Happy New Year

Happy new yearhappy New Year 2019 to you. The team at Evolve Marketing hope that 2019 is a fantastic year for you and your organisation!

We are looking foward to continuing to help local service and manufacturing organisations across Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire attract new business and keep their brand and communications fresh and up-to-date. Managing Director, Dr Mark French says: ‘As we go into our 13th year of trading as a Google partner and RAR listed agency we are excited by developments in digital and email marketing that allow businesses the opportunity to maximise their return on their marketing investment.’

If you would like to see how Evolve Marketing can help your business in 2019 call us today on 01327 810003.

How to make your B2B online marketing more effective

To make your B2B online marketing efforts more effective you need to keep up with what is happening in the ever-changing online world.

In the B2B context it is no longer sufficient to just have a web presence. Nowadays to be found online and then to be able to convert that interest into a meaningful brand interaction, you need to be proactive. This means whether you are paying for clicks or not you need to continually be tweaking, testing and refining your online marketing efforts.

 

Search is evolving, your content needs to as well

With regards to organic search, Google has a moving feast of over 200 ranking factors that determine where your site is listed in search results. Things like voice and local search, dynamic SERP features and mobile devices continue to feed into Google’s latest algorithm updates. All of which is basically trying to ascertain how well your site helps the customer and if it is trustworthy, has expertise and authority.

So, your search engine optimisation efforts should focus on delivering this trifecta of trust, expertise and authority via a continuous programme of engagement and improvement.  Use conversion metrics to monitor your progress.

Key trends in B2B online marketing to take note of include:

Mobile First:

In March 2018 Google started rolling out its mobile first indexing. Nicknamed Mobilegeddon by some it means that Google now uses the mobile version of a web page for indexing and ranking, to better help users find what they’re looking for.

Also, FYI research from Google shows B2B buyers are researching using mobile – and thus giving it a key role in their self-directed buyer’s journey. So, prioritise mobile, make sure your B2B content is mobile accessible and delivers a frictionless experience.

Natural Language:

Voice and local search, dynamic SERP features and mobile devices continues to feed into Google’s latest algorithm updates, making the search engine a virtual mirror of human search behaviour. This means that increasingly organic, natural language is going to perform better going forward compared to awkward keyword rich copy.

Questions and Answers:

We are also seeing content that answers questions works well. Revisit the ‘which’, ‘why’ ‘when’, ‘how’ questions your prospects may be asking and frame the answers to include the question in the opening sentence and to add value, not just to flog your product or service.

Multimedia Experiences:

The web is now a multimedia experience with audiences increasingly familiar with visual and auditory forms of content. People spend more and more time-consuming video content and podcasts. So, don’t focus just on traditional text copy. Invest in video. Generally, it ranks well in search engine results and often it’s easier to explain a concept in video rather than in text. In the B2B context product demos, new product introductions, and how-to tutorials are useful to educate and inform your prospects and customers.

Targeted Social:

The trend is for companies to focus their efforts on fewer channels so only go where your customers are – remembering that context is important too. Do they have their business hat on, or are they there to look at cat pictures? ‘Customer intent’ and context are import in determining conversion rates so, consider appropriateness of the social media channel.

Google Reviews:

In May 2018 Google removed all old reviews from anonymous profiles that did not have a profile attached to them. Initial research suggests that this has translated to roughly  3% of reviews across websites. This action highlights the ongoing issue of fake reviews that Google is trying to address by increasing the transparency of the reviewing public.

This removal of reviews should also be a reminder to business owner that you don’t own your Google reviews (or your Google My Business listing). Remember Google owns these assets, and manages them as they see fit which may not align with your interests. So it is worth using a variety of online and offline ways to collect and share reviews and testimonials.

Google Posts:

In July 2018 Google My Business added a ‘Call Now’ button to Google Posts which is good news for local business but the jury is still out on their effectiveness. They haven’t been adopted widely by agencies and business probably because you can’t schedule them and they do not integrate naturally with Google Analytics so it not easy to get any insights beyond the basics provided by Google My Business (although there is now an API out). A recent case study interestingly did show them to have a mild positive impact on ranking concluding that they are a ‘low-impact, low-effort task’. Suggesting that they should be combined with other tasks to help improve Local SEO for a small business.

 

If you would like to discuss any of the B2B online marketing points raised in this article, please contact us or call Sharon French, a Chartered Marketer and B2B marketing expert on 01327 810003.

 

 

 

Thinking about a Brand Refresh?

Spring is often a popular time for organisations to consider a brand refresh so their offering looks up-to-date and professional. After all a well-branded business not only attracts more prospects with less effort but also helps fuel self-confidence.

