4 Tools we could no longer live without

As we discussed in this week’s Marketing Matters podcast, one or two things have changed over the last couple of weeks!

One of the biggest changes for many is the need to WFH (work from home), remote from the normal office environment. For us, it’s no different, and I am now writing this post from home.

Up to now, the ability to work remotely was something we did occasionally and if we could not, it wasn’t a big deal! Now it is a necessity. A number of systems, which we had seen as peripheral to our operation, are now key. I thought this would be an opportunity to talk about our experiences with cloud applications and to highlight the four that we cannot live without right now:

1. Office 365

Through Office 365, Microsoft delivers a suite of office programmes as software as a service. Most people’s introduction to Office 365 will be Exchange email + Outlook. This in itself is a great tool, and gives you full access to your email from anywhere with a web connection. Anything you do being synced across all devices. But beyond Outlook, O365 delivers a full suite of programmes that allow you to be location agnostic (functional from wherever you are, as long as you have a connection to the net). Yes, this includes the staple office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc), but it also gives access to tools like One Drive, which gives you cloud access to files, Teams, for on-line collaboration, and many more.

With an Office 365 subscription and an internet connection, you can turn any PC (or Mac) into a fully functional office tool in a matter of minutes, with full access to all your contacts and files.

2. Zoom Video Meeting

2 months ago I had pretty much never used Zoom. Now video meetings are a key part of my working day. We have looked at and tried out a number of video meeting systems (Skype, Zoho Meeting, Microsoft Teams, Facetime etc.) but at the end of the day, Zoom.us is our favourite, and here is why:

  1. It just works – It’s my experience that the technology just works, and does not get in the way of what I am trying to do. In my book this is the number one requirement. If you have to think too hard using a piece of technology, you are probably not going to use it. Whilst there may be a learning curve, once you are used to it, it should just work and in my experience, in this area Zoom delivers.
  2. It is platform agnostic – Unlike options such as Facetime and Skype, where generally all parties involved must sign up to a proprietary system (Microsoft for Skype, Apple/IOS for Facetime) – With Zoom, only the person initiating the meeting needs an account. Whilst other people do need to download a small app (which happens pretty seemlessly) there is no need for all participants to create an account, and it works on pretty much any device, desktop or mobile.
  3.  It has a free option, and some useful paid add ons – With the free option, the only real limitation is meeting length, capped at 40 mins – This will probably be fine for most, but the paid version at £12 per month, is great value if you need longer meetings. What’s more, only the person initiating the meeting needs a paid account to gain this benefit.

….however….

As so often with technology, nothing is perfect. There are downsides, and in the case of Zoom, the downside is their privacy policy, which allows them to collect data from your calls, including videos, screen shares, chat transcripts etc. and to use this data for various purposes. Zoom do say they will not sell your data. Whilst privacy is a concern, it does very much depend on how and why you are using Zoom. For us, and the types of conversations we have, right  now we see it as a good tool with the benefits outweighing the negatives.

For those who want to use a video chat for more sensitive purposes, maybe an alternative tool might be more appropriate. However, in our experience none of the other options deliver comparable performance, functionality or ease of use.

3. Xero Accounting

Historically, we have used Sage Line 50, and recently moved our accounts onto the cloud with Xero.  Sage is a good system, that worked well for us for many years, but it was predominently desk based, and relied on a data file that needed to be moved if you wanted to access it from a different location. Whilst Sage has moved on since we switched and now offer cloud options, Xero is again totally location agnostic, and allows you to manage your accounts from whereever you wish (so long as you are on line!).

Again a priceless facility in these times.

4. Cloud PBX IP Phone system – 3CX

The final one on my list is our phone system. Coincidentally, we switched from an office-hosted ISDN phone system to cloud-based 3cx just two months ago. Boy are we glad we did! 3CX works seamlessly when we are in the office, working as a traditional system with desktop extensions. When we were forced to work from home, switching the extensions to home was a doddle. Again, because everything is hosted in the cloud, all management of the system can be done online, anywhere with a connection to the web.

