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02 Oct 2018

How to Lead Your Business Through Its Tricky Adolescence

Startups struggle with volatility. Scaling companies struggle with volatility and complexity. Like the bodies of adolescents, these developing organizations behave in unexpected, sometimes unnerving ways.

Their leaders, consequently, require new skills and approaches to navigate this challenging stretch, says Scott Belsky, the chief product officer at Adobe and founder and former CEO of Behance, a platform where artists and designers showcase creative work. Belsky characterizes this “middle” period as a time of swiftly alternating lows that must be endured and highs that must be optimized.

Belsky’s new book, The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture, addresses founders and others in the middle of both ambitious undertakings and their own leadership journeys. Here are three of his useful tips.

1. Take a light touch to process
Belsky calls process the “excretion of misalignment.” Startups, he explains, comprise small teams in which everyone understands the vision and acts on it. Communication is frictionless. To the extent leaders can maintain that alignment through the middle stage they will need less process. “It is only when people start giving you different answers to questions like ‘What are we trying to do?’ or ‘What are our priorities?’ that you [need] to process,” Belsky says.

Leaders can’t avoid process but they can minimize it. For example, founders who fret they’re losing touch with their expanding organizations may set up unnecessary sign-offs or regular check-ins just to maintain the feeling of control. Don’t do that, Belsky cautions. Also, don’t create processes in a vacuum. Instead, A/B test them to see, for example, whether it’s better to brainstorm as a group or have people dream up ideas on their own and submit them for discussion.

Also: always be auditing. “Processes may outlive their usefulness,” Belsky says. “Are we meeting every Tuesday just because it’s Tuesday? Why are we having 360-degree reviews at the end of the year?” Improving or outright killing processes frees up time and releases creativity.

Belsky tempers his personal anti-process bias with this warning: If teams devise their own work processes, don’t interfere. You may know better than anyone else what the business needs to succeed. But your people know better than you what they need to get things done.

2. Market internally
Alignment trumps process. But as companies grow, alignment weakens. New folks sign on, new products and projects pile up, and the mission gets obscured. So in the middle, Belsky says, leaders must convey the company’s message to employees as loudly and clearly as they do to customers and the public. “It is wild how much money companies spend marketing themselves to the world, yet they do so little to market themselves to their own people,” he says.

A company’s external marketing can help. Employees are more likely to believe promises made to the public, whose trust it must earn, “than some kind of internal rah-rah email,” Belsky says. He advises, for example, that companies create external collateral–such as the splash page for a new product–to share with engineers before they start developing. Then everyone coalesces around that vision as they bring it to life.

Belsky also recommends liberating signs of progress from spreadsheets and project management tools and mounting them on large public dashboards that denote metrics like bugs quashed and customers landed. At Behance his team plastered “Done Walls” with completed project plans, checklists, and sketches. When making presentations about future work, he began with slides recounting what teams had already accomplished.

The leader’s main job is constantly to remind employees where to focus, particularly when change and growth throw out so many new narrative threads. Belsky likes the approach of Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann, who treats every year as a new chapter for his business with a central theme: For example, the “Year of Going Global.” That way,” Belsky says, “even with all the volatility, everyone has the same answer to the question, ‘What is our No. 1 priority this year?'”

3. Help your hires
Hiring for cultural fit has both yea- and naysayers. Belsky is strongly agin’ it. Small startup teams are typically pretty homogenous, so scaling is an opportunity to enlist discordant viewpoints, he argues. “You want people who can spot an edge that in the future will become the center,” Belsky says. “That means you need edgy people.”

Such people can be polarizing, but that’s what produces bold outcomes. “On your due diligence calls you are probably asking, “Is this person easy to get along with? Did the team like him or her?'” Belsky says. “Those are the wrong questions.”

