How to Create Outstanding PPC Ads

PPC campaigns like AdWords can be powerful tools to drive traffic to your site. The top position on a SERP can get you an 8 percent clickthrough rate–more than double the average of 3.16 percent.

But if they’re unmanaged, or executed poorly, PPC campaigns can become a financial drain that fails to convert clicks into sales. So if you’re using AdWords or a similar PPC product, be sure to make it count. These are the stages of crafting an outstanding set of PPC ads. If you and your team go through each stage carefully, with flexibility and attention to detail, you will arrive at a winning and lucrative campaign.

Run Intensive Keyword Research

For the first and most important step, unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. The right set of target keywords will connect you directly to the customers already searching for your services. But the wrong keywords will lead you on a time consuming and expensive goose chase, only for you to circle back around to doing this step over again.

So take your time with this! Make it count. There’s no way to be sure you’ve chosen the perfect keywords until you test drive them, but the more research you do, the more likely you are to hit your target.

Use Those Long Tail Keywords

Your keyword research will probably turn up some obvious terms. If you’re a translation services provider, for example, the obvious keywords will be translation, interpretation, subtitling, and so forth. These terms are broad, but they generally describe what you offer (and what the customer is looking for).

Long tail keywords are more specific. In some cases, much more specific: translate medical documents from Farsi to Arabic, for example. The person running this through a search engine knows exactly what they want, and they are ready to buy. So even though each long tail keyword turns up rarely as a search, when it does turn up, it converts more easily into a sale.

Craft the Perfect Headlines

Working within the character limit to find the perfect headline is the mark of a great PPC marketer. Headlines more than anything drive clicks, so this is where the magic happens. Your user has already run a search for your keyword–how do you want to greet them?

The character limits can be difficult. But use them to your advantage, and make every word count! The same thing goes for your copy. It should support your headline and offer a call to action.

Choose Your Extensions Wisely

If you’re using AdWords, it’s easy to get carried away with extensions. With each extension you add, you expand your ad. While this is enticing, you don’t want to clutter up your ad with unnecessary information. If you don’t do a lot of business by phone, don’t add a phone number. If you are online only, don’t add a location.

Use the extensions that highlight who you are, and what is meaningful to users who are searching for you. If your translation company handles sensitive medical or legal documents, you might add positive Trustpilot reviews, for example, to lend authority to your ad.

Optimize Your Landing Pages

Your keywords are focused, your copy is enticing, and now you need to be ready to receive the customer to your website. Specific ads should link to corresponding pages–don’t send everyone to the home page! A user who searched for medical document translation should land on your /services/medical-translation page.

All of the information they need, including a call to action and a clickable next step, should appear above the fold. Make in depth details available by scrolling down. It should be immediately clear upon arrival what you are all about, what you can do for the customer, and what they can do next to get started.

Focus on the Customer’s End Goal

This speaks to an important point to keep in mind all throughout the previous steps. Remember what the customer wants, and show them that. More often than not, the customer isn’t immediately interested in how great you are or how many amazing translators you have all over the world. They want to see their documents translated. They want the job already done.

This makes the words you and your infinitely more powerful than we and our. When you’re choosing your keywords, focus on the customer’s end goal. When you’re writing copy, the customer’s end goal. When you’re optimizing your landing pages, end goal. End goal end goal end goal. Help the customer envision their problem already solved.

Try and Adjust

You can tinker with your ads ad infinitum, but at some point, you’ve got to see if they’ve got wings. Run the campaign, and keep a close eye on your analytics. Even though it’s exciting to watch the results, this is just the beginning of the revision process.

You’ll see which ads are working, and which aren’t. Double down on the good ones, and go back to the drawing board with keyword research to replace those that aren’t turning up results. Don’t forget that you’re paying for clicks, but clicks don’t necessarily mean sales. Aim to double your money.

Click Click Cash!

This process is essentially a loop, and it never really stops. By continuing to hone your PPC campaign, you make it more efficient and streamlined, bringing in a return on the dollars that you spend for clicks. Don’t worry if it’s a slog in the research stage–once you have that momentum going, you’ll be so busy with all your new customers that you won’t even remember!

