UPDATE: From today (29 June 2009) Facebook pages with 100 fans or more can get their own vanity URL. We need a lot of help so please fan us up on Facebook today
Eoin Kennedy, IIA Vice-chair and Social Media Working Group (SMWG) worker has a great post on his blog about the key activities a company should focus on when setting themselves up on Facebook. This is a checklist that was developed by Matt Matheson of Thinkhouse (and fellow SMWG member) for the SMWG’s recent breakout session at IIA Congress 09. It is well worth checking it out, if only to satisfy yourself that you are doing a few things right.
A new addition to this list could of course be a Facebook vanity URL. A vanity URL is best explained as follows: www.facebook.com/yournameorcompanynamehere. These went live on Saturday and there was a land grab with no small amount of controversy in Ireland anyway. I managed to get my second choice for my personal Facebook page although my name does not seem to be associated with anyone else. I don’t care too much about my own personal brand but I do care about the IIA. The IIA are a real latecomer to the Facebook party and recent changes to how a company can represent themselves and use Facebook have tempted us to get involved. (Oh yes and of course a small matter of a keynote speaker but we didn’t want to seem TOO reactionary!) We also haven’t promoted our Facebook page much yet.
Photo right owned by jasonlam (cc) However I was a little ticked off that we couldn’t secure a vanity url for our Facebook page because we don’t have a 1000 fans! A quick gander at some of our members who have Facebook pages for a LOT longer allows me to feel that my irritation is justified. The Institute of Designers in Ireland, a member organisation too, has a very healthy 260 members at time of writing. Blacknight have 189 fans, the Flowers Made Easy Group has 184 members: I could go on. My point being that not many of these Irish companies groups or pages have 500 fans or members never mind 1000! (Okay so Barry’s Tea have over 3,000 but who doesn’t love a nice cuppa?) How are we going to ensure that we get our vanity URLs, people? The IIA is up against the Iraqi Interim Authority and the Indian Internet Alliance here and some others besides!
So in the vain hope that the powers that be in Facebook might read my humble wee blog post please reconsider and drop the required number of fans to a more realistic 250 fans, even just for Irish online businesses. Otherwise who’s going to pay for all those social ads…?
Of course I’ve just realised what I have to do next: set up a protest group on Facebook – Give Irish businesses vanity urls too or some such.
A guest post from Will Roche who works with IIA Member company Bluecube Interactive with some great tips if you are looking into starting an AdWords Campaign on Google to attract targeted traffic to your site. Will previously worked with Google so he knows a thing or two!
“The noblest search is the search for excellence”
-Lyndon Baines Johnson
Advertising on search engines is one of the most effective methods for driving qualified traffic to your website. Compared to traditional forms of advertising, it is more cost-effective, you can measure performance from the very beginning of the campaign and you will be reaching out to potential customers at the precise time when they are looking for information on products and services they want to buy.
At its very heart, this form of advertising is wonderfully simple – a user sees an ad based upon their search – but there are many factors that you must consider to ensure you don’t pay more than necessary and that the clicks you receive are actually contributing to your profitability.
With this in mind, Bluecube Interactive has created this guide to help you get started in this much-misunderstood area. The advice that follows will help you to lay the foundations but remember, our search team is always available if you need to take your advertising to the next level.
The structure of an AdWords account is vital to achieving a great return on your investment. The right structure will ensure that users are served the most relevant ads at all times and it will make reporting, account navigation and optimisation much easier.
The ideal account structure is one which separates the products and services offered into their own campaigns. A good example would be a company who offers two services – web hosting and web design.
Each service should have its own campaign. This has numerous advantages. For instance, if web hosting is the more prominent service, a greater proportion of the overall marketing budget can be allocated to that campaign. It also makes comparing the cost-per-click performance of both services much easier as you can see at a glance which campaign is driving the most traffic, achieving the most conversions and is providing better value for your business.
Within each campaign, there should be numerous ad groups which group related keyword phrases together that are reflected by specific ad text variations. Examples of ad groups would be:
- web hosting
- website hosting
- UK hosting
- Linux web hosting
The goal should be to make your account as granular as possible and to think about the user who is searching for your keywords. If they are served an ad that relates directly to their search, the user is more likely to click on your ad and convert into a sign-up, lead or sale.
As mentioned previously, keywords should be as specific and targeted as possible and they should relate directly to the ad that the user sees. If a user is searching for product codes or other specific terms, they are likely to be further along the purchasing cycle than those searching for more general terms and therefore, more likely to convert on your website.
General keywords like ‘photocopiers’ or ‘printers’ can be very good for driving large volumes of traffic and can also be beneficial for branding purposes. However you should be aware that general terms are also more expensive and may not lead to the same return on investment that can be achieved with specific keywords.
Another keyword type that you should be aware of is the negative keyword. Almost as important as the keywords which trigger your ads, this type of keyword prevents your ad from showing on irrelevant or unrelated searches. For instance, if your keyword is ‘printers’, this term is liable to be expanded to show for searches like:
- inkjet printers
- laser printers
- free printers
- screen printers
- second hand printers
If your business only sold inkjet printers, you may not want your ads to be displayed for searches on laser printing terms so you could add ‘laser’ as a negative keyword and reduce the amount of irrelevant impressions on your ads. This would result in the same amount of clicks, less impressions, a higher clickthrough rate and because Google’s system rewards highly targeted advertisements, you should see a reduction in your average cost per click.
The actual ad text shown to users searching on your keywords is very important and we recommend using three variations which the AdWords system will rotate evenly until it determines that one variation is performing better than the others.