With the right tools, Working From Home need not be an issue

For us at least, these four tools have meant the switch to Working From Home has been bearable, even if it is taking a bit of getting used to! From the perspective of our clients, it has hopefully been fairly seamless. We are still able to pretty much operate “Business as usual”. In many cases, somewhat ironically, we find we are speaking to to people “face to face” more often than we have before!

I think that some of the changes arising out of necessity in the current lock-down climate will have positive repercussions for our business long into the future.

The Truth about WordPress Security

As you can read in David’s post this week, WordPress is a great tool for small businesses. and is a significant playing in the world of internet publishing. Here are few stats to illustrate my point:

WordPress currently powers:

  1. 60% of all CMS powered websites
  2. 14.7% of the world’s top websites
  3. 22% of the worlds top 1 million eCommerce sites

Finally, there have been over 1.25 billion plugin downloads on WordPress.org.

Add to this the fact that the code is public domain so it can be analysed to identify potential vulnerabilities.

Add all this together and it is no surprise that it has a reputation of being susceptible to hacking.

But how valid is this reputation? Below, I look at the reality of WordPress security, and look at 4 top tips for keeping your site safe.

The reality of WordPress security

There is a flip side. It’s ubiquity on the web, and the open nature of its code, are also key to it remaining secure.

Because it is so widely used, there are a-lot of developers interested in keeping it secure, and thwarting hackers. As a result there is an army of people communicating about and fixing vulnerabilities as they are identified. there are also great tools for being kept up to date and alerted whenever a vulnerability is identified, and informing what fixes are available. The result of this is that usually the window for hackers between a vulnerability being identified & fixed is narrow.

Another consequence of the wide use of WordPress is that it mean the economics of creating world class security plugins for the system are attractive, and as a result, there are a number available at either no, or low cost. the plugin we use is Wordfence.  Wordfence is available as a free of  paid for premium plugin.  In our experience, the free version does an excellent job of protecting and monitoring the health of your WordPress site.

Keeping your site secure

With all of this in mind here are my 3 top tips for keeping your site secure:

Keep your site up to date

This is the number one way to keep your site secure. In our experience, security issues usually occur where sites are running out of date code. Experience that is backed up by the stats which suggest that over 60% of compromised sites are out of date.

One of the great features of WordPress is the easy of keeping it up to date. Updating plugins, themes and core can be done at the click of a button. Whats more, use a backup plugin like Updraft plus, you will be prompted to perform a backup before you do the update. As a result, if you experience any issue with the update, rolling back is again a click of a button. Just one footnote on plugins. The need for reliable updates means you should always consider the support available when you install a plugin. If you are installing a mission critical plugin, it is always worth considering the paid version, as this will usually come with enhanced support. Furthermore, the fact that developers are earning an income will incentive the update process for then

Use a good security plugin

We use Wordfence on all our WordPress sites. Wordfence performs 3 useful tasks:

    1. Brute force protection – Wordfence will monitor attempts to login to your site, and restrict or lock out visitors whose login activity is seen as suspicious. It will also monitor visitors generating a lot of “Page not found” errors as this can often be an indication of a hacker trying to find vulnerabilities on a site.
    2. It provides an Application Firewall. This is a set of rules. This monitors all attempts to run code on the site, and passes them trough an algorithm to identify suspicious activity. Again any activity deemed to be a threat to the site is blocked before it ius run. Furthermore, the algorithm is constantly updated by Wordfence based on what it learns from the 1000’s of sites running the plugin. The speed with which this is updated being one of the benefits of the paid version of WordPress. However in our experience the free version does a respectable job in this area.
    3. It will scan your site for anomalies. Most compromises to sites involve adding or changing the code running your website. To protect against this Wordfence will scan the site for suspicious files. It does this by comparing the code on your site to the original code published by WordPress & plugin developers. Where it identifies unexpected code, it will send you an alert. In circumstances where your site has in-fact been compromised. fixing it is usually simply a case of restoring a recent, clean, backup. This brings me to my third tip.

Implement a backup routine

Make sure your site files & database is regularly backed up. By doing this, you ensure that even if your site does get compromised, you can make repairs without too much disruption.

