How to read Google Analytics Audience Menu

The Google Analytics Audience Menu identifies the types of users the website is connected to receives. As traffic can come from all over the world, the analysis should exclude users that don’t constitute business traffic. To do this, generate a segment that constitutes only relevant traffic to the business. Examples can include gender, age, location-specific segments.

Google Analytics Audience Menu Overview

In my analysis, I limit the incoming traffic only to visitors located in Cambridge and the surrounding councils. By limiting the traffic to a geo-specific location, the Audience Overview shows this result:

Google Analytics Audience Menu - Overview

Based on the above data, users coming from Cambridge have a high avg. session duration and visit more than one page. In short, it’s highly engaged traffic. However, only 20% of first-time visitors come back as returning users.

  • Follow up business question: Is the low percentage of returning users affecting the number of conversions?
  • Follow up marketing question: And if the above is true, how can we encourage users to come back?

Suggestion: Identify traffic sources, audience identity (age and gender), landing pages, pages visited. Then, generate a campaign that drives that segment down to the same path.

Google Analytics Audience Menu Active Users

In the audience menu, Active Users shows the number of users who visited the website within the last 1 to 30 days of the selected time period. Indeed, users who returned to the site came back for the entire time period (from an initial 26% to a final 22%).

Google Analytics Audience Menu - Active Users
  • Follow up business questions: Do the returning users have a higher monetary value?
  • Follow up marketing questions: If the above is true, what’s their path to conversion?

Suggestion: Identify first-touch point source, touch-points before conversions, landing pages. Set up a conversion funnel for future traffic.

Tip: when launching a campaign, the Active Users menu identifies if a brand awareness or lead-gen campaign drove the right audience both in terms of conversions and engagement.

Google Analytics Audience Menu Lifetime Value

Frome the Lifetime Value menu PPC, Referral and Affiliate Traffic deliver the highest LTV for goal completion.

  • Follow up business question: should the business invest more into PPC, affiliates and referral traffic?
  • Follow up marketing questions: Do other channels contribute to the overall conversion? Google Analytics assigns a value to the last traffic source prior to conversion without taking into account all the touch-points before.

Suggestion: Use the Attribution Beta to identify all the sources that contributed to conversion and how they all worked together to deliver a business and marketing objective.

Google Analytics Audience Menu Demographics, Interests, Geo

Demographics, Interests and Geo menus provide some additional insights into the incoming traffic. First, if the traffic constitutes the business ideal audience in terms of age, gender and geography. And if it’s the case, which segment is the most valuable.

If we look at the data below, returning users do not hold a higher frequency of conversions when compared to new users.

Google Analytics Audience Menu Demographics Interests Geo
  • Follow up business question: Do the returning users hold a higher monetary value compared to new users?
  • Follow up marketing questions: If the above is true, do they convert multiple times?

Suggestion: Use the Attribution Beta to identify the monetary value associated with returning users.

Tip: The Interests menu can provide additional insights into the audience’s interests – from travelling to cooking, the menu offers ideas on content creation.

Google Analytics Audience Menu Technology

Technology shows the browsers visitors use when landing on the website. Based on the table below, the website should offer an optimised user experience for browsers such as Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer (desktop) and for Opera, Samsung, Android (mobile).

  • Follow up business question: Does the browser experience affect conversion volume?
  • Follow up marketing question: If the site is optimised for all the browsers, what else can be done to encourage conversion?

Google Analytics Audience Menu Benchmarking

Benchmarking is essential to establish how well the business is doing compared to similar businesses. After selecting select the closest industry, region and daily traffic, the menu shows a comparison between the website data and the industry benchmark.

The marketing strategy for the business focuses on lead-generation via an organic social media presence, PPC campaigns, third-party referral and email campaigns. Organic or direct traffic drive returning traffic. Which is exactly what’s happening as shown in the table below:

Based on the above data, users have a good website experience as indicated by a lower bounce rate and a higher time on page than the industry benchmark. However, a higher percentage of new sessions and a lower number of pages/session could indicate that visitors remain idle on the open page causing a new session to get recorded.

  • Follow up business question: How can we increase incoming traffic? And does the number of pages/session influence conversions?
  • Follow up marketing question: What’s the cost of a PPC, Referral and Affiliate campaign?

Suggestion: Generate lead-gen campaigns using PPC and referral/affiliates as the source of traffic. Encourage multiple pages/visit if that increases conversion volume.

Tip: When benchmarking select a time frame that is representative of the business. For instance, a timeframe whose traffic is above or below average might not represent a true picture of the business.

Google Analytics Audience Menu Device & User Flow

The Device menu shows that users discover the site via mobile and come back via desktop. This result indicates that the site should be mobile optimised to encourage lead-generation traffic.

The Users Flow menu shows on which page users land and what pages they visit before leaving the site. Based on the below data, if users land on converting pages such as the buy now page or the contact us page, users leave immediately. If they land on the homepage, they mostly visit a specific product page and after that the buy now page. However, other product pages are not that popular and when visited, people do not proceed to the buy now page.

