Why SEO Is Like Leg Day At The Gym

The other morning I was checking my Linkedin feed for no specific reason at all, other than its a great B2B platform and I stumbled across a great little video which got me thinking, when was the last time I did any ground level SEO work on our work website? Probably months ago. So like the gym, I love doing cardio, strength and conditioning work but I’m not loving leg day so much. That’s a lie. I like doing leg day but I just don’t love it.

The other morning I was checking my Linkedin feed for no specific reason at all, other than its a great B2B platform and I stumbled across a great little video on image optimization for SEO. This got me thinking, when was the last time I did any ground level SEO leg work on our work website? Probably months ago. So like the gym, I love doing cardio, strength and conditioning work but I’m not loving leg day ever. That’s a lie. I like doing leg day but I just don’t love doing it.

So I thought I would share how I go about doing some leg work on SEO for images. According to the video, images sizes on your website should be <50kB. This will help you speed up your website’s load time and Google is really looking favourably on this at the moment. Secondly, all images should have Image Alternative Text Tags which should describe the image in plain english e.g. A Photo of The Copper Coastline. This is so search engines can crawl your info/keywords better and in turn help you get up the rankings.

Here is how I do the leg work for image sizes:

  1. Download Screamingfrog app.
  2. Run the SEO Site audit for your website.
  3. Export the results.
  4. Open the CSV file in MS excel
  5. Apply a filter to the topline.
  6. Sort by largest to smallest image size. The cut off is 50kB. Anything over this could do with replacing.
  7. Use an image compressor for PNG files. I used this one. And Google Picasa for compressing Jpegs.
  8. Replace and delete the larger files.

I was horrified to find one logo PNG image that was 400kB! So after I compressed it became 5kB. So thats an awesome result. Imagine over a website how much load time you can save…probably not that much but it all helps thats what I like to tell myself.

Screamingfrog will also give you the statistics and results for the Alt Tags again making this easy but you have to put in the leg work.

Final tip. JPEG is okay for your website but PNG is better as it compresses a lot small in size without losing too much quality.

And don’t skip SEO day!

An Email Critique – Good Job!

I just received a great targeted email from Canon (the camera people).

What I liked:

  1. It landed in my inbox (not promotional box in Gmail). So I must have signed up and have interaction with them before. Confirmed email address email?
  2. Time of day was good at 4.26pm (people are usually clearing emails at this time of day…also nearly going home time so people’s moods are usually good).
  3. It used my first name in the subject but not in a spammy way. I was interested to learn more.
  4. The Subject pulled me in “Darragh, we are starting your summer early”.
  5. Email was from Canon Europe so they were upfront that the email came from a mail provider.
  6. They used a count down time to build interest in the content.
  7. The main content looks great…I love story telling and photography..so I’m looking forward to see what Canon has next.

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I hope this will inspire you to wow your customers.

Why You Should Be Targeting Your Competitors Keywords with PPC

Think about it. In theory, people searching for your competitors’ products/services should also be interested in your products. This should be extremely high quality traffic.

People are rarely loyal these days. Price, value and quality are the 3 perceptional pillars in which we think about before people buy. If these factors are satisfied by your company then adding in an alternative option is fair game.

Is it legal? Google state in their Adworks Behaviour Guidelines that this is legal. Once you don’t mention your competitors brand names directly you are well in your right to target them.

So to start, create a new campaign called Competitors or what ever you like. Add in Adword groups for each individual competitor. Then use broad phrase match to target the company name, brand name, product name etc. Create maybe 2-3 ads for each adgroup. If they are similar products then the same adverts can be used across the campaign.

You don’t want to rank first on the page. Leave this to your competitor. Ranking 2-3rd position is optimum as you want to remind the person that they have another option. Therefore keep the bid as low as possible. Brand names tend to be lower cost than generic keywords so this is a great cost effective way to win some business from your competition.

