Prue Takle - Showtime Digital

Prue Takle

Prue Takle

Prue is a creative in a suit. With degrees in both marketing and creative arts she naturally thinks outside the square, coming up with ideas that will engage audiences and promote larger-scale objectives. Prue enjoys creating synergy between branding and communications, especially when it comes to developing marketing strategy.

In the world of digital marketing, acronyms like SEO and SEM get thrown around a lot. In some cases, the mention is tokenistic - they’re seen as one in the same, in others it’s more intentional.

They are similar in the way that they both are based on keywords. This comes down to how search engines operate. Generally, someone types something into search and the algorithm runs in the background to serve up options according to what it deems as the best fit.

Due to this fundamental concept, many people are persuaded into thinking one is better than the other.

The argument for SEO is that it is generally cheaper depending on what industry you are in, the types of keywords you value and your current website state. The argument against is that it can be a slow burn. The algorithm or ‘machine’ takes a while to catch up with SEO progress and therefore SEO is seen as more of a vehicle for gaining traffic, than a lead generation tool.

The argument for SEM is that it is a quicker win. You can jump ahead of the organic results on keywords which relate to your business. However, competing in the SEM game comes at a cost for every click. If you can’t convert clicks, justifying the returns can be difficult.

Because the two share the same playing space on search and the compelling arguments for and against each, it often feels like it’s an either, or decision.

Let me break down these two terms in the simplest way and finally answer the question – ‘Are SEO and SEM really friends or foes?’

What is SEO?

SEO is not CEO, SOE or any other combination of letters. It stands for Search Engine Optimisation. SEO came to light in the late ‘90’s, early 2000’s, when web developers began tweaking websites for search engines. Back then we were using what I like to call the ‘library search’, a collation of key terms familiar to our first experiences in using a library catalogue – ‘Restaurant Italian Melbourne’. As our use of search engines has matured, so has SEO.

The point of SEO is to make your website more visible via organic search. When someone types a search, a search engine ‘crawls’ websites to find those which are the most relevant. In determining which websites gain priority (ranking), search engines will assess a number of indicators in a website (such as keywords, tags, and link titles).

In essence, a website with good SEO will attract more traffic.

With the plethora of information available on the net, anyone can learn the basics of SEO and incorporate it into a digital marketing strategy. But knowing how to do it well, is another thing. Understanding the ins and outs takes time and technical knowledge. There is also the reliance on the latest search engine algorithms and how they are impacting SEO, which can drastically impact the tactics at hand – to the point where websites can be penalised for using outdated tactics.

What are the main components of SEO?

Depending on who you talk to there are a range of components to consider when optimising websites for search. They are commonly split into two – off-page and on-page. At Showtime Digital, we like to add a third - technical.

The top 3 off-page SEO tricks

Off-page SEO is sometimes referred to as Off-site SEO. It typically relates to the ways you can assist SEO ranking, outside of your own website.

  • Creating website authority via backlinks, which means having other sites link back to your site via their content.
  • Increasing traffic to a website via social channels. Things like linking your socials to your website, making sure your Google My Business is set up correctly etc.
  • Whether it’s organic word-of-mouth or intentional influencer marketing, having individuals share your products and web links is another way of building authority.

The top 3 on-page SEO tricks

On-page SEO is sometimes referred to as On-site SEO. It refers to the content and source code of your web pages and their optimisation for search.

  • Choosing a list of keywords which are highly relevant to your audience, and ones which you think you can win on.
  • Creating page content which has good keyword density but is still written well for the consumer. Due to the way we search, search engines like to consider a keyword within context as well as its standalone presence.
  • Using metadescriptions to improve page summaries in search results. These should include keywords but be humanistic, filled with enough to make people want to click through to read more, saving the full story for when they take a further action.

The top 3 technical SEO tricks

Remember when I said anyone can learn SEO but doing it well required technical understanding? Well here’s where that comes into play. Technical SEO involves the way your site is built and intricacies within the setup which can help or hinder searchability.

  • Improving page speed helps usability, which is a key factor in SEO ranking. David Pagotto from SIXGUN believes, "pagespeed is one of the most important factors that influences both conversation rates and SEO performance".
  • Assessing and improving how mobile-friendly a site is, considering the volume of mobile traffic and mobile search.
  • Checking site vulnerabilities which could lead to penalties and potentially be a result of previous site hacking.

 

What is SEM?

SEM is not to be confused with SME. SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and can be categorised within PPC (pay-per-click). SEM strictly involves earning search visibility through paid advertisements on search engines. It became popular after Google began to preference paid placements over organic placements on search. Over the past 5 years this has been a prevalent feature of the search experience. Many users don’t know they are clicking on ads (especially on mobile), due to the streamlined look and feel of ads against organic placements.

