Category Archives: Marketing

3 Major Mistakes Businesses Make With Pay per Click Ads

In case you haven’t already heard of it, pay per click advertising is an ad model where a business only pays if a customer clicks on one of their ads. It’s most popularly known through the Google Ads platform, which distributes advertisements across Google’s myriad properties. How it works is fairly simple.

First, an advertiser determines what keywords they want to target, based on what’s likeliest to bring in qualified leads. They can also add negative keywords so they aren’t paying for clicks from people who aren’t sales prospects. You then bid against other competing advertisers on your keywords – whoever puts in more money per click gets a higher placement and, consequently, more clicks. 

It seems pretty simple, right? 

Unfortunately…it’s not. There’s actually a fairly steep learning curve in PPC advertising, a wealth of pitfalls that can see you wasting a ton of money for relatively little gain. 

Bad Bidding

Not every pay per click campaign receives the number of views you hope for. In part, this could be caused by disconnected, offensive, or simply bad advertising. However, you might also not be bidding effectively on your keywords.

If your ads seem to be reaching the correct audience but you’re not getting enough pageviews or clickthroughs, you might consider raising your bid. While this means you’ll be paying more per click, it might also bring in more traffic (and therefore more conversions).

Unfortunately, this isn’t an exact science. If raising your bid doesn’t seem to have an observable effect on your success rate, this may signify there’s some deeper problem at play. You may be making one of the other mistakes on the list. 

Failure to Split Test

A split test is a simple means of measuring the effectiveness of a particular advertisement. How it works is relatively simple. You take an ad, change one relatively small aspect of it, then target both the modified ad and the original to different segments of your audience. This allows you to track how much impact one small modification has on your ad’s success – better yet, if the modified ad performs better than the original, you’ve managed to further optimize your campaign.

Via split-testing, you can eliminate much of the guesswork involved in setting up a new campaign, instead of taking a more focused and data-driven approach. It helps you determine if a particular ad is worth the cost without losing too much money in the process, while also making and measuring small optimizations over the course of a campaign. Just be certain that leading platforms can sometimes make tracking clicks a bit difficult – and that you need to make sure ads are evenly-distributed and measured over a long enough period to ensure accuracy. 

Inaccurate Targeting

If you don’t know your audience, then you’re throwing money away. You need to know who your intended customer is before you even start doing keyword research. Who they are, what they’re interested in, and what style of advertisement will be most impactful to them.

Create a few simple buyer personas that allow you to reliably categorize each segment of your audience, including age, occupation, hobbies, general desires and values, and what influences them. You can shift to a more focused approach later.

For now, what’s important is that you know, in general terms, what will catch your audience’s attention.

You’ll also want to pay attention to what targeting options are available to you, and how they work for the various different PPC platforms. Different mediums require a different approach, after all, and offer you different tools for targeting and advertising. Take the time to learn each medium before you start bidding on ads in order to better-guarantee efficient spending. 

In Closing

A well-targeted PPC advertisement can be immensely beneficial to your organization. However, targeting is only the first step here. It’s important that, in addition to understanding the fundamentals of PPC, you also have a solid grasp of marketing and advertising’s other elements, particularly where psychology is concerned.

You need, in other words, to understand your audience, your industry, and your platform all at once – because if you don’t, then it doesn’t matter how well-targeted your ads are. 

Why Fake Authenticity is a Road to Disaster for Your Brand

Authenticity is a critical driver of modern marketing. 

When a brand makes an effort to be transparent in everything it does, people notice. They appreciate a business that they feel they can trust, and direct their spending and loyalty accordingly. By that same vein, if it turns out that authenticity is in any way not genuine? 

There will be backlash, and it will be significant.

As noted in the 2020 Gustavson Brand Trust Index, consumer trust in brands is now at an all-time low. People are more skeptical than they’ve ever been. They simply do not believe that businesses have their best interests in mind any longer.

Trust, in other words, is hard one. And once lost, it’s nearly impossible to regain. This is in no way helped by the constant barrage of high-profile data breaches and privacy violations in the media – from questionable data management practices to downright unethical activities, many businesses are being cast in an extremely unflattering light.

The good news is that it’s not difficult for your brand to differentiate itself. 

Own up to your mistakes. Be honest, be humble, and be proactive in fixing the things you’ve done wrong. Even if you’ve done something wrong, people will notice that you’re making a genuine attempt to fix it. Your sincerity will shine through, and prospective customers will notice.

