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    The Reach Blog

June 6, 2016

How much does SEO matter?

Get Your Site Noticed With These Simple Tactics

 

SEO has seen a major shift in the past few years.In the past, it was all about creating links to your site and generating traffic, but since major search engines have changed their ranking algorithms, which they’re constantly doing, SEO is heavily influenced by content and how easy a site is to use.

SEO and content go hand in hand now, and rather than just generating traffic, good SEO also drives sales. Often, people associated SEO with all sorts of things from shady linking practices to black magic, but at it’s core, it’s about making your site accessible and visible to more people. The more traffic your site has, the more important your site looks, the higher your ranking and the more sales you’ll get.

It can seem like a daunting task, especially for those who aren’t comfortable with HTML, WordPress Admin or any type of coding. But there are still numerous ways to significantly improve your ranking without coding. This post outlines how to begin with SEO and simple tactics to help you boost your search ranking.

Exclusive Bonus: Download this Free Cheat Sheet On the top 11 SEO hacks for small business owners!

Getting Started

Keyword planning

This is the first essential step to a successful SEO. Keywords are terms used in search engines which then display relevant pages to the word. To get started, list as many words associated with your business as you can. Anywhere from 25-100 is a good beginning. Make sure you areas specific as possible, since common words have more competition. For example, if you search “tacos in texas” and use it for your keywords, you’re going to have a great deal of competition and a low ranking. However,if you specify “cilantro shrimp tacos in Volente” you’re going to have much less competition and; therefore, a higher ranking.

These longer phrases are called “long tail searches” and they are a small businesses secret weapon. Most companies focus on very specific keywords, but omit longer phrases, but small businesses can rank very well by using them to their advantage. Odds are you’re selling something to a niche market, so be as specific as you can with your keywords, while still sounding natural. Remember, people are typing in their searches into a search engine like Google, so put yourself in their shoes with search terms.

When determining this first list of words don’t strive, for perfection. The important thing is getting started and the longer you stick with it, the better your results will be.

For help listing keywords, the Google keyword tool is a great asset. If you’re looking for more powerful tools, consider SEMRush, Marketing Samurai or LocalSearchPros.


Be strategic with your pages

Businesses often focus on SEO after their site has been built. If possible, it’s better to  implement your SEO plan while you’re building your site, but if that ship has already sailed, there are other ways you can strategically improve your “page by page” ranking without a complete overhaul.

Google and other search engines read all of the information on your site to determine how it should rank. Most people don’t realize each page is ranked individually. This means that if you’re using the same one keyword on all of your pages, they’ll be competing with each other. This isn’t good.  

To stop competing with yourself, lay out all of your site’s pages, and then list  2-3 page specific keywords to build into headlines and copy. When writing new copy,be  as natural as you can, don’t overdo it with keywords. A good rule of thumb is about 2-3% of your page’s copy should be keywords.

This page-by-page audit also can help the usability of your site. For example, if you find various important pages are buried behind many links, consider bringing them to the front, and making your best content and most searched pages as easy to find as possible.


Make it easy to use

Believe it or not, the user experience (UX) of a site has a big affect on the sites SEO. If a site isn’t easy to use, and your users can’t find the information they’re looking for, they’ll leave, and increase the bounce rate for your site. Search engines notice this, and presume  there isn’t good content there because people are leaving so often. If people aren’t able to locate what they’re looking for, it’s going to hurt your ranking.

Ease of use also refers to how your site works on different browsers and platforms. As mobile is now both the largest and most used platform for searching, sites such as Google are giving a higher ranking to pages that are responsive and mobile optimized.

Section recap:

-When starting, make a list of 25-100 keywords

-Go page by page to assign page specific keywords

-Make sure your site works on mobile


Ways To Optimize

With an existing website and basic SEO in place, there are always ways to improve your ranking. Many of them require coding experience and a knowledge of the industry, but there are a few simple tricks that anyone who can use a web browser can still do.

