Posts about paid search, display and other online ads.

Amazon’s Race to the Top: Will It Change Ecommerce?

Amazon has become a titan in the ecommerce world over the last decade, making up 34% of ecommerce spending in 2017. In the last several years, Amazon has broken into new markets, buying up new companies and expanding its offline presence. With seemingly endless resources at its disposal, Amazon has the power to launch new technologies, leverage its supply chain in innovative ways, and change the face of ecommerce as we know it.

With Amazon’s entrance into the online advertising space, the company controls vast portions of retailers’ online experience, from sales to marketing, and its ad share is only growing, as it becomes the #3 player behind Google and Facebook.

As traditional retail stores become less relevant, Amazon’s power grows. By 2021, Amazon’s ecommerce market share will surpass 50%. In the coming years, Amazon will continue to innovate and change the way we shop.

Amazon’s New Markets

amazon ecommerce 2

While Amazon started off as an online marketplace for other retailers to sell their merchandise, it’s become so much more than that in recent years. The company has released a branded line of hardware products, including e-readers, including the current Echo products that integrate Alexa (Amazon’s voice assistant). With seemingly limitless resources and capital, Amazon can grow its ecommerce business in new directions.

Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods Market indicates a push into grocery, one of the largest potential markets in the United States. Whole Foods only controls less than 2% of grocery market share, but with Amazon’s supply chain management and cost-cutting measures, it could take on big players like Wal-Mart and Kroger. Only Costco sells more organic food than Whole Foods currently, and that market is ripe for growth in an online expansion. With innovative new products like Amazon’s Dash Wand, which allows you to scan items, and order new food from Prime Now and Prime Pantry, the newly acquired Whole Foods can change the way grocery shopping works.

Watch for continued expansion from Amazon in new areas like meal kits, competing with Blue Apron, and home improvement goods, going up against Home Depot and Lowe’s. Amazon has already reached a deal to sell Kenmore appliances from Sears and has meal kits available in the Seattle area. Look for Amazon to take advantage of current trends in ecommerce.

Amazon vs. Traditional Retail

There’s been a trend toward ecommerce and away from traditional offline retail in recent years. As ecommerce sales grow, reaching close to $400 billion in 2016, more retail stores file for bankruptcy, including The Limited, Wet Seal, RadioShack, Payless, Gymboree, and more. With easy and fast access to goods on Amazon and other online platforms, many retail stores can’t keep up.

Only Walmart has been able to maintain pace with Amazon’s dominance. Both aspiring to be omnichannel retailers, Walmart and Amazon are expanding from opposite sides, with Walmart building out its ecommerce presence, and Amazon expanding its offline footprint. Traditional retail outlets won’t completely die out yet, but the landscape is changing drastically, and companies like Walmart need to modify their strategies to compete with Amazon. As Walmart buys up ecommerce companies like Jet.com, Modcloth, and Bonobos, Amazon is building out offline bookstores, purchasing companies like Whole Foods, and spreading out its warehouses across the United States and globally. It’s unclear which company will succeed in the end, but it’s fascinating to watch.

Amazon’s Growing Ad Platform

When looking at ecommerce in 2017, ads might be the most vital factor. With Google and Facebook currently ruling the roost on ads on desktop and mobile, Amazon is attempting to break into the space, with $1.5 billion in ad sales in 2016. Half of online shoppers begin their search on Amazon, making the marketplace an integral ad space for ecommerce retailers. Combined with Alexa voice searches, Prime video, and other marketing efforts, Amazon’s ads platform will continue to grow.

Amazon’s growing ecommerce dominance necessitates working with the company to sell your product, serve up ads, and more. As Amazon continues to develop new strategies and ventures, it will change ecommerce forever.

Are you an ecommerce company looking to grow your sales? Leverage Marketing has the knowledge and experience to help you succeed in this evolving space. Contact us today, and we’ll help your business succeed.

What’s the Difference Between SEO and PPC?

SEO is a “free” method of driving visitors to your site, while PPC is paid promotion of your site content. Both are effective methods of search engine marketing (SEM), which refers to types of digital marketing practices that target businesses and consumers who are searching for what your site offers.

SEO vs. PPC, TL;DR Edition

PPC is a search engine marketing technique that is comparable to traditional advertising practices, in that you pay in accordance to your goals. The amount you pay will determine where, when, and how your ad shows up, similar to buying advertising space in a magazine or on a billboard. While this comparison is somewhat of an oversimplification, the basic concept is the same: if you have the money and want to reach potential customers, you’ll be able to use PPC to gain a lot of visibility. Wondering how to get on the top of the first page of Google with PPC? Pay the highest cost per click (CPC) for your target keywords and search phrases.

SEO, however, focuses on driving traffic to sites by catering to the needs of searchers. SEO cannot be accomplished by sending a check to Google, as in PPC; rather, SEO is about building sites that:

  1. deliver great content that is in line with searchers’ intent and answers their questions
  2. follow accepted standards expected by search engines, and
  3. do not intend to deceive search engines.

Wondering how to get on the top of the first page of Google with SEO? Optimize your site to be the most relevant to searchers for your target keywords and search phrases.

Common Misconceptions about SEO and PPC

SEO and PPC side by side

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to digital marketing, and for good reason – search engines, bidding, and algorithms are much more alien than familiar forms of marketing that businesses have been dealing with for decades. However, knowing the differences between SEO and PPC is key to being able to make the right choices, whether you’re pursuing your business’s digital strategy yourself, or you’re seeking a consultant or agency to give expertise.

Luckily, a little knowledge goes a long way in the digital marketing world! Here are a few common misconceptions about the different types of digital marketing that we encounter fairly regularly at Leverage, and some information that will help you make clear decisions for your business. Trust us – you don’t want to play around with decisions based on less-than-factual information gleaned from your uncle or web developer’s friend of a friend.