Google Analytics Audience Menu User Flow
  • Follow up business question: How can we drive traffic towards the path that leads users to key business pages? How can we encourage users to convert rather than exit the sites?
  • Follow up marketing question: What sources and user segments visit the pages that lead to conversions? What is missing from the pages that visitors abandon?

Suggestion: Generate lead-gen campaigns that drive users along the converting path. Identify road-blocks along the abandon funnel.

Conclusion

Google Analytics is just a tool if it doesn’t solve marketing and business questions. The Audience menu answer questions such as:

  • The overall quality of your incoming traffic
  • Additional traits of your users, such as age, gender, location
  • Browsers and devices most commonly used
  • How effective a campaign is in retaining traffic
  • How effective the business is compared to others
  • The traffic sources with the highest conversion volume
  • The pages that help driving conversions

Each answer should drive a follow-up action. In certain instances, the follow-up action requires additional information that can be provided by other Google Analytics menus.

For any questions regarding this blog, my services or future collaborations, please click the button below.

Header Image source: Business photo created by pressfoto – www.freepik.com

SEO for a new website, where do I start?

A new website SEO should never be built unless the business foundations have been addressed first.

Any or marketing activity aimed to promote a website should always have the above statement addressed first. After that, an SEO strategy will target both the search engine and the business ideal audience.

A new website SEO – Indexability & Crawlability

By default, Google can crawl and index any site. To keep an eye on website errors, register your website to Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Google Analytics will track the incoming traffic and website activities, while Google Web Console will report any crawling and indexing errors.

A new website SEO – Speed & Device Compatibility

According to recent Google Ranking Guidelines, the website should be loading fast (less than 5-7 seconds) and compatible on any device (desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile.)

Analyse your site speed on PageSpeed Insights and aim for (at least) a 70% score. This software also analyses the site’s compatibility on both desktop and mobile devices. Even in this case aim for a 70% score.

A new website SEO – Meta-tags & Visibility

To address both the search engine and audience visibility, meta-tags should be provided. Meta-tags as help the crawling spiders index your site more quickly while encouraging users to select your site over your competitors when the site appears in SERP.

How to craft great Meta-tags: Title and Description

First, avoid unrelated or over the top titles and description. They are scored low by search engines and might even look like click baits to potential users. Instead, craft a title that is truthful to the page’s identity. And use the meta-description to support the meta-title statement.

Second, the landing page should answer the question by displaying expertise, knowledge and authority or E-A-T. Wondering if your page is E-A-Ty enough? Do a quick Google search for page related keywords. Click on the first SERP result. Is the page written with a higher level of expertise and knowledge? Is the website or author an authority? If the answer is no, consider tailoring your page for higher user experience by including better graphics elements (background, text colour, font size) and/or additional content elements (longer text, higher image quality, video tutorial, supportive quotes and references, relevant links.)

Budget & SEO Tools

In terms of budget, I employ scalability. First, I search for free options. Only when a free option is not available or sufficient for achieving the expected result, I scale up to a paid one. So, I would encourage any new business to explore free options first – as most of them can accommodate small businesses. Only when such an option becomes insufficient, consider upgrading to the next available option.

New-website-SEO-Freemium-example
Slack employs a freemium business plan. Consider upgrading to any plan only when the cheaper option is not enough to satisfy business requirements.

Google Analytics & Google Search Console

Google Analytics and Google Search Console are mandatory for any online enterprises. On Google Analytics, even an unskilled marketer can keep track of incoming traffic. Go to the main menu and click on Acquisition. From the new menu click on All Traffic and then on All Channels. A graph and table will load showing the incoming traffic in the selected time period (one week by default).

Google search console will get notified when something goes wrong, such as indexing issues or incurring penalties.

Yoast & SEO optimisation software

Yoast SEO can be installed for free on WordPress. It helps to identify common readability and SEO issues. Again, as anything else described in this blog, Yoast SEO is a guideline. The software doesn’t keep into consideration the topic complexity or the technical knowledge of your audience.

Keywords tools

Personally, I’m not a fan of keyword tools. If you want to understand the type of keywords your customers will look for, talk to them. No keyword planner will ever be better than your customer. My strongest recommendation would be to talk to your sales team, clients, and anyone who might be your ideal customer. If you are just starting out, ask family and friends, explore social media channels, or any “ask a question” platform such as Quora or Reddit.

Link Building & Domain Authority

Having spammy links pointing from and to your site doesn’t affect your ranking score. However, if you are worried about backlinks, have a backlink audit once a month. Ahrefs or any other (free) backlink checker are good options to identify spammy sites pointing to your site.