SEM is a paid form of ranking for keywords which are relevant to your audience. It’s one way to take a shortcut to the top (at a price). A real-time auction determines who sits where in the allocated ad space. This is what we term ad rank and it is made up of a few factors, one of which is how much you are willing to pay for the click (or maximum bid).

SEM will drive paid traffic to your website, good SEM will focus on achieving KPIs as proof of the return on investment.

With the rise of Google’s AI, the barriers to setup and manage your own ad account are getting lower. However, there is ‘slapping a few ads up on Google’, compared to understanding the best way to setup the account and draw on insights to optimise and drive outcomes.

Typical SEM account structure

SEM is based on keywords. Keywords are categorised into groups, which sit under campaigns.

  • Campaigns should be structured like your website – key product areas.
  • Ad groups sit underneath campaigns to capture the specifics of each product i.e. runners vs boots. Ads are also assigned to ad groups, with the intention of being product-specific.
  • Keywords sit underneath ad groups as a long list, intended to help people find what they are searching for.

SEM structure

With anything there are always exceptions to this rule. The reasons why an account may be structured differently comes down to business structure, account strategy and KPIs.

 

Are they friends or foes?

Although people like to pit them against each other, SEO and SEM work wonderfully together. Digital marketing approaches which combine SEO with SEM are in a better position to achieve prime position in search results, while being considerate of how the two feed into the consumer journey.

For instance, SEO can help warm up a prospect by offering well-optimized content to answer those longer how to questions, the kind which don’t come up in SEM very often. Meanwhile, SEM helps people who are being more specific with their search get where they need to fast.

As they both rely on keywords, they can actually feed each other. Through SEM reports, new keywords and opportunities can be found for SEO and likewise, reporting for SEO may find opportunities across SEM which competitors are yet to tap into.

Better yet, if you are showing ads for a keyword which you rank well on organically, Google will improve your ad rank without having to pay maximum bid for the click.

There are many other advantages to using the pair in tandem, however, doing this effectively relies on team collaboration. SEM and SEO teams must have shared reporting capabilities, good lines of communication and good processes to reinforce the strategic opportunities.

 

How does your SEO & SEM stack up?

Wondering if you’re SEO or SEM strategy is up to scratch? We’re offering free audits across both for accounts spending more than $10,000 per month on Google. Contact us to take advantage of this offer and don’t forget to mention ‘free audit’ in the comments field.

As marketers we are always being asked ‘what was the ROI?’ In the digital age of consumption that question can be hard to answer. So, we create metrics which will calculate a ‘soft’ conversion, or lower scoring lead, for example capturing an email address.

And sometimes, in efforts to prove ROI, providing a good customer experience is forgotten.

In this article I’m going to show you an online retailer who let marketing objectives trump user experience. And the social backlash which followed.

I’ll also demonstrate how another online retailer is meeting the same marketing objectives, in a more considered way. In fact, I will illustrate how this retailer is going the next level, to stimulate demand in their approach.

If you don’t give people a chance to get to know you, why should they provide their email address?

Online retailer Everlane use a carousel Facebook ad to showcase their sandals to prospective customers.

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As a prospective customer I think ‘Wow fashion and function in one, that’s interesting!’

Acting on my intrigue I click through to shop now.

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Boom! In your face, full screen pop up requesting email details. Let’s look a little deeper…

To view this item, please enter your email below. I’m sorry, what? As a consumer this is a totally jarring experience. They drew me in with product but now I can’t view the product. They asked me to ‘shop now’ but I can’t even begin the shopping process without providing email details?

Customer lost. The shoes didn’t look that great anyway…

And it turns out I wasn’t the only one who thought this.

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Clearly, there’s a way around handing over your email to view the goods, as some comments point out. But let me say, an unsatisfactory user experience will turn people away. But a shocking user experience will evoke complaints…

Is it possible to engage your prospects and stimulate demand?

This question is the marketing trifecta. Tick all these boxes and you have struck gold. Which is exactly what online retailer Petal & Pup have done!

Petal & Pup also use a carousel Facebook ad to showcase their clothing to prospective customers.

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People can click on ‘Shop Now’ and go straight to the item on the website. In testing this out, I’ve found there is a subtle demand-driver at play here.

Quite often, clicking on the item will reveal it is sold out. Many people would say ‘Idiots! Don’t advertise something people can’t buy!’ But in this strategy lies the magic – psychological targeting.

Knowing item has already sold out, is a signal of popularity, therefore elevating the item’s perceived worth. Now the potential shopper has FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Thanks to Cialdini’s principle – Scarcity, the product has now become highly sought after.