Misconception #1: SEO is Basically FREE MONEY.

Remember the first sentence of this article, when I said that SEO was “free”? There are quotations around that “free” for one reason: GOOD SEO is basically never free. Unless your cousin is a freelance SEO consultant willing to take on 10+ hours a week worth of pro bono work for your site, good SEO is going to take some resources. At the very least, performing good SEO will take some time and manpower, and at the most, it could require reallocating your marketing budget a bit.

Notice I keep saying GOOD SEO, not just SEO. Sure, you can find a guy living in the shadows of the internet who vows to bump your site to the first page of Google by next week for a low flat rate of $50. However, like most things that sound too good to be true, that is most likely not going to turn out well for your site. You might end up with bad SEO work that will cause your website to be penalized and require thousands of dollars of damage control work to be performed by actual experts, or you might just end up with nothing to show for the funds you invested. Do your homework and find an experienced SEO agency instead.

Misconception #2: SEO is More Effective than PPC/PPC is More Effective than SEO

So your friend tried working with an SEO consultant once, and it didn’t really bring him the huge returns he was looking for. He now runs paid ads for his site, and he gets a LOT of traffic from them. That sounds great, right? Why shouldn’t you just perform the same search engine marketing techniques and put all of your resources into PPC efforts as well?

Digital marketing, like almost every other type of promotional or marketing effort, is not a one-size-fits-all deal. Some businesses will find that their advertising money goes to waste if they pay tons of cash for PPC that drives traffic but that doesn’t result in conversions, and some businesses will find that SEO efforts just aren’t enough on their own to drive brand awareness.

The balance of PPC and SEO varies from business to business. Some businesses will find that SEO efforts bring a lot of value to their business, as they help create trust and drive qualified traffic. Other businesses find that PPC gives them a huge boost in visibility that takes their brand to the next level. Neither SEO nor PPC is wrong or bad, and neither is superior – they are simply different practices that are best leveraged off of each other.

Not sure what your business needs? We want to take a look! Learn more about how the Leverage Marketing team can dig into the details behind your business and your industry, make sense of the numbers, and draw a roadmap for success.

Misconception #3: Both SEO and PPC are a “Waste of Time, Just Get a Newspaper Ad”

You might have had someone tell you that they pursued either/both SEO and/or PPC in the past with horrific results. Maybe their site received a penalty, their ads were all disapproved within Adwords, or their consultant was less than attentive to their account. Search engine marketing must be pretty risky, right?

In the SEO and PPC world, there are always risks and bad stuff does happen sometimes – but that’s true of any marketing effort that is made without the right attention to detail. Remember when one classic American department store attempted to rebrand their entire business model, and realized that their changes actually made their store less desirable to their target market? Sure, they might have skimped on their market research and dropped the ball when it came to listening to their customers’ needs, but their epic rebranding fail doesn’t indicate that any rebranding effort made by any company is always a waste of time – it simply indicates that they didn’t take the right steps to achieve success. Look at what a legendary designer clothier’s rebranding campaign achieved – their excellent rebranding effort doubled revenues over a five year period and saved the brand’s exclusive image.

Search engine marketing techniques, like rebranding or really any other business effort, are only as successful as the team driving strategy. That’s why it is vital that you choose the right partner for SEO or PPC campaigns. Paid and non-paid digital marketing strategies are intertwined efforts, which is why finding an experienced full-service digital marketing agency to handle all the intricacies of your business is one of the best ways to ensure success. If you’re splitting your efforts or going it alone, do your research and ask yourself if you’re willing to take the risk of playing it too small in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing digital landscape.


Want more digital marketing myth-busting and guides to getting the most out of SEO and PPC for your business? Sign up for the Leverage newsletter for informative and non-annoying weekly digests today.

Enhance Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy with Leverage Learning

95% of Americans make an online purchase at least once a year, and 80% have made at least one online purchase in the past month. And, as the Washington Post recently put it, about a third of consumers now buy something online at least as often as they take out the trash (once a week). As online shopping becomes increasingly popular, it may seem like there’s never been a better time to own an ecommerce business.

However, growth-focused ecommerce businesses still face plenty of challenges, especially when it comes to attracting shoppers (who may be inclined to start their search on Amazon) and converting those shoppers into paying customers.

Build Your Ecommerce Marketing Knowledge

At Leverage Marketing, we want to help online businesses address these challenges with actionable ecommerce marketing ideas. We’ve been doing this for years with our digital marketing services, and now we’re taking what we’ve learned and sharing it in a free educational email series called Leverage Learning: Ecommerce.

The goal of Leverage Learning: Ecommerce is to help online business owners find digital marketing ideas to reach more customers and increase sales. The series is broken into 11 lessons on the following subjects:

 

content marketing for ecommerce email preview

  1. Branding
  2. Search Engine Optimization
  3. UX Web Design
  4. Content Marketing
  5. Influencer Marketing
  6. Facebook and Instagram Marketing
  7. Paid Search Advertising
  8. Email Marketing
  9. Online Customer Service
  10. Mobile Marketing
  11. Measuring Success in Google Analytics

 

When you subscribe, you’ll receive a new email lesson twice a week until you’ve received the full series. The emails offer best practices for ecommerce marketing, quick tips that business owners can implement right away, and recommendations for free or low-cost tools to streamline marketing efforts.

If you’re ready to use digital marketing to drive sales for your ecommerce business, you can subscribe to our Leverage Learning: Ecommerce series by clicking here.

SEO for ecommerce email preview

And if you enjoy this series, stay tuned: we’ll be releasing our Leverage Learning: Content Marketing series next!


As always, we’d love for you to contact us if you have any questions about our Leverage Learning series or the digital marketing services we offer!

