How Google Advertising Is Cost Effective

Google advertising gets a lot of attention in discussions of affordable digital marketing strategies, and with good reason. Even just a few hundred dollars a month (or even less) spent on Google advertising has the potential to earn you profits. Here are the biggest ways Google AdWords allows you to advertise effectively on a budget. 

Google AdWords lets you set an average daily budget.

Every business will have a different budget. Being able to advertise effectively within that budget is vital. Unfortunately, that budget is often very small for small businesses and startups. With regular advertising, a couple hundred dollars would barely be enough to purchase a traditional ad or two. It would never be enough to consistently get your business in front of your target audience.

Google AdWords, however, is different. With Google advertising, you can set your own budget. No minimums are required to start creating ads targeted at your audiences. Instead, you tell Google how much you want to spend every day. Google, in response, will make sure that, over the course of the month, you do not average more than that amount. Want to spend $5 a day? Want to spend $500 a day? Both are possible with Google AdWords. 

Google AdWords lets you set an average monthly budget.

In addition to allowing you to control your budget by letting you set a daily budget, Google advertising also allows you to set a monthly budget. 

As with the daily budget, Google will deliver ads until your monthly budget is met and will try to divide your monthly budget up evenly over the course of the month. For example, if you budget $500 a month, Google will divide 500 by the average number of days in a month, 30.4, and use about $16 a day over the course of the month. 

Google AdWords lets you change your budget anytime.

Choosing a daily or monthly budget for your campaign is easier because Google AdWords lets you change your budget at any time. You can even change your budget for a campaign multiple times a day if you wish. Based on when you change your budget, Google AdWords will immediately implement your changes. 

For example, if you change your daily limit in the middle of the day, Google AdWords will use about 50 percent of the new amount in the afternoon. If you change your budget partway through the month, Google AdWords will spend that average amount on each day that is left in the month. 

Being able to change your budget at any time gives you the opportunity to focus your spending where you see results. For example, if one set of keywords is performing particularly well, you can increase that campaign’s budget. At the same time, you can decrease spending on campaigns that are not yielding desirable results and avoid wasting money on ineffective ads. 

Google AdWords only charges you for results. 

One of the most useful budget-friendly aspects of Google advertising is the fact that Google only charges you for results. Most commonly, you can pay per click. This means that you only pay for your ad when someone clicks on it.

Paying per click is cost-effective because it means you pay for qualified leads. You only pay when someone is interested enough in your ad to find out more about your business. That means you only pay for leads that have a strong chance of becoming conversions. 

Google AdWords offers a number of features that make it a budget friendly and cost effective way to advertise. If you want to find out more about how Google advertising can make the most of your budget, reach out to Distinct Web Design. As a Google Partner, we can answer your questions and offer you the support you need to create an effective campaign. 

Build an Engaged Community With Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing isn’t your average marketing approach. With traditional marketing, you focus on telling people about how your brand can benefit them. Mostly, you have the chance to talk to your target audience about yourself.

Social media marketing doesn’t work that way. Instead, the key to really successful social media marketing is to build communities of people who are engaged with your brand. From there, those communities spread the word about your brand organically and naturally. 

You are going to find that the way to create those communities isn’t actually to talk about yourself all the time. Instead, try these strategies for creating an engaged community through social media marketing. 

Create social media engagement by delivering great content.

One of the goals of social media marketing is to get people talking about your brand. If they are sharing your Facebook posts, retweeting your ideas, commenting on your thoughts, and answering your questions, they are probably also spreading awareness of your brand to their networks. That means you get to enjoy greater brand awareness, and, hopefully, more website visitors and conversions. 

One way to get people to have these conversations is to deliver really great content through social media. We don’t mean going on and on about your latest store remodel or your team’s last team building activity. Remember, it’s not really about you on social media. Instead, great social media content does the following:

  • Solves a problem for your consumer
  • Engages interest
  • Relates to the audience
  • Is interesting to read 
  • Encourages action
  • Demonstrates thought leadership 

Great content, for example, is the difference between listing your funeral bouquet options and posting a first person account of the difference a bouquet made for a someone who lost a loved one. 

Create social media engagement by engaging.

Think of social media as a relationship with your target audience. No relationship can form unless both parties are actively communicating with each other. To that end, you can use social media marketing to build an engaged community by engaging with your target audience yourself.

For example, when people comment on your social media posts, you should take the time to respond thoughtfully. What if they said something nasty? Respond kindly and offer to discuss the issue in private. What if they have a complaint? You definitely need to address it. What if they simply want to add their two cents  to an article or an opinion that you shared? Now is the time to enjoy a conversation around the idea that clearly sparked their interest. The more you engage with your target audience, the more your social media marketing campaign will become the kind of active community you want it to be.

Use social media marketing to build engagement by not talking about yourself. 

