How Rapidly Changing Technology Affects Long-Term Website Maintenance
An all-too-common scenario is a company launching their beautiful, new website only to be lacking the maintenance, support and infrastructure that comes with a modern day web presence.
- Web support for how-to’s and general questions
- Strategic website maintenance
- Monitoring bugs/issues
- Platform updates, CMS upgrades and security patches (routine to emergency changes)
- Design enhancements
- New functionality
Keeping up with user expectations isn’t a nice to have anymore – it’s a necessity. Plus, regularly scheduled website maintenance can help minimize the total cost of ownership overtime. It’s a win-win.
What you can do to keep up
Technology doesn’t stand still and the web is constantly evolving. This affects how your website maintenance plan. Competitors are taking steps to keep up, so don’t be left in the dust.
Today, website maintenance requires near-constant attention. We’ve outlined ways you can mitigate the risk of falling behind.
Site/page speed optimization
Page speed can also be described as page load time, or the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page. Site speed is the cumulative speed for a sample of pages on your site.
Think about a website you visited and how frustrating it was when it took “forever” to load. We immediately form a (negative) opinion about that company. We’ve created an instant-gratification society and people want what they want. Now. Even a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. That’s insane, but all the more reason to pay closer attention to your site’s speed.
It’s been proven that speed affects user experience with 47% of consumers expecting a web page to load in 2 seconds or less and 40% abandoning a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load (KISSmetrics).
It’s also worth optimizing site speed due to Google’s algorithm factoring it into search engine rankings. If a site loads slow, the chance someone is moving on to the next site is higher. That means the quality score Google attributes to that site is diminished and Google isn’t going to serve up results that aren’t high-quality. The end result? Your site gets pushed down in rankings and is much less visible to your target audience.
Here’s some ways to improve site speed:
- Enable compression
- Optimizing your code
- Reducing redirects
- Leverage browser caching
- Improve server response time
- Optimizing assets (images, videos, PDFs)
Improve functionality based on web analytics
With the amount of data at your fingertips, it’s a no-brainer to adopt a data-driven approach to everything you do with your website and digital marketing. That means tracking web analytics that show what users are doing on your site and how they’re using it. Reviewing performance and understanding how people are (or aren’t) leveraging your website can help you make informed decisions on functionality that should be added, adjusted or removed.
Hosting & security monitoring
Giving your website a safe place to live and monitoring that environment 24/7 is critical to the success of it. Imagine your website goes down – every minute your website isn’t live is a missed opportunity to make a great first impression with a potential buyer. This monitoring should include routine, nightly backups for easy restores and monitoring to ensure your site is, first and foremost, live and that there are no bugs or security issues.
This includes updates to your CMS, custom plugins and any other pieces of your site that aren’t part of the core updates. Updates are arguably the most important if you want to keep your site current and relevant. For your website to perform optimally, the technology under the hood needs to be running the latest versions.
A site that has stale imagery or one that’s using outdated branding isn’t going to leave users with the best impression of your company. If your site is using outdated design principles, consider undergoing a design refresh. It’s been said that a disorganized, chaotic external image is reflective of a disorganized, chaotic internal structure. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not work with a company I perceive as disorganized or chaotic.
Build a relationship with your web maintenance partner
No matter who you’re working with for web hosting, support or maintenance, there should be a strategic roadmap in place that documents planned activities that will keep your online presence fresh, secure and relevant. Building a close relationship with your partner and keeping them in the loop helps them make recommendations proactively – instead of knee-jerk, reactive and last minute suggestions.
At emagine, our Client Success team works collaboratively with our clients so we know future plans for the company. If we’re kept in the know, we’ll be able to consult on suggestions for the website that align with strategic initiatives.
We’re always looking to build relationships with marketers at companies who are committed to keeping up with the evolving technology landscape. If that’s you, contact us today to learn more about our web hosting, support and maintenance services.
Long-Tail Keyword Approach to Pharmaceutical SEO Strategies
A top priority for most pharmaceutical companies is to drive traffic to their website. A steady flow of traffic is a mark of success leading to increased revenues, right? But, what if that traffic isn’t converting and adding to your bottom line?
More traffic isn’t what paves the way to awareness and growth. There is a not-so-little secret way you can have more control over the type of traffic you attract. Enter Search Engine Optimization.
But, you might still be asking –
“Why should I spend my time, energy, and money on SEO when I already get traffic to my website?”
