth keeping around.

So, what does this mean for you? If you use Google+, now would be a great time to save all of the photos and content on your page, if you haven’t already. Also, you’ll obviously want to invite any of your Google+ users to one or more of your other social media accounts. Google will soon begin deleting pages and disabling new posts. All images will be backed up to Google Photos but you may want to record/archive the posts you’ve made in the past. The deletion does not affect other Google services. Your Google account, which is linked to services such as Gmail, YouTube and Maps, will continue to operate unchanged.

At AdEdge, we do our best to stay on top of the latest trends, technologies and digital marketing best practices. If you would like to learn more about other digital trends or talk about the best digital marketing strategy for your industry, please schedule a free consultation or visit www.adedgemarketing.com for more information.