Based on this psychological drive, Petal & Pup take the chance that the shopper might be inclined to enter their email address to receive notification when the product is available again. In doing so, Petal & Pup can send them ongoing emails with product releases and offers to drive shopping purchases across a more cost-effective channel.

Let’s see it in action:

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How can this tactic be justified when immediate sales can’t be made?

It’s likely Petal & Pup view Facebook as an awareness channel. They award budget to expand their audience, gain new customers and raise product awareness.

With awareness activities, the measures will be different. They are looking at reach, click through rates, clicks, comments, likes, shares to gauge success, not pure conversions. Tracking conversions on sold-out items is a ‘nice to have’ metric. Tracking the users who sign up can provide an understanding of the customer’s lifetime value, which in turn supports the awareness methodology.

Petal & Pup may find overtime, that the ROI of this type of activity is higher because the lifetime value generated for these kinds of users is higher than those who simply click and purchase.

Who did it better?

Using a similar approach, Petal & Pup were able to deliver a more useful user journey and stimulate demand for their product via psychological targeting. The goal is the same – both Everlane and Petal & Pup are chasing email addresses. Petal & Pup have offset expectation by tying email address to a desirable outcome. Whereas Everlane were brazen in their approach, providing no motive or value for an email address to be given. They are almost opting potential shoppers out, rather than opting them in.

By viewing Facebook as an awareness channel, the shift in measures puts less emphasis on the need for conversions. Conversion anxiety takes a backseat, allowing other metrics to measure performance. In this world, there is less need for overt attempts at capturing a conversion as ROI doesn’t come from the first click, it comes from the lifetime value generated.

At Showtime, understanding the consumer is at the heart of what we do. We love this example of weaving psychological principles into the consumer journey. When we are able to do the same for our clients, we find we are able to create a better user experience and generate better outcomes. If you’re wondering how you can create a similar approach for one of your products, put us to the test by contacting us.

I’d love to tell you that every PPC account runs smoothly all the time, meeting KPIs and performing at peak level. That’s simply not true. Even the strongest accounts will have moments where they stagnate, results drop or KPIs aren’t met. This can often occur at times when pressures on the marketing team are high, with entire focus on results.

In these moments, it’s common to look to keywords as being the answer. But when we do, there’s so many more factors to consider. Volume of keywords, match types, negatives, cost of keywords, bidding strategy and quality score all play a role in how your ads are served for the keywords in your account. Simply adding more keywords or taking away others won’t necessarily fix the problem.

Not to say keyword strategy can’t be part of the solution but to see keywords as the entire answer is oversimplifying the way Google Ads works and the issues the account is potentially facing.

The first step is to consider why the account is suffering. Is the issue:

  1. Volume – the account simply isn’t drawing enough impressions and clicks to get results?
  2. The quality of results are poor – as in the leads/conversions aren’t as highly valued as they were or should be?
  3. The quantity is not what is should be – the amount of leads/conversions, aren’t as high as they need to be?

By understanding the issue, the many factors which contribute can be checked and redirected.

This article will explain the 3 main issues PPC accounts face, how to diagnose them and what to consider as remedies.

Volume issue

I’ve put this first because many jump to quality or quantity without considering volume. Sometimes an account is suffering purely because it can’t get the traction to perform. This can be common in niche categories where search is low but it can also happen in large industries. Ruling volume out as the trouble maker is basic protocol.

Common symptoms of low volume:

  • Low search impressions
  • Low clicks
  • Low CTR
  • Search impression share lost due to budget or ranking
  • Keyword notifications indicating ‘not shown due to low search volume’
  • Limited by budget notifications
  • High conversion rates relative to industry
  • Low conversions

Potential remedies:

Boosting account volume can be done in various ways, depending on what data you can see as being critical to the issue. Regardless of circumstantial evidence, when applied, these remedies can build more momentum across your account.

  1. Investigate budget increases and potential forecast

There is a chance the account is suffering due to a lack of investment. This can happen in two ways – one, it is actually ‘limited by budget’ which means the active campaigns are exhausting their daily budget before the day is through, or two, the budget won’t allow you to compete on more expensive and higher volume searches. Accounts suffering due to insufficient budget can be frustrating however, Google’s tools provide clear ways to forecast outcomes if more money is invested. If your conversion rate is high, spending the money to get more visibility and clicks could be worth it.

  1. Review keywords and grouping

Aha! Keywords might be the answer! Using different keyword match types is an obvious way to increase search visibility on a stifled account. While [g-shock digital watch] might be a perfect product and customer match, it is limiting your audience to those who know they are in the market for a g-shock brand digital watch. Considering digital watches at a phrase or broad match level might help draw people in before selling them on the brand, product or location specifically. Consider the different stages in the buying process and what people might be searching for at each stage. Getting too focused on ‘last click’ searches can be restrictive, especially in a low volume account. Be warned, this can lead to poor quality clicks. Using this kind of strategy needs close monitoring and attention to detail.

