A new year always brings new enthusiasm to make the best of your business. With marketing set to see increases in budget in 2015, it is clear that managers recognise the importance of digital marketing in helping their business to be profitable.
Our experts have put together 9 essential digital marketing tips to help you reach your business’ goals in 2015.
1. Get mobile
Most of our clients saw significant increases in the number of website visitors using smartphones and tablets in 2014. This trend will continue and in 2015 there are likely to be more mobile searches on Google than desktop searches. As you can see below, at the end of 2014, Google started highlighting sites that are mobile friendly in its search results (our highlights are shown in yellow):
If your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re likely to see less search traffic in 2015. If your site is not already mobile-responsive, now is the time to consider a website redesign.
2. We’ll say it again: get mobile
Mobile has arrived. And if you haven’t done so recently, you should check your website’s mobile traffic levels. Some of our clients are seeing more than half of their site’s traffic coming from mobile devices.
On average our clients have seen a 39% increase in mobile PPC traffic over the past 12 months. At the same time, desktop traffic has fallen by 12.6%. So the question is – what are you doing in your PPC account to cater for this change?
- Use dedicated mobile ads with device-relevant language, such as ’Buy Now On Your Mobile!’. Remember to you’ll need fewer characters in your mobile ads: bear this in mind if you’re to avoid text being truncated.
- Make sure that you are bidding appropriately – based on performance by device. Use the segmentation drop-down in AdWords to review these figures and to see if you should apply +/- bids to mobile traffic.
- Ensure that you have ‘click-to-call’ extensions in place for those on mobile devices. Having the ‘Call’ button present in an ad so that the number is automatically populated in the dialler is all-important.
- Use mobile specific sitelinks to help increase click-through rates for mobile devices.
3. Use Ad Extensions
Remember to test and measure the sitelinks available to you. It has been just over a year since Google started including the expected impact of your ad extensions into the ad rank calculation, yet many advertisers still seem to be ignoring the available extensions. It’s important to remember these key points about ad extensions:
- Campaigns with sitelinks have a click-through rate up to 30% higher than campaigns without!
- There are 11 Ad extensions that can be added to your standard ad copy. You can customise six of them. It is important to enable as many as possible to differentiate yourself from your competition.
- Ad extensions only appear when your ad copy is at the top of the results page. However some extensions can help increase quality score and therefore help you reach the top spots without having to increase your bids.
- Having a full complement of Ad extensions can increase your ad copies ‘retail space’ by 100%. That’s right, you’ll get twice as much space in your listings, pushing your competitors down the page.
4. Kill carousels
Over the past couple of years, ‘sliders’ or ‘carousels’ have become increasingly popular on web pages. They look great. But, tests we have run for clients have highlighted a problem. Carousels are distracting for viewers.
Often the presence of a carousel prevents visitors from making a decision.
In other words, sites using sliders see lower conversion rates. You’ll find more info about the disadvantages of carousels at http://shouldiuseacarousel.com/
In 2015, if your site uses a slider, trying running a conversion test to see whether killing your carousel creates more business.
5. Focus on user experience
Google wants its users to have the best possible search experience. It wants to send them to sites that are relevant and provide a great experience.
Google has access to huge amounts of data including search queries, website data (Google Analytics) and social sharing (Google+). So it knows which sites provide a great experience and can adapt its algorithms so that search traffic is directed to the sites that provide a great experience. That’s not just the content you provide, also consider site speed, usability, and mobile.
If your site isn’t giving it’s a visitors a fantastic user experience, you’ll be missing out in 2015.
6. Test Instagram ads
Still in their infancy, Instagram sponsored posts allow brands to advertise images on its network. Sponsored posts began appearing in UK feeds in September 2014 and some brands are already using them successfully, including our clients.
Not just any brand can pay to appear in the users’ feeds – only brands with an existing and successful Instagram following are chosen to advertise their posts. For now, those with access to the advertising network remain in an exclusive club and have a significant edge over their competitors.
One of our clients has been experimenting with Instagram advertising and has seen large increases in direct traffic back to their site:
As you can see from the image, direct traffic has increased by up to six times on previous levels.
If you are among the lucky few eligible for Instagram sponsored ads, they’re worth a test.
7. Invest in print
It might sound counter-intuitive for an online agency to suggest you invest in offline media, but an integrated approach to your marketing is likely to pay dividends in 2015.
Brands that began online are now taking the plunge into print. For example, Kat Williams, the woman behind the hugely popular Rock n Roll bride website has launched her first magazine, helping to broaden her appeal in the offline market.
So how will this help your business and drive website traffic? Well, offline publicity can help drive traffic to your online offering (and vice versa).
8. User generated content
Many people are sick of being sold to by businesses. That’s why many brands are starting to recruit their readers as publishers. There are a number of ways you can do this.
- Ask a customer or follower who is influential online to do a blog takeover. A fresh perspective from somebody outside your organisation will not only engage your audience, but also attract a new readership.
- Collate content from your customers. Ask your customers or target audience to write real reviews of your products or services. One way of doing this is by providing a target group of bloggers with a product and asking for their honest opinions and reviews.
9. Track your business’ phone calls
Whether you advertise purely online or carry out limited offline advertising, your business will be generating phone calls. The telephone continues to play a powerful role in the sales process for many customers:
- Inbound phone calls are 10-15 times more likely to convert than inbound web leads (source)
- 70% of mobile searchers call businesses directly from search results (source)
- 65% of fortune 500 companies consider phone calls their highest quality leads (source)
Yet many businesses have little sense of which of their marketing efforts generate those all-important phone enquiries. Why is this a problem? Well, if you want to make sure you’re investing your marketing budget wisely, you’ll need to know where your best quality leads come from.
The best way of understanding which of your marketing materials generated a lead (whether offline or online) is by installing call tracking software on your website and applying unique telephone numbers across all of your marketing channels.
Call tracking software is simple to install and as soon as it’s set up you’ll have access to really useful data about your inbound enquiries.
If you’re keen to begin using any of these marketing methods this year, or if you’re already experimenting with these channels and would require a little help, please feel free to get in touch with us.