pay per click marketing tips

Great pay per click marketing tips for improving your bottom line

Pay per click marketing is a popular digital marketing tool. Companies set up advertising on a search engine or social media platform and pay a small fee for the advert every time an online customer clicks on it. If used effectively, pay per click marketing can help you grow your business and improve your bottom line.

To help you make the most of your pay per click marketing, follow the tips we've outlined below:

Have a clear objective

With pay per click marketing, it's important to have a clear objective - what are you trying to achieve? For example, if you have a product you're trying to sell, you may want to funnel online customers to your website to purchase this product. Clearly defining your objective will help you create a persuasive advert and select the keywords that are appropriate.

Choose the right keywords and terms

It's essential to choose the right keywords and search phrases for your advert. These reflect what your online customers generally type into a search engine to find the products or services you're selling, so a great tip to help you find keywords used regularly by online customers for the products or services you sell is to use Google's keyword planner tool in AdWords. By experimenting with keyword abbreviations and everyday language, you may also find keywords that have a stronger online following.

Set yourself a budget for your campaign

Determine upfront the price you're willing to pay for the keywords and phrases you choose. With search engine marketing, you need to be aware that the price you pay will vary depending on how competitive the market is. Also, with social media marketing, the higher your budget, the better your access to a large audience.

Streamline the sales process with a landing page

For any advert you put out, make sure you have a landing page set up that customers can be directed to when they click on the advert. This makes it far easier for you to get them to take the next step, whether that's buying a product or service, signing up to a subscription or filling in a sales enquiry. The information on your landing page should reinforce the message of your advertising campaign in more detail, convincing your online audience of why it's in their best interests to take the next step with you.

Track and optimise your customer's journey

Pay per click marketing campaigns give you access to analytics, which allow you to track and optimise your customer's journey so that you achieve the best results possible. If you find you aren't getting the results you are after from your pay per click campaign, experiment by trialling different keywords and phrases, changing your advert or increasing your budget. Tracking the analytics of these different attempts will show you what works and what doesn't, enabling you to have more success with your campaigns and, most importantly, improve your bottom line.

If you'd like further tips on pay per click marketing or you want assistance setting up your campaigns, contact our marketing experts at Whitecrow Digital today - we specialise in targeting and re-targeting marketing campaigns.

Website Traffic

Our #1 quick start tip for fast marketing results using digital marketing?

Everybody is interested in dipping their toes into digital marketing, however many people struggle with understanding the best place to start. Should I dive headfirst into running some Facebook ads or should I start running my very own Google AdWords campaign? Many people start here, get excited and then unfortunately lose steam as they don't get the results that they want. At this point you start searching the internet trying to find the holy grail of information or a cheap provider that promises the world. Either way you go at this point is destined to result in failure.

Digital Marketing is something that everyone feels that they can do and lots of people these days call themselves a social media strategist or a digital marketing wizard without any formal qualifications or anything to back it up. So, where do you start then? This is our #1 quick start tip for fast results when implementing a digital marketing campaign. If you do this step first we guarantee that you will be confident about where your marketing is going to take your business and who is going to implement it. Let's get started!

Our #1 tip and something we start with whenever we launch a client campaign is .... "Understand Your Return On Investment"

I know, I know you've heard it a thousand times before and this isn't some kind of new information that will blow you away, however this explanation will help you understand how you can explode your sales and build sustainable digital marketing campaigns that really do deliver a ROI. It all comes down to understanding what your ROI is and how you can achieve it. As we discussed many people jump headfirst into a digital marketing campaign either themselves or with a provider without understanding what impact it will have on their bottom line. Follow these steps and you will be prepared to take your marketing to the next level from day 1.

Understand your business data

Unfortunately it's all too often that many of us as business owners don't really understand our margins and what a customer acquisition means for our business. Every business is different and it will vary depending on what service or product you provide. You may offer a service that charges your customer every month or you may have variable once off purchases. Every customer acquisition has inherent value to your business and to your bottom line. Before we get into complicated customer lifetime value calculations that marketers love to throw at people you simply just need to understand your margins as follows:

  1. What does an average sale look like for your business every time you acquire a customer?
  2. What kind of gross margin do you generate for your business every time you acquire a customer?
  3. How many times on average does your customer purchase from you in a 12 month period?
  4. How many referrals do they generate for you?