Page speed

How quickly your site loads has a huge effect on its search ranking. Multiple studies found that 40% of website visitors would leave a page if it took more than 3 seconds to load. That may not seem like much time, but when you’re in front of a screen waiting, it can feel like an eternity!

You can use tools like Pingdom and GTmetrix to see how fast your site is and which pages are slowing it down. With the data and an internal team, you can optimize the code that is causing the slow down.

For those without an internal team of coders, another easy fix is to change your hosting. Plenty of small businesses and entrepreneurs have their sites hosted on Bluehost and Godaddy with their budget-friendly fee of $3.99/month hosting plan. Yes, that is a great price, but, as the saying goes: you get what you pay for. By upgrading to a faster package, or a VPN (virtual private network), loading times can be significantly reduced. Odds are, your existing hosting also has VPN options, so sorting this out could be as easy as a quick phone call or email.

Exclusive Bonus: Download this Free Cheat Sheet On the top 11 SEO hacks for small business owners!

Leveraging other sites

In the past, quick “link building” was one of the main focuses of SEO. These days, their weight as a ranking factor has slightly diminished, but they still hold the biggest weight and greatly affect your search ranking. The best kind of links aren’t purchased in bulk – they’re earned by having other sites want to point to your amazing content. As soon as you have something worth sharing, try to get it linked as many places as possible.


Register your site

The majority of people use either Google or Yahoo for their searches, but before your site will appear, you need to register your site with them. Most people think this is done automatically, and it might be if you have an overnight viral success story, but for everyone else, it doesn’t hurt to register it as soon as it’s ready. This is quite easy, and everyone should do it. Click here to register with Google and click here to register with Yahoo!


Claim your free business site

When you search for a business, more often than not, the first results are for Yellowpages, Yelp, Google Places or Yahoo Local versions of your site. These pages are a local businesses best friend and can really help boost your search ranking by piggy-backing off these established brands. The problem is, these free sites and pages are created for businesses but often go unclaimed. There is no reason not to claim it… it’s free easy to do!


Better Business Bureau (BBB)

If possible, register your business with the BBB or chamber of commerce in your town. They are often on the first or second result page for most businesses and they can help by linking to your page once you’re registered. You can use their fee calculator to see how much it would cost to register with them here.


Ask someone

Lastly, it’s also worthwhile to ask reputable companies to link to your site or content; however,  don’t do this out of the blue without a plan. You should have a reason to ask that would benefit them, such as  great content you think their readers would enjoy. Though not every company or site will link to your content, some certainly will. Coming up with great content is challenging, and if you have  something of value, both parties can benefit by sharing it.


Easy technical ‘coding’ fixes

Meta tags, which can be accessed through your website’s back-end, are the descriptions that appear on search engines and where you can gain someone’s attention to click on your page. It’s important to balance page specific keywords, while still giving a brief explanation of what is on the page.

Image names also have an effect on your SEO. When uploading images to your website, be sure to change the name to something simple that describes it and not the default IMG_004 name. If your site is built on WordPress, this is rather simple to do even for someone who doesn’t know a lick of code!

Alt tag are also associated with images and Google highly values them. Each image you upload will have the image name, as well as an option for an alt tag. If no alt tag is entered, it will default to the image name. Since you’ve now changed all your image names to a descriptive title, you’re already off to a good start. Editing the alt tag just takes it one step farther. Here’s a quick example to give you an idea of how to best use alt tags. If your picture is of those shrimp tacos mentioned earlier, a simple name would be “shrimp_tacos”. While an alt tag would be “Delicious cilantro shrimp tacos served on a corn tortilla”. Understand the difference?


The Best Approach

Content marketing + SEO

By following all the steps listed above, you’ll be on your way to improving your SEO. But if you want to take the best approach, you’ll need to couple your SEO efforts with content marketing.

