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.

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.

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.

Step by step guide on how to create an effective Display Ad Campaign

I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of display campaigns. In my experience, they amounted to virtually nothing in achieving any significant business goal.

However, since the launch of Google Ads, I decided to give GDN a second chance.

Here are some suggestions on how to generate your first Display Campaign while keeping track of your business objectives.

1. Define your campaign goal

When setting up your Display campaign, keep in mind the goal you want to achieve. More traffic? More leads? More sales? I strongly recommend selecting one of the Campaign Goals available in the new interface.

Campaign Goals in GDN

2. Define your campaign settings

Independently form your business objectives, you’ll be asked to select a Campaign Type. In this case, select the Display option.

Campaign Setting in GDN

After clicking on the Display window:

  • Select Standard display campaign option
  • Enter your business website address
  • Click Continue

In the new page:

  1. Campaign name – Suggestion: Display + [Product Name] + [Goal] + [Location]
  2. Location – Add the countries in which your Campaign will be displayed
  3. Languages – Include just those languages that your ad copy will target
  4. Bidding
    1. Bid for conversions – Bid for your business goal rather than clicks
    2. Manually set bids – Keep your budget under control
  5. Budget – Enter an amount that you are comfortable spending each day
  6. Ad rotation – Optimize or not optimize? Both are sound choices.
  7. Ad group name – Suggestion: [Product Name] or [Product Category]
  8. Audiences & Demographics – (See Paragraph “Audiences and Demographics”)
  9. Ad schedule – Add a schedule to keep costs under control or if you are aware of when your potential clients are mostly active
  10. Automatic targeting – Leave the default “Conservative Automation”
  11. Ad group bid – The maximum amount you want to spend per keyword
  12. Frequency capping – Add a maximum number of impressions per day to keep costs down
  13. Content exclusions – Opt out of showing your ads on content that doesn’t fit your brand (mature, sensitive or unrelated)
  14. Devices – Exclude any device you don’t want your ad to be shown on. Personally, I exclude mobile and tablet apps. I keep only mobile and tablet websites.
  15. Click Create your ad

3. Create your Ad Copy

Now it’s time to be creative and generate an Ad that is both enticing to the customers and faithful to your brand. Images are the key aspect of display and can easily make or break your campaign. Here are some suggestions on how to choose your display image based on your business objective.

  • Sales: Select images that showcase your product in action. For instance, the image below showcases how simple it is to use an antibody labeling kit. Use the associated headlines and description to reinforce your message (in this example, saving time).Sales Ad Copy for GDN
  • Leads: Use a lead magnet such as a promotional offer or a free PDF to encourage users to take actions. Don’t be afraid of adding text to your image – Canva is a great tool for generating visual content. Use the headline and the long headline to grab the user’s attention with a clear benefit (in this example, a free guide). Use the description to reinforce what the lead magnetic will provide (in this example, scientific knowledge).Lead-Gen Ad Copy for GDN
  • Website traffic: to get the right people to visit your website, you can choose a variety of ads, from products to free resources. As I’m already driving traffic to products and free resources using other campaigns, I’m using this campaign to send users to landing pages that list all the website products or resources around a specific need.Website Traffic Ad Copy for GDN
  • Product and brand consideration: simply encourage people to explore your products and services. This is a middle-of-the-funnel type of campaign. People might be browsing and considering purchasing but they have not made their mind up yet. This is a good opportunity to showcase how your product stands out from the competition.Product and Brand Consideration Ad Copy for GDN
  • Brand awareness: to reach a broader audience and build awareness. This is a campaign aimed to let more users know about your brand and your products.Brand Awareness Ad Copy for GDN

4. Define keywords, audiences, demographics, topics, and placements

Don’t let Google take control over your Campaign. You have the product experience, the brand knowledge, and the business acumen to decide who will see your ad, on which channels and at what time.

KEYWORDS – Add keywords that match your campaign product and intent.