Post-hiring, leaders must act like surgeons, grafting on new employees–particularly senior people–to the existing team and suppressing the cultural immune system so it doesn’t reject them. Belsky advises checking in often to make sure new hires are settling in and to solicit feedback while their impressions are still fresh. Make sure they’re invited to all the relevant meetings and that everyone on the team understands their new colleague’s role.

Leaders must also foster psychological safety so new people know they can speak up without getting shut down or mocked. That includes safety when challenging the CEO. “I love it when people disagree with me in an interview,” Belsky says. “Sometimes I’ll say something I think they’ll disagree with just to make sure they are going to stay in the fight.”

INC @LeighEBuchanan

 

 

 

 

01 Oct 2018

Like VR For Your Business, No Headset Required

M.I.T. neuroscientists have found that our brains can process images in as little as thirteen milliseconds — that’s faster than reading a sentence. Our brains are wired to absorb visual information, yet as we get older, we’re taught to “use our words.”
But when a disruptive idea is so unfamiliar that people have no context for it, how do you use words to explain it? When words fall short, a visual approach can help you more fully develop your idea — and more easily connect the dots for others.
To strengthen your skills of visualization and your ability to better describe innovative ideas, try a technique called Picture the Future. Not only can it help you communicate really big ideas, it can help align the vision for your company and inform strategic planning. In fact, a VP at Sprint used this same exercise to create a vision of Sprint’s Future for Content Development.

It all starts with a group visualization exercise. You’re ten years in the future, and your organization is a leading innovator. You’ve achieved a position of dominance in your industry. How did you get here? As in, what specific decisions and actions got you to this level of success? To focus your thoughts, capture your answers to the following:
What new things will our business or team be selling or doing?
What changes will enable us to sell and do those things?
What skills will we need to be successful?
What will be different about the structure of our business?

Now, start drawing your vision of the company ten years from now, using your answers as a guide. Maybe your answers included things like “all employees work remotely” or “A.I. will have a much larger role in operations” or “we will only sell our products through a subscription model.” Whatever your vision, convey it through a mix of words and images and then share with the class.
As you look around, take note if any team members’ sketches are really similar. Ditto if everyone drew something different. Generate a discussion around the implications of having aligned or differing visions for the company. Then decide, as a group, which drawings represents the ideal version of your company’s future. Once you’ve narrowed it down to one or two drawings, identify what you can act on today to start fulfilling your vision of tomorrow.
Visualizing your company’s innovation success in the future is essential to achieving it. Use the actionable ideas from this exercise to strategize, align, and implement a ten-year plan for innovation success.

 

29 Sep 2018

Want to Keep Learning in Your Small Business? Try These Helpful Resources and Tips

Successful business owners don’t have all the answers — they continue to learn and grow through the years. Sometimes that growth can come through personal mistakes, and sometimes it can come from helpful resources and expert guidance. If you’re interested in learning more to grow your business, check out some of these thoughts from members of the online small business community about learning new skills and gaining valuable insights.

Consider the Difference Between Reach and Impressions

When you’re looking at your analytics and the impact that your content is having on potential customers, there are plenty of different terms to know. Reach and impressions are two pretty common ones. And sometimes they’re even used interchangeably. But in this AMA Consulting Services blog post, Andrew Adderley offers an explanation of the two and explains why they are unique.

Hone These Marketing Skills to Survive in the Age of AI

Artificial intelligence is having a massive impact on the way people interact with companies online. So especially if you have a small brand that competes with companies that have far more resources, you need to have the proper skills. Neil Patel elaborates in this post on the Quick Sprout blog.

Use Data to Transform the Customer Experience

No matter what industry you’re in, it’s important that you never stop gaining valuable information to help your business. When you gather data about your customers, you need to be able to translate that data in a way that can actually help your business and your customers. Check out this Social Media HQ post by Steve Olenski for more thoughts on the subject.

Don’t Fall for These Startup Myths

Mistakes are a major part of learning as you run a business. But there are some mistakes that are common among the business community — so you can avoid them altogether by listening to expert advice. In this Noobpreneur post, Ivan Widjaya shares some of those common myths that you shouldn’t believe when running a business.

