Softline Solutions https://www.softlinesolutions.com Fri, 17 May 2019 15:32:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.1 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/ProfilePic-50x50.png Softline Solutions https://www.softlinesolutions.com 32 32 Competition In PPC: X Tools To Help You Out https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/competition-in-ppc-x-tools-to-help-you-out/ Fri, 17 May 2019 15:32:32 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8235 In the world of Google Adwords, keeping up with how your ads perform isn’t enough. While consistent analysis is essential to adjust your ad campaigns, you also need to know...

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In the world of Google Adwords, keeping up with how your ads perform isn’t enough. While consistent analysis is essential to adjust your ad campaigns, you also need to know what your closest competitors are up to. Thankfully there are a number of PPC tools that make analyzing the competition and everything else to do with your ads easy so you can make changes as you go. Review some of the most popular options to get started.

Optmyzr

Optmyzr may be one of the best tools for agencies overseeing small and medium-sized Bing and AdWords accounts. It’s one of the more expensive options; however, it provides a wealth of information. Use it to track quality scores over time and enjoy meticulous analysis for landing pages, spending projections, and hour of the week stuff. This tool also provides insights on performance issues, offers inbuilt reporting, and includes one-click optimization tools.

SEMRush

Like many analytic tools, there are free and paid versions of SEMRush, with the paid version the clear winner since it provides considerably more details. If your budget has you sticking to the free version of the software, for now, you can at least type in the names of your competitors’ websites and see who their competitors are. You’ll also see what your competitors are doing in terms of their average positions for top keywords, ad texts, and what percentage of their budget and traffic is consumed by said keywords. In addition to keyword research and ranking, brands typically use SEMRush for site audits, backlink sources, site positioning, and content creation with keywords. Tracking for competitor Facebook and Bing accounts is also possible through this software.

Spyfu

If you are looking for highly-specific information concerning the keywords your competitors are bidding on, Spyfu is for you. While there have been reports of inaccurate budget and traffic numbers in the past, Spyfu still provides helpful information, including your competitors’ monthly AdWord budget, top paid competitors, paid keywords, clicks per day, ad position and texts, and other good stuff.

Bing & Google Keyword Planners

Should free tools be your thing at the present time, there are many options to select from, including Google and Bing keyword planners. These planners help inspire creative ideas for ad groups and campaigns in addition to offering decent volume estimates. If you are using them for volume estimation purposes, use the estimates as directional data only. You’ll do better if you set your base bids on what you can currently afford, not on what these tools claim the average is.

Wordstream Advisor

Wordstream has made great strides in improving this tool, and it shows. It’s perfect for managing your time more effectively via their “20-minute work week” that features nine clearly-defined items to help you improve your accounts quickly and easily. Among the PPC tool’s best features is the integration with Facebook, Bing, and AdWords ads, hosted landing page software, inbuilt reporting software, conversion tracking with Wordstream’s tracking tag, and the performance grader tool. There is also fantastic integration among multiple tools with Wordstream Advisor. It’s ideal if you’re an entry-level marketer who wants a bunch of tools in one convenient place.

Opteo

One of the newer PPC tools, Opteo offers an easy-to-use interface and it’s pretty darn affordable. The interface focuses on three key sections: manage, performance, and improvements. The improvements section is extremely comprehensive and shows “clear winners.” Other features Opteo offers include landing page detection errors, performance and issue diagnosis, real-time alert functionality, and one-click optimizations.

Auction Insights

This is another free tool that pulls data (unsurprisingly) at the auction level. It is for Bing and Google and does best when you use exact match terms only because you’ll get the clearest insights. Also, segment this tool by time for strategy evolution insights.

Tenscores

Tenscores focuses on highly-detailed account optimization and is super-easy to use. The detailed optimization makes it different from other PPC tools that emphasize “complete” solutions to AdWords optimization. In addition to helping you increase your AdWords Quality Score and ad optimization suggestions, this tool provides a clear guide for improving your account performance. However, if you are looking for features in addition to optimization, this tool is not for you.

Adalysis

AB testing is where Adalysis stands out, though it also offers Quality Score tracking and campaign navigation options. Its interface isn’t as nice as many of the others; however, it offers automated performance alerts, campaign and ad group review tools, and includes the Google Data Studio template. Entry level pricing is also reasonable. Note that you cannot implement most of the recommendations directly from the tool, and it’s going to take some time to understand. However, the ad testing is strong with this one.

AdWords Scripts

Yet another free tool, AdWords Scripts makes it easy to produce “historical” Quality Scores, automatic account checkups, and identify which keywords aren’t working for you. The Insights feature lets you improve your keywords so you rank better. The tool is ideal if you recently found yourself with a huge account littered with broken links. You will see them all in one spreadsheet so you can make changes accordingly.

AdWords Inbuilt Recommendations Review

AdWords upped their recommendation game with this helpful tool. It gets its power from machine-learning technology, won’t cost a penny to use, and enjoys updates all the time. It is split into repair, bids and budgets, ads and extensions, and keyword and targeting. The tool is also easy to use and will continue receiving great updates.

Wrapping Up

These are just some of the many convenient PPC tools at your disposal. Price varies greatly among them, so consider starting with free tools and see how you do. Remember, PPC and everything else having to do with marketing your brand is a learning process, so don’t worry if you do not absorb everything in a few days. The idea with these and other advertising tools is to experiment and see what works best for your business.

Get more online marketing help by contacting Softline Solutions today.

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2019 Social Media Marketing Trends: Paid & Organic https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/2019-social-media-marketing-trends-paid-organic/ Thu, 09 May 2019 20:10:11 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8231 Social media has maintained its stronghold on the buying public, influencing what people buy or at least research every day. Whether yours is a startup venture or a known brand,...

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Social media has maintained its stronghold on the buying public, influencing what people buy or at least research every day. Whether yours is a startup venture or a known brand, there are many paid and organic social media marketing trends for 2019 worth paying attention to. Let’s review some of these trends to help you formulate a new marketing campaign that grabs and holds the attention of your target audience.

Live Video

Live video streaming, such as during a product launch or community event your brand is participating in, has been a popular YouTube option for a while. Facebook and Instagram have since gotten in on the action, providing consumers insider views of their favorite brands. Some experts believe 80% of the future content people consume online will be in video form, as it increases authenticity. Anything can happen during a live video, which shows the human side of brands and encourages customer interactions.