While a brand refresh can really be the equivalent of giving your company a fresh lick of paint, for example a new set of branded images or new corporate brochure. It can also provide a useful opportunity to look at the key elements that make up the foundation of your brand. So, check out our handy pointers below to make the most of your next brand refresh.

 

Brand Refresh Pointers…

So, to ensure that your efforts remain effective and relevant, we suggest as part of your brand refresh you also take time to look at the following:

  • Assess your competitors. Are there new players in the market? Have your existing competitors evolved their offering? And importantly when your company or service is not chosen, who or what is and why is it perceived a better choice?
  • Revisit your target market. Have their needs changed and are you still offering them what they need? Have new customer segments emerged?
  • What’s your story? Are your differentiators positioned, verbally and visually, in a compelling way? Do all your internal stakeholders know how to represent the brand? Is this positioning enforced and reinforced?
  • Brand touchpoint review. Does your brand cascade consistently through every stakeholder touchpoint? Is it consistent with your core brand identity?
  • Marketing channels. Are the channels you use to deliver your brand messages still relevant? Are you where your prospects are?

 

In conclusion…

If you are considering a brand refresh, talk to the brand refresh experts we can help with all your brand requirements.  Call us on 01327 810003 or online via contact us page

Evolve Marketing’s 12th Anniversary

This month Evolve Marketing is 12 years old. Time really does fly by when you are having fun.  We’ve had a superb run of it and are rather proud of how things are going here.

We’re excited about the future and being able to help our manufacturing and professional services clients develop and grow their businesses during 2018 and beyond.  As the digital world and marketing continue to evolve rapidly, we are well placed to ensure our clients benefit from more direct ways to engage with their prospects and customers.

We would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our all our wonderful clients, partners, staff, suppliers, friends and family for their ongoing support – much of what we do it a team effort and your input is much very appreciated.

 

Overview of Organic vs Paid and Search vs Display

A brief overview of the main ways your website could be found online.

1.    Organic – not paying to be found online

If you want your website to be found organically you need keywords that match what people are looking for. When Google decides whether to include your website in the search results, it does so using its ever-changing algorithm which looks at 200 odd ranking factors (website load time, domain authority, number of links etc).

Content marketing and optimising your website (or SEO) can help you to be found in the relevant organic search results. Generating website traffic organically should be a cornerstone of any marketing plan, assuming your website is up to the job of nurturing and encouraging action.

Other ways that your website could be found that aren’t considered paid include via links from social media content or from third-party referral.

2.    Paying to be found – search vs display

If you are paying to be found there are two places where this online advertising can happen:

2.1 In the search network.

This is where you pay for your advert (via an auction) to appear when people are actively looking for goods / services / information. The auction has 2 elements: your bid price and the quality score your advert is given (i.e. how good a match it is for a particular search query). These combine to determine your as rank which dictates where on the page your ad is placed and how many ‘impressions’ it gets – you don’t pay for impressions only clicks i.e. when somebody clicks on your advert.

For example, a search network like Google or Bing would allow a wealth management company to serve an ad that targets people searching for “wealth management firms London”. Some search terms can be very competitive with high bid prices, in these cases looking at long tail search phrases that have fewer monthly impressions may worthwhile as they may generate a better ROI.

2.2 In the display network.

The Google display network allows you to use targeting to show your ads by auction in particular contexts (like “outdoor lifestyles” or “ft.com”), to particular audiences (like “young mums” or “people shopping for a new yacht”) in particular locations.

This network is more passive in the sense that people are casually browsing websites where your ad is served i.e. it’s not as targeted as the search network.

However, it is generally a cheaper than the search network. There are however many more targeting options (by context, by website, by topic, by interest and by remarketing) and a variety of formats (including text, animated image, rich media and video ads) and sizes.

Then there is also paid on social networks which are probably better at targeting as their users are more ‘known’ to them. Different social media platforms have a plethora of advertising options available.

Lastly, remarketing is worth a special mention, it’s sometimes called retargeting or stalker advertising. It deposits a cookie on the computers of the visitors to pages on your website.  Google will then display ads specifically to those people whenever they visit sites on the Google Display Network. Again, you only pay for click through and as people don’t tend to click on these ads – this makes it a very cost-effective brand awareness tool, much like a billboard.

You also can upload a customer email list and then target customers or similar target audiences via Google Search, YouTube, TrueView and native ads in Gmail.  Do note that no purchased email lists are allowed.

 

If you would like to discuss digital advertising, remarketing or content marketing please call us on 01327 810003 or get in touch via the contact form.