You know how important linking is to improve your SEO and toward the end of the old days (5-10 years ago) of SEO, people would buy links on which to have their site posted. Their thought process was that by following that with more links pointing to their site, the higher it would rank. At this point though, Google has cracked down hard on this practice and it’s against their webmaster guidelines.

Having people link to your website is still very important, no question about it, but doing it ethically and earning the link is a much better practice. One of the best ways to earn links to start people talking is to post great content that people want to share. Enter content marketing.

The better content you create, the more people will read and link to it, the higher your search ranking will be. Truly great content can have long lasting effects as well sending people to your site 2-4 years after you published it. That’s what I call a high ROI.

For a great outline on how to create a killer content marketing campaign, click here to view our previous post which laid out all of the important steps.


Conclusion:

Basic SEO isn’t as complicated as people think, and any business owner or entrepreneur can implement most if not all of the tips outlined above. It all comes down to this winning combo: clear messaging, an easy to use site and great content. If you stay focused on making your site as easy to use as possible and let people quickly find what they’re looking for, it should result in an increased search ranking.
Though it can take months to fully implement a SEO plan, and just as long to see the results, a solid SEO strategy is worth it in the long run. There are numerous companies that can do it for you, and one of the best ones out there is the team at LocalReachPros.com. They specialize in local SEO and even do PPC ad campaigns that are proven to bring in real business. If you’re still thinking it over, but aren’t ready to act, I suggest you take them up on their free consultation offer. What do you have to lose? They’ll answer any questions you have, offer  helpful tips and it will be much easier than searching through 50 tabs that you will probably have open in your browser! Here’s their link again: LocalReachPros.com.

Exclusive Bonus: Download this Free Cheat Sheet On the top 11 SEO hacks for small business owners!
May 30, 2016

The 5 Fundamentals Steps of a Winning Content Marketing Engine

What the experts have mastered and you should know

Content marketing is quickly becoming the main lead generation strategy for a majority of businesses. Forbes reports that 76% of B2C companies are doing content marketing, but only 37% say it’s actually effective.

The question is, what are the 39% who do find their content marketing effective doing differently? This post will take you through the basic foundations of a lead generating, content marketing plan.

So what exactly is content marketing? In short, it’s publishing free content of any sort through a channel, such as a blog post or on social media, with the overall goal to increase sales.

Content marketing is different from just a standard ad campaign, and the benefits aren’t just sales. Good content marketing can increase your SEO and make your business visible to a larger audience. This audience fills up the beginning of your sales funnel by subscribing to your newsletter or downloading your content, and some will eventually become paying customers.

Good content marketing also has a positive psychological effect of converting your visitors into sales. Let me explain this principle with an analogy. Imagine your customers as a bank vault, and when you first meet them, their vault is empty. You haven’t created any value yet, so there isn’t anything there. If you try to take money out right away by going straight for a sale, there won’t be any there. Content marketing fills up this vault of goodwill by constantly adding value, without asking for anything in return. The more you put in, the easier it will be to take out when you do ask for the sale. It’s all about building trust.

Giving valuable content establishes trust, and people will take recommendations from a trusted source. Building and maintaining trust is hard, and coming up with something people want to read can be even harder. There’s content fatigue online, and everything is everywhere now, so it’s all about standing out, giving great content and catering to your audience.

With  hundreds of growth hacks to improve your content marketing out there, many focus on high-level stuff and conversion hacks. Most shy away from the basics and foundations that need to be in place before anything can be tested. By focusing on the basics, and not over-complicating things, you can run a very successful content marketing campaign.

Here are the six basic foundations to a solid content marketing plan.

 

Exclusive Bonus: Download the Free Copy of the content marketers toolbox.

Step 1 – Plan Out Your Strategy

It’s a fact: things that you track tend to improve. Whether it’s growing your finances, losing weight or improving your business – tracking some form of metric is essential for success. This is no different with content marketing.