It’s a fair and common question. But not so fast…
All Web Traffic Is Good Traffic, Right?
Not all traffic is the “right” traffic. Visitors won’t convert if they’re not a good match. Think about the type of visitors coming to your website.
• Do they meet the criteria for your target audience?
• What are their chances of converting?
If your answers weren’t “yes” and “high” then the volume of traffic doesn’t mean anything in the end. If you’re attracting unqualified leads then, yes, your time, energy and money is wasted.
If you want to stop wasting your time, energy and money and instead increase conversions, focus on lead quality before lead volume.
Your aim is to attract only the leads that have the highest chance of buying from you, working with you, or working for you. Even if it means targeting a smaller volume.
You may be saying “You don’t get it. We need more leads!” We do get it. That’s why we focus on quality to get you more of the right leads. The most frustrating situation for sales and marketing teams is when low-quality leads are sent to sales. In the end, it’s wasted time for both teams – and an uncomfortable conversation.
You want the quality first, then quantity.
Attracting qualified web leads?
You might be “meeting” your goals for traffic each month. But, how many of those visits have generated revenue? How many have turned into customers? Fifty high-quality leads have more value than 1,000 unqualified leads.
Ensuring high-quality traffic with a focused, strategic SEO plan means you can narrow your efforts to gain visits from the physicians, patients, caregivers and researchers that are most likely to add to your bottom line.
SEO strategy to reflect user intent
There are two different routes for your keyword strategy: a generic, broad approach or a long tail keyword approach. One of these focuses on optimizing for a smaller set of keywords that are extremely relevant to your business and reflect the intent of the user more precisely. Let’s break it down.
Generic keywords are typically one word terms and harder to rank for because the competition level is higher – more websites are also trying to rank for the keyword. These keywords tend to have higher search volume but they don’t necessarily reflect the user’s intent, why that person is searching for that specific word.
Long-tail keywords are multi-word phrases and more effective because they’re highly relevant to your business. They’re more descriptive and easier to rank for in search engines because the competition level is lower. With long tail keywords, you can more precisely interpret user intent.
Long-tail SEO approach
Let’s say your company develops and markets a drug for the treatment of multiple myeloma. You want to attract people to your website who are looking for a company who does exactly what you do – physicians, patients, caregivers. This is indicative of the industry shift from a mass-market to a target-market approach to increase revenue.
Optimizing for a generic keyword would focus on “multiple myeloma.” But, this doesn’t mean someone who lands on your website after searching for “multiple myeloma” is a patient exploring treatment option. It also doesn’t mean it’s a physician researching clinical outcomes. Or a researcher who wants to contribute to your portfolio of drugs.
Potential scenarios? It could be someone simply Googling multiple myeloma to learn more about the disease itself. It could even be a competitor typing in “multiple myeloma” to see if they show up in search results.
Luckily for you, this competitor would still be focusing on generic terms.
Instead, shift your SEO efforts to a long tail variation that more precisely relates to your drug. If you want quality you’ll have more success optimizing for “medicine to treat multiple myeloma.” We can instantly recognize the user’s intent here.
With so much competition online, attracting the perfect fit visitor can be challenging. But, an SEO strategy that uses long tail keywords will give you an advantage.
Quality vs. quantity
Remember, it’s not all about the volume of traffic. First, start with quality. Once you’re seeing the right traffic, then you can expand on a solid foundation to drive more, qualified traffic that is more likely to convert and become a customer.
Adopting this philosophy in your SEO efforts will leave the question “why bother with SEO?” in the dust.
If you’re struggling to see the leads you want from your SEO efforts, let’s talk about your strategy and how we can start driving high-quality traffic to your website. Reach out to us today.
Sustaining Patient Centric Marketing in a Digital World
A few years ago, patient centricity was all the buzz – and to some extent, it still is. The concept remains popular among all healthcare stakeholders – pharmaceutical, payers, regulators, providers, patient advocates.
But, what does patient centricity really mean? Has this buzzword been adopted as an organizational initiative internally? How is it communicated externally? And how does it translate to digital marketing?
Healthcare is the most intimate, private aspect of our lives. It requires a human connection, empathy, and sympathy. So, while stakeholders certainly play a role in the journey, patients are ultimately the end user, and the end goal is to improve their outcomes.