For this task we use the UpdraftPlus plugin. This will automatically take backups of your site as scheduled by you. It will also automatically copy backups to a cloud storage system like Google drive or Dropbox, so that even if your web server is irrecoverably compromised, you should still have the necessary data & file to get up and running on a different server. We recommend backing up the database daily, and the site files weekly, we then keep a minimum 30 days worth of backups, just in case you take a few days to identify an issue.

Harden your login

The final tip is around login credentials.  Be sure to use secure passwords on your site (WordPress will monitor these as you set up users). Its also a good idea not to use “admin” as your default username as this is the first one a hacker will use when trying to get in by brute force. You can select your admin username when you set up WordPress, and if you are using admin, Wordfence will help you to change it easily.  Wordfence also offers the  facility to implement 2 factor Authentication (2FA) should this be deemed to be appropriate.

Be vigilant, Stay Secure

In our experience, if you follow the tips above, then in the real world, WordPress is a great and  secure website development tool. Add this to the benefits outlined in David’s post, and you have a fantastic & flexible tool for promoting your business.

 

 

 

BSA Marketing: What is it all about?

Since the start of the year, we have been exploring Simon Sinek’s ideas around how business (and consequently marketing) can be viewed as an ‘Infinite Game‘. His ideas came out of earlier work he did exploring the value of having a clear vision about WHY you are in business and how this knowledge can help drive your communication and engagement with your customers and target markets.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this line of thought has led me to reflect on BSA. Why are we in business? What is our vision?

I have said many times that despite running the business successfully for over 30 years, I have never felt I have a good ‘elevator pitch’ for those networking moments ‘So what do you do then?‘ This has been an abiding issue – not least as a marketer who is supposed to have this stuff off-pat!

Maybe considering ‘WHY ‘ I am in business, and how this defines my vision for BSA,  would help solve my conundrum?

The BSA Philosophy

I started by reflecting on our philosophy. I am comfortable with the ideas of Peter Drucker that marketing is one of the key elements representing the essence of a business. Furthermore, I recognise how many business owners can struggle with trying to integrate sustained marketing as part of their own business.

We believe marketing should be at the heart of every business and our role is to work with clients to help make this happen.  We also appreciate that technology is a key feature of SME marketing yet too often, this technology is seen as a solution, in itself, rather than simply a tool to help drive marketing. Consequently, a lack of understanding of the technology ends up as a barrier to – your marketing.

This barrier can be reinforced where a company’s marketing is managed or supported by people/suppliers who are technologists first and marketers second.

Our aim is to help address this lack of understanding, appreciate technology as simply a tool, a means to achieving a goal. Then refocus onto that core goal of effective marketing.

All businesses have a ‘sweet spot’ target audience and primary marketing focus should be to engage with this audience.

Getting practical

This philosophising is all very well but there is no question that practicality is at the heart of what we do. We acknowledge that trusting someone with your marketing is a journey and that every journey starts with the first step. We have found that the best approach is to start with something specific. What this might be will depend on where you are at with your business. Over the years, there have been three ‘projects’ that stand out at starting points:

  1. A ‘Direct Marketing Project’ – target your message to a key audience – back in the day, this was often by telephone. More recently, email has become the preferred medium. In either case, this recognises that, as it has always been, marketing is about talking to people.
  2. Website (Re)Development –  your website is probably your single most important marketing tool. It is where you can set out your business propositions for people to explore. Sure, skill in building websites is important (we have this) but actually, getting the marketing messages right is THE MOST IMPORTANT. It’s about marketing, NOT JUST technology!
  3. Website Hosting – if your website is your most important marketing tool, you should have control of it. At BSA, we don’t think of ourselves as a hosting company. We are marketers. Yet, we host the websites for most of our clients. Hosting a site makes it easy to access and use the site effectively – for MARKETING – with no technical barriers.

In each of the above, something happens. As a client, you see improvement. More contact with your market. A new website (built with marketing in mind). Access to your website easily and quickly to make it work for you as a marketing tool.

It’s about the marketing

In all cases, we apply our knowledge and understanding of the technology tools to drive a marketing objective.

Furthermore, the finite experience of an initial project gives us a defined platform to get to know one another. We can build a relationship – on your terms.