Quality issue

One of the most common challenges marketing teams face is giving sales good quality leads. Bringing in thousands of leads a month is only valuable if the sales team can qualify them and progress them into real business. Typically, the threshold is around 50-60% quality. Sales teams can work with 50-60% of leads being good quality, but when we start seeing that drop to 40-20% and lower, the term ‘junk leads’ gets tossed around. Sales get angry with marketing, and understandably the marketing team put the acquisition practices under the microscope.

Common symptoms of bad quality:

  • Normal to high volumes of conversions across the account

  • A large amount of conversions from broad match terms or display campaigns

  • Low leads to qualification ratios (sales qualified or marketing qualified)

Potential remedies:

In order to combat quality the first step is probably the most important one, and it comes down to visibility and transparency.

  1. Link Ad platform to CRM or sales tool

Without visibility into how conversions are translating into business, you can only optimise towards the conversion outcome. So when conversions have increased, this is an indication, things are working. But in the quality issue they’re not working for the business. By bridging the data gap, the PPC efforts can be geared towards business outcomes instead of focusing on conversions. With this data at hand, the PPC team can remove or reduce campaigns which are resulting in a high volume of enquiries/leads/sales but not translating into good business and amplify those which are. In turn making more effective use of everyone’s time and money.

  1. Assess search query data/placements

In search campaigns, looking into search query data can reveal the kinds of searches people are conducting when they click on your ad and convert. For instance, Toll Group provide logistics but Toll as a keyword could also put Toll Group in the mix with searches for road tolls. Understanding what people were looking for when they clicked and converted will help identify negative keywords which should be implemented and ways to filter traffic. In display campaigns, look into the placements of ads and where they are getting clicks/conversions. It might be that a lot of clicks and conversions are coming from game or quiz sites, from mobile apps, from competition pages. Placements which are not fruitful are to be filtered against. Showing ads in the most likely places your audience will be is paramount to achieving better display outcomes.

  1. Review landing page or web page

We know people are skim readers these days. If they want something bad enough they’ll skim through content to see if it matches their desires and convert. Even if you’re offering business loans, there’s going to be those people who want a personal loan and go ahead with a lead form even though they are in the wrong place. Reviewing the landing page or web page traffic is going to, should provide ideas for where and how you can build in qualifiers. From headline copy “Business loans for companies on the grow” vs “Loans to get you where you want to be”, to imagery, to FAQs, ‘how to qualify’, there are many ways to build expectation into the page experience which will weed those who are bad leads out.

  1. Review forms

Often in trying to capture as many web leads as we can, we keep forms simple, but in some cases maybe too simple. Adding required fields to assess their fit for your business can also indicate how seriously they are taking their enquiry. For instance, a wealth management company might be hesitant to include ‘estimated annual income’, or ‘current superannuation balance’, however the people who complete the fields are more likely to be warmer leads than those who wouldn’t. People can and will lie. Adding qualification questions to a form is not adding a quality seal but is done with the intention of scaring those off who can’t answer the question, reducing time spent on junk leads.

Quantity issue

Assuming you’re getting impressions and clicks, if the conversion or lead volume coming through is low, it’s what I’d call a quantity issue. This is a highly frustrating situation as it often feels like the ROI isn’t there, therefore the channel/tactic isn’t worth pursuing. Understanding why the quantity of leads isn’t there is important before making the call to switch off.

Common symptoms of low quantity:

  • High impressions

  • High clicks

  • Low conversion rates

  • Low ROI

Potential remedies:

  1. Review landing page or web page

If you’re getting clicks but the traffic isn’t converting, reviewing the landing page or page you are pointing people to is essential. The first step is to review which URL’s you are using and make sure the user journey is concise and makes sense. If someone clicked on a home insurance ad, they expect to be taken to the home insurance page, not the main website and not the ‘insurances’ page within your website. It seems simple, but you’d be surprised how often it is overlooked. In the process, consider the page layout. Can people see what they need to see in the first 3-10 seconds? Is ‘what’s in it for me’ clear? Are your claims substantiated by images and social proof?

  1. Review targeting

If the traffic isn’t converting, there’s a chance you’re not reaching the right audience. Take a step back and consider who you want to reach, then review whether these are the people clicking. For example, the person searching is looking for loans. You sell B2B loans, not personal loans, but the people coming to the site are looking for personal loans, therefore they aren’t converting. The same applies for devices. The way we search on different devices comes from its own thought process. For instance, I search ‘dumpling restaurant Melbourne CBD’, it’s likely to be a mobile search, on the go, looking for a lunch spot. Whereas ‘good restaurants for a date’ might be a desktop search, which involves more research and planning. By understanding the devices people are coming across, the conversion likelihood for each device and what preferences exist, should alter the way you target people. Building a better picture of who they are, why they need you and what their next step should be and catering to device preferences will assist in boosting the amount of conversions you receive.