With the technological world taking over, though, we need to adjust accordingly and find ways to still deliver a personalized, intimate experience to patients – just on the digital stage. This means anything you communicate needs to be patient-centric, showcasing improved outcomes and lower readmission rates as outlined in “Participative Medicine – The Basics of Patient Engagement” from Mark Stevens, Chief Commercial Officer at Publicis Health.
A study from DIA, a professional community and knowledge exchange for global healthcare product developed, found that 65% of pharma and biotech companies have budgeted and are investing in patient-centric initiatives in drug development. In drug development specifically, “reported benefits [of patient-centric initiatives] include reduced screen failure rates, faster patient recruitment, improved subject retention, reduced protocol amendments, and a greater number of patient relevant endpoints.”
The proof is in the pudding. An effective marketing strategy that’s patient-focused and provides human-to-human communication is attainable.
Here are four patient-centric initiatives, each with a examples of execution by way of your website and/or digital marketing.
Examples of Patient-Centric Initiatives
1. Patient advisory panels and focus groups
Patients in general should have a place to go when they have questions, concerns or just want to learn more. Patients who are giving their time should be given a token of thanks too. So, as they sit on advisory panels and participate in focus groups, listen to their needs and challenges. Give them a dedicated place to find everything they need – educational and support materials related to their biggest obstacles, answers to questions, an outlet for open communication, etc. They’re helping you, so be considerate of what they need in return.
2. Social media and online engagement
On social media, keep it real. The conditions you research and develop drugs for affect patients and caregivers every single day. They have frustrations, they feel hopeless, and they might be desperate for answers. So ask the right questions, be open to their questions, and continue to let them know their voice is being heard.
3. Patient counseling and education
Technology allows us to be available in ways, and at times, that were never possible in the past. Patient education can happen right on your website with functionality like online chat or feedback systems. This let patients know there’s someone who cares about their issues, questions, or concerns and is available to get them the answers they need.
Your website can be patient-centric in other ways too. A site architecture and navigation that’s easy to navigate and minimizes roadblocks is ideal. In addition, design and creative treatments that are calming and soothing show you have patients’ best interests in mind.
Rule of thumb – put yourself in the shoes of a patient and strive to make their lives easier.
4. Advocacy group support and involvement
When it comes to combatting a disease and improving the lives of people living with certain diseases, conditions, or disabilities, patient advocacy organizations are the ones working toward progress. Provide these groups with a place online to congregate and easily access support materials to carry out their mission. This can be either on your main website or a microsite dedicated to their mission.
Sharing educational resources and support materials can reiterate commitment to improving the lives of patients and caregivers alike.
Connecting the dots
Most companies have attempted patient-centric initiatives, but only a 1/3 have reported any success. Which begs the question: Where is the disconnect?
These days, everything is online. If your patient-centric initiatives aren’t accurately represented on your website, social media platforms, or through your digital advertising efforts, then they’re not making much of a difference.
First, define what patient-centricity means for your organization. Then, connecting the dots between offline and online initiatives is a first step to bridging the gap.
If you have ways you’ve seen success, share them in the comments section below. If you’re looking for help, contact us to start connecting the dots.
Creating Killer Content Without a Huge Marketing Team
You don’t need to be convinced of the importance of creating and sharing killer content that resonates with your audience. You know that all types of content (written, visual and interactive) that’s helpful and relevant helps prospects identify your company as the solution to their problem, and helps retention of current customers.
If you read our previous post, 5 Ways to Make Your Content Count, you already know how to get started if you’re looking to make the most out of your content strategy with a less-than-ideal team size. Let’s be real – everyone wants to make the make out of their content marketing strategy. And, most don’t have a large content team that can churn out the volume and quality of content required.
Today, we’re diving into rolling up your sleeves and get the job done.
When you’re wrapped up in the excitement of developing your content marketing strategy, it’s easy to set your sights on churning out as much content as humanly possible. While we applaud your valiant efforts, try to avoid going from 0 to 60 in the earliest days of executing your newfound strategy. However, don’t be your own worst enemy by waiting to “get your ducks in a row.”
Start slowly and ramp up to a publishing cadence that pushes your team without overwhelming them. Be realistic about how much your team can produce and distribute – don’t be tempted to opt for quantity over quality.