We have clients where all we do is host their website, but when they need us, we are there, responsive and ready to support. Alternatively, where appropriate, our relationship can develop into making marketing happen using our extensive marketing expertise and technical know-how. We help make business marketing work as a sustainable, controlled process.

Getting to why?

I started this article posing the question (to myself) of why I am in business. On reflection, I think the answer is simple. It might seem a bit cheesy, but I am confident it is true:

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Why? : To make your business better & easier

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Software tools to make your business life easier

In the face of the day to day challenges of getting your ‘business-brain’ back into gear after the Christmas and New Year hiatus.  I thought it might be interesting to look at some ideas that can help make your business life easier.

Regular readers will know of my admiration of Peter Drucker and his pithy quotes encapsulating so many truisms of business. Possibly my favourite is this:

 "The two most valuable functions of a business: Innovation & Marketing. 
These are the only two functions that contribute to profit.
All others are costs."

Given that a key objective is (normally!) to sustain and develop your business, I think Drucker’s quote gives some insight into ways it may be a little easier to do this. If it is the marketing and innovation functions that are the primary drivers to sustaining and growing your business, then maybe this is where you should focus? If you can reduce the demands of the rest of your business, maybe this can make things easier?

Cost: more than just money

When we think of cost, it is only natural that we think of cash, yet money is not the only consideration.

Businesses are based on 2 fundamental resources. money and TIME. I come across many businesses where the owner concentrates on saving money with no thought to the potential time cost.

The danger of this approach is that any financial savings are swallowed up by the time cost of having to work less efficiently. Savings are only real if you reduce the combined demands for money and time.

Technology – we just want it to work!

Over the past 20 years or so, technology has hugely changed the way we run our businesses. The internet and new software applications have brought opportunities that were inconceivable in the 1980s and ’90s. But these opportunities can come with an Achilles heel – particularly if you focus too much on saving money.

A common marketing approach with many web-based apps is the ‘Free Version’.  You get to use the software at no cost. This may be fine to start with but the more you use it – and the more you come to rely on it, the greater the problem.

Most ‘Free’ software has limited functionality at some level. If you find you use an application regularly but run up against the ‘Free’ limitations, you can end up spending more and more time trying to work around the restriction. Any benefit you gained in the first place gets wasted by your distraction in trying to keep it free. The problem is exacerbated when it comes to technical support. Understandably, Free software has little or no technical support – maybe a few online blog posts but rarely more. If you have technical problems with your free software you can find yourself completely stuck with no place to turn.

When it comes down to it, the best software tools are the ones we don’t really notice. We just want them to work!

Business needs investment

Whatever you may think, you cannot run your business for nothing. Every business, however small, needs some level of investment.  Rather than fixating on keeping software free, sometimes, moving to the paid-for version is a sensible move. This said, I would always advise using apps that have a wide user base and extensive, positive reviews. If you are committing to some software, you want it to stick around and be developed.

Often the cost is only modest – less than a sandwich a week. You will remove restrictions meaning you can use the software as much as you need to for the benefit of your business rather than spending time struggling to stay within arbitrary limits. You will normally also open the door to professional technical support. Fixing issues becomes s0omebody else’s problem while you concentrate on your business.

A word on Open Source software

There is some fantastically successful open source software out there, developed by a community of coders for altruistic rather than commercial motives. Surely this is ideal if you are looking for a free solution? In theory, yes, but in practice, most really successful open source software has been commercialised, at least to an extent. Also, by its very nature, open-source tends to be the realm of techies. If you want to use it you need to know what you are talking about. Not ideal for the average small business.

Focus on what is important

By embracing good, professional software tools, you can get on with the regular tasks in your business more quickly and easily. You are safe in the knowledge that when things break (they inevitably do!) it is in the interests of the developers to make sure they are fixed quickly while you carry on with your own business.

By streamlining routine tasks, investing in effective systems to free up your time, you gain the freedom to get on with the innovation and marketing that are the things to really drive your business forward.

You know what is important in your business. You also know which are the time-consuming tasks that distract you from focusing on the important tasks. Maybe a modest investment can help you redress the balance? Perhaps it is worth taking a look?