Final tip: Make sure you have a valid offering or point of difference to the competition in the ad and don’t forget a good call to action (watch, listen, download, buy, access….)

 

 

3 Analytics Goals Every B2B Website Should Have

Google Analytics can be daunting to those that are not that familiar with it. There are tonnes of good online/offline/ self learning tutorials out there. I would urge you to do one structured course so you can ask questions pertaining to your own website’s needs.

The overview reports are fine for most people but when you dive deeper in Anaytics that was were it all used to go pear shaped for me. Conversion goals used to be an area I didn’t really understand.

From a Digital Marketing course that I completed (I would highly recommend) I learned 3 simple user engagement goals:

  • Goal 1: Contact us   – How many visitors are converting to the contact us page. This tells us the value and hit rate. You can monitor this every month to see if any activities are improving the rate. This can tell you how many leads your website is generating.
  • Goal 2: Session Duration Engaged >3mins  – People tend research online before they engage with you face to face, so the more visitors converting here the better your content is performing. Again monitor monthly and use in reports. The more people spending over 3 mins per session the better your website is doing.
  • Goal 3: Pages per Session >3 Same as before, the more pages being visited the better, You can then analyse what pages are contributing to the goal conversions.

I hope these tips can help you develop new goals that will give you data to help improve your website and grow your business. Some guidance on how to set up the goals in Google Analytics here.

Adwords Custom Ad Scheduling Tip

It makes sense to schedule your Adworks campaigns to pause on days of the week and hours of the day that are not relevant to your business.

It makes sense to schedule your Adworks campaigns to pause on days of the week and/or hours of the day that are not relevant to your business. For example, your company is B2B and your target audience tend to work office hours (8am-6pm) Monday through to Friday. By pausing your ads so they do not show out side of these times you can save up to approximately 20% of your total ad cost. Clicks outside these hours tend to be irrelevant and close phrase-matching variants of keyword searches.

This next bit is important.

First of all you need to switch your Adwords campaign from “Standard” to “All Features” as shown below. The Ad Scheduling feature doesn’t show up when the campaign is set to standard. Google loves to hide features like this (fair but not fair :-/)

Adwords campaign type

After that go to Settings and you will now see a tab called “Ad Scheduling”. Click on this and then create a new ad schedule.

I hope this helps.

Dont Panic…https is not a requirement for everyone.

In Hallam’s latest newsletter they claim that the latest version of Chrome is actively warning visitors when a website does not meet recommended security standards. Its great to bring this to peoples’ attention but they are also doing a little bit of scare mongering IMHO.

Is your website secure, or could you be scaring off your visitors?

Don’t panic!

The https is a protocol that is used to encrypt all the information going from the visitor’s browser to the website and from the website to visitor’s browser. While it’s not that important during normal browsing on websites it is important when you or visitors try to login to their account (like on twitter, WordPress panel or any other login where password is sent) or they provide their Personal Details  or Credit Card information on the checkout page.

It should be fairly easy to purchase the SSl certificate for the website (around €100 – €140 per year) and add it to the website.

You may notice that your website and  a”protected” one have the same (i) icon in chrome.

As the article says the shift in ranking may affect around 1% for the searches online – at the moment when you don’t have user accounts or checkout when you collect sensitive information there is not much need in moving to https://

Just remember – if you have a WP site don’t login to your WP admin panel (and to your bank, email,…) when you are using public WiFi or any other network that you are not sure about.

Surely Google will have to cut us (non https sites) some slack here. Comments welcome.

Keep the faith.

Cold Calling Is Not Dead

You may have heard of Gary V . If you are a digital marketer and you haven’t then you should. Recently he stated that cold calling is dead and that nobody wants to hear from somebody they dont know. I think he is only half right. Cold calling is not totally dead. It has just morphed into ‘warm calling’.