Keep up with your technical SEO

Finally, I would recommend an SEO audit software such as BeamUsUp or Screaming Frog. These plugins can crawl any sites and report SEO issues such as 404 pages, missing or duplicated meta-data, slow responses, or non-crawlable pages. Screaming Frog is free up to 500 pages – that should satisfy the majority of small businesses.



Content Strategy: a simple plan you can follow starting today!

As die-hard marketers, we all know the importance of looking at data to come up with a strategy that will bring results in line with business objectives.

However, looking at historical data might be overwhelming and we can easily miss important information or misinterpret data.

Personally, I like to have a to-do list that helps me go to each stage of developing a content strategy.

Here is my checklist for creating and measuring the success of my content strategy:

1- Content audit

Content identity – basic questions

To begin with, I start looking at the content in its entirety. Digital content should easily answer these questions:

  1. Who was the target audience for this post/page?
  2. What was the post/page about? Was it in line with the target audience?
  3. Does the content match the user’s intent?
  4. Does the page/post answer the user’s question?
  5. Was the post/page shared and amplified?
  6. Does the page satisfies basic SEO scores?
    1. Meta-tags have been added
    2. Images and videos are present for a media-rich experience
    3. URL links point to internal and external resources
    4. The text legth is enough to provide a high-quality answer
    5. The headline is clear, catchy and on-topic

SEO Infographics to download

Content goals – What the business wants to achieve

Then, I consider the goal each piece of content aims to achive.

  • Top of the funnel goal – Brand discovery/awareness.

In this instance the prospective user is unfamiliar with the brand and its product offering. This is the discovery phase, when users familiarise themselves with the brand and start building a connection. During this phase a brand needs to provide enough value to make the customer trust the brand – a legitimate business- and its product offering. Some ways to connect with their potential customers, include producing content that:

    • Entertains and inform – but still in line with the brand identity
    • Shows the brand’s expertise – Leader in their industry
    • Satisfies the social media presence – Creates a social response

Content Strategy - Lead-gen example from Netaporter
An example of content marketing from the luxury online store Netaporter. The article combines street-style photos with an editorial issue and a product list.

  • Middle of the funnel goal – Turn visitors into leads, the nurturing stage.

At this stage the user has interacted with your brand and build a sense of trust. But not enough to turn the user into a customer. Independently from the industry you are operating, you can showcase your expertise by producing content such as:

    • White papers – guides, articles, editorials, product notes
    • Media – webinars, podcasts, courses, videos, tutorials
    • Checklists – Infographics, excel sheets, product lists

These can be uploaded as gated content in exchange for an email address) or shared only with people who subscribed to the newsletter. As this is a nuurtuing phase, this type of content should be shared only with users that bypassed the discovery phase.

Content Strategy - Nurturing
Appboy shows its expertise in mobile marketing by offering a free ebook to get anyone mobile-ready.

  • Bottom of the funnel – Turn marketing leads into customers.

Now, we need to turn these nurtured leads into customers. At this stage, these potential customers might be already engaging with your customer support team, your sales executives or your live-chat. Are all these human and automated teams ready to answer all your potential customers enquiries?

In terms of content, consider generating flyers, brochures, and emails that satisfy the users questions. Any roadblock to purchase should be addressed at this stage.

Want to make the entire process easier? What about a friendly-to-use QandA page?

Content Strategy - Conversion optimisation
Example of McDonalds QandA page that addresses common questions from customers.

2- Engagement metrics

The content strategy also needs Engagement metrics or KPIs identify any roadblocks the customer might find along their journey from discovery to purchase.

  • The discovery phase

Does the content provided during the discovery phase satisfy the user needs? In short, did the user consume the content? In this case KPIs would be:

    1. The number of clicks
    2. The percentage of page scrolled
    3. The time spent watching a video
    4. The bounce rate or number of exits
  • The nurturing phase

Does the content provided during the nurturing phase satisfy the user queries? In short, did the user strengthen their bound with the brand? In this case KPIs would be:

    1. Returning users
    2. Frequency  and Recency of interactions
  • The conversion phase

Does the content provided during the awareness and nurturing phase turn visitors into customers? In short, did the marketing strategy help generating sales? In this case KPIs would be:

    1. Number of marketing qualified sales
    2. Number of sales

3- Business outcomes

Finally, what is the business result? First, consider how many customers consumed the content before making a purchase. And if the content helped to shorten the purchasing journey, increase the average order value and turn occasional customers into brand ambassadors.

Simply compare orders from customers who were exposed to the content versus orders coming from users that were not brought in by the content marketing strategy.

Questions?

For any questions regarding this blog, my services or freelance work, feel free to contact me.

Bounce Rate vs Avg. Time on Page – The true meaning

It has become a mantra that a good user experience signal is a low bounce rate and a high avg. time on page.

A user who is enjoying the site won’t be abandoning the page but spend quite a good amount on it. Ergo: low bounce, high time on site.

But…is this always the case?

In my opinion, this is not (always) the case. And I’ll explain why.

