Implement Google Adwords into your Digital Marketing activities

Google Adwords

When a company first opens its doors, one of the biggest initial challenges it will face is awareness; the prospective market becoming conscious of you and what you do. Roll back the years and building a brand was a long, slow process that took time, money and a lot of perseverance.

Nowadays, however, the internet has revolutionised how brands, organisations and businesses become visible to their target audience. Digital marketing such as social media platforms, websites, SERPS, influencers etc are all fast and costs effective routes to market, but I want to talk about one particular initiative that should now form a part of your digital marketing strategy – Google ads.

As we know, digital marketing has gone from being a specialist approach for innovative companies to being a vital part of any marketing strategy and today businesses of all shapes and sizes, from start-ups to huge international brands, are turning to Google ads to target potential customers directly via what they are searching for.

Fact. Google is the most widely used search engine fielding more than 3.5 billion search queries every single day and it offers advertisers access to an unprecedented and unequalled potential audience of users who are actively looking for goods and services. But……with these sorts of numbers and a global platform, using Google effectively is definitely a specialist skill.

Having an SEO strategy, no matter how large your business is, is vital, but getting to the Holy Grail position of page 1 organically takes time and not all businesses have that luxury.

Fact. Google ads are faster than organic SEO. In fact, this is arguably the biggest advantage of using Google adwords to reach your audience. Yes, there is leg work required to research, write (and/or design) the ads, create a bidding strategy and implementing, but the campaigns can be launched pretty much immediately….and you only pay if people click your ads!

What PPC do I do?

Google’s advertising initiatives are split across two main networks – the Search network, and the Display network. The Search network encompasses the entirety of the Google as a search engine, and advertisers can bid on millions of keywords and phrases to target prospective customers.

The Google Display Network, which offers advertisers more visual ads such as banners, spans approximately 98% of the World Wide Web, making it a great choice for advertisers who want to accomplish marketing goals that aren’t necessarily as conversion-driven as those of PPC ads, such as raising brand awareness on a large scale using banner ads.

Yes, but why launch a google adwords campaign?

In a nutshell, Google Adwords is an effective way to drive traffic from the search engine through to your website. Google plays a vital role in increasing the reach of your marketing campaign and adwords can get your company or product there quickly. Adwords however, is an auction so the more budget you have, the more your ads will show.

Google does have support on offer and can talk you through how to set up adwords, but……I very much feel that it is very much worth hiring an independent expert to research keywords and then set up a search ad campaigns. Ongoing, campaigns also need monitoring and optimising to make sure that you are getting the best bang for your buck.


Adapt your Marketing during the coronavirus

2020 really has been crisis management for a lot of businesses as the virus has not only changed the way consumers buy goods and services, but the pandemic has changed the way people do business and communicate (I wish I had shares in Zoom!)

This situation will, in my opinion, reward organisations who have adapted to the changes and the way they market themselves. Sitting it out has not been and will continue to not be an option.

In order to be successful, companies must be visible. None more so than online. Organisations already in a space where they deliver what they do to the doorstep or the consumer have thrived and will continue to do so. The flip side is that companies who have traditionally relied on a physical presence have been hit terribly.

So, what can organisations do to keep the tills ringing? What do they do with regards to getting themselves in front of the prospective customers?

The use of the Internet, mobile devices, social media, search engines, and other channels to reach consumers (digital marketing) is now even more critical to a companies’ marketing. This is because the virus has been causing us all to spend more time online searching. Your prospect therefore, simply must be able to find you in search engines (Google has an 86% market share) and being able to adapt the sales process will be the difference between success and failure.

Drive traffic to your website by utilising social media, Google’s search and display networks; use email marketing and optimise your website. Google very much indexes pages so use a blog and write authentic, insightful content.

The latest trend we are seeing is that paid ads are becoming cheaper. In other words, traffic on the web is up and there are fewer advertisers due to the decrease in smaller businesses advertising. This is because the way the big ad networks make money is through an auction system. They need small businesses to drive up the cost per click (CPC) for ads so that way the big, billion-dollar companies have to spend more money on ads. When we average things out per industry and globally, we are seeing paid ads producing a much higher ROI than before the Coronavirus hit. If you don’t have as many small businesses advertising there isn’t as much competition, so the cost per click decreases.

With your website and business, consider what you can give away for free or offer payment plans. Anything you can do to help people out will be appreciated. You’ll also find that it will drive you more visitors through sharing.

You could also explore running limited time promotions or if you are selling consulting services, you can accept money over a period of a year.

