Posted by on Feb 15, 2021 in Advertising, Digital Advertising, Marketing Automation, Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Website Strategy | 0 comments

Going Further with Google Display Ads

by Scott Fuhr

As we’re well into month two of our 2021 journey we’re seeing incredible shifts to digital channels as ways to reach customers through our marketing efforts. Let’s continue to re-evaluate our marketing approaches in this all-new pandemic world.

One way to join the digital shift is by leveraging the power of Google.

It’s widely acknowledged that Google is the best and biggest search engine in the world and it could hence write its own book on creating and managing paid digital ad programs. As such, the fact remains that digital ads can be a major force in creating differentiation – especially in an environment where an online presence is paramount in lieu of in-person events.

We’ve already touched on getting started with Google search ads (formerly known as “AdWords”) – and these ads should, without a doubt, be included in today’s mix to create exposure for your business-to-business company. A mix that further includes many other vehicles in your ad spend, social media and of course email marketing.

As a reminder, Google search ads are text-based and appear above the organic listings on the search engine results page when you search for specific terms in the Google.com search window. Here’s an example of what a paid Google search ad looks like after typing in “office chair” into the search box:

In a nutshell, the organic search results are the naturally occurring listings served-up by an online vehicle’s content and SEO optimization (think your website) and are not paid placements.

Introducing the Display Ad

Another type of Google ad is the display ad, and that’s what we’ll look at now.

Google display ads are graphics that show up on websites in its network. They will appear while you’re on your bank’s website, for instance, to increase awareness of a product that Google believes you’ll be interested in.

Here’s what a display ad can look like, in a billboard style:

Google tries to determine which sites are most relevant to your audience. It does this based on what it knows about an individual’s profile, search history, and what the ad creators have submitted for examples of sites they believe your demographic would be interested in or have already searched for in the past.

The technology is complicated. However, if we take a step back and realize that just ten years ago many considered this type of “matching” technology to be relatively new, Google has committed every year since to consistently improve the targeting technology.

As such, this is where the power of display ads can be seen. These ads can offer a much cheaper CPC (or cost-per-click) than search ads. And, if you have a goal to build awareness for your brand, these ads can reach prospects as they travel around the web and will keep you – not your competitors – top of mind.

Tip: An example from one our clients shows a Google display ad last quarter in a particular category had a CPC that was five times less than the CPC of the Google search ad.

When creating a display ad, set some time aside. Google requires four graphic images, and text for a short headline (up to five versions), a long headline, and descriptions (up to five versions). All of these elements depend upon what your ad is offering. For example, are you offering a white paper download, or a free product trial, or a way to contact a representative for a conversation?

Here’s another example of a Google display ad, in a box style:

Tip: To see many more samples, try Googling “examples of Google display ads” and comb through a few to get an idea for what your ads should look like. Make sure the look and feel match your organization’s overall branding guidelines to create a more seamless experience for the user.

Selecting the Audience

For the audience, you input key terms (formerly “keywords”) that describe topics you believe your prospects are interested in or have purchase intentions around, and you can even list other websites you believe they would be likely to visit.

Tips: For help with determining what key terms to input, research terms that are popular with visitors and that are being used by your competitors. One tool to use for this is SpyFu, which has a free option. Just sign-up, put in a website, and take a look at its available ad data. Another tool is Google’s own keyword planner – which can even estimate what the historic search volume is for a term.

What Am I Supposed to Do?

While you’re creating your ad, it’s also time to think about what you want your prospect to do when they click on your ad – your call-to-action (CTA). This will depend upon the thinking you did a few paragraphs back, where you determined what you’re going to offer in the ad.

At Brandwidth Solutions we most often create Google display ads for companies that offer an exclusive piece of content, like a white paper download. We take them to a landing page in their marketing automation system, and they can complete a form on that landing page to download the white paper (a PDF document). In the process, we track them in their marketing automation system as a lead and the information can be uploaded automatically into the client’s CRM.

Your CTA may differ if your ad is about registering for an event, for instance. In that case, your ad may take a prospective attendee to an event registration page.

Time to Bid

As we mentioned above, Google Ads are based on a CPC model. This means you only pay for each click on your ad.

You can start your bidding by selecting a bid strategy that is based upon your campaign objectives. Your goals might be to garner impressions or to simply get web visitors. While bidding consists of some mix of trial and error, analysis, and constant adjustment, a good place to start is with the “maximize conversions” strategy. Google will help you constantly adjust to the best maximum bid automatically by leveraging its growing machine learning engine.

You can learn more about bidding here.

