How to Be or Not Be In a Digital World

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 3.15.06 PMWe’ve watched online presence transform from a hobby or a pastime into a mandatory, crucial, and overwhelmingly powerful tool practiced by everyone familiar with the World Wide Web. What is fast becoming clear is that 10 years from now, online presence will replace resumes and will serve as our business card whether for professional purposes or social and romantic ones. This reality lends urgency to the question of how we, average Joes, promote ourselves on the web? How do we become our own content marketing, SEO, and copywriting team?

Gone are the days of posting whatever feels right at the spur of the moment anywhere and everywhere on the web. The good old days of carefree frolicking on the net have made way to a new and very different kind of web presence. This is the time of the carefully thought out posts, the manicured pictures, and the well-formulated responses. These are the days of the meticulously crafted Likes and Shares and the cautionary tales of intimate affairs gone viral and private pictures haunting teenage girls.

At the Social Fresh Conference a few months ago, three out of five panelists chose to discuss digital presence. In the words of the table’s moderator, “practically every business in the world knows the importance of an online presence. Most people find it off-putting if a business doesn’t have a website to talk about itself.” With recruiters and hiring managers in businesses of all sizes turning to the web to gain insight into potential candidates and one in every five employers using social networks to screen job seekers, it is clear why being MIA online is deemed anachronistic, hidebound and even suspect.

Hard Times for Small Businesses

This is a paradox unique to our time. We live in a profoundly online culture with enormous access to information. However, many small to medium businesses have not quite caught up to this digital explosion and find themselves lagging behind, always one step behind the latest social network taking the world by storm.

In Came the Social Media Assistance Tools

In the world of online, where a need is determined, a product is usually not far behind. In the wake of the ever growing social platforms, online services have sprung up to offer tracking, management, and synchronization support. Software such as Hootsuite, Oktopost, and Sociota provide a one-stop-shops for managing all your media accounts, Lithium offers to nurture all your customer support and care relations for you, and Engagor targets conversations involving your business or brand as they happen in real time across all social media platforms. Such services were constructed with the small business sector in mind. They aim to provide an answer for businesses that don’t yet have those big marketing departments and extravagant social budgets.

Yet services catering to small businesses go far beyond online management and monitoring tools. With the understanding that even brick-and-mortar businesses are in need of serious web visibility came a slew of geo-based software such as Moment.me, which will aggregate all relevant social media posts related to an address you input.

If a Dog is Man’s Friend Then…

I’ve heard it said that social media assistance software is a small business’ best friend. Like a good assistant, it badgers you as little as possible with questions you don’t have clear answers for and before you know, it gets the job done. If tracking your social media traffic is what you’re after, communicating with your customers in real time, or making yourself relevant on as many social media platforms as you possibly can, these tools have your name written all over them.

b&w author pic 1Anat Richter is Content Marketing Director at emaze. When she isn’t tapping away in its Tel Aviv offices, she is documenting life on the web as a user and a guest blogger.

 

Can Your Video Advertisement Reduce Everyone to Tears?

Remember Tears for Fears? They had it right: everybody wants to rule the world.

tears for fears

When you set out to create a video advertisement, you want its influence to span the globe. The best way to accomplish that feat is to leverage something that is universal: like emotion.

Brands that elevate themselves up from the level of simply providing a service, to the heralded plateau of being a facilitator of emotion are the brands most likely to succeed in the global online community.

In the past, the challenge was establishing a genuine human connection with only a 30-second video spot. But online, viewers have “leisure time” in the emergent channels (social timelines, Whatsapp-style group messaging, etc.) to consume content that is much longer in length.

In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at an advertisement from Google that utilizes this extra available time effectively in order to shoot straight for the heart of the viewer to bring forth the tears.

Google’s “Dear Sophie” Ad Will Break You

Interestingly enough, ‘Tears for Fears’ is a reference to one of the core principals American psychologist and psychotherapist Arthur Janov, who advocates a ‘tears instead of fears’ approach to dealing with (childhood) trauma.