Getting More Out of Paid Search Ads: Interview with Michael Holeman

Writing great copy for paid search ads is no easy feat—it requires a combination of creativity, analytical thinking, and a ridiculous amount of testing. To learn more about how to create paid search ads that resonate with customers, I spoke with Michael Holeman, one of Leverage’s paid search analysts and the co-creator of our new RightWord lexical analysis tool.

What benefits do you think advertisers get from search ads that they don’t get from other ad formats?

The biggest benefit is the ability to get your chosen message in front of potential customers right when they’re searching. Most traditional advertising, and even other digital advertising, is about raising awareness and trying to guess where your audience is. Text ads that show on search results pages get your ad copy in front of the audience at their moment of need.

What are the most important ad optimization strategies for businesses that are just starting with paid search marketing?

There are a lot of strategies that go into an effective paid search campaign. You obviously have to think about things like campaign settings, keyword selection, and organization, but once the campaign is set up, the most important ongoing optimization strategy is ad testing. You’ve figured out your keywords and the right time to have your message appear, but now you have to match that with the right message.

What tips do you have for improving calls-to-action in paid search ads?

Test, test, test. And test a variety of messages—different verbs, different focuses—to see what resonates. For example, if you’re an ecommerce business, you might want to try testing a very direct call-to-action like “Shop Now” against something that’s a little more informational, like “Browse Our Selection,” just to see which one your audience is going to respond to better.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see businesses making in their ad copy?

The biggest mistake is having a lack of variety and imagination. If you’re only testing small changes to the same basic theme, you’re not giving yourself a lot of room to grow, and you’re going to get stuck in a rut with your ad copy. To get more specific, one of the biggest ruts people get stuck in is writing ads that focus too much on the product or service without really speaking to the needs or benefits of the customer.

Let’s say a business is increasing their PPC budget and looking for a way to save time on ad creation and testing. What should they do to help manage/automate the process?

A PPC analyst can often manually manage a young or small account. As a rule of thumb, if an account has fewer than 20 active ad groups, then one person can handle manually checking A/B tests, using a statistics calculator to test for a winner, pausing the “loser,” and creating new ads. It can be tedious, but for a small account, it’s doable.

As the account grows, it’s best to start looking for tools that will help you automate the testing process. There are a lot of tools out there that will help identify and flag which groups have a winning ad…there are a number of AdWords scripts and third-party platforms that will handle this as well. These range from thin, smaller platforms that will handle a few optimization tasks to multi-platform ad management services such as Marin.

How do you identify the words and phrases that will best resonate with readers when you have a limited number of characters to work with for your ad copy?

As you test, it’s important to go back into your testing history to see if you can discern any patterns regarding what’s worked and what hasn’t. Also, understanding a business’s products/services and the needs they’re fulfilling can help you choose the type of ad copy that you want to test. The ad copy length limitation is something you’re always coming up against. You have a short amount of space to make your pitch, so you want to look at every single word you’re using and make sure everything that goes into your ad copy is helping to convince the customer.

You and Tiger Sivasubramanian, our Director of Paid Search, recently built an advanced language analysis tool called RightWord. What pain points led you to create your own tool rather than just using what was already available?

right arm holding the letter r for rightwordIdentifying patterns across ads can be simple enough to do on smaller accounts, but it’s not something you can scale without some sort of technology. With bigger accounts, you’re not just comparing one ad against another, you’re comparing a whole set of ads that have won against a whole other set of ads that have lost across time to find patterns. It can be really hard to see that bigger picture when you’re looking at individual tests over and over again.

All of the ad optimization tools out there focus on speeding up the process of testing Ad A vs. Ad B. There were none available that would allow us to look at an entire account over a given timeframe and try to pick up any patterns about which kinds of ads were consistently winning or losing. We built RightWord as a tool to help us get those insights.

What does RightWord do?

It looks at all the ad tests that have happened in a given timeframe and assigns a score to each word in each ad–regardless of whether it’s a winning or losing ad– and totals up the scores for each word across time. So now we can know not just which ads won, but if there were any words that consistently outperformed or underperformed.

How does that help you improve ad copy?

The RightWord report is just a bunch of numbers when you first get it, but analysts can look over it and make inferences based on the data and what we know about the psychology behind some of these words. The report gives you a better understanding of why certain ads win or lose. The better you understand this, the more you can write ads that fit into the winning framework.

RightWord also helps you test more efficiently because you learn what to avoid. If I know a certain type of message consistently underperforms, then I know I don’t have to keep testing it. Now we can focus all our testing energies on not just good vs. bad, but good vs. better.


Our paid search team is now using RightWord to gain new insights into our clients’ pay-per-click advertising. To learn more about how we can use RightWord to help your business, contact us!

How to Build a High-Quality Landing Page that Converts

When considering top landing page designs, most industry experts will tell you that every landing page is unique and has its own requirements. They’ll tell you that landing page elements will differ depending on whether you’re promoting a service or a product, and what that service or product does will also change what’s on the landing page.

Yes, of course, every landing page will differ. Landing page best practices dictate that each page should provide unique value to consumers. That’s absolutely true.

But there are nine essentials to a perfect landing page that nearly every one ought to feature. Include the following nine elements on your landing pages to tap into the deepest parts of marketing psychology and help your consumers learn why your product or service is the ultimate.

Essential Elements of the Landing Page Format

Each item includes a description underneath the mock landing page below.

To describe the elements of high-converting landing pages, we have created a fictional robot butler that specializes in cooking breakfast. We’ve optimized a landing page to solve a problem for consumers searching for phrases such as “no time for breakfast” or “robot that cooks.”

high quality landing page example using constructicon malcom robot

Information-Rich Heading – 1

Your heading, styled using the <h1> and </h1> HTML tags, should:

  • Summarize the purpose of your product or service
  • Capture attention with witty or clever copy

Your heading is the first thing the customer will see and will determine whether he or she stays to look at the rest of your landing page or bounces. Aim to sell your product or service in less than six words.