Many people see these questions and then start to think it's all too hard. It's a worthwhile exercise because you not only start to understand your business a bit more, but you can start to see how your marketing really should take into account what a customer means to your bottom line so you can determine if you're making money or losing it each time you acquire a customer. The beauty of digital marketing is that you can track that all too easily.

There a couple of ways you can use this data:

  1. You can create a simple calculation > Per customer I make $1,000 multiplied by my gross margin of 40% means that for every customer I acquire I generate $400.
  2. You can go a bit further with a lifetime value of a customer calculation. Work it out using this information below.

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How To Calculate Customer Lifetime Value

Once you know what one customer means to your business you can logically start to follow the steps. If you understand what a customer means to your bottom line you can track what you're spending and determine if it's profitable. Why is this critical? You can not only see if a provider is delivering value in a service but you can build a digital marketing campaign that can scale.

Create a forecast

Just like your accountant would create a cash flow forecast we believe in a digital marketing forecast. Think about how much better off your marketing would be if you could understand and review what your actual results were in comparison to your forecast? It's easy to start:

  1. Build a spreadsheet factoring in your marketing costs > pay per click costs, management fees from a provider, staff costs
  2. Use the information you've created based on your business data to track what every enquiry you generate will mean for your business
  3. You can forecast how many enquiries you expect to generate and if you do meet that target and for that spend what will that look like for your bottom line
  4. You can now understand if spending $1,000 on SEO is going to be profitable or even those $500 Facebook ads really are delivering

We know it's not entirely that easy so we've decided to give you access to our expertise and skills to create you your very own digital marketing forecast. It's valued at $1,000 but you can request it here for FREE. If you follow these steps you will easily be able to launch a successful digital marketing campaign that delivers real results to your bottom line.


Digital Marketing Tools For Small Businesses

If you run a small business you're constantly looking for ways to get an advantage over your competitors and improve your return on your marketing spend. One of the easiest ways to do this is through digital marketing. It's not an easy road though.

You need to be committed to strategies that deliver your business not only traffic but the right type of traffic. There are a few tools your business can use to automate some of your marketing tasks if you are looking to save time and handle some of your digital promotion in-house.

Schedule your social media

Everyone loves social media. If you're a business it can be a difficult task to continually remember to engage with your audience and send out relevant and timely content. The best thing you can do with social media is to remain consistent with what you post and when you post.

If you post something every couple of months your engagement with your audience will be low and they won't know when to expect your posts.

You can overcome this by simply scheduling your social media posts in advance. Using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer allows you to plan and schedule your social media posts in advance. You can then focus your time on additional social media tasks focused on boosting engagement.

Track your website traffic

One thing you should know is how much website traffic you are generating and where it is coming from. It's not enough to just think your digital marketing is working. You need to be able to use real data to drive your decision making. Analytics, graphs and reports aren't for everyone and sometimes it can be difficult to work through what the data means. The easiest thing to do is to hire a freelancer that can interpret your reports on a monthly basis and give you a breakdown on the stats.

It doesn't have to be detailed reporting. Just a simple overview of where your traffic is coming from can help you make better decisions.

Automate some display re-marketing

Do you ever get the feeling you are being followed? You are browsing the internet one day and you stumble across a website and then all of the sudden you see it everywhere. It's not magic and no this website isn't suddenly the most popular thing online. Everytime you visit a website they can track your visits with cookies. These websites can then target you with subtle and relevant advertising to try and drive you back to perform an action.

As a small business this is something you can do easily as well. The best thing is you don't need a huge budget and you can also manage it yourself if you want to. A simple and effective tool you can use to achieve this kind of re-targeting is AdRoll.

Create engaging content easily

Do you ever struggle to come up with easy to read and useful content. Don't struggle with the daily grind of trying to find the time to write your own content. You can use a freelance network through Upwork to write your content. Another simple tool is Copify that allows you to send out requests for copy and receive back a well written article that you can post on your website or send to your clients.

Do it yourself email marketing

Having a list of customers and potential customers in one location allows you to easily send them information, offers and drive engagement easily and at low cost. If you are still sending emails manually via your own email you need to stop now. When sending emails do you ever sit there and wonder who opened it, did they read it and did they click on any links. By using an email service like Mailchimp or Aweber you can easily send bulk emails to different groups and get important stats on who opens your email and what they do once they open it. It might make that next phone call to a prospect that little bit easier.

