A clear goal will help guide a project in so many ways. It will also give you a clear definition of what success is, and should be your north star as you start planning and executing a project.
In addition to planning for a big project, when you find yourself getting lost in the weeds, go back to your goal. A good question to ask yourself is: how is this helping us reach the end goal for this project?
What makes a good goal, you ask? Remember the SMART acronym – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based.
This project will result in a new analysis tool by March 1st that will save account managers approximately 2 hours each week.
This project will result in a new data storage solution allowing for time savings related to monthly reporting, as well as additional future tools and analysis opportunities. By 2021 we will have all of our client and internal data uploaded.
Unfortunately, life isn’t free. If you need additional resources, you’ll need to budget for them. If it’s software that you need, be mindful of how much data you have, and how many users/logins you need.
If you are proposing something that requires additional cost, have a plan to demonstrate how this project is adding value, whether it’s cost savings, revenue generation, or time allocation.
This project will cost $500/month for data storage but will allow us to cancel our subscription to XYZ software, saving $800 a month.
This project will have an upfront cost of $1200 but will automate reporting and forecasting tasks, allowing Account Managers to spend their time optimizing their accounts
This aspect of project planning can be tricky, as unforeseen roadblocks can and do happen (sometimes frequently… *sob*). For data projects, I like to think of timing in the following phases:
Estimates are definitely okay here, just try to allocate time among the blocks as closely as you can. For example – I allocate quite a bit of time to research, set-up, and debugging.
“Scope” refers to how many people will be involved, and how many people will be impacted by the project. Generally, the larger the scope, the more planning is needed and the overall timeline will be a bit slower.
Determining the scope is important for a few reasons. The first being that you need to know how many people you need to be working on it (taking time and energy away from other potential projects). Secondly, you need to be thinking about who will be impacted and why, and how you will communicate that to your stakeholders (covered below).
Buy-in is a critical part of a successful initiative, and the beginning step is determining who your key stakeholders are.
What is a key stakeholder, and how do I figure out who they are? I think of stakeholders as anyone who will be using the final product, or anyone who is approving resources/budget/etc. for the project. It’s important to clearly outline the goal, scope, timeline, and what you need from your stakeholders early on in the process.
Solid planning around the data you are using will help you avoid future headaches. Better to find out that you need to restructure your data while you are in the planning stage, rather than midway through trying to write code (this definitely hasn’t happened to me before..?)
- What information do you need
- Who owns that information
- Where is it stored
- How is it structured
If significant changes to your data structure and storage are required, make sure you set aside enough time in the “set up” phase of your timeline.
One thing I have learned over the years (and many, many projects) is that communication is arguably the most important skill to develop for successful work. If you have a solid idea but aren’t able to communicate the value, your project might be dead in the water.
Remember those roadblocks I mentioned before? In my experience, communication is the fix for most of those. The more complicated the project, the more stakeholders, the better the flow of communication needs to be.
- Be Clear (try not to write a novel)
- Set Expectations
- Include Deadlines
- Provide Status Updates Along the Way
These tips are applicable for communicating your ideas and plan, but are also very useful when asking others to take some action that you need. (For tips on communication with clients, check out The Art of Client Communication). I like to format these requests with the ask, the deadline, and the why. Here’s an example:
“Action Required: I need Bob to update columns A and B on this spreadsheet (link here)
When: by 5 pm on Thursday, Jan. 30th.
Why: These numbers are instrumental in getting the new dashboard project up and running on time. If you cannot meet this deadline, please let me know and we will come up with an alternative.”
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Use Customer Lifetime Value to Find More Clients
With new privacy rules continually changing the landscape of third-party data, brands are increasingly becoming more focused on understanding their current customers in order to make more sophisticated marketing decisions. One approach to this is utilizing customer lifetime value (LTV) to segment your best customers and ultimately find more of them. In this article, we’ll provide a brief outline of LTV but you’ll want to attend Hero Conf 2022 in Austin, Texas for a more in-depth breakdown with key takeaways.
What is customer lifetime value?
The lifetime value of a customer, or customer lifetime value (LTV), represents the total amount of money a customer is expected to spend in your business, or on your products, during their lifetime.
*Note on calculating LTV*
Now to be fair, there are a number of varying ways to calculate LTV going from relatively simple, to complex and complicated. This article will not be focused on evaluating the best approach or even how to calculate LTV. I do have some preferred tools which I’ll share at Hero Conf- but ultimately finding the best tool that works for your brand is important.