Visual Media – 2

Not every customer is a reader, so to appeal to the visual type (almost everyone), add large visual media to your landing page format that’s easy on the eyes. Images, animations, and videos should:

  • Demonstrate the action or purpose of your product or service
  • Evoke an emotion that will provide inspiration to continue down the landing page

Keep your visual media compressed but beautiful. Use tools like TinyPNG after resizing your images and animations to their appropriate size. This way, your landing page loads fast and doesn’t keep your customer waiting.

Explanation – 3

As the consumer scrolls down the page, he or she is building an understanding of your product or service and determining its value step-by-step. The explanation is your opportunity to influence the consumer’s thoughts and build onto the skeleton provided by your headline and visuals.

A good landing page explanation should:

  • Offer hard facts about your product or service
  • Highlight what makes your product or service different than that of your competitors

Before you begin explaining the benefits of using what you provide to customers, make sure they have all the information they need to apply benefits to real features you offer.

Benefits – 4

The benefits section of a high-converting landing page takes the raw facts about your product or service and shows the customer how those apply to his or her problem.

A successful benefits section should:

  • Concisely list how your features help
  • Begin the process of convincing the consumer that your offering is superior

Negative Impact (Problem) – 5

One of the most poignant elements of a good landing page is an appeal to emotion that stems from a problem the consumer is having. We can address the problem and its toll on the happiness of the consumer by identifying a negative issue that calls an unpleasant response.

The negative impact should:

  • Help consumers recall the problem for which they are seeking a solution
  • Stir the consumer’s emotions and concerns so you can appropriately address them

The purpose of the negative impact is not to upset the consumer. It is only to make him or her aware of the problem for which you are providing the solution.

Positive Impact (Solution) – 6

Pull your consumer back from the negative and introduce a positive solution in your landing page copy. Use language that conjures thoughts of pleasure and happiness.

The positive impact should:

  • Remind customers that your product or service is a viable solution to their problem
  • Restore emotions to a level at which consumers are prepared to purchase

The positive impact makes you look like a hero. After presenting the problem and your unique solution, most customers will be ready to dive into what you offer.

Testimonials – 7

Best practices for landing page conversion dictate that your customers have to trust you. Even if they love your product or service and are convinced that your solution is perfect, there is still a threat of loss.

Too-good-to-be-true merchandise and high-expectation, low-value service exist in droves in the real world. You need the backing of pleased customers to convince those with a lot to lose that they have nothing to worry about.

You can do so with testimonials, which can come in text, image, or video format. Testimonials should:

  • Provide real insight from actual customers about your past performance
  • Build undeniable trust with your potential customers

Contact Info – 8

Don’t forget! Your customers can’t get in touch with you to ask questions or request service without the essential contact info. Your contact info should:

  • Include a sales or service email address for corresponding directly with customers, a working phone number, and the address of your headquarters
  • Be easy to find – phone numbers at the top of the page are well-loved by customers, as are email addresses.

Make sure your logo is easy to find as well so that new customers begin building an image of your company’s brand and what they offer.

CTA – 9

Follow up your testimonials with a last call to action. Avoid impersonal or threatening CTAs such as Click Here or Submit. Instead, relate on a personal level with your consumer.

An effective CTA should:

  • Tell the customer how easy it is to get started with your company
  • Reassure the customer that you’ll guide him or her through the entire process.

The Rest Is Up to You

Landing pages can include more, but usually should not include any less. You can structure your landing page to fit the flow of information better for your particular product or service, but ensure that each element is in your landing page and is easy to find.

What makes customers click through landing pages is a cohesive, uninterrupted experience that fully explains and promotes your product or service. Don’t cut corners on your landing pages, and follow best practices each time to achieve consistent, high-converting landing pages across the board.

Creating high-converting landing pages is one of our specialties at Leverage Marketing. If you’re having trouble getting conversions, try making your landing pages the Leverage way!

Your Key to Success: Google Product Listing Ads

It’s time to leverage Google Shopping Ads to drive additional sales to your business. Google Product Listing Ads, or PLAs, are both efficient and affordable. They’re also a terrific way to drive clicks to your website. While marketers talk about PLAs alongside traditional paid search campaigns, they’re in an entirely different category. While both are based on a CPC (cost-per-click) model and can be managed from AdWords, that’s where the similarities end.

We’ll provide you with some tips for the best practices for Google Product Listing Ads so that you can succeed. With the right strategy and tactics that complement your other ecommerce marketing efforts, you can use Google PLAs to increase your sales and visibility.

What Are Google Product Listing Ads?

Google’s Product Listing Ads are unique in that they don’t use keywords but instead target by product and product category. While management for Google Product Listing Ads is taken care of through AdWords and Google’s Merchant Center, the process is slightly different than regular paid search campaigns. You’ll set a bid for your ads, but Google will determine the relevance based on information you set, including:

  • Google Product Category
  • Product Type
  • Image
  • Price
  • Color
  • Size
  • Availability
  • Brand

It’s important to be accurate and as descriptive as possible in these categories, as these and your bid are what Google will use to list your ads.

google product listing ad example

Google PLAs are shown in two places: at the top and upper right of search results pages. They’re the only ads in these spaces. When someone searches for something like your product, Google uses its algorithm to determine if your product fits into their search and shows a variety of ads. Make sure your product sticks out by using high-quality images and backgrounds that pop. With 35% of online product searches starting on Google, PLAs are an effective way to reach out to customers.

The Basics of a Google Shopping Campaign

Why should you start a Google Shopping campaign? You’ve already got a paid search campaign going to promote your website, so why spend additional money on specific Google Product Listing Ads? For one thing, you’ll be able to promote items from your local or online inventory specifically—and you can even target your best-selling items.