Don’t Fear the Freelancer
It’s not uncommon for companies to rely on outside help. According to a TopRank Marketing study, 64% of B2B marketers outsource writing projects. If you find yourself thinking you might benefit from outsourcing, rest assured that you can do it affordably and efficiently. The key is to find writers who are knowledgeable in the topics you’ll be writing about.
Do your research. Look at the topics writers have written about in the past and types of content they publish. Give them a test assignment so you can get a feel for their style and voice. From there, determine if it’s a good fit. This is a great way for both sides to agree on whether it’s a good fit.
Your freelancers should understand your business, customers and the industries you serve. Once you’ve found your roster of perfect matches, set them up for success with a proper on-boarding program to further their knowledge of your business.
Perfect the Brief
Few things contribute to the quality and clarity of your content more than the brief. Don’t fear the creative brief. The brief is your friend. The brief is a wonderful thing – for you and for your writers.
Your work isn’t done once you onboard your team of freelancers though. There’s still a wealth of information for you to share on an ongoing basis. Remember, you and your internal marketing team are constantly immersed in researching and interacting with your target audience. Your freelance writers don’t have that luxury, so a detailed brief is your chance to share those small but critical details.
Fight the urge to skimp on details and helpful resources. Remember, you can’t expect them to read your mind. Developing an in-depth brief with a lot of guidance beyond the topic is going to get you the high-quality result you want.
A detailed brief can also cut down on the time it takes to write and greatly reduces (or eliminates) rounds of edits. A thorough brief is essential to mutual success all around, but also leave room for your writers to bring ideas to the table that can keep your content unique and fresh.
There’s a common misconception that companies who excel at content marketing have a large team and create everything from scratch. But, that’s just not true. In fact, repurposing your content is critical to your success.
According to LookBookHQ, nearly 60% of marketers reuse content 2-5 times. Not sure how to reuse and recycle your content? Here’s a quick example to get you started.
You just published a phenomenal eBook. But, it should end there. From that eBook grab snippets of valuable information and present them in different ways. You can transform those snippets into other formats like infographics, blog posts, and SlideShare presentations. This approach gives you evergreen content that you can continuously share with your audience. Plus, it’s giving your audience exactly what they need from you: consistently valuable content.
By leveraging these strategies, you can finally work efficiently and effectively to support your marketing initiatives.
Missing Link to Data Driven Digital Marketing
One of the most important things digital marketers need to do is prove the return on investment of their efforts. Tracking activities from every angle to create a complete view across the marketing and sales pipelines needs to happen before we can give an accurate presentation of performance. This holistic view supports a data driven strategy, but the implementation necessary to get to that point takes some groundwork.
Marketing Technology Tools
Today, most companies are using several software platforms and tools to support their marketing activities. There isn’t one tool that can do everything and integrating everything might seem impossible. Improving integration to collect and consolidate the data can seem daunting, even if it is a priority.
A 2015 report from the Winterberry Group said marketers use, on average, more than 12 different tools in support of data-driven marketing or advertising. And some use more than 31 tools.
What’s even more striking (but not surprising) is that 60% of respondents say better integration of existing tools and improved processes for sharing data among various tools would enable them to make better use of the technology.
In conjunction with the IAB Data Center of Excellence, the Winterberry Group’s “Outlook for Data 2017: A Snapshot Into the Evolving Role of Audience Insight” says 45% of respondents reported difficulty in proving ROI of data-driven programs would be the greatest obstacle impeding the ability to deploy or derive value from data driven marketing and media initiatives in the year ahead. That’s quite an increase from 26% in 2016.
Integration among these tools could be the key to sufficient insight that can take data driven marketing to the next level.
Where Does Your Marketing Data Come From?
Since improving integration is a priority, it’s first important to outline where your data is coming from in the first. A few of the programs or tools involved might include:
• CMS (Content Management System) that serves as the database for your website content.
• CRM (Customer Relationship Management) like Salesforce or HubSpot that stores and manages interactions and data throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
• Analytics from Google Analytics, Moz, and Spyfu (and related tools) that track and report on website, SEO and online advertising performance.
• Social media profiles and data from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook to show social engagement metrics.
• Marketing automation tools like HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua that empowers marketers to automate repetitive marketing activities like email and social media to generate leads and nurture prospects.
• Email marketing tools that let you test and tracking email campaigns.
• Lead capture forms that live on landing pages and collect lead contact information.
• Advertising management systems for display, paid search or mobile advertising to plan, launch, manage and track your digital advertising campaigns.