You’ve seen it before with failed marketing attempts … someone biting off more than they could chew by planning to write a blog post a week for their small business as part of their content marketing plan. And attempting to do this as one of five to 10 people on staff, each with 101 other things to do. You know how the rest of the story goes. They didn’t meet their goal of one post per week, got discouraged and abandoned the whole content marketing strategy because it wasn’t effective.

Avoid this pitfall by setting goals, and you’re more likely to stick with it, and see results. This could be as basic as a good old spreadsheet in Google Drive. Successful content marketing doesn’t come from one amazing post. It comes from continued persistence and consistency.

Some metrics that you should consider tracking are:

  • Goal posts per month
  • Actual posts per month
  • Number of page visitors
  • Social shares
  • Comments

Focusing on improving just one of these aspects of your content marketing will put you ahead of 50% of the other people who aren’t tracking anything. I’d recommend using Google Analytics for your site. It’s free to set up and you can monitor all of these simple metrics.  


Step 2 – Channels and Content

So you’ve made your plan and know what you’re going to track. Great! Your next choice will be what channel to focus on.

A channel is a source of visitors you can deliver content to. Examples include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email or anything else. It’s important to note that different channels cater to different audiences, through different content. YouTube is all video content, and twitter is mostly text.

To start, identify and only focus your efforts on one channel. Set out exactly what is unique to this channel and why is it’s a good fit for your content. If you deliver real-time content, channels Twitter and Facebook would be a good fit; if your content is business focused, perhaps LinkedIn would be better.

One last channel that’s been growing for some time now, and should not be overlooked, is mobile. It is already the most used tool for search, and no matter what other channels you choose, it should also be optimized for mobile.  

Now onto the fun stuff – actually creating the content!

When starting a content marketing campaign the largest hurdle is usually finding topics to write about. I have some good news for you. No more looking at a blank page or all over the internet with no inspiration. With free tools like buzzsumo.com, you can enter a keyword pertaining to your business, and it will show you the most popular posts, sorted by social shares. This is a great find for any marketer’s toolbox and will help you not only find an engaging topic to write about, but choose the right one for your channel as well.

Once you’ve found a topic, writing the post is relatively straightforward. You could stick to a 1500 word essay format, which has been proven to be effective, but it doesn’t mean your posts need to look like that. There are many kinds of posts that don’t require much research on your part and still engage your audience. Some examples are:

List of hacks: Find the best hacks for your topic and write a couple sentences about each. This provides enormous perceived value and is relatively easy to do.

Case study: You don’t need to do the research to write about a case study. You just need to reference the data from another blog post and put your unique spin on it.

Industry insights: For this kind of post, you can simply consolidate quotes from industry leaders about a specific topic. This helps put together a wider image of what’s actually happening in the industry.

Infographic: These kinds of posts also have a lot of perceived value, and they’re fun to read as well! You don’t need a design background either. You can use free tools like canva.com to put one together or outsource the design using a site such as fiverr.com

Content doesn’t always have to be on your site either. Thinking outside the box, other ways to leverage what you can create include:

  • Getting involved in LinkedIn groups.
  • Answering industry specific questions on Quora
  • Posting videos on YouTube
  • Doing podcasts
  • Posting slideshows

The world is your marketing oyster, so pick which tool works for your audience and only focus on it.


Step 3 – Write for Your Audience

It’s essential that any post or content you create is designed specifically for your audience. Not everyone will like a general voice and not everyone will like a niche one. So why not create content for your exact customer? Successful content marketing requires you to understand everything about your audience from their wants, needs, goals and how they engage with your content.

That may seem like a lot, but it’s the best method to curate your content. Creating a customer profile is the next step in a successful content marketing campaign. Here are some examples of how to create one:

Ask them: The simplest solution is often the best, so start by interviewing existing customers of yours. The key to a great interview isn’t to ask a lot of questions, but to get your customer talking about themselves. Ask them who they are and what they do. What are their 5- and 10-year goals? What do they value? What platforms do they frequent? People love talking about themselves, so this shouldn’t be too hard if you can get someone on the phone.

