Monthly Archives: August 2021
With better optimization of your Facebook ads sets, you can significantly improve your ROI – read these 5 best tips to get the process started.
Read more at PPCHero.com
- Confused users don’t spend money
- Your search marketing needs to thread in your brand’s messaging, targeting, design, and overall experience to ensure trust, clarity, and eventual sales
- SEO pioneer, serial entrepreneur, and best selling author, Kris Jones helps you weave a tight SEO and search marketing strategy before 2022 ushers in
If you spend enough time in the digital marketing space, even if you focus on just one area of it, you’ll eventually catch wind of the intersection of SEO, paid media, web design, and link building. There’s no avoiding it since all these areas run together to ideally form a strong online presence for a business. Within that context, if you’ve ever been the one to devise a digital strategy for yourself or your clients, you’re probably familiar with the types of market niches that would push a business to focus more on SEO or paid search marketing.
SEO is obviously a fantastic tool for just about anyone, but don’t discount the power of paid media. Each has its pros and cons, and when done the right way, neither is going to hurt you.
What will hurt you, however, is making mistakes in your efforts and then letting them go for a long time. Weak points in your SEO and paid media can be tricky things. They can harm your digital presence in the long term and yet be difficult even to detect unless you really know what you’re doing.
With the home stretch of 2021 right around the corner, now is the best time to stitch up those holes in your search marketing for 2022. Here are four tips for cleaning up your SEO and paid media marketing.
1. Stop writing for keywords over topics
SEOs know the old story, but here it is again for anyone who doesn’t. Ten to twenty years ago, it was a popular practice to keyword-stuff on web pages. That just meant overusing a certain keyword on a page in an attempt to get Google to rank the page more highly.
In 2021, we know this is a bad practice because it doesn’t help users to answer their questions. What answers questions for online users today is content that discusses popular topics rather than just keyword-spamming.
You can use popular topic-research tools such as BuzzSumo, Answer the Public, or Semrush to find topics relevant to your desired industry niche. Then, do your own research to generate content that’s useful. Always think of the user first.
Keywords still have their place, though. Google needs to match up queries with content, and the content that makes the smartest, most useful, and natural use of keywords will tend to perform better. Content needs to have keywords in its headings and also use naturally within the body. But don’t think that you need to overuse keywords or focus your content completely around the keywords. Instead, determine the intent of the keywords and align that with your topic research to create killer content that ranks.
2. Don’t abandon paid media message consistency
When your search marketing includes paid media, too, you have a whole other set of guidelines to follow. Again, everything you do should be with users in mind. Put yourself in their place. How would you respond to this ad if you saw it?
Then, click through to the landing page to make sure everything still makes sense. The thing is, here is where PPC specialists can fail if they aren’t careful.
With paid media, you’re using ads to get people to do things. That’s what you have available: words and images on little square ads on web pages or paid search results on the SERPs.
Sounds straightforward, right? As long as you do your research and get the ads’ messaging correct, you should be golden.
Except you can go way wrong if your messaging isn’t consistent across the entire paid search journey. Your landing pages need to contain the same type of messaging as your ads. They need to reference the information users saw when they first clicked the ad.
That shows continuity across your paid campaigns. Without that continuity, without landing pages that reference offers or claims made in ads, users will be confused. They’ll wonder if they clicked the wrong ad or got taken to the wrong website.
And confused users don’t spend money.
Think about it this way: it’s been estimated that it takes between five and seven impressions before one user remembers a brand. Five to seven! It can be challenging enough to reach those numbers but imagine if you tried to get there without brand consistency. You’d be setting yourself up for failure, plain and simple.
The solution is once again to think like a user. Go through all the elements of a paid search user’s journey. If the messaging and branding flow logically and actually make sense, you may have a winning campaign on your hands.
3. Don’t ignore poor site UX
I said at the outset that the different areas of digital marketing all have the potential to intersect and flow together. Here is where SEO and web design meet up: website UX.