Google’s ‘Dear Sophie’ video is only dealing with the consumer’s fear of the unknown, but their approach is similar: break you down to build you up. Check it out:

(If you don’t have time to view the advertisement, it basically features a man emailing “into the future” his newborn daughter using Google’s services.)

“Dear Sophie” comes from BBH New York & Google Creative Labs. It has over ten million views, and about two seconds into the video you feel why—in your heart. It will get to you emotionally.

For that reason and others, it has won multiple advertising awards, including the People’s Voice at the 2012 Webby Awards.

The advertisement is about 1:30 in length—three times the length of the traditional 30-second slot—but it sustains the viewer’s attention just fine because in part the viewer is probably just browsing the web looking for something to watch.

The Big Takeaway: You Have Time to Tell a Story So Tell One

Notice how “Dear Sophie” is not really about any one service in particular. In simply telling a story, Google succeeds in advertising all of their services—a lifestyle, even. A lifestyle of love.

It sounds somewhat cheesy, but ten million views isn’t cheesy at all.

To sum everything up: the short story format of a couple minutes is made possible by the extra “leisure time” available online.

Depending on the context, there are no rules. (I once watched an online B2C video advertisement that was over an hour long. I don’t even know how long it actually was because I stopped watching!)

Generally, however, most people agree that anywhere from 2–7 minutes is an appropriate range for the short story format.

In the next blog post, we’re going to continue looking at “leisure time” advertising. Taking full advantage of the time available is one aspect, but taking full advantage of the context itself is another, and perhaps more important.

Mike TylerMike Tyler CEO of War Room ranked #1 in online Digital Advertising and reporting. Are you looking for more Video Advertising tips? Check out the Video Advertising Guru

YouTube Adds More Interaction to Videos With Cards

Cards are all the rage in digital circles it seems, so YouTube has jumped on the bandwagon adding a cards feature as a way of creating greater interaction.

Think of cards as ways to add information to another piece of information. For example, Twitter Cards allow you to add a video to a tweet and WordPress supports plugins that allow you to add cards to widgets and sidebars so that information supporting other information comes to life.

YouTube Cards

With YouTube’s version of cards, you can embed a call to action that urges the viewer to click for more info. It’s kind of annotations, but in my opinion a lot more engaging. You can create card types for merchandise, fundraising, video, playlist, associated website and fan funding.

Adding YouTube Cards

To add cards to your video open the video and click on the i circle icon and choose to add a type of card at the appropriate place in the video.

For merchandise, an author might use a book trailer and have a card pointing to the book’s website. A video, playlist of associated website might allow you to create a series of videos and prompt the viewer to watch the next in the series or check out a course sales page. (To point your card to a website the site must be associated with the YouTube account via advanced channel settings. My guess is this a good thing from a Google SEO world anyway.)

There are other tools that allow you to add overlays and other calls to action but native YouTube features just seem to make sense to me.

In the example, above I’ve linked a series of educational videos to a course they are drawn from but also linked them together so a viewer would go through the entire series much like a playlist. You can check out an example of YouTube cards in action here

You can check out the help topics on Google Cards here.

6 Key Tactics Agencies Use to Help Local Businesses Rank Higher in Google

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s guest post is from Dan Olson – Enjoy!

Small businesses today, more than ever, rely on agencies to help with organic search and local results to drive business in their local markets. The challenge for most is ranking in the top spots to be noticed and attract the right customers. As a matter-of-fact, 67.60% of all Google clicks come from the first 5 positions, making that real estate extremely valuable and highly sought after. Understanding this challenge, we’ve come up with six tactics agencies use to help their small business customers achieve search result success.

1) Pick long-tail keywords. Not only that, but pick the right ones.

Be sure to recommend that your customers pick keywords that aren’t too short. The shorter the keyword, the more competition they are to face from competitors in the same market. Not only that, but it will take a lot more effort to build the adequate link authority in order to meaningfully rank for that keyword. Instead, you should focus on more detailed (long-tail) keywords or phrases that are specific to your clients’ solution. This results in more relevant traffic to their sites and higher rankings within search results which can substantially decrease bounce rates and increase conversions. Here are a few examples of keywords: Short-tail keywords – Marketing, SEO, Social Media, Content Creation (usually one or two words, not very targeted). Long-tail keyphrases – web design ohio, seo guest posting strategies, local marketing chicago illinois, responsive wordpress theme templates (more focused and specific to target audiences).