If the objective is to secure a sale/lead/appointment for the sales team or yourself, then sending the value offer directly to the prospect will warm up the prospect before the call is made. Average email open rates are at best 25% in any industry. So my advice is to send them a piece of direct marketing. Just ask Google, they use direct marketing all the time with cute little postcards offering free Adwords credit.

Here is my 5 tips for a successful direct marketing campaign; the planning, the design, the data, the implementation, the balls and the interpersonal skills.

  1. The Planning – Bang heads together and get ideas from the people you work with. You need to come up with the right timing, the targets, the value offer and the right resources. This all needs to be fleshed out at this stage.
  2. The Design – The content must be appealing, inspiring, and provide the WIIFM factor or break the ice factor.
  3. The Data – Is your database up to date and segmented properly. In segmented properly, I mean you have the ability to drill down to a level that gives you laser like focus on your target prospects.
  4. The Implementation – Timeliness of sending and follow-up. It must be within 2 weeks of sending the direct marketing piece. A team or one dedicated person (or yourself) that are switched on to the target audience and what makes them tick. I know some companies use a contracted telemarketing company. This approach can work but caution must be taken that the brief is rock solid from the outset.
  5. The Balls and The Interpersonal Skills – The biggest barrier is not getting the target on the phone or being stopped at reception. Confidence is the key. Never start the call with introducing yourself to the receptionist. The goal is to speak to the target who will listen and remember they got a great letter the other day….because they probably received 100+ emails that week that they have now forgotten about.

Keep the faith.

 

The 5 Email Marketing Commandments

Over the last couple of years I have fallen in and out of love with email marketing. By the way I am currently back in love with email marketing because it is my No. 1 most effective marketing tool.

On one hand we are being bombarded with crap email and that creates a lot noise that sometimes inhibits the great emails getting through to the end users. On the other hand I have seen some great emails that tick all my boxes. The objective of all great email campaigns is to realise revenue for the sender. I am assuming that everybody has access to an ESP (Email Service Provider) like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Pardot etc.

With that in mind I have come up with my 5 email marketing commandments:

#1 Gain Permission

Wether you have a Opt-in form on your website, app sign up, email enquiry form etc there are lots of ways to get that valuable email. I find a check box to opt in to marketing emails works the best. If the person is already a customer then you a legally allowed to send that person email marketing pertaining to your products. As a side note always make the statement that you never pass emails on to third parties.

#2 Segment

Segmentation is the basis of all marketing. Depending on your objectives for your campaign you might segment on the basis of gender, age, location, profession, industry type, previous spend or activity rate. The more you focus down the better you can tailor the content to get the customer to respond to your CTA’s (call to action) or links.

#3 Personalise the Approach

Dear Darragh, nothing makes me happier when I see a well designed email that has my name in the first line in the body as a salutation. Its obvious you have my details so do something well with them. I also like to see ‘Darragh, you exclusive offer awaits’ type subjects. But dont make a crapper offer I have already ignored previously…wow me. Also make sure the sender’s email address is a persons name and not an info@ or sales@ etc. People want to open emails from other people.

Also time of day is worth considering. It has to be a good time for your reader. B2B = Tuesday to Thursday 8.30 – 5pm. Friday opens are down around 8% due to people being out of office. B2C = 5.30pm – 8pm.

#4 Create Relevant Content

This is the hard part of email marketing and marketing in general. You have an interested or semi-interested prospect how do you keep them interested. Its by sending them content they actually want not crappy content that you think they want. There are several ways to come with great content. Be creative! Talk to your customers, sales guys, service people and get to the issues that people want to talk about. Offers, promotions etc are great but you have to limit these in order not to dilute your branding efforts.

The format of the email is important. Whats your open rate for mobile, desktop, tablet etc. Tailor your email to these or all platforms. Apple iphones account for approximately 50% of opens in B2C.

#5 Report & Manage Data

CTR’s, unique opens, unsubscribe rates these are the important ones to focus on. The industry stand for an Open rate is 15-20%. Can you link back purchases to your email campaigns? The last part of the reporting and managing data is to take off hard bounces off your email database. This will improve the quality of your data and in turn increase your KPI’s.