SEOs can spend all day researching keywords, writing content, optimizing meta tags, and building backlinks, but users probably aren’t going to do what you want if your website has a terrible layout and design, not to mention if it isn’t optimized for the mobile experience.
But don’t just listen to me – read the numbers. According to Intechnic, 67 percent of online users say that a badly designed website negatively affects their impressions of a brand. That is a huge figure, to put it mildly.
When Google’s spiders crawl a site, they do so logically, as a human would. That means the main navigation needs to set out the content your site has and be clear about where users can go to find certain information.
Now, what qualifies as a “good” layout? It’s simple when you think about it, and yet so many websites struggle to do it. The main navigation needs to show users all the vital areas of a site. Whatever business you’re in, your nav should show your main services first, followed by a blog if you have one (you should), an “about us” section, and a contact tab.
That setup right there covers all the main points that you’ll need to keep users engaged. Now, how everything else breaks down from there is up to you, but again, keep it logical. Your main services tab should have a submenu of all your main services, your locations tab can break down to show your different business locations, and so on.
Also, you absolutely cannot forget accessibility when you’re talking about website UX today. Accessibility, of course, is the capability of any piece of website content to be consumed and understood by people with a range of physical or mental disabilities. Not only is this simply a good business practice, but it’s also just inclusive and courteous.
Website accessibility includes considerations such as making content available to the visually and hearing impaired, ensuring your web pages are navigable with a keyboard only instead of just with a mouse, and choosing colors that don’t clash so color-blind people have no trouble reading your content.
Makes sense, right?
It’s important that it does make sense because if neither human users nor Google can understand how to navigate your website, you probably won’t rank for your desired keywords.
4. Don’t set and forget PPC
If you’re a business owner and are doing your own digital marketing, or if you employ one (possibly overworked) specialist to do it for you, it can be more than a little tempting to engage in the “set it and forget it” mindset.
Small to medium-sized businesses have so much to do just running themselves that putting sufficient effort into digital marketing can seem like too much of a stretch.
You may think that you’ve come up with a pretty effective PPC ad campaign that contains all the right visuals and messaging and hits all the right audience marks. And maybe you have, for now.
But you can’t set and forget anything in PPC or digital marketing more generally. Trends change, markets shift, consumers move on. You have to check in on your ads’ performance over time to see if you’ve recently fallen flat. Because if you have, then you’re wasting a lot of effort maintaining ads that aren’t converting.
Instead of letting things go like this – put the time into analyzing your ads’ performance, particularly in the time immediately following the start of the campaign. You want to ensure things are running as you predicted and tweak them if they aren’t.
While you’re at it, set aside some time to research how you can optimize your PPC campaigns’ resource consumption. The best campaigns are obviously the most efficiently performing ones, and so how can you do better?
Try reworking your ad copy. It sounds simple, but as you know, more relevant ad copy drives click-through rates and Quality Scores. And high-quality scores reduce your cost per click and cost per conversion.
Another money-worthy avenue you can take to hone in on your ads’ efficiency is to use dayparting and geolocation together. Dayparting will schedule your ads to appear at certain times of day, while geolocation will show your ads only in certain places.
This is particularly useful for local businesses that have brick-and-mortar locations and want to get customers through the doors.
This takes plenty of audience research to get it right, but it’s a smart and common-sense way to optimize the resources you’re using on your PPC ads.
A stale PPC campaign has the potential to be one of your biggest search marketing holes in 2022, so don’t wait on this one.
Jump on your 2022 fixes now
There truly is no time like the present for fixing your search marketing loopholes. Any mistake that’s out there for any length of time is probably going to hurt you. But with the second half of 2021 already here, lots of businesses are setting their sights on 2022.
Become one of them. Follow these pointers to get ahead in your search marketing efforts, and it could make all the difference.
Kris Jones is the founder and former CEO of digital marketing and affiliate network Pepperjam, which he sold to eBay Enterprises in 2009. Most recently Kris founded SEO services and software company LSEO.com and has previously invested in numerous successful technology companies. Kris is an experienced public speaker and is the author of one of the best-selling SEO books of all time called, ‘Search-Engine Optimization – Your Visual Blueprint to Effective Internet Marketing’, which has sold nearly 100,000 copies.