Learn About Increasing Organic Traffic

To grow your business, you need to be able to get more people to your website. You can become more of an expert on organic traffic by checking out this Pixel Productions post by Vaibhav Kakkar. Then visit BizSugar to see what members of the community are saying about the post.

Integrate Online and Offline for the Best Overall Result

Nearly every business now has some kind of online presence. But just because there are tons of marketing tools available on the internet, it doesn’t mean you should only exist online. In fact, Grace Kaye detailssome benefits of mixing online and offline in this Marketing Land post.

Find the Best Length for Your Content

Business owners often wonder — which is better, long form or short form content. But the answer actually varies depending on your business and your ability to create quality content. Learn more in this TopRank Marketing post by Lee Odden.

Pick Better Images for Social Media

Visuals are important for any marketing initiative. But some companies tend to overlook them when it comes to social media. In this Content Marketing Institute post, Manish Dudharejia dives into the world of social media images and explains how to make yours better.

Make Content Collaboration Work for You

Collaboration can be an effective strategy for building your content marketing reach and impact. But not all collaborations are able to get you those positive results. If you want yours to really help your business, consider the tips in this DIY Marketers post by Ivana Taylor.

Learn How Insanely Successful People Manage Their Time

Time management is a major issue for a lot of business owners. If you want to improve, it might help to look at what really successful people do. In this Mostly Blogging post, Janice Wald details the habits that can help you get better. And BizSugar members shared thoughts on the post here.

BY Annie Pilon

24 Sep 2018

Three Simple Strategies For Making Your Business Passive

You want to work smarter — not harder. By making a few aspects of your business automated and passive, you’ll be saving time and resources. This gives you a smarter work day, every day.

And it doesn’t matter what business you’re in. There are always certain parts of your process you can automate — whether that’s marketing, customer outreach or scheduling appointments. The more you can systematize or delegate, the more time you free up to grow your business. That means passive strategies become scalable strategies.

Now, I’ve been doing this for 15 years. I opened several successful drop-shipping companies in various industries that have since allowed me to open additional businesses. And even though my current endeavors at True Blue Life Insurance are less passive, there are still aspects we’ve automated in order to allow us to focus on growth.

Here are a few strategies for building passive aspects into your business that have helped me be successful:

1. Leverage your visibility with social proof.

Just like with any other aspect of your business, you want to be visible. With people going online more and more, it’s that much easier to draw them in and grow your business passively.

For me, as an online business owner, that means being visible in search engines. Because I run a national company I’m also competing nationally for SEO results. Even if you’re just local, you should be in every local directory and showing up in every local search result.