Hopefully this article has been helpful in giving you more ways to assess your Google Ads accounts, especially when performance is not what you would like it to be. Keep in mind, keywords are not the entire answer, but they can be part of the diagnostic process.

If you are still not receiving the kind of traction you would like to see on Google Ads, we can help. For accounts spending over $15,000 per month we offer a free account audit. Sometimes having a fresh set of eyes helps identify opportunities to optimise the account in ways you have not explored. If this is something you would like, please contact us and be sure to mention “free Google Ads audit” in the message box.

Occasionally the topic of using video on landing pages comes up. Maybe you’re in a category which requires ‘the personal touch’ or selling software that needs to be seen to be believed, or maybe for your audience, it’s about finding the right cultural fit. In these circumstances, using video can convey the intangibles in your product or service delivery.

Adding video to landing pages should be done with thought and purpose. Simply pointing people to a page where a large video pops out and starts playing is not best practice. You must consider your audience, where they might be when they come to your page and what device they might be on.

Beyond that, you don’t want them to get so distracted by the video, they can’t absorb the high-level value you can deliver.

Giving consumers options will serve well especially in categories which need a little more convincing.

When we talk video, it doesn’t have to be green screen, mystique, but you do have to consider your brand and how it is conveyed. For instance, if you are selling real estate in a wealthy area, a video shot on iPhone with wind blasting the speakers isn’t going to appeal to your client or buyer. But if you are a removals company, a video shot on iPhone with humility and personality could be fitting.

Think of how your consumers see themselves and how you want to be seen. Invest in the production value which fits your brand.

To help you consider how video adds or distracts on a landing page, I have drawn upon four examples assessing the overall landing pages to demonstrate what works, and what doesn’t work with regards to the user and progressing their journey.

Example 1 - PageCloud

Pagecould SAAS B2B marketing

PageCloud is a software as service tool, allowing people to create their own websites without the need for a developer. Given this is a seen to be believed kind of tool, they have placed a video below the fold to explain more about the technology and how it works.

What works:

  • Hero image.

The hero image is animated which gives a brief demonstration of what the tool allows people to do or build. It has creativity at its core which appeals to the audience who are wanting to create their own websites at low cost, without the hassle of needing additional support from designers and developers.

  • The call-to-action button colour.

The magenta button stands out. It is the brightest thing on the page, thanks to high contrast with neutral backgrounds.

  • The offer.

Although subtle in its presence, the 14-day free trial is clearly stated beside the call-to-action button. It is also evident via the ‘FREE TRIAL’ button in the header. With this kind of product, a try before you buy option is smart. Consumers are unlikely to jump into a subscription or annual fee without knowing whether the product will meet their needs.

  • As seen on logos.

Feature logos from press/media create more substantiation around the product, indicating it is of high regard.

  • See it in action heading.

This premises the video before people opt to watch it. By indicating the time to watch (2 min) the user can decide whether they want to invest the time in watching it and the subtitle text below provides the compelling reason why they should.

  • Video content.

PageCloud founder gives a real-life demonstration of how a business can use the tool to update their website in meaningful ways. The video is used to not only provide a demonstration, it is divisive in the way it creates product positioning. This isn’t fancy footage with animation. It’s footage from an event, which says- this is a company people are interested in, the founder is someone people want to hear from.

What could be improved:

  • The headline.

Anything that claims to be ‘the best’ or ‘world’s best’ always feels like an exaggeration. World’s best - according to who? They make efforts to substantiate this throughout the page and content, but the headline should evoke trust, not suspicion. If the claim is because they have so many users, make that the headline, for example: The drag and drop website builder over 20,000 companies rely on.

Example 2 - Hubspot

Hubspot SAAS B2B marketing

Another software as service tool, Hubspot helping people automate their sales and marketing from attracting a customer to closing and beyond. I’ve highlighted the sales page within their website, where they have featured a video in the hero as a way of providing a solution to the problems many salespeople face.

What works:

  • The headline.

The headline captures the biggest benefit of the tool with an offer. By speaking to the biggest pain in sales – time, Hubspot has captured their audience. Pairing that with the option to start for free, the second pain has been removed – money.

  • Product video.

The video touches on key frustrations for sales staff, providing examples of how the product can help overcome these challenges to streamline the sales process.

  • Chat window heading.

The chat widget pops up saying “I happen to be in sales myself! Feel free to ask me about how HubSpot's sales tools add time to my day — and how they can do the same for you.” The message is highly contextualised to the audience and the needs they are looking to fulfill.