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The post Now is the best time to stitch your search marketing loopholes before 2022 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
On Wednesday morning, the company unveiled new folding phones, some Wear OS smartwatches, and even more wireless earbuds.
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AI is more than just a tech trend. It can take your advertising efforts to the next level and boost your ads’ performance. Learn how AI can enhance PPC.
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Today the CRM giant announced it was taking a leap into streaming media with Salesforce+, a forthcoming digital media network with a focus on video that, in the words of the company, “will bring the magic of Dreamforce to viewers across the globe with luminary speakers.” (Whether that’s a good thing or not is in the eye of the beholder.)
Over the last year, Salesforce has watched companies struggle to quickly transform into fully-digital entities. The Slack purchase is part of Salesforce’s response to the evolving market, but the company believes it can do even more with an on-demand video service providing business content around the clock.
Salesforce president and CMO Sarah Franklin said in an official post that her company has had to “reimagine how to succeed in the new digital-first world.” The answer apparently is involves getting the larger Salesforce community together is a new live, and recorded video push.
In a Q&A with Colin Fleming, Salesforce’s senior vice president of Global Brand Marketing, he sees it as a way to evolve the content the company has been sharing all along. “As a result of the pandemic, we looked at the media landscape, where people are consuming content, and decided the days of white papers in a business-to-business setting were no longer interesting to people. We’re staring at a cookie-less future. And looking at the consumer world, we reflected on that for Salesforce and asked, “Why shouldn’t we be thinking about this too,” he said in the Q&A.
The company’s efforts are not small. Axios reports that there are “50 editorial leads” aboard the project to help it launch, and “hundreds of people at Salesforce currently working on Salesforce+” more broadly.
Notably Salesforce does not have near-term monetization plans for Salesforce+. The service will be free, and will not feature external advertising. Salesforce+ will launch in September in conjunction with Dreamforce and include four channels: Primetime for news and announcements, Trailblazer for training content, Customer 360 for success stories and Industry Channels for industry-specific offerings.
The company hopes that by combining the announcement with Dreamforce, it will help drive interest in what Salesforce has cooked up. After the Dreamforce push, Salesforce+ will enter into interesting territory. How much do Salesforce customers, and the larger business community really want what the company describes as “compelling live and on-demand content for every role, industry and line of business,” and “engaging stories, thought leadership and expert advice”?
Salesforce is considered the most successful SaaS-first company in history, and as such may have an opinion that people are interested in hearing. In its most recent quarterly earnings report in May, the company disclosed $ 5.96 billion in revenue, up 23% compared to the year-ago quarter, putting it close to a $ 25 billion run rate. The company also generates lots of cash. But being cash-rich doesn’t absolve the question of whether this new streaming effort will prove to be a money pit, costing buckets of cash to produce with limited returns.
The service sounds a bit like your LinkedIn feed brought to life, but in video form. At the very least, it’s probably the largest content marketing scheme of all time, but can it ever pay for itself either as a business unit or through some other monetization plans (like advertising) down the road?
Brent Leary, founder and principal analyst at CRM essentials says that he could see Salesforce eyeing advertising revenue with this venture and having it all tie into the Salesforce platform. “A customer could sponsor a show, advertise a show, or possibly collaborate on a show. And have leads generated from the show directly tied to the activity from those options while tracking ROI, and it’s all done on one platform. And the content lives on with ads living on with them,” Leary told TechCrunch.
Whether that’s the ultimate goal of this venture remains to be seen, but Salesforce has proven that there is market appetite for Dreamforce content at least in the physical world with over a hundred thousand people involved in 2019, the last time the company was able to hold a live event. While the pandemic shifted most traditional conference activity into the digital realm, making Dreamforce and related types of content available year-round in video format makes some sense in that context.