We hope some of these tools can help you kick start your digital marketing. If you need some help from the experts give us a call.

Related Tags: Digital Marketing Newcastle

pen and paper

5 Resources You Can Use To Create Killer Content

It's one of the most difficult and time consuming tasks for any business that is undertaking a digital strategy. Content creation isn't necessarily difficult, however creating content that creates links, social sharing and addresses a problem for your core audience is. First off there is so much content out there at the fingertips of people searching for information it makes it difficult to craft a piece of information that hits the mark. It's even harder to do it on an ongoing basis. We're big supporters of content as it gives you as a business an opportunity to disseminate your knowledge to your potential audience. The way you distribute your content is just as important as what you create, however you can't publish or promote anything if you don't put the time into creating it first.

If you browse Neil Patel's blog you will get an understanding of just how much time he puts into crafting each piece of content he creates and the focus of addressing his audiences problems and solving it with what he writes. Not everyone has the time to write content as you are typically focusing on the day to day tasks of running your business. We hope these 5 quick tips will help save you some time and get you on your way to creating content that attracts, converts and helps your audience.

Creating Catchy Headlines

A headline is the hook that attracts people and gets them interested in reading your piece of content. Crafting a headline that addresses a need and drive visitor actions isn't easy. It takes time to test, test and test again to find a strategy that works. A common theme that people use just like this article is to use a number and a hook. Here are a few examples:

  • 13 reasons why X widget perform better than Y widget
  • 7 skills you need to be a better salesperson
  • 14 ways you can grow your business without spending a fortune

You should try and keep your headlines simple & concise but try and use a number that isn't generally used. For example people use three or four a lot of the time. Try and use 13 or as many as you possibly can. The more the better.

A great tool you can use is the Hubspot blog topic generator. You input some nouns that you would like to write about and it will spit out some headlines. This tool might get your creative juices flowing and enable you to think of a new topic or way of writing your article that may resonate with your audience.

Sourcing Visuals That Make An Impact

The best thing you can support your content with is images and video. There are several ways you can do this and all of it is free. Try and avoid taking images off Google or taking them off somebody else's website. You may have issues with copyright and it's always a better idea to have a library of your own images and visuals that you can utilise across a range of different channels to support your content promotion. Here is what we recommend you use:

  • Getty Images - Getty provide a service where you can embed images on your blog with the proper accreditation for the photographer and it's free
  • Free stock image sites - examples such as picjumbo, flickr creative commons and unsplash are great resources to collect and use high quality images
  • Adobe stock - if you are looking to go professional and invest some resources into your blog you could use a service such as Adobe Stock

What About An Infographic?

Infographics are great pieces of content because they are great for:

  • Social sharing
  • Condensing information and giving visual impact
  • Creating links by allowing visitors to embed the infographic on their own website

Infographics sound good in theory, but they usually take a lot of time to create and do well. If you are really trying to generate some links and social shares it may be worth investing in a professional design for an infographic based on a piece of content you have created or are thinking of creating. The best tool you can use to create a cost effective infographic is Canva.

Canva is a tool that allows anyone to create graphics with a drop and drag do it yourself platform. You can turn your infographic around in a few hours as opposed to days and weeks and you can focus your efforts on promoting it.

What About A Copywriter?

The hardest part of content creation is making it a habit and getting in the routine of thinking up content ideas and then creating them. Using a headline creator you can get some ideas for potential pieces of information you want to create for your audience. We know that good content creation doesn't necessarily mean just writing articles for your blog. It usually is the first step in the content creation process. From that first piece of content you can create videos, infographics and podcasts. One of the ways you can eliminate the routine problem of getting your content written is to use a copywriter. We would recommend using a copywriter to create a 500 word article that you can then use as the base to build a 750-1000 word piece of content for your blog. Starting from a base with good well written content will help you then add your knowledge and expertise and turn a good piece of content into a great one. There are many copywriting services online. You can find your own freelancer on something like Upwork or you can post content ideas directly to potential writers on a platform like Copify.