Large brands like Amazon and Starbucks have documented how their understanding of LTV has influenced their marketing and overall business decisions. Smaller brands who often have limited resources in their pursuit of growth often overlook LTV or don’t truly appreciate how helpful it can be to their overall growth.
Which campaign is performing better?
Take a look at the chart below – at a glance – which campaign appears to be performing better?
|Campaign A||Campaign B|
|Cost / Acquisition (CPA)||$10.00||$16.67|
Most digital marketers, including myself, would say campaign A. More purchases (revenue), lower CPC, and lower CPA. Seems pretty obvious.
But a question that’s worth asking is – what if campaign B focused on acquiring a better quality customer? Someone who purchased a higher average amount bought more frequently, and stayed, is a customer of the brand for a longer period of time. Ultimately, a customer with a higher LTV. The question of which campaign is performing better looks a lot different when LTV is factored as a metric and could lead to very different marketing approaches.
Looking beyond CPCs & CPAs
These are conversations that more brands should be having. Looking at CPCs, CPAs and the revenue from the first purchase are all very common KPIs, but they can be misleading and myopic. Factoring in LTV provides a more holistic approach to making marketing and overall business decisions.
Going a step further, brands that decide to utilize LTV often come across the hurdle of how to efficiently segment their best from worst customers. In the workshop, I’ll share the most effective analysis that we’ve found. For brands on Shopify, we’ll take it a step further and offer a valuable app that will both help solve LTV and segment your customers as well. There are a number of apps in the Shopify App Store that can help calculate your LTV and effectively segment your customers for you, but there’s one that we’ve found to be leaps and bounds ahead of the rest.
Finally, once you’ve segmented your customers, you now have the ability to supercharge your marketing efforts to find more of your best customers, while also excluding targeting anyone who you believe might be exclusively bargain hunters or cherry pickers.
If you’re interested in scaling your brand, you’ll want to attend this workshop. Understanding LTV and how to find more of your best customers will be an invaluable tool that will help move the needle for your brand in 2022. Key takeaways will be:
- How LTV has shaped the decisions of large brands we all know
- How LTV provides a more holistic picture of success within paid search
- How we’ve helped a women’s apparel and homeware brand find more of their ideal customers
- Tactical insights (including apps/tools) on how to implement an LTV strategy within paid search
Hope to see you there!
Tips for Optimizing a Localized PPC Account
Before jumping into the components of a local PPC account and why it matters, we should first define what constitutes a local PPC account. The basic definition is that it targets customers within a specific region. The strategy for localized PPC specifically involves using local keywords and geotargeting. One would quickly assume that only brick and mortar businesses like a neighborhood pizza shop, dentist’s office, or boutique retailer would run local campaigns, but that isn’t always the case. Even if you have locations around the world, you can serve and sell to potential customers virtually, by using a localized approach.
The Value in Running Localized PPC
As PPC marketers, one of our biggest responsibilities is to optimize campaigns. The term ‘optimize’ may sound like a broad term, but it really represents many tactics. The biggest areas of focus for optimization would likely be to improve the engagement via click-through rate, improve the return on ad spend via sales leads or transactions, and make each dollar in the budget go just a little farther. In national campaigns, it may sometimes be a little bit harder to find pockets of wasted spend, like geographic targets for example, but in local campaigns with a laser focus, inefficiencies are easier to spot and/or avoid. If the budget is tight and you can’t afford to spend money on clicks, you have to optimize toward what works.
How to Optimize for Local PPC
In terms of local PPC, the biggest way to optimize campaigns would be to focus on performance by geographic area. More often than not, when you dig into the data, you’ll find these areas of opportunity. In Google Ads, location reporting provides insights into not
only your targeted locations but also your matched locations (where activity has been attributed to). Reviewing these location reports is a great way to discover new pockets of results-driving zip codes or DMAs, which can be leaned into with a positive bid modifier to increase traffic, or conversely, excluded from your campaign altogether if they are wasting budget by not driving conversions. Additional geographic reporting available in Google Ads includes the distance report, which shows how the distance from a location impacts search ad performance.
Here are a few reasons why optimizing for location is so crucial in PPC:
- Nearly 30% of searches for something in a specific location will result in a purchase (Source: Valve and Meter, via Google).
- In 2020, 93% of Americans used the Web to find local businesses. (Source: BrightLocal)
- Almost one-third of all searches made on mobile phones are location-based (Source: The SEM Post).
Source: Crimson Park Digital
There is so much more to local campaigns than just their location settings, however, a huge factor that contributes to performance is intent, via localized keywords. These are phrases that not only include the words “near me,” “local,” or “nearby,” but also zip codes, town names, and other localized signals that show “near me” intent.