In addition to live videos, many brands have harnessed the power of regular old videos, such as tutorials or those detailing the company’s story. Videos of any kind put faces with brand names and help customers with short attention spans learn about products and services quickly.

Social Listening

Social listening, or the act of crawling social media and web platforms to find every single mention of a brand or related keywords, offers invaluable information in terms of buyer personas and habits. This type of monitoring allows brands to serve highly-customized content, and since it is something only a few companies do right now, there is the opportunity to capitalize on it in 2019.

Micro Influencer Marketing

While brands routinely pay major social media influences to hawk their products and services online, some are going the micro influencer route. Such influencers have fewer than 10,000 followers on social media platforms but still enjoy followings that include lots of comments and interactions. They are also often viewed as experts in their niches and help viewers see brands as “down to earth” as well as trustworthy.

Personalized Everything

Serving consumers with personalized social media content based on past buying habits, clicked links, frequent searches, liked social media posts, and similar actions has dramatically changed the digital marketing landscape. The ability to learn as much about your target market as you can has a direct effect on brand loyalty because you are showing your customers you care about what they buy, and therefore want to add value to their lives. This often includes using paid content to research your market and create buyer personas. Additionally, social listening will undoubtedly have an effect on personalized marketing to provide consumers with even more customized content.

Real-Time Communication

Reaching out to consumers in real-time is yet another way digital marketers are making use of social media platforms. Let’s say a customer just posted a rave review on Twitter about one of your products. Responding right away letting the consumer know how much you appreciate their business helps the individual feel valued and more likely to shop with you again. Responding to complaints immediately also has a positive effect because it shows the consumer you care about his or her experience and want to rectify the issue. Real-time communication with messenger apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and Kik provide these benefits as well because they allow customers to receive immediate responses to their queries.

Augmented Reality

Geo filters, facial filters, and similar augmented reality features have made their way onto social media platforms–just look at the crazy filters SnapChat has alone. These features help engage consumers and provide them with a better-rounded, personalized experience. The Sephora Virtual Artist app from the makeup superstore is a perfect example–it allows users to upload their images and virtually try on makeup before they buy. Color matching and tutorials are among some of the other features this app includes.

User-Generated Content

Consumers leave reviews and plenty of them. They post these reviews on social media and anywhere else they can, with some even uploading videos about products and services they adore. This has provided brands with powerful marketing tools, as they can easily shine bright lights on great reviews through social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all provide avenues for user-generated content brands can capitalize on, resulting in more site traffic, conversions, and revenue. Great reviews also contribute considerably to brand trustworthiness and authenticity.

The Generation Z Factor

Don’t forget to focus your digital marketing efforts on Generation Z. This generation is currently entering the workforce and wants to spend money, so why shouldn’t some of it be on your brand? Take a cue from retailers hosting pop-up stores, as these stores are designed for social media use and appeal to a wide variety of young people. You don’t have to work in retail to create a pop-up event, as they apply to a variety of products and services. Pop-up beer gardens, for example. They have taken oven cities such as Philadelphia in the summer, appearing at locations around the City of Brotherly Love including the Japanese Garden in Fairmount Park. Adding a pop-up store to your social media repertoire is something you will not want to skimp on.

Wrapping Up

Facebook has maintained its position as the most-used social media platform with 2.2 billion users worldwide, followed by YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Reddit, Vine, Ask.fm, and Tumbler are also relatively high on the list. And while you can certainly work with and are encouraged to use multiple social media platforms, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your content. Don’t inundate your followers–provide them with valuable information they can apply to real life. And remember, the best digital marketing strategies combine paid and organic practices and options to create campaigns that pique consumer interest.

Get the expert help your digital marketing strategy needs from Softline Solutions today. Our team of rock stars is here to help you implement campaigns that make your brand pop.

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Amazon Advertising: How It Works And Some Tips For Success https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/amazon-advertising-how-it-works-and-some-tips-for-success/ Thu, 18 Apr 2019 18:53:09 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8205 Advertising on Amazon is a relatively straightforward process with large benefits. If you are a small business owner interested in advertising on Amazon, take a moment to learn what the...

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Advertising on Amazon is a relatively straightforward process with large benefits. If you are a small business owner interested in advertising on Amazon, take a moment to learn what the process involves and enjoy a few tips for increasing your visibility and marketing success.

Setting Up

Amazon provides three ad formats to accommodate different marketer needs: Amazon Headline Search Ads, Amazon Sponsored Products Ads, and Amazon Product Ads, or product display ads. Start the “Amazing” advertising process by selecting which ad campaign suits your needs best and what products you want to market. Also, decide how much you are willing to spend each month, as well as how long you want the campaign to last. Amazon recommends setting your spending limit to at least $10 a day and running an indefinite campaign so shoppers always have the opportunity to discover what sets your products apart from the competition.

Setting up your Amazon campaign is not unlike setting up a Google AdWords account, as you also select the keywords you want your ad to target, either manually or by utilizing the automated Sponsored Product option. Amazon recommends using both to implement a “strong advertising strategy.” If you have an Amazon store, simply use the shopping site’s templates, dynamic widgets, and drag-and-drop tiles to create ad campaigns. They are ideal if you have virtually no clue how to create campaigns.

Launching Your Campaigns & Measuring Your Success

If your campaign falls under the Sponsored Product category, you get to launch it immediately. If it’s of the Sponsored Brand or Store variety, Amazon will perform a quick moderation review. Ads appear on customer web pages based on their relevance, keyword bids, and matching search terms. Customers who click on Sponsored Product ads get taken to your product info page immediately, while those who click on Sponsored Brand ads end up at your store site or related landing page showcasing your products.

Amazon provides reports to help you to determine your campaign’s success, such as what return you receive for the money you’re spending and how much traffic your store gets on a daily basis. Like Google AdWords, this essential information makes it much easier to adjust your campaigns so you aren’t swinging in the dark.

The Cost

Both Sponsored Brand and Sponsored Product campaigns utilize the auction-based, cost-per-click pricing model. The more competitive your bids are, the more chances there are for your ads to appear on Amazon shopper searches. Setting up your store is free and you are only charged for ad clicks.

