Google is synonymous with searching the Web, but search isn’t the company’s sole focus. Google also provides top-notch services that other businesses can use to improve their Web presence, reach newcustomers, and make boat loads of money.
Google’s most important services include AdWords, which allows you to reach new customers with paid advertisements; AdSense, which lets you monetise a content-based site by hosting other people’s ads; and Google Analytics, which helps you track key information about your website’s visitors – and how they interact with your site’s content.
If you’re looking to grow your website’s reach, it can be vital to use one or all of these services. They can be fairly complex, but once you’ve mastered the basics, you should be on the road to building up your business. We’ll discuss each of the three services in turn.
Getting to Know AdWords (for advertisers)
AdWords is a wildly popular advertising programme that allows your business to become an advertised search result. But if Google AdWords were simply a way to buy real estate on Google’s search pages, it wouldn’t be worth the money. The magic that makes AdWords worthwhile is its keyword matching. Essentially, you link an ad for your business to specific keywords, and AdWords shows your ad when someone performs a search with those keywords.
For example, if you run an e-commerce business selling pet food, you might link your ad to the keyword combination ‘dog treats’ or ‘pet nutrition’. This way, Google will show your ad only to potential customers – people who are searching for products like those yousell.
The second important thing to understand about AdWords is that it’s a pay-per-click system, not a pay-per-view system. In other words, you don’t pay Google anything until someone clicks on a link and travels to your website. This way, you’re sure to be paying for some worthwhile exposure.
Finally, it’s worth noting that you can target your ads in two other ways. You can restrict your ads to customers that have their browsers set to a specific language or to customers who are surfing in a particular city, state, or country (or a combination of places). That means a local business can effectively use AdWords for local advertising, without worrying that their ad spend will be wasted on the wrong audience.
Assessing the Cost of Advertising
Many keywords are in hot demand by a number of companies. AdWords has a system for managing that demand too. You, the advertiser, must bid on every keyword combination you want to use. Typical keyword rates range from a few cents to several rands. It’s easy enough to win the bidding process some of the time and thereby get all the ad exposure you want – as long as you’re willing to pay the current market price.
Google won’t necessarily charge you the top price when someone clicks on your ad. Instead, it will charge a cent more than your nearest competitor. For example, if you bid 48 cents for the keyword combination, ‘music classes’, and your nearest competitor offers 40 cents, your ad will be shown more often, and you’ll be charged 41 cents when someone clicks on it. But if other advertisers are offering significantly more for the same keywords (say, 70 cents), Google won’t ever show your ad (or charge you a cent).
Fortunately, Google allows you to set a monthly spending limit when you set up your AdWords campaign – that means Google will stop showing your ad when you’ve used up your allotted budget.
Before you sign up for AdWords, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the current market rates for the keywords in which you’re interested. If you bid close to (or just above) the current rate,you’re likely to get some decent ad exposure. Google provides a tool for estimating keyword prices.
You can use this tool even if you haven’t yet signed up for AdWords. First, in the Enter one keyword or phrase per linebox, put in a short keyword phrase – your best guess at the keyword combination that would be your most effective buy. Google will use this (and its huge catalogue of recent searches) to suggest some good keyword possibilities for your ads. (If you want to look for frequently used variations – for example, ‘pet chow’ along with ‘pet food’ – make sure the Use Synonyms check box is checked.)
Then click the Get Keyword Ideas button.Underneath, a list of commonly used keyword combinations will appear that relate to your phrase. For example, if you searched for ‘baby music classes’,you might also see ‘music classes for baby’ and ‘baby music classes Durban’. Next to each combination, Google will add a series of shaded bars that indicate how many advertisers are competing over that term and how common the search is.
To get some pricing information, in the Choose columns to display field, select Show Estimated Avg. CPC. (This is the average cost per click you’ll pay when you subscribe to AdWords.) Then, in the box underneath, enter the maximum price you’re thinking of bidding (say, R5),and click Recalculate.
This keyword tool has a few other capabilities – for example, it can scan your website and suggest potentially related keywords that you might want to use. But remember, choosing the keywords that most effectively reach your target audience is part art and part science.
