AdWords is a great way to market your business and drive traffic to your website. Unfortunately, when not executed correctly, it can also be a huge drain on your marketing budget. This is especially true if AdWords is your principal marketing method.

If you want to launch an AdWords campaign and are expecting a big ROI, you are going to have to manage that campaign. What follows is a list of the things you need to pay particular attention to if you want your AdWords campaign to be successful and cost-effective.

  1. Keyword Matches. Picking the wrong keyword match type is a surefire way to obtain poor results. There are three keyword match types-broad, phrase and exact. Each type will produce different conversion rates and search values so you must do your research before choosing which type is best for your purposes.
  2. Negative Keywords. Targeting keywords is only one part of the AdWords equation. Using negative keywords will save money on clicks that have no chance of converting. Your ads also will receive better quality scores and enjoy higher click-through rates.
  3. Landing Pages. If your ad gets people to your landing page your work has just begun. In order to convert, your landing page needs a great headline, a clear call-to-action and compelling copy. It also must be mobile-friendly. If your landing page doesn’t contain all of these elements, it won’t matter how successfully your ads are performing.
  4. Product Pages. If you are a jewelry store sending someone looking for pearl earrings to your home page you are very likely to lose that sale. Direct matches are your best chance to convert sales. Failing to do so is a costly mistake that can be easily avoided.
  5. A/B Testing. When it comes to your ad copy and landing pages, you must always be testing. No matter how successful your ad copy or landing page currently is, it can always be more successful. Many people are surprised to learn how just a slight change to a landing page can drive up conversion rates. It also is important to keep in mind that you are not testing just for the sake of testing. Instead, you want to use your results so that you have the correct data and analysis to support any changes.

An AdWords campaign can do wonders for your business but only if it is well executed. While a successful AdWords campaign is never a sure thing, paying attention to the most crucial aspects of your campaign will greatly increase the likelihood of its success.

The holidays are right around the corner and everyone is full of good cheer. Well, maybe not everyone. If you are a small business owner it can be difficult to find a work – life balance between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

Small business owners are well aware of the fact that if they aren’t working they aren’t making money – and may be losing customers. They also are (or should be) aware that if they don’t take a break from the stresses of work from time to time, they won’t be able to perform the way they need to. They also may regret not spending enough time with friends and family.

So what’s a business owner to do? Here are some tips for achieving balance during the holiday season:

  1. Get organized. Set up meetings and calls with clients but also make sure you schedule time for non-work related activities. This reduces stress because you can be fully present no matter if you are at work or at play because you aren’t neglecting either.
  2. Communicate with clients. Letting your clients know in advance what your availability will be over the holidays goes a long way toward making the holidays go more smoothly. The fact is, most of your clients don’t want to be in work mode throughout the holiday season so they would like to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible, as well. The simple act of telling clients when you will be open for business will allow them to plan ahead and reassure them that you are taking care of business.
  3. When you work, work hard. We’re all guilty of wasting time on social media or checking our emails more than necessary during the workday. To ensure you are as productive as possible, don’t try to sneak in online holiday shopping while at the office, for example. You also should work at times when you are the most productive. If you are a morning person, for example, go into the office as early as possible and get as much work done as you can before noon and then leave. Working at full speed all morning and then leaving early makes much more sense than staying all day but taking breaks or getting distracted and wasting time.

The holidays should be the most wonderful time of the year. By making sure that you achieve the right balance between what you need to do and what you want to do, it will stay that way. The key is to plan in advance so you don’t find yourself stressed on all fronts.

As the year-end approaches, it is a good time to reflect on what marketing methods have proven most effective over the course of the past year. With B2B lead generation marketing budgets expected to increase by approximately 5 percent in 2018, it is important to know which techniques are working so that you know where to invest your marketing dollars.
So what were the clear winners in 2017 when it came to B2B lead generation tactics? Read on to find out and to learn more about how these tactics can help make 2018 your business’s most successful year ever.