As mentioned previously, the ad must relate directly to your keywords. It is also very good practice to have the keyword in the ad text itself. If the searched keyword is part of the ad, that text will be highlighted in bold letters and makes your ad stand out to your prospective clients.
Another best practice is to give the user an idea of what you expect them to do once they reach your website and you should certainly use call-to-action phrase to do this. Phrases like ‘order online now’ or ‘contact us today’ can be very effective in driving conversions. If your goal is to have potential leads call your sales team, you may wish to try an ad variation which has your phone number. In this way, you could potentially solicit leads without the need for any chargeable click activity.
Once a user clicks on your ad, the landing page is the next important step in ensuring a strong conversion rate and ROI. More often than not, advertisers use their home page as the destination for their ads but if you have many products or offer different services, you should choose the webpage that is most relevant to the keyword searched and the ad displayed to the user.
It is always worth remembering that more you make a user click, the less likely they are to convert. Generally speaking, if a user is searching for ‘accounting software’, you should bring them to the page with all the relevant information about that software to make their purchase decision. We would also recommend not bringing users directly to ‘contact us’ pages unless those pages contain an adequate amount of information on the product or service itself. Landing pages which only contain large contact forms and no information tend to have very high bounce rates (the amount of users who leave your website) and do not convert very well.
If you are mostly interested in driving phone calls to your sales teams, I would recommend having your contact details and phone number on every page of your website. Once again, this prevents the user from having to navigate your site for the information they require. As with all things related to Google advertising, the focus should always be on the user experience and how you can make their conversion as easy as possible.
About Bluecube Interactive
We are a small company with big ideas, and we have a lot of big ideas about search engine marketing. Our experienced search specialists offer a range of services to ensure the success of your campaigns.
Our Services include:
After researching your existing online environment we will create keyword lists, text ads and calculate your optimum cost-per-click settings to ensure your ads appear on the first page of results for the most relevant searches. Our expertise will ensure detailed campaign performance analysis and increased budgetary control.
One of the key success factors with a PPC campaign is the continuous refinement of keywords and ad texts based upon historic performance. Our specialists can recommend and implement changes that will noticeably improve the performance of your campaigns.
We use traffic analysis software that allows us to see how valuable each keyword really is, if your conversion goals are being met and what we can do to maximise these conversions.
We offer full-time account management services that make us solely responsible for the success of your PPC campaigns. We will discuss your marketing goals, research the online environment for your industry and create the campaigns that will deliver strong results. We also provide regular reporting on account performance and how users are interacting with your website
Our account management service ensures that all areas of your search engine marketing are in the hands of experienced professionals who will be in regular contact with your marketing team.
Damien Mulley is running another innovative competition to find the best Search Engine Optimiser in Ireland. The competition has become known as the Geansaí Gorm Competition. (although I think it is being spelt “geansai gorm” without the accent. I’m sayin nuttin! ) This phrase was chosen so as not to pollute the rankings of actual businesses because it was unlikely that there are many trying to sell geansaithe goirme online (bang goes the Spailpín Fánach’s line in blue jumpers…)
The competition runs until 3pm on December 1 2008 so if you are really good there is still time to get ranked in Google for geansai gorm. I’m really looking forward to seeing the resuls. I’ll be keen to see how much social media helps the winner or whether the purchasing of AdWords helped. I’ll keep you posted on the results.
Now I’m off to sell all the mentions above of geansai gorm to the contenders…
One of the IIA member companies, Prosperity, recently ran an event featuring Martin Bailie from Glue in London. As a picture speaks a thousand words and a moving picture twice that I will allow their four and half minute video to tell you all about it.
“the business has grown to offer an orbital marketing approach which includes: design, branding, direct response promotions, direct mail, TV, radio, press, online and digital. DMA’s focus is always on client results and it is passionate about helping clients get the results they need.”
They’re working on a new site at the moment which I am sure we will hear all about when they launch. You can still find out lots about them and view their creative work in their gallery through a link to their old site.
A big welcome to Vazumo.com, the IIA’s newest member. Vazumo.com is a search engine designed to help you find companies, products and services in a specific location. They also help businesses reach the customers in their area. Vazumo.com charge a flat fee for their service to businesses. They have also recently launched a text service whereby you can text, for example, “newsagent dublin 2″ to 53118 and you will receive information about newsagents in Dublin 2. I know this because Chad Gilmer, one of the directors, sang the jingle down the phone to me! Multi-talented, our members, I tell ye!
The UK’s leading online advertising network, eType, has launched into the Irish market. eType Ireland is a partnership between parent company, Media Initiatives Group (MIG), and Ireland’s largest ‘alternative’ outdoor advertising company, Visualise. And what is one of the first things the newly launched eType Ireland do on their arrival into the Irish market? They join the Irish Internet Association. We’re delighted to have them on board and look forward to their contributions to the Irish online advertising sector. Welcome!
Welcome to the newest members of the IIA vStream Digital Media. vStream create innovative campaigns to connect the brand to the customer, using cutting edge technology and evolving digital platforms. They first came to my attention when Niall O’Driscoll, their creative director, stopped me on Thomas St. to say hello. We had been in primary school together. I had been working in the IIA less than a week and was delighted to meet this childhood friend working in the very same building as I. Not long after that he asked me to help out with their Irish Language voiceovers for the Referendum Commission‘s recent Lisbon Treaty campaign. I was, of course, happy to oblige (how could I refuse a former fellow Gaelscolaire?) and we have a new member as a result.
And before you ask my voiceover rates are available on request.