2) Don’t write content for the search engines.

By this, we don’t mean writing content stuffed with keywords you hope will help with your rank. if you think that method works, prepare to be greatly disappointed. Rather, write valuable content that educates your audience. It’s often pretty tempting to copy and paste content to save time. However, when you do this, you sacrifice your credibility and dilute your link authority. You should always produce content you know your audience will consume and come back to for more! Tip: Many agencies don’t have the bandwidth nor resources to do this for each and every client, but will outsource these types of services to experts in the field

3) Co-create content with other authorities in your niche market.

Business owners, in most cases, spend a lot of time building up their own content and not enough time collaborating with other people in the same industry. As an agency, they rely on you to guide them in the right direction. Finding the right partners within an industry is crucial. Whether it’s teaming up with a blogger in your city to run a thought leadership piece or investing some time to share relevant content through a local community site, there are many outlets that help increase your clients’ local visibility and build up their reputation.

4) Claim and manage your client’s local listings.

This is more of a technical SEO tactic, but still very important. “Google My Business” is a platform that enables your small business customers to verify their online visibility and local business information through the search engines. By signing up on this platform, you can help businesses keep track of their local listings and social footprint. It’s a very simple way for agencies to help small businesses get found, manage their online presence, and build relationships with consumers. Places like Angie’s List, Google+ Local, Yelp, and Citysearch are also great sources to bolster their online visibility.

5) Publish content consistently.

Consistency is key when you’re just starting out. Search engine bots come by to scrape your content on a regular basis. With more consistent publishing, search engine bots associate your domain with authority and help you rise through the search rankings. To aid in doing this, create an editorial calendar. This way, you’ll be able to keep track of your content ideas, as well as your publishing schedule. Remember, Google loves when you deliver fresh and relevant content that is shared consistently, so keep producing content that is unique to your clients’ audience and the rest will fall into place.

6) Manage your client’s online reputation.

Lastly, you want to pay attention to your client’s online reputation. Reputation management plays a significant role in your influence with customers. If your client has negative mentions or reviews online, it’s in their best interest to find them as soon as possible. This way, they have time to craft a proper response that can address, if not alleviate, the situation. Clients can also capitalize on positive mentions by responding favorably to them, helping solidify them as a trustworthy place of business. Recap: We’ve found that these tactics can have the most significant impact on your clients’ search rankings. Remember, establishing a keyword strategy early on will keep you laser-focused on developing fresh and relevant content that drive true results. Positioning is key! Building up your clients’ reputation and maintaining an authoritative figure in the local market takes time, but done right will benefit you both greatly.

Dan OlsonDan Olson is the Co-Founder and CEO of UpCity.com, the industry’s most robust SEO software and inbound marketing platform designed to help clients achieve local digital marketing success. Designed by pioneers in the search engine optimization industry, UpCity makes getting free traffic even easier. With a built-in “task engine,” UpCity creates personalized action plans and performance tracking reports to help guide each campaign to achieve measurable SEO success. As a stand-alone technology solution or as an extension of your services team, we partner with agencies to help them acquire, retain and scale their small business relationships.

5 Local Search Tactics You Must Employ Today

This post is one in a series of tips designed to guide small business owners through the challenges of today’s startup environment and is sponsored by Canon MAXIFY – the printer lineup designed to help small business owners increase productivity so that they can focus on everything else that matters. For more information about the Canon MAXIFY printer lineup visit here 

Search is pretty much everything these days.

photo credit: D.Clow - Maryland via photopin cc

photo credit: D.Clow – Maryland via photopin cc

Even businesses that rely on people in their town, coming into their place of business to complete a transaction, are held to the fact that, increasingly, most buying decisions start out with an online search.

The category of local search engine optimization has picked up steam over the last few years as search behavior combined with the rapid growth of smart phone use created a truly mobile search consumer. Services like Yext have cropped up just to help tackle this very specific form of SEO.