Pages are born different. Some pages are more important than others, and different page categories have different scopes. Blogs, videos, products, checkout, log in…they have designed with a different goal in mind.

Bounce Rate vs Avg. Time on Page – What’s their value telling us?

The homepage

Let’s consider a homepage. Would we consider a homepage with high time on site successful? Probably not as its main purpose is to encourage visitors to browse and explore the site. Conversely, would we consider a blog page successful a low time on page? Most likely not, as a blog main purpose is to drive users to consume the content (from texts to images and videos).

So, how do we measure bounce rate and average time on page to establish successful marketing? We measure those metrics based on the page main purpose. We expect pages that are more like gate-keepers -such as the homepage, the category page, the login page – to have a low bounce rate, but also a low average time.

Blog and informative pages

Blog and informational pages – including videos and even product pages- are expected to have a high bounce rate but also a high avg. time on page. Users might read the blog, get the information they are after and then leave. However, I would also expect these pages to have a high percentage of returning users and work well as landing pages.

Product pages

Product pages are a bit tricker. Before making a purchase, a user might need to come back to the product several times before committing. In an initial discovery phase, users might come back several times. In this case, I would expect a high bounce rate and a low avg. time on page. During the decision process, users might spend more time on the product page, looking for more details regarding the product.

In this instance, I would expect a high bounce rate but also a high avg. time on site. However, users might decide to explore more pages in case the product is linked to additional resources (i.e. a tutorial). In this scenario, the bounce rate will be low.

Finally, at the purchasing phase, users will spend little time on the product page and go directly to the check-out page. In this instance, I would expect both metrics to be low.

Not all pages are expected to score the same bounce rate and avg. time on page values. Also, some pages must be scoring poorly on either or both values to deliver a successful marketing effort.

But how do we define High & Low?

Now, the real trick is to establish what constitutes a high and low value. The easiest solution would be to look at benchmarking in Google analytics.

In summary…

Both bounce rate and avg. time on page values is an indication of marketing success depending on the page main purpose. If in doubt, we expect a high bounce rate and:

  1. Low time on page for new users or occasional visitors
  2. High time on page for returning users and for informational pages

Or, a low bounce rate and:

  1. Low time on page for customers and for gatekeeping pages such as the homepage and the category page
  2. High time on site for loyal customers

For any questions regarding this blog, feel free to contact me:

Product Management – An Overview

Product management can be divided into several core elements.

How to create a Product Management Strategy

  1. Step1 Product Attributes

    The first step is to identify the physical and emotional attributes of each product of the portfolio. The physical attributes of a product include both the product packaging and the product features. The packaging must:

    – Satisfy the brand identity
    – Provide descriptive and persuasive information
    – Transport the product safely
    – Allow home storage
    – Help the consumer to use the product

    Among the physical attributes, the branded product must diversify itself from a standard generic product by offering augmented features; that is features that go beyond the minimum product’s capability. A branded product will offer core elements, augmented features and potential benefits.

    In addition, a brand will present a product as having emotional attributes through a value proposition whose role is to bridge the physical attribute of the product with the emotional needs of a customer.

    A well-established brand will have an easier task in bridging that gap, as a brand with a positive reputation would be:

    – Credible – Positive feedback from customers
    – Memorable & Pleasant – When dealing with the company
    – Transferable & Adaptable – When switching from competitors
    – Protectable from legal claims – Legally binding

  2. Step2 Market Analysis

    The second step in product management is to look at the market to understand the market conditions, how difficult it would be to get market share and deliver a long-term profit to the company.

    In addition, how the company’s product will be perceived depends on the market stage: introductory, growth, maturity or decline. Then, a company must establish if the product and its proposition will find a place among all the competitors. For instance:

    – Are there main players that hold the majority of the market?
    – Is the market saturated?
    – Are there new-unexplored niches?
    – Does the product need to be re-developed?
    – Does the product need to be diversified?

    A product strategy goal is to guarantee a balanced product mix to obtain profitability by maintaining a competitive position.

    Now, look at the product portfolio and divide each product into 4 categories – Rising Stars, Cash Cows, Dogs, Question Marks – based on past performances and the market conditions. Rising stars will need the biggest investment. But they could offer a diversification edge to beat competitors. Cash cows need no investment and are great at providing a sufficient income flux for brands to experiment into new markets or develop new products.

    Dogs and Question marks are low performing. Products in these 2 categories need to be assessed: are they low performing because not enough investment has been put into these internal conditions)? Or because the market conditions have changed external conditions)?

  3. Step3 Brand Analysis

    A brand analysis identifies those differentiating elements to separate the brand from its competitors. In addition to a brand’s mission and vision, those differentiating elements include Heritage & Tradition, Innovation & Assets, People & Company Vibe.