Google will only charge you when a user clicks an ad that leads to a landing page on your website. This system means you’re paying to boost traffic to your website at a low CPC and only forfeiting the minimum amount necessary to rank higher than the advertiser immediately below you. Google will rank your item and then correlate a bid that will show your item at the lowest cost to you (up to your max bid). You get to choose how much you want to pay so that you won’t overspend.

How Do I Succeed with PLAs?

Now that you know the basic best practices of Google Product Listing Ads, you want to know how to succeed on the platform. The first important tip is organization. Keeping your feed organized will help you flourish, so make sure to take advantage of drilling your products down by each subcategory. The better your categorization, the higher ranked your items will be in Google’s algorithm. Remember the same PLA can look different across different platforms, so test across mobile, desktop, laptop, and tablet to ensure ads look good in each.

Larger feeds with more than 1000 products tend to do better on Google Shopping, while smaller feeds won’t have the same impact. Choose relevant, targeted product images that stand out among comparable ads. Research your competition and take high-quality photographs of your items. Focus only on your bestselling items, especially if you have thousands of products, and utilize promotions and sales to help your ads stand out from the crowd.

Using Google Product Listing Ads as part of your paid marketing campaign is an innovative way to drive additional traffic to your site. Understanding how to build your product feed and optimize product listings will enable you to use PLAs to boost your sales effectively.


At Leverage Marketing, our PPC experts have the know-how to manage Google Shopping Campaigns and optimize Product Listing Ads like nobody’s business. Contact us today so we can make your PPC dreams come true.

 

 

Use Online Advertising Analysis Tool RightWord to Beat Your Competition

Are you sick of doing constant A/B testing of your ads and still not winning with Google AdWords? RightWord is Leverage Marketing’s advanced online ad copy analysis tool, which takes a closer look at words in paid search ads. You will discover which words you use to speak to your customers and lead more frequently to conversions.

RightWord is a powerful new lexical analysis tool that can improve your pay-per-click (PPC) ad copy and give you new insights into your ads. Leverage Marketing’s software uses data from tests of thousands of ads and scores individual words in those ads based on their performance. Our experienced paid search team analyzes this data to provide you with information about language that always works, words that sometimes work, and words that turn off your customers. RightWord helps you write ad copy that succeeds—and leads to more conversions.

How is This Different from A/B Testing?

RightWord goes beyond A/B testing of ads by taking the data from thousands of A/B tests already performed and analyzing them in a way other companies don’t. While split testing one ad versus another can determine which is better, RightWord will tell you which words perform better across all your ads. You’ll learn that some words are universally successful, while some language works better in certain circumstances.

Can RightWord Save Time for Me?

After an in-depth RightWord online ad copy analysis from our team, you’ll understand which words hurt your ads—and which help. You can save time by doing more impactful A/B testing and more improvement of your existing ad copy. The insights you learn from RightWord will help you enhance your AdWords account and create more successful ad campaigns.

How Will RightWord Help Defeat the Competition?

Winning ad space on Google’s AdWords platform is dependent on having the most optimized message, which RightWord can help you achieve. Leverage’s RightWord tool offers you an advantage no one else does—knowing what language performs best. You’ll be able to optimize your ad copy and beat your competition by winning ad space more easily.

Will a RightWord Online Ad Copy Analysis Help in the Future?

Even after the Leverage team analyzes your data and provides recommendations, that won’t be the end of our help. We’ll provide you with an actionable three-month ad-testing plan that you can start implementing tomorrow. Our comprehensive strategy will enable you to run better ads and save time on your A/B testing.

Why Should I Choose RightWord?

If you want an advantage against your competitors in your ads, RightWord is the tool for you. Leverage paid search analyst Michael Holeman explains, “We knew we could help clients gain a competitive edge if we had a complete way of testing ads, but there simply wasn’t any tool available that could accomplish what we needed. So, we built our own. RightWord allows us to test all of a client’s ads against each other and see, down to the single word, what made some ads outperform other ads.” Implementing RightWord strategies will enable you to write more effective ad copy and gain insights into how your language performs.

Choose RightWord to get the only in-depth online advertising analysis of A/B testing on the market. You’ll get a deep dive from an expert data analyst to give you the recommendations you need. You’ll also receive an easy-to-read report with personalized ad copy advice and a three-month ad-testing plan to improve your performance, which could lead to more conversions and beating your competitors.


Learn more about RightWord today by talking to a Leverage Marketing Analyst. Fill out our contact form today, and we’ll help you learn priceless ad copy secrets with RightWord.

 

4 Wedding Industry Insiders Share Their Digital Marketing Strategies

As someone who recently got engaged, I’ve realized there’s a lot I have to learn about wedding planning. And as a content marketer, I’ve noticed that wedding businesses are great at reaching me while I’m doing research online. From sponsored posts about wedding day survival kits on Facebook to the promoted wedding dress Pins I keep seeing on Pinterest, brands are everywhere.

To get a better understanding of how wedding businesses are capitalizing on digital marketing, I reached out to the following four wedding industry professionals:

  • Kaleigh Wiese, founder of MéldeenWiese founded luxury stationary company Méldeen in 2009. Méldeen creates custom save-the-dates, wedding invitations, ceremony programs, thank you cards, and more. In 2016, Wiese introduced PIXEL by Méldeen, a custom Snapchat filter design service.
  • Stephanie Padovani, co-founder of Book More BridesPadovani and her husband, Jeff, started Book More Brides as a part-time project that played to their shared interest in marketing. Their consulting business, which helps wedding entrepreneurs increase leads and revenue, now grosses over six figures a year.
  • Ariel Meadow Stallings, founder of Offbeat BrideStallings launched her Offbeat Bride site in 2007 to promote her book about nontraditional weddings. The website gained popularity thanks to its focus on inclusivity and empowerment and now averages more than 1 million visits per month.
  • Jennifer Stein, co-founder and Editor in Chief of Destination I DoStein was inspired to help start Destination I Do in 2004 when she was planning her own destination wedding and realized there weren’t any magazines covering the subject. Destination I Do is now an international magazine with digital components, including a blog and online planning tools.