Author Bio

Brian Oaster is a Content Writer at translation services provider Day Translations. He has worked all over the world as an arts educator, English teacher, basket exporter, rare book dealer, fortune teller, and as the first mate of a private sailing yacht. Educated in the visual arts and an avid reader of news and literature, his focus is on international arts and culture, world religions and global politics. Follow him on Twitter @brianoaster.

How to Make Your Business Blog Look More Professional

Your business blog has a lot of important jobs to do. You want to use it to establish your business as an authority in its niche, to keep in touch with current and future customers, and turn your readers into buyers. In order to do that, you need to have a blog that inspires trust. Your followers deserve a clean, professional looking blog. You’re trying to win them over, and how much care and attention you put into your blog just might be the most important factor in that process.

Choose the Right Color Scheme

Colors are more important than a lot of people realize. If they’re all mismatched, a cohesive theme is lost. If your blog is mostly black and white, it may look poorly maintained. Certain color schemes evoke certain feelings. Colors should match your brand and be consistent throughout your blog. You want enough contrast between your background and font colors in order to make the blog easy to read. Navigational features should be colored to stand out, and areas of interest should pop against plain content.

Improve Your Graphics

If you’re relying heavily on things like stock images and text tables, your readers are going to notice. You need custom graphics. For blog posts that feature a lot of information, it’s worth translating some of that information into an infographic. Since most people are visual learners, you want to make sure you’re paying enough attention to the visuals they’re getting. If you’re not a graphic designer, you can always hire one on Gumtree to refresh the graphics you currently have and generate new ones for posts.

Make Navigation Simple

You want your readers to click around on your business blog. The longer they’re there, the more interested they are in what you’re doing. If they can’t find the rest of your content, there’s no reason for them to stick around. Make sure your blog is highly organized. Get rid of clickables, widgets, and features that add no value to your blog. Keep your menus sleek and simple, and make sure all of your navigation is optimized for mobile. Since about half of your blog’s traffic will come from smartphones, you need to be sure everyone can use it.

Have a Thorough “About” Page

Who is behind your blog? How are your readers to know that you aren’t some lonesome guy or gal camping out in a basement? Make sure your “About Us” page features valuable information about your business. Let them see addresses, phone numbers, and contact information. Feature short profiles on the employees responsible for running the blog. It shows that you’re committed enough to what you do that you’re willing to put your name on it, and reinforces the concept that you’re all real people. This is great for both trust and professionalism.

Be Careful With Ads and Clutter

Blogs that are littered with advertisements, whether they’re for your own products and services or general ads placed for revenue, often translate as eyesores. If you have a lot of junk all over the place, your blog might seem less like a valuable resource and more like a clickbait scam. If you want people to take you seriously, you need to be very careful with your advertisements. If your readers feel like all you care about is making money, they’ll lose sight when it comes to the value you actually provide.

Always be willing to accept feedback from your readers. Make sure you’re active in the comments section. If they don’t like the way something looks or works on their blog, they’ll probably tell you. Be a good listener, and be willing to make improvements when your readers suggest them.

As part of a small marketing team, Margaret Austin, likes to write about digital marketing trends and anything that helps entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. She’s interested in photography and modern art.

6 Best Practices for Writing Mobile-friendly Content

Mobile-friendly content can make or break your message. No lie. The proof is in the stats below.

The year 2015 was when the US market hit the mobile tipping point , with mobile-only users exceeding desktop-only users for the first time. Globally, the number of mobile users overtook  folks on desktops for the first time in 2014.

Approximately 59% of smartphone users expect companies to make their websites mobile-friendly . Meanwhile, Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, with 40% turning to a competitor’s site instead.

So here are the lessons we can take away from this:

a) Mobile is a very important way to consume content.

b) People expect their mobile journeys to be simple, intuitive and clever. They will punish sites that look bad on mobile.

Most conversations about mobile accessibility start with the design. Easy navigation, simpler templates, and adaptive fonts are all being employed to make things easier to read. But as a copywriter , it’s worth remembering that you too have a role to play.