We have touched briefly on this already, but one of the keys to building a community with your social media marketing efforts is to not talk about yourself all the time. People will get very bored very quickly if all they hear about is how amazing you think your business is. And don’t even think of pitching your brand every time you comment on someone else’s social media. Not only will you turn people off to your brand, but you might just be asked to keep your comments to yourself. 

Instead, take the time to engage with other people’s thoughts and opinions. And, make sure that what you have to say is valuable and builds up the community of which you are a part. Respond to posts. Retweet other people’s ideas. Share relevant thoughts of your own, and see where the conversation takes you.

Create ways for people to engage with you. 

You can also use social media marketing to build an engaged community by creating ways for your target audience to engage with you.  

For example, polls, contests, and giveaways are great ways to use social media marketing to build engagement with your audiences. People love to give their opinions through polls. They really like to win, and they especially love free stuff. 

Why not offer them a free bouquet when they like your page? Why not run a contest for most creative bouquet and have people post pictures of their entries? The more you invite engagement, the more engagement you are likely to receive.  

Building an engaged community through your social media marketing efforts is a great way to earn the attention you need from your target audience. In order to create this community, you need to deliver great content, engage with your audiences, not talk about yourself all the time, and create ways for people to engage with you. 

If you want help creating this kind of vibrant and effective social media marketing campaign, reach out to Distinct Web Design. We can help you to implement social media marketing efforts that will improve your audience’s perception of and engagement with your brand. 

Mission (Im)Possible? Business Marketing Challenges and Their Solutions

Business marketing is no easy task. You are spending time and money trying to get the attention of your target audience. The problem is that you are competing for that attention with many other businesses. Add in the famously short attention spans of modern consumers, and you can begin to see the challenges of effective business marketing. 

Don’t despair, though. Effective business marketing isn’t Mission:Impossible. With a little help and the right approach, you can overcome many of these challenges and enjoy a more successful marketing campaign. Let’s look at some of the biggest business marketing challenges and how to overcome them. 

Business Marketing Challenge 1: Budget

In one study a couple of years ago, more than a quarter of businesses reported securing enough budget as one of their biggest business marketing challenges. This challenge is particularly acute for small businesses, who often operate under tight financial constraints. When big businesses can afford commercial spots and a barrage of advertisements, how can your business ever catch the fleeting attention of potential customers?

Solution: Adopt digital marketing.

Even the “free” digital marketing strategies (like social media marketing) are not entirely free. However, they are very low-cost, high impact solutions. For example, Google AdWords has a higher click through rate than banner advertising, but allows you to set your own budget. Social media is free to set up and gives you access to entire networks of your target audience. Even small budgets stretch when used in digital marketing. 

Business Marketing Challenge 2: Lead Generation 

In that same study, the biggest business marketing challenge by far was lead generation. Businesses simply were not generating enough leads from their marketing efforts. 

For small businesses, investing limited resources into business marketing and not getting leads in return can spell disaster. You need to see a strong return on your business marketing investment. Otherwise, your marketing budget is wasted and your business continues to limp along (at best) or face closure (at worst). 

Solution: Invest in high-impact business marketing strategies. 

The average click through rate of all banner advertising is only .05 percent. The average click through rate of Google Ads is 3.17 percent for search and .46 percent for display. Go with Google Ads instead of other types of banner ads in order to enjoy the most impact from your marketing efforts. 

A digital marketing company can help you further identify these high-impact advertising opportunities. Once you implement those strategies, you should enjoy more engagement without spending more budget. 

Business Marketing Challenge 3: Differentiation

Business marketing is all about getting your target audience to pay attention to you instead of to your competitors. In order to get that attention, though, you have to be different from your competitors. You have to stand out from the crowd.

Achieving this differentiation in your business marketing can be a challenge. You have to first understand what makes your brand different, then understand how that difference is a good thing for your customers, then communicate that difference in your business marketing. Many companies fail at this task. They end up looking and acting just like everyone else, and potential customers just pass them by. 

Solution: Deliver solutions for target customers.

Your target customers will have specific needs and pain points. Use your business marketing to deliver solutions for these needs. For example, promote your same-day estimates for plumbing work; emphasize the family-owned nature of your plumbing business, or discuss certifications you possess that your competition does not. When people see that you can meet their needs, you will stand out in their minds. 

Business Marketing Challenge 4: Lack of Time

As a business owner, you undoubtedly wear a lot of different hats. As a result, you may struggle to make time for marketing. Business marketing will always require an investment of time. Identifying target audiences, developing and implementing strategies, monitoring progress, testing ads, responding to problems, and more, can easily eat up time. Unless you have that time to put in, your business marketing efforts may fail. 

Solution: Hire help. 