One way of doing this is what’s called “barnacle SEO,” wherein you attach yourself to a larger entity to reap its resources. That means showing up on Google Business pages, Yelp or TripAdvisor. If you can get your business on there with a description and reviews, then you’re much more likely to be found by new customers. Provided you have good reviews, then it’s a simple next step to convert those potential customers into paying customers — without having to do much more at all.
This is because reviews replace the customer having to do any verification on their own. They don’t have to call around to check information like prices or legitimacy — they read the reviews instead, which cuts the whole process down.
When it comes to selling life insurance, these reviews have a distinct importance. It’s a product that people regard with caution, especially online. I have enough good reviews at this point that I don’t have to fight the same uphill battle for legitimacy as my competitors. I have my reviews set up so that when a new customer lands on any of my pages, they can see other customers’ names, locations, the date they submitted the review and the star rating. This builds the social proof my company needs to convert the highest number of customers, all in a passive way.
2. Answer as many questions upfront as you can.
Another thing I do is answer people’s questions along the way so they don’t have to stop what they’re doing to find an answer.
Anytime you can clean out the sales funnel to keep customers flowing through smoothly, you’re increasing the passivity of your process. That makes for a happier customer and a better profit for your business. So, it’s very important to find out the main objections — if not all the objections — somebody could have to slow down the sale. Pricing is number one, right? So many companies don’t list pricing for their services. That’s a huge barrier because now someone has to call your company to find out the prices, whereas if they go to someone else they can just see what they’re paying.
Another bump in the funnel is in the shipping process. In my experience, I’ve cut down 80% of my customer service resources by just emailing someone that we’ve received their purchase. We let them know when it’s shipped and give them a tracking number. Now they know where it is and don’t have to constantly contact me to ask.
3. Invest in automation for the long term.
Finally, if you’re not taking advantage of automation, you’re just doing more work. If you’re still writing paper receipts, you’re dealing with stuff that could be done better. There are fewer profits. Yes, there’s always a small investment to make those processes passive, but it pays off in dividends. You make that investment once, and then continue reaping the revenue.
For an idea of how to do this best, look at solopreneurs. They’re one-man operations who have made their whole business passive. They’re able to do everything. They’ve automated their email campaigns and social media, put their sales decks in strategic locations and made it easy and seamless to purchase their products through their websites. This frees them up to do the things you can’t automate — handling problems, networking and improving the sales funnel for scalability.
Don’t just take my word for it. Jeff Walker wrote the book on the solopreneurial spirit — literally. He teaches how to use email funnels for selling educational products and how that strategy can be applied to other aspects.
Now, that’s an extreme example — not everyone is going to run their business entirely on their own. But there are strategies and techniques you can take from the extreme end of the spectrum and apply them to your own business. Sooner, rather than later, you’ll be able to know exactly where you can apply passive strategies for your own benefit.
Passive business is a beautiful thing. There’s nothing more beautiful than growing your business and making sales while you sleep.
23 Sep 2018

Find the sweet spot and grow your business

Q. My husband started his own one-man, small business as a handyman a little less than a year ago. He has netted $17,000 in that time, but the business has about $13,000 worth of debt. We’ve always kept personal finances and business separate, but what would you think about us selling one of our paid-for cars to help with the business debt?

A. There’s nothing wrong with small beginnings. On top of that, you should always keep your business and personal finances separate. Aside from the debt, it sounds like he’s off to a good start.

I think you’ll be able to pay off the debt from your future income. If your husband started his business less than a year ago, he has spent that time trying to get things off the ground and working with very little name recognition. If he’s good at what he does, and he continues to work hard and market himself properly, he should be able to double what he made in the last year.

To do that, however, he’s going to have to spend some time in accountant mode. He needs to figure out the types of jobs he makes the most money on for the time he puts into them. I know a guy in our area who made more than $100,000 as a handyman in the last year. I’m talking about $100,000 in profit! His prices are higher than most in that line of work, but he’s the best. He provides superb quality work, and he’s always polite, on time and on schedule.

If your husband does the research and crunches some numbers, I think he can dial it in and make a lot more money than he’s making now. Find that sweet spot, and he’ll continue to grow the business.

Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including “The Total Money Makeover.” The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 14 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

FORGIVING DEBT

Q. Recently, I loaned some money to a good friend. He’s going to help me with a big home project over the next few weekends, so do you think I should pay him for the work or forgive the debt instead?

A. First, I don’t recommend loaning money to friends or family. Once in a while, things may work out and everyone ends up happy. But in most cases, it changes the dynamic of the relationship. The Bible says the borrower is a slave to the lender, and there’s a lot of truth in that  financially and emotionally.

The big question is whether you’ve already agreed to pay him for the work. Another consideration is how he views the situation. He may be looking at this as just helping a buddy, and he still owes the money.

Ask him what his expectations are before you guys start the job. Just talk to him, and figure out what seems fair to you both. If you’ve already agreed on a certain amount, and the value of the work is close to what you loaned him, you might discuss the idea of paying back the debt that way.

But in the future, if someone close to you really needs financial help – and you’re not enabling bad behavior in the process – just make the money a gift.