Below are five local search tactics that demand your attention today if you are a local oriented business.

Get the NAP right

NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone and the search engines obviously want to make sure that when someone is looking for a local business there’s no ambiguity around what and where the business is.

Google depends upon list and data compilers to make sure this information is accurate and up to date. If you’ve been in business more than a few months there’s a good chance your business is in one or more of the directories that Google depends on, but in addition to adding business to these directories you must make certain that the information is correct and consistent.

MOZLocal is a great free tool for analyzing the current state and gaps in your directory listings.

Local profiles matter

Profiles in social, local and review sites such as Yelp, can be a great place to add lots local information.

While many people are familiar with the more popular networks such as Google+ and Facebook, there are other important directories that might help in giving your local business an edge. MOZLocal is one of the best tools for automating this process.

Localize your content

Many people forget to consider their web content and make sure that they are adding localized content where it makes sense. Obvious things like blog posts with suburb names and maps with directions are a must, but you might also consider adding a community calendar and blogging about events that happen in your town.
The Yoast Local SEO Plugin is an invaluable tool for optimizing content on WordPress sites.

Consider adding location specific landing pages where you might have content specific to a suburb, town or even neighborhood.

Reviews drive local trust

Reviews are one of the many ranking factors Google throws into what businesses show up for a local search. If you search on a term like “SEO” and Google thinks you are in say, in Kansas City, you are going to see a list of Kansas City based SEO companies.

If you do this search yourself take note of the fact that all of the local pages listed also have Google+ Pages associated and while not all have reviews, the ones that do certainly stand out.

Get serious about collecting reviews! Tools like Grade.us and GetFiveStars can help make this process more streamlined.

Local social

Don’t forget to add to your overall local approach by localizing much of your social media activity. As mentioned above, your profiles are a great place to start, but you can go beyond that as you post new content and updates.

Think about ways to curate local content to share in social media. GeoTarget your social media advertising with local personalization. Find and use popular localized hashtags. See if anyone has created local Twitter lists of influencers you can tap into.

When you work consistently on the local search tactics outlined above you can expect to gradually start raising your local search profile to the point where Google may become your greatest source of leads.

 

Canon will be spotlighting several small business owners on its social media channels throughout the next several months, so be sure to leave a comment and share your thoughts on this post using the hashtag #MAXIFY in order to qualify. If you are a U.S.-based small business owner (1-9 employees) and have faced a unique business challenge in your first year on the job, let us know! We’d love to hear what line of work your small business falls within and what you feel is the most important takeaway from this post. We’ll also be rewarding select small business owners with a prize pack including the Canon MAXIFY MB5320 printer as well as other essentials to help you run your business more efficiently. So don’t forget to leave a link to your website or social media pages that way we can see how well you’re marketing your business and get in touch!

Optimizing Your Tweets for Search

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Daniel Page– Enjoy!

Optimizing Your Tweets for Search

photo credit: Flickr

Twitter’s among the most powerful social networks in the world for brand awareness – which is why it’s of the utmost importance that you know how to tap into it.

Twitter’s been around for several years now, and there still appears to be a distressing number of organizations who don’t quite know what to make of it. That’s  rather unfortunate, as those organizations don’t understand enough to know what they’re missing out on. In the right hands, Twitter may well be among the most powerful social networks in the world.

I suspect this is tied to the nature of the social network. Twitter is something people use when they’re in transit. It’s a site they browse when they’re waiting for the train, sitting in the bathroom, or stuck in traffic.  It’s a social network they go to in order to share and discover new content; in order to share their stream of thought with the world.

Connect with a user on here, and they’re bound to spread whatever message you’re putting forward like wildfire.

Make Sure Your Profile Is Optimized First

Before you even think of tweaking any of your tweets, you need to have a look at your profile. Do you have a decent profile picture? Does your tagline flow naturally while still incorporating a few keywords related to your brand? Is your profile named after your brand (or something people would associate with it?)

If you answered no to any of those questions, then you’ve some work to do before going forward.

