I’ve been managing Google Adwords campaigns for clients for 6 years now but Microsoft’s recent aggressive campaign to promote Bing ads grabbed my attention so I decided to compare the two search ads.
Google and Bing are the search engines people use the most. Google facilitates over 100 billion searches per month (over 4b in Canada alone) and Bing’s core monthly search count is over 24 billion. So if you are going to choose one over the based on sheer volume then Google Adwords is the one to go for as they have a whopping 67% of overall search (based on US stats) with the Yahoo/Bing collective garnering about 28%. Bear in mind though that Bing is slowly eroding Google’s share and that because of the lower search volumes, costs per click tend to be lower for Bing ads (you might get more Bing for your buck!).
So who uses Bing and who uses Google? Well your average Bing user is older than your average Google user and tends to be less well educated Bing users use the search engine from home rather than from the office or elsewhere.
The tools themselves are very similar with comparable capabilities, set up and interface. It’s obvious that Bing has copied Google from an interface perspective which means that if you know how to use Adwords already, you will quickly be able to use Bing Ads. Bing wins out on user interface though – it is much more attractive and easy to use than the utilitarian user interface Adwords has.
My big pet peeve with Adwords is how glitchy it can be with unwarranted and unexpected error messages when you try to do simple things like go back to your MCC (My Client Centre) from a client’s interface.
In my years of using the tool, the interface has barely changed or improved which doesn’t make sense to me given the fact that Adwords is one of Google’s main revenue generators – you’d think they would spend more time and effort on making it better and retaining their clients. I guess with 67% percent of the market cornered, they don’t have to!
We are still running way more Adwords campaigns than Bing campaigns and expect to do so for the foreseeable future but Google should be looking over its shoulder and at the very least looking at ways it can improve the use ability factor.
When considering your options, Google still gives you the biggest audience and the most potential for conversions but take into account education and age and you might find that Bing might be a strong alternative or addition. Given that most advertisers use Google, the under utilized aspect of Bing could be a huge advantage for you.
Join Mhairi at Small Business BC next Friday to learn about the basics of social media for Small Business. Friday June 7th 1-3pm.
Social Media and On-line Marketing Tactics
Just because you know what social media is, does not mean that you necessarily understand how to use it to grow and develop your business. This workshop focuses on understanding social media, what is it and how it’s connecting people.
- Learn how/if social media should be an important part of your marketing strategy.
- Understand what opportunities are available for you to leverage social media for business growth and prospecting.
This seminar is hosted at Small Business BC in Vancouver and delivered to other locations via live video conference and webinar. All webinar participants will also receive access to a recording for seven days after the live session.
Register now at the following locations:
Worried that your good work could be plagiarized or that someone’s going to steal your thunder on the Internet and not reference your writing or content appropriately? There’s a solution to every problem and this one comes in the form of Creative Commons. An offshoot of a US non profit organization, Creative Commons was founded in 2003 with the help of the University of Ottawa Law and Technology Program and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic.
Creative Commons licenses don’t replace copyright laws but are intended as a way of augmenting, emphasizing and reinforcing them. They allow you to license your work easily, at no cost and with various different license offerings to choose from, you can decide on how much freedom you want to give people to use your content and in which forums.
Creative Commons steps you through an easy process to find the right license and then you simply download some HTML to your website:
6 Types of Creative Commons Licenses
People using your content are then morally and legally obliged to use it according to the rules set out (or not at all if you so choose). Whether or not people act appropriately remains to be seen and there’s also the issue of the global reach of the Internet with different laws governing different jurisdictions but if plagiarism is a concern for you then Creative Commons is definitely a step in the right direction to protecting your work.
Creative Commons at a Glance
This week Yahoo agreed to buy Tumblr, the hugely popular blog site. Tumblr is a blog platform that is simple and easy to use but how does it stack up against other blog tools and is it right for your business. Read on!
What is Tumblr
Tumblr is a microblogging platform that allows users to share just about anything via their personal Tumblelog. You can quickly and easily post whatever you want – text, photos, videos, music, quotes, and links, from wherever you want – your web browser, phone, desktop computer, or email. The service prides itself on its ease of use, as well as the ability to customize everything including the colors of your Tumblelog and the HTML code of your Tumblr theme.
More blogs use Tumblr as their underlying technology that WordPress: in total there are around 109 million blogs using Tumblr and a whopping 51 billion plus blog posts ( 74,935,213 posts so far today alone). The service also boasts a retention rate of 85% versus Twitter’s 40% – once users sign up for Tumblr they are very likely to continue using it. When you compare Tumblr’s retention rate with traditional blogging you can see that they must be doing something right!