  4. Step4 Managing the product portfolio

    Market analysis, product categorization, and brand identity will structure the product portfolio. The goal is to have a manageable portfolio that doesn’t drain resources. Having too many products might have serious consequences:

    – Harder to define customer segments & positioning
    – Higher product cannibalization risks
    – Higher operational and marketing cost

    To launch a successful marketing and product strategy, brands should launch fewer products and instead shepherd fewer, stronger ones in a more synchronized way.

    A well-designed product management strategy should include restructuring, acquisition, divestiture, or launch of new brands or products. However, all would start from a well-identified consumer need. Especially, to identify the consumer need and how they want it. This can be a new way to look at a product – and find out it can serve a new market segment.

  5. Step5 Customer Touchpoints

    A well-designed product management strategy takes the consumer journey into consideration. The first step in the customer journey is the customer perspective. The customer has specific expectations regarding the type of interactions -human or otherwise – at each touchpoint. The second step is the enterprise perspective and the identification of the software or department the customer will interact with at each stage. But what the mix of a successful customer touchpoint architecture looks like?

    – A value promise that stands out from the marketplace
    – The value proposition is built in every aspect of the business

    Does the enterprise bring itself to the customer, or must the customer bring himself/herself/itself to the enterprise? – Anirudh Dhebar

    A customer expects an enterprise to make them feel in control while supporting them along the entire journey. The enterprise is also able to adapt itself to accommodate changing needs.

    Great enterprise architecture is consistency with the value promise, makes the customer journey easy and inviting. Each department offers an excellent experience from first-touch to purchase. The value offered to customers is compelling and different from the competition.

  6. Step6 Create a Motivational Need

    A tension that generates a disequilibrium results into a need. This creates anticipation into an action whose goal is to satisfy such need. To create marketing tension into a customer’s mind, a business must address one (or more) of these needs: affectional, ego-bolstering, ego-protecting.

    How does a customer make a choice when exposed to different brands? First the brand perception, including packaging and design. Then, the ability of the brand to generate need-arousal. Finally, reinforcement by delivering an experience and a product that satisfies the initial need-arousal state. This will generate a habit that will bring the consumer to select a brand at the expenses of its competitors.

  7. Step7 Pricing

    There are different methods to set up pricing. Cost-based, competition-based, customer-based pricing. The ideal price would cover the manufacturing and marketing cost (mark-up) while keeping into consideration the competition and the customer’s willingness to pay.

    If a company can be perceived as having a higher value than its competitors, the business can charge a higher amount. A new player needs to design a market penetration pricing – a price that will lure customers away from the competition. A lower price might induce a larger segment of the market to switch to the new player. A larger volume would lower costs and therefore increase the profit (even at a lower retail price). This method is also applied by established companies that seek a larger market share and it’s referred to as market-share pricing.

    However, while the cost-based price is easy to calculate, and the competition-based price can get companies to grow their market, the best approach would be to identify how much a customer is willing to pay. Consumers might consider paying a higher price if they perceive they get a better quality, more prestige, a better deal.

    While drafting a price, a company might consider the brand image, the number of projected sales, customer attraction, sales volume.

    Not only does your pricing model keep you in business, but it also signals your branding and positioning.

  8. Step8 Value-based proposition

    A value proposition presented to the right segment allows the price to be higher. The value proposition must be clear to the customers. If customers are going for the premium offer, there must be enough perceived value to justify the extra cost – and consider the cost fair. Also, consider what the next best alternative is offering and if the applied tactics will be good enough to create that sense of need in the customer.

Why I don’t trust keyword tools – and neither should you!

Keyword tools. So popular. So easy to use. I’ve even been asked at job interviews how familiar I was with keywords tools.

And let’s be frank…who hasn’t relied on Google Keywords Tool when creating a PPC campaign? I have.

Today I don’t. Actually, I find keyword tools extremely misleading and at times downright wrong. 

1. Intrinsic caveats of Keyword Tools

When searching for keywords, the available online tools give details about the popularity of the selected keywords, including the number of searches per month, CPA, total cost, and forecast conversions. However, things are not as straightforward as they seem:

  1. Keywords impressions are skewed by PPC campaigns which potentially could increase the forecast campaign cost 
  2. Keywords monthly searches are shown as averages, therefore not taking into account seasonal trends and their impact on the total number of conversions
  3. The number of forecast conversions is based on non-last-click attribution models, therefore not considering the influence of a PPC campaign to driving conversions  
  4. Conversion value doesn’t take into consideration customer lifetime value (LTV)   

2. Extrinsic Caveat of Keyword Tools

Google Keywords Tool has become extremely more refined since its initial launch. Keywords can be saved into groups, campaigns are recommended, forecast predictions are evaluated based on the keyword match type and the historical data of the account (despite the limitations highlighted in Paragraph 1). However:

  1. Google still doesn’t know your business, therefore cannot recommend the best keywords for your business (yet)
  2. Google doesn’t speak your customer’s language, therefore it cannot recommend what your prospective customers will look for online
  3. Google can show only the monthly average searches, not the frequencies of those keywords typed by your customer