Google Power

Ready to try the display ads? Let us know how it’s going. If you’d like us to help you out and devise a strategy for your B2B goals, contact us now.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing that want their marketing empowered to help drive leads and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on May 20, 2020 in Advertising, Digital Advertising, Marketing Strategy, Website Strategy | 0 comments

Getting Started with Google Ads

Getting Started with Google Ads from Brandwidth Solutions

by Scott Fuhr

Among the many opportunities to create exposure for your B2B company – from pre-event promotions and post-event offers to email marketing – is Google Ads. This marketing tool is becoming increasingly popular.

Many companies find managing and placing Google Ads to be confusing. They’re not alone. And make no mistake, since Google is the most popular search engine and most visited website in the world, Google Ads in many cases are a must-have whether we like it or not.

Google recently renamed “AdWords” to “Google Ads.” The ads consist of two types – search and display. Search ads appear above the organic search results on the search engine results page and display ads appear on websites that Google tries to determine are relevant to your audience.

In this post, we’ll focus on how you can get started with the search-type ads. This is where most organizations begin.

Here’s an example of what a paid Google search ad looks like after typing in “office chair” into the search box on Google.com:

Getting Started with Google Ads from Brandwidth Solutions

As you can see, the ad has a bolded “Ad” term in the first line. The search result just beneath it – for Amazon – is organic and is not a paid ad. A good overview of paid Google Ads versus organic search results can be found here.

Square One

To get started with your own campaigns, just sign-up for a Google Ads account.

Again, if you’re just starting out, try search-type ads first. With so much of campaign success riding on the keywords that are used to determine when to display your ads, you may be able to glean some insights from search ads before moving on to the more labor-intensive display ads.

Keyword Research

Speaking of keywords – what are those? Keywords are what users enter into the search box on google.com to search for a topic. Think about what you type in so you can find something. For instance, to find multiple resources for one of my links in the second paragraph of this post, I typed in “top search engine in the world” and got pages full of resourceful links returned to me.

One might find selecting keywords to be daunting, and rightly so. However, to help you decide which keywords to use for your campaign, you can use Google’s own keyword planner. You can enter a product or service or an existing website as examples, and the planner will provide recommendations of keywords to use. Here’s what Google’s keyword planner looks like:

Getting Started with Google Ads from Brandwidth Solutions

Tip: You can also use SEO (search engine optimization) keyword tools from other sources to research keywords that are popular with visitors and that are being used by your competitors. One example is SpyFu, which has a free option.

Write the Ad

As you can probably tell by now, Google Ads are as much about research as they are about writing the ads themselves. Which is what you’ll be doing next.

With tools like SpyFu, you can see examples of other companies’ search ads in some cases. This helps you when deciding what words and headlines to use when writing your own ads. If you don’t want to use an extra tool like SpyFu, just use your best educated assumptions to start out and you can tweak the copy later.

Here’s an example of an ad appearing when searching for “office laptops” on Google:

Getting Started with Google Ads from Brandwith Solutions

The ad – in this case for Dell – showed up within the top three results on the search engine results page. This is likely due to solid ad copy and a good bidding strategy.

Time to Budget

After the ad is written, bidding and budgeting are the other elements needed when implementing Google search ads.

For the budget, select how much you’d like to spend each day and for how long. For example, a good starting point might be $25-$50 per day for 30 days. Check in with your account often. Following the first 30-day period, you may want to evaluate your campaign performance to decide whether to continue. Most often, you’ll want to continue, and you can adjust your budget up or down and also implement the campaign recommendations that Google will likely offer you at this point.

Time to Bid

Google Ads are based on a CPC – or cost-per-click – model. This means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

You can start your bidding by selecting a bid strategy that is based upon your campaign objectives. Your goals might be to garner impressions or to simply get web visitors. While bidding consists of some mix of trial and error, analysis, and constant adjustment, a good place to start is with the “maximize clicks” strategy. Google will help you constantly adjust to the best maximum bid automatically by leveraging its growing artificial intelligence engine.

You can learn more about bidding here.

The Power of Google

There are other search engines on which you can place ads – like Bing and Yahoo (Microsoft Advertising) – and perhaps you can do those if your budget allows. However, with a more conservative budget in mind, it’s hard to match Google’s power within the website-user sphere. The term itself has become a verb in many instances – “just try Googling it to see what you can find.”

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Feb 14, 2020 in Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Automation, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Tradeshows | 0 comments

New Email Marketing Program – Part 2

Brandwidth Solutions Email Marketing Tips

by Scott Fuhr

As we covered in last month’s post, you can use email marketing to promote an upcoming trade show appearance, to produce multi-touch campaigns, or to help with webinar marketing. This month, we’ll take a look at some real-world examples of the areas that we covered.