It’s not just the design that needs to be mobile-friendly, but the content has to be, too. Your writing needs to work well with mobile. Here’s how:

No big words

Most wireframes and web mock-ups are designed for the big screen, and your vocabulary looks amazing sitting in the middle of an expansive page. But those big words will often get hyphenated in a smaller mobile screen, and will just look ugly. Throw a few of them in there, and they’ll disrupt the reading experience and increase bounce rates.

No long sentences

Same principle as above, really. Real estate for copy is really at a premium. Long sentences take up too much room. Try and keep your sentences short – and concise. This doesn’t mean mangling them. Instead, go over them repeatedly to weed out weak words and flab. Ask yourself how you can say the same thing elegantly in fewer words.

Chunk up your text

Broadsheet newspapers and print magazines get away with unbroken text. Marketing websites don’t have that luxury. Your viewers will want to get the gist of what you say in a hurry. Think of it as the bite, the snack and the meal approach.

The bite

Some readers just want the bottom line. So summarize everything you’re about to say in a heading carrying a strong message.

The snack

Some mobile readers have a bit more time. Think of them as slightly hungry for content. They’re happy to read a paragraph that gives them your main talking points. Here, never just take the top paragraph from your content and post just that. Instead, take the time to create a two- to three-line summary that captures the gist of what you’re saying.

The meal

Be hospitable and offer up a full meal for guests who are really hungry for your content. The meal is your full argument, presented well and carrying supporting facts and figures to make your case.

This approach is very powerful in that it lets users select how hungry they are (i.e., the amount of content they want to consume). You’ve got something for everyone, no matter their appetite.

The trick is to have the bite, the snack and the meal in the same screen or document. So, the bite can be the heading, the snack an introduction (or conclusion), and the meal the full body text.

Create lists and bullets

Your high school teacher might have thought numbered lists were a sign of laziness. But on mobile screens, lists and bullet points are a very effective way of linking together related content without using too many words. Lists also introduce white space, which tends to look good on a mobile screen.

Short paragraphs with sub-headings

You’ll see we’re developing a bit of a theme. On mobile – and in fact, on any device – it’s a good idea to structure well, so readers can skim. They will then spend more time on the bits that appeal, and speed-read the rest. Put breaks in the text. And write brief sub-heads that let readers know what they’re about to read.

Go simple

So, here’s your “snack” for this piece. If there’s one thing that you should take away, it’s the need to go simple . It’s the one great trick to writing more effective copy, and not just on mobile. Remember – your audience is reading your marketing copy because they want solutions to their pain points. So give them their answers – as directly and fluently as possible.

AUTHOR BIO

Hisham Wyne is an award-winning copywriter, brand consultant and content creator based in Dubai. He has over a decade’s experience in helping brands get their messages right. From crisp web copy and zippy brochures to in-depth company profiles and analytical annual reports, Hisham makes words work for you – so you can sell better, gain visibility, and give your brand a unique voice.

During his time in the Middle East, Hisham has collaborated extensively with blue-chip companies including Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Harley-Davidson and Aston Martin, and helped government concerns such as the Dubai Internet City, in5 and the Dubai Design District.

Why Your Campaign Never Works Out The Way You Plan

You’ve been there, and you’ve felt it before. Your marketing campaign has failed – yet again. Even though the budget was large enough, and you did everything right, it turned out that final result is well below satisfactory.

If you want to be on top of the game in the fast-paced world of digital marketing,  it is of utmost importance to constantly adapt to new trends and changes. However, if you want to get in and stay in the game, there are a few basic rules you must abide to avoid most common mistakes of digital marketing campaigns.

Your plan isn’t solid, and you lack focus

Charging blindly into the battle will most likely result in utter obliteration of one’s armies –  unless they have an overwhelming force, that is. Similarly, unless you are equipped with ‘out of this world’ budget, choosing to start a campaign without the proper plan will most likely result in a failure.

Your digital strategy should embody your brand, include your audience, and have clear, measurable goals that focus on your business growth. However, the most important part is budget and finance managing – a thoughtfully planned and well-executed campaign can easily outperform lazy, mass-media ad buys.