Research them: There are a wealth of online tools you can use use to do market research about your ideal customer. Start with LinkedIn where you can find industry specific groups and go on to look at individual members. You can note their education, where they work and what other groups they’re in. You need to be a social media ninja to succeed with content marketing.  

Go to an event: This may seem almost too obvious, but by going to an event for your target market, you can gain an enormous amount of insight. It doesn’t need to be a trade show or anything big either. There are lots of Meetups and groups in every city and you can find them on sites like meetup.com. By taking a bit of time to go to one, you can gain a lot of knowledge about your ideal customer.

Exclusive Bonus: Download the Free Copy of the content marketers toolbox.

Step 4 – Incorporate Keywords

SEO isn’t the be-all-end-all that it used to even just five years ago, but it’s still important to have and goes benefit hand in hand with content marketing.

While you’re creating your content, it’s important to keep your messaging consistent. Specifically, keywords in your headline, video description or hashtags. This can increase your SEO and make you easier to find online.

If you focus on a few keywords or sentences, and then consistently use them while publishing content, Google will recognize you as an expert in the field and bump up your search ranking.

While choosing what keywords you want to use, why not pick ones that you know people are looking for? Using the free keyword tool by Google Adwords is a great place to start finding words and sentences that you know have a high search ranking to reach , more readers and generate additional likes and shares.  

 


Step 5 – Call to Action + Link to Product

By now you know content marketing is designed to bring leads to the very top of your funnel with the goal of converting them into customers. That transition isn’t easy, so this next section is all about how to improve your conversion.

Readers start out as people who are interested in what your are posting and want to learn more about what you have to offer. They take the next step to becoming a lead by opting in and clicking your call to action, otherwise known as converting.

There are books all about this one step, but at it’s basic level, a call to action or CTA can be anything that you give to a reader in exchange for their information – usually name and email address. The key to having a great CTA is to make it an irresistible offer with clear value. You can create professional landing pages very quickly to test your offer using sites like Unbounce.com or Leadpages.net. Both great options. Unbounce offers more customization while Leadpages has set templates which are sortable by conversion rate. With either of these platforms, you’ll also be able to A/B test different variants and link up your preferred email client.  

Link to your product: It’s content marketing, so you can’t forget to link your content to the product you’re selling. Providing value is essential for a successful plan, but if you’re not leveraging the trust that you’ve created with your readers to recommend your amazing product, you’re missing a great opportunity.

Let me repeat that. Content marketing creates trust with readers. When someone you trust makes a recommendation, you give it more thought and will probably check it out. Use this trust to recommend your product.

By staying focused on the foundations, and implementing these practices, you’ll be well on your way to a successful content marketing campaign. To download the content marketing toolbox, which has links to all the amazing tools mentioned in this post you can use to run your campaign, click here.

Exclusive Bonus: Download the Free Copy of the content marketers toolbox.
May 23, 2016

The 7 Steps to a Killer PPC Campaign

Get Down To Business With a PPC How-To Guide And Checklist

Bringing in more customers – it’s what every business wants. And there are a lot of different approaches to getting new customers to your site. Some people often compare local SEO to PPC ads. Though local SEO is great at making your site easier for people to find, and should be on your to-do list, it doesn’t immediately create a flood of traffic and new leads.

If you want an abundance of leads right now the best option is to run a kick-ass PPC campaign. PPC, or pay-per-click, campaigns work by posting ads, usually on Google, Bing or Facebook, that are then charged when someone clicks the ad, taking them to your landing page or website. They are usually set for a specific period of time, with a set budget. Once someone clicks on your ad, they have the opportunity to sign up for whatever you’re selling.

Who should run a PPC campaign? Any business owner looking for more customers. PPC ads are reliable sources for new traffic and can often be the key to exponential growth.