Try Testing Your Email Subject Lines with an A/B Test

As a reminder, A/B testing is the art of testing a portion of an email before deploying the entire send. The goal is to improve the open rate – and hence your overall engagement from your audience.

Wondering what a real-life example of a test looks like?

Here’s a real-word example of an A/B test we did for a client to help them promote an event (insert your own event’s name):

  • Subject line A: How to Get the Most from [Your Event]
  • Subject line B: Insider Tips – How to Get the Most from [Your Event]

In this case, 25% of the audience got subject line A and another 25% got subject line B for the test portion.

The winner?

Subject line B, with a 35% higher open rate over subject line A in the test. We then sent the remaining 50% of the audience emails using subject line B.

This likely resulted in at least ten more opens overall that would not have occurred without the test. In the email marketing world, that can be significant.

Experiment with a few of your own and see if you can move the needle on your results. Some additional A/B testing ideas can be found here.

Provide Value with Multi-touch Campaigns

One of our clients recently held their annual customer event. Instead of sending out one email promoting the event and hoping that people would come, we built an entire multi-touch email campaign was built that included reach-outs before the event, sends that occurred during the event, and post-event touches that included a save-the-date notice for the next event.

What does a multi-touch email campaign look like?

Below is a sampling of the schedule and one that you could consider building around all types of events:

  • Email 1: Early Bird Registration
  • Email 2: Call for Abstracts
  • Email 3: Early Bird Registration Reminder (A/B Test)
  • Email 4: Letter from the CEO About Importance of the Event
  • Email 5: Presentation Highlights and Promo Rate Ends Reminder
  • Email 6: Hotel Block Deadline and Introduce Event Mobile App
  • Email 7: Highlight Social Event (to Registrants Only)
  • Email 8: Last Chance to Register
  • Email 9: Day 1 Highlights – Sent During Event to Attendees Only
  • Email 10: Downloadable Content Offered After Keynote – Sent During Event to Attendees Only
  • Email 11: Day 2 Highlights – Sent During Event to Attendees Only
  • Event 12: Thanks for Attending (to Attendees Only)
  • Email 13: Save the Date for Next Year’s Event

Email #10 was sent to all attendees immediately following the CEO’s opening keynote address and offered a related topical white paper download. This email achieved a 48.4% open rate and 21.4% click-through rate. As we mentioned last month, an event-related email typically achieves an open rate of 21-30% and a click-through rate of 3-11%.

Tip: Consider offering an exclusive piece of content that event attendees get in advance of your other audiences. Attendees will feel like they’re getting extra value from the event and you can evaluate what kind of email open rates you get for this type of “live” content distribution.

Email Templates Can Improve Results

How many times have you received an email on your mobile device and when you try to read it you have to move the screen around to read the whole message? What has likely happened is that the email wasn’t optimized for mobile devices, and this is where templates can help.

Many email systems come with pre-selected templates you can choose from, and I recommend trying one of those to start with to get better mobile results.

Here’s an example of one of our favorite templates:

Example Email from Brandwidth Solutions

While some templates may not be to your liking exactly, there are often simple options available to remove and add sections (like header banner images, photos, logos, and text areas). The template above was used to promote our own blog posts to our audience, and 25% of the opens on this particular blog promotion in December 2019 were opened on a mobile device.

Tip: If you’re not sending mobile-friendly emails, you’re disappointing a good portion of your audience – which may lead them to unsubscribe or delete it before being read. It has been suggested that as many as 15% of users will unsubscribe when a mobile email displays poorly.

Most email marketing systems also have an option to choose a mobile preview, showing you what the email would look like to recipients opening it on a mobile phone or other device. See if that feature can help you adjust your headline spacing and other features so it is mobile-friendly. Not all devices will show your email exactly as you wish, however you can maximize readability using this feature.

There are some additional mobile display tips available here.

Improving your email program – even just your open rates – doesn’t mean you need to move boulders. We can help you get more ROI out of email. To start a conversation, call us today.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Jan 17, 2020 in Brand Strategy and Design, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Automation, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Tradeshows | 0 comments

New Year, New Email Marketing Program

Brandwidth Solutions Offers Email Marketing Tips

by Scott Fuhr

Happy 2020! The New Year is a new opportunity to consider what’s working well in your marketing and what can be improved for the coming year. For email marketing, that can mean tweaking the foundations of your program.