Tailor Your Tweets To Grab Attention – And Make Sure You Have A Voice

While I don’t deny that each and every tweet should have a headline, and that most should include a link along with a hashtag or two, I nevertheless maintain that your ‘voice’ is the most important part of your Twitter presence. It’s how you present yourself to your peers and followers, after all; just like a sleazy used car salesman is likelier to drive people away from his lot than sell them a Prius, tweets that appear mechanical, spammy, or boring will cause nothing but harm.

Let your personality shine through – keep it professional, but demonstrate that you are a real human being.

Time Your Tweets

There are certain dates and times when a tweet is likeliest to receive attention, but it tends to vary by region and demographic. If you know anything about your target audience, try tracking a few of them down on Twitter. Watch their habits – when are they tweeting, and how often? Working out what time most of their tweets were sent could give you a good idea of when would be the best time to make yourself heard.

Create A Keyword List

Although I’ve always been a proponent of a more organic form of SEO, it could be worthwhile to put together a list of all the major keywords you intend to use on Twitter. Keep them close-by, and don’t be afraid to occasionally drop one or two into one of your tweets (either into the body or as a hashtag).

Use Hashtags Whenever Possible (And Appropriate)

Speaking of hashtags…learn about them. Learn how they work. Learn what makes them tick. The most important thing here is that you don’t overuse them. You should never have more than three in a single tweet, and even then three could be two too many. Never start a tweet with a hashtag.

In order to figure out what hashtags you should be using, simply do a search on terms related to your brand (or to the tweet you’re planning to send). Note the terms that seem to be the most popular; these are your hashtags.

Understand The Concepts of Favorites And Retweets

While you should go out of your way to avoid pestering your fellow users, it can’t hurt to occasionally ask for a retweet when you’re sharing something particularly vital. Don’t forget to retweet a few things yourself, as well, in order to augment your own content.

Tweet Frequently

Last but not least, tweet with some degree of frequency and consistency. You might want to consider using some sort of management tool or setting up a tweet scheduler of some kind. Personally, I use Twuffer, but it’s up to you what you ultimately want to go with.

daniel pageAbout Daniel Page — Daniel is the Director of Business Development for Ahosting, a leading provider in SEO hosting and multiple IP hosting. Follow Ahosting on Twitter at @ahostingdotnet,  Like them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ahostingdotnet, and check out all the services they offer on http://www.ahosting.net/

 

How to Use Cialdini’s Principles and A/B Testing to Increase Sales and Conversions

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Anand Kansal  – Enjoy! 

There is arguably no more important book in the world of persuasive selling than Robert Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”. With the rise of online marketing, it was, therefore, only a matter of time before the principles of influence that Mr. Cialdini talked about began to be used by online business owners and marketers to increase sales and conversions on their websites. Specifically, in the world of A/B testing, many successful testers have used them to construct variations which employ one or more of these principles. These principles have been used on major eCommerce and SaaS websites to run tests that result in more and more visitors driven into a conversion funnel or tempted to click on that ‘Add to Cart’ button.

In this post, I’ll be giving an overview of each of the 6 principles before demonstrating a successful A/B test that was conducted on this principle and how you can use this principle to increase the persuasive power of your website. Let’s get started!

Principle#1: Reciprocity

People tend to return favors. The reason why you get free stuff (newsletters, eBooks, guides) all the time in your inbox is because of some marketer wanting you to return the favor by either trying out their product, subscribing to their stuff or sharing their stuff on social media.

Artsy Editor, a premium WordPress WYSIWYG editor, tested 3 combinations of Call-to-Action(CTA) buttons on their homepage. Let us take a look at each of the variations in turn.

Variation 1

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Variation 2

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Variation 3

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The goal of the test was the number of people who clicked through to their demo and pricing page. Variation 1 increased their CTR by 47%, Variation 2 by 17% and Variation 3 resulted in no improvement.

What does this show? If you push too hard at the beginning, the visitors may feel uncomfortable and leave the site. Especially for a SaaS product, the primary CTA should be demo/trial.