Did you know?
- 82% of smartphone users are actively searching for businesses near them (Source: Search Engine Land)
- 76% of people who search for something nearby on a smartphone will visit a business within one day (Source: Google)
- Almost 70% of searchers on mobile will call a business using a link from the search (Source: PowerTraffick, via Google).
Localized searches are not just siloed to mobile, even with such strong mobile statistics, it really depends on the industry, offerings, business, and how that type of customer behaves by device. Is your business in higher demand when customers are already on the go? Or are your services something that needs extensive research ahead of time, before leaving home? These are questions to ask before dialing up the mobile bid adjustments. 59% of consumers still prefer to search for local information on a desktop versus other smart devices.
Top Practices to Promote Your Business Using PPC
Are you getting low-quality traffic through your PPC campaigns?
Are fraud clicks draining your revenue from the PPC?
Is your return on investment on PPC not as expected?
Even though PPC advertising is an integral part of an effective marketing strategy, poor tactics can burn your ad budget and, thus, negatively affect your PPC results.
PPC has been around for more than 20 years, and marketers spend almost 80% of their ad spend on PPC campaigns. Knowing the importance and cost-effectiveness of PPC campaigns, it is essential to strategize your PPC campaigns to elevate your business’ growth instead of hindering it.
If you want to grow your business and predict the best ROI on your ad spend, then improving your PPC strategy is the first step, and you are in the right place!
This article will discuss 15 strategies to improve your PPC campaign for the best ROI on every dollar you spend.
Let’s dive in!
1. Choose the Right Platforms to Advertise
But, with this perk, it doesn’t mean that you should limit your advertising strategy to Google ads only. You can run ads on various social media platforms that will help you build your brand awareness, customer loyalty and boost sales.
However, the decision of choosing the platform will depend on your target audience and goals. Therefore you must do your research on the ad networks available before including them in your strategy.
There are dozens of online spaces where you can use your advertising spend, but the best way to assess the effectiveness of any platform for your business is to look at the ROI on each platform.
Some of the popular platforms for PPC advertising are as follows:
- Google Ads: Google Adwords enables you to reach 90% of the internet users with Google display and responsive ads. You can target your audiences on the basis of what they are searching or can target them with your products when they are searching about the options on another website through display ads.
- Meta Ads: With Meta (Facebook) Ads Manager, you can create ads in different formats such as video, images, and carousel. Meta’s (Facebook) targeting is done on the basis of the demographics and interests of your buyer persona.
- Instagram Ads: Businesses use Instagram ads to drive awareness and to increase their customer base. The ads between stories and on platforms create hooks for the audience through appealing visuals.
- Twitter Ads: People will not spend a lot of time looking at your ad on Twitter, therefore, the shorter you make it, the better it is. Experiment with the copy and visuals to see which ad performs best.
- Bing Ads: The unique feature about Bing ads is that it allows you to schedule the campaigns according to different time zones. This gives you more granular control over the campaign and ads.
Some of the other platforms you can advertise on are AdRoll, RevContent, and Yahoo.
2. Include Social Media in Your PPC Ad Campaign
The effectiveness of social media ads is relatively higher than Google ads since these ads appear directly in your feed, thus decreasing the effectiveness of Ad-blockers.
While paid search is more keyword-focused, paid social ads to focus more on demographics and persona, thus leading to new ways to target your audience.
Paid social media ads allow you to use a wider variety of ad types and formats, like images, videos, text, and more.
Social media ads give you two critical functions for your ads’ success — Retargeting & Lookalike Audiences.
3. Launch a Remarketing Ad Campaign
Retargeting is remarketing to people based on the site visits or who are willing to know more about your product and services and have manually shared their information for the contact.
Why are retargeting campaigns called a marketer’s best friend?
92% of your website’s online traffic won’t buy anything on their first visit to the website.
But, when you use remarketing to retarget the same visitor, they are 70% more likely to purchase from your ad rather than your competitors.
Therefore, with these odds, you can’t afford to miss on retargeting.
4. Try a Lookalike and Similar Audiences
A lookalike audience is a parallel list created by the platform, e.g. Facebook and Google using your existing followers, customers, or website visitors. This created list includes people who have similar interests, clicking habits, online social behavior, etc.
With the hyper-targeting capabilities of PPC platforms, a lookalike or similar audience allows your business to target with unmatched depth and accuracy. All you have to do is provide initial data about your website visitors.