Tackling a PPC campaign for beginners may seem like a daunting task, but by taking it one step at a time, anyone who’s reading this has the ability to generate new leads. In this article, we’ll show you step-by-step everything you need to know to crush a PPC campaign with amazing results. A standard PPC campaign follows these steps: choosing a platform (Google, Bing, Facebook), creating a game plan, planning your keywords, picking your audience, setting a budget and following up.

I suggest you read the whole article first before going back to implement the steps. You can also download this step-by-step roadmap, giving you all the key points.  

Free Bonus: Download the Free PPC checklist for small business owners!

Selecting a Network

The first step of any campaign is to select where you want to run your ads. The three largest options are Google Display Network, the Bing network and Facebook Ads. Choosing the right network depends on your campaign goals, the type of ad you want to run and where your customers typically hang out.

The Google and Bing networks are displayed on a website and on search result pages, while Facebook ads are limited to Facebook and Instagram. There is no right or wrong option here, but one might be a better fit over another for your customers.

Facebook ads are served to nearly 51% of all internet users, but have more impressions (or people seeing the ad), while Google and Bing reach close to 90% of all internet users, but have fewer impressions per month.

If you know many of your users are on Facebook, start there. If you’re targeting a website and want more options, start with Google or Bing. Whichever option you choose, you can sign up and create free accounts to try out here:

Google adword signup: https://adwords.google.com/um/signin

Facebook signup: https://www.facebook.com/r.php

Bing Ad signup: https://secure.bingads.microsoft.com/signup


Clear Goal

While obvious, many businesses fail to outline this first essential step. What is it you want your ads to do? Getting more leads isn’t an acceptable answer. For you to crush it with this campaign, you’ll need clear focus and a specific plan. Goals also need to be set for the number of leads you’d like and the campaign length.  

Some examples of goals include advertising a promotion, a free consultation, a flash sale, etc… In each of these examples, customers will click on an ad, be brought to a landing page and then ideally exchange their name and email (and maybe even credit card) for what you’re offering.

If this is your first PPC campaign, write down and plan out three different campaign ideas you can offer, what information you want to collect and your calls to action.

You’ll also need to figure out what you’re going to do with your lead information once you have it. Whether it’s putting them into an autoresponder sequence to follow up with emails, engaging manually with personal emails (probably not possible for larger businesses) or doing consultation phone calls, a follow up plan is essential.


Keywords

Ok, so you have your desired ad network selected and a game plan with a goal for your upcoming campaign. The next step is to determine what keywords you’re going to use. When creating ads, keywords are the specific words that, when searched for, will display your ad. They are crucial to the success of your campaign by ensuring the right people are finding your ad.

Where to start: Keep it simple at first – you don’t need to over-complicate things. The first thing you should do is make a list of 25 words associated with your business. Use existing keywords already on your website to help keep things consistent.  

Having this 25-word list is a perfect springboard to finding even better keywords. Remember, you want your keywords to be as specific as possible to your audience. Start with broad terms and work your way down, getting more and more specific until you’re in your niche.

With a small list of words, you’re ready to use the Google Keyword-Tool. This  free tool comes with any Adwords account and is great at searching for new keywords. You can use a phrase, category or other keywords. Since you’ve already made a list of words, just start plugging them in and see what Google suggests.

In your search, you’ll notice that some words are more popular than others and therefore have a higher cost associated with them. Current words like iPhone 6 will be more expensive than words like Green Bay suburb roofing, for example, because there aren’t as many people searching for the latter.

Through Google Adwords, you’ll also notice the average monthly search for words. Though there isn’t any set rule for an optimal average search volume, the more searches you can find, the better. Somewhere between 5,000-10,000 could be a good place, but then again, if you offer a very niche local business, as low as 500-1,000 searches could be all you need.

Negative keywords: Once you’ve selected general keywords for your campaign, you should focus next on negative keywords. These are words that you don’t want to be associated with your search.