If, on the other hand, you attempt to cover up your mistakes or shift the blame? People are going to notice that, too. Unless your business provides an absolutely essential product or service for which there’s no feasible competition, they’re going to cast you aside in favor of a competitor they believe to be more trustworthy.

Online reviews are the area in which you can most frequently put this into practice. Offer customers genuine thanks for any positive reviews of your products and services, highlighting them on your website and social media channels where appropriate. Demonstrate to them that you appreciate their business, and moreover, that you appreciate them. 

As for negative reviews, reach out to the people who left them. Respond by offering them an olive branch – a chance to fix whatever issues they had with your brand. By reacting with haste and making a real effort to address people’s complaints, you can easily transform a negative review into a positive one, potentially even turning a dissatisfied customer into a brand advocate.

There are a few things you should remember when responding, however.

  • Listen to what they have to say. Read between the lines, and make an effort to understand every facet of their complaint. 
  • Acknowledge that there is a problem. Apologize. Do not attempt to pretend the fault lies with the customer, and do not attempt to deflect blame. 
  • Ask the customer what you can do to fix their issue. Provide them several options through which they might reach out to you. 
  • Do not get defensive. 

As an addendum to the above, it should go without saying that you should never pay for reviews, nor should you attempt to bolster your product listing with fake reviews. Customers are increasingly savvy, and most people are able to tell the difference between a real person and a paid shill. They know the difference between genuine and misleading tactics. 

It’s not always easy to connect to your customers. Authenticity and sincerity are at the core of your brand’s marketing, and should be reflected in every facet of your business. Show people that you have integrity, and that you care about more than just making a sale.

3 Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid During COVID-19

The coronavirus has changed the world in unprecedented ways. Schools have closed. Graduation ceremonies are canceled. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs, homes, and even loved ones. The global economy sits in an uncertain, and unpredictable place

Even if you believe the pandemic is over and we can begin reopening, we’re still going to be recovering from the financial and emotional impact of the pandemic for a very long time. That, more than anything, seems to be the thing businesses are forgetting. As a result, many marketing campaigns are reacting to 

We’re seeing too many otherwise well-meaning brands are treating the pandemic as more of a marketing opportunity than a global crisis. Each one is, in broad strokes, making similar mistakes both in their messaging and their overall approach. These are the mistakes your organization cannot afford to make itself.

Lack of Sincerity

Take a look at your inbox. How many emails have you received from businesses that claim they ‘care about you’ and are ‘sticking with you during this difficult time?’ If you’re like most of us, the answer is too many. 

Brands are attempting to hop on the bandwagon and demonstrate to customers that they care, but they’re doing so in a way that comes off as completely insincere. Instead of actually focusing on empathy and understanding and making an effort to provide customers with the things they need, they spout empty platitudes.

You need to demonstrate that you’re addressing the developing situation responsibly. Create an interim landing page for your business. Provide special offers like free trials and discounts to help people along.

Don’t just say you care, show it. 

And if you do decide to release messaging about the pandemic, whether it’s a blog post, an email, or an update to your site copy, review it with other people in your organization. Your goal here is to answer two questions as directly and concisely as you can: 

  • What is your response to the pandemic? 
  • How will you allocate your people and resources to help others? 

Trying to Force Business as Usual

On the opposite end of the spectrum, too many businesses are trying to pretend nothing’s wrong at all. Customers are receiving flashy ads about hot summer sales, all-inclusive resort deals, and cheap flight offers. These are, to be blunt, utterly tone-deaf, and have the potential to cause significant damage to your brand’s reputation.

Just as people don’t want to be flooded with messaging about COVID-19, they also don’t want businesses to act like things are completely normal. They aren’t. Maybe they never will be again.

People are looking for the care of neighbors, the comfort of family, and the support of friends and colleagues. Your simple, essential job, is to respond to the crisis at hand. Take what business you can into the digital realm, scale back your marketing, and focus on helping your own employees get through their day-to-day. 

Trying to Be an Authority

Unless you are an infectious disease expert, government authority, or representative of a public health organization, don’t go overboard with details about COVID-19. Stick to your wheelhouse, and link only to trusted sources for details and updates. Larger brands especially hold some degree of moral authority in the public eye, so it’s important that you don’t use your reach to spread misinformation. 

Do not try to mandate how people should be spending their time during the pandemic. Do not guilt people about struggling, and don’t try to come across as a medical expert if you aren’t one. Be supportive, not overbearing. 