Create A Plan

The best thing you can do when thinking about creating content for your audience is developing a plan. This plan should include:

  • Content themes
  • Content titles and what problems you're addressing
  • Call to action from content
  • Who is the content for
  • How you will distribute the content e.g. blog, email, social media
  • What other types of content could you create from this article - YouTube video, Infographic, Podcast

Invest time into the planning stage and you will be well on your way to creating killer content that is not only useful for your audience but should deliver real results for your business over time if you do it right. We'd love to hear what tools have helped you create content for your customers and potential customers.

Related Tags: Digital Marketing Newcastle | Social Media Marketing Newcastle

social media

7 Social Media Tips For Small Businesses

No matter the size of your business a sound social media presence is important. Customers now use it as a channel to communicate, ask questions, complain, review and search for products and services. Managing your social media channels is not only time consuming it’s also often difficult to get right. Here are 7 tips from our experts on what we think your business should start doing today.

Align Business Goals To Your Social Media Goals

Social media is just like any other digital marketing channel. You should be measuring and reviewing it regularly. A common mistake businesses make is that they don’t set expectations from what they want from their social media activities. They see it as a must have, throw up some content and usually see less than desirable results.

The best thing you can do is align your marketing or business goals to your social media goals. It’s important that your goals are measurable so you can set action plans regularly on how to achieve them. For example a goal to increase engagement isn’t good enough. You should outline that you want X number of likes by Y date or Y number of followers by X date. Set goals, measure, review and implement your action plan.

Audit Your Profiles & Compare To Your Competitors

The best place to start when developing a social media plan is auditing and analysing your competitors and how they are performing in comparison to you. You can start simply by identifying the number of likes & followers they have and comparing that to your profiles. Some questions you can use during your audit:

  • How many likes and followers do they have?
  • What type of content are they creating?
  • What content is resonating with their audience?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What are their weaknesses?

Here is a great resource to get you started. Once you know a bit more about your competitors you have the opportunity to take parts of what they are doing, make it your own and create a differentiation point in the direction of your social media posts.

Content, Content & More Content

Doing content right isn’t easy. Curating, creating & sharing the right content takes time. Social media is an experience for most people. They want to be entertained, informed or educated. With your organic posts you should be focusing on a strategy that blends your own created content and other pieces of curated information.

Don’t just focus on everything about yourself and your business. People will quickly get turned off if you are constantly trying to sell them something. A great way to highlight a product or service you have is to turn it into a piece of content.

Let’s say you sell widget X. Instead of just promoting the product create an article, video or infographic around how customers can use it and the benefits. Your product may solve a problem for your customers. Highlight how it does it and then share it on your social profiles. The effect will be greater than a simple post saying “Hey buy X widget because we think it’s really good”. When creating your content for social media try and think about what pain points your customers have, how your product solves it and how you can tell them that in an entertaining, informative and educational way.

Schedule & Save Time

If you run a small business or you are in charge of your social media activities within an organisation you’re likely time poor. Thinking of content ideas, sharing content, trying to increase engagement, commenting, sharing and liking takes a lot of time. To increase the effectiveness of your time on social media you should invest in preparing an editorial posting calendar and scheduling your content in advance.

We recommend preparing a plan for content a month in advance. You could keep the same consistent structure each month as follows:

  • Post the same time every day - optimise the times of the day by analysing engagement and reach to find out what time of the day seems to work for you
  • Develop themes aligned to your business. An example would include Inform, Educate, Entertain - create your own or curate content that matches these themes
  • Source user generated shout outs or reviews - hashtags can be especially useful for this. Find any content your customers are posting and share it. Make sure you give it your own spin when you share it
  • Schedule your content using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer
  • If one person schedules your social media posts then try and get another person in the business to audit and check your posts
  • Maintain consistency in your messaging, voice, tone & calls to action

Tailor Your Message To Your Social Media Channel

It’s tempting to get every single social media profile you can because that’s what everyone thinks you should do. Most businesses get excited open a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, Linkedin & Google+ account. They then post once or twice and then lose interest. Does this sound familiar? Think about your business, audience and potential customers. What social media channels are you most likely going to find them on? If a social media channel doesn’t make sense for your circumstances then don’t use it.

Once you identify your ideal social media channels you should start to think about the different messaging and content you should share. Everything should be tailored to how users see and consume information when they are scrolling. What you post on Facebook should be different to what you post on Twitter. Be aware of the nuances on each channel and how that will affect what you post. Are visuals important? Should I be using hashtags? How short or long should my message be?