AUDIENCES – Narrow the reach of your campaign to users having a specific identity. There are three types of audiences:

  • Affinity & Custom Audience: users are selected based on their interests and habits
  • In-market & Custom Intent: users are selected based on what they are researching or planning
  • How they have interacted with your business: to remarket website visitors
    You can generate custom-made audiences by adding keywords that best describe what people are interested in or planning to buy.

DEMOGRAPHICS – Exclude users whose age, gender, or household income would not constitute the right target.

TOPICS – Include topics if possible. You can even make your selection more granular by adding subcategories (for instance, Science > Biology > Neuroscience).

PLACEMENTS – Include websites, YouTube videos, and channels where you’d like your ad to appear. By selecting the channels you’ll be in control of deciding not only who will be exposed to your ad, but also at which moment. Selecting videos explaining the Western blot assay for Western blot products I’ll target not only people who perform the assay but above all when they are in the right frame of mind.
This is an essential point as Google Ads displays your ads based on popularity rather than relevance (based on my experience).

5. Define Locations and Devices

Each campaign targets specific locations based on your business reach. However, Google Ads allows campaigns to have an extra level of granularity by increasing or decreasing their bidding.

In the examples I so far provided, I target both US and UK. However, I also increased the bidding budget by 20% in key business locations such as California, New York, Texas, and Maryland. An easy way to find out key business locations is to identify:

  • Where your converting traffic comes from
  • Where your best customers are geo-located
  • Where your business is planning to expand

Finally, I decreased the bidding budget by 20% on mobile devices. Why? Because it’s pretty common to click on ads on mobiles without any intention of doing so. An easy way to test the efficiency of your GDN-generated device traffic is to identify:

  • Number of Conversions
  • Immediate and Long-Term ROI
  • Frequency & Recency
  • Percentage of Returning Users

How to optimize your lead-gen with a lead scoring system – Using Pardot

As marketers or salespeople, we are very much focused on identifying leads, that is potential buyers who showed some level of interest in purchasing our products or services.

But how can we make sure these leads have a business value? One method is to set up a scoring system to differentiate between the good, the bad and the ugly.

  1. Assign points (0-up to X)

Lead scoring is a methodology used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization.

Here at Expedeon, as the marketing team, we assign to each lead a score that ranges between 0 and 80 points. According to this measuring system, at 80 points a user gets assigned to one of our sales representatives that follows up with an introductory phone call. It’s now the responsibility of the sales team to convert a marketing qualified lead (MQL) into a sale qualified lead (SQL).

The secret of a high ratio SQL/MQL lays in an effective scoring system that identifies the stage at which a website visitor becomes a potential customer. If the MQL value is too low, the user might not be at a buying stage yet, if too high it could damage the chances of closing a sale (aka…losing to a competitor).

The numeric value is meaningless, what counts is defining a threshold score above which, the user is at a buying stage.

The scoring system currently in place assigns:

  • 50 points to a guide download
  • 1 point to a page visit
  • 3 points to an email click
  • 1 point to an email open
  • 5 points to a custom services page
  • 80 points to a direct contact or a brochure download – (the users becomes automatically a marketing qualified lead)

My recommendation would be to start from a high number (such as 100) while readjusting the value of each action to better represent their economic value. Don’t be afraid to lower the scoring threshold to test if marketing qualified leads (MQLs) could be converted into sales qualified leads (SQLs) in a shorter time frame. Finally, keep track of your changes by requesting a constant feedback from the sales team regarding the leads’ quality.

Another key aspect to consider is online behavior. Do purchasers perform specific online activities before converting? For instance, downloading a guide, watching a video or requesting more information? If that was the case, any page that helps conversion should also be reflected in the page scoring system.

How do you do this?

Google Analytics assigns a higher score to pages that contribute to conversion. These pages could reflect a higher score in Pardot. For instance, if a page gets scored 1 point/visit, pages with a higher score could get an additional +2 or +3 points.