• Feedback & comment systems that allow you to engage with, understand and better serve your prospects and customers.
• DAM (Digital Asset Management) that serves as an online file manager to give your content offers a place to live when leads and prospects are ready to download.
These are just a few tools that generate data that’s useful for your marketing and lead generation activities. However, without proper integration, you won’t have reliable data available.
As mentioned, marketers need a cohesive approach to bring all the systems, processes and data together. In doing so, you’ll have concrete data that can validate decisions to improve marketing activities. Plus, proper integration can aid in creating a seamless experience for the end user – driving improved performance in the end.
To get the most value out of the software you’ve invested in you’ll want to ensure systems are sharing data with one another, as appropriate.
For instance, if a visitor to your website fills out a form, their contact information should be passed to your sales team and updated in your CRM, the interaction should be tracked, and contact information added to your email list so to receive marketing emails.
Or, if someone downloads an offer on your website, information about how they found you (i.e. organic search, paid search campaign, etc.) should be available and they should be added to your CRM and/or enrolled in the appropriate email campaign.
When you leverage an integrated marketing strategy and integrate the supporting tools – instead of using them as stand-alone tools – you’ll have access to the (accurate) intelligence you need to tailor your strategy to the expectations of modern day buyers.
We want to hear about your marketing tools
How many marketing tools do you use on a regular basis? Are they integrated for a complete, 360 view?
Let us know in the comments section or reach out today to continue the conversation.
Building a Strong Foundation for Your B2B Website
What once consisted of text-heavy pages with distracting imagery and dizzying effects, corporate websites have (thankfully) evolved into a company’s most powerful marketing tool. A website doesn’t just share your corporate message. It provides solutions to the challenges both you and your audience face. But, there’s still more to consider.
Let’s dive deeper into the importance of a strong foundation for your website.
User experience (UX) can (and will) make or break your online reputation. Buyers’ research activities are more in depth and your website should be a helpful place that educates them and keeps them coming back.
Did You Know? 40% of visitors to your website won’t return after having a negative experience.
Leverage your extensive research of your target audiences and what you learned about their needs, wants and challenges. Structure your website’s architecture, navigation and page flow in a way that quickly gets users to the information they came to you for. With minimal clicks, you can empower them to easily navigate between pages. Creating your site architecture starts with a sitemap and wireframes.
• A sitemap diagram is a hierarchal list of pages complete with main topics and subtopics to confirm all key pages of the website have been considered. The sitemap is a high-level representation of how your navigation is structured.
• A wireframe is a bare-boned illustration of a page that focuses specifically on space allocation and prioritization of content. Wireframes don’t show creative elements like color palette, imagery, fonts, creative treatments of CTAs.
In addition, you’ll need:
Compelling web design
The most successful web designs perfectly balance creativity and usability. They push the creative limit just enough to leave a lasting first impression without unnecessarily introducing distractions.
Did You Know? 94% of a website user’s first impressions are design-related.
Content for each service, solution, product you offer should be created with a consumer-centric mindset according to how we read content on the web. The antiquated text-heavy pages are far behind us. Instead, break copy into digestible, clearly labeled chunks that let users scan pages to find what they need. Content should focus on engaging the reader’s emotions with simple yet educational information and practical solutions that directly address the problems they are facing.
Did You Know? B2B buyers will use an average of 2.4 information sources when researching potential vendors.
(Source: Lead Forensics, B2B Guide to Turbo-Charged Lead Generation)
Responsive web design
A responsive website is designed and developed to adapt to the users’ screen size. This ensures accessibility across all devices: smartphones to tablets to desktop computers.
Did You Know? People spend nearly 40% of their Internet time on mobile devices.
A responsive website gives you a consistent web presence that will increase visibility, reach and conversions.
Finally, your website is only as powerful as the Content Management System (CMS) supporting it. A CMS is a program that serves as a database to upload, edit, and manage content displayed on a website. Choosing a CMS that enables your internal team to easily add new content, make changes and publish updates without having extensive technical knowledge can be critical to keeping your website updated.
For more on how to make your digital marketing a success, check out our full Guide to B2B Digital Marketing.
Don’t Risk Losing Your SEO Street Cred in Google With a Website Redesign
If you’ve spent time and effort improving your SEO strategy, you might feel – and even fear – that all of your hard work could go to waste with a website redesign. Keyword (no pun intended) = could. If you’re not careful with how you navigate the SEO realm before relaunching, that might be an unfortunate truth.