It is a sad fact that we all probably have more time now so use it to your advantage. Put in the effort so you can think and plan. It’s not too late and, that way you’ll come out of the Coronavirus stronger!

Digital Marketing. How do I do this?

Sometimes it’s impossible to decipher the wood from the trees when it comes to developing a digital marketing strategy. There are so many online platforms available these days and the vast majority are free to configure making each one saturated with millions of companies “shouting” online.

Similarly, some companies quickly configure accounts on platforms like Twitter just to be “on there.” They then do nothing with them and subsequently have accounts with no activity, no interaction and no real point. This actually damages a companies’ marketing rather than supports it as there is nothing worse than looking at a time line to discover that the last tweet or blog update was in 2016!

Putting together an effective digital marketing strategy is a common challenge since many businesses know how vital digital and mobile channels actually are for acquiring and retaining customers. But they don’t seem to have a plan to how they intend to engage with their suspects and prospects or even a plan as to what content to use, when or even on which platform.

I also think there can be a fear that a massive strategy report is required which then requires a huge execution budget, but we believe that lean planning works best. Start with a separate digital marketing plan defining what you want to say, why and to whom. i.e do you want to enhance your “digital footprint” and sector credibility, raise awareness or target specific search terms and drive more traffic to your website.

Either way, begin with some R&D to find out which platforms your competitors are using and what are they saying. Look at what content are they posting. Similarly, research whether they are running Google adwords and if so, what terms do they target.

Then talk to your clients. What platforms do they use? If you are an SME, Twitter is a good platform to use to market your business. If you sell to consumers, then Facebook will be key and you may well consider implementing Facebook ads.

You need to make the case for an investment in digital marketing and then create an integrated digital plan which is part of the overall marketing plan – digital should be fully aligned and becomes part of business objectives.

Elements of a Marketing Plan

Every organisation would love to enjoy the success of a viral marketing campaign such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but these types of campaigns intentionally follow a plan that was laid out in advance. Likewise, think of your marketing plan as a roadmap that’s going to guide you to a chosen destination.

As with any journey, you begin with your destination in mind, and then start by charting your route from your starting point.  There is no sense in beginning unless you know where you want to finish.
Before you start to create a marketing plan, put your communications into perspective. Frame your perspective on your overall communications strategy with a simple statement.

For example:
• Our goal is increasing sales. Our marketing communications will relay our USPs
• Our goal is fundraising. Our marketing communications are donor communications.
• Our goal is member services. Our marketing communications are intended to nurture member engagement.
• Our goal is recruitment. Our marketing communications help manage volunteer experience.
• Our goal is trust. Our marketing communications will contribute to building trust between us and our constituents.
• How Do You Attract, Inform, Inspire, and Engage Your Intended Audience?

Imagine that your goal is more than marketing. Instead, imagine that your goal is to build relationships through engagement, ultimately arriving at engagement. Marketing becomes a means to that end.

Marketing is too often a one-way, short-term, transactional exercise; relationships are built through conversations and interactions to engage your audience. Marketing may tend to drive one-time interaction; relationship-building encourages long-term engagement. Marketing has the potential to be superficial; engaging your intended audience over the long run helps to develop deep affinity and meaningful relationships.

Marketing is just one component of your comprehensive communications strategy. The most successful organisations focus on nurturing relationships; employing a marketing plan and applying it to specific campaigns helps you attract, inform, inspire, and engage potential customers.
It is likely that as you implement your plan, you will find what you consider to be “marketing” will actually decrease, while your relationship-building will increase.

But….how Much Will my marketing Cost?
The “cost” of any marketing plan must be measured in personnel time, creative investment, print, online and media expenses. How much will vary depending on the extent of your marketing plan.  Do not forget to consider the value of your investment as you evaluate your ROI (return on investment) and ROE (return on engagement) as marketing is very much an investment.

Whatever you decide and whatever your marketing objectives, one option could be that before you get overwhelmed with creating a comprehensive marketing plan for your organisation, consider the establishment of micro-plans that help you focus on specific goals to achieve. These micro-plans can be campaign-specific or audience-specific; together they will form a complete marketing plan.

Hope this helps.

Put together a communications plan

When thinking about marketing I would advise that, wherever possible, you try and construct a holistic communications plan that sets out realistic objectives and a strategy to achieve them. There will always be external influences when it comes to achieving objectives so keep an eye on any awareness and/or public barriers that may exist such as the economic climate, new competition Marketing Planning entering the market or maybe shifts in consumer trends.