What could be improved:

  • The video has no call-to-action.

The video forgets the crucial close – start with a free trial. at its conclusion. People watching it are left with more information but no compelling motive to act.

  • The call-to-action buttons are lost.

The way the page has been created is such that the call-to-action is sitting in a text box which is layered over the screen background. This is slightly confusing as it looks like it is an image, not a point of engagement. Something page visitors could easily skim over or scroll past, without processing the step.

  • The background colour is distracting.

The background colour is too close in tone to the call-to-action and play buttons. A more contrasting colour should have been used to give these elements the emphasis they need.

Example 3 - Marshall White

Marshall White Real Estate marketing

In Real Estate, it’s as much who you buy or sell from as what you buy or sell. The personal touch has got many real estate agents over the line, especially in areas which require prestige and reputation. Real Estate agency Marshall White have used video on their website as the background, featuring homes they have sold in suburbs which are well regarded.

What works:

  • Establishing high-end position.

The clean look and feel of the website establishes a high-end positioning which is relevant to the suburbs Marshall White excel in.

  • Featuring homes.

By featuring homes in the video, the benchmark for expectations are set both as a buyer and as a seller.

What could be improved:

  • Amplifying the personal touch.

Relying on homes alone takes away the personal touch of the agents. The video could be clickable to reveal an agent walking through the property explaining their approach to market. Or a similar video could feature below the page fold, so consumers can get a feel for who they would be dealing with.

  • Adding a call-to-action.

There is no call-to-action in the heading, subheading or even a button in the header. This means those who want to progress have to search for how they can do this. Adding a clear contact us button in the header makes the process clear. The other way is to use the heading or subheading to compel people to act.

  • Substantiating why they are the agents to choose.

Aside from the prestige homes, they have sold, there is nothing to show why Marshall White are better agents than any other competitor. Using the headline to substantiate the competitive value proposition says more to the potential consumer than the current heading.

  • Improving the visibility of the menu and header elements.

The menu items have been designed and developed with high opacity and low contrast. The size is also small, strategically, however, it makes it difficult for users to navigate and progress their user journey.

Example 4 - Udemy

Udemy body language B2B marketing

Udemy is an online learning and teaching marketplace, selling courses and training for everyday people, particularly those looking to upskill. The course page reviewed is for one of the bestsellers – Body Language for Entrepreneurs. Given the style of training and course content, building the personal brand of the trainer is essential for potential buyers. The use of video in this context helps people develop an opinion as to whether the training is suited to them.

What works:

  • The green call-to-action.

The green colour stands out against the dark background and brings in the brand colours.

  • Video is subtle.

Video is an option, but it is not the focus. People can learn enough about the course from the headline and supporting copy without having to watch the video. 

  • Trust logos.

Using the logos of Forbes and alike show the course is press-recognised, establishing the credibility of the trainer and course content.

What could be improved:

  • Copy readability.

The headline and text are hard to read due to the white text colour against changes in background texture. An opaque black gradient would combat the issue, providing more contrast. Alternatively taking the photo and video against a white background would allow the text to be coloured black with high contrast and clarity.

In summary, video on a landing page can be useful but it should not be the focus. A successful video landing page gives users the option to view the video while providing enough substantiation in other areas on the page. The user should still be able to grasp ‘what’s in it for me’ within the first 3-10 seconds, without having to play the video. The video is simply the icing on the cake – that extra push which might place your brand or product above others in your category.

 

Over the past 12 months we have seen Google’s growing commitment to developing AI technology and machine learning. From Google’s Quick Draw – a game where a machine guesses what you are drawing to Google Assistant being able to book a hair appointment, Google is setting out to prove robots are qualified to take on rudimentary tasks.

As a Google Partner agency, we have first-hand experience of the push to take on automation as BAU within most accounts. From what we have seen in recent Google Masterclasses, manual bidding and micro-ad management will be phased out over the next 12 months.

Bids, impressions and placement will become automated based on desired outcomes. There will come a point where we won't be able to control certain aspects of ad placement, only guide the machine with clear objectives and restraints around spend. Which means our teams will be working with the advertising platforms on a more strategic level.

What does this mean for your marketing meetings?

Understanding how the landscape is going to shift will help you have more meaningful conversations in your marketing team about your digital strategy.

Moving forward, these are the items you should be thinking about as key marketing meeting agenda items.

1.      Set high-level campaign goals

Google's shift towards AI and Machine Learning will apply automation based on goal outcomes. This means bids, impressions and placement will be automated based on the desired goal.

When I talk goals, I mean:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Website traffic
  • Product and brand consideration
  • Brand awareness and reach

Being clear on which campaigns serve what purpose is imperative. Setting campaign goals now will help you transition to the new environment.

