SMEs: Do you know well your marketing is performing?

One of the main benefits of digital marketing in comparison with traditional marketing & media channels is readily available & accurate data on performance.

Many forms of traditional marketing rely heavily on assumptions, presumptions or sample data.

How many customers not only saw, but took action from your last newspaper or magazine advert? How many people screwed up your latest flyer and how many took notice? It’s not impossible to gauge, but it’s certainly very difficult and not very accurate.

The rise of digital mediums provided marketers and business owners alike, with rich actionable data in realtime. It’s an absolute dream for gauging success, tracking return on investment & gaining customer insight.

 

The Benefits

  • Insight into customer behaviour
  • Understand who your customers actually are
  • Track R.O.I. from different campaigns
  • Understand the value of each customer
  • Establish the cost of winning new customers
  • Make informed business decisions

 

The Problem

As digital marketing platforms evolve and become more complex, so too can the data they provide.

It’s very easy to be blinded by science, overwhelmed with insights or just not know which of the thousands of tools out there are best suited for your needs.

Even if you’re an experienced marketer, it can be hard to make sense of the data in front of you. Even more so if you’re the owner or operator of an SME with limited experience in analytics or marketing reporting. 

The Solution

Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and reporting metrics are an important first step. They help you filter out the noise of data overload and concentrate on the information that matters to your business.

Work out what matters to you, whether it’s how people people view your website each month, the number of enquiry forms you receive or calls received from your website; establish the criteria that you’re going to measure your success from.

Once you’ve established what it is you want to track, set the parameters to gauge your success and have filtered out the noise, it’s time to get to it.

Set the time frame that you want to measure your marketing performance from and start reporting! We usually find that monthly report (from the 1st day of the month to the final day of the month) is more than sufficient for most businesses we work with.

 

How To Go About It

If you’re pulling data from different sources you’re going to want to use one common means of storing it, for ease of accessing and comparison. Traditionally we used to use an Excel Spreadsheet, but we’d highly recommend you consider using Google Sheets if you’re a small business.

Not only does this allow you the ability to share an editable document with other members of the team, you’ll be able to create visually appealing charts and graphs to make the data easier to understand and translate.

Include the KPI’s and metrics you established earlier on, and get inputting that data!

 

Finally

Inputting your marketing metrics can be time consuming but it’s an important part of any marketing campaign or overall strategy.

If you don’t know how well (or badly!) you’re doing, you can’t test, adjust and pivot accordingly. How will you know if your Google Ads are worth the money you’re investing, or whether the time spent on writing your blogs is having a positive effect?

We’ve included monthly reporting as one of the key services in our marketing support packages for small businesses.

We’ll provide you with a monthly marketing report that brings together all of the data from across your marketing channels and put it into a visually appealing, easy to understand report so you can measure the R.O.I. of your financial and time investment.

For those that don’t want all of the benefits that our marketing support packages offer, we also offer the monthly reporting as a separate low-cost service for SME’s! Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

 

Jack Barron

Managing Director – Invoke Media

 

What is SEO?

You’re sat in your office when the phone rings. On the other end, a salesperson from a marketing firm is asking you whether your small business has a SEO strategy, and, if not, would you like one? For those on the outside, SEO can be a bit of a daunting subject, filled with unknown factors. This article hopes to shed some light on the subject, meaning that when you decide on how you’re going to approach your SEO strategy, you’ll be empowered to make a much more informed decision.

 

What is SEO?

 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. In it’s purest form, SEO is the process in which a website improves its ranking on a search engine, such as Google. If you’re searching a specific term on a search engine, the likelihood is that you’ll probably check the results in the order that they come up. Improving your ranking on a search engine means that you’re more likely to be clicked on, and hence your website gets more views.

 

How does this help me?

 

Whether you’re a small business or a large one, bringing extra traffic to your site is never a bad thing. Extra traffic means more people seeing your message, product or service which, provided that your website is up to scratch, can easily convert to more sales. This means that good SEO can actively assist in boosting your sales, so it’s definitely worth investing in. In order to gain as much traffic as you can, it’s important to keep on top of your SEO to improve your ranking.

 

What does SEO consist of?

 

Search Engine optimisation consists of multiple factors which all combine to give you a great ranking on a search engine. We’ll cover this section in more detail in a later blog, however, general guidelines to follow are to put as much time in making sure your website consists of the highest quality content and site structure and has high quality links pointing at it. If we use Google as an example, one of the ways in which it judges pages is through analysing the content on there, however, it will also judge your page by the links on it as well as its pagerank, something we’ll also discuss in a later blog.

 

Too long; didn’t read

 

Search Engine Optimisation is the process of achieving a good rank on a search engine which increases traffic. SEO is done by high quality content and site structure, as well as good link building. Over the next couple of blogs, we’ll be diving into the world of SEO and explaining some of its core principles and how it can help you, whether you’re a freelancer, small business, or big firm.

The importance of being organic (in your SEO!)

The importance of being organic (in your SEO!)