For example, if you’re selling a premium product, free and cheap are not words you want associated with your brand. There could also be another unrelated business that uses a similar name as your company, so make sure you eliminate those searches as well. The World Wildlife Fund won’t benefit by serving any of their ads to wrestling fans, so they would include negative keywords like wrestling, wrestlemania and world wrestling federation.

Look to the competition: Coming up with keywords can be hard, but savvy business owners work smarter, not harder. Every business has competition, so looking at yours is a great place for potential keyword ideas. See what they’re using on their website, and even on their paid ads if you can find any, and be sure to write them down. Once you have the basic words, your next task will be how to set yourself apart from the competition.

One last keyword tip is to consider including your competition’s company name in your keywords. Some companies even go so far as to have the highest bid for the competition, so they come up first, appealing to customers who might be looking for a switch.

If this isn’t your first PPC campaign, and you’re looking for more out of your keywords, consider using a tool like Market Samurai or SEMRush. They both have great keyword generating tools that take keywords to the next level.

Target Your Audience Goal – check.

Keywords – check.


Next on your list is the Demographic and Location

Demographics: This is a must for any successful campaign. The more you know about your target, the better you can focus your ads. If you’re planning a PPC campaign, you must know something about your market. Important things include your target market’s age, gender and marital status. This isn’t essential, but it’s good to include.

Location: Unlike demographics, location is vital. You should be advertising where your business is located. There’s no point spending money for someone in Russia to see your ad if you’re a roofer in Austin. If your business does ship internationally, it’s a different story. However, it’s always recommended to start locally and move out. You can select entire countries, cities and even a specific radius around your business. For now, note the country and city you’re planning on targeting.

For those choosing to advertise just around their physical location, it’s important to know that 70-80% of leads are searching for products while at work and are often 30-40 miles away from their home. With this knowledge, you can actually reach more of your potential customers by having a slightly larger search radius.

Free Bonus: Download the Free PPC checklist for small business owners!

Budget + Cost Calculation

The key to any successful PPC campaign is having your numbers add up. Your goal is to make money and grow your business, so you’ll need to determine  your lead value and conversion rate.

The lead value is dependant on what you’re selling. Let’s go back to the roofer example. Assume a new roof sale is worth $3000, and you generated 500 leads. Each lead is then worth $6.

Lead value = value of sale/total number of leads

The conversion rate is how many of your leads were able to be converted into sales. If you made 20 sales last year and had 200 leads, your conversion rate is 20%.

Conversion rate = total number of sales/number of leads x 100

This is essential to successfully budgeting and forecasting your campaign.

Using the example above, let’s run some numbers with a hypothetical budget of $1000 for the month. With each lead costing roughly $6, you can expect to get 166 leads (1000/6). With a conversion rate of 20%, you would get 33 customers out of the 166 leads from this campaign, generating  $99,000 in revenue.

Make sense?

Don’t get caught up with these specific numbers, but rather understand them moving forward.


Building the Ad

When building ad campaigns, you have several options for the type of ad you want to run. You have two broad categories from which to choose: images and text.

Image ads generally have a higher click-through rate, but can cost more and take longer to test and create. Text ads have more competition and a lower click-through rate, but can be prepared very quickly, with no design skills needed.

For any ad campaign to be successful, you’ll need to test multiple versions. And all ads require some sort copy: a headline, two description lines (text ads), display URL and additional text (Facebook ads).

When you start coming up with the copy, you’ll probably notice that creating an ad can be hard. You have very limited space and a lot of information to convey! To get it done as efficiently as possible, try using the following tips.

Focus on the customer’s end goal: What will they get out of using your service? Do they want a new roof or to prevent leaks? Put yourself in their shoes.  

Benefits: It’s easy to get caught up on the features. Your site has X, your business does Y. Reality check – your customers don’t care. They only care about what helps them. Take your features and flip them on their heads to frame the benefits instead. A faster processor on a computer means you can have more tabs open multitasking without lag.