Once you’ve made a solid plan, you have to maintain the focus and stick to it. First of all, invest your time in areas that will bring you quick and measurable reward. Only after that, you can turn to long-term goals, which should bring you the success of greater magnitude. The key component here is persistence, so keep your eyes on the prize and maintain focus at all costs.

You are setting unclear goals

Before you even start you need to know two things: what exactly you want to accomplish and how to make sure you’ve successfully achieved your goal. Therefore, sit your team down, set right expectations, consult your budget, and get cracking.

Goals of every campaign you launch should be realistic, no question. However, to determine if your campaign was a success or failure, you will need to measure it up against a certain metric. Choosing it is entirely up to you, but it may be nice to mention the most common ones:

  • Was the budget breached?
  • Did we reach the targeted audience?
  • Has our audience taken any desired action and in what manner?

Choose audience and numbers by taking a look at the past campaigns and reanalyzing them once again. Also, do not forget to make “from start till the end” timeline, as it will be crucial for determining milestones and deadlines.

You don’t know or care about your audience

If you are selling toy dolls, targeting middle-aged men would be absurd. Similarly, you will not try to sell a set of kitchen knives to 12-year-old children. Knowing your audience is the first place to start in building your digital marketing strategy. Without a clear understanding of their needs, it is very likely that your entire strategy will crumble. Also, your audience is constantly changing and evolving, so you may have to make minor or major shifts in your digital strategy.

So you have to take into consideration which your specific audience visits social media platforms. It is highly unlikely that 50-year-old man will have a Snapchat account just as a college student doesn’t necessarily visit LinkedIn that often. Trying to engage with users on every app available is hard (almost unachievable), so knowing your target audience and then utilizing the proper social media platforms to engage with them is a base for the success of your social media campaign.

Finally, respect them. If you are going to bombard them with email, make sure that all links included are working. If you are going to opt for coupons, make sure they are valid when your customer reaches the checkout site of your online store. As a marketer, you need to regularly walk through the customer acquisition and engagement funnels, and try to spot any errors or inconsistencies that confuse customers and prevent them from completing their purchase.

You are old fashioned and inflexible

Marketing is changing rapidly and constantly. Adapt or perish.

It’s simple: pre-internet marketing will never be applicable online. So if you are old-school marketing expert who thinks that 1980’s handbooks are still viable, then you are probably going to have a bad time. The fact of the matter is that people behave differently on the web than they did with the media of the past. The internet provides them with more control, choices and accessible information than ever before, so TV and Radio ads simply do not have the same impact. When it comes to digital marketing, it is all about pinpointing the right audience and targeting them with the right content at the right time.

One more mistake that old fashioned marketing managers make is forcing the single “Right” message across all channels. Yes it is less work, and yes it costs a lot less, but it is a lot less efficient. Modern market is incredibly diverse and fragmented, so campaigns should rely heavily on data and take multiple angles in the product advertising approach. The formula is simple – different information for different types of buyers. Most people you are trying to reach care for no one but themselves and their needs, which is why they became masters to shutting out everything that isn’t relevant to them.

You are keeping your team and clients in the dark

Leading a campaign should be a team effort. It is an endeavor that requires careful project planning and diligence, not only from you but your co-workers as well. Also, you are doing it for a client. That client could be the company you are working for or an outsider who hired your team for a ‘one time ride’.

Each stakeholder is essential for the campaign to function properly, so keeping any one (or worse everyone) in the dark is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Why? Well simply because your team members may be able to offer you creative suggestions which you didn’t even consider. Also, they might recognize opportunities you missed. Don’t do everything yourself – you don’t have to. Make a centralized platform for your team, gather ideas and delegate tasks. If anything, you will be more productive. If you opt for the right tool, you can include your clients as well, thus making client management issue a non-issue.

To conclude, a successful marketing campaign requires a lot of planning, communication, coordination, and flexibility. So plan well, set clear and attainable goals, mind your audience and include all stakeholders in campaign development. It may be difficult at first, but you can rest assured that over time these mistakes will become a thing of the past.