Google AdWords has many options, and entire books have been written on the subject. However, it doesn’t need to cost much to experiment. Just try a few keyword combinations and limit your monthly budget to a few rands. For best results, make sure that both the keywords and your ad accurately reflect the product your website offers. It’s far better to lure fewer people with a more specific ad than pay to have them to click through to your site, only to have them leave seconds later when they realiseit’s not what they want. And although AdWords is a great traffic booster, it shouldn’t replace other techniques for generating visits, such as link exchanges, community building, and search engine optimisation.
Using Google AdSense (for publishers)
Google AdSense is the reverse of Google AdWords. While AdWords allows you to advertise your business with ads, AdSense allows you to make money by displaying other people’s ads.
To understand how this works, you need to realise that when you buy AdWords, you aren’t just buying placement on the Google search page. You’re also (potentially) buying placement on third-party sites that use AdWords. Google’s keyword matching system ensures that the ads are related to the content of the third-party site.
In other words, if you buy the keyword combination ‘music classes’, your ad might end up on a website that sells music instruments, but not one that’s offering music instruments for kids. (Once again,the advertiser isn’t charged unless a potential customer actually clicks thead.)
Incidentally, AdWords users can opt out ofthis behaviour by changing their campaign settings. When you set up youraccount, look for the check boxes named Content Search and Network Search andmake sure they aren’t selected. Leave Google Search checked. That way, your adswill appear only on Google search pages.
The Value of Ad Hosting
The amount your website can make from Google AdSense depends on the number of visitors you receive and the value of the keywords. (As mentioned earlier, it’s the AdWords advertisers who determine the value of various keywords, through their bidding process.) You obviously won’t make the full amount that Google charges advertisers for a click, but your profits will be broadly in line with those amounts. Keywords that are worth a few cents will net you very little, but clicks on more popular keywords can add up quickly.
As a rule of thumb, AdSense makes great sense for getting value out of a content-based site – a site with reviews of computer hardware, for example, or one offering recipe advice.) However, AdSense makes a lot less sense if you’re using your site to sell a product, in which case the advertisements will be distracting and can potentially compete with your own offerings.
Once you’ve signed up and established anaccount with AdSense, you’ll need to wait a few days before your accountbecomes active. During this time, Google will make sure your site doesn’tviolate its AdSense policies. (For example, Google wants to be sure that yoursite doesn’t promote illegal activity, that its content isn’t blatantly copiedfrom another site, and that it isn’t a “shell” site set up simply toget money from ad clicks.)
Once you receive an email from Google telling you that your site has been accepted, you can generate an ad bar. Google takes great pains to make AdSense as unobtrusive (and as unobnoxious) as possible. When you create your ad bar, therefore, you can choose the format, the number of ads, and the background color, so that the bar blends into your website as seamlessly as possible.
Finally, don’t even think about clicking on your own ads to make yourself some money. Google uses fraud detection to spot abuse. It looks for clicks that happen too quickly to be humanly possible, repeated clicks from the same domain, and various other hallmarks of fraud. If it suspects that your business is abusing the system, it will drop you fromAdSense altogether.
Everything You Need To Know About Instagram’s New Shopping Features
The app is giving influencers and brands new channels on which consumers can discover them.
Influencers and brands have two new ways to sell products to users scrolling and tapping through their Instagram feeds. After a summer of testing shopping buttons that drive purchases via Stories, the Facebook-owned app has launched them for businesses in 46 countries.
It’s also begun rolling out a personalised shopping section in the Explore tab, which Instagram redesigned earlier this year to feature AI-powered channels categorising content based on topic (e.g. travel, art, decor).
The shopping tab will be a place for users who know they want to browse and potentially buy, with Instagram’s algorithm serving up brands the user already follows or would likely be into, based on past activity on the app. Meanwhile, the shopping bag stickers in Stories will give users a chance to not just admire their favourite influencers’ outfits, but actually click through and learn more about promoted items.
Since Instagram began testing the feature in June, more than 90 million users per month have tapped to reveal tags in shopping posts, according to a Sept. 17 Instagram blog post. The app already allows brands to purchase ads in the form of Stories.