Source:djournal.

21 Sep 2018

Adobe débourse 4,75 milliards de dollars pour enrichir son offre marketing

Adobe enchaîne les acquisitions d’envergure. Après avoir déboursé 1,68 milliard de dollars en mai dernier pour mettre la main sur Magento, société californienne qui propose des solutions pour créer et gérer des sites e-commerce, le géant américain, qui édite notamment Photoshop, a décidé de frapper encore plus fort en mettant 4,75 milliards sur la table pour racheter Marketo, société californienne spécialisée dans le marketing. La transaction doit être conclue d’ici la fin du quatrième trimestre. 

Fondée en 2006 par Jon Miller et Phillip Fernandez, Marketo a lancé un service de marketing par courrier électronique. Au fil du temps, la société basée à San Mateo a développé des logiciels d’automatisation du marketing qui fournissent des services de marketing entrant, de marketing social, de gestion de la relation client et d’autres services connexes. La société avait été acquise en mai 2016 par le fonds Vista Equity Partners pour 1,8 milliard de dollars. 

Après avoir gardé l’entreprise californienne dans son giron pendant deux ans, Vista Equity Partners signe un bon retour sur investissement. Et pour cause, en revendant Marketo pour 4,75 milliards de dollars, le fonds a réussi à dégager un profit de 2,95 milliards de dollars. En 2017, Marketo a réalisé un chiffre d’affaires d’environ 321 millions de dollars, selon les calculs de l’agence de notation Moody’s. 

Un duel entre Adobe-Microsoft et Salesforce-Google 

En mettant la main sur les services marketing de Marketo, Adobe va ainsi renforcer son offre de solutions numériques pour la gestion et l’analyse de campagnes marketing. Ces nouveaux outils vont alimenter l’écosystème Experience Cloud du géant américain, qui permet à ses clients de piloter leurs opérations marketing et de gérer leurs données. Cette branche génère moins de revenus et se développe plus lentement que son activité de logiciels créatifs comme Photoshop, InDesign et Illustrator. «L’acquisition de Marketo élargit le leadership d’Adobe en matière d’expérience client B2C et B2B et place Adobe Experience Cloud au coeur de tout le marketing», a indiqué Brad Rencher, vice-président exécutif et directeur général de la branche Digital Experience d’Adobe. 

En passant la vitesse supérieure dans le marketing, Adobe espère rivaliser à terme avec les mastodontes Oracle, SAP et Salesforce. Pour gagner du terrain, l’éditeur de logiciels de création et de gestion de données pourra s’appuyer sur le portefeuille de 5 000 clients de Marketo. Microsoft ressort aussi gagnant de cette acquisition en raison de sa collaboration grandissante avec Adobe. Les deux entreprises se sont alliées pour affaiblir le duo Salesforce-Google.

Source : frenchweb.

20 Sep 2018

The Rise Of Consumer-Centric Marketing: Made Possible Through Data Science

 

Traditional business models — those based on mass advertising and comparatively impersonal marketing — are rapidly being turned on their heads as brands instead focus on forming individual connections to consumers themselves. These brands are modern, nimble and naturally tech-savvy, and they’re bringing a digital and data-driven business model to the table in order to become the driving force behind a new, consumer-centric economy.

Indeed, the rise and influence of direct-to-consumer (DTC) relationships should be well-noted. Big brands that fail to effectively engage their consumers are at risk of becoming obsolete. However, in the era of the omnichannel, how do you effectively reach consumers in a way that’s optimized across each and every channel?

Given the rise of mobile-first economies, marketers in any industry will tell you the answer is data. However, data by itself is useless if not made actionable, and brands like Marks & Spencer have figured out one solutionby training employees to become well-versed in the language of analytics and data science. Improving data literacy throughout your organization helps enable marketers to map consumer preferences, concerns and buying habits at scale.