If your organisation is of a certain size, it is essential that your strategy is presented internally so that everyone is in agreement with the plan and knows what the aims are. You’d be surprised how many times we’ve worked with multi site businesses where marketing is directed from a single office and is not passed on internally! After all, every employee has the ability to contribute to the success of the organisation and can play a part in the actual brand.

If, for any reason, there is a degree of uncertainty or any disagreement about the plan or existing perceptions of your company, then maybe look at implementing some sort of research among existing clients as well as an audit with the primary media to gauge levels of awareness and attitudes to the company.

The key to a successful marketing strategy is to set realistic goals and then communicate them and there is no shame in asking for specialist help in this area. I am the first to admit that my company is not a specialist when it comes to IT or accounting so I buy in help . In marketing, whether you are an owner/manager, the MD of a large multi national or head of a marketing department, sometimes an external and unbiased view of where you stand and where you want to be can make the difference as to ultimately whether things the business succeeds or fails.

Not only that, but no company wants to head up a certain path having made a quick decision on its future. This type of approach can be incredibly costly and hard to undo if you get it wrong. Investing in help at the start of the financial year or maybe after a change in trends will likely yield the biggest return.

Marketing for New Business

The process of marketing should involve much more than selling alone. Marketing should be planned wherever possible and a marketing plan should be well thought through, justified, communicated internally and of course, priced up.

In my opinion, without an organisation committing to marketing, it is likely that both the decision makers within the company and the company itself will lose motivation. No organisation can rely solely on word of mouth, it needs a plan.

With a marketing plan in place, it should receive adequate resources of time and money and it will be positioned as an investment rather than seen as a cost which wont be given the appropriate “value.”

Marketing Advice

Marketing is also not a quick fix or a decision made as a result of business slowing down. Yes, your company has a lot to gain from a possible short term fix, but in fact “selling” takes time to show results and a long term commitment is in your own interests. To me marketing therefore, should be a long term effort that is a process rather than an event. Marketing has a start, a middle, but no end.

There are a number of decisions to make when it comes to the appointment of the person (or people) who deliver the marketing activity, but we see 2 main options –

The company employs an in house marketing person (marketing employee)
or marketing is outsourced to a specialist marketing company

When considering option 1, if your role within the company is one of marketing, it is likely that it is not an easy role to play as you are unlikely to be the professional service provider nor a fee generator so you may well be perceived as an outsider and an overhead………no to mention a possible nuisance and a hard taskmaster in your attempts to turn unwilling participants into people who embrace the marketing efforts of the company! Don’t panic if you encounter resistance. You are the centre of excellence when it comes to marketing and you must fight back and justify your position!

If option 2 is the route your organisation decides to go down, there are plenty of marketing companies around, but be careful to do your homework. Speak to a number of companies. Do due diligence on each. You will also need to make sure that both you and the marketing company agree and sign up to the broad goals expounded in the eventual plan…….which includes the cost and fees!

Either way, remember marketing is not just about getting a brochure done! The process should include areas like –

Having the tools of the trade (logo, stationery, website, sales piece etc)
Understanding the market you’re operating in – speak to existing clients, run a SWOT…
Building your own brand – What sets you apart from the competition? Are you consistent in your messaging?
Planning – How does marketing fit into the business plan? Who is doing what and why?
Existing clients – Quality deliverables through quality processes
Marketing internally and externally

A large feature in marketing speak is “focus.” Do you know where you stand in relation to the competition? What is your market share? Does every stakeholder or shareholder buy into the marketing plan?

Lots of questions here so I hope your grey cells are working overtime!

What are you aiming for with your marketing?

One of the most important outcomes of your marketing activity should be prospection; taking the actions required to achieve the end result of getting yourself in front of the intended prospect. By doing this you are basically speaking to someone face to face; one professional talking to another, and this allows you to get your message across in a unadulterated way with the undivided attention of the relevant buyer.

But gaining the appointment can be a fearsome prospect and requires cunning, confidence and the correct approach!

So how do achieve this necessary evil? The answer is effective marketing. Effective marketing of your company brand. Effective marketing of yourself.

In a meeting earlier today in Yeovil, we discussed how today’s consumer is a very savvy entity. They are people who are ofay with the internet. They mix with people who have similar purchasing patterns and ultimately they are much more aware of the power they have in terms of the decision whether to “buy” from you or your business.

Today’s potential customer therefore, needs to know your brand. They need to know how you differentiate your products and services from the multiple competitors out there and they also need to know that you offer an accessible and affordable solution to their problem.

To achieve the above in professional services, a company needs to build its marketing from the ground up. A company needs to invest in how it markets itself and the message it is giving.

Have a read of the below. Some of the questions might seem obvious, but have you really been thorough in your approach and have you really done this?