The Power of Dashboards

Marketing data is everywhere these days and allows deep insight into the workings of your marketing campaigns. With this plethora of data comes the issue of information overload. It is often difficult to see the wood for the trees.

In my view there are two key issues:

  1. Data Overload – there are so many metrics available, how do you focus on the important ones?
  2. Data fragmentation – each platform will have its own set of analytics making it difficult to see a joined-up view of all metrics.

It is these two issues that I explore in this post; looking at how a marketing dashboard can go a long way to addressing them.

Seeing the Wood, Clearing the Trees

The first thing that a dashboard will do is to allow you to pick out the key analytics, and display them in an easy to read format.

Most people will be aware of Google Analytics. Whilst being a fantastic platform for getting an insight into how people are interacting with your website Google’s data is not that easy to read. The sheer variety of statistics available makes getting a clear picture of you marketing’s effectiveness challenging.

For example, Google Analytics will tell you how many visitors you are getting, and where they are coming from. However, having your website visitor numbers broken down by source and charted month by month, makes it much easier to see what’s going on.

Furthermore, by pulling data into a dashboard, you isolate it from all the other metrics making it much easier to read.

And you are not just limited to charts. You can display data in many different formats, for example, tables, maps, and my favourite; the gauge.

Say for instance you are running a pay per click campaign. You could set up a gauge showing how much each conversion (enquiry for example) is costing you in advertising. Making it very easy to see if you are on target and that your advertising is being cost effective.

 

Bringing it all together

The other issue is the wide variety of platforms and the fact they all have their own analytics systems. Whilst you can see some external data in Google Analytics, this is limited to the number of visits to your site. Whilst key data, I believe you need to be “joined-up”. To achieve this you are going to need stats from the other platforms and having to switch from Google, to LinkedIn to Facebook to Twitter…. to get the information can become tiresome.

Here again, dashboards are great as they allow you to use the APIs supplied by the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook to bring their data into a central dashboard. What’s more, the dashboard systems usually have connections set up with the main platforms. So usually all you need to access the data is your login to the relevant platform.

Another great use of guauges is to monitor activity on social media platforms. Say for example you have a target of posting 5 tweets a week or 2 LinkedIn posts per month. You can set up a guauge to monitor the number of posts on a platform in a given period. That way it is possible to check, at a glance, whether you are on target.

Data at your fingertips

Metrics and analysis are incredibly valuable. But remembering what you looked at last time, and how you access the data, means that reviewing marketing metrics often gets forgotten. Usually reviewed only when you have time, or when there is an issue.

There is a bit of work to do in setting up a dashboard. But once done, the data is easily available whenever you need it.  It will also be in exactly the same format as last time you looked.

The system we use – Klipfolio also allows you to permanently display your dashboards on big wall screens, so the data is there for you without even having to go and look for it.

If you would like to explore the power of dashboards, we would love to hear from you. So please feel free to get in touch

 

 

Free Protx Integration for UK Business Forum Members

BSA Marketing have recently been accepted as a Protx Partner. Protx is one of the UK’s leading e-commerce payment gateway providers. The system is inexpensive, and very easy to integrate with the CRE loaded e-commerce Platform. To launch this, and to support ukbusinessforums.co.uk (a great place to get help on a wide range of business matters), if you are a member of the forum, and you apply for your protx account through us, we will integrate the gateway into your CRE or OsCommerce e-commerce system for free (Normally £75+VAT). Find out more about Protx (now SagePay) or Apply for an account here. If you are not a forum member, you can find out how to join here

B2B E-mail in the GDPR world

As with all posts on the subject, I must start it by saying that I am not a legal expert. This blog should be read in light of that knowledge.

We are now just over 12 months since GDPR came into force. From the outset, it was suggested that the new regulations would have a significant impact on E-mail Marketing.

The ironic thing is that GDPR did not actively change the rules on e-mail marketing. Regulations in this area were set out years earlier in the e-privacy directive in 2002. Since then you have needed Opt-in in for consumer emails, and a clear opt-out for B2B campaigns. GDPR did not change that. What it did do however was re-enforce the burden of proof re consumer opt-ins. In broad terms, B2B email regulations were not altered. B2B email without a specific opt-in is still permitted where there is a “Legitimate interest” in doing so.