Hold on tight & keep your SEO rankings
Relaunching your website without a carefully planned search engine optimization strategy could result in devastating consequences. But, with the right knowledge and preparation, there’s no need to fear losing your street cred in Google.
Set up 301 redirects
It’s common for content from the old site to be reused and repurposed for the new site. You’re redesigning for a reason though, and a big reason is likely that your old information architecture is too unorganized and confusing to be carried over to the new site.
The point of a redesign is to transform your website into a more appealing, useful experience for visitors. Naturally, you’ll want to restructure everything in a way that makes sense for your business structure and aligns with how users expect to find the information they need.
This might mean consolidating and eliminating pages, or spacing out your content across even more pages to make it easily digestible. Either way, there won’t be a 1-to-1 match between the old site and the new site.
That’s where the 301 redirect comes into play.
A 301 redirect is a permanent detour from one URL to another. For example, if the content from web page www.mywebsite.com/service1 now lives on web page www.mywebsite.com/service-package1, you would need to set up a redirect from /service1 to /service-package1.
Once this is complete, it’s also crucial to crawl your site for a complete list of URLs prior to relaunching. This ensures every URL has a home, or redirect, on the new site. Mapping out redirects can be a time-consuming process, but it’s well-worth it considering the consequences of skipping right over something that can save time in the long run for you and visitors to your site.
Crawling your site, planning and confirming redirects is essential for two main reasons:
For sustaining SEO
Redirects transfer your ranking power from one page to another, so the power you built up before your redesign isn’t thrown completely down the drain.
For improving usability
If someone saves or bookmarks a page on your old website and tries to go back to it without a redirect in place, they’ll get a 404 error page – and we all know how frustrating those are. Now, they don’t know where to find the information they thought was important enough to save or bookmark in the first place.
Continue your SEO journey with high-ranking keywords
Just because you’re launching a new website, doesn’t mean you need to toss all of the effort you put into the previous one out the window.
Before redesigning, perform a baseline ranking report that will tell you all of the keywords you’re ranking for in search engines. Use the report to identify which keywords your domain currently ranks well for.
Then, use that data to make an informed decision on which keywords make the cut to include in your new SEO strategy for things like page copy, meta descriptions, title tags and alt text for images.
Plan & Google will reward you
Website redesigns are common practice and necessary to keep up with technological advances, business changes, and user expectations. At the same time, there are steps you should to stay in Google’s good graces to maintain your ranking power.
With thorough planning, organization – and of course, the right, knowledgeable partner – your website redesign can be a lot more seamless than you might think.
You don’t want your effort to date to be wasted, and neither do we. Reach out to us today to talk to a Web Strategist and SEO Specialists about how we can keep your SEO juice flowing.
How to Crush Your Online Advertising Competition
Seeing your competitors skyrocket to the top of organic or paid search results can be ridiculously maddening. No matter where you go or what you search for, it seems like your competitors are right there taunting you, especially on the online advertising front.
Before you throw in the towel, take a deep dive into why your competitors are ranking first and try these tips to turn the tide.
Why do I see competitors’ ads when I search for keywords related to my business?
Open your go-to search engine and type in your company name. What’s the first ad that shows up? If it’s one of your competitor’s, chances are they’re outbidding you on your own branded terms.
Your competition sees your branded terms as an easy and inexpensive way to acquire new business. Simply put, competitors are trying to steal your customers before they even make it to you. Although you can’t stop them from doing it, there are ways to climb to the top.
What you can do about it
Look at the Quality Score of your ads. Quality Score is calculated by three factors – expected click through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience – and is based on past performance data. The higher your score, the more relevant search engines consider your ads and your chances of ranking higher increase.
High quality score = improved competitive advantage.
Odds are the Quality Score for your branded ads are already quite high. But, if you put more effort into improving your entire campaign, the better off you’ll be. Over time, it will no longer be justifiable for competitors to pay such a high price for those top positions and clicks. Or they eventually won’t rank high enough.
Remember, bidding on your brand name should always be a priority in your digital marketing strategy. It’s a cost-effective way to reach prospects and kick competition to the curb.
My competitors are showing up first for unbranded terms. How do we beat them?