Precisely how the company will justify the sizable addition to its marketing budget will be interesting; measuring ROI from video products is not entirely straightforward when it is not monetized directly. And sooner or later it will have to have some direct or indirect impact on the business or face questions from shareholders on the purpose of the venture.
Learn how cross-selling increases the value you add to your clients while also adding dollars to your bottom line.
Read more at PPCHero.com
Twitter is now complying with India’s new IT rules, New Delhi told a court Tuesday, in a move that is expected to ease months-long tension between the American social media network and the government of the key overseas market.
A lawyer representing the Indian government told the Delhi High Court that Twitter’s recent steps — appointment of chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer in the country — have made the social network “prima facie” compliant with the new law.
A Twitter spokesperson in India didn’t immediately return a text.
India’s new IT rules, which were unveiled in February this year, mandates significant social media firms, among other things, to appoint officials to address on-ground concerns in the country.
Facebook and Google complied with this requirement in May, when the proposed rules went into effect in the South Asian market.
Twitter, which was facing heat from the Indian government for not blocking some tweets that the Indian government had deemed objectionable, had requested additional few months to comply with the new rules and in the meantime filled the required roles with temporary staff.
Tension has been brewing between the two for several months. Twitter labeled a tweet from Sambit Patra, the spokesperson of India’s ruling party BJP, in May as “manipulated media.” Days later, a special squad of Delhi police that investigates terrorism and other crimes made a surprise visit to two of Twitter’s offices in the country to seek information about Twitter’s rationale to term Patra’s tweets as manipulated.
Twitter at the time said it was “concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve.”
The firm’s slow-efforts to comply with the new IT rules had cost the firm liability protection in the country last month, the Indian government said earlier. Separately, it warned Twitter that the firm was in “total noncompliance” with the law.
Internet services enjoy what is broadly referred to as “safe harbor” protection that say that tech platforms won’t be held liable for the things their users post or share online.
Twitter also received public criticism from several top Indian ministers.
“All social media platforms are welcome to do business in India. They can criticize Ravi Shankar Prasad, my Prime Minister or anyone. The issue is of misuse of social media. Some of them say we are bound by American laws. You operate in India, make good money, but you will take the position that you’ll be governed by American laws. This is plainly not acceptable,” Prasad, who was the IT minister of India until resigning from the position last month, said at a virtual conference early July.
The new rules also require significant social media firms operating encrypted messaging services to devise a way to trace originator of messages for special cases. Several firms including Facebook’s WhatsApp and Signal have not complied with this requirement. WhatsApp has sued the Indian government over this requirement.
Just months after raising $ 28 million, Jerry announced today that it has raised $ 75 million in a Series C round that values the company at $ 450 million.
Existing backer Goodwater Capital doubled down on its investment in Jerry, leading the “oversubscribed” round. Bow Capital, Kamerra, Highland Capital Partners and Park West Asset Management also participated in the financing, which brings Jerry’s total raised to $ 132 million since its 2017 inception. Goodwater Capital also led the startup’s Series B earlier this year. Jerry’s new valuation is about “4x” that of the company at its Series B round, according to co-founder and CEO Art Agrawal.
“What factored into the current valuation is our annual recurring revenue, growing customer base and total addressable market,” he told TechCrunch, declining to be more specific about ARR other than to say it is growing “at a very fast rate.” He also said the company “continues to meet and exceed growth and revenue targets” with its first product, a service for comparing and buying car insurance. At the time of the company’s last raise, Agrawal said Jerry saw its revenue surge by “10x” in 2020 compared to 2019.
Jerry, which says it has evolved its model to a mobile-first car ownership “super app,” aims to save its customers time and money on car expenses. The Palo Alto-based startup launched its car insurance comparison service using artificial intelligence and machine learning in January 2019. It has quietly since amassed nearly 1 million customers across the United States as a licensed insurance broker.
“Today as a consumer, you have to go to multiple different places to deal with different things,” Agrawal said at the time of the company’s last raise. “Jerry is out to change that.”