Engage to increase visibility

Engagement is a two way street and is something that is usually completely disregarded by most businesses. Typically most businesses want likes, comments, retweets and followers. One of the best ways for you to increase your engagement is to be involved in it yourself. This means liking posts, commenting and being involved on social media.

The more you put into your engagement the more you will get out of it. If you’re on Instagram you should be involved in liking photos, commenting on photos and following people who interest and are aligned with your business. On Facebook make sure you follow suppliers or other businesses related to what you do. Share their content, comment and like their posts.

These actions are intended to increase your visibility to potential customers who want to follow your business, buy your products or use your services.

Invest time, money or resources

To be successful on social media you need to either invest time, money or resources. It’s a time consuming task and it requires effort to achieve results whether it be an increase in leads, sales or a great community of followers. If you’re investing time make sure you develop a clear strategy, set some goals and measure them periodically. If you’re investing resources make sure you train your staff properly on how to use social media and what your expectations are. If you’re investing money make sure you hire a company or professional that understands social media strategy and can tailor a plan that suits your requirements.

We hope these 7 tips will help your business be more successful on social media. We’d love to hear any comments or tips you may have.

Related Tags: Social Media Management Newcastle | Digital Marketing Newcastle


Ways Facebook Can Help You Acquire More Customers For Your Business

The very subtlety of Facebook advertising makes it an effective advertising medium that can attract more customers to your business. Generally viewed as benign, Facebook is primarily a tool of communication between friends and family; so seeing an ad as you scroll through chummy holiday snaps and loving messages posted by people you know is more akin to a word of mouth recommendation from someone you trust, especially if it has been liked or shared by one of your contacts. This provides an immediate advantage over traditional advertising mediums, which are much more impersonal.

Facebook ads stream seamlessly alongside personal posts

Facebook users actively read posts, treating each one with the same intensity. Ads appear seamlessly, so receive equal attention as posts from contacts. Reacting to an ad is all too easy for your potential customer. A simple click will share your ad with a new batch of potential clients, carrying the virtual recommendation of their close friend or colleague. Your ad can then direct clients to your website for purchasing, registering or inquiries, adding another contact for circular emails and other advertising strategies. Best of all, you can use Facebook’s own tools to track the progress of your ad, from the moment a potential customer sees the ad to them making a purchase from your website.

1.4 billion potential customers

At last count Facebook users totalled more than 1.4 billion - that is how many customers you can attract with a Facebook ad. The theory of six degrees of separation state that all humans are connected by less than six people. You can test this theory by scrolling through your contact list and see how many common friends you have that you didn’t realise were connected. This is how simply your ad can spread and attract customers.

Target your ideal customer

Facebook advertising lets you target your customer with as many specifics as you like. You can choose your audience broadly or create a custom list from your customer contact list complemented by Lookalike lists matched to your own best customers.

Using demographics, you can target your audience by gender, age, or location - postcode, country, region or just the area around your business. Other possible demographics include languages spoken and interests – information generously supplied by the Facebook users themselves, making targeting your perfect client simple.

Let your customers come to you

You can find the customers most likely to visit your website based on their behaviour or stage of life – whether they are planning to buy a home or car, have children, or purchase a new phone. Facebook will deliver your ads based on customers’ interests, likes and shares - as the ad is relevant, the Facebook user is more likely to read and react. You can also join with third party data partners, who will allow you access to information on your potential customers when they are not on Facebook, which helps drive offline sales and brand familiarity.

Facebook helps you monitor your advert effectiveness

Facebook doesn’t just leave you to work out if their advertising is effective or not. They provide conversion tracking letting you follow the activity once your ad has been seen. Inserting a Facebook pixel allows you to track actions, tell your customers what action to take and receive reports on how many people made purchases on your website specifically because of your Facebook ad.

If you don’t like it, change it

Facebook advertising is extremely flexible. Based on your results you can alter your advert on a weekly basis. To get the ad right, Facebook allows you to test your design with a split-ad testing tool that allows you to find which audience creates the best response.

Facebook users are a moving target

And let’s not forget the value of an audience with a mobile phone. With 1.19 billion mobile users, you can target your audience wherever they are and whatever they are doing - in their leisure moments, at lunch or on the train, as well as when working.