In Google ads, you need to have at least 100 users’ data to get a similar audience. However, on Meta, you can upload a customer file, refer to site traffic, app activity, and more to build a lookalike audience. Meta recommends a source audience of at least 1000 people.
Combining your lookalike and similar audience with the retargeting campaign can increase your conversions by more than 40%, thus boosting your sales.
5. Design Mobile-Friendly Landing Pages
More than 50% of the world’s internet traffic comes from mobile devices, and more than 40% of online transactions happen through mobile devices.
With this penetration of mobile devices among digital consumers, optimizing your website’s landing pages according to mobile is necessary. But, unfortunately, some businesses forget the importance of mobile friendliness when it comes to PPC Campaigns.
Despite ads optimized for mobile and tablets, a stellar copy of your landing page can make you win or lose your PPC campaign.
For best results, ensure some critical points for your mobile-friendly landing pages:
- Page loading speed is high. It should take an average of three seconds to load your page/website on mobile
- Link the relevant landing page with the ad
- Ensure the landing page is functional and intuitive, so the user knows how to take the next step (e.g. adding to cart, payment, signing up, etc.)
6. Advertising Budget
The problem with a lot of failed PPC campaigns is the unrealistic and low budgets. One of the important factors to get the results from your PPC campaigns is setting the budget to target the right audience and help you achieve your goals.
But, this doesn’t mean you need to go over-the-top in budgeting to get the most out of PPC. Instead, you need to have a realistic budget to help you with different stages of your PPC marketing. If you are starting out with PPC campaigns, some of the common examples of where your budget will be used are as follows (but not limited to):
- Researching the averages in the industry (e.g. cost per click)
- A/B Testing (Selecting the right keywords, audiences, demographics, etc.)
Researching your averages and knowing how your competitors spend on PPC campaigns to grow business can help you set a realistic budget for your ad spend.
7. Make Your Ad Copy Click-Worthy
Ad copies should be all about adding value to your customer’s browsing. Irrespective of the industry, all PPC strategies need to focus on click-worthy, top-notch ad copies.
No matter the market, all PPC strategies need to focus on top-notch ad copy.
The starting point of your conversions is people clicking on your ads which are only possible if your copy is relevant or intriguing.
Therefore, your headline, description, visuals must have a hooking ad copy to grab online customers’ attention. The ad copy should also comply with the stage your buyer is in. Are you targeting them with an awareness campaign? or are you remarketing with the google ads retargeting campaign? The ad copy will vary accordingly.
Some of the best ways to create better copy that generate more clicks are as follow:
- Add the unique offerings (e.g. Free Shipping, Money Back Guarantee)
- Highlight Promotions (e.g. SALE, , 50% OFF etc.)
- Include CTAs (e.g. Buy Now, Apply Now, etc.)
- Focus on benefits instead of features of the product
- Link the relevant landing page with the ad.
Good copy development takes time, but once you master the art of understanding your audience and addressing their wants in your ad copy, it’ll impact your campaign’s performance in amazing ways.
8. Use Responsive Search & Display Ads (GSN/GDN)
Responsive ads help you to automate your PPC strategy to grow your business. It uses the machine learning power of Google ads to automatically adjust their size, appearance, and format to fit available ad spaces.
There are 2 types of responsive ads which you can use:
- Responsive Display Ads: Responsive display ads are ads automatically created by Google using the assets that you provide. Google automatically adjusts the size, appearance, and format of your assets to fit available ad spaces on the Google Display Network.
- Responsive Search Ads: Responsive search ads let you create an ad that adapts to show more text—and more relevant messages—to your customers. Enter multiple headlines and descriptions when creating a responsive search ad, and over time, Google Ads will automatically test different combinations and learn which combinations perform best.
With the flexibility of experimenting with ad copy, images, headlines, and descriptions, Google Ads provides you assistance for the most effective ads.
9. Perform A/B Split Tests
How can you tell which design or ad copy or demographics can bring in better results? Through A/B split testing.
A/B testing is as critical to your paid ad campaign as is every other element. The goal of testing your ad is to increase both your clickthrough rate and your conversion rate.
There are various factors of the ad which you can test. Minor tweaks in any of the parts can significantly alter your results.
- Landing Page
- Target keywords
- Audience Targeting
- Location Targeting
- Bids and much more
With A/B split tests, you can compare the performance of different ads in your control group by their data. This data can help you improve your PPC strategy by optimizing your ads accordingly. A/B split tests take the guessing game out and help you guide in making decisions using data.
10. Revisit Your Keywords Selection
Keyword research for your PPC strategy can be time-consuming but it is the best aspect of your strategy. The secret of most successful PPC advertisers is that they never stop researching, refining, and growing their keyword list through different tools.