A Few Tips For Amazon Campaign Success

Now that you have a basic idea of what an Amazon ad campaign entails, keep these tips in mind to enjoy marketing strategy success:

Use Match Types

Amazon uses broad, exact, phrase, and negative match types to fine-tune targeting, just like AdWords. Combine these options to narrow your targeting and put your ads in front of consumers most likely to click the oh-so-important ‘buy’ button. If you use the broad match type, for example, you will reach the most customers. You’ll also get to add words anywhere you want–front, middle, or back. And while this match type is not the most targeted, it provides a way to utilize important keywords and get your campaign going. Phrase match is obviously narrower, followed by the exact match.

Stay Consistent & Start Small

It may sound a little trite, but consistency is essential to Amazon advertising success. Keep your message the same across all ads you launch to increase brand awareness and make it clear what you are selling. Also, remember to start small with your campaign instead of diving in with the big old splash. You need to know what works before increasing your budget.

Organize, Organize, Organize

No online ad campaign, Amazon or otherwise, can enjoy success without a little–okay, a lot–of organization. Unorganized campaigns come with a variety of risks, including money lost to unqualified clicks due to incorrect keywords, and spending more marketing dollars than necessary on clicks. How you want to organize your ad campaign is up to you; however, it’s always best to group products with their correlating keywords to avoid confusion.

Adjust Your Bids Based On Value & Performance

Let’s be clear- not every product you sell has the same profit margin, which is completely normal. It, therefore, makes sense to adjust your bids based on product value and how well they perform. Spend the most money on your biggest sellers and remember you can always make changes if one of your lesser-known products starts bringing in more revenue.

Take Your Time

Remember the basics when it comes to crafting winning campaigns, such as selecting the right titles and keywords. Don’t hastily come up with a title that won’t wow consumers, or always default to general keywords because you are busy with other things. Take your time with these decisions for more finely-tuned campaigns.

Take Advantage Of Customer Reviews

Customer reviews have remained a priority for Amazon from the beginning, so take advantage of them. Every time a customer leaves a great review, post it on your social media sites and add it to the testimonials section of your website, if applicable. If a customer does not leave a fantastic review, use it as an opportunity to determine what went wrong and what you can do to fix it.

Use Amazon Video

Combining video and text provides a winning advertising combo. Use Amazon Video to target videos across the web, including websites, desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and apps. Make it part of a well-rounded ad campaign.

Experiment With Email Send Times

Run email tests to determine what times garner the biggest customer responses. Rely on your Search Term report to obtain the data necessary to strategic email sending so you enjoy higher ROI.

Wrapping Up

Make Amazon advertising part of a larger marketing campaign designed to put your products in the minds of your target audience. You cannot discount the marketing significance of Amazon these days, so why skip it?

Get more marketing help from Softline Solutions today.

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SEM Tracking and Attribution Models https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/sem-tracking-attribution-models/ Fri, 29 Mar 2019 18:59:48 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8192 In today’s online marketing world, knowing what practices and techniques provide the most effective and long-term results is key in staying ahead of the competition. You can increase your return...

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In today’s online marketing world, knowing what practices and techniques provide the most effective and long-term results is key in staying ahead of the competition. You can increase your return on investment (ROI) by implementing the right search engine marketing (SEM) strategy and selecting the best attribution model. Read on before discussing options with your team.

Why SEM Tools Are So Important

The right SEM tool or software improves efficiency as well as productivity. It allows you to manage daily ad groups, keyword lists, bidding, and ad copy in a more effective, streamlined way so you spend less time on optimization and manual reporting. A platform that acquires data in one convenient place makes it easy to gain the insights necessary for improving performance. The right tool also helps you make better marketing decisions because you will stay up-to-date on the latest search engine requirements, tracking methods, and ad formats. Since these things change on a continual basis, the more information you have, the better able you will be to serve your ads to the right consumers.

Some Of The Best SEM Tracking Software, Explained

Consider any of these SEM tracking models to gain essential marketing insights:

Funnel Science

This predictive platform offers the user-friendliness you want, especially if SEM tracking is a relatively foreign concept to you. Funnel Science provides agencies as well as individual brands with SEM management, digital marketing analytics, and consulting services in combination with real-time PPC conversion tracking, ROI optimization, and social media and SEO campaign assistance. Among these key features, this platform offers A/B landing page testing so you are always providing the best pages to intrigued consumers, as well as retargeting, e-commerce and shopping data feeds, and sales funnel strategies.

Yext Pages

Yext Pages offers location data management solutions to companies of every size. The idea is to increase digital interactions and subsequently foot traffic and sales, as well as overall brand awareness. You’ll manage location data across your website or websites, as well as your internal systems, mobile apps, directories, social networks, and search engines. The software’s SEO-optimized local pages, mobile screens, and locators transform site visitors into store visitors by helping customers find the store locations closest to them. There’s also Yext Screens, which provides your company’s mobile app with detailed location info, all of which is optimized for iOS 9 searches.

Nexternal Solutions

This web-based e-commerce software includes a shopping cart that is extra search engine-friendly so you can sell directly to your consumers. If yours is a business-to-business operation, you can still use this shopping cart because it distinguishes between customer types. The idea here is to increase revenue without the spike in advertising costs.

SambaSaaS

Another marketing automation option for brands, franchises, and small businesses is SambaSaaS. Use it by itself or in combination with WordPress or SeoToaster-powered websites for search engine optimization that’s on par with your budget. Among the many services this SEM software offers is email marketing, press release distribution, call tracking and social media calendar curation.

Moz

Moz is a web crawl app that–surprise!–crawls your site every week and lets you know what issues are affecting your performance. The app also monitors the keywords your audience uses most so you can spend more time optimizing. Other software perks include competitive analysis so you know what your competitors are up to and gain that coveted first search engine page edge.