Modern marketing in a digital-first economy takes a multifaceted approach, but at its core, it is driven by data-backed decisions. The source of this data also varies widely given the rapid evolution of the consumer journey and the number of touch points along the way.

Having helped craft data-driven marketing strategies for more than a decade, I’ve seen firsthand that in order to effectively wrangle and consolidate across all touch points, as well as make correlations regarding consumer trends, the marriage between marketing and data science is more important than ever.

 

Source ; Forbes

20 Sep 2018

A New Way To Look At Your Business Instagram

Instagram has quickly shot through the ranks of social media platforms to become one of the top tools for savvy business owners. With its live video features in Instagram Stories and the capability to shop stories directly with product tag stickers, it has become an ideal place for retailers to connect with followers and ultimately sell products. In fact, Instagram reported 8 million Instagram Business users in 2017 .

All the tools for a successful business are right at your fingertips with Instagram, and your marketing strategists may dream of the day when your IG stories and posts draw thousands of likes, comments and purchases. However, drawing followers to your page can be a struggle. At least, it was for my company. As members of an industry with tangible, photogenic products we were poised to win on Instagram, but our marketing team couldn’t create a meaningful following.

It took a valuable perspective change in our marketing team to rethink how we organized and even photographed content. However, the results were immediately worth it.

Think about your Instagram feed in a new way. 

You can incorporate as many branded hashtags as you like in your posts. You can pay for advertising, time your posts carefully, create contests and reply to every comment in an effort to boost engagement. However, if this is all you’re doing, you’ll probably still see a lag in your number of followers and therefore your sales.

So, what’s the missing step? After all, that’s pretty much everything that social media business guides tell you to do.

It turns out that the missing step for our Instagram presence was our actual content. It wasn’t enough to post whatever pictures we had on hand. Instead, we noticed (and heard from industry experts) that curating our feed was essential. Curating may sound like a term used by IG influencers who take a lot of pictures in white space with succulents. While that’s part of their branding and is effective, that’s not where IG curating starts or stops. Instead, you need to think about your IG feed as a magazine, and every addition to it a valuable part of your editorial content.

Our marketing team stopped thinking like a business using Instagram and instead began thinking like graphic designers and magazine editors. Our engagement soared. This article is about the quick tricks we learned along the way.

 

Source : forbes

18 Sep 2018

5 Steps for Protecting Your Brand Against Social Media Piracy

Streaming TV and movies is just the tip of the iceberg

Social media has a problem with piracy. A rudimentary search on Facebook turns up films, TV shows and sports events that should be pay-per-view or subscription based. A reported one billion (yes, you read that right) people have watched Game of Thrones season 7 via illegal downloads or streams (only 31 million watched it legally). Tens of millions of people regularly watch big fights and matches illegally, costing not just the networks but the sponsors, players and contenders.
source ; adweek
18 Sep 2018

Using Google Adwords is a great way to start advertising without having to bring in a marketing or advertising consultant.

Having a clear strategy and direction while using Google Ads, formerly called Google Adwords, can help your business get seen by more customers and grow an online presence. Ads accounts for 97 percent of Google’s revenue each year. For a company that made $21.5 billion in 2016, this means that many businesses are using this program to try and connect with customers. By creating relevant and highly searchable web pages, you can beat out competitors and appear as a top listing associated with certain keywords.

Ads has been around since the early 2000s, and several strategies and best practices have emerged to help business owners create a stronger online presence and drive revenue through one of the world’s most powerful search engines. When using Ads, the overall strategy should be building high-quality, SEO-friendly web pages and ads so your business can get a better position at a lower price.

How it works

Google Ads is a cost-per-click bidding system that prioritizes ad quality and relevance along with accounting for cost. The program differs from traditional advertising structures in that the highest bidder does not always receive the most prominent position on Google. Instead, Google incentivizes businesses to create high-quality, relevant ads by positioning the best ads more prominently for less money. For example, a coffee company with a high-quality ad will have a more prominent position and only be charged $1 per click while a competitor with a low-quality ad will be featured less and be charged $3 per click. Because of this model, Google has managed to create an advertising space where companies vie for position based not only on price.