2.     Gain clarity on CPA or ROAS targets

Machine Learning is only as good as its programming. If we can’t give it the proper parameters to work within, it won’t deliver desired outcomes. Identifying your ideal cost per acquisition with confidence is key to guiding the machine towards success.

Too often I ask a business ‘how much can you afford to spend to acquire a lead/sale?’ to only hear radio silence, awkward shuffles, mumbles, or the defensive ‘you tell me what it should be.’

Understanding the price of acquiring a customer and their ongoing value is essential to operating effectively in this new environment. Being able to program the machine towards achieving a goal, at a certain cost will provide consistent outcomes.

3.      Stop discussing granular details

When Google gets asked, ‘What was my average ad position?’

Google responds, ‘What was your objective? Did you meet it? Then, who cares!’

This kind of arrogance can drive marketers wild. Let’s be honest when we’re asking about ad position, it’s an ego thing. We want to know how we stack up against the competition, are we top dog?

But in all honesty, it doesn’t matter.

I’ll give you a prime example. I had a client who was in fierce competition with their main competitor. Every month they wanted to know if their ads were placed in top position, and if not, why not, and how much they would have to spend to be there.

Here’s the interesting thing, we ran the data and we found that #1 position resulted in 25% less likelihood of a conversion than #3. In essence, we could spend less for the click and have a better chance of generating a lead.

So what do you want to do? Spend more to be on top? Or spend less to get a lead? Pretty simple.

Adjusting to the new world

By setting new expectations for ad management, Google is directing the ‘outcome vs tactics’ conversation in their favour.

The prime example is within Google Shopping campaigns. Soon, we will be able to see the placements but won’t be able to manage them. Ads will simply show where they generate the best chance of achieving the goal, whether we like it or not.

I realise this is contentious, and trust me, Google Partner agencies have raised concerns but fighting it will only achieve so much. Focusing on the things we can manage, will ensure we get the most out of the machine learning environment.

As marketing teams, being clear on what the success metrics for campaigns are, is the best way to optimise performance in this new world of AI.

Being able to guide the machine towards meaningful outcomes will reap larger rewards, within a shorter timeframe.

If you’re looking for insights into how these changes will affect you, reach out. We’d love to talk shop.

 

 

Recently I had an interesting experience. I was researching IT companies and after clicking on ads and going from one website to another I came across a landing page. My immediate reaction was URGHH!!! I couldn’t deep dive into more content. I couldn’t see what other services the company had to offer. It felt like I was skimming the surface and had no idea of what lies beneath…

This got me thinking, when is a landing page good and when is a landing page too little?

In this post I’m going to delve into what products and services are better suited to landing pages and those which need a little more explanation. I will also provide a cure for the landing page disconnect – a way to keep people focused while providing that next level of detail.

First, we will consider the type of decision required.

Type of decision1  

According to the level of involvement, people tend to need more or less information to make their decision.

Low involvement

With a low involvement category, there is only a small financial or psychological risk. The barrier to purchase is low and generally, curiosity or immediacy sway decision making. The initial motivation for product purchase can come from a negative, they might trying to solve a basic problem. It can also be positive, hoping to create change for the better.

With low involvement product, landing pages are valuable tool to incite trial, generate awareness and gain sign ups. Landing pages achieve this by maintaining focus without distractions and by emphasising only one call to action. Landing pages serve to communicate your product, brand and benefits clearly.

In cases where the motivation is negative, landing pages should focus on the problem-resolution scenario, emphasising only one-to-two key benefits. 

The Renovator Paint Runner Pro Home 

The Renovator Paint Runner Pro use this landing page to promote problem and solution. The page clearly articulates the problem-solving benefits- no mess, easy & fast. Although you can see navigation headings, these simply mark a point in the page allowing people to access key information quickly, without needing to scroll down.

On the other hand, if the motivation to purchase is positive, the landing page should demonstrate a transformational outcome. The page should be an immersive, rich experience. Key benefits should be emotional and communicated in a way which is brand-associated or unique to the brand.

For products which are emotionally tied to aspirations of status adding exclusivity can assist in gaining contact details. For instance, signups for new releases, competitions, one week trials and exclusive offers.

The 5TH 

The 5TH store use landing pages as a gateway to product sales. The level of exclusivity prompts email signups for access to the shop when it opens for 5 days of the month.

Keep in mind that although a landing page will suit this type of product, there are cases where it may not move product as it is easier to purchase in stores. With this in mind, a landing page can entice trial via free samples or support a PR campaign. In every case the page should always point the consumer to where they can buy the product.

Homepage Twinings

Twinings use this Morning Tea Landing Page to support their new product release/PR campaign to raise funds for charity via votes for celebrity designed product packaging.