Finding The Right Attribution Model

In addition to utilizing SEM tracking software, it is a good, no, great idea to select a marketing attribution model for your business. Attribution modeling refers to understanding and giving credit to the acquisition channels that turn leads into conversions and sales. Make this important decision easier with these tips:

  • Create A Map Of The Customer Journey: Work with your team to brainstorm what your customers go through during each phase of the buying process. Keep channels and interactions in mind as you work, and think about why consumers buy from your website. Also consider what occurs prior to making purchases, what inspires your customers to make purchases, and subsequently which acquisition channels are ideal for your investment.
  • Pay Attention To Lead Quality: Determine at what rate consumers become active site users and how quickly they became paying customers.
  • Don’t Forget About Campaign Objectives: Keep your campaign objectives in mind, as they should be among the most important pieces making up your attribution model. If yours is a branding campaign, for example, a first-touch model could be ideal. Conversely, if yours is a limited-time promotion, a time-decay model is likely best.
  • Be Versatile: Stay flexible throughout this process, as you will be testing, optimizing, and changing attribution models as you go. You may have to change the model entirely depending on your marketing needs.
  • Review The Four Main Types: Go over the four main attribution types with your team as you determine what is right for your brand. These types include online-offline, multi-channel, real-world, and multi-device. Each offers specific benefits in relation to your marketing goals, for example, online-offline attribution determines how online advertising impacts store foot traffic and sales, and vice versa. Multi-device attribution, in comparison, focuses on how devices such as laptops, smartphones, smart TVs, and tablets affect conversions.

Wrapping Up

After taking in this much information, it is normal to feel a little overwhelmed. However, it is important to remember that increasing brand awareness, site traffic, conversions, and revenue is an ongoing learning process. Don’t try cramming as much information as you can about SEM tracking and attribution models into your brain at once, rather assign tasks to your team so you learn together as your brand grows. Experimentation through A/B testing and similar practices provides the insights you need to formulate a winning marketing plan.

Need a little help with online marketing? Contact us at Softline Solutions. Increasing brand awareness for the companies we serve is our continuing mission and one we do quite well.

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Website Speed Optimization: How to Improve Your Site’s Speed https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/website-speed-optimization/ Mon, 18 Mar 2019 17:22:08 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8187 Quality, digestible content that provides value to the reader. High-resolution images that immediately grab consumer attention. Easy navigation and checkout processes. Great deals and specials. These are among the factors...

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Quality, digestible content that provides value to the reader. High-resolution images that immediately grab consumer attention. Easy navigation and checkout processes. Great deals and specials. These are among the factors making up fantastic websites that appeal to their target markets and rank highly on Google, but what about site speed? The speed at which your website operates is just as important to the search engine juggernaut as other essential features affecting site rankings.

Even a one-second delay has the power to reduce page visits, consumer satisfaction, and conversions. Avoid these issues and skirt finding your page much lower on Google search results with these tips for increasing site speed and therefore quality.

Limit HTTP Requests

Some 80% of a web page’s load time consists of downloading images, scripts, stylesheets, and any other features. Each of these features requires an HTTP request so the more components a page has, the more requests it includes. Reduce these requests by first determining how many your site produces and making adjustments accordingly. If you use Google Chrome, for example, you can use its Developer Tools to learn the request number and reduce your site’s totals.

Streamline Your Page Content

Take a look at each of your web page’s content not only to reduce the total number of HTTP requests, but to streamline its look and use. Pages loaded with buttons, images, text, videos, and titles look cluttered and confusing to visitors in addition to slowing down page download rates. While you do not want your pages to go the minimalist route, see what you don’t need to increase conversion rates. Pages with thousands of elements always have lower rates than those with more seamless designs.

Consider The Site Host

The hosting company keeping your website online may play a significant role in slowing it down. Unless your site is super simple and does not receive a lot of traffic, you need a hosting company that can accommodate your needs with faster technology, superior security, and 24/7 customer support and monitoring services.

Combine Your Files

Your CCS, Javascript, and HTML files make up your site’s appearance. Once you know how many HTTP requests you routinely receive, you can combine files and reduce their sizes to increase site speed. This means eliminating unnecessary code, whitespace, and formatting from each file, as well as indentations, line breaks, and extra spaces. After you trim the digital fat, you’ll enjoy a “leaner” website that goes from one page to the next quickly and easily. Just remember to hit that “Save Changes” button to finish the update.

Defer Loading

Deferring large files such as Javascript gives the rest of your page’s content time to load at a pleasantly-fast rate. Deferment prevents sizable files from loading until smaller files have completed loading. If yours is a WordPress site, for example, use the WP Rocket plugin to defer Javascript loading by checking the “Load JS files deferred” box. If you are working with an HTML site, place a “call” on a Javascript file to defer it.

Remove Extra Redirects

The number of redirects your site gets influences how many HTTP requests it receives. So if your site is constantly subjected to redirects, it will slow down to a crawl. Remove all extra redirects to eliminate this issue and avoid annoying potential customers.

Review Your Plug-Ins

While plugins are helpful, an excessive number hinders site speed. Outdated plugins have the same effect. Perform a plugin audit to remove what you don’t need for a faster, more functional site. If you are not sure which plugins should go, review them with your website administrator.

Get Specific With Image Dimensions

Large images without specific dimensions are another path to slow site speed. Create specific dimensions based on each image’s height and width tag properties to avoid this problem.

Allow For Compression

By now you know that small files equal faster website speed. Enable file compression to reduce load times with a quality file format and software app. Such apps identify strings of comparable code in text files and replace them-albeit temporarily–to reduce their size. This tip is particularly helpful for CSS and HTML due to the repeated whitespace and code they so often feature.

Provide Browser Caching

Whenever you click on a website, the elements from the visited pages get stored temporarily in your hard drive. Known as caches, these temporary digital storage “containers” mean your browser can load the page minus the HTTP requests the next time you visit it. It is therefore extremely helpful to enable browser caching on your website for speedy return visits. How you set up caching depends on whether you use HTML or WordPress to share your content with the world. If you operate a WordPress site, plugins such as W3 Total Cache make this process quick and simple. If you use standard HTML, use your .htaccess file to allow caching.

Use A CDN

Your site host is not the only network that increases or decreases load times. Other networks such as Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) eliminate slow page load issues from high traffic times and visitors who are physically far from your server location. A quality CND makes it possible to cache your site on a global server network so all site requests get rerouted quickly.