Respondents to a recent study from Marketo indicated that the most effective type of marketing technology (martech) was “marketing automation/email/CRM.” Furthermore, they also marked “increasing marketing ROI” as the number-one challenge to the success of a martech strategy.

As we covered previously, you can use email marketing to promote trade show appearances via pre-show marketing and post-show marketing. These efforts can include email sends to a show list beforehand, and multi-touch campaigns, drip campaigns, or lead nurturing campaigns to the trade show attendee list after the event. You can even use email for webinar marketing.

Email isn’t going anywhere soon.

There are many different ways to customize your email marketing campaigns so they can perform beyond your expectations, including:

  • A/B testing
  • Multi-touch campaigns
  • Template approaches

And, while having a fancy marketing automation platform is helpful, you can also perform many of these approaches in simple programs (like Constant Contact). The point is to get started somewhere.

Testing Email Subject Lines

Let’s look at A/B testing. This is the art of testing a portion of an email send before deploying the entire send, with the goal of improving the open rate. While testing can be based on different portions of the email – like the subject line or the send-from address – the most common I see is based on the open rate of two different subject lines.

Instead of sending your email out to your entire list, you can make two different subject lines to test (A and B). You send subject line A to one-fourth of your list and send subject line B to another one-fourth of your list. After you send that test, you determine which subject line had the higher open rate. Then, you send the winning subject line to the remaining one-half of your list. The idea, of course, is that the remaining emails will naturally have a higher open rate than they would have without doing the test.

Multi-touch Email Campaigns

One of our clients recently held their annual customer event. Instead of sending out one email promoting the event and hoping that people would come, an entire multi-touch campaign was built around the event that included at least eight sends prior to the event, sends that occurred while the event was live, and post-event sends that included a link to a satisfaction survey. A post-event email we did for this event to attendees that provided the satisfaction survey link garnered a 41% open rate and 15% click-through rate. According to Emma and Eventbrite, an event-related email typically achieves an open rate of 21-30% and a click-through rate of 3-11%.

Tip: Make several of the pre-event emails more personal by highlighting some of the individual speakers and what they’ll be covering that’s unique to the event. This approach puts faces to the speakers’ names, and potential attendees can see the value of the content before the event even starts.

A comprehensive email marketing program like this takes potential attendees on a journey that highlights what makes your event different, conveys the benefits of attending, and invites attendees to keep in touch after the event ends. The result: relationship-building that leads to sales. You’ve now started building a foundation for a relationship or are continuing to nurture one through these regular communications.

Enhance Email Campaigns with Marketing Automation

Multi-touch campaigns can be enhanced by marketing automation technology. Platforms that provide this approach allow you to take email marketing one step further by automating some of the tasks of relationship-building.

For instance, typically we set-up email programs that automatically provide a white paper or other thought-leadership deliverable when a recipient opens the email and completes a form. A list of the leads can be provided showing who downloaded the deliverable and these can be passed along to the sales team for follow-up. Someone who actively downloads your content is more likely to have a conversation with your team. According to Demand Metric, 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it.

Programs can also be built to provide an automated cadence of emails over time. Think a segment of prospects needs to be introduced to your organization and, as such, they are put on a program that delivers them information about your products and services over a period of several months to warm them up. You’re staying top-of-mind. And, for those with marketing automation platforms, all the results from these emails can be delivered straight to your CRM and the platform can even score your prospects according to their interactions with you.

Get Better Results with an Email Template

How many times have you received an email on your mobile device and when you try to read it you have to move the screen around to read the whole message? What has likely happened here is that the email wasn’t optimized for mobile devices.

Using a template approach can easily solve this issue. Many email systems come with pre-selected templates you can choose from, and I recommend trying one of those to start with to get better mobile results.

Exclusive Tip: We’ve found that an average of 23% of our emails were opened on a mobile device over the last six months. If you’re not sending mobile-friendly emails, you’re disappointing a good portion of your audience – which may lead them to unsubscribe or delete it before being read. It has been suggested that as many as 15% of users will unsubscribe when a mobile email displays poorly.

While some templates may not be to your liking exactly, there are often simple options available to remove and add sections (like header banner images, photos, logos, and text areas).

If you have graphic designers on staff – and we do – enlist their help to create some of these images for your templated email sends. This will help create an overall cohesive look and feel for your brand and get recipients of your emails used to identifying your messages with your organization.

Coming Up…

In our next post in February, we’ll look at some real-world examples from the areas above. Email marketing can be nebulous and is an ongoing work-in-progress as technology evolves. The good news is that we can help you get started with your program or can enhance your current program.

Start increasing your open rates and ROI from email – get going by calling us today.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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