Ad campaigns can make or break a business overnight. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t automatically make you an online business guru. Common mistakes are easy to make. Lots of small businesses fall into these five holes, but you don’t have to be one of them. You’ll be able to sit back and relax, while your competition wonders why their bank account is drained.
Bottomless Marketing Budgets
Most businesses correct this type of problem quickly. Otherwise, they’d go bankrupt before catching it. The price of online marketing is usually determined based on how many people click your advertisements. Some businesses forget to put a reasonable limit on their daily ad expenditure. It might be fine at first, but it definitely won’t be fun when your sales don’t justify your budget. It can happen overnight, and you could owe big bucks on your next payment cycle. All it takes is a few thousand clicks without any conversions to put your business in the red.
Cookie Cutter Advertising
Copying what works is a great strategy, but rehashing old ideas is a waste of time. Don’t throw a concept into your marketing plans just because a bigger company had success with it. You have no idea if they’ve lost money on their new campaigns, and they might not care if they did. Established brands can afford to make mistakes because they have an extremely balanced budget. Being a small business, you don’t have the cash to burn. Don’t let your marketing team fall into the trap of copying everyone else. Do what works for your business, and only trust your sales statistics. Good ideas are worthless if they don’t produce results.
Focusing on Weak Markets
Online advertising is a great way to reach new customers. It’s fairly inexpensive when you do it right, and it can open your business up to a whole new demographic. It’s awesome, but trying to use it to strengthen your weakest target markets is a waste of resources. You’ve seen it happen before. A company spends thousands upon thousands of dollars on Facebook, and they aren’t making any profits to justify the spending. Are they building an online presence by focusing on their weakest platforms? That’s the question they should be asking themselves. Invest in areas where your marketing efforts are strong. Double-down on good results to make them great, and try not to feel forced into throwing money at a sinking ship. You can worry about appealing to a different demographic once you’ve hit a plateau.
Emphasis on Vanity Statistics
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the wrong type of feedback. Social media marketing can become a vicious cycle of validation. Vanity statistics are those positive ratings and comments that don’t add any value to your business. It’s a nice gesture, but is it worth investing your hard-earned money into? Lots of online entrepreneurs end up playing this losing game. The only thing that matters is your return on the advertising costs.
Building a following on social media is profitable at a certain point, but what’s profitable for your business today? Here’s a fun little test. Count the amount of money you’ve spent on social media advertising, then subtract the amount of profit you’ve gained directly through those links. Next, divide that number by the number of positive responses you’ve gained. How much do those comments cost you? If that number is more than the cost of direct advertising, then you need a new marketing strategy.
Lack of Testing
You’ve probably noticed an overlapping theme that plays a role in all of these mistakes. It’s a lack of testing. Since the dawn of advertising, testing has been the backbone of growing brands. Going in blind on even one investment is a crazy way to operate a business. If you’re marketing team isn’t constantly trying new ad copy on a small scale, then they aren’t reaching their full potential. You’ve got to keep throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. Small tweaks to advertising can have a drastic impact on your overall strategy. Everything should be backed up with repeatable results on various scales of implementation. Whether it’s through an email campaign or a video advertisement, none of your marketing efforts should rely on guesswork. Always focus on your return on investment.
Landing Page Mistakes
A well-designed landing page is essential when running a pay-per-click (PPC) marketing campaign. When advertising on Bing Ads you’ll generate more conversions by sending visitors to an optimized landing page rather than your business’s main website. The performance of your landing page, however, will vary depending on how it’s designed.
For the highest conversion rate and return on investment (ROI), avoid the seven following mistakes when designing your PPC landing page.
-CTA Doesn’t Stand Out
An effective landing page requires a highly visible, attention-grabbing call to action (CTA). If the CTA doesn’t stand out on your landing page, fewer visitors will click it. To make your CTA stand out, design it with contrasting colors. You can use an orange or red background, for example, with white text to create an eye-catching CTA.
To further increase your CTA’s visibility, place it above the fold. In other words, visitors should see it without having to scroll down on your website. According to 2018 study conducted by Nielsen Norman Group study, website visitors spend 57 percent of their time viewing content above the fold. Failure to place your CTA above the fold will result in fewer visitors seeing it and, therefore, a lower click-through rate (CTR).
Designing your landing page with cluttered elements – text, images, pop-ups, buttons, etc. – is a surefire way to kill your PPC conversions. The presence of multiple visual elements crammed together in a small space is overwhelming for visitors. When a visitor encounters a cluttered landing page, he or she will struggle to cognitively process all the visual elements, meaning the visitor is less likely to notice and click on the CTA.