Wrapping Up

Discuss these and other tips for increasing site speed with your site administrator and marketing team to increase traffic, conversions, and revenue. And while it may take a few days to implement every change you want, it is well worth the effort. Think of increasing speed times as part of a comprehensive site audit and use it to learn more about your website, how it works, and what you can do to make it as appealing to your target audience as possible.

At Softline Solutions, we are here to help your site pique the interest of your target audience through Pay-Per-Click programs, display and Facebook ads, remarketing, and plenty of other useful services. Give us a call today to learn what we can do for your site.

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Why to Have Your PPC Campaign Professionally Audited https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/ppc-campaign-professionally-audited/ Wed, 27 Feb 2019 21:50:06 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8173 While automated PPC reports from various websites are appealing because they are free or cheap, they only tell one small part of your campaign’s story. Get your pay-per-click campaign professionally...

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While automated PPC reports from various websites are appealing because they are free or cheap, they only tell one small part of your campaign’s story. Get your pay-per-click campaign professionally audited by certified Google Ads professionals to extract the most from the analysis and subsequently make adjustments resulting in more website traffic, conversions, and revenue. Here’s what quality PPC analyses include so you know what to look for in your auditing agency:

Account Structure

One of the first things your Google Ads pros will look at is the structure of your AdWords account. Is it set up to reflect your brand’s business? Are the campaigns appropriately named? For example, if your company sells cat toys among other pet supplies, the campaign concerning the kitty merchandise should read “Cat Toys.” Your auditing team will also ensure your account is correctly linked to your Google Analytics account and the corresponding tracking code is properly implemented. The analysis should include reviewing the Analytics multi-channel funnels for more information about the paid search “journey” each of your potential customers take.

Campaign Theme & Setting

Every PPC campaign should have a specific theme for greater effectiveness. This includes checking each campaign’s keywords for relevancy, all of which must be separate from non-branded keywords. Both sets of keywords require analysis to help your campaigns use the majority of their budgets. Those campaigns that aren’t set up properly are likely underperforming and require adjusting. Campaign settings are another hallmark of a comprehensive PPC audit and something that easily gets overlooked. All settings should be checked for optimization before moving forward with the audit.

CTR & Quality Score

How high is your click-through rate, or CTR? Your Google Ad pros will look at this rate and let you know if it is too low. They also review your Quality Score, since higher scores indicate higher rankings and more efficient campaigns.

Budget Analysis

Part of any website, SEO, or PPC audit concerns the budget. If you are not using your budget efficiently, it will show and your campaigns will suffer. Google Ads professionals help you use your budget wisely with solutions such as lowering your bids, optimizing your ad schedule, changing keyword match type to specific phrases, and targeting smaller sections of your town, city, or region.

Budget analyses can also include changing the delivery method from standard to accelerated. Negative keywords may be added as well so you don’t waste precious marketing dollars. Identifying unnecessary spending is a significant part of the audit process so you do not continue putting money into campaigns that do not work.

Location Settings

Any quality PPC campaign targets locations ideal for its brand. If you have brick and mortar locations in addition to an e-commerce store, for example, you want your PPC campaign to target areas you serve and deliver too (if applicable.) This means excluding locations you do not deliver to or serve so you aren’t targeting consumers who won’t be able to use your services.

Worthy Google Ad pros also review bid adjustments with you. These adjustments examine a click’s worth in light of location, timing, and the device being used. Adjusting bids to reflect certain locations and devices promotes campaign effectiveness and helps you create better ad schedules.

Ad Scheduling

When your ads go live every day this is another element any quality PPC audit includes. If your ads are not showing up during optimal conversion and transaction times, you are not using your budget wisely. For example, if the best time to run a campaign is on Wednesday at 3:00 that is when that campaign should crop up on devices. Bid adjustments help you target the right consumers at the perfect time of day or night.

Landing Pages

Landing pages have never left the online advertising landscaping because they provide specific web pages for potential customers to click on and learn more about a product or service. They are frequently tailored to various locations to target specific sections of your brand’s demographic. The more landing pages linked to your campaigns and websites, the more your message is out there. Reputable auditors always want to see many landing pages because they increase brand message success.

Device Targeting

The aforementioned device targeting makes certain your PPC content is targeting every applicable device. A PPC campaign without mobile friendliness easily gets lost in the advertising shuffle because so many consumers use their smartphones and tablets to review products and services, and make purchases. If your landing page isn’t mobilized for smartphone and tablet use, most customers will exit out of it and look elsewhere for similar products or services. Auditors let you know if your campaigns are not optimized for all devices so you can make changes as quickly as possible and enjoy adding to your customer base.

Language Targeting

Your ads must also be targeted for language. If you mainly target Spanish-speaking consumers, for example, the ads must reflect this.

Ad Rotation

Ad rotation settings must be indicative of your PPC goals. ‘Optimize for Clicks’ is the default setting, with ‘Rotate Evenly’, ‘Optimize for Conversions’, and ‘Rotate Indefinitely’ also available. If you aren’t sure what will work best for your campaign, talk to your Google Ad experts.

PPC Ad Message & Display URL

Is the message of your PPC campaign on point? Every ad should feature a call to action, the right keywords, and something to grab consumer attention such as an exclusive discount or sale. The ads must also feature sales and discounts that have not expired and go through regular testing for efficient optimization. Spelling and grammar must not be overlooked, either.

In terms of the display URL, it should be featured with the ad message and include a relevant keyword.

These are among the main elements of a quality PPC campaign. If you feel a little overwhelmed, don’t worry–it is your Google Ad professional’s job to review your campaign and make certain it is doing everything possible for your brand.

Get the PPC audit your company needs from Softline Solutions today. Brand recognition and awareness are among our many specialties.

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Most Important Google AdWords Tips For 2019 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/most-important-google-adwords-tips-2019/ Thu, 14 Feb 2019 19:36:02 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8167 Search engine marketing (SEM) has become a business necessity over the last decade. No brand in today’s world can possibly hope for visibility without it, something that can seem extremely...

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Search engine marketing (SEM) has become a business necessity over the last decade. No brand in today’s world can possibly hope for visibility without it, something that can seem extremely daunting to unknowledgeable business owners. Throw in the fact that the SEM landscape is constantly evolving and you have a recipe for serious marketing anxiety. Help yourself navigate this ever-changing horizon with Google AdWords, specifically some of the most essential AdWords tips for 2019.