GDPR 12 months on

So, 12 months on, where do we stand?

For B2C campaigns, the burden of proof regarding opt-in now means that double opt-in, where subscribers confirm their intention, is the only real option. This post focuses however to B2B campaigns, the arena where most of our readers sit.

In B2B email, GDPR actually changed very little. When operating in markets where customer relationships go beyond simple email communications, and where broader relationships mean that strict double opt-in would become intrusive and unworkable, sending well-targeted emails to a contact group who are likely to be interested in your content, and where there is a clear and functional system for opting out (unsubscribing) is still perfectly legitimate.

Beyond the rules – attitudes have changed

However, post-GDPR, attitudes to email have changed. Not so much amongst recipients but rather in the minds of the companies supplying e-mail marketing solutions. In the eyes of these organisations, double opt-in is now the default. Whilst this may be appropriate given their focus on consumer markets, it can deliver challenges for legitimate B2B email marketers.

For these people it has shifted the attitude to e-mail, focusing squarely on quality, not quantity, and identifying email as a tool predominantly for communicating with people who already know who you are. The quality of your list is now, more than ever, critical to maintaining deliverability.

The best way to ensure this quality is to use double opt-in where you can be 100% sure that emails are accurate. However, where this is not possible, e-mail verification systems (we use one called kickbox.io), and the careful monitoring of bounces are key to maintaining list and data quality.

In conclusion

So, where are we 12 months on from GDPR? I think it has changed B2B e-mail marketing placing the focus squarely on quality rather than quantity, and forcing people to think about exactly how it is used, and who they target.

I think it has also increased the importance of Social Media (Especially LinkedIn in B2B markets) as a tool for reaching out more widely to your target market. But that is another post!

Number 1 on Google within 24 hours – NO, NOT one of THOSE ads!

Number 1 on GoogleMarketing is not a 1-trick pony

There are many business owners who live in the misapprehension:

If I can get to Number 1 on Google my business will succeed

This is a nice idea that quietly sidelines a number of important questions, such as:

  1. Do people really search for the term(s) where I rank #1?
  2. Are the people who search part of my target audience?
  3. Are searchers actually looking for the products/services I can supply?
  4. Does my website tell the right messages when people visit?

Many of you will know my mantra: Marketing is a process NOT an event. The ideas above demonstrate this. There are many elements you need to consider as part of a marketing process, and most of these or not ‘fit & forget’. They need regular work. If you do achieve high ranking on search engines, your position can slip. You need to keep your website updated. This means regular, new, relevant, engaging content. Furthermore, a business should market across a range of channels, using a range of tools. You should not rely on just one approach. Over-reliance on Google Search catches out many businesses every time Google updates their algorithms.  This post from searchenginejournal.com makes interesting reading 

Number 1 on Google within 24 hours

Right, I have had my say about not relying on any single marketing tool. Yet, at the same time, you should aim to get the best results from each marketing tool you choose. Let’s look at an example that happened recently for a client using Google Ads as part of their marketing mix. As with many BSA clients, their business is niche, targeting specific services to specific target markets. This sometimes presents a problem when picking target keywords for a campaign. If you select a fairly general keyword which gets lots of searches, it can need a high bid to get your Ad to appear on page 1 of rankings. Worse, most of the people searching won’t be looking for your niche product/service. As a result, you end up with the double-whammy of paying high click-fees for poor quality traffic. Obvious, I hear you say, don’t use general keywords. Instead, just target very specific terms that relate exactly to your offering. Arguably, SME businesses should (almost) never use general keywords. Better to target for highly relevant keywords/phrases. They will typically drive better quality traffic at lower click cost. Often this can be a successful strategy, one that we recommend and is used by several clients but sometimes even this falls short.  A client of BSA currently uses Google Ads as one of their marketing tools. However, some of their services are very niche. This can present a problem.