Get specific: There’s no point in alluding to things. The best-performing ads get as specific as possible.

Use the word “you:” People love hearing their names, but unfortunately, you don’t know them yet. Instead, use the second best thing – you! Speak directly to your audience, and let them know how you’ll help them.

Local: Show people you’re right around the corner. Drop city, county or colloquial names into your ads to connect with fellow locals on a personal level.

Once your ad is live, it’s important to check on it from time to time to see how it’s doing. This is not a set it and forget it type of deal. Try checking in every 2-3 days or so. Remember, you want to give it a real chance before testing and making changes. As a rule of thumb, let it run until one ad has around 50 clicks, or it’s  been active about a week. Once you have accumulated some data, can you can make informed decisions about improvements.  


Brand Scent

Having a consistent message from your ad to your landing page or website is the brand scent…  and people know when something doesn’t smell right. If the messaging isn’t consistent between your ad and your landing page, odds are the visitor will not take action to click or opt in.

This again seems like a no-brainer, but so many companies don’t think this through. It’s as simple as having the same keywords, offer, color and even the same headline as your text ad. If you’re running an image add, use the same image to let people know they’re in the right place. These details  have a huge impact on your conversion rate.


Retargeting

With an ad campaign up and running, you’re sure to start seeing leads roll in. There may be  people who have clicked your ad, thought about the offer, but didn’t convert. A cool trick you can do to increase the likelihood of someone converting the next time they see the addis by running a retargeting campaign.

Big businesses have been using this technique for a long time, and now, for not much money, a small business owner can do exactly the same thing. Retargeting works by showing your ad to someone after they’ve visited your page. This is done by automatically tagging them with a tracking pixel or cookie after they’ve visited your page.You can learn how to do it for a Google Adwords campaign here.

You’ve probably see retargeting campaigns before, but didn’t know exactly what they were or how they work. It occurs when one specific ad shows up everywhere you look online. Though it doesn’t usually have a high conversion rate, it  works in conjunction with a PPC campaign to build credibility and trust.  

You’ve heard it before – you need to see a commercial or ad seven times before you actually see it or pay attention. Retargeting works exactly the same way … by getting your ad in front of people already interested enough to click and keep you top-of-mind. It also makes your company look like a big deal while you get away with spending under $100 per month and acquire thousands of impressions.

To run a retargeting campaign, you’ll need images as they are usually displayed on website ad space. You can use the same keywords and copy from your text ads and just throw a relevant image on it. Free tools like canva.com are great for making professional looking ads by users who are used to working with MS Paint.  


Conclusion

If you’ve gone start to finish with this roadmap you should have….

  • A clear plan for your content
  • A list of keywords
  • A target audience identified
  • Budgeting calculations and forecasts
  • Multiple versions of ad copy to test
  • Consistent messaging and strong brand scent
  • A retargeting campaign in place

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to setting up a successful PPC campaign. Make no mistake, to do each of these steps correctly will require a bit of time and research.

Free Bonus: Download the Free PPC checklist for small business owners!

If you’re interested in the results a great PPC campaign can generate, but don’t have the time or confidence to try your hand at it, consider checking out the team over at localreachpros.com. They only do the very best work, have a proven track record and real results. You can even get a free consultation to learn what approach is best for your business with no commitment required! There’s really nothing to lose by booking a consultation  and speaking with one of their experts.

January 18, 2016

5 SEO Strategies That Will Increase Your Rankings And Traffic In 2016

SEO Strategy
The new year is here.

Resolutions are set.

And there’s lots of work to be done.

Right now, there are thousands of people looking for what you have to offer. So, the question is…. do you have an SEO strategy in place to increase your traffic so your business gets found?

If you do, how do you know your strategy isn’t outdated?

If not, you’re about to learn about some core strategies to grow your business.

In this post I’ll walk you through 5 super critical strategies, for increasing traffic, to focus on and how to implement them, step-by-step.
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