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.

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.

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.

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 add Campaign Cost in Google Analytics – Step by step guide

  1. Login to your Google Analytics account
  2. Open the Administration pageMaster View Admin Page
  3. In Property, click on Dd Data Import
  4. Click on CREATEGA - Data Import Create
  5. Select in SUMMARY DATA IMPORT Cost Data. Click Continue.GA - Summary Data Import
  6. Name your campaignGA - Name your campaign
  7. Click the Enabled Views in which your DataSet will be available. Click Continue.GA - Enable Views
  8. Select Cost (ga:adCost) & Campaign (ga:campaign) as minimum required parameters
  9. Click SAVE
  10. Click on Get schemaGA - Get Schema Data Import
  11. Fill in the Excel File with your data – Keep in mind that Google Analytics is case sensitive and therefore “Campaign” is different from “campaign”.
  12. Click UPLOAD FILE in Google Analytics
  13. Navigate to Conversions > Attribution > Model comparison tool – You can now track Profit

Go beyond the obvious email metrics if you want to increase your ROI

Email marketing is an effective way to engage both potential clients and recurrent buyers. Keeping track of how well your email marketing messages are doing, is the key to turn a marketing strategy into business results.

Most email marketing blogs talk about keeping track of 4 obvious rates: bounce, opt-out, open, and click-through.

The first two metrics – bounce and opt-out rates- are indicators of your email list’s health; when high (above 5%), your list is either out-of-date (the email addresses are invalid) or not targeted enough (the content is of no interest to the recipient). Conversely, high open and click-through rates result from well-targeted emails (respectively, 15-20% and 5-10%).

Now, far more significant is the conversion rate: the rate of prospects who reach your landing page and accept the offer, whether it’s to download a free whitepaper, register for a webinar or buy a product.

But that’s not all…

1. Don’t calculate rates – calculate total numbers

First, a rate does not always reflect a business success – the total number of users that converted is far more crucial to business success than the ratio between the number of converters versus the total number of users. For instance, 200 conversions are better than 20 even if the first number might represent a lower conversion rate.

Lesson 1: move away from rates, embrace total numbers

2. Don’t calculate revenue – calculate profit

Second, even the total number of conversions might not be the most valuable business metric. For instance, a campaign promoting an expensive product might result in a better gross revenue even when the number of conversions is lower. For example, 20 conversions that generate gross generating of 2K each (40K total), are better than 200 conversions that bring only 0.1K each (20K total).

However, calculating total profit would be even better. If your e-commerce platform is connected to Google Analytics, the campaign’s revenue is calculated automatically (product’s price * the total number of products ordered).

To calculate profit, you need to upload the cost of your email campaigns by applying this formula:

Hours of labor * Hourly cost + Monthly cost of the email’s provider/number of monthly emails

Lesson 2: calculate the cost of a campaign to report profit rather than relying on revenue alone

Related: How to add Campaign Cost in Google Analytics – Step by step guide

3. Attribution modeling – estimate campaign influence

Third, in a multi-touch conversion path, users interact with a brand multiple times before converting; therefore, understanding how each touch-point help driving conversions is essential for campaign optimization.

In Google analytics select Conversions > Attribution to determine how many conversions the email campaign helped to generate. Also, don’t forget to test different attribution models to establish which one brings the highest ROI.
For instance, if an email campaign had the highest influence as Last Non-Direct Click, consider showing the email campaigns towards the end of a sale journey.

Lesson 3: Use Attribution Model to determine the Email Campaign Influence on Conversion

4. Content marketing – assign a value

In case you are sending people to a content page (download a PDF, sign up to a webinar), you need to assign a value to the content based on the sales you predict the content will generate. If you have no idea, assign a value of 1 (in your currency) as default. This value will be added to the Goal Conversion Value in GA.

To help you calculate the Goal Conversion Value, consider this formula:

% [conversions/total views] * Avg. order value
  • The Avg. order value is calculated using this formula:
  • [Total revenue – Content cost] / Number of orders
  • Total revenue is calculated using this formula:
  • [Total opportunity value – Content cost]

Lesson 4: Assign a Value to your micro-conversions

5. Long-term loyalty – annual ROI

After calculating the number of conversions that your piece of content helped generating, you should also calculate the campaign’s long-term influence. Create a segment of users whose source/medium is your selected email campaign and estimate the average lifetime of people that received your email(s).

  • Total number of active subscribers and the total profit they helped in generating
  • Total of email marketing profits/the average number of active subscribers = What an active subscriber will contribute in a year
  • The profit of an average active subscriber in a year X the average lifetime of an email address = email marketing lifetime value

6. Keep the best – Drop the rest

If there’s a definite bias towards a specific content, it would be worth investigating:

  • How did each email contribute to generating the expected conversion?
  • Why were people showing more interest in specific topics (for instance, seasonal offers rather than free content?)
  • Why have particular emails contribute more to the business profit than others?

Conclusion

Email marketing obvious metrics are a helpful first step to determine the overall health of your email list. But this is not enough as even a lower conversion rate might deliver a significant business result. Therefore, a marketing approach that focuses on identifying the business bottom line success is the right way to go. My recommendation is to calculate the overall profit, assign a value to your content marketing, and establish the short and long-term influence of your email marketing.

Stop thinking about driving traffic to your website like a straight line – It’s a circle!

All your marketing channels should work together to bring you the best possible result – and here are 5 ways to show you how!

