Google Is Your Friend – Part Two
If part one of this post wasn’t enough to open your eyes as to why Google can be such a great tool for small businesses, part two is going to elaborate further into two very important parts of Google’s interface. Both are widely used by businesses and marketers across the world, and that should make you want to make a beeline for your laptop to get started with this Google business.
First up is Google AdWords; the system developed by Google to assist businesses in marketing their products in its search engine results pages. The affiliate marketing service uses placed text ads that appear when people search for certain related phrases. They appear as “sponsored links” before the organic listings.
Google AdWords is a PPC system (“pay per click”). This means that you can dictate where your ad is shown through bidding for a series of phrases. You’ll only pay the amount you bid for if someone clicks on your ad because of a web search i.e. pay per click!
You will find that there is a difference between the types of visitor to a website.
• Browsing traffic.
• Visitors that have found a site in a search engine’s organic results.
• PPC traffic.
The first two behave differently to traffic that comes directly from Google AdWords or PPC traffic. This is because users who have clicked organically may just be browsing for information, whereas PPC visitors know that when they click on an ad, they’re going to be led to a product or service that they need/want. Because you pay a fee for each click, it is less about quantity, and more to do with quality; you aren’t necessarily aiming for millions of visitors, but specific targeted visitors via Google Ad Words.
When bidding, Google gives preference to the most effective ads, so even though you pitch the highest for a phrase, you may not win it. This is because if an ad and its destination are relevant to the phrase marketed, it is more likely to gain a visitor via PPC. Due to the relevance of this phrase, advert and business, the visitor is more likely to become a customer.
Although this does sound complicated to start, AdWords is an excellent tool that can really benefit your business. Here’s why:
• It puts you in front of the customer –
Any business wants a space on that first page of Google. Getting seen by potential clients at the exact time they are looking for your site is intent marketing (marketing based on intending someone to find your products) and it’s profitable. As a small business just starting out on the social media ladder, you should recognize that you are competing with SEO experts who have been doing this for years. With a basic understanding of AdWords, you can compete on a similar level.
• It enables you to reach your customer reliably –
AdWords gives you location targeting options. So, if you are locally based (such as a small-town coffee shop) or a regional company (such as a national bank), you can geo-target to get seen by your consumer. This means you aren’t wasting money on those who aren’t in your area.
• It enables you to show your location to searchers –
By using your Google My Business listing, you can show a map of your location with your ads. The easier you make it for customers to find you, the more likely they’ll walk in.
• It enables you to conduct highly specific searches –
The more targeted your keywords (and phrases), the better your Google rank will be. You could try researching keywords and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What keywords are they searching for? You can change your words at any time to keep optimizing your reach.
• It enables you to follow your customer with retargeting –
You know what I’m talking about, I’m sure you do.
You’ve been browsing on your favourite brand’s website for those shoes that are probably too expensive to buy on payday. You have a surge of will power and close the browser. Later whilst you’re harmlessly browsing your Facebook newsfeed… BOOM; there they are, being advertised in between your friend’s political opinions and funny cat videos. They’re following you.
As much as I’m sure you’d love to think that it’s a sign; fate even, and that you need them in your life; you’re actually just being ‘retargeted’ by AdWords. If a customer has visited your website, they get a cookie from a code on the back end of your site. When they leave your site, you can target your ads to follow them on Google Display Networks or Google Search. Although you pay extra for it, it really does increases sales.
• It enables you to reach your clients wherever they are –
AdWords gives you lots of mobile optimization options and allows you to target with both text and image ads. For example, if you market a local pub, mobile ads are great. Your potential customer may be looking for the right place to have a good curry and a pint whilst walking through your town. They search Google and your mobile optimized ad shows up first, potentially leaving you with a new customer, just like that.
• It enables you to get measured results –
You can set and track your own goals for return on investment (ROI), website traffic, brand awareness, sales and conversions and much more. You can also measure the search results of your Google AdWords within your ad groups by looking at which keywords are best performing, and the headlines that are achieving the best click-through-rates.
• It enables you to control your own budget –
You can set and change your budget whenever you want. If an ad is performing well, you can increase your ad results by increasing your ad spend. If it’s underperforming, you can decrease your ad spend or stop it and test another idea. You can adjust your budget based on your ad’s ROI or whatever your objectives are.
• It enables you to run multiple campaigns for your marketing needs
If you have more than one campaign running, you can advertise these separately with Google AdWords. Let’s say you are a recruitment agency, you want to market your services for:
o Job seekers
Each marketing campaign will have a separate objective, targeted specifically for whatever your needs are. You can then set up different ‘Groups’ to target with different keywords. For example, in your “job seekers” campaign, set-up three ad groups to target:
o Sales positions
o Marketing positions
o Retail positions
• It enables you to continually improve your results
Its simple to monitor your ROI and it’s also pretty simple to tweak your ad to get better results and improve your profits.