Facebook advertising makes sense

Overall, advertising on Facebook is a smart way for your business to acquire more customers. Facebook advertising is efficiently targeted, flexible and user friendly, as well as allowing you to monitor and track its effectiveness. Facebook is also continually adapting its services to improve its business model and is a medium that wants to both attract users to the site as well as increase customers to your business.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Digital Marketing Agency Newcastle

man writing on pad

The Importance of Digital Marketing For Your Business

From toddlers to retirees, it is impossible for anyone living in the developed world to have missed the fact that - in the space of just a few short years - everything has changed. In just about every way, the world has switched gear from analogue to digital - and your business must too.

It's good news

The digital revolution has connected the world in previously unforeseen ways, and when it comes to marketing your product or service, that is very good news. But why is digital marketing so crucial for your business? Because it is fast replacing its more traditional counterparts, which in the space of just a few years might be gone completely.

There are other reasons you need to fully embrace digital marketing for your business right now:

The reach

While fewer and fewer people are buying print newspapers, more and more people - of every age and generation and belonging to every socio-economic group - are turning on laptops, iPads and smartphones. Statistics show that in a country like Australia, almost everyone - more than 90% of the population - are now online. That's an awful lot of potential customers, all within your grasp.

It's faster

As quickly as you can click a mouse button, you can be digitally marketing your product to a specifically-targeted audience. And not just that, by sitting in the driver's seat of your website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, you can stay in control and ensure that changes of strategy in your mind can be instantaneously delivered to your customers without involving a sluggish and expensive middle-man.

It's more affordable

Before, you would market your business in costly traditional ways, such as in phone books and directories, and even in magazines, newspapers and on radio and television. But your customers are now online, learning not only about the world but the products they want to buy through things like Google search and Facebook. That is not only good news for your hip pocket - with online marketing costing a mere fraction of traditional marketing but potentially reaching a much bigger audience - but also for your business at large, because it levels the playing field when it comes to competing against even much bigger businesses with huge marketing budgets. Banner ads, pay-per-click, email, mobile and social media advertising are as achievable for you as they are for the biggest of your rivals.

It allows you to get creative

With traditional marketing, those with the biggest budgets won the day and the customer. But digital marketing not only levels the playing field when it comes to the more affordable outlets of today, it allows you to get creative. Now, high creativity and motivation allows you to out-strategise and out-research your competitors with much bigger budgets by using creative ideas and clever content, with blogs not only keeping your audience entertained, engaged and up-to-date but your all-important SEO value as high as possible.

It connects you with your customers

Social media channels in particular allow you to cut through the usual marketing hype and connect directly with your customers. Engaging and interacting with current and prospective clients, for example through comments sections, not only builds your brand and gives you fast access to honest feedback, it allows you to build real and genuine relationships with your clients, gaining their trust and getting instant recommendations to their 'friends'. It also gives you a direct line to your targeted demographic, and an opportunity to simply ask them a question and get an honest, uncensored answer, because constructive criticism can be even more valuable than compliments.

You know exactly what is going on

The speed, cost and creativity aside, the huge benefit of digital marketing is the level of feedback it gives you, coupled with the many levers of versatility you can then apply to making your campaigns even more effective. As the sophistication of the various digital marketing platforms increases, so too does the amount of data that feeds back to you about the impact of those strategies. While traditional marketing forms required you to do ultra-expensive market and customer research, digital results are now fed back to you with remarkable accuracy and detail, and in real time, allowing you to constantly tweak and perfect the way your message is delivered to potential customers. And it's not just things like sophisticated digital analytics, but the simple promotion of a 'hashtag' that will give you instant insight into what people think and are saying about you, and what they want you to do differently.

Related Tags: Digital Marketing Services Newcastle | Social Media Marketing Newcastle

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How Much Should I Spend Marketing My Business Online?

Many businesses are hesitant to dip their toes into the world of digital marketing. Many know that they need to be doing it and usually lack the knowledge or expertise to understand where, how and why to allocate resources to certain activities. It may be that you hire an agency to implement a range of strategies or a bring a resource in-house to grow your marketing efforts online. The first thing that is important to understand is that there is no one size fits all. Different business, different markets and different competitors will require varying plans to achieve success. There are multiple ways your business can market itself online. Most businesses know about search engine optimisation, search engine marketing and they've heard of terms like content marketing & re-marketing among others. You know about it, you know it's hard to do and you don't know how much to spend or if you should even spend anything at all. So where do you start?

