The Google Digital Garage is a free service that helps you increase your knowledge of all things digital, from websites and tracking to online marketing and beyond. The plan for the day was to cover a range of subjects, designed to help you grow your digital knowledge from Social Media to Search Engines.
The first session was about how to build a digital marketing plan for your business. When I arrived, Julie was talking about how bounce rates have a direct effect on ranking, which creates a need for content to be suited for the customer.
One of the key takeaways was that paid search is typically suited more for small to medium-sized businesses, as you have the ability to reach anybody and be quite specific with your targeting. It was noted that there are huge benefits for organic search, but it can take a lot of time, which most small business owners do not have, particularly when there are many other important parts of running a successful business to focus on. Social media platforms were briefly discussed, although Julie didn’t go into too much detail, due to the following social media strategy session.
One of the most insightful parts of the talk came when Julie talked about content marketing. She recommended that all content pieces follow the same principles; inform, educate, advise and entertain, with a clear note to not sell. All content should be written with the customer/end user in mind, really understanding what they’d want to see. It appears that video content has become a very favourable form of content, although lots of businesses are losing search efficiency by not transcripting videos.
The second session was my favourite of the day. Prab started the session by talking about the need to have clarity when describing your services, and making sure that your proposition is compelling – if neither are currently being adhered too, we need to go back and make sure it’s changed. Prab mentioned that a lot of people misunderstand social media – we should be asking more questions, in order to have 2-way conversations. Social media content shouldn’t always be about you. It’s about understanding your targeting, Prab shared a process that businesses should bare in mind when thinking about social media.
No one is going to engage with your content unless it adds value to them. That means that the content needs to actually get there in the first place – so it’s vital that keywords are thought about when posting content.
It’s handy to also follow your competition on social media; a) So you know what they’re doing b) you might get to know who their clients are. If social media posts are supposed to be driving people to your site, then you need to ensure you use the right link – and then measure.
Prab mentioned that almost every company does not re-share their content. To think that there is only 1 point in the day when your audience is all going to be available is absurd. We should be resharing content daily, and if not weekly, at all different times. If your following is not robust, or you lack on social followers, then it may be worthwhile paying for social ads.
Julie took the session after which focused on getting your business visible on Google mentioning that with CMS’ like Wix you’re reliant on them keeping up to date with technology whereas with WordPress, its continuously at the forefront of the curve, and up to date with the latest trends and hot topics. Google Maps is more important to have set up and to ensure that we focus on attaining reviews from our clients regularly and that all of the information within the Google My Business is correct.
The next session was an introduction to Digital Advertising, we were introduced to the various types of ads we could use to promote our business. Search ads were first introduced, and we were made aware that when thinking about search ads, it was key to understand who our customers were – who they are, where they are, what is important to them. When thinking about the cost of the ad, we need to include the potential lifetime value of a potential customer, as opposed to the initial value of a click. Julie recommended a few different keyword combinations – mainly business type & location with the advice of trying to be as specific as we can. Julie tends to put her keywords within a grid and look to try different combinations of each column.
The keywords are important as they help with targeting, the ad makes them click. It’s also important to set times for ads – when is our audience looking for our type of business?
We then moved onto display ads, which Julie mentioned were mainly to drive brand awareness and traffic to the website. Once again, the process started with understanding the customer, and what websites they visited. You then have to think about making the ad creative ensuring that it is visually appealing with a good message, and then pick a relevant display network.
Our last session looked at knowing your business with data, Prab mentioned that within every company, there needs to be a Google Analytics champion – someone who checks it every week. Prab mentioned that the most important thing for any business is a need to set KPIs – otherwise you cannot measure success. He asked an open question to the floor asking which companies complete surveys regularly, to which very few admitted to doing. He suggested that to get people to complete surveys, we must incentivise them.
Prab mentioned that for B2B businesses, you should have a 50% bounce rate or lower. There is a lot you can do to prevent a high bounce rate – namely by making sure that website content is updated quarterly or every half of the year.
Overall, I had a great day at the Google Digital Garage, learning and discussing digital marketing and social media best practice with small to medium sized business people in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
I must say a big thank you to all the Google Digital Garage Team, and in particular Julie and Prab, for putting on a great day of interesting and insightful sessions, and delivering real business value, advice and tips.
Implementing an effective digital marketing and social strategy is so important in today’s digital era, and your website is the place where the majority of your audience will interact with your business – you must get both right to have an effective online presence.
If you’re uncertain on whether your current website is performing or not, or if your thinking about designing a completely new site, then please be sure to get in touch.