 

Whenever I’m asked about the best way for businesses to reach that coveted number 1 spot in Google, my answer is always the same: Organically. Stating that as a one word answer often receives rather confused looks, so I usually have to explain myself.

 

Organic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is all about building your website’s search rankings up. Major search engines do not let you pay for high rankings in the organic sections as they use complex algorithms for a better user experience. Generally, the process is longer but a lot more effective in the long run. It’s all good paying a fair amount to get your business to the first page, but if it’s not going to stay there, what’s the point?

 

As a test, I want you to think about the last time you actually made it to the second page on Google when you were looking for something. After doing some research on this myself, I can say that, if you answered somewhere in the region of “never” to “maybe once when I was desperate” then you aren’t alone. A lot of sites reckon that on average, between 80-90% of us don’t. That’s a lot of potential traffic that you aren’t getting to your site. More traffic means more potential to convert.

 

“But I’m using Adwords!” You might answer; “I’m already on the first page of Google, why do I need to build my site up organically as well?” It’s simple really. Adwords is a great tool for marketing your site, but it only goes so far. There are over 10,000,000 users of the top two ad blocking apps on the google extension store for Chrome. With this in mind, do you think that your advert, now blocked from being viewed, is being as effective as one that isn’t blocked? In short, Adwords is a great short term solution if you want to boost traffic but building your search ranking up organically will mean that your site can be viewed by all those searching for your keywords with that pesky ad blocker installed.

 

For the small business owner, Adwords is a great way to target traffic while you’re building up your site organically so please don’t think this is an article warning you against using Adwords. The best approach is a balanced strategy focusing on both Adwords and organic SEO in order to maximise the traffic that your site should be getting.

 

 

NB.

Organic SEO is important for your site in the long run but don’t underestimate Adwords as a balanced approach is the most effective strategy for your site to perform well in the long term.

The top 3 things to ask your digital marketing agency

If you own a big or small business that’s been around for more than 5 minutes, the likelihood is that calls about your SEO are rivalling the number you get about reclaiming your PPI. While you appreciate that optimising your site to increase your traffic is probably a good idea, you’ve heard so many horror stories about different digital marketing companies, that you’re not overly sure where to go for it. It’s dangerous to go alone, here take these questions.

 

  1. Do you guarantee results? 

    Believe it or not, the answer you really want is no. As soon as you hear the words: “We can guarantee you ___ many ranking keywords in the first 6 months.” You should give up on them immediately. SEO, by its nature, can be very unpredictable and any digital marketing company worth its salt should happily admit that.Using Google as an example, the only way to guarantee results would be to know the algorithm that they use. Seeing as only a select few senior staff at Google actually know it (and understand it!), it’s very unlikely that the digital marketing company you’re talking to, has access to that sort of information.

 

On top of this, if they are still insisting that it will be very easy to get you ranking on keywords that they’ve given you, this probably means that these are very low competition keywords that will have little or no affect on your traffic numbers.

 

Overall, a good SEO agency will have a solid short, mid, and long term strategy that can be implemented for your website. Make sure that you establish this before signing on the dotted line.

  1. What are you charging? 

    While this seems like a pretty basic question to ask, it’s actually quite important. Finding out what and how a SEO company charges actually says a lot about the company. The key aim here is to find a company that is the best value for money. In the most cases, this will be going for a company at the top or just above your budget.

Why? It all comes down to the industry itself. Being such a vast and changing industry, there will always be someone who can do it cheaper for you. In his blog, Digital marketer Andrew Doyle pointed to this Australian forum which shows what can happen to people who go for cut rate agencies. You want a company that knows what they’re doing the first time round. Usually this may mean spending a little more, but ultimately, if stops you from being sent to SEO hell when Google rolls out a new update, it’ll be money well spent.

Another part of choosing your digital marketing agency is how they charge you. Some companies do an hourly rate, some charge you monthly/yearly, some even charge by results, what you chose will depend on your financial situation and the sort of work that you want to company to be undertaking. An example of this is that, if you’re only looking for the odd thing every now and again, an hourly rate may be cheaper for you in the long run, whereas, if you’re looking for more regular maintenance on your site, a monthly/yearly payment might be more suited.

 

 

  1. How will you show me results? 

    While results are never guaranteed in the digital marketing, tracking progress is something that all reputable firms should be able to do for you. Ask them for reports on a regular basis and you should be able to see the work they are putting in and the results it is getting. It’s important to remember that results may not happen straight away and it may take a while for things to fully kick in, but, in the meantime, a digital marketing agency should be able to give you reports on at least some of the following:

 

  • Changes in your keyword rankings
  • Changes in your search visibility
  • Any improvement or otherwise on your domain rank.
  • How much you’re being charged per click
  • Your bounce rates
  • Your click through rates

 

Overall, be savvy. Do your research around the company. Don’t be afraid to ask their sales team questions, it’s their job! It’s always worth getting it right the first time rather than having a cheap company ruin your chances of not ranking. Whether you’re just after advice on PPC or a full blown SEO campaign, asking these questions will assist you in choosing the right agency for you.