Many marketers see online channels as separate silos when driving web traffic to clients’ websites. However, digital channels should all work together to bring you the best possible business result. In short, the traffic generated by one digital channel should be the foundation of your next one.

With this in mind, I’ll show you how you can make 5 digital channels work together.

Step 1 – Affiliate marketing

First, partner up with people who’ll promote your product or service – many companies offer this kind of service. They offer snippets on their newsletters, social media pages, or even their website where you can be featured. Your goal is to come up with an offer that will make readers click on the featured link and land on your website. The main advantage of this strategy is reaching a new audience and generate brand awareness.

When taking advantage of this strategy, consider:

  • What’s the business objective you want to achieve?
  • Which third parties would best represent your business identity?
  • Would their audience be interested in your products?

Take away lesson 1: Find out online companies in your niche where you can be featured.

Step 2 – Landing page optimization

Once the third-party audience has clicked on your link, your landed page should represent both your brand and the promised offer. Your lead magnet should be so relevant to the prospect’s needs or problems that they can’t help but ex­change their contact information to get it. To help you convert even more prospects:

  • Keep your message short and in line with your third-party snippet – no wordy landing pages
  • Make taking action really simple – no redirects and lengthy sign-up forms
  • Make clear how the special offer or discount can be redeemed– no extra T&C
  • Ask for an email address if offering free content – expand your mailing list

Take away lesson 2: Keep your landing page short, easy to use, and in line with your offer.

Step 3 – Email marketing

If people have taken advantage of your special offer and left their contact details, they can now be contacted via email. To promote additional products (cross-selling) and services (up-selling). Don’t forget to include guides or free content to support your customers. Consider this strategy:

  • People take advantage of your discount – They order online
  • An automatic email follows up with a thank you and a link to supportive information
  • A week later, a sales team representative calls to catch-up
  • Follow up with an automatic email to thank the customer and a link to additional information (depending on the outcome of the phone call)

Take away lesson 3: Follow up users that converted with an automatic email – show you care by providing additional information.

Step 4 – Pay-per-click advertising

Not all the prospects who clicked will take advantage of your offer. However, they showed an initial interest and therefore are already further down the sales funnel. To increase conversion, take advantage of remarketing by using pay-per-click advertising (PPC). Es­sentially, you generate an audience of people who visited your landing page and through display advertising you show those prospects your offer a second time. In this case, PPC success is achievable if you:

  • Create a targeted audience. Create a segment of users who visited your landing page and turn that segment into an AdWords/Bing audience.
  • Create a Display Ad. Create a visually appealing ad that helps people who previously visited your site come back. Consider a different landing page if the first one did not work.
  • Third parties. Spend some time considering which sites would be most relevant. For instance, if you notice competitors advertising on specific sites, it might we worth investigating how you could be featured as well.

Take away lesson 4: Remarket your landing page visitors with PPC advertising.

Step 5 – Long-term influence

People that were exposed to your third-party offer might not have clicked or landed on your page. However, that doesn’t mean that they did not find your proposal worthy of their attention. Therefore, specific KPIs should be measured to establish the long-term influence of the third-party campaign.

  • Did the organic and/or direct traffic increase after the campaign came out?
  • Did brand awareness increase – more branded searches?
  • Did the sales team receive more phone calls regarding the company’s product range?
  • Did the third-party campaign influence online conversions?

Take away lesson 5: Investigate the long-term influence of your campaign.

Conclusion

An effective digital marketing strategy takes all channels into consideration and makes them work together to achieve the same business result – profit. This is why you should stop seeing the channels as separate entities and start visualizing marketing as a big round circle in which each channel feeds into the other.

Who else wants to set up Google UTM tags for Pardot tracking?

As a digital analyst who knows the importance of efficiently recording and reporting marketing activities, there are moments where you feel overwhelmed.

You know that tracking is at the core of every marketing strategy (Avinash Kaushik anyone?), but at the same time, you are often full of doubts. Does this product update need a brand new campaign? Does this Facebook update belongs to the Social Media Campaign or the Product Launch Campaign? Possibilities are endless, your patience…a little less.

The frustration that I just described can become even more unbearable when results are expected to happen fast. Perhaps, when you joined a new company and want to impress your senior manager or when you want to pitch a new client. Or when you realized your predecessor never bothered tracking anything or that their tracking strategy took inspiration from the Memento plot!

Unfortunately, there is no choice, but taking a deep breath and start putting reason into the digital madness.

Luckily for you, I have already slain the dragon, and I’m here to show you how you can do the same. In few easily repeatable steps, you’ll always be able to track any campaign and effectively report your results to any client, manager or stakeholder.

Tracking and reporting will never be the same again.

Step 1: Set up your campaign structure

Independently from the business, you will run a certain number of marketing campaigns throughout the year. Those might include:

  • Product launch [to introduce a new product to the market]
  • Newsletter [to communicate to your clients]
  • Seasonal promotion [offers and discounts]
  • Product promotion [to promote a product that is not selling]
  • Events and workshops

I would recommend having a brainstorm at the beginning of each financial year, to determine how many types of campaigns the team will be running. To come up with ideas, I would suggest to include questions such as:

  • Will we be running discount & promotions?
  • Will we be launching new products?
  • Will we be attending social events?
  • Will we be running affiliate programs?

Continue reading Who else wants to set up Google UTM tags for Pardot tracking?