The best way to deal with a lack of time to do business marketing is to hire someone who can help. In particular, consider a digital marketing agency like Distinct Web Design. We can assist you across every aspect of your business marketing, from identifying audiences to implementing campaigns to redesigning your website to tracking your campaign’s success. Because we work with small businesses, we can do all of that for affordable rates that will not break the bank. 

Business marketing can be a challenge. It doesn’t have to be an impossible one, though. Digital marketing offers realistic solutions for almost all of these challenges. Whether you struggle to generate leads or simply can’t find the time to invest in business marketing, digital marketing can help. And so can Distinct Web Design. With expertise, affordability, and experience, we can help you at every stage to overcome the challenges you face and begin earning the leads and conversions your business needs. 

Build an Engaged Community with Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing isn’t your average marketing approach. With traditional marketing, you focus on telling people about how your brand can benefit them. Mostly, you have the chance to talk to your target audience about yourself.

Social media marketing doesn’t work that way. Instead, the key to really successful social media marketing is to build communities of people who are engaged with your brand. From there, those communities spread the word about your brand organically and naturally.

You are going to find that the way to create those communities isn’t actually to talk about yourself all the time. Instead, try these strategies for creating an engaged community through social media marketing.

Create social media engagement by delivering great content.

One of the goals of social media marketing is to get people talking about your brand. If they are sharing your Facebook posts, retweeting your ideas, commenting on your thoughts, and answering your questions, they are probably also spreading awareness of your brand to their networks. That means you get to enjoy greater brand awareness, and, hopefully, more website visitors and conversions.

One way to get people to have these conversations is to deliver really great content through social media. We don’t mean going on and on about your latest store remodel or your team’s last team building activity. Remember, it’s not really about you on social media. Instead, great social media content does the following:

  • Solves a problem for your consumer
  • Engages interest
  • Relates to the audience
  • Is interesting to read
  • Encourages action
  • Demonstrates thought leadership

Great content, for example, is the difference between listing your funeral bouquet options and posting a first person account of the difference a bouquet made for a someone who lost a loved one.

Create social media engagement by engaging.

Think of social media as a relationship with your target audience. No relationship can form unless both parties are actively communicating with each other. To that end, you can use social media marketing to build an engaged community by engaging with your target audience yourself.

For example, when people comment on your social media posts, you should take the time to respond thoughtfully. What if they said something nasty? Respond kindly and offer to discuss the issue in private. What if they have a complaint? You definitely need to address it. What if they simply want to add their two cents  to an article or an opinion that you shared? Now is the time to enjoy a conversation around the idea that clearly sparked their interest. The more you engage with your target audience, the more your social media marketing campaign will become the kind of active community you want it to be.

Use social media marketing to build engagement by not talking about yourself.

We have touched briefly on this already, but one of the keys to building a community with your social media marketing efforts is to not talk about yourself all the time. People will get very bored very quickly if all they hear about is how amazing you think your business is. And don’t even think of pitching your brand every time you comment on someone else’s social media. Not only will you turn people off to your brand, but you might just be asked to keep your comments to yourself.

Instead, take the time to engage with other people’s thoughts and opinions. And, make sure that what you have to say is valuable and builds up the community of which you are a part. Respond to posts. Retweet other people’s ideas. Share relevant thoughts of your own, and see where the conversation takes you.

Create ways for people to engage with you.

You can also use social media marketing to build an engaged community by creating ways for your target audience to engage with you.

For example, polls, contests, and giveaways are great ways to use social media marketing to build engagement with your audiences. People love to give their opinions through polls. They really like to win, and they especially love free stuff.

Why not offer them a free bouquet when they like your page? Why not run a contest for most creative bouquet and have people post pictures of their entries? The more you invite engagement, the more engagement you are likely to receive.

Building an engaged community through your social media marketing efforts is a great way to earn the attention you need from your target audience. In order to create this community, you need to deliver great content, engage with your audiences, not talk about yourself all the time, and create ways for people to engage with you.

If you want help creating this kind of vibrant and effective social media marketing campaign, reach out to Distinct Web Design. We can help you to implement social media marketing efforts that will improve your audience’s perception of and engagement with your brand.

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A Research Psychologist, a Covert Experiment, and a Failure to Understand How Search Engines Work

Robert Epstein, Senior Research Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, is creeped out by Google. He finds the giant’s ability to gather information on users and employ that information to deliver tailored online experiences and ads to be disturbing. 

Google, he says in an article for tech-focused website Hackernoon, “is actually one of the most rapacious and deceptive companies ever created.”

With that less than objective perspective, Mr. Epstein set out in 2016 to test the search engine’s ability to deliver unbiased content surrounding the hottest button topic of the year: The upcoming Presidential elections. 