 

Google Posts in Google My Business

Google Posts on Google my Business

Google Posts are an exciting new Google feature that now allows most businesses to share news via the local panel on Google search and Google Maps (at present hotels and B&Bs are excluded).

They offer an easy, free, quick way to share offers, news, case studies, testimonials etc directly into the organic search and local map listings via the easy to use Google My Business dashboard.

Why are Google Posts so Exciting?

From a marketing communication perspective if your business is already being found in search results, they can:

  • provide another opportunity to stand out from the crowd and to build trust and connect with your prospects in a soft touch, non-sales way, especially if you keep your posts relevant and interesting.
  • provide a free, almost real-time feed into the search results, a great way to channels offers, seasonal messages, testimonials, case studies and news.
  • make it easier for prospective clients to complete actions on your site by providing a one click path to a specific page on your site. Perfect for driving traffic to a particular page or action – one week at a time.
  • quite literally expand your ‘presence’ on the search page – bigger is better right – with Google Posts you increase the size of your listings real estate by nearly a third. Check out our example RAR post below on the right.

Google Posts updating

How to Use Google Posts…

It is really straightforward. To post an update go to your Google My Business dashboard. Then go to ‘create a post’ or ‘posts’on the menu. Just click on each field and enter the relevant information. Your post appears straight away in the search results for branded keyword searches. They are shown for a week (events will appear until event date) before they disappear, and you’ll get an expiry reminder notice on the sixth day via email.

A few other pointers:

  • Remember to keep posts concise – you have up to 1,500 characters for the details of your post, but the ideal length is between 150-300 characters. Note that your post copy will truncate after 100 characters so make sure these characters contain the main message.
  • The recommended photo size is 720 x 720 pixels (no animated gifs or video allowed).
  • Various clickable call to actions button and a date range (for events) are also available to use. You can use URL tagging/UTM codes so you can work out how users engage with your website after they click on a CTA on your post. Or if relevant you can use voucher codes to track engagement.
  • Fyi the feed works like a carousel so if you have more than one post, the most recent will show up first and the older posts will show in the carousel format.

What Next?

Get uploading and if you need help keeping your Google Posts up to date then call the content marketing experts at Evolve Marketing on 01327 810003.

Three B2B Marketing Myths in 2017

Email marketing agency

Here are three key areas where B2B business owners may still be playing catch up as these marketing myths linger…

  1. Businesses don’t use social media to buy

Okay on the face of it businesses don’t use social media to buy… HOWEVER people do, and people are key in a typically complex, long B2B sales funnel. Usually several people have a stake in the process before a buying decision is reached and a significant number of these stakeholders will be on social media.

And social media provides an ideal stage in the ‘awareness / research stages’ of the B2B buying process to:

  • build relationships with prospects and keep in touch with your customers.
  • influence the sales process and maximise your chances of conversion by sharing thought leadership content
  • show off your understanding of your audience’s interests and concerns.

Whilst social media doesn’t guarantee a sale, it does give you a seat at the table when they are ready to buy.

So, use social to influence the early stages of the B2B buyer cycle by showing them what you are about and how well you understand what’s important to them.

 

  1. Mobile isn’t so important for B2B

It may not have been a few years back but in 2017 it definitely is! Mobile has overtaken desktop in the past year as the primary device used to access websites.  Google with its increasingly important mobile-first index now ranks mobile sites’ content, links, speed, user experience etc. All of which are key drivers of search engine visibility, while desktop is still a factor, it is not as important.

Also, more B2B content is now consumed on mobile devices. For example, 57% of all engagement with LinkedIn, takes place on mobile devices. And the evidence is mounting that such mobile engagement is just as focused and purposeful as engagement that takes place on a desktop.

Research from Google shows B2B buyers researching using mobile – and giving it a key role in their self-directed buyer’s journey. Even a study back in 2015 showed that 42% of B2B researchers use a mobile device during the purchase process – and that 49% did so whilst they are in the office, when they would have larger screens available to them if they wanted. Meanings that mobile isn’t just used for surface-level engagement, until they’re in front of a big screen for the ‘proper stuff’.

So, #MobileFirst it is which means prioritising mobile and making sure your B2B content is mobile accessible and delivers a frictionless experience.

 

  1. Millennials aren’t B2B decision makers

Wrong. They are – a recent report by Sacunas found that 73 per cent of the Millennials surveyed (USA study of over 2,000 adults aged 20 – 35, born between 1979 – 1995) are involved in B2B purchase decision-making at their companies with approx. one-third surveyed being the sole decision maker for their company.

The study found that this generation values authenticity and wants to feel like they have a personal, direct interaction with the brand. B2B brands now need to evolve and have meaning beyond the products they represent.