To prevent cluttering on your landing page, take advantage of white space to emphasize your CTA and sections of content. White space refers to the empty space surrounding a visual element on a website. It forms padding around visual elements to create a less-distracting and more effective landing page design.
-Overlooking Trust Signals
Some marketers overlook the use of trust signals when designing their landing page, believing they offer little or no value. When used correctly, though, they’ll increase the level of trust visitors have in your landing page, which may compel them to take action by clicking your CTA and following through with your conversion funnel.
What is a trust signal exactly?
Basically, it’s any element or collection of elements on a landing page or website that instills trust in visitors.
Examples of trust signals used on landing pages include:
• HTTPS encryption
• Trust seals, such as TRUSTe Certified Privacy, Better Business Bureau (BBB), SiteLock, Norton Secured and PayPal Verified.
• Branded domain with the dot com extension
• Links to social media profiles
• Fast load times
• Customer reviews and testimonials
• Contact information
• Grammatically correct, error-free copy
-Too Many Navigation Links
Avoid displaying too many navigation links on your landing page. According to a study conducted by WordStream, roughly four in five landing pages have one to nine navigation links, with 14 percent of landing pages having over 10 navigation links.
Each navigation link offers visitors a path to escape the page on which your CTA located, so visitors are less likely to click your CTA. To design a high-converting landing page, include only essential links and place them in a discreet area where they don’t overshadow your CTA.
-Low Quality or Overly Generic Images
Don’t use low-quality or overly generic images on your landing page. Research shows visitors process visual content, including images, 60,000 times more quickly than text. When a visitor clicks your PPC ad and loads your landing page, he or she will likely focus on the images first.
If you use low-quality or overly generic images, the visitor may perceive your online brand as non-credible or illegitimate, in which case he or she probably follow through with your conversion funnel. For an effective landing page design, choose high-quality images that don’t look cheesy or staged.
-Using a Single Landing Page
In addition to split testing multiple ads, you should split test at least two different landing pages when running a PPC campaign. Running multiple landing pages allows you to compare their performance against the same PPC traffic. If you discover one landing page is significantly outperforming the other, modify the under-performing landing page to see if you can improve it.
Making even small modifications to a landing page can affect its performance. Designing it with a different background color, for instance, can influence the percentage of visitors who click your CTA. Other ways to modify your landing pages when split testing include changing the CTA, repositioning images and using a different font type. When you modify one of your landing pages, pay attention to your PPC analytics to determine whether it increased or decreased your conversion rate.
-Too Much Text
Contrary to what some marketers believe, long-form landing pages don’t always outperform their short-form counterparts. Granted, if you’re building a website to rank in the search results, you’ll experience better results using long-form content. But for PPC marketing, short-form content usually delivers the highest conversion rate.
Displaying too much text on your landing page diverts visitors’ attention away from the CTA. Depending on the type of product or service you are promoting, you should be able to create effective landing page copy in just 250 to 750 words. Including more than 750 words on your landing pages will dilute your landing page and drive down its conversion rate.
A landing page can help you achieve better results from PPC marketing, but you need to design it correctly.
If you’re guilty of making any of these design mistakes, you’ll likely experience a lower conversion rate.
Don’t Ignore Bing SEO
Many webmasters focus their search engine optimization (SEO) strictly on Google, hoping to achieve first-page rankings in the Mountain View company’s search results. While Google attracts the most searches (more than 3.5 billion per day and counting), Bing is steadily increasing its presence in the search engine market (current 33% market share).
After years trying various businesses I’ve come to notice what an overlooked and incredibly helpful traffic stream Bing Search combined with Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads) can be. There is a slightly more wealthy, college educated and financially focused audience. Cost Per Click is generally lower than Google Adwords as well (so there’s that).
-Promote on Social Media
Google has said that its ranking algorithm doesn’t use social media signals (specifically Facebook likes & Twitter retweets) as a ranking factor. Assuming all other factors are equal, a website with 10,000 Facebook likes will rank the same on Google as a website with no Facebook likes.
Bing views social media signals differently, however.
In its Webmaster Guidelines, Bing says that social media signals can affect a website’s search rankings in its index.
Microsoft released a statement that it uses Twitter and Facebook to determine relevancy of a website. Bing displays Facebook images in the results when you are signed on, and this means your Facebook friends also see images and better results related to your social media efforts.
Basically, to have more visibility in Bing, be socially active on the major platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Promote your website and its content on social media. Even without any manual work on your part, some visitors may like or share your site on social media. However, by simply being more active on Social Media you can make your website more appealing to Bing Search.