From a business perspective, there’s a lot of contention surrounding Tumblr – some swear by it and some hate it but if you are trying to determine which of the two to use, here is a simple, general rule of thumb – if your audience is under thirty five and your service or product is very visual and you’re strapped for time then Tumblr is the way to go, if your audience is older and you want to do more than blog (and more with your blog) then use WordPress. I use both – WordPress is the underlying technology for this blog and Tumblr is the one I use for fun posts on my personal blog.
Benefits of Tumblr
Tumblr is doing to blogging what texting did to email, ie. not rendering it obsolete, but certainly giving it a run for its money.
With Tumblr, you spend less time writing content, and yet readers of your Tumblelog tend to get a better picture of who/what you are as a person or company. As founder David Karp said, “Tumblelogs don’t need all the context of written post. The context is the blog itself, or the person writing it.” Reading one post in someone’s Tumblelog doesn’t tell you much, but browsing through their posts gives you a remarkably accurate picture of who/what they are, without all the reading associated with a traditional blog. Also, Tumbelogs are likely to appeal to a wider audience, as some will prefer the assortment of photos, video files, and links that a traditional blog may be lacking.
Tumblr’s API allows Tumblelogs to be extensively modified; users can delete all the basic formatting and start from scratch to design the look, feel and layout. If you can imagine it, chances are you can do it with Tumblr. The outcome for bloggers is huge; connect more deeply with your readers, in less time, and on your customized, easy to use microblog. No wonder Tumblr is exploding in popularity!
To find out more about why everyone loves Tumblr, click here to see the many features available to you via your Tumblelog.
Social media has become an important marketing tool for small business. If you use it effectively, you can build brand awareness, generate leads, boost customer loyalty, drive traffic to your website not to mention enhancing mind share. What’s more, a social presence is becoming an expected norm if your prospective customers are below 45. For younger audiences, if they don’t find you on social media, they simply don’t do business with you.
The challenge for small business looking to implement effective social media campaigns is that we all have limited time and resources, not to mention the fact that we don’t have bottomless pockets. So how can we take advantage of social media in a way that makes sense given these potential barriers? Here are 10 tips that will boost your social media marketing productivity.
1. Don’t spread yourself too thin – there are thousands of social media tools. You can’t use all of them effectively, so choose up to 3 (no more) and make those the tools that your customers are most likely to use and that you will enjoy using. For example, if your target audience is the professional business type, build your presence on LinkedIn and focus on that network rather than trying to have a presence on Facebook, Pinterest et al.
2. Schedule social media time into your day just like you would for any other business activity. Stick to your schedule and don’t get distracted. Social media can be a big time suck, don’t let it.
3. Use productivity tools like Hootsuite to schedule posts and to manage your networks effectively (Hootsuite supports LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WordPress and more). If you have different team members managing your social presence, Hootsuite let’s you see at a glance who is responding so that you are all on the same page.
4. Install and use apps on your phone so that you can check in on your social feeds and respond accordingly on the fly. All of the major social networks as well as third party tools like Hootsuite have iPhone and Android apps although some are better than others when it comes to functionality.
5. Your social presence is an extension of day to day business. You don’t need to come up with a whole new story for your social media updates and you shouldn’t. Think about your to do list for the day and how you can reflect your daily activities online. Hosting an open house or event? Make sure attendees can interact with each other in the appropriate channels.
6. Reuse your existing content – to find great content to post on your social networks, use content that you already have (white papers, marketing materials, case studies etc) and adapt it to your needs.
7. Find new content use content tools: my favourite us Zyte which is an app I use on the iPad that allows me to subscribe to fresh new content based on topics and categories I’m are interested and I can then easily share it on the networks as required.
8. Be an editor – blogging is often a central component to a company’s social strategy but blogging takes time. Build a blog editorial schedule so that you know what to blog about and when, and remember that quality beats quantity when it comes to blogging. If you hate to write then consider other options like video or photo blogs that make it easier for you.
9. Consider outsourcing part of your social media to a firm like Out-Smarts that specialises in social media, but be very careful if you do do this. Make sure that the company you work with takes time to understand your organisation inside out so that they can represent you in an authentic way online. And never outsource your social media then forget about it. The best partnerships are those where your social media partner firm manages your day to day and general posts whilst you or your staff augment and humanize your presence when time permits.