Use competitive research tools
Knowing how to beat competitors starts with establishing benchmarks to measure success. Use online tools to gather data about your competitors. Monitor their budget, keywords, ad creative, offers, and landing pages. To find areas of opportunity, determine overlapping keywords and terms that are unique to your competitors.
Identify new keywords
Make it a mission to “eat keywords for breakfast.” You can assign this task to a specific team member who should be on the lookout for profitable terms to add to your keyword strategy. Use AdWords Keyword Planner to gauge search volume and estimate cost per acquisition (CPA) and overall conversions.
Leverage the Auction insight report
The Auction insights report lets you compare your performance with other advertisers who are bidding in the same auction. This information can help you make strategic decisions about bidding and budgeting by showing where you’re succeeding and where your missed opportunities exist.
Stand out from the crowd
If you’re solely mirroring ad copy, landing pages and offers, of competitors’ ads you’re seeing, we have some news for you: You’re doing it wrong.
Your goal is to stand out from the crowd and appeal to prospects by drawing inspiration from the competitive landscape and, more important, best in class. This approach, on top of creating unique landing pages and ad copy can increase conversions.
Don’t let the cut throat nature of online advertising discourage you from getting in the ring and crushing the competition. With a carefully crafted strategy, you can come out on top.
Download our Guide to B2B Digital Marketing for more on how to stay ahead of the competition.
How to Amp Up Your Online Advertising
The world of online advertising is competitive, to say the least. It’s fast-paced and it’s always changing. Marketers begin to feel like their PPC efforts aren’t making a positive impact – or any impact at all. It’s frustrating to see the competition winning the online advertising battle – and for keywords related to your business nonetheless.
Try these tips to amp your online advertising
Serving up the perfect ad at the perfect time to the right audience is an art and a science. We want to share our art and science of online advertising with you, so we put together the following tips to help you amp up your online advertising game.
Organize your account structure
A disorganized AdWords or Bing account structure can contribute to underperforming campaigns. It also limits how effectively you can measure you campaign performance. Plus, messy ad groups make adjustments and modifications a time-consuming task.
Typically, it’s best to have campaigns focused around each of your products, services, or locations – each as a separate group.
Tip: When building out a new online advertising strategy, try mirroring the structure of your website.
Focus on high-performing keywords
Just like your organic search strategy, focus paid efforts around less competitive, long-tail and higher performing keywords when possible. Check out keyword planning tools (some are even free) to find relevant terms for your business to get you started.
Tip: Limit the budget for keywords with suggested bids above your spending threshold and include a variety of match types in your keyword list.
Monitor search term reports
Regularly review your Search Terms Report to fine-tune existing campaigns and spark ideas for new ones. As you’re reviewing the list, make note of any queries that aren’t directly related to your ad, but are potential opportunities for a different campaign.
Tip: Keyword data can help you analyze user intent. Use the Search Terms Report to find relevant keywords to add to your keyword list and negative keywords to negate.
Create negative keyword lists
It’s important to build out your negative keyword list, especially if you’re using broader match types that are intended to cast a wider net.
Scan reports to identify irrelevant search queries and add them as negative keywords for that campaign. This is the best way to prevent an audience that isn’t interested in your product or service from seeing your ad.
In other words, negative keywords tell Google what search queries are not relevant to your business, so you don’t rack up ad impressions for searches that won’t lead to sales.
Continuously review and monitor negative keyword lists to optimize spend and improve results.
Tip: The Search Terms Report (in the keywords tab) shows you the actual search queries people typed into Google to trigger your ads. For example, if you own a restaurant but don’t deliver, you could add “delivery” as a negative keyword. That way your ad won’t show up for searches that include people searching for delivery.
Pause low performers
While you don’t want to be hasty in your decision to eliminate a low-performing campaign, sometimes it’s best to pause the keywords in your account that simply aren’t converting.
Before hitting pause, check the length of the campaign. It should have been active long enough to give you adequate data that supports pulling the plug.
As you identify the low performers, try to decipher why they aren’t getting as much attention as others. A few potential reasons:
• Your bid isn’t high enough
• Search volume for that keyword is too low
• Keyword match type is either too broad or restrictive
Tip: It’s worth spending time to review and refine your campaigns and monitor performance over time, saving you money and giving you more control over your budget.
Test, test, test
If you’re noticing the return on ad spend has flat lined, test your ads. Regularly test and tweak ad copy so your ads are as compelling as possible with things like:
• Changing the headline to make it more concise and eye-catching
• Tweaking the CTA text, color or placement
Additionally, testing and optimizing ad placement on your target sites might move the needle in the right direction – toward higher conversions.