More than 400 million accounts watch Stories daily, and one-third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses, Instagram also reports.
Instagram has been testing shopping in feeds for nearly two years.
Related: Creating Power Digital Campaigns
Back in November 2016, the company explained on its Business blog that online shopping often involves research and deliberation, rather than impulse purchases, which is what led Instagram to build out shopping posts that would provide consumers with information about products without having to leave the app until they’d made a purchase decision.
Salesforce has forecasted that the referral traffic Instagram drives to retailer websites will increase by 51 percent between the 2017 and 2018 holiday seasons, according to Adweek.
Speaking of leaving the app, Instagram is rumored to be developing a standalone shopping app, according to The Verge, but the company declined to comment on these reports to both The Verge and Entrepreneur.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Social Media Marketing For Start-ups: Essential Tips
There are plenty of ways to get the leads your start-up needs, but only a few tactics you’ll need in your arsenal to get the job done at a limited cost to your burgeoning business.
Social media marketing, when you’re short on funds, can seem like an intimidating prospect. If you and your team aren’t already knowledgeable about digital marketing strategy, you may think it’s impossible for you to manage marketing campaigns yourself. With a bit of determination and a great deal of studying, however, your startup will be able to successfully launch, direct, and refine your own digital marketing strategies.
What things can you do to help your start-up get more press, attract more customers, and get more brand awareness? There are plenty of ways to get the leads your start-up needs, but only a few tactics you’ll need in your arsenal to get the job done at a limited cost to your burgeoning business.
Get to know your niche
Many young companies adopt random acts of internet marketing. They’ll throw a few hundred dollars into promoting Facebook posts without necessarily understanding how to communicate to their audience.
Before you dive into advertising and promotion platforms, you should spend some time to define – and to get to know – your niche.
To help define your target market, use questions like:
- Who are your existing customers?
- How would you group them?
- Who does your product or service help?
- Does your product help business owners, stay-at-home parents, college students, or someone else?
- Who are you looking to reach out to?
- That is, are you looking to refine your target market or expand it?
Once you’ve answered a few questions like the ones listed above, you should be able to get a better idea of who you’re marketing to. With an understanding of who you’re communicating with, you should be able to craft a tailored message about your brand.
Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing
Choose social media platforms wisely
Many start-ups try to master as many social media platforms right at the start. Instead of dividing your attention between Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you should identify one or two social media platforms that will help you market your product or service. This is why defining your target market at the beginning is so very important.
You must first decide who your message is intended for before writing, editing, and positioning that message. After you’ve got your target market down, you’ll be able to pinpoint which social media platforms can serve you best.
Here are a few examples to give you an idea of which social media platforms are best suited for your needs:
- Best for blog links
- Frequent posts: 1-4 posts every few hours is the most effective
- The community is open to businesses promotion
- Best for communicating to existing customers
- Daily posts: 1 post every 2 days is the most effective
- Users respond best to images, videos, and clips
- Strictly promotional posts are undesirable
- Building readership and/or a following is slow
- Better suited for long-term growth strategy
Do your social media research
Start conducting some preliminary research about social media platforms. Build a profile of each, listing their pros and cons. Try investigating other social media platforms such as GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Quora. While these aren’t platforms as large as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, they could have a far greater impact on your start-up.
Answering questions on Quora and interacting with other users on GitHub, for example, could help you build genuine business and customer relationships.
Concentrate on mastering a few channels
Ultimately, it’s important to concentrate on one or two social media platforms based on your target market and your goals. Attempting to have a significant presence on all of them will prove expensive, time-consuming, and, at worst, counterproductive.
Focusing on one platform will allow you to track your marketing efforts with greater precision, revise your marketing strategy more easily, and help you speak more directly to your target audience.
Digital marketing, while best left to a team of experienced marketers, content creators, and creative designers can be done by your team.
Start-ups tight on cash don’t need to fret, they only need to do a bit of market research and direct their energy accordingly. After narrowing down your audience and performing some preliminary research on social media platforms, you can start working on your social media marketing strategy.
Master a few channels rather than trying to dominate all of the social media space. Keep conducting research as you start your marketing campaigns. Each community naturally changes so you’ll want to keep up-to-date. Leverage your research and dedication to get the most out of your startup marketing.