The first thing you should do is to analyse your business and understand where your customers are online and what they are doing. It's no good to decide you're going to start doing an SEO campaign just because you think high rankings on Google are important. Don't get me wrong the majority of the time this will be the case. Everything you do should have a business case and a measurable return on investment. What traffic to your website can you generate if you undertake an SEO campaign? How many leads can you generate? If more of your customers are reachable through a channel on social media why aren't you targeting them on this channel instead and will it be more cost effective?

The great thing about digital marketing is that everything you do can be measured. How much you spend should be directly correlated with what return your business can generate from a particular activity. Implementing a marketing plan online should be fluid and the periods you measure results and return on should be short to allow for adjustments of your plan. There is no use in locking yourself into 2 years worth of SEO before you can even measure if the results both intangible and tangible are delivering bottom line growth to your business. The best course of attack is as follows:

  1. Identify your ideal audience
  2. Identify where you will find them online - social media, YouTube, search engines, other websites
  3. Build a complete strategy and invest resources into each channel - SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing, Content
  4. Have measurable and reviewable goals - X amount of traffic growth to the website, Y number of lead generated for your sales team, Z number of sales
  5. At the end of your review periods develop an ongoing budget or investment plan to grow your campaign

The more you test and measure your strategies the better you will be able to assess if investing money into a particular marketing activity is worthwhile or not. You may find that your social media marketing in conjunction with the content you are creating is delivering a consistent stream of traffic and a high conversion rate. The more you refine your audience, the better your conversion rate becomes and the more money you invest the trend should be expected to continue. If paid ads on search engines is delivering less than desirable results divert increased funds to another marketing activity that is performing strongly. Adapt, learn and grow through continual measurement, monitoring and reporting.

The best tool for reporting and management is Google Analytics so learn how to setup Goals so you can track conversions on your website and where they originate from. Using this information you can develop a plan to create a successful digital marketing campaign. You don't always need an agency so make sure you understand how to measure everything you do online before you engage one as this will help you weed out the good ones from the bad ones.

Related Tags: Digital Marketing Newcastle | SEO Company Newcastle

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Tips for finding a reliable SEO company

Finding an honest, reliable and trustworthy SEO company can seem like a daunting task. A quick Google search is likely not the best answer due to the many 'black hat' practitioners interlaced in the ranks of genuine companies. Before you go signing up for any SEO services, create a shortlist of providers and check them against this list of five simple tips for finding a reliable SEO company.

1. Avoid secret recipes for success

If a qualified representative of the company cannot tell you the tactics they are putting in place to achieve solid search engine rankings for your website and instead eludes to a secret combination that no other SEO company knows, show them the door. These practitioners are often either unskilled and behind on current SEO techniques or implementing techniques that may get you results now, but are likely to wind up getting you penalised in the future. The only people that know something that absolutely no one else knows in regards to SEO are the people at Google.

2. Look for an SEO company that also provides content marketing

Since the release of Google Panda in 2011 everyone who's anyone in SEO and online marketing knows that unique, quality content is the key to ongoing SEO success. If a company tells you otherwise, they are in it for your money and are unlikely to have your business's success at heart. Always ask about the importance of unique content and unless the answer includes statements like "Content is King" or "It is a MUST", scratch them off your list.

3. Keep an eye on what they are saying

Continuing the topic of content, if an SEO provider isn't keeping their own media and blog up to date with news on the latest updates to algorithms or providing insight into how to successfully market your business online, it's likely they won't be up to the task of actually marketing and optimising your website.

4. Remember the adage 'You get what you pay for'

Seeking out cost effective solutions is one thing, but skimping on SEO and assuming you'll get page one, position one rankings for 100 keywords for just $9.95 a month is asking for trouble. SEO is not a simple join-the-dots, step 1-2-3 process that you can just expect to work. SEO takes time, skill and perseverance. If you're paying a pittance for SEO services, it's likely you'll get a pittance of real, business generating results in return.

5. Backlinks are not the only answer

Contrary to popular belief, backlinks and citations only get you so far. While quality backlinks and citations can be the backbone of an SEO strategy, they should not be the main focus. Putting all of your eggs in one basket leaves you at risk for penalisation in the future, ask anyone who suffered from a sudden drop in rankings after April 2012 when Google's Penguin update penalised poor links from irrelevant websites.