-Use meta keywords
The meta keyword tag is placed in the top portion of your website’s HTML code. In the 1990s, the meta keyword tag was used to indicate the main topics of a web page. Unfortunately, spammers filled up this tag with junk terms to gain traffic on search phrases unrelated to the website.
Google doesn’t even use the meta keyword tag, but Bing has indicated that it still uses this keyword tag (both for relevancy and to pick up on spammers that abuse it). This means that you want to keep the meta keyword tag relevant to your content without filling it up with too many keywords. Choose about 10 keywords for the page and keep them relevant to the page’s content. And it will still work in 2020!! :)
-Add Website to Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing offers an online portal where webmasters can run reports and access data about their websites’ search rankings and organic traffic. Known as Bing Webmasters Tools, it’s an invaluable search engine optimization (SEO) tool that can help you raise your rankings.
Among other things, Bing Webmaster Tools can reveal crawling issues with your website, backlink sources, organic search traffic, CTR and keyword searches that have driven traffic. You can access Bing Webmaster Tools for free by visiting Bing.com/Toolbox/Webmaster and signing in using your Bing, Google or Facebook account.
-Use Microsoft Ads
Coupling Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads) with your SEO efforts will give you real data points, click through rates, cost per click (which can give you an idea of level of competition) all giving you a very good idea of what is working and what is not for your brand. This is a good way to potentially come across a money making paid ads campaign for your brand. However, at the very least you’ll get some valuable data points to use for other aspects of your business. Also, you’ll develop a testing framework for ideas to see what resonates with your customer base quickly as far as product ideas, marketing messages, specific promotions, etc.
-Include Keywords in Content
You’ll have an easier time ranking a web page on Bing if you highlight the keyword for which you want to rank in your page’s content. Ideally, you should include a web page’s target keyword once in an H1 heading at the top page as well as several other times throughout the rest of the content (max 3-5, although work up to that).
Remember to create content around your target keyword and only add a keyword if it’s useful for your website’s visitors.
-Use Enticing, Clickworthy Title Tags
A low click-through rate (CTR) can prevent your website from ranking high on Bing. In 2010, Bing confirmed the use of organic CTR as a ranking signal. Since then, Bing hasn’t changed its official stance, meaning websites that receive lots of clicks in Bing’s search results will rank higher than sites that receive few or no clicks.
Bing only displays the first 66 characters of a page’s title tag, so you’ll want to stay within this limit to ensure maximum visibility. You can create longer title tags, but Bing will truncate them, resulting in messy and incomplete titles that carry a lower CTR.
Create titles that are useful, engaging and trigger some curiosity. Good titles will grab the search user’s attention, in turn helping you improve rank, traffic and sales. The more viewership (both unique and returning) you get to your site, the more it will improve in Bing Search.
-Build Lots of Quality Backlinks
Google and Bing both use backlinks in their ranking algorithm. Bing’s algorithm, however, places a higher value on this ranking factor than on Google’s algorithm. You’ll achieve more top rankings on Bing by building a strong portfolio of backlinks from many different sources. Avoid purchasing backlinks or using software to mass-produce them.
Any backlinks you create should be natural and organic. Instead, attract backlinks naturally by publishing great content. You can still manually build backlinks on web directories, social media profiles, and other places, but great content is the driving force behind every high-ranking website’s backlink portfolio.
When creating backlinks for your website, don’t be afraid to use your target keyword as the anchor text. Google has cautioned against the overuse of anchor text. But a study conducted by Search Metrics found that more than half of the websites ranking in the top 30 positions on Bing had backlinks featuring their target keyword as the anchor text.
You’ll want to insure you have a good backlink monitoring strategy. That coupled with keyword research is going to bring you to the top. The best tool I’ve found to help with backlink monitoring and keyword research for Bing Search is SEMrush. There are not a lot of tools catering to Bing and this one stands on top.
-Biggest Advantage to Bing SEO
The ability to get a reasonable data set to make some actionable insights around without breaking the bank. With Google Adwords you can spend $100 in 5 minutes before you’ve even had a chance to edit your campaign and remove the pre-configured generic keywords that get added by default. Then you’ll blow through thousands without even getting a reasonable market sample to use. For instance, you get only users from 1pm-3pm because it already racked up $300 in Google Adwords clicks by then.
Compare this to the ability to A/B test multiple scenarios while keeping your daily spend easily in the hundreds of dollars (or less, running some compaigns at max capacity of $30-$50/day currently).
Get profitable data back while keeping your dollars to spend on that actionable data.
Are You Making Any of These Mistakes?
Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t let it get you down. Just do your best to correct the course of your business, and you’ll be much better off. You can find the right budget for your marketing strategy, and you can improve your results. Identify the problem by facing it head-on!