3. From keywords to search intent

Rather than focusing on keywords describing what you are selling, you should focus on what your customer would look for online. Therefore, consider:

  1. Keywords that customers might be using when looking for your product (or service) – customers might not be using the exact terminology (for instance, eye doctor vs ophthalmologist)
  2. If your product solves a specific issue, people might be looking for solutions rather than an exact product (How to cure a migraine naturally?)
  3. Suggested/recommended keywords might not be applicable to your business (sports massage vs Thai sports massage)

4. From keywords to purchase intent

When searching for keywords, any keyword tool won’t take into consideration how your product might indeed solve a person’s issue. What Google will do is to evaluate the match between a keyword, an ad copy, and a landing page. This will establish your QC and determine your CPC. If they don’t match? Your ad will be shown less often or your CPC will raise. 

According to good PPC practice, all 3 should match. And this is true in most cases. However, consider the case in which you want to recommend a product which offers a unique solution, completely different from what your audience is accustomed to. In this case:

  1. Consider what keywords potential customers would look for online (migraine medication)
  2. In your ad copy entice your audience to consider an alternative solution (fed up with medications that don’t stop your migraine?)
  3. Create a landing page that explains why your potential customer could benefit from considering an alternative approach (Almost 70% of migraines are due to tension in the neck – practice these simple exercises to put your migraine out of your head for good*)

*This is a made-up example, designed for explanatory purposes.

5. Keywords optimization

Another downfall of keywords tool is the little emphasis on keyword match and how to optimize campaign budget. A rule of thumb:

  1. Ignore Broad match – unless your keyword is so niche, that only people truly interested in your product would use that word
  2. Start with “Phrase match” – It gives you enough room to understand what people are looking for when typing that query
  3. Don’t underestimate [Exact match] – It keeps the cost down while accepting spelling mistakes, plural, and additional keywords such as location, near me, and descriptive adjectives
  4. Invest your time in creating a well rounded Negative Keywords List

6. Keywords location, device, audience

Finally, keywords tools don’t help you optimize your campaign based on location, device or type of audience. Relying only on keywords tools means painting just half of a picture. 

  • Are all your chosen keywords valid in every store? Exclude locations where specific keywords do not apply 
  • Is your audience active on mobile? If not, exclude mobile from your campaign (decrease bidding by 100%). Do you get traffic but not conversions on tablets? If so, use tablets to nurture your audience before converting. All conversions come from desktops? You can invest some extra budget
  • Do you serve only a restrict group of people? Exclude any audience segment that is not your audience based on age, income, behavior. 

TL;DR

Focus less on keywords and more on your customer’s problems and issues and how to close the gap between your audience brand awareness and its product benefits.

Only when you have truly comprehended your customers’ needs and how to communicate your solution to them, you’ll have an effective PPC campaign.

Steps to building a website

This is the list of steps I will be taking and asking you to complete when setting up your first website. Feel free to download this information anytime and use it for building your online business.

Step1 – Define your brand

Have you ever thought of why you want to create a website? Or a business? What’s the reason behind having a product or a service to sell? If you haven’t, here is a PDF file that will help you find some clarity:

Now, it’s time to put some ideas together. Use this Branding Template to write what you have learned by reading the above Guidelines.

If you are my client, I’ll ask you to fill in the Branding Template. Don’t worry, I’ll help you along the way. When you are satisfied, share the final version with your team and refer to the template when making a business decision – It will help you keep your decisions in line with your business vision, mission, and identity.

Step 2 – Choose your hosting platform

Your website needs a platform where it will be stored and accessed worldwide. If you want to be on a completely free option, use WordPress. However, keep in mind:

  • WordPress will be included in your domain name – It will look something like yourdomain.wordpress.com
  • You won’t be able to add any e-commerce options, which means that customers won’t be able to purchase your products or services online
  • Plugin installation will be limited

However, you will be able to:

  • Showcase content – including products and services
  • Add contact details – email address, phone number, store address
  • Move to a business plan anytime for £20/month

On the other hand, if you are ready to open an eCommerce, I would recommend Squarespace has it presents better in-built functionalities for hosting online businesses. It costs between £15-21 depending on your billing option. Here is an example of a website I build:

Already on another platform? That’s fine!

Unhappy with the current platform? Both WordPress and Squarespace offer the option to move your current website on their platform in one easy step.

Not sure how to proceed? Let me help you.

Want a custom-made website, coded from scratch? I can do it as well – just contact me for an initial consultation. I code in Ruby on Rails and use Heroku as hosting platform. Here is an example of a website I coded.

Step 3 – Register your domain name

Your business needs a name. If that name has already been purchased, you cannot use it online. And if someone else registers that name, you won’t be allowed to use it anymore. To secure your business name, purchase your chosen domain at GoDaddy and follow the instruction. Still not sure how to do it? Let me help you!