Principle#2: Social Proof

People see what they see others are doing. We are more likely to put money in a collection jar which is half full and buy a product recommended by someone known to us. FietsPunt.nl, a Dutch online biking solutions store, used this principle to run an A/B test on their website. What they did was adding a customer testimonial widget to their product pages. This is how the control and the variation looked.

Control

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Variation

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Comparison Image

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The variation recorded a 36.73% increase in orders and had a 99% chance to beat the original. Needless to say, this was a hugely beneficial test.

Principle#3: Scarcity

The fear of losing out is much more than the joy of winning. This is why salesmen are quick to point out that the ‘special discount’ they are offering is only for a ‘limited period of time’.

RIPT Apparel, an online retailer of designer tees and wearable art, make a new design available every day starting at midnight. This design is available only for 24 hours, post which it is retired for posterity. They tried to use this ‘scarcity hook’ by including it in the text on their CTA button. This is how the control and the variation looked.

Control

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Variation

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The variation resulted in a 6.3% increase in sales. So what do we see here? A company increasing sales – not by changing business models, adding products, giving offers – but just recognizing a persuasion hook and using it to drive more conversions. This is the power of persuasion.

Principle#4: Authority

People tend to believe in figures that exhibit some sense of authority or leadership. This is why pharmaceutical companies use doctors in their marketing campaigns. Or why we are likely to believe a ‘stock market expert’ even though most of what he/she says turns out to be made up.

Bag Servant decided to use this principle in setting up an A/B test on their product pages. In the variation, they replaced the Twitter Followers badge in the header with a relatively rare WOW badge that was presented to them by a renowned business woman.

Control

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Variation

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Comparison image

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As a result of this test, product exploration increased by 60.42%.

Trust badges like the one seen above can be used to radically improve the trust factor of your website.

Principle#5: Liking

Many marketers tend to overlook the fact that people are more likely to be persuaded by people who they can relate with, and therefore, like. That is why advertisements of household appliances prefer to show moms and not celebrities.

Medalia Art, an online art store tried to trigger this principle by replacing the images of the painting with images of the artists themselves. This resulted in an increase in conversion rate of more than 95%.

Control

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Variation

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One way of using this technique is advertising your product through your consumers. Customers today are skeptical and they are more open to word-of-mouth than clichéd advertisements.

Principle#6: Commitment and Consistency

Human beings, in general, have a deep desire to be consistent with their actions. If you’re able to show people that not using your product/service will negatively affect what they most want, they will be more likely to buy from you. This is why you see headlines like ‘Do you want to have 6 pick abs?’ or ‘Do you want a Mercedes in 2 months?’ (Yeah, right)

I have to admit something here. I lied at the beginning of this article. No good test has yet been conducted to see whether Commitment and Consistency really result in increased online conversions. I want to give you this opportunity to show us how you conducted a test based on one of these principles and whether it worked or not. Feel free to comment below.

Author PicAnand Kansal is a Marketer at VWO. He is involved in VWO’s lead generation activities. He’s also responsible for creating content offers, including eBooks and blog posts. Passionate about helping websites increase leads and revenue, he loves to read about behavioral psychology and decision science. He can be found on Twitter at @anandkansal88

 

How To Avoid the 3 Most Costly Mistakes When Using Google AdWords

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Adam Lundquist– Enjoy! 

photo credit: Red X  via WikiMedia Commons
photo credit: Red X via WikiMedia Commons

Do you ever feel like your small business would get a better return on investment by literally lighting your money on fire than using Google AdWords?

You began your AdWords campaign for your small business with high hopes and launched it, excited to fulfill orders from your new customers. Except those orders never came.

You attempted to fix it with different keywords, ad copy, and the newest techniques from self-proclaimed “experts”. However, with each new “fix” you spent more of your time and money – but added no new revenue. You are low on advertising budget and even lower on patience.

If this is your experience then you are not alone, almost all small businesses make costly mistakes when they start using AdWords. This is because the AdWords system penalizes you for mistakes you do not even know you are making. Even worse, in some cases AdWords even encourages these mistakes. The more you mistakes you make the more money AdWords earns from extra clicks you don’t want.

This article helps you identify these mistakes – and more importantly learn how to correct them to put you on the path to AdWords profit.