What does your logo say about you? Do people “get it” when they look at it?
Is your identity consistent across everything you do?
Is your website easy to navigate around? Does it stand up to the 5 second rule?
Are the right people on your website? Is there an obvious call to action?
What benefits are you offering people? Are they clear?
Is there a place for people to sign up to something so you can keep in touch with them when they’re ready to buy?
Do you have a “clean” database of prospects?
Do you use telephone canvassing?
Are you talking to the wrong person? Always aim high – the CEO or MD.
Do you know what your competition does with its marketing? How are you different?
How do you use the media? Do you let them design one-off adverts at a high cost or is there a plan of action?
Where do you source your leads?
Do you know if there are seasonal fluctuations with your prospects?
Are you active in social media? (Are you target market even using social media?!)
Do you use email marketing?
Are you constantly testing new marketing initiatives?
Have you got a clear plan of attack in terms of your marketing?

…..have you talked to a professional??! I know it might seem tempting, but talking to lots of your friends and/or asking family members about your logo or your website is not something that will help!

By doing the above, you will stand yourself in much better stead to getting that meeting. Your message will be the correct one, seen by the right person at the right time in the right place.

Social Media

While social media may seem overwhelming, there are now many experienced people who can get your accounts set up quickly for very little money. At a minimum, you should decide on a username that you can use consistently across all social networks. Check to ensure the username you are considering is available on all the major sites before you get started. You can check them all at once for free using Social Media

You do not have to be active on every social network, but you do want to claim your username, upload an image, enter a short bio and link it to your site. These are valuable links easily obtained, so do not neglect them.  If you aren’t going to be active on a site now, include where you can be found in your bios.

There is a lot to doing social media well. Consider paying someone else to set up your accounts and teach you to use them. It doesn’t have to be costly and it will save you a ton of time and frustration.

The main thing to remember is not to always be selling or broadcasting about yourself on social media. What you want to do is identify where your target audience is already active and then socialize with them.

As you create relationships they will lead to business!

Treat your company as a brand – research it and define it.

Hands up who knows what a brand is? Well, there are lots of so-called definitions, bu the CIM defines a brand as having the following criteria –

Clarity of perception
You must have to stand for something – a USP with which your company is associated and which make up your property. Your USP must underline everything you do and say. Once you’ve established this, you use it in all your communications.
A positive perception
Yes, I know this might sound obvious, but have you checked that your USP is both unique and appealing…or even accurate?! Too often I have seen that the claim doesn’t actually produce the anticipated perception among the intended prospects. Be bold, give the prospects something to hang their hats on!
A level of differentiation
Bath Marketing Consultancy is constantly asked for the work we do for our client to be “different” from what else is on the market. Differentiation can be very subjective, but the questions to ask yourself is, is my offer clearly distinctive? Really try to avoid being bland or boring or worse still, indistinguishable from the competition.
Reach (or spread)
When actively marketing your company, your aim should be to get the maximum number of prospects for the minimum expenditure. Using multiple initiatives should mean trying hard not to overlap. Instead, your marketing should aim to extend your reach using different media.

What we advocate is standing back and taking a look at yourself – you are a brand in a highly competitive market.

Do not feel ashamed to ask for help! 

How valuable are your clients?

Every business needs clients and the income they bring in order to not only sustain business, but to grow. But………….each client has a different value and how do you determine this “value?”

Firstly, you need to do a realistic assessment of the monetary value of the client to your organisation. Secondly, conduct a review of the cross selling opportunities. In the first case you should be assigning a value to you of the client: everyone instinctively knows that not all clients are profitable and that some are more profitable than others. Get the figures and study them, including maybe a “lifetime” projection. You should be reviewing administration time, the allocation of resources, travel, expenses incurred and maybe even the emotional time dedicated!

In the second case, I am talking about you and your colleagues co-operating in order to exploit the opportunities within a client organisation to the full. Getting more from an existing client is 10 times easier that winning a new client from scratch so do not make the assumption that the client knows exactly what other goods and services your business offers. Have you considered doing a client review? In this previous article I talk about some of the options you could implement.

In addition to the audit process to determine the value, one option for cross selling could be to run some sort of seminar with existing clients. The content of the seminar would need to be given serious thought, but selecting a relevant topic or possibly offering some training could work well. Both of these routes are ideal for maintaining visibility, for enhancing reputation and for giving the client something tangible to take away.

In my opinion, the glory days of a corporate jolly are long gone as clients usually want something tangible to justify giving up their time to a supplier!

Conferences and exhibitions might also be considered, but these are another story all together…..!!