The new funding round fuels the launch of the company’s “compare-and-buy” marketplaces in new verticals, including financing, repair, warranties, parking, maintenance and “additional money-saving services.” Although Jerry also offers a similar product for home insurance, its focus is on car ownership.
“Access to reliable and affordable transportation is critical to economic empowerment,” said Rafi Syed, Jerry board member and general partner at Bow Capital, which also doubled down on its investment in the company. “Jerry is helping car owners make the most of every dollar they earn. While we see Jerry as an excellent technology investment showcasing the power of data in financial services, it’s also a high-performing investment in terms of the financial inclusion it supports.”
Goodwater Capital Partner Chi-Hua Chien said the firm’s recurring revenue model makes it stand out from lead generation-based car insurance comparison sites.
CEO Agrawal agrees, noting that Jerry’s high-performing annual recurring revenue model has made the company “attractive to investors” in addition to the fact that the startup “straddles” the auto, e-commerce, fintech and insurtech industries.
“We recognized those investment opportunities could drive our business faster and led to raising the round earlier than expected,” he told TechCrunch. “We’re eager to launch new categories to save customers time and money on auto expenses and the new investment shortens our time to market.”
Agrawal also believes Jerry is different from other auto-related marketplaces out there in that it aims to help consumers with various aspects of car ownership (from repair to maintenance to insurance to warranties), rather than just one. The company also believes it is set apart from competitors in that it doesn’t refer a consumer to an insurance carrier’s site so that they still have to do the work of signing up with them separately, for example. Rather, Jerry uses automation to give consumers customized quotes from more than 45 insurance carriers “in 45 seconds.” The consumers can then sign on to the new carrier via Jerry, which can then cancel former policies on their behalf.
Jerry makes recurring revenue from earning a percentage of the premium when a consumer purchases a policy on its site from carriers such as Progressive.
This patent relates to determining locally prominent semantic features using a computer. Operations associated with the state of a geographic area can get implemented on a variety of computers. These operations include processing data associated with the geographic area for later access and use by a user or computer. Further, the operations can include exchanging … Read more
Assembling a startup team is harder than assembling 10 IKEA dressers, and the stakes are much, much higher.
Starting with the assumption that 90% of startups will fail and the most successful ones take an average of six years to IPO, founders must make careful decisions about whom they invite to join the core team.
Will that stellar engineer become a great CTO? Should your product person be opinionated or a team player? Are you even the best choice for CEO?
ThoughtSpot CEO Sudheesh Nair shared some of his thoughts about building a sturdy leadership team and drafted a thorough checklist for entrepreneurs who are putting a crew together. His initial advice?
“Investors love founder-CEOs, and founders are often fantastic candidates for this role. But not everyone can do it well, and more importantly, not everyone wants to.”
In a related article, Gregg Adkin, VP and managing director at Dell Technologies Capital, shared the framework he’s developed for helping founders set up their board.
Choosing the right mix of people can impact everything from fundraising to hiring: “Investors often ask founders about their board [because] it says a lot about their character, their judgment and their willingness to be challenged,” he writes.
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Use discount code ECFriday to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription.
Miranda Halpern spoke to Amsterdam-based coach Ward van Gasteren for our latest growth marketing interview, which is free to read.
In their discussion, van Gasteren addressed misconceptions about growth hacking, the mistakes most startups are likely to make, and the distinctions he draws between growth hacking and growth marketing:
“Growth hacking is great to kickstart growth, test new opportunities and see what tactics work,” he tells us.
“Marketers should be there to continue where the growth hackers left off: Build out those strategies, maintain customer engagement, and keep tactics fresh and relevant.”
Thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch this week; I hope you have a great weekend.
Senior Editor, TechCrunch
What Square’s acquisition of Afterpay means for startups
In his first column since returning to TechCrunch, reporter Ryan Lawler considered the potential ripples Square’s purchase of Afterpay may send across the pond of buy now, pay later startups.