How To Create The Best Small Business Website: 5 Easy And Effective Steps
Check the steps below and get ready to create a successful small business website.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. If you don’t have online presence, it will become difficult to obtain the results you expect. Your target audience is using the internet nowadays for almost anything. So, if you want to attract more customers and build your brand reputation, you need to build a website. This is how you will be able to expand your business in an easy and not so expensive way.
On the other hand, you don’t have to be a savvy web developer to create a basic website and let the others know about you. Web development and design software have evolved a lot and now you can use several website builders to develop a functional site. You will have plenty of templates to choose from to increase your business’ visibility.
Check the steps below and get ready to create a successful small business website.
Easy and Effective Steps to Create a Website for Your Business
1. What is the purpose of your website?
It doesn’t matter if you develop a simple or a more complex website. Before you start working on anything related to your website, you should start with saying what your company does. Your customers need to understand from the first minute they access your homepage what is your mission and vision. They don’t have too much time to invest when they enter on a website. So, you can make their journey smoother by telling them from the beginning about you. In case you are not so talented at writing, you can use writing companies like RewardedEssays or SupremeDissertations to give you a hand.
2. Choose a domain name and a web host
Even though many think they shouldn’t focus too much on it, the domain name is an important feature of your website. You will use the URL to promote your business to existing and future clients. So, this means that your domain name should be explicit and talk about your business to anyone who wants to find more about you. A domain name should be short, clear, without acronyms or numbers. What is more, you shouldn’t forget to check if your domain name isn’t already taken by someone else.
Apart from a domain name, your website will also need a server where all your data is stored. When you own a small business, creating your own web host will represent a serious financial effort. So, it would be more cost-wise to choose an external host.
As your business grows, you can choose a different host, or you can ask several providers to work on a personalised solution.
3. Build your website’s pages
You will need more than a homepage to create a good website. If you want your customers to understand that you are a professional in what you do, you will create several pages dedicated to different elements of your business. For example, you can include a catalog with your products or a blog.
Natalie Andersen, CEO of GetGoodGrade mentions that “It is obligatory that apart from the homepage, a website should have at least a page with the products’ catalog and a Contact Us page.”
Below you can find a list with the minimum number of pages a professional website should have:
- Homepage – here you will include details about your business, making sure that you also talk about your mission and vision.
- List of products and services – your customers need to know what are the products and services you offer. This will help them decide whether you can answer their questions and provide a solution to their problems.
- About Us – “About Us page is the place where you talk about your story. Your target audience wants to know more about yourself. This is how you will create a connection with your customers and let them know more about you”, says James Daily, Head of content department at FlashEssay.
- Contact Us – it should include your address, email, phone number and working hours. You can also include the links for your social media profiles.
Furthermore, if you want to achieve an international presence, you can also use the translation services offered by IsAccurate. Thus, you will be able to address your message to a wider group of people and expand your business on new markets.
Related: How To Secure Your SME Website
4. Test if your website works properly
Christopher K. Mercer, CEO of Citatior recommends that “before you launch a website, you should first test whether it works. You cannot tell your future customers about your website without knowing for sure that it will work without problems once you launch it”. Therefore, you should click on each page and check whether it has any errors. You still have time to fix something if necessary.
Once you have launched your website and something goes wrong, it will become more difficult to do any change. Plus, always remember that the first impression matters. So, you need to be perfect in the eyes of your customers.
5. Maintain your website
After you launched your website, this doesn’t mean that your work is done. You will need to keep your customers engaged and curious about your business. Therefore, updating the products’ catalog constantly or producing content for your blog will keep your audience informed about what you can offer and the latest trends in the industry. Plus, you should also check if your website is up to date with the latest add-ons. If you don’t know how to produce new content for your website or you feel that you are not talented enough, you can collaborate with HotEssayService or RatedByStudents for professional writing services.
It shouldn’t be complicated to create a website for your small business. As long as you keep a clear structure and create a story around your business, you don’t have anything to worry about. It is very important to understand that a website is very important for your business visibility. Thus, you should put all your efforts into it.
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