10. Get lean – quality is much more important that quantity when it comes to building your following. Save yourself some time and don’t follow everybody and anybody. Instead take time to determine your connection startegy i.e. who you will most benefit from connecting with. This will likely be different for each social network (if you are doing it right) you use and might include industry visionaries, your ideal clients/prospect, partners and related pages.
At Out-Smarts we provide professional, dedicated and timely social media marketing services managing Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube pages for our clients. Why not focus on what you do best and let us focus on what we do best. Call us today to find out about our services
It’s easy to forget about email when you’re planning your business social media strategy. We caution you not to though because email remains a very powerful marketing tool – almost 100% of all internet users have an email account. Most people check their email at least a few times a day (think about how often you check your email) and, with the popularity of smartphones, a significant amount of people are logged into their email accounts 24/7. So, why should you be sending out a company e-newsletter? Read on:
Use an e-newsletter to keep in touch with existing clients and stay at the forefront of their minds. This has two huge benefits, 1. It adds value for current clients and lets them know they are an integral part of your business and, 2. When a potential client ask a current client for a recommendation, they are more likely to mention you because you’ve been staying in contact and are on their minds. An added bonus of sending out an e-newsletter: it’s opt-in – meaning clients, and those interested in your business, have already given you permission to keep in contact.
Drives Traffic and Builds Followers
Always remember your end goal: driving traffic back to your website and converting potential clients into actual clients. Embedding hyperlinks back to your website within your e-newsletter is a great way to do this, as is posting half an informative article with a link to the remainder posted on your website’s blog. An e-newletter can also help you build followers on your various social networks by embedding links to those sites as well. Also, don’t forget to post your e-newsletter to you Facebook page, Twitter account, etc with a reminder that people can subscribe to it via the sign-up form on your website.
Establish Your Business as an Industry Leader
Be one of the go-to resources for news within your industry. Include a section in your e-newletter detailing new procedures, laws, policies, etc that are happening within your area of expertise. Share the latest headlines or news stories and establish yourself not only as a leader but also a trustable, reliable source for your clients.
An e-newsletter is a cost effective use of your time, typically taking 4-5 hours to source the articles, organize the content and write an e-newletter specific article. It’s also inexpensive to send out – online e-newsletter programs, such as Campaign Monitor, Mail Chimp, YMLP, etc, charge reasonable prices – typically a set fee per newsletter, and a small fee per email address.
All online e-newsletter programs have built in metrics that let you know how effective you were is at reaching and engaging your audience. Some important metrics you’ll be able to see include unique opens, total opens, bounce rate, not opened, most popular links recipients clicked on, and how many people unsubscribed to your e-ewsletter upon receiving it. This information is invaluable when preparing your next e-newsletter, and learning how to better engage with current and potential customers online.
Sign up here for our quarterly e-newletters (scroll down to the footer section for sign-up), or contact us to get started on creating your own company e-newsletter.
Allan Financial is a Vancouver based insurance firm specializing in life insurance plans – they are a trailblazer in what is a ‘traditional’ industry and a longstanding client of ours. They needed a new website to reflect their active community presence and leading edge social media adoption, one that they could update and add new content to easily and that would reflect their great branding.
Out-Smarts worked with Allan Financial to build and launch their new WordPress website and blog. It’s so fresh out of the wrapper it still has that new smell! Take a look.
Thanks goes to our dream team: Bluelime Media, Digitally Hip and Ignition.
Find out more about Out-Smarts’ website design and development services or contact us today to book a time to discuss your requirements.
Linkedin versus Facebook ads
Advertising using social media channels is becoming more and more popular, not surprising really since you have the potential to reach millions of people in a very targeted way. In 2013 global online ad spending is projected to amount to more than $500 billion and more specifically social ads spending is expected to double by 2015 to $9.2 billion.
If you are considering which social channels to use to promote your product, business or service, this might help.
Here’s a comparison of Facebook versus LinkedIn ads.
Facebook is by far the larger of the 2 networks with over 1 billion users. You can use Facebook ads to a) promote your page and build your following b) to promote a specific post on your page’s timeline or c) to drive traffic to an external page such as your website.
Facebook allows you to be really specific when choosing who should see your ads. You can target by geography down to quite a granular level, for example you can have your ads appear only to people in North Vancouver but it doesn’t get as granular as Yaletown or Kerrisdale (yet). You can also target your ads by age, gender, education but the aspect that is most beneficial about Facebook advertising is that you can target the ads using target audience likes.