The cost varies depending on your chosen domain. In my experience, a domain will cost you around £50, including the name registration and some additional features to help protect your site.

Not sure what name to use?

  • If you sell a service, you can use:
    • Your Name
    • Your Name + Service Category Name
    • Your Initial + Service Category Name
  • If you sell a physical product, you can use:
    • Your name
    • Your product name
    • Your name + Your product category

Once you have purchased your business name on GoDaddy, the next step is to link your domain name to your hosting platform. If you are my client, I’ll do this for you.

Step 4 – Let’s build your business website

It’s now time to start building your business website. Please download the guidelines I put together to help you start.

If you are working with me, this is where my experience really shines. Based on your branding guidelines (discussed in Step1), I’ll build a website faithful to your own business identity while keeping into consideration digital marketing best practices (including but not limited to SEO and UX). And therefore, giving you the best chances to be found online and convert visitors into paying customers.

This is my Website Building Package – It covers all the steps described in this post. For only £200!(*)

(*) It doesn’t include the option of having a website coded in Ruby on Rails

Need some help? Have a question?

Contact me and claim your 30 min. initial free consultation.

Easy to follow steps for writing your business identity

Vision

The vision statement is a declaration of your organization’s objectives. By stating the business long-term goal, the company is intended to guide the decision-making process.

For instance, Facebook vision is to bring people together. Through a platform that can be accessed from all over the world, Facebook gives anyone the opportunity to connect with people no matter where they are.

Mission Statement

The mission statement summarizes an organization purpose; how a business delivers its vision through products and services.

For instance, Facebook provides a free platform where users can share their news and thoughts, catch-up with friends, follow their favorite brands, and join groups based on their passions & interests.

Core values

Write 3 words that best describe your core values and diversify your brand from your main competitors.

Facebook Example:

Be bold – Move Fast – Focus on Impact

Core Keywords

Write 3 words on what your business should be focusing on to connect with your target customers.

Facebook Example:

Social – Inventive – Problem-solver

Identify areas on which you want to focus on to deliver business results. For instance, consider each business product/category or customer persona as your focus area.

Facebook as an example:

Focus Area:
Friends
Focus Area:
Professional
Focus Area:
Families
Focus Area:
Groups
Focus Area:
Businesses
Focus Area:
Charities

For any questions, feel free to contact me:

Local SEO Can Be Simple – Six Tips Any Business Owner Could Follow Today!

In today’s world, everyone is online. From smartphones to laptops, we are constantly connected. We work, have fun, build relationships and learn new skills on our devices.

With the rise of machine learning and personal assistants, we have also become accustomed to type more complex queries among which the “near me” stands as one of the most popular. From restaurants to gyms, everyone is searching for a business on the go.

If you are a business owner looking for new ways to grow your business, targeting the local “near me” search is a powerful tool for driving more customers into your brick-and-mortar store.

But how does this translate into local search and local SEO?

Over the years, Google has made information more and more available to users; from personalized search results to various types of featured snippets. These rich answer boxes have reduced the need for consumers to click through to websites to get the information they need.

For local businesses, information is displayed in a knowledge panel called “local snap pack” which is controlled by Google My Business (GMB). When users are looking for a store, Google displays the top three best results in a framed box on top of the page. Due to its increased visibility, appearing in the local snap pack means more clients for the featured businesses.

Below are some local SEO tips that every business owner could apply today to drive more organic traffic and get displayed in the local snap pack (even without any prior marketing knowledge).

1. Take a N-A-P (Name, Address, Phone Number)

The first step any local business should do to impact its local SEO ranking is to claim and optimize its Google My Business (GMB) page. This tactic achieves a two-fold result: it gives Google a clear understanding of business and helps customers select a store at the expenses of its competitors.

Now, to increase local ranking, the information must accurate and consistent across all channels. This is why periodic checks should be made to ensure the information is up-to-date; it will increase Google’s confidence in the business and so the customers’.

So, if you haven’t claimed your GMB page, do it today! Don’t forget to include opening hours and driving directions included (as recommended by GMB Guidelines).

2. Let customers review your business

Let’s be honest here, who hasn’t checked online reviews before making a purchase or visiting a business? We all know that a positive review can often be the deciding factor.

Positive reviews have become such a powerful tool for attracting new customers (see data), that Google has been including reviews as a determining factor to the credibility of a business (see data and GMB Help Page).

But how can you convince people to review your business? Simply offer a small discount or gift in exchange for one. A small token of appreciation is nothing compared to the impact that a positive review can make to your business.

Someone left a negative one? Reply to the customer, offer to make it up for them. Once you have acted, you don’t need to do anything else. People will appreciate your commitment and discard the opinion of unreasonable people.

3. Showcase your local commitment

In addition to their online presence, many store owners connect locally with like-minded businesses, participate and sponsor local events. This proactive approach not only increases brand awareness in the community but also local ranking as upcoming events can be displayed on GMB pages.