You need to be more than a public face for your business. Listen. Reassure. Respond.

Most importantly, acknowledge that these are difficult and uncertain times. Marketing plays an important role in helping customers get through them. Understand that, and do your part, even if it may not be immediately profitable. 

What You Need To Know About Marketing For a Healthcare Organization

With so much information freely available online, modern patients are more educated than they’ve ever been.  Many no longer feel the need to visit a hospital, urgent care center, or clinician’s office unless treatment or testing is necessary. Moreover, competition amongst healthcare organizations has never been higher, particularly with the rise of telehealth and digital care options.

With this in mind, it’s incredibly important that your organization has a properly-budgeted marketing plan. Even if you’re happy with your current patient volumes, you’ll need a strategy that helps you reach out to both new and returning patients. Success in this regard starts, as it often does, with outreach.

Evaluate The Patient Experience

First, consider why someone might switch their care provider – changes in services offered, relocation, wait times, or even a slightly negative experience. Ensure patients have plenty of ways to reach out to your clinic’s customer service representatives, including via phone, chat, and email. You may also want to consider commissioning a mobile application that allows patients to manage their care and putting automation in place that keeps people up-to-date about upcoming appointments.

You might even consider having your physicians directly reach out to their patients after an appointment.

Speaking of user experience, your website needs to be designed with it in mind as well. Many designers have a tendency to lean towards aesthetics over functionality. This is a mistake.

Your website needs to be both fast and intuitive, as it’s the first thing most potential new patients will see. It’s the face of your practice, a representation of what you can offer as a care provider. A site that’s optimized to load quickly across a wide range of devices and form factors is essential.

From your site, patients should be able to find information about your practice, location, hours of operation, and appointment booking.

Since Google focuses primarily on readable content and the user experience, it prioritizes sites optimized for mobile devices. 

Stay Consistent With Your Advertising

What sort of brand are you trying to build with your clinic? 

As with any business, there will be certain things that set you apart from your competition. Maybe it’s your luxurious offices, with padded armchairs and a quiet, spa-like ambiance. Maybe it’s that your professionals are focused on family-friendliness, and stock your clinic with plenty of toys for kids. Or maybe it’s simply that you always go the extra mile for your patients, treating them as valued friends first and clients second. 

Highlight your unique attributes. Your advertising should make it absolutely clear what services you offer and who can benefit, while also highlighting why someone might choose you over your competition.  For digital ads, make sure you’re targeting the right keywords, which can also be applied to your search engine optimization efforts. 

Although it’s a bit dated, this guide published by digital advertising specialist Wordstream provides a good overview of how you can research your pay-per-click keywords effectively.  Paid advertising can be blended with organic social marketing to extend your reach across multiple platforms, as well.  At a minimum, your firm should maintain a Facebook Business Page, which can be used for reviews, clinic updates, and informative, interactive posts. 

Look Into Search Engine Optimization

Speaking of SEO, figure out what patients looking for your clinic tend to search for. 

Generally speaking, local SEO is going to be your area of focus. Someone in Chicago, for instance, isn’t going to be looking for a dentist’s office in Wyoming. They’re going to be searching for a clinic located in their city or neighborhood. 

With that in mind, it’s important that you not only maintain a website but also set up a Google My Business listing. Provide patients with as much information as possible, including hours of operation, location, contact details, and photos of the clinic.  As for your website, a tool like Google Analytics, Moz, or Yoast can help you sort through the search terms that bring people to your website and target the most effective ones. 

Consider In-Office Automation

By providing visitors with a tablet at the office, you can allow them to not only manage their appointments and care, but also provide them with an opportunity to review the care they’ve received. Positive reviews can be used on your Google My Business or Facebook to bring in more patients. Poor scores, meanwhile, can be reviewed by medical team representatives as an opportunity to improve the care you offer.It is vital to follow up on these reviews, and also consider checking independent review sites like Yelp. Reputation management is a critical aspect of your marketing strategy. Not only can it turn a negative patient experience back towards the positive, but it can also be used as a means of improving both equipment and process.

What You Need to Know About Marketing Your Business During (And After) COVID-19

No one could have predicted this.

In just a few short months, the coronavirus has changed society. Distributed work and delivery services have never been more important, and all over the world, people struggle to cope with an uncertain future, one marked by isolation, unstable finances, and a spreading pandemic. Businesses have either suspended their marketing or pivoted hard. 

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