This may all seem quite complicated at first and is a lot to get your head around. But Google AdWords is one of the most effective methods of paid online advertising and can produce a good return on investment in a short amount of time, if implemented correctly.
The problem lots of business owners have with Google AdWords however is that it only works as long as you keep paying for it. Unlike SEO, it will do nothing for your business in the long term, but is a great quick-fix solution that can work well alongside your existing SEO strategy. In our expert opinion, SEO still packs the biggest punch, and we always suggest you should spread your bets.
This brings us nicely onto Google Analytics. This software is essential for any online business as it helps you to understand how users are engaging with your site. It is especially helpful for the eternally-busy, small business owner, and allows you to quickly access engagement statistics in detailed, comprehensive reports.
Here are the things that Analytics will tell you about your website:
1. The browsers and operating systems your visitors are using
Whether they’re coming from Chrome, Firefox or Safari; Analytics will tell you. It will give you a breakdown of which browsers are used and how frequently. This is useful as sometimes web features are incompatible with certain browsers and operating systems. If a significant amount of your visitors are using a system that doesn’t suit your website, it may be time for you to troubleshoot. If most of your visitors are using a boilerplate programme like Internet Explorer or Safari, your site should be extra user-friendly and easy to navigate.
2. What takes people from your site
It’s good to know where your visitors are gathering, but it’s possibly more important to know where and when they end up clicking off your site. Analytics shows you the top ‘exit pages’ and the frequency at which visitors navigate away from your site. Based on this report, you should be able to decide the fate of those ill-trafficked parts of your site. Will you scrap them or redesign them?
3. What draws people to your site
You will receive a report of the rate of which each of your Google Analytics keywords drives visitors to your site. When this is cross-referenced with the feature that shows how many new visitors are logging on, versus returning ones, it can be substantially useful in developing a marketing strategy.
When you know what’s pointing people to your site, you can work backwards – exploring advertising opportunities with sites that focus on related topics, gearing your homepage toward the subject matter that’s drawing people in.
4. How many people aren’t interested at all
Your website could have all the hits in the world, but if people aren’t engaging with your website, it’s tough to succeed with online growth. Analytics offers you a Bounce Rate breakdown – this is the proportion of your website’s visitors that navigate away without clicking to even a second page. Although that visit still counts as a hit to your site, there is no lasting power and a high bounce rate would indicate that your site isn’t making a very strong impression.
5. If people are exploring
The Depth of Vision function is important for you to know how many pages people are viewing each time they visit. If you find that people aren’t looking at more than one or two pages per visit, it may be time for a redesign or reorganization of content.
6. If people are viewing on-the-go
The increased use of smart phones means that businesses need to keep up with technology. If a significant portion of your website’s visitors are viewing on their mobile devices, which Analytics will show you, you need to ensure your site is as mobile-friendly and that all features are as accessible as possible.
If it turns out that a sizable amount of visitors are seeking you out on these devices, it may be worth exploring the possibility of building a site specifically designed for use on them.
7. When you’ve hit half a million clicks
Or any other milestones you’ve decided are important. The ‘alerts’ feature of Analytics provides you instant updates to let you know when you’ve achieved your goal. It can help you mark milestones if you finally reach that five hundred thousandth visitor, or realise you’re in the danger zone when your number of unique visitors drops by half.
8. Comparisons to the past
As a business owner or manager, you will always be striving to improve on last week/month/year’s sales. The comparison feature allows us to take data from any time-stretch and compare it to another. This is important because unless we see direct comparisons between the effect measured against a point where the campaign did not exist, it is difficult to put a perspective on the numbers.
Whilst there are many reasons why using Google Analytics is a useful tool for businesses, one of the easiest and most useful purpose for most, is to show graphical proof of the impacts of efforts put into marketing and promoting your business.
The more switched on you are about what potential customers are looking for, the better you can use your website to make connections. The better connections made, the more inquiries you will receive. The more inquiries, the more chances you’ll have to make money. You can become more informed about your audience’s needs and behaviour by using Google Analytics, and use this data to enhance your Google AdWords and SEO strategy (which in lots of cases work well in conjunction with one another). Having these tools available will help you to measure your website’s performance with expectations in real time, and this is important to seeing a return on investment for your small business marketing efforts.
By taking advantage of these tools and their features, you will hopefully be able to drive more traffic to your website and convert more of that traffic into leads/potential clients (but remember our earlier point that AdWords will only work for you as long as you can afford to keep paying for it). The tools discussed, when implemented effectively, both allow your business to stay ahead of the game and adapt quickly to changes in visitor behaviour. By learning to provide your audience with the valuable content they want, your business will continue to thrive in the online world.
If you are looking to incorporate these tools into your business but are a little overwhelmed, get in touch with us, pop in for a brew and we can discuss how we could help grow your business online. Or equally, if you already use these Google features and would like to give your opinion on how you’re finding them, leave a comment, mention us on Facebook or send us a Tweet!