Unsurprisingly, millennials are likely to use digital channels like search engines, vendor websites and social media to make purchasing decisions. Typically, they would google it, searching for the ‘best’ and customer, company and product reviews. This way of searching makes reviews, case studies and endorsements a vital part of a B2B marketing toolkit.

 

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this article, please call Sharon French, a Chartered Marketer and B2B marketing expert on 01327 810003.

Are you Ready for GDPR?

The countdown is on. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in less than a year now – on 25 May 2018 to be exact.

What is GDPR?

This far-reaching, new data protection legislation will impose a range of new regulations and rules on how companies control and process their customer and prospect data.

It expands the rights of EU citizens around privacy and protection of personal data. Companies are required to maintain adequate data records, appoint a data protection officer, disclose data breaches and increase opt-out options. Importantly, in the new regime penalties for non-compliance will be significantly larger, with fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever amount is higher. This makes non-compliance a significant business threat.

Not Ready? You are Not Alone…

Worryingly, a recent poll of 2,000 UK businesses showed a lack of awareness among many businesses about this new legislation (research by YouGov) with only 29% having started preparing for the new data governance rules.

Other research similarly shows that only 34% of UK marketing and advertising businesses are aware of the new European data protection legislation (survey by law firm, Irwin Mitchell, of 187 companies).

But What About Brexit?

It doesn’t factor into things as the GDPR will come into force before the UK leaves the European Union. FYI both the government and Information Commissioner have confirmed that it will apply. So, come May 2018 organisations handling personal data best be ready to comply with the GDPR.

Preparing for GDPR

We suggest you visit the ICO website which has a host of useful information, including  a handy 11 page PDF entitled Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 12 Steps to Take Now which is a good starting point. As is their Data Protection Self Assessment which provides useful ‘more information’ for each component.

So, with next May’s deadline fast-approaching make sure you have appointed a data protection officer, understand how to implement the right to be forgotten, and have the right to data portability processes in place to ensure your organisation is compliant. Good luck

Supporting Ross Helping Hands Foundation

fundraiser

At Evolve Marketing we are delighted to be supporting the Ross Helping Hands Foundation this year. This worthy charity was set up in memory of Ross Jacobs who passed away in 2005 from a brain tumour. It provides practical and financial support to East London cancer patients and their families.

Their main fundraising venture for 2017 is an epic 115km fundraising walk and I am thrilled to be joining 11 other intrepid ladies in June to walk the final 115 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago which will take us to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain where tradition has it that the remains of the Saint James are buried.

The aim of the fundraising walk is to raise much needed funds for the Ross Helping Hands Foundation so it can continue to help East Londoners who face the challenge of cancer.  If you would to support this worthy cause by sponsoring my walk click here.

How quickly does your mobile site load?

If you don’t know how quickly your mobile site loads then use Test My Site, a free Google tool, to see how you score on mobile friendliness and mobile page speed.

Google research in January 2017 reveals that the average time it takes to load a mobile landing page fully is 22 seconds.1 However, over half of mobile site visitors (53%) leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.

Speed in mobile experience

 

Speed and Size Matters in Mobile…

In other Google Adwords research last month, they analysed 900,000 mobile ads’ landing pages spanning 126 countries.5

They found that 70% of the pages they analysed, took nearly seven seconds for the visual content above the fold to display on a mobile screen, and it took more than 10 seconds to load all visual content fully above and below the fold. Not good at all.

Speed and size are important when it comes to loading mobile pages. So, review your mobile content. Is it bloated? Can it be leaner? An easy win on this front is image size – simply compressing images size can make a big difference in reducing size – see this BBC explanation of compression or for a more comprehensive explanation of image optimisation from Google.

If you would like to discuss any of the elements raised in this article, please do get in touch via our contact form or call 01327 810003.

 

1 Google Research, Webpagetest.org, Global, sample of more than 900,000 mWeb sites across Fortune 1000 and Small Medium Businesses. Testing was performed using Chrome and emulating a Nexus 5 device on a globally representative 3G connection. 1.6Mbps download speed, 300ms Round-Trip Time (RTT). Tested on EC2 on m3.medium instances, similar in performance to high-end smartphones, Jan. 2017.
2 Google Research, Webpagetest.org, Global, sample of more than 900,000 mWeb sites across Fortune 1000 and Small Medium Businesses. Testing was performed using Chrome and emulating a Nexus 5 device on a globally representative 3G connection. 1.6Mbps download speed, 300ms Round-Trip Time (RTT). Tested on EC2 on m3.medium instances, similar in performance to high-end smartphones, Jan. 2017.