Méldeen: Using Analytics to Reach Wedding Planners

For Kaleigh Wiese, success in digital marketing is all about focusing on the right audience. Because of Méldeen’s price points and minimums, Wiese has found that wedding planners are her best customers (although she gets some direct inquiries from engaged couples, too).  Wiese has a few major strategies for getting Méldeen in front of wedding planners:

  1. Research the keywords and hashtags wedding planners use when searching for inspiration.

  2. Explore relevant search terms that are getting more volume (e.g. foil, letterpress). Capitalize on those concepts in Pinterest content before they reach peak popularity (and saturation). Use Promoted Pins for high-value, relevant content.

  3. Use Google Analytics to identify where the most traffic is coming from and focus paid campaigns on those geographic locations.

Bonus Tip: Wiese also pointed out that digital marketing strategies can help with networking—something that’s especially important for a wedding business that works with other wedding professionals. When using Instagram, Wiese says that she always tries “to tag all vendors involved in the day-of event.” It’s something that not a lot of wedding vendors think to do, but tagging one another on social media helps to build network connections and leverage credibility with potential customers.

Book More Brides: Capturing Leads with Hot-Button Content

Stephanie Padovani isn’t afraid to speak her mind when it comes to writing content for Book More Brides. She shared the following recipe for attracting clients (in her case, wedding professionals):

  1. Identify a controversial topic your target clients get really worked up about.

  2. Write an article that proves the arguments for your prospects and makes them look good.

  3. Promote the article to your target audience and encourage sharing and republishing.

Padovani explained to me how she did this with one of her blog posts: 10 Things Couples Need to Know About the Wedding Industry That the Media Will Never Tell You. She wrote this post in response to common headlines that talk about “wedding markups” and “getting taken advantage of” when planning a wedding. In her article, she explains why those accusations are mostly false and how much behind-the-scenes work goes into being a wedding professional.

In addition to publishing the post on the Book More Brides blog, Padovani shared it with her email list and social media audience, encouraging readers to republish it and spread the word. In a few days, the post had received 3,000 page views and over 3,500 Facebook engagements and Tweets. To date, the post has received over 24,000 unique page views.

After getting the ideal audience to the site, Padovani recommends using multiple opt-in offers to generate leads. For example, the Book More Brides blog prominently displays an email template that visitors can download after they submit their email address.

Offbeat Bride: Listening to the Online Community

Ariel Meadow Stallings launched the Offbeat Bride website in 2007 as a way to promote her book (Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides), and since then the site has become an active online community and collaborative blog with well over a million readers per month. As the site has grown, the Offbeat Bride brand has evolved to reach a wider audience. In an interview on her site, Ariel said:

“My initial target readership was super weird people planning super weird weddings…It became clear within a year that the majority of my readership was not actually all that weird, nor were they especially tech-savvy. The majority were brides planning what initially appeared to be relatively traditional weddings, looking for creative and unique ideas to make the weddings feel personal.”

Stallings often gets ideas for content that will resonate with her audience by going straight to that community of readers. Until 2015, Offbeat Bride had a private online forum with members who were “super vocal, super engaged, and highly invested.” Stallings sometimes sourced content directly from forum members and followed discussions to get an idea of what issues were most popular with her readership. While the forum is no longer online, Stallings now uses native insights from Facebook and Instagram to listen to the Offbeat Bride community. When she and her staff develop content, the focus generally remains on material “that’s positive but also provocative, relevant to consumers as well as industry readers.”

Destination I Do: Adapting to Changing Landscapes

Destination I Do began as both a print and online magazine, and while the publication still includes both traditional print and online components, its marketing strategy has evolved to meet the needs of today’s readers. Co-founder Jennifer Stein told me that because so many engaged couples rely on online and mobile content when planning their weddings, Destination I Do has invested in increasing visibility and providing a great user experience. Stein noted:

“We invest marketing dollars in Instagram to generate a genuine engagement with our readers as well as leveraging idea inspiration platforms such as Pinterest. We also put our budget in areas like Facebook, Google AdWords, and SEO [strategies] to drive traffic directly to our site. Data is only one piece of the puzzle. Our goal isn’t just to get unique visitors on our site to bring product awareness, it’s to engage with our readers so that they can experience a helpful conversation with us.”

Stein and the rest of the team at Destination I Do are most interested in targeting a niche audience of engaged couples who are planning a destination wedding and honeymoon. Stein said that because a destination wedding is such a big moment (and one that requires a lot of planning), “we do our best to provide partner products, inspiration, and content that will help [couples] with that process and, in the end, make it fun and stress-free.”

Takeaways for the Wedding Industry

Although the four wedding professionals I spoke to are all targeting different audiences, I noticed a few similar strategies:

  • Pay attention to what your target audience is talking about in wedding forums, blog comment sections, and social media posts. This will help you develop content that effectively engages that audience.
  • Use Google Analytics (and other data collection tools) to get a better understanding of your site visitors’ behavior and interests. You may find that your site is appealing to different segments than you originally thought.
  • While search engine optimization is important, it’s equally important to optimize your wedding business website for your visitors. Provide the inspiration and information that will be most useful to your audience, whether they’re planning their wedding or assisting with the planning for someone else.

Are you a wedding business owner with an online presence? Let us know what digital marketing strategies have worked for you in the comments. And if you have any questions about how you can increase your traffic and conversions, don’t hesitate to contact Leverage Marketing directly.

40 Questions To Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

Maybe you’re planning to hire a marketing agency for the first time. Maybe you’ve been burned by a black hat SEO agency and have sworn you’ll be more particular about the next marketing partner you choose. Whatever the case, you know that when hiring a digital marketing agency, you need to do your research and ask all the right questions.