Profiling Your Customer
We often work with clients to build an ideal client persona identifying such aspects as which car they drive, which shoes they wear, which music, sports teams etc, etc (it varies by business obviously). The more you know the better and by profiling your customer or ideal client in this way then you can use Facebook ads to appeal to a very specific demographic.
You can also target the ads on Facebook to the friends of people who have already liked your pages. We’ve had a lot of success running Facebook ads for consumer related products or services but it can be more tricky for business to business or professional service type firms. Our favourite technique is to use Facebook to build your page followers: once people have connected with your business there you can use your timeline to build mind share and community with them. Starting at as little as $1 per day. Facebook can be a strong tool to add to your promotional advertising arsenal.
LinkedIn has less than a quarter of the users that Facebook has but the advantage LinkedIn has over Facebook is that users are all professional, business type people so, if that is you audience, LinkedIn might be the better advertising tool for you to use but but you have to be extra careful to get it right and it’s quite tricky.
LinkedIn ads like Facebook ones, can also be used to target a specific audience i.e. by geography, profession, company name, seniority or job function. However LinkedIn ads are not as granular as Facebook’s in terms of geography or personal likes and you are actually quite limited. With LinkedIn the best way to use the ads is to encourage people to click on a link to an external website -ie your website or squeeze page.
LinkedIn ads appear erratically, we had one campaign recently where the ads showed up thousands of times on the first day and hardly any the next. The only way to control this seems to be by increasing the ad budget (go figure), making sure your bids are high or through constantly tweaking your ad text. They’re also more expensive than Facebook ads – starting at $10 per day. One positive aspect of LinkedIn advertising is that you can get creative with larger images (see spec sheet here).
If you have decided ads are the way to go and your target audience is consumer oriented or they are younger then Facebook is a no brainer. If your audience is older,professional or business oriented LinkedIn might be the better alternative but take time to consider whether you can get more bang from your buck by using your personal updates or updates on your company page on LinkedIn first. I’m not a big fan of LinkedIn ads and think your marketing dollars might be better spent elsewhere.
Here at Out-Smarts, we often get asked to assess company websites from a search engine perspective, to ascertain why their page isn’t appearing higher on Google. One reasons is because they don’t have enough back links to their website or they have the wrong kind of backlinks – links from other websites tracking back to their site.
Despite Google’s algorithm changes, links are still valuable online, the more your website has the better its ranking will be but you have to be really careful how you go about building links. Link building can be extremely time consuming, can seem like a fruitless task and if you do it wrong can be damaging but it is a necessary evil.
Here are 9 ways that you can build links back to your site:
1. Social Networks - use your social networking presence to link back to your site or blog updates. Social links are valuable and are really easy to create.
2. Directories – beware the directories – there are gazillions of websites that simply list the URL’s of other websites (rather like the Yellow pages but online). Submit a link to your site only on the ones that have a good page rank, are relevant to your target audience and locality but avoid the ones that ask for payment or reciprolinks and absolutely ignore sites that are simply link farms – linking in those does more damage than good.
3. Content - make sure that the content on your website or blog is great. The better it is the more likely people will find it and link back to it.
4. Widgets – add widgets that allow visitors to easily share your content on the network of their choice. Social sharing should be encouraged.
5. Relationships – ask partners, clients and organisations you are a member of to place a link on their site back to yours but only on sites that are relevant and appropriate within your area or industry.
6. Advertising - consider advertising online: Craigslist can be a valuable way to to this – not only does it bring visitors to your site who might link to your content but it also gives you the ability to link back to your site from another high ranking site. But before you do, ask yourself is Craiglist fits your brand – it is a rather cheesy approach.
7. Social Bookmarking – there are innumerable forms of social networks and sites like Stumble Upon that allow you to submit content (whether it be written, photo or video) that you like. Submit your own (carefully) to build links back to your site but beware that this some might impact your bounce rate significantly and might not be worth it..
8. Articles -articles used to be a great way to get links back to your site but not so good any more. You would be better spending your time blogging. Posting good content on your blog encourages sharing.
9. Blog Comments – commenting on a blog can be a good way to start building relationships with bloggers and who knows where that might lead if it’s a prominent blogger but it’s not ideal for link building. The emphasis should be on the relationship with the blogger and not so much on the link you submit. There are too many blog comments that are simply spam these days so this isn’t a great tool any more.
Thanks -wink- for the great Flickr image.
Updated April 2013