For commentary and perspective, he interviewed:
- Dan Rosen, founder and general partner, Commerce Ventures
- Jake Gibson, founding partner, Better Tomorrow Ventures
- TX Zhuo, partner, Fika Ventures
- Matthew Harris, partner, Bain Capital Ventures
The investors he spoke to agreed that deferring payments helps drive e-commerce, “but scale matters and long-term margins look slim for BNPL startups,” reports Ryan.
Enterprise AI 2.0: The acceleration of B2B AI innovation has begun
Businesses have been deploying AI solutions for 20 years, but few have achieved the outstanding gains in efficiency and profitability promised when the technology first appeared.
But there’s a burgeoning new generation of enterprise AI, Eshwar Belani, an operating partner at Symphony AI, writes in a guest column.
“Companies on the leading edge of AI innovation have advanced to the next generation, which will define the coming decade of big data, analytics and automation — Enterprise AI 2.0.”
Embodied AI, superintelligence and the master algorithm
Over the next 18 months, one technologist says the increased adoption of embodied artificial intelligence will open a path to superintelligence — incredibly powerful software that dwarfs anything the human mind could produce.
“All the crazy Boston Dynamics videos of robots jumping, dancing, balancing and running are examples of embodied AI,” says Chris Nicholson, founder and CEO of Pathmind, which uses deep reinforcement learning to optimize industrial operations and supply chains.
“The field is moving fast and, in this revolution, you can dance.”
A lot of cash and little love: An insurtech story
The Exchange looks at the valuations of public insurtech companies and considers what that means for startups — but from a slightly different perspective.
“We’d typically riff on the new values of public neoinsurance companies and use that data to work our way into a guess concerning what the price declines might mean for related startups,” Alex Wilhelm writes. “Taking public-market data and using it to better understand private markets is pretty much the national pastime of this column.
5 factors founders must consider before choosing their VC
The fact that the globe is awash in venture capital should not be news to readers of this newsletter.
For founders, it means more than just fat checks, Kunal Lunawat, the co-founder and managing partner of Agya Ventures, writes in a guest column.
“Founders would be well served to go back to the basics and focus on the principles of fundraising when determining who sits on their cap table.”
Neobanks’ moves toward profitability could be the path to public markets
Alex Wilhelm checks in on results from Starling Bank and Monzo to see what the neobanks’ most recent financial figures say about the state of neobanks overall.
“Although some neobanks are managing to clean up their ledgers and work toward profits — or reach profitability — not all are in the black,” he notes.
But among those that are?
“At least a portion of the neobanking world is financially stable enough to consider public offerings.”
Founders must learn how to build and maintain circles of trust with investors
The red-hot venture capital market may give founders lots of investors to choose from, but the most important thing (if you can be choosy) is being able to trust and rely on your investors, Ripple Ventures’ Matt Cohen and True’s Tony Conrad write in a guest column.
“This … new dynamic is forcing founders to be extremely selective about exactly who is sitting around their mentorship table,” they write.
“It’s simply not possible to have numerous deep and meaningful relationships to extract maximum value at the early stage from seasoned investors.”
What’s the board’s role in an early-stage startup?
Assembling a board of directors is not merely about finding individuals who can aid your early-stage journey, Gregg Adkin, the vice president and managing director at Dell Technologies Capital, writes in a guest column.
The composition of the board can also impact your fundraising.
“Investors often ask founders about their board [because] it says a lot about their character, their judgment and their willingness to be challenged,” he writes.
Adkins offers a framework he calls “SPIFS” — for strategy, people, image, finance and systems for compliance — to aid founders in setting up a board.
Do bronze medals ever make sense for unicorns?
In the wake of Deliveroo’s plans to abandon the Spanish market after the country passed legislation requiring companies dependent on gig workers to hire employees, Alex Wilhelm wondered about the battle for smaller markets and whether third place is sufficient.
“One company exiting a market is not a big deal, but we were curious about Deliveroo’s comments regarding the need for market leadership — or something close to it — to warrant continued investment,” he writes for The Exchange.
“Is this the common reality for startups battling for market position, no matter if those markets are cities or countries?”
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