SEO and YOAST to the rescue

If a keyword or phrase is so specific that not many people actually search for it, Google may decide that even though it is an eligible word/phrase, the search frequency is low to the point that they don’t feel it is worth displaying ads! This may be even though those few people who are searching are EXACTLY the potential customers you are looking for. This is exactly the problem faced by our client – and on the Google Ads platform, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. This problem meant we needed to think laterally. If the search term is so specific that very few people searched for it then maybe not many people optimised natural search for the term on their website either? Readers will know that we are great fans of WordPress and the Search Optimisation tools available with the Yoast plugin which proved its worth here too. On the client’s (WordPress) website we went to the relevant service page, checked Yoast was installed and fired it up. Setting our preferred (and v specific) search phrase, Yoast made several recommendations as to how we could optimise the page content. We followed the recommendations and adapted a couple of others until we were happy we had the balance of content that read well and a ‘Green Light’ from Yoast (Yoast users will know what I mean!) The final step was to publish our updated page and then wait for the Google Algorithm to do its thing.

The outcome

Past experience is that it can be at least a few days if not a week or more before changes get picked up by Google but this time it was quicker (perhaps because it was such a niche term?). The day after we posted the new content, our client’s website is ranking #1 for the search phrase we used. It is possible to get a #1 ranking on Google within 24 hours and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Now we just need to try to keep it there – but that is another story. Like I said, a process NOT an event.

How effective is your Marketing?

Targeting your marketing & measuring effectiveness through Google Analytics is key to modern marketing. So I thought it would be worth a post looking in more detail at Events in Google Analytics. Wilst I am not planning to write a detailed tutorial on how to set up event tracking (you can find that here), I want to look at the power of tracking events as part of your marketing strategy.

What are events

In google analytics, an event is any action that a visitor may take on your website. For example:

  • Filling in and submitting a web form
  • Viewing a video
  • clicking a link
  • downloading a pdf
  • Placing something in their cart

The list is endless and as such, tracking events can be a very powerful tool in your marketing kit-bag.

Where do you find them

Event Statistics can be found in Google Analytics under Behaviour -> Events in the Google Analytics menu. This section will be blank until you set up some event tracking tags. This is done using the Google Tag Manager. You will find details on how to set it up here on setting this up here.

How can you use Events

Being able to track when people perform specific actions on your site, you can easily monitor the effectiveness of your marketing activities. Lets look at a couple of Examples: You are running an ad campaign on Google, with the objective of directly generating enquiries through a form on your website. By setting up a google analytics event to capture when someone completes & submit the form, you will be able to track these trough Google Analytics, and see exactly how much each enquiry is costing you. You Have a video on your site, you are thinking of investing in more, but want to know if people are watching it. With video it is possible to capture detailed stats through event tracking, like are people playing the video, and if so, how much of the video are they watching. Monitoring this over time, you will be able to see if the video on your site is of interest to people, and thus is it worth creating more content. You are getting people to your eCommerce site, but not getting orders You can set up an event to trigger at various stages of the buying process for example to see if people are putting things in their cart. That way, you can start to diagnose where the stumbling blocks are.

The World is your Oyster

Hopefully you can start to see that when trying to measure the effectiveness of your marketing, Events are very powerful. If you wanting to dig deeper into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, then I suggest you check them out in more detail. If you can see how events might be useful, but would like some help incorporating them into your marketing, we would be happy to help.    

We almost lost our Google Partner status and we are delighted

We got an email from Google recently informing us that we were about to lose our Google Partner status – The reason,  not that we had, under performed or let certifications laps, it was simply because we were delivering for the clients and making their Google Advertising more efficient. Let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail: The client in question was spending 4 figures per month on Google advertising, and whilst cost effective, they felt it could be more efficient. They therefore asked us to review the account and make recommendations. As a result of this, once we had implemented the recommendations, mainly focusing keywords, and increasing quality scores by focusing of adverts & improving landing pages, we were able to reduce cost per enquiry by over 50% whilst increasing number of enquiries coming through via Goggle Advertising. As a result, the clients spend with Adwords was more than halved. It was this reduction, that put our partner status at risk. The fact is, we delivered for the client. Something that is infinitely more important to us that our partner status with Google, so we are delighted with the result.