Therefore, promoting local events is an effective way to show your dedication to your community and differentiate yourself from the competition. As Google strives to give users the most up to date information (Google trends, anyone?) showcasing an upcoming event could help your business being featured in the local pack.

4. Make GMB an extension of your website

GMB and your business website should work in sync as a single entity. One way to do this is to update both sites at the same time. This step is essential for keeping brand consistency and helping both Google and your customers to easily identify your business, no matter the site they are visiting (some ideas can be found here).

Therefore, if you are updating your website, I recommend updating your GMB page as well (or vice-versa). Such changes could include key business information such as opening hours or more branding-related updates such as photo galleries.

5. Be better than your competitors

Despite applying local SEO best practice, businesses might fail to rank high enough to be displayed in Google’s “local snap pack”.

If you find that your business doesn’t get displayed in the local pack when searching for business related queries, browse the websites that made the cut. Is their website easy to navigate? Does it load faster? Does it allow online booking? These are a few questions you might ask when analyzing a competitor’s website. For more ideas, check section 2 of this blog post.

6. Invest in link-building

A well-established business shows trust and authority. Online this means receiving inbound links from reputable, legitimate sites. Receiving links from high-quality websites is one of the most efficient ways to gain domain authority and rank higher on Google’s SERPs (high-quality is key here).

From a business point of view, building meaningful relationships is one of the most efficient ways to attract links. People will organically link back to your site when you provide value. However, there’s nothing wrong in asking another business for an inbound link. An easy way would be to write a high-quality blog post for another business’ site which contains hyperlinks pointing to your site.

If you implement these six local SEO tips, your business will definitely see a boost in local search ranking. And hopefully, a place in the “local snap pack”.

This is how you promote a product that offers a unique solution – Tested!

All eCommerce businesses face digital marketing challenges; from brand awareness to upselling to loyal customers.

However, some businesses have an even bigger challenge when promoting a product whose solution is completely unique.

For instance, the biotech company that I currently work for has developed a unique approach to simplify antibody conjugation and protein detection. Instead of the gold-standard “primary-secondary-label”, this proprietary technology allows researchers to directly conjugate their primary antibody and thus get rid of secondaries altogether.

To the researcher, this means saving time and money by removing additional experimental steps (and therefore all the associated costs).
But despite being an incredibly efficient method, this approach is still not well known in the scientific community.

So, how do you promote a product whose solution to a common issue is completely radical?

This is how…

1. Attract the right audience with content marketing

An easy way to get your unique product in front of the right audience is to generate free content that addresses issues your ideal customers are currently facing.

  1. Identify the problem – What issues are my ideal customers facing?
  2. Describe the current solution – Is the current and well-established solution flawed
  3. Talk about your alternative solution – How is your unique product addressing the issue?

On the company’s website, users can download experimental guides on applications such as Lateral flow, Western blot, Immunohistochemistry, and Flow cytometry. The aim of these guides is to help researchers start their first experiment by introducing the scientific principle behind the application, the parameters to consider, and how to troubleshoot common issues. At the end of the guide, we explain how our unique antibody labeling kit could help them optimize their assay.

Content_Marketing_Lateral_Flow_Landing_Page

2. Target potential customers using PPC

Your ideal customers are still using the old solution because they are not aware of your product.

How could you solve this? Generate a paid campaign that targets keywords that your potential customers would be using.

One solution is to bid for keywords that people would be using when searching for the classic solution. The scope of your campaign is to show how your product could solve common issues associated with the standard solution.

As our approach to antibody detection avoids secondary antibodies, I would bid for secondary antibody related keywords. Then I would generate an ad copy whose scope is to show how our product would solve many issues associated with the use of secondary antibodies. My ad copy would read something like:

Antibody_Labeling_Kit_Ad_Copy

Now, the only objection that people might have is that switching to your solution might require additional knowledge, be time-consuming, or too expensive. People tend to stick to old ways simply because it’s easier.

Therefore, whatever the case, it’s your responsibility to explain the product, show the benefits and overcome doubts.

Also, don’t forget a well-constructed landing page that encourages the visitor to take action (from buying a product to filling in a form). An example:

Antibody_Labeling_Kit_Landing_Page

3. Reach out by building a targeted email list

If you have already an email list, it’s time to use it. People in your mailing list might not be familiar with your product yet; for instance, they might have purchased different products and never checked other ranges. In this case:

  1. Send them an informative email – Did you know about our free “Antibody Labeling” guide? It explains the principle of antibody labeling and how you can take advantage of the chemistry with our Lightning-Link® product range?
    Antibody_Labeling_Guide_Email_Title
  2. Explain how it can be used in their work – Did you know our product can solve antibody labeling issues by removing the need of using secondaries in your assay?Antibody_Labeling_Kit_Email_Title
  3. If people have never purchased our antibody labeling kit but visited pages associated to assays in which our product could be used, we send users monthly emails to remind them about our product and how their work could benefit from it.