  1. Grading (letters)

Depending on job title, business size, or even social media followers, a lead might have a higher or lower business value. For instance, a lead could have a higher ROI due to a tendency of customers with specific characteristics to make larger orders or become loyal customers.

By looking at the lead’s characteristics what distinguishes a recurrent buyer from an occasional visitor? Is geographical location, job position or age group?

Once you have found what defines your best customers, you can assign a higher grade to prospects who present such characteristics. Grades vary from A (great) to F (poor).

A combination of high scoring and grading should identify your priority leads.

But how can you find common features among your best purchasers?

An easy way to determine purchasers’ features is to generate a segment in Google Analytics to isolate all visitors that performed an online transaction.

How to create a segment:

  1. On top of a page view, click Add Segment
  2. Click on New Segment
  3. Click on Conditions (Under Advanced)
  4. Select Page from the first drop-down menu
  5. Select Contains from the second drop-down menu
  6. In the text-box select your check-out page (example, /checkout)
  7. Name your new segment (example, Purchasers)
  8. Click Save

Now, Purchasers can be identified by geography, interests, age, and gender.

Users having a more likely chance to purchase will then be marked with a higher score, while leads coming from a specific geographic and/or demographic with a low purchasing history will be marked with a lower score. The sales team will either not follow up or move them down the priority list.

  • Geographic attributes

To determine if the most profitable buyers come from a specific area, apply the Purchasers Segment in the Location View (Audience > Geography > Location). For instance, if most of the purchases come from the United States, by clicking on the US map it is possible to determine which states are the most profitable, and by clicking on the State itself, to visualize from which cities the orders came from.

In addition to scoring these leads higher in Pardot, it’s also good practice to incorporate additional digital strategies, including PPC and remarketing.

If the most profitable companies are located in a specific state or region:

  1. Generate paid campaigns that are specifically targeting those locations
  2. Generate an Audience in Google Analytics and use it for retargeting

How to create an Audience:

  1. Go to Admin
  2. In property open Audience Definition
  3. Select Audiences
  4. Select New Audience
  5. Import Segment
  6. Select your new segment (example, Purchasers)
  7. Select both Google Analytics and AdWords as display platforms
  8. Name your new Audience (example, Purchasers Audience)
  9. Click Save

Now, you can target those users by showing them related-products:

  1. Add the New Audience to a search campaign (use +Audience)
  2. Generate a Remarketing Display Campaign to target that specific Audience

Re-targeting is a great strategy for cross-selling and up-selling.

  • Job position

Information regarding job roles is far trickier to establish in Google Analytics, especially for science-related interests. The best way of figuring out the job role of prospects is to include a (mandatory) job field when a user fills in a form to access free content.

Currently, we have set up Pardot Forms on Progressive. That means that if a user has already downloaded a guide, on their next download they’ll be asked for additional information, such as their job role.

Pardot - Job position field

The more complete a data profile is, the easier it will be to send highly tailored information. For instance, academics, a far more budget-conscious type of customer, will be targeted with offers and discounts, while large corporations will receive updates regarding manufacturing and custom services options.

  • Age & Gender groups

To determine if the most profitable buyers have an age or gender bias, apply the Purchasers Segment in the Demographics View (Audience > Demographics > Overview). If the most profitable customers come from a specific age group or have a gender bias, you can assign a higher score. For instance, by looking at Purchasers > Age, I found that most profitable users are between 35-45 years of age.

As we do not ask for any personal data such as age and gender, we only use this information to tailor our PPC strategy: we exclude students (below the age of 25) and retired individuals (above the age of 65), while we bid (20%) more on the age group that – based on our data – is most likely to purchase (25-35 years of age).

 

Based on all the above attributes, users will receive a final grade that is the mean of all their scores. For instance, if a user has an A for geographical location, B for job title, and C for age/gender, their final grade will be a B.