Not sure if you’re covering enough ground with your current list of questions? We can help with that. We’ve come up with a list of 40 questions to ask before hiring a digital marketing agency. Many of them are questions that our clients have asked us—or that we wish would come up more often!

No time to read the list right now? Save it for later:

40 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

Jump to a section:

SEO

  1. How will you improve our search engine rankings? Get the agency to talk about their process. Watch out for agencies that use black hat techniques (such as buying low-quality links) or promise that they can get your page to rank number one for certain keywords.
  2. What’s your process for earning high-quality links? Does the agency have a database of relevant placement opportunities and a process for reaching out to bloggers?
  3. Do you follow Google Webmaster Guidelines? Your agency should always follow the Webmaster Guidelines to help Google find, index, and rank your site. Following these guidelines will also help your site avoid penalties.
  4. Have you ever helped a site recover from a penalty? Can you tell me about that process? Hopefully, the agency hasn’t gotten any of their clients penalized, but they may have had new clients come to them needing help recovering from a Google algorithm penalty.
  5. How long will it take to see results? The agency won’t be able to give you an exact date, but effective SEO campaigns should start positively affecting your site in about three to six months.
  6. What will I need to do to make the campaign successful? Find out what information you can give the agency to make your SEO campaigns as successful as possible.

Content Marketing

  1. Can you show us some writing samples? Any agency that offers content marketing services should be able to show you examples of their writers’ best work.
  2. How will your writers familiarize themselves with our business and industry? You need to know your agency can handle the amount of research needed to produce authoritative content for your business.
  3. How do you optimize your content for readers and search engines? Learn about the content team’s process for connecting with your target audience. Find out how closely they work with the SEO team and whether they optimize their content for relevant keywords.
  4. What types of content do you produce? Find out if the agency has experience producing not just website copy and blog posts but also infographics, video scripts, short animations, email campaigns, eBooks, and more.
  5. How many internal and external content pieces will you create per month? If your goal is to stay top-of-mind with your audience by publishing a new blog post every day, you’ll need to make sure your agency has enough bandwidth.
  6. Will you be publishing new content on our site? Find out if the agency can add images, format content to appeal to online readers, and publish the final product to your site. If the agency doesn’t handle publication, you’ll have to assign an in-house team member to stay on top of it.
  7. What metrics will you report on? The agency should go beyond just vanity metrics (traffic, social shares, number of comments) and measure how their content assists in conversions.

Paid Search

  1. Do you have a Google Partner Badge? If your agency has a Google Partner Badge, it means they have employees who are certified in Google AdWords, have access to their own Google Agency Team, and keep up with the latest AdWords innovations.
  2. Do you offer services across multiple PPC platforms (not just AdWords)? While Google is the most widely used search platform, it may be worthwhile to find out if your PPC agency also uses Bing Ads (especially since Bing has a 22% share of desktop search traffic).
  3. What tools do you use to optimize your paid search campaigns? The agency you’re interviewing might use paid search tools that would be too expensive for you to bring in-house. They may also have proprietary tools that you can’t get anywhere else.
  4. Will we be able to see actual spend within AdWords? Your agency should be transparent about how they’re spending your ad dollars.
  5. What metrics are included in your standard reports? CPC, CTR, ad positions, conversion rate of keywords and landing pages—your agency should deliver easy-to-read reports that make it clear how your paid search campaigns have been performing.
  6. Do you have experience managing paid campaigns on Facebook and LinkedIn? As organic reach on Facebook and LinkedIn decreases, it’s becoming more valuable to hire a marketing agency with experience in paid social media.

Social Media

  1. What social channels should my company be on? Chances are, you don’t need to be on every social media network in existence. Your agency should be able to recommend the channels that are most relevant to you based on your audience and business goals.
  2. What is your process for community management across platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)? A good social media team should be prepared to respond to comments and facilitate conversations on all your social channels—and to look for ways to connect with customers across those channels.
  3. How will you ensure our social media presence reflects our brand? Your agency should be thinking of social media strategies that are consistent with your brand rather than just resorting to tactics they’ve used for other clients.
  4. What is your content development strategy? Find out how closely your agency’s social media and content marketing teams work together when it comes to producing social content.
  5. How do you measure ROI on social media efforts? Your agency should be able to describe how they’ll track campaigns and measure the results in relation to your goals (e.g. conversions, revenue, customer acquisition).

Web Design

  1. Can you show us some of the websites you’ve designed? Although your website obviously won’t look exactly like the others your agency has designed, it’s good to get a sense of their aesthetic before you commit.
  2. Do you custom-design websites or use templates? If you have a limited budget and your website isn’t a major source of sales, a template site might be enough. However, if you need a unique site that will generate leads or sales, you should talk to agencies that offer custom design services.
  3. How much input will I have in the design? Find out if you’ll be able to see the website and provide input as it’s being created. You should also find out what the agency’s process will be if you don’t like the initial design.
  4. Will you use responsive design? Any good web design agency knows that websites need to look good on all screen sizes, from smartphones to desktop monitors.
  5. Will my website be able to scale as my business grows? Your agency should design your website so that more products, services, navigation options, and other features can be added as needed without a complete site redesign.
  6. Do you offer ecommerce services? If you have an ecommerce business, you’ll want to work with an agency that can handle shopping carts, support for multiple currencies, updating prices to reflect discounts, and more.
  7. Do you offer ongoing maintenance once the site goes live? Will the agency be able to handle troubleshooting post-launch, or will you have to find another vendor to maintain your website?
  8. What role does SEO play in your site design? Will your web design agency also be able to produce keyword-optimized content, add title and meta tags, implement a crawlable link structure, and use other strategies to make your site SEO-friendly from the start?
  9. Do you set up Analytics tracking when designing a new site? It’s important to get Google Analytics tracking set up with your new site so that you can begin viewing behavior and performance metrics.
  10. What kind of security features do you offer? It’s a good idea to make sure your agency can set up a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate to establish a secure connection for traffic between the web browser and server.