Review The Latest Smart Features

Google AdWords’ latest update brought with it plenty of “smart” features, some of which can be confusing to advertisers who are still learning why AdWords is relevant to their brand. If you are unsure what features (such as the Smart Campaign) can do for your brand, review them with your SEM team (or lone expert) to determine what works for your business and how to use these features effectively. This is especially important considering not every update will be automatic.

Don’t Sacrifice Quality…Ever

It may sound a little trite, but the importance of generating quality content is greater than ever. Google actually rewards campaigns that draw high-quality leads and ranks these campaigns accordingly. Remember to research your target market in depth and think about what types of ads your demographics want to see to create highly-detailed campaigns both Google and your consumers will love.

Switch Your Keyword Focus

Voice searches such as Ok Google and Siri have dramatically changed the keyword game. No longer are keywords limited to one, two, three, and four words since voice searches often include full sentences such as “What dentist offices are near the sports stadiums in Philadelphia?” Known as long-tail keywords, incorporating these options into your advertising strategy helps your consumers find your brand in yet another way while giving them answers to their questions.

Keep Precision In The Forefront

Your target market groups must be precise–very, very precise. Broad campaigns are simply a waste of money in today’s marketing world because users click on ads they don’t end up following through on. Avoid this issue entirely (or at least as much as possible) by performing exhaustive research on each target group–the more narrow each group is, the better–and the less money you will spend for no reason.

Take Advantage Of User Signals

User signals, or the results of how users interact with your ads, influence both Google Rankings and Google Ads. They have a serious impact on Quality Score because a user who clicks on your site and leaves without making a conversion can result in a lower score. And, while you certainly cannot control the actions of everyone who visits your ads or site, there is still plenty to discuss with your SEM manager to increase conversion rates.

Experiment With Ad Text Expansions

Google Ads now offers a third headline option. These headlines work with your ads’ second descriptions to provide your target audience with more information about your brand. They also increase ad uniqueness to further pique consumer interest. And while the success of the third headline option is yet to be determined, it is still something worth looking at and experimenting with. You could easily open your brand up to an entirely new subsection of your target market.

Develop A Remarketing Strategy

Remarketing, or targeting consumers who click on ads but do not buy or do anything else in the conversion category, has earned its place in the search engine pantheon. It provides interested consumers who refrained from making purchases for any reason with gentle reminders about why your brand rocks. Those with incentives, such as discounts or free gifts with purchase, give these consumers the push they need to become loyal brand followers. Use Google Ads to remarket your ads and reap the results.

Do The Online-To-Offline Thing

Another SEM strategy that has earned its rightful place in the aforementioned pantheon over the last few years is the online-to-offline tactic. Let’s say a consumer wants to find the nearest vintage clothing boutique to his or her location and uses a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to find said boutique. After reading about your boutique and what makes it so appealing, the person decides to visit your store and possibly buy something. Google has honed in on this concept and now provides inventory lists so customers know whether items they want are available. The ability to show what your store has available is a wonderful thing you should take full advantage of, as it helps consumers see your brand as convenient and customer-oriented.

Keep Up With Your Cost Per Click (CPC) Numbers

The recent push for quality combined with more brand competition than ever before has made monitoring your cost per click (CPC) numbers a must. Focus on the cost per click of your keywords so you are not spending money on those that are not performing well. Cost per click is an invaluable tool, especially for emerging brands who do not have loyal followings yet but need constant reviewing to provide the most benefits. CPC ranking values have tripled among Google AdWord agencies, so keep a close watch.

Wrapping Up

Remember, Google AdWords is a tool designed to help you get the most out of your marketing campaigns. Learn everything you can about it, work with trusted SEM experts who can guide you through parts you are unsure about, and stay consistent. Spend time on your campaigns every day so they evolve along with the marketing landscape.

Also remember, SEM is a learning process, so don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t get it all at one time. Make a point to learn something new every day and surround yourself with team members who know their stuff. If that means hiring outside help, go for it. This is your brand, and it deserves to shine like it should. Get creative and have fun with it–who knows, you may become an SEM expert yourself.

Increase brand awareness with help from Softline Solutions. We make online businesses (and their brick and mortar counterparts) stand out every day.

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Top 10 Digital Marketing Tips For 2019 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/2019-digital-marketing-tips/ Sun, 27 Jan 2019 19:15:59 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8155 In the modern world of digital marketing, the competition for consumer engagement is more intense than ever. Both search engine and social media marketing offer a variety of strengths as...

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In the modern world of digital marketing, the competition for consumer engagement is more intense than ever. Both search engine and social media marketing offer a variety of strengths as well as a few weaknesses you must be aware of to maximize your advertising strategy and subsequently enjoy more website traffic, conversions, brand awareness, and revenue.

Keep these digital marketing tips for 2019 in mind as you and your team devise your next strategy:

Tip #1: It’s All About Content Clusters

Search engine algorithms recently underwent a considerable change. Instead of showing favor to assorted keywords, they focus on content clusters around various topics, such as those concerning dental care or the latest trends in motorcycle helmets. Also known as pillars, these topics are pages that outline a, well, topic. Let’s say you own a salon that offers facials. A cluster page would feature all of the relevant links to this service, such as pages on anti-aging facials, acne treatment facials, aromatherapy facials, and so on. If that page performs well, the cluster pages also receive a nice boost.

Tip #2: Don’t Forget About Your Blog

With all the recent innovations in social media and search engine marketing, it can be easy to forget about one of the most basic yet most important parts of your brand’s website: the blog. Your blog gets your site noticed by making it an authority on whatever products or services you provide in addition to offering updates on the latest sales, discounts, and special events. Don’t let it fall into the digital marketing dustbin–give it the attention it deserves to increase your search engine rankings and social media shares.

Tip #3: Consider Third-Party App Usage

In 2019, social media companies will likely continue integrating their services with third-party apps. Facebook, for example, allows users to register for third-party services through their site, such as dating apps, and subsequently share data with these services, such as birth dates and photos. Depending on the size of your brand, you may want to consider this integration if your social media app gets used regularly.