The Ads process starts with a customer’s search. Google runs a lightning-fast auction during every search a customer makes. Advertisers bid on keywords associated with certain topics, set a maximum price, and Google ranks each advertiser based on relevancy, ad quality, and overall cost. So, for example, a coffee shop owner may bid on the keywords “French roast coffee.” Every time someone Googles these keywords, Ads reshuffles the auction and each offer is reanalyzed based on things like ad relevancy and maximum bid. The key to using Ads effectively is understanding how Google positions ads based on quality.

Google determines a business’s position by multiplying the maximum bid by the ad’s quality. Ad quality is determined in real time during each search and is based on expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. As a business owner, you can control your maximum bid, but if you have a high maximum bid and irrelevant, poor ads, your position won’t be great and you will likely pay more per click compared to a competitor with a better ad.

Over time, each auction result adds up to an overall quality score, which is a score on a 10-point scale that reflects your business’s overall performance in ad auctions. Your ad quality score is a good indicator when determining the quality of your ads, but it is not the same score that is used when Google determines your ad rank. That value – based on ad relevance, click-through rate and landing page experience – is specific only to Google and changes with each search.

The best way to have a good Ads ranking is to create high-quality, relevant ads by focusing on your ad’s relevance to the keywords, expected click-through rate and landing page experience. After a few auctions, you can track your overall success through your 10-point quality score and try different strategies to improve your score.

Landing page experience

A landing page is the web page a searcher arrives on after clicking on your ad. Landing page experience is how Google determines whether your website gives the searcher what he or she is looking for. There are a few ways you can better your landing page experience beyond peppering it with relevant keywords. One way is by being tailored to your specific keywords – Google prioritizes sites that give users exactly what they are looking for. That means reflecting how specific each keyword is in your results.

For example, your landing page should have French roast coffee if you bid on the keywords “French roast coffee.” You shouldn’t have a landing page with a long list of different types of coffees since that’s not what the user is searching for. This is an obvious example, but all too often, businesses try to push products or services on people who are looking for something different. If you’re a business owner doing this, Google will affect the score of your landing page experience and your Ads rank will suffer.

Google outlines some other ways to improve your landing page experience on the Ads support site. Some other ways include allowing for both mobile and computer navigation, decreasing landing page load time and fostering trustworthiness on your site.

Expected click-through rate (CTR)

This is a keyword status that measures if your ad will get clicked on. Google determines this without factoring in your ad’s visibility. It’s based solely on the keyword and how well the keyword has performed in the past based on your ad’s position. Google ranks the expected click-through rate according to three statuses: above average, average and below average. Above average or average means there are no major problems compared to all other keywords. Below average means that you may want to adjust your text so it more closely relates to your top keywords.

Improving your expected click-through rate score depends heavily on a case-by-case basis. Oftentimes, a below-average score can be fixed by adjusting your keywords or ad text.

Payment

While the overall concept of Ads is straightforward, payment per ad is a bit more complicated. The rate you pay per ad is broken down by two main factors: your quality score and the rank of the ad directly below you.

Google breaks down the payment by dividing the ranking of the business below yours by your own quality score and then adding 1 cent. So, if your quality score is 10 and the ad rank of the business below yours is 25, you would pay $2.51 per click. The business below yours, if its quality score is 5, would pay $4.81 per click. If you have a high-quality score, you will pay less per ad click compared to a competitor with poor ad quality.

With this model, Google is betting that you will pay more money overall because your ad will be clicked more compared to your competitors.

Where do they appear?

These ads appear as the first few results in a Google search. They are marked as “ads” on Google but can serve to provide a customer with exactly what they’re looking for. They can also appear on non-Google websites that are search partners. These search partners are sites that have a native search bar on their website but offer combined results from both Google and the actual website.