High involvement

A high involvement purchase is not taken lightly. This is because the customer perceives their decision as being highly important and considers the risks.

In this category communications need to reflect the inner-psyche of the customer. Talk to their pains, without overstating the gains. The key benefit should also be unique to your brand, in terms of how you are positioned in the market, and it should be supported by additional benefit claims, ranked by order of importance.

As with my example at the beginning of the post, a landing page is not always in the best interest of the customer. This rule can be applied to high involvement products. An overarching reason for this is trust. The consumer must trust you and your product before taking the leap. To develop consumer confidence, more than one page may be required.

It is in this category that we commonly see high returning visitors and potentially multiple touch points before a conversion. The customer will inform themselves, mull over the product, re-inform themselves and do this over a range of digital channels – search, direct, social, advertising.

If your product falls in this category, there are three approaches to overcome landing page disconnect:

  1. Create a microsite
  2. Create a soft-sell landing page
  3. Optimise your website funnels

The more emotionally involved your product is, the more complex the approach.

1. Create a microsite

First up, what do I mean by microsite? A microsite is 3-5 web pages that act as a separate entity to your main website. A microsite typically lives on its own domain, or exist as a subdomain.

The purpose of a microsite is to give consumers enough information to make a decision, without giving so much information it is distracting, or becomes boring or creates abandonment.

The challenge is deciding what pages you should include in your site. This brings me to the IT example at the beginning of my post. I was wanting to see depth of services, for me, that was a symbol of trust.

To decide what pages to include in your microsite, view what pages of your website are being most frequently visited. Or you can work your way backwards based on how you are attracting clicks. For instance, AdWords can provide insight into what people are searching, what keywords are most frequently clicked and you can test ad extensions to see what gels with the audience more. Using these insights, you can create pages which will talk to the search interests more directly.

IT Support JUST MAKE IT WORK V2 

Just Make It Work use a microsite to communicate the breadth of business IT solutions they offer. 

2. Create a soft-sell landing page

You can reduce the barrier to conversion by making the ask smaller. Instead of requesting someone contacts you, book a tour you can give them something of value in exchange for their details.

You are inviting people to ‘try you out’ without any obligations.

The trick is to consider what can you give away freely, which would be of value to your customer? Something which will establish you as capable, knowing and trustworthy.

Some examples may include:

  • Whitepaper
  • Ebook
  • Video Series
  • Access to a Database
  • Checklist
  • Case Study
  • Downloadable Blog Post
  • Webinar
  • Email Series
  • Educational Course
  • Free Software Tool
  • Free Trial of Premium Software
  • Free Quote 

Of course, once you have details from your customer you can then put them into a nurture stream for marketing content or flag them for your sales team to approach.

DevOpsGuys Download Free Whitepaper 

DevOpsGuys are a company that specialise in the way organisations deliver software. They have targeted this landing page for CTO’s and CIO’s, offering them a free whitepaper to guide them in the journey to digital transformation. 

3. Optimise your website funnels

Optimising your website involves a lot of micro changes which are hands on, ever changing and require ongoing work. However, the outcomes should be big. Given the workload involved to optimise your website from marketing teams, to PPC teams, to website teams this should not be taken lightly therefore I would recommend this specifically for brands in an emotional decision making space.

Take booking a holiday for example. Imagining yourself jumping into the hidden cenotes of Tulum or skiing the slopes in Honshu. While there is some logic in where to go, where to stay, who to fly with, the desire to travel has emotional pull.

In this instance, you want to know your data well. Analyse what conversion paths people are taking from the perspective of pages visited before a conversion, and channel touch points along the way.

By paring this knowledge with the ins and outs of your high performing PPC campaigns you can start to map consumer journeys through your website and create a consistent user experience.

Book Domestic Australia Flights Tigerair 

Tigerair use custom content delivery based on geolocation. By pre-filling the search field for Melbourne and pre-empting next steps with special deals from Melbourne they are assisting people along the conversion funnel.

In summary, to landing page or not to landing page really depends on the level of involvement your customer needs to make a decision. Whether the risk is low enough to take a leap without getting to know you first?

I hope this post has helped answer the question and provided some ideas regardless of the complexity of your product. If you are looking to optimise your landing pages, please take the time to read our free eBook – Creating Landing Pages Which Convert.

Happy optimising!

 

Emotions aren’t generally discussed within the context of online marketing, yet our emotions impact the decisions we make and the products we buy.

As marketers we’re looking to complete a basic equation:

need + want + desire = motivation to purchase

Needs, wants and desires are underwritten by emotions which can be personal and subjective. However, psychologists have worked for years to pinpoint commonalities which bind us in our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.