Tip #4: Experiment With “Snack Ads”

Consumer attention spans are shorter than ever, which is why brands have increasingly turned to snack ads, or less-than-10-second-long videos available exclusively on social media platforms. Consider making such ads to pique the attention of your target audience, and ensure the content is easy to understand while also showing off what sets your brand above the competition.

Tip #5: Go Live

Live videos on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook have been making a serious impact since 2016 with no signs of slowing down. Add depth and dimension to your brand with this live element, especially if you routinely participant in or throw special events.

Tip #6: Utilize Chatbots

Chatbots are no longer a novelty. In fact, they have become a standard for many brands. Don’t worry about a potentially negative impact from chatbots–most consumers do not mind them at all and will simply close the chat if they don’t need it. If they do need it, you are providing a convenient way to answer their questions and alleviate their concerns. And, if you think chatbots don’t apply to your company, think again. In 2019, digital marketing experts expect chatbots to appear on everything from restaurant to hotel sites.

Tip #7: Be Present, Be Present, Be Present

Quick responses from brands on social and review sites have also become commonplace over the last few years, so how are you faring in terms of “being present” online? In addition to chatbots, responding quickly to your customers, whether you are thanking them for a positive review or seeing what you can do to improve their experience, is invaluable. It shows you truly care about your customers and want them to enjoy your products or services as much as possible.

Tip #8: Make More Connections With Social Influencers

Digital marketing trends for 2019 also include the social influencer factor. These influencers have the power to sway consumers one way or another, so the more of them you have hawking your products or discussing your services, the better. Develop long-term relationships with influencers that benefit both of you–after all, these people will not be interested unless there is something in it for them.

Tip #9: Keep “The Social CEO” Thing In Mind

CEOs and other executives at the top of brand food chains have increased their visibility recently via social media and similar avenues. This visibility is designed to increase consumer trust, build lasting relationships with influencers, and improve brand awareness. It can even make a company more appealing to job applicants. If you are the CEO of your company, put yourself on social media if you haven’t already via videos, images, and anything else that will garner interest. The more human your brand seems, the more it will resonate with consumers…and result in those coveted conversions and more revenue.

Tip #10: Keep The Traditional Video Element In Mind

Traditional videos have kept up with live videos as essential marketing tools. Video ads are also more popular than ever, whether they pop up on social media or a bus station terminal. Create videos for social media including Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, partner with the aforementioned influencers to endorse your products or services, and make in-house videos. These videos will provide ways for consumers to learn more about why your brand rocks quickly. And remember, keep most of your videos short due to the attention span issue. Longer videos are best left for tutorials and similar instructional or educational videos.

These are just some of the digital marketing tips for 2019 you and your team should be aware of. If you are starting to feel overwhelmed, stop right now. You have plenty of trends to pick from and experiment with until you find the perfect advertising formula for your brand.

If your digital advertising strategy for 2019 could use some refinement, contact us at Softline Solutions today. Our team has the knowledge and the resources to make your brand shine.

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What Is Local SEO & Why It’s So Critical For Local Businesses https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/what-is-local-seo-why-its-so-critical-for-local-businesses/ Wed, 16 Jan 2019 04:32:20 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8146 Local SEO is one part of the bigger search optimization picture. It is applicable to almost any local business in a town or city that is looking to expand its...

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Local SEO is one part of the bigger search optimization picture. It is applicable to almost any local business in a town or city that is looking to expand its reach and quite literally put itself on the map. Whether you own a restaurant, clothing boutique, or specialty store within your community, take a minute to learn more about what local SEO entails and why it is something your business cannot do without.

Instant Product & Service Information

Implementing a local SEO strategy provides people searching for products and services like yours in your area with the information they need exactly when they need it. Let’s say you oversee a hairstyling salon in Branson, Missouri. A local consumer typing in “hairstyling services near me” will see your business information if you have a local SEO strategy in place. If you have a proper business address, local SEO strategies mean your business will not get lost in consumer searches.

The Right Address Across The Internet

Now that you have an idea what local SEO entails, there’s something else to keep in mind. The importance of the correct address on your website, landing pages, social media platforms, and all other applicable pages cannot be stressed enough. If your information is inconsistent, you could accidentally send customers to another business or experience other issues that do not help you rank the way you want. Check and double check your information before putting a local SEO strategy into place to avoid these complications.

The Benefits Of Local SEO

Local SEO has retained its place in the online marketing pantheon because it provides a completely unique yet completely essential service. The statistics do not lie:

  • 50% of consumers who performed local searches on their phones visited physical store locations the same day. 34% of consumers who performed searches on their tablets or laptops also visited brick-and-mortar businesses.
  • 50% of people performing local searches on their smartphones search for local business addresses.
  • 78% of local-based search queries on smartphones and tablets result in offline purchases.
  • 71% of surveyed consumers said they searched for a local business online to confirm it was still in operation before visiting it for the first time.
  • 60% of American consumers looked for local services and products on their smartphones and tablets.
  • One in three smartphone searches occur immediately prior to arrival at a brick and mortar store location.
  • 97% of consumers researched local businesses online in 2017.

Who Benefits From Local SEO The Most…And Who Doesn’t?

There are a number of businesses that benefit greatly from local SEO, however, there are few that do not need this service. See which one you are:

Businesses That Benefit

Law firms are among the top businesses that need local SEO services to get noticed. The right local SEO strategy puts law firms at the top of Google’s first page while also providing searchers with a call button so they can immediately contact their firm of choice to schedule a consultation. The call button is applicable to mobile phones only.

Other businesses that should have a local SEO presence include service companies such as plumbers and electricians. Most consumers type in “plumbers near me” or “electricians in [town or city name]” to find the people they need as opposed to dusting off the phone book to make a call. Doctors and medical practices also do well with local SEO since “doctors near me” and “physicians in [x city]” are common internet searches.

Restaurants are yet another business requiring local SEO, as most consumers use the internet to find eatery locations and read reviews before they venture out. Whether they are reading Google’s top picks, reviewing the latest customer experiences on Yelp, or performing a similar search, the internet weighs heavily into breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices.