He carried out his test by launching a secretive project to build and employ a tool for watching over users’ shoulders as they conducted Internet searches. Using a team of “field agents” who agreed to have this program run on their computers as they conducted searches using election-themed search terms, he tried to determine if Google, Yahoo, and Bing showed any bias toward one candidate or another. 

Mr. Epstein claims that he did uncover signs of bias in the search results. What it appears he did instead was make two fundamental errors in his approach. 

Mr. Epstein’s Findings

Mr. Epstein used covert methods (including obtaining funding through someone he described as a “mysterious man from Central America” and obtaining field agents to run the test through a black hat group specializing in Facebook ads) to develop his project. 

The project consisted of creating a computer program that would download and preserve the first page of the search results that appeared on the computers of the projects’ field agents. The program would also open and preserve the first 10 search results on these pages. The project ran for the six months leading up to the 2016 election. 

Mr. Epstein claims to have found evidence of pro-Clinton bias in these results, enough bias to swing what he estimates to be 2 million votes in her direction. Biased results were defined as higher ranked results that “connected to web pages that made one candidate look better than the other .”  Here is a summary of his findings:

  • Pro-Clinton search results even when slightly pro-Trump search terms were used.
  • Top 10 search results favoring Clinton in the month leading up to the election
  • Twice as much pro-Clinton bias on Google as on Yahoo
  • Gmail users receiving zero results that were biased

Mr. Epstein’s First Mistake.

These results may seem damning at first. However, let’s take a closer look at Mr. Epstein’s approach. First, Mr. Epstein made the mistake of limiting his field agents. He was extremely concerned about secrecy, so much so that he limited participants to those who were willing to use the Firefox browser and who did not have Gmail accounts (except for a few Gmail users whom he employed as controls). 

His concern? That Google would catch wind of the project and change its search results accordingly. So obsessed was he with avoiding Google’s attention that he discarded all of his data from the Bing search engine because everyone who used that search engine during the project had a Gmail account. 

While this might seem to be a wise move if you are already convinced that your search engine is out to influence your search results, what probably happened is that Mr. Epstein skewed his own results. 

It is well-known that search results differ among browsers. Results may differ among browsers in part because different demographics tend to use different browsers. The search engines will return results optimized for individual browsers. The result? Mr. Epstein’s field agents received Firefox-specific results. It is possible that many Firefox users are Democratically inclined and the search engines returned Clinton-friendly results in order to cater to its audience’s preferences. 

In addition, by limiting his participants only to Gmail users, and to those willing to respond to black hat advertisements for a secretive project, Mr. Epstein restricted his ability to get a look at how search engines respond to a wide array of users. In fact, he took Google’s lack of “biased” search results toward Gmail users as a sign that Google had snooped in their email, caught wind of the project, and delivered “unbiased” results to muddy the waters. 

As a result, instead of counting those results in his analysis, he used his own preconceived ideas about Google as an excuse to throw out data that may have contradicted the conclusion he ultimately came to. In essence, he biased the results of his own project by refusing to account for all the data he received. 

Mr. Epstein’s Second Mistake 

Mr. Epstein’s second fundamental error was to assume that the search engines’ job is to return unbiased search results, and that those search results should be the same from user to user. Instead, when deciding which search results to show you, Google, and other search engines, take many factors into consideration. These factors include previous sites you visited, past purchases, past reviews, your location, and so forth. Even the device you use (mobile vs. desktop) can influence which results search engines show you. 

In fact, the search engines’ goal is not to return unbiased or identical results. Their goal is to return the results that are most relevant and useful to each individual user. A user, for example, with a history of visiting gun rights websites or purchasing a gun might receive results that lean toward candidates who support gun rights. A user whose history shows opposite leanings might receive search results leaning toward political candidates who support greater gun control. 

In addition, Google bases search results on prevailing trends and the leanings of certain demographics. For example, if most people in an area are searching for and clicking on links related to negative discussions about Trump, the search engine is more likely to return those kinds of results when it sees that the user is in that area. 

Mr. Epstein noted demographic differences in his study. In particular, he saw that pro-Clinton search results appeared primarily to “decided voters, males, the young, and voters in Democratic states.” Some of these demographics, particularly the young and those in Democratic states, were naturally going to prefer Clinton-friendly results. The fact that the search engines gave them these results is a sign that the search engines were doing their job, not trying to swing voters one way or another. 

Mr Epstein’s study is a fascinating look at how technology can be used to monitor search results. What it is not, however, is a look at how search engines are swaying votes. Instead Mr. Epstein biased his own results by throwing out data, limiting project participants, and overlooking some fundamental principles of how search engines work. 

Search engines want to deliver customized results to users, and since those results make it easier to find the information we want online, we want them to keep up the good work. 

If you want to learn more about how search engines work, and how you can get them to work for you, reach out to Distinct Web Design. We can help you use SEO and digital marketing to advance your own business goals.