Most of the business owners and marketers we work with have a general sense of how their PPC efforts are doing, but few truly have an accurate understanding of how they’re performing. Whether you’re new to running PPC or have been investing in PPC for a while, understanding which key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor can be tricky. While KPIs can certainly vary by industry and even by company, some KPIs will always be important.
In its 20+ year history, SEO has taken on a variety of forms – both good and bad. While black hat SEO has utilized unscrupulous tactics to try to trick the search engines into acquiring search relevance, white hat SEO has been used to honestly gain exposure for high-quality content. And somewhere in the middle is the average marketer who has noble intentions but may also be prone to chasing the latest rumors and fads to get a leg up on the competition, sometimes helping and sometimes hurting their cause.
But amidst it all, the importance of quality content has always reigned supreme!
High-quality content will always be golden because it appeals to real people and factors heavily into search engine algorithms.
Every business should do competitive research regularly.
Peeking into your competitors’ tactics and operations provides the direction that businesses need to ensure that they’re not only keeping up with the industry, but also setting themselves apart. Analyzing what your competitors are doing provides ideas for how to improve your own offerings and processes. It also helps identify market positioning and uncover industry trends as they’re emerging.
That doesn’t mean being nefarious or inappropriate. It just means paying attention to the public information available about how your competitors are attracting traffic, nurturing leads, and maintaining customers.
Companies of all sizes invest time and money into competitive research, but big businesses typically have the capacity to do it more frequently and more thoroughly than small businesses. Take a lesson from their playbooks and use these 8 tips to research your competitors:
Utilizing online advertising for services instead of products poses its own unique set of challenges.
Unlike products, which typically have SKUs and easily distinguishable characteristics, services can be more ambiguous. The nuances between service offerings and providers often requires more explanation that a short text ad will allow. Furthermore, restrictions, in the form of geographic service areas and technical project requirements, complicate matters even further. For these reasons, many local service providers opt to forgo online advertising and rely primarily on word of mouth referrals and offline advertising to increase brand recognition.
However, national service providers understand the value in paid search (PPC) advertising and often invest heavily in building and maintaining online advertising campaigns tailored for different markets.
The result is that national providers typically dominate markets where local providers should be thriving.
For instance, one of our local clients provides specialized equipment rentals across the state of Michigan. Their prices are reasonable, their service is impeccable, and they know the local community far better than their national competitors. However, the big national companies they’re competing with were running sizeable online advertising campaigns and taking business away from them (despite charging a premium for doing nothing more than contracting with the local company for their equipment). We were able to catapult this local provider to the front of the industry using strategic local advertising at a cost far lower than they had anticipated.
How do you find the same success for your service-based business? A three-pronged approach to online advertising will give your business an advantage!
I talk with a lot of small business owners, and the conversation is typically along the same lines. They want to advertise their offerings locally in their community but realize that their growth potential is limited if they don’t have a national ecommerce focus as well. This is especially true for businesses in more remote areas, where their local market may not sustain enough demand to keep them in business. Designing an ecommerce site to sell their products across the US is the only viable way to generate the revenue that they need to thrive.
The catch is that while local advertising may not be as lucrative, it’s often perceived as easier and less expensive than national advertising. Subsequently, most small business “start small” with local campaigns and then expand to a wider market once they have PPC figured out… or at least that’s the plan.
In my experience, one of the following things typically happens instead:
Before you start paid search locally or nationally, plan for how you’ll win at both!
The new year is almost here, which means it’s time to start thinking about planning. After the big holiday push, it’s tempting to just sit back and take a few weeks (months?) to relax and recharge. However, the most successful businesses are the ones that get right back at it after the busy season is over.
Business professionals and companies alike need to regularly set goals to ensure that they’re continuing to improve. Alignment between individual goals and company-wide goals provides the synergy to fuel long-term happiness and growth.
But goal setting is often easier said than done!
Start 2018 off right by using this guide to generate goals that are meaningful, attainable, and actionable.
The biggest misconception about online advertising is that there’s no way to track ROI on websites that don’t have ecommerce functionality. Business owners that maintain informational sites assume that they’ll have no way of tracking which business was generated from their online ads. This is problematic for local businesses or companies that require customers to speak with someone before placing an order or scheduling an appointment.
However, there is hope! You don’t have to sell anything on your website to effectively assess the return on your ad spend. There are plenty of other conversions for you to track to determine how much of your revenue to attribute to your PPC ads.
With all the nuances between companies in different industries, it’s a bold statement to say that every business needs the same type of content. However, it’s true!
The forms of content that drive customer engagement, sales, and search engine visibility don’t vary.
No matter what your business sells, where it’s located, how long it’s been operational, how many employees it has, or what it’s short and long-term goals are, it absolutely must have these four types of content:
Thanksgiving is almost here, which means it’s crunch time!
If you don’t have a strategic plan for your holiday marketing yet, now is the time to get started. It’s important to focus on the types of online marketing that can be launched quickly and will provide an immediate return. Search engine optimization (SEO) will take too long to build momentum, which means that you’ll probably have to de-prioritize it until after the holidays. However, there are plenty of marketing channels to utilize that will help your business catch up to the competition faster than Santa’s sleigh.
Micro-moments are the hottest conversation in today’s mobile-dominated shopping environment. These intent-driven searches are responsible for determining purchase decisions and shaping consumer preferences, which makes them the holy grail of marketing.
The nation’s largest brands have marketing teams analyzing micro-moments and crafting strategies to convert them into sales across all consumer segments. But the micro-moment conversation isn’t just reserved for board rooms – it’s also accessible to small local businesses.
In fact, with their centralized competition, local businesses are even better suited to take advantage of key moments when shoppers do research and make decisions on-the-go!
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