Ads also extends to the Google Display Network. You can choose to have your ads appear on the collection of Display Network websites, which includes sites such as Gmail and YouTube. You can even go as far as choosing targeting methods by prioritizing ads based on keywords and related topics, specific websites, or specific audiences based on interests, demographics, or whether they’ve visited your site before.

In addition to these two areas, you can also prioritize your ads based on location, language or specific devices. There are some strategies you can implement to use Ads more efficiently. The key goal is increasing your ad quality and relevance to the specific keyword. This will allow Google to prioritize your results over that of a competitor.

Strategies

Before diving into specific strategies, keep in mind that a successful Ads campaign starts with a highly relevant landing page and high-quality advertisements. Brainstorm some specific and clear campaigns before start using Ads. The higher quality the content and the more targeted the campaigns, the better.

Start small

The best thing you can do when starting an Ads campaign is to start small, learn the interface and understand how Ads can fit into your business. This will allow you to get your hands on the system and figure out what works best. Ads offers a lot of advertising options, so learning in real-time is a good way to determine what ways Ads can benefit your business.

Macaire and Bill Douglas are the founders of Half Pint Shop, a children’s clothing and furniture store. They said they started using Ads two years ago, and it has since increased their online sales by more than $80,000.

“Really, it’s just getting in and playing around and starting small, but also not being afraid to, once you’re more comfortable, to actually invest so you can see the return,” Macaire said. “I think a lot of people get scared of spending money, but we’ve definitely seen the return over time once we’ve gotten more comfortable with it.”

This includes toying with analytics, experimenting with segmenting audiences and building different kinds of campaigns. Bill said the Half Pint Shop uses Google Shop ads as well as Ads.

“Maybe talk to some people who are already [using Ads],” he said. “Look at some guides before you dive in. You can actually learn the interface and practice without spending money.”

This flexibility allows for business owners to learn Ads and grow their business without having to hire outside marketers or advertising firms.

Follow the data

Google provides some powerful analytics and data tools built right into Google Ads and Analytics. It’s good to pay attention to demographics, how people are reaching your site and overall data regarding ad success and quality. Bill said that the Half Pint Shop values location. That way, they can segment users and understand what kinds of products people want based on region.

“I think location is pretty big because location is going to be able to segment certain people,” he said. “People in San Francisco are going to be looking for different nursery furniture than people in Tulsa.”

Prioritizing is just one example of using data to better target Ads that can drive sales. This example also serves for an even better tip: Segmenting users leads to results.

Segmentation is key

A key best practice when using Google Ads is to specifically target a group of people with your ads. More specific ads will be of higher quality and get rated higher by Google come auction time. It will also result in more interactions and engagements from customers. Both Bill and Macaire said that this was a very important aspect of their Ads experience, particularly when analyzing location. Bill said that Ads offers more opportunities with display ads.

“You can say, ‘I’m going to do a boost or a target toward people that have been to the site already,’ so a remarketing type approach,” he said. “Or you can do a group that’s similar to people that visit your site. So you can tag that and you can essentially boost the spend or the bid on ads for those audiences … There’s a lot of different audience segmentation for things like that.”

It may also help to seek advice from other business owners or professionals on this topic. Macaire and Bill said when they started, they bundled a lot of their products under umbrella campaigns that were general. After getting feedback from other business owners and tweaking their approach, eventually they started segmenting their audiences.

“I think you need to segment it a few different ways,” Bill said. “One of the primary ways we do that is by brand. So we’ll segment by brand and then within there you can kind of tweak the products that are higher or lower performers … Right now, we have segmentation for holiday shopping and have different pricing within that.”

Bottom line

Google Ads is a good way to advertise your business without hiring marketing or advertising consultants. The interface is intuitive, and there is a lot of opportunity to learn how to connect with your customers. It may take some time to figure out, but once you’re using Ads properly, it can be beneficial to your business.

Source :business