By assessing your shortlist using these tips, you will be much closer to hiring an SEO company that can generate quality traffic for your website. Here at Whitecrow Digital, we are passionate about providing SEO using strategies that won't get you penalised. We also offer a suite of other online marketing services to ensure no single aspect of your marketing mix falls behind.

To talk to a team member or to enquire about any of our services, please call us on 1300 557 338.

Related Tags: SEO Company Newcastle

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The Importance of Getting Social Customer Service Right

Customer service, word of mouth, referrals and reputation are important factors for any business especially during a time of growth or change. They can all affect a business both positively and negatively. The global connection between people, consumers and businesses is stronger than ever and has been amplified by the ease of use and reach of social media. The ability to vent frustration about service or the lack thereof is easy and the potential for it to reach a mass audience quickly is pretty scary if you run a business. We’ve seen Facebook posts, Twitter posts & videos about a customer’s interaction with a business go viral and make it onto mainstream media the same day.

Managing customer expectations through social media can be a difficult task. It’s even harder if you run a small business where it’s likely that you juggle multiple hats on a daily basis. If you’re a large organisation it can be difficult to manage the sheer volume of customer interaction on social media. Why is it important to manage now and into the future?  It’s pretty simple. Customers like interacting with brands and businesses on social media for several reasons:

  • They can get instant feedback on questions and issues
  • They can publicly air frustrations, which puts more onus on the business to respond
  • They can do it at any time and from anywhere

Customer service and interaction through social channels won’t be going anywhere and over the long term so you should be looking at ways your business can leverage social media for not only promotion, but for creating a positive experience for your customer base, which can lead to greater retention, more referrals and an increase in word of mouth sales.

Here are some simple ways you can manage your customers and improve your service via social media if you run a small business. If you are a small to medium business the biggest issue you typically have is time. Running and managing social media accounts can be time consuming. If you manage customer queries, complaints and questions through your social channels you may find it difficult to keep up with the demand. Here’s how you can overcome these challenges:

  • Prepare standardised responses to commonly asked questions. If you have a recurring questions prepare simple responses that you can copy and paste. You can also build a running FAQ’s page on your website where you can advise customers to view when they ask a question you already have an answer to. This not only improves your response time but also drives traffic to your website.
  • Acknowledge and respond later. On social media people are after instant communication especially when they have an urgent problem. Prepare a standard acknowledgement that you have seen the question and then respond later an appropriate time. If you at least acknowledging the person it will make them feel more at ease rather than waiting for you to prepare a full response.
  • Use a social media monitoring tool or link your social media accounts to a scheduling platform like Hootsuite. Here you can monitor mentions on Twitter or posts on Facebook and you can easily respond from the same screen. This reduces time associated with managing multiple social accounts & customer enquiries
  • Finally, as a last resort you can hand your social media management and monitoring over to a dedicated team, agency or an employee within your business.

If you run a larger organisation with multiple teams, managers and individual employee’s things can get a bit messier. Social customer service, interaction and responses should all be part of your overall social media strategy. Like other core parts of the organisation you should be focused on getting all the different components of your social media plan working together as one.

The challenge from a social media perspective is how you get all your employees that are behind the scenes of your social accounts working as one and more importantly appearing to the public as one. It gets even more complex when you have to handle customer complaints and enquiries. The most critical things an organisation needs include:

  • A clearly defined persona, tone and voice – this should be communicated across all social channels and should be a reflection of the organisation & not the individual person who is managing the account at a specific time. When people changeover there should be no change to your social interaction
  • A critical plan and response strategy. This should be one that deals with the worst possible scenario for your business. How will you communicate with your customers and what processes will you follow? There is no black and white on social media interaction and service, however you should stay within certain parameters and being prepared is important.
  • Consider separate social accounts for your support teams. Having a separate Twitter account to handle support requests can take the load off your main social account and ensure that it doesn’t get clogged up with irrelevant support information for your other customers.

Remember that all the people in your social media community aren’t customers yet. They may be people who are considering using your services in the future and the way you respond, interact and communicate on social media may be a critical factor in determining if they use your products or services.

Digital technology and social media has impacted the way we do business and it has also impacted the expectations of your customers. The question is whether you will adapt and succeed or get left behind.

Related Tags: Social Media Marketing Newcastle | Digital Marketing Agency Newcastle