Remember, your ad showing up first isn’t always better. Overpaying to show up on top every time might not be worth it. You can still see success in positions 1-5, so there’s no “right” position to shoot for. Take the time to find the sweet spot for you while getting the most bang for your advertising buck.
No matter what you’re testing, always prioritize listening to what users tell you through their behavior. Incomplete transactions or forms might mean that specific time or day isn’t giving you the most value. Let that be reflected in your approach to ad scheduling (or day-parting). Scheduling ads during the days and times that trend the highest in conversions can give you the results you’ve been wanting to see.
More ways to stay ahead with online advertising
Looking for more ways to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive landscape? We thought you might be. Stay tuned – in our next post, we’re taking it a step further to uncover how to crush your online advertising competition.
Think Twice Before Adding Rotating Image Carousels to Your Website
We all love a good homepage. Making a memorable first impression for website visitors is a common goal among marketers, web designers and web developers. One design trend in particular has taken the B2B website world by storm – rotating image carousels.
Rotating carousels, banners, homepage image sliders, rotating offers. Call them whatever you want, just think before putting them on your website.
Here’s the thing – The job of your homepage is to quickly show critical content and ideas to a user. A visitor to your website should be able to tell with just a glance what you do and who you do it for. Rotating web banners can dilute your key message by hiding your most important content.
Not all rotating image carousels are created equal though, so they’re not always a bad thing. But, as far as a main message content block on a homepage goes, they often do more harm than good. In this post, we’re answering two common questions that are posed when considering rotating image sliders.
Sliders provide multiple messages and if you present the most critical message first, what’s the harm?
The harm here, quite frankly, comes from the fact that you don’t have a unified message that needs to be seen by 100% of your visitors. If you don’t consider the other messages critical, you shouldn’t give them prime real estate on your website or bury them in a tool that is statistically proven to be underused. A Notre Dame study shows that 84% of clicks happen on the first slide over the remaining ones.
Many marketers struggle to manage website expectations within their organizations. Various departments have differing opinions about which messages are most important, and believe that if their message isn’t shown in the carousel, then it isn’t seen at all. But, this is simply untrue.
Another detrimental side effect of this homepage functionality is that most carousels require large imagery, putting a dent in your page load time. Remember, every KB counts when it comes to performance optimization.
From an SEO perspective, image-based messaging that lacks text is nearly impossible for search engines to index. So, if you absolutely have to use rotating image carousel to appease a certain department, avoid making all of the headlines H1s to establish a messaging hierarchy.
Try this instead
Create concise messaging for your main panel, and feature secondary messages on a stationary panel. Then, the rest of the homepage can unpack those key messages with the option to dig deeper.
Here’s an example of how this approach works on Zynx Health’s website. There’s a single message on the main homepage panel: “Vital Information for Healthier Lives.”
Users then have the option to scroll and learn how Zynx specifically helps with patient outcomes, financial performance, clinical engagement and technology performance.
How do I adequately represent each of our products, solutions or industries we serve?
While this is a valid concern, there’s no need to overthink it. Make it the goal of your homepage to get a user to self-identify with an industry, solution or product you offer. Then, direct them to the content that’s most relevant to them.
The quickest, most user-friendly way to do this is to provide a direct link to that page, instead of making users wait for a new image and another paragraph of text to load.
Avoid forcing users jump through hoops of seemingly endless CTAs to get to the right content.
Use content cards on your homepage. You get to share all of the same content, but users get to consume it all at once. Plus, it eliminates the negative impact on performance.
Or, if the content needs more attention than what’s possible on a single website without sacrificing overall user experience, create microsites that are dedicated to specific products or solutions you provide.
Try this instead
Here’s an example of how this approach works on Medpace’s homepage. The main message panel presents a single brand message: “Accelerating Drug, Biologic and Medical Device Clinical Development.”
Their solutions span the product life cycle from early phase clinical research to development and late phase clinical research so their website needed to show that wide span. It also needed to present the various therapeutics areas of expertise in a way that wasn’t overwhelming.
Think twice before a rotating image carousel
As marketers, we love to adopt new trends and make them our own. But, before taking on the latest web design fad, consider its impact on your messaging strategy and most importantly, your users.