Have fun with email.

Keep the faith.

How to gain visitor email sign ups?

Following this excellent article from Hubspot which compared 3 heavy weight sports brands’ (Nike, Adidas & Under Amour) landing pages . It got me thinking about how hard it is to get people to sign up…Wouldn’t it be great for people to freely sign up? Most people aren’t that lucky.

How do you get people to sign up for your newsletters, blog posts, email updates, offers etc? I run a B2B company blog for my day job and I know more than most that it is incredibly hard to convert sign ups.

The number one factor to convert sign ups is to give the visitor something that is of perceived value to them. We as marketers have to think about that. Saying sign up to get email updates has a perceived value if you are Google or Nike as people rely on that information for their jobs, professions, knowledge etc. But if you are a SME or a fledgling company that is not going to be good enough. If you are lucky enough to have a great product most visitors are someway interested in what you have to say about it. Do you have enough expected value to get them to sign up? Thats the million dollar question.

The best way to get sign ups is to include a ‘receive newsletter/ email opt in’ check box on your website enquiry forms. If you are getting an enquiry then the chances are that the visitor is open to receiving more information over time. That and the feel that they might be compelled to give you something in return for you answering their enquiry. Once you have them then you have to keep them. Hello marketing automation and its just as difficult to keep them than to get them in the first place. Hard work here on your content and targeting the right audience should pay off.

Other tactics come straight out of the Hubspot marketing inbound playbook. Sign ups via whitepaper, guides, template deigns downloads which are also very effective.

Keep the faith.

Does Remarketing work?

Does Remarketing Work? and other display advertising thoughts.

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Does Remarketing Work? and other display advertising thoughts.

So to answer your question in the first sentence. Yes and results vary , ‘It depends’ (which is a great term to keep in your toolbag when you have opposing views when you re in a tight spot). So I googled ‘does remarketing work?’ and there was no hard evidence to say either way.

Here’s how I look at it. It depends on what type of brand you have. Is it B2B? In short, be careful you are not confusing your audience base and wasting money. Is it a B2C mass branded product or ecommerce website? Then give it a go if it suits your brand’s personality.

Remarketing and DDA (Digital Display Advertising) is a tool that has an incredibly low CTR. CTR’s are typical 0.1%-0.2%. So thats 1 in every 1,000 people. But if you have numbers (audience) in the 000,000’s then you brand deserves to be supported and exposed to relevant publisher and popular websites, like you national daily newspaper website.

The rule of thumb when budgeting for a emarketing campaign. Spend 80% on SEO content, PPC social ads etc. This is where you get ROI (return on investment). Then spend the remaining 20% on DDA (Digital Display Advertising) and remarketing exercise. Display advertising can also be a good measure of the effectiveness of an overall campaign.

Remarketing is different. It depends on your brand. Personally, I dont mind Amazon remarketing to me. I know how it works and I commend them for getting it right. I also forget about the ads pretty quick so it doesn’t impact my perception of them or frequency of purchasing on their platform. If a lesser brand remarkets me for 30 days with the same ad then they are pestering me and lost me for ever or at least for a while until I forget.

Remarketing is still fairly new in terms of digital marketing. Practice trial and error but make sure you do it right. Dont remarket to people for more than 7 days. Talk to your peers, employees, focus groups, brainstorm…whatever. Know your audience, targeting, attractive popular websites, times/days, bidding etc.

In conclusion, Remarketing doesn’t influence me personally but it is another branding tool. If I want to buy something I am responsible enough to need/want it and go back to the website to purchase it. Does remarketing serve as a reminder or influencer tool? Yes, all branding has an effect on the end user but from a management perspective the metrics dont add up or give you a definitive ROI. Much like newspaper ads which are very cheap right now.

Keep the faith.