  1. Lead source and offer

A very popular way to attract new leads is to promote offers and discounts. Did customers start purchasing after seeing one of your offers? Did they become first-time buyers after taking advantage of promotional codes? When a promotional campaign ends:

  • Report the percentage of new time buyers
  • Report the most successful marketing channels
  1. Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline (BANT)

As the marketing team, we do not rely on BANT to qualify leads whether a prospect is a good fit based on their budget, internal influence, need to purchase and timeline. However, large quote inquiries and bulk orders (B) are prioritized and so are urgent purchasing requests (NT). In all these instances, a same-day contact follows (depending on the time-zone).

Otherwise, it’s the sales team rep in charge of assessing the sale potential of MQLs on the basis of the BANT methodology. If however, an MQL fails to become an SQL, the lead comes back to the marketing team for additional nurturing, through the Engagement Studio.

5. Segment customers based on their purchasing activity – the RFM model

Finally, customers are scored based on the recency and frequency of their purchases. According to this model, if they bought recently, they would get higher points. The same if they bought many times, or if they spent bigger amounts. These three parameters combined, create the Recency – Frequency – Monetary RFM score. This is a comprehensive table from Pluter.

Plunter - RFM Model

Once you have divided your customers into these groups, you can follow them up with tailored emails. If you don’t have enough manpower to follow up on each segment, focus on your best customers, those with the highest recency, frequency, and monetary score.

But how do you calculate RFM?

First identify Recency (days), Frequency (times), and Monetary Value (CLV) for each customer. Then assign a score from one to five to recency, frequency, and monetary values individually for each customer. For instance, the highest-value customers will have an RFM = 555, and the lowest-value customers an RFM=111.

A common calculation is to assign 5 to people that purchased in the last 24 hours, 4 in the last 3 days, 3 within the current month, 2 for last six months and 1 for everyone else. However, scores should be established based on the business you operate (for instance, for small businesses a purchase of $2K might identify a Champion client). Plus, such ranges should be constantly revised, especially when the business grows.

Once each customer has their RFM calculated, they are assigned to their corresponding customer segment.

How to track PDF downloads using Google Tag Manager – Step by step guide

Step 1: Install Google Tag Manager on your website

  1. Click on ‘Admin’ in the main navigation
  2. Click on ‘Install Google Tag ManagerGoogle Tag Manager - Admin Console
  3. Copy the provided code and paste it in the <head> and <body> of your webpageGoogle Tag Manager - Code
  4. After setting up your Tag Manager account, you need:
    • Variable: click URL
    • Trigger: Something that tells the system to fire the tag if the URL contains .pdf
    • Tag: It fires when certain conditions are met, allowing you to do track PDF downloads

Step 2: Enable pre-built variable for clicks

  1. Click on Variables in the left panel navigationTag Manager - Variables - Clicks
  2. Click Configure under the Built-In Variables section
  3. Ensure Click URL is checked under the Clicks section
  4. Activate the elements under Pages

Step 3: Create a Tag and Trigger

  1. Click on Tags in the left panel navigation
  2. Click NEW and name tag appropriately
  3. Configure your tag by clicking the edit pencil icon in the Tag Configuration section
    1. Choose Universal Analytics as your Tag Type
    2. Tracking ID (tracking ID from Google Analytics account): UA-xxxxxx-xx
    3. Tracking Type: Event
    4. Event Tracking Parameters –
      1. Category: PDF Click
      2. Action: Download of PDF
      3. Label: {{Click Path}} OR {{Click URL}Tag Configuration
      4. Create the trigger by clicking the edit pencil icon in the ‘Triggering’ section
        1. Click +New to create your trigger and name appropriately
        2. Configure the trigger by clicking the edit pencil icon in the Trigger Configuration section
          1. Choose Just Links as your trigger type under the Click section
          2. Select Some Link Clicks
          3. Setup your rule with the dropdowns and text fields:
            1. Page Path contains .*
            2. Click URL contains .pdf
          4. Save the trigger
          5. Your trigger configuration will resemble this:Tag Manager - Trigger Configuration
      5. Save the Tag

Step 4: Publish

Click the PUBLISH button in the top right to publish your event