- Use Long-Tail Keywords: Your keyword research should be the mix of short-tail keywords (most popular, frequently used one-word phrases) and long-tail keywords ( 3-5 words). Long-tail keywords are more specific and less common. But, they add up to the account for the majority of search-driven traffic. Moreover, these keywords are less competitive, thus lowering your cost-per-click cost. This approach for keywords search can give you a less expensive PPC strategy.
- Include Negative Keywords: Your PPC keyword strategy should also include negative keywords discovery. A negative keyword list prevents search engines from showing your ads to irrelevant audiences and thus saving you the cost-per-click. For example, if you are selling ‘treats’ for Halloween then ‘dog treats’ can be your negative keyword since you don’t want to bear the cost of clicking from someone who is not your audience.
Consumers now have unlimited options for their every search. The keywords you are using in your content will determine if your content is being shown to them. Therefore, it is important that you use a combination of well and regularly researched keywords.
11. Revisit Keyword Match Types
Search engines have several ways to connect the keywords with users’ search terms. Three core offerings based on which search engines show your ads to your users are as follows
- Exact Match: In this match type, the keyword is matched word for word with no change in sequence. Ad with these keywords will be shown for queries that have additional words as well. This doesn’t alter the intent of the search. For example: “Restaurants in New York” or “Best Restaurants of New York.”
- Broad Match: It is Google’s default setting for all the keywords. This setting will include all the related terms to your keywords too such as synonyms, misspellings, and other related terms. Broad match works best if you are looking to increase your top-of-funnel traffic but for best results, it’ll need consistent monitoring. For example: “New York Restaurant” or “Places to eat at in New York.”
- Phrase Match: Phrase Match tells Google to show your ads for queries where your keyword appears exactly as is within a larger query. This opens your ads up to newer search intent, so be sure to optimize as you discover what’s working. For example: “Takeaway restaurants in New York”, “Fast food restaurants in New York”.
Strategically using match types can help you convert your traffic into warm leads.
12. Launch a Micro-Conversion Campaign Followed by Super Targeted Campaign:
A Micro-conversion campaign is basically hooking users to complete a small step along their path towards the primary conversion goal. These smaller conversions will help you lead your user towards the final goal in a more effective way.
This will also help you make a custom audience that you can retarget.
Micro-conversion strategy is used as a sales funnel by targeting the demographic and navigating them down which will ultimately lead them to make the purchase.
A good example of a micro-conversion campaign can be asking website visitors to sign up for the newsletter. Signing up for early bird discounts, contact details for premium access to content, etc. ultimately leads them to buy your product or service.
PPC services provide super-targeting tools to run conversion campaigns. The only purpose of these campaigns is to get the maximum conversions from the users visiting your website. With the data acquired from all the test-run ads, research, and micro-conversion campaigns, you can hyper-focus the audience that is most likely to buy.
13. Improve the Structure of PPC Ad Campaigns:
Google Ads rarely performs as you hope when your account is lacking a clear, defined structure. From campaigns down to ads, every level of your account impacts both Quality Score and your own ability to segment effectively.
Here are some other easy tips to help you build out a new account or restructure an existing one:
- Define the clear objectives of your campaign. Is it for increasing awareness? generating sales? Acquiring leads? Remarketing?
- Make Ad groups based on your product or service offerings
- Make Ad groups and audience segments based on search intent
- Use keywords according to the ad group’s purpose
- Ensure each ad group navigates the online traffic to the right landing page.
When it comes to the naming and structure of PPC ad campaigns, it’s vital to have a system of organization that reminds you of what each item does. Not only does this give everyone working on the account a clearer understanding, but you also spend less time finding the offending elements when something goes wrong.
14. Use Retargeting Pixels on Your Website
To optimize your ad spending and to create a custom audience, it is important that you use the right tools.
Your website’s unique pixel set will help you bring tremendous results with your retargeting campaigns. It will also show your ads to people who have interacted with your content on social channels thus amplifying your chances of winning the leads.
PPC advertising is one of the most effective marketing strategies if done right. It’s a quick and smart way to reach your target audience. Platforms like Google, Meta, Instagram, Twitter, Bing, and many more allow you to set and run ads in seconds. Depending on your budget you can reach tens and thousands of people. While PPC campaigns have the immense potential to bring in the best results for your business to grow, it is also significantly important that you curate your campaigns, ad copies, keywords research, and all the other elements with great attention and strategy… Once you’ll find the right.
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