General

  1. How will you help me stand out from my competition? Your agency needs to understand your target audience and what you can deliver to your audience that your competitors can’t.
  2. How will you improve my site’s conversion rate? The agencies you interview may talk about how they can improve your visibility and increase traffic to your site, but they ultimately need to increase conversions/sales to make your investment pay off.
  3. What experience do you have working with businesses in my industry? It’s nice to know if your agency has experience with other businesses in your industry, but it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker if they don’t. You could also ask: What steps will you take to become an expert on my business and industry?
  4. How will we communicate? Find out who you’ll be working with on a regular basis and how often you can expect to talk with them.
  5. How will you report on our progress month-over-month? Will the agency deliver an easy-to-read report and summary every month? Will they walk you through the report in a monthly meeting?
  6. How do your different marketing efforts fit together? Ideally, you’ll find a digital agency that sees all its departments as working together towards big-picture goals, rather than existing in separate silos.

We hope these questions will help you in hiring a digital marketing agency. And don’t forget: Leverage offers all the services described above. Contact us to learn more, and subscribe to our biweekly newsletter to have helpful marketing advice delivered to your inbox.

Mother’s Day Marketing Secrets that Lead to Profitability

Mother’s Day is one of the biggest commercial holidays of the year. Thanks to companies like Hallmark and the power of collective guilt, in 2015 the average consumer spent $173 on Mother’s Day gifts. The holiday has expanded from mothers to wives, daughters, sisters, grandmothers—women in general. The challenge, therefore, is figuring out how to develop Mother’s Day marketing ideas for this larger population.

Developing a Mother’s Day marketing strategy before the holiday is integral to your success. With an increased focus on online shopping, three in 10 shoppers will buy a Mother’s Day gift online this year, using mobile phones to research and purchase their gifts. By developing a mobile-focused and forward-looking approach to Mother’s Day advertising, your brand can succeed this year.

Marketers use conventional techniques around holidays like Mother’s Day to entice shoppers, including free shipping (55%), price cuts (44%), and coupons (41%).mother's day marketing techniques

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But beyond these apparent techniques, here are some of our Mother’s Day marketing ideas to help your business delight customers and the important women in their life this year:

Video Marketing

Mother’s Day video marketing campaigns like Proctor & Gamble’s 2016 Olympic Games’ ad employ emotional techniques, invoking the bond between mother and child. This Mother’s Day marketing strategy displays the strength of mothers and how they help their children succeed. Developing Mother’s day video marketing campaigns can be extremely successful, as videos like this can perform up to 20% better than similar as placements.

This P&G ad has over 22 million views at the time of publication. The ad shows Olympic athletes’ mothers helped them in their journeys to the Rio games, comforted them in times of struggle, and supported them through everything.

When creating Mother’s Day video advertising ideas for your product or brand, attempt to play on the feelings of the audience—the connection between mother and child, or wife and husband. By utilizing emotional advertising techniques, you can capture market share and increase your sales around Mother’s Day.

Contests and Giveaways

No matter the season or holiday, consumers love contests and giveaways. You can utilize sweepstakes and giveaways around products you’re promoting to drum up excitement for your Mother’s Day sales and marketing efforts. Tie your special or contest into the items you’re trying to sell, such as beauty products, chocolates, or flowers for mom.

Offering a high-value prize, like a spa day or a vacation package for two, can get customers talking about your brand. This type of Mother’s Day marketing strategy can be an excellent way to get email sign-ups for your mailing list as well.

Gifts and Mother’s Day Specific Products

When creating Mother’s Day marketing, focus your deals and promotions on specific gifts for Mother’s Day. Remember that Mother’s Day goes beyond gift-giving for mothers–to aunts, sisters, grandmothers, wives, and even daughters. You can create Mother’s Day packages targeting specific segments of the population, as well as those to whom they want to give the gift.

Nostalgia is a powerful factor in driving customer engagement—whether it’s a child buying their mother a gift that’s reminiscent of a good time in their lives or a husband giving his wife a gift reminding them of how happy they are to be parents. Utilize social media to promote your Mother’s Day gift packages—Pinterest and Instagram are the most popular social media platforms for Mother’s Day.

Email Marketing

Before beginning an email marketing campaign for Mother’s Day, it’s important to segment your email lists and create email content that speaks to your individual customer bases. As Mother’s Day is a diverse holiday, create well-crafted emails targeting those who plan far in advance—in addition to emails for last-minute gifts will allow you to maximize your email list.

Simply starting email subject lines with “Mother’s Day” will also increase your success, as titles that start with the holiday phrase have a 16% higher engagement rate than those that include the phrase later in the line. By segmenting your lists, using Mother’s Day-front loaded subject headings, and writing original emails, you can succeed in capturing market share during the holiday.

Mother’s Day PPC Campaigns

mother's day flower image

To make an impression this Mother’s Day, work with your PPC team to create a campaign several weeks before the holiday. Make sure to update relevant ad copy for Mother’s Day product categories and talk to your team about prioritizing bids for Mother’s day product categories, including popular gifts and presents.

A smart Mother’s Day PPC marketing strategy would be to start with low bids on broad queries and then segment and monitor engagement to accurately remarket to likely customers. Advise your PPC team to save ad dollars for last-minute Mother’s Day shoppers as well.

By using these techniques and other Mother’s Day advertising ideas, you can increase your sales and build goodwill towards your brand. Mother’s Day grows each year, with spending reaching $21.2 billion in 2015. Grab a slice of the pie by utilizing these marketing strategies.


If you need help with your Mother’s Day advertising strategies, the Leverage Marketing team can help you develop a plan to increase your sales and website reach. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news in the digital marketing world from Leverage.

 

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