Businesses That Don’t Need Local SEO

There are a few businesses that don’t need local SEO to help their online marketing efforts. If you own an e-commerce shop, for example, your consumers are all over the country and world rather than localized in one community. The same is true for private online sellers and businesses that simply do not want to share their personal information or for those that already have a well-established online presence.

Local Directories, Partner Websites, & Industry-Related Sites

While Google punishes businesses with too many link exchanges since it looks like an obvious page rank manipulation, there are still numerous avenues for rounding out your local SEO profile and giving your business a boost. Local directory websites help increase your site’s authority, as do industry-related sites such as those for newspapers and nearby universities. Having your site link on a reputable university website, for example, improves your credibility and makes your business seem like more of a trusted resource for information as well as products or services.

Yet another avenue is through local partner websites or the websites of your business partners. Exchanging links with your partners widens your reach while again improving credibility.

Wrapping Up

Local SEO provides the path to marketing strategy completion when it is implemented correctly. There is no secret to setting up your online profile, as it’s simply about putting the work in. Claim your profile on Google Places, Yahoo Local, or Bing Local by logging into your account and going through the verification steps before uploading images of your business, both interior and exterior. You may want to get professional photos taken to really show off what makes your business unique. Ask for reviews as well, and don’t worry if some are negative. “Bad” reviews provide the opportunity to reply to your irritated consumer and offer a solution, such as a free gift with purchase or a discount.

Also, make certain your address and phone number are visible and correct on all sites and platforms, and remember to think like your target market. What would they want to see on your profile or site? What kind of incentives would they enjoy? Thinking like a consumer is key to creating the internet stronghold you want.

Get the local SEO help you need from Softline Solutions today.

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Google vs. Facebook Marketing Pros & Cons https://www.softlinesolutions.com/blog/google-vs-facebook-marketing-pros-cons/ Fri, 28 Dec 2018 17:17:55 +0000 https://www.softlinesolutions.com/?p=8113 When it comes to online marketing, there are two options that stand out: Google AdWords and Facebook. Each offers distinct advantages and disadvantages, which is why it’s a good idea...

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When it comes to online marketing, there are two options that stand out: Google AdWords and Facebook. Each offers distinct advantages and disadvantages, which is why it’s a good idea to use both in your marketing strategy if your budget allows for it. Should your budget only allow for one, use the following information to determine which is perfect for your online advertising needs:

Facebook

Pros

Plenty of consumers still use Facebook to learn about their favorite brands and make buying decisions based on pages they like and ads they see. The social media platform offers an easy-to-use business advertising format that includes selecting the area of the country you want to target as well as demographic groups.

In addition to the simplicity Facebook offers in terms of increasing sales, the platform is also budget-friendly. For example, you can “boost” a post for a mere $5 and reach hundreds if not thousands of potential customers over a 24-hour period. So if you want to let your target audience know you are running a holiday buy one, get one promotion, a boosted post provides a fantastic way to increase both website traffic and sales.

Another reason to advertise on Facebook is the ability to build relationships with your audience. If someone comments on a boosted post saying how much they liked your product or service, you can reply saying thank you and letting the customer know more sales will occur in the near future. Consumer interaction is a huge part of today’s marketing landscape, and Facebook provides an easy way to do just that. Interactions with brand ambassadors is another reason to try Facebook marketing. If a brand ambassador tags you in a post, for example, whoever follows that ambassador may want to learn more about your products and services, like your page, subscribe to your newsletter, and so on.

Cons

Among the cons of Facebook marketing is the fact that boosted posts and similar advertisements have time limits. You are also susceptible to negative comments, an issue you may not be able to take care of right away because of all your other content marketing responsibilities. If your brand gets big enough, you could end up constantly dealing with trolls and spam links on your page.

Other Facebook advertising cons include being subject to all policy changes that can occur at any time of day or night. It’s also not always easy to tell if the person you are engaging with online is just that–a real person–and not some type of spambot. Your ads could also end up unintentionally targeting the wrong demographic since Facebook For Business is not without its flaws.

Google

Pros

Google AdWords provides a convenient ad tool that offers much in regards to versatility and brand awareness. If you’ve noticed the ads at the top of every search engine result, those are the ads generated by Google AdWords. It’s a pay-per-click system where you pay every time a consumer clicks on your ad, which hopefully results in a visit to your landing page, home page, or product page. It provides a fast and efficient way to put your brand name in front of your target audience compared to organic SEO tactics that take effect over a period of months.

Other pros Google AdWords offers is versatility. Your account makes it possible to create ads in a number of ways, such as banner ads that appear across the top of gmail accounts or design video ads on YouTube. In-app advertisements allow you to reach your mobile customers so you don’t lose out on a vital segment of your target audience.

Yet another reason to use Google AdWords is the ability to control your budget down to the penny. Set the amount you want to use for the week or month and add to it as necessary to ensure you stay within your limit. You also won’t have to pay a cancellation fee if you decide you would rather not use Google AdWords.

Cons

Your competition is one of the cons of using Google AdWords. The more competition your brand has, the more it will cost to bid on related keywords. And while you have to compete with those using similar keywords, you still only pay for ad clicks so it still might be in your interest to utilize your account.

Speaking of ad clicks, just because a consumer clicks on your ad doesn’t mean it will result in website traffic, conversions, and revenue increases. A person could click on your ad and do nothing, resulting in money spent without any benefits.

There’s also more to learn with Google Ads than Facebook, which can be a bit overwhelming. Not only will you be using the Google Analytics portion of your account to measure your advertising results, but you also must figure out which keywords offer the greatest impact. This can involve a lot of experimenting with both keywords and negative keywords to determine what works best for your ads and why.

Wrapping Up

All said, both Facebook and Google AdWords provide ways to extend the digital hand to your target demographic without too much stress or cost to you. Don’t worry if you don’t see the results you want right away, as you probably won’t be spending that much. You can also limit your budget for the time being until you figure out exactly what keywords and other marketing tactics offer the greatest return on investment. And since both make it possible to measure your results, you will not stay in the dark ages of the ad world for long.

If you would like professional assistance to give your latest marketing campaign the boost it needs to succeed, contact us at Softline Solutions today. Our PPC and Facebook expertise has helped hundreds of big-name brands enjoy what they want most: more visibility and revenue. Give us a shout to learn what we can do for your brand.

 

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