Mistake One: Keywords In Broad Match

AdWords is set by default to have your keywords in broad match, and this causes your keywords to match for a huge variety of searches you never intended.

For example, if you are a pizza store in Philadelphia and use Google AdWords, you might bid on the keyword Pizza delivery in Philadelphia. You assume that a hungry user has to type in the phrase Pizza delivery in Philadelphia into Google to view your ad and order your delicious pie. However, that is not the case and it costs you money!

By default your ads shows for a huge variety of searches that you never intended. If not changed from default, your keyword Pizza delivery in Philadelphia actually signals to Google to show your ad for searches such as how to cook a frozen pizza, and when clicked, you still have to pay for that irrelevant click.

The discrepancy between the searches you intend your ad to show for and the actually searches that trigger your ad is because the AdWords system uses different match types for keywords. There are four main match types: broad, broad match modifier, phrase, and exact. The different match types allow you (the small business advertiser) to match for a broader or narrower range of actual search queries that users type in. Broad is (as it sounds) the most broad in terms of what searches trigger your ad, and it is ALWAYS set by default in Google AdWords. This means that it is at Google’s discretion to decide that a user’s search is “close enough” to your keyword. Since Google gets paid on every click, they have a broad view of what is close enough.

When beginning your account change the match type of your keywords. Make sure your keywords are either in either phrase match or broad match modifier. These match types ensure that the words you use as your keywords have to be the ones the users searched for in Google. Here is a handy chart to visually see the differences as well as the special symbols that change the match type:

photo credit: chart via PPC HERO
photo credit: chart via PPC HERO

Mistake Two: The Wrong Industry For An Immediate Sale

A common mistake when beginning AdWords is to immediately go for the sale. In some industries an immediate sale makes sense, but in many industries users are not ready to make the purchase at first interaction.  In these industries, the user needs to trust your company before they even consider making the purchase. If the user clicks on an ad and is taken to a site where the only option is a sale, if the user isn’t ready to purchase they have no choice but to leave your site without providing your business any valuable data.

Rather than throw money into the AdWords abyss a, try a different approach. A better way to run AdWords in these industries is to think of a longer sales cycle, and change your goal (called a conversion) from getting an immediate sale to getting their contact information. You can use your ads to send users to a page that asks for their contact information in exchange for a small incentive, build trust by marketing to them via the email they provided, and finally sell to them when they are ready to make a purchase and already trust your company. Incentives can include:

  • Free eBooks
  • Samples
  • Free consultations

This approach works best for industries where trust is key, such as an expensive physical product or a long-term service provider.

Mistake Three: Sending Users To The Homepage

Once you decide on your goals in AdWords, you need to send users to a page that matches the users search and makes it as easy as possible for them to convert. All too often I see new AdWords campaigns send users to the home page. The homepage doesn’t match the users search and conversions are unlikely to happen.  A homepage often has a variety of items and is designed for navigation deeper into the site rather than a conversion.

For example, let’s say you are in the right industry for an immediate sale, like a winter clothing retailer that sells winter hats amongst other items. If you are just beginning to use AdWords you may send all of the users to your generic homepage. If you buy the keyword winter hats and the user is sent to the homepage, which is crowded with all of your items, the user has to search to find the specific sales page for winter hats. This means the user had to spend additional mental energy to search more through your website and click again. The majority of users will not expend this mental energy– they leave your page without making a purchase.

You want to make it as easy and friction-less as possible for the user to convert by sending them to specific high-converting sales pages. If the user type in winter hats send them to the exact sales page for winter hats.

What is your biggest AdWords obstacle?

Adam LundquistAdam Lundquist (@adamlundquist) is the CEO of Nerds Do It Better, an Internet advertising agency for small businesses. He has been featured in The Harvard Gazette, Search Engine Journal, KISSmetrics, WordStream, PPC Hero, Certified Knowledge, Mtv, Vh1, Sports Illustrated, and Moz. Visit his site today for a free eBook: Make Internet Advertising Work For Your Small Business. 5 Steps To Find, Cultivate and Market To New Customers.