  1. Content Marketing. It seems cliche by now but content really is king. Well-written content that connects, educates and inspires its readers will establish you as a thought leader in your industry. It also will do wonders for your SEO ranking so people can find you online. Finally, it will increase the number of prospects who reach out to you instead of the other way around. What’s best? The cost-per-lead is very reasonable.
  2. Email Marketing. Email marketing continues to be a force unlike any other in the world of lead generation. Part of its appeal is its versatility. Use it to promote your blog, sales event or just to connect with customers and prospects. Make sure it includes a killer call – to – action and there is virtually no end to the success you can achieve with this type of marketing. In fact, email marketing has been shown to be one of the best ways to nurture leads.
  3. Pay-Per-Click. One key to making PPC work harder for you is to make sure that all of your ads don’t end up on the same landing page. With separate landing pages for each keyword, your PPC campaign can be even more successful at converting sales. Just make sure that your landing page copy matches the initial search.
  4. Social Media Marketing. This technique is proof that it pays to be patient. If you keep with it over the long haul, your social media efforts are very likely to pay off in the form of new leads. Consider this: In 2017, the third leading source of visits to websites originated from social media platforms. With almost 75 percent of internet users on social media, it is easy to see how lucrative social media marketing can be in terms of lead generation.

If you are a business that doesn’t have an endless amount of time and money (and what business does?), deciding which leads to pass on and which ones to pursue can have a huge effect on your bottom line. After all, if you are fairly certain a lead is going nowhere, there is no sense wasting your time on that lead. Conversely, failing to follow up with a lead that seems to be very interested can mean the loss of a big sale.

It would be nice if all leads fit neatly into two categories – dead ends and certain to convert – but that’s not how it is. In many cases, a lead seems like it could go either way. As a result, you don’t feel comfortable tossing any lead aside but by the same token you are worried about wasting too much time when you don’t know if a lead will convert.

Fortunately, there are some ways you can approach leads to better gauge their potential before you decide whether or not to pursue them.

  1. Carefully track all leads. It is important to meticulously track all leads that come to your website. This can be done by using marketing automation software or simply providing a place for visitors to enter their information.
  2. Incentivize leads. Many people are leery of giving out their information unless their interest is really piqued. Offer white pages on different topics and you will know what your leads are looking for.
  3. Reach out periodically. If you have information on a lead, follow up periodically so that you can find out if they will take the bait. For example, call or email just enough that if they are interested they will welcome your interest but not so much that you become annoying.
  4. Continue your content marketing efforts. Content is still king. The more interesting and useful the content you publish, the more likely it is that a lead that was on the fence will decide to finally make a decision to engage with you.
  5. Use ads. When ads are used with marketing campaigns or other outbound lead generation efforts, leads may opt in after a while.

It is important that you engage with leads so that you can always have the chance to convert them. But the truth is, sometimes a softer approach is the best way to reel in leads that are on the fence.

Digital marketing is no longer optional for small businesses. Instead, digital marketing can literally make or break a small business.

While many small businesses still staunchly believe that their business can thrive without digital marketing, this is simply not true. From social media to online reviews to local online searches, you either adopt digital marketing or you face extinction.

Talk to small businesses owners who are resisting digital marketing tactics and you often will discover an individual who is overwhelmed at the idea of going digital. Most of them will tell you that they simply don’t believe that they have the time to learn about every digital platform, nor can they afford to effectively market on all of these platforms.

The good news is that there is no need to “do it all” when it comes to digital. Instead, the key is to develop a marketing strategy that allows a business to do only what makes the most sense for their business. Of course, there are a few things that a small business must do in this digital age.

The first thing that a small business must do is to optimize their business website for local searches. After all, if you are a hair salon in Columbus, Ohio, there is no reason to try to attract customers from across the country.

The key to getting noticed locally is to optimize title tags and meta-descriptions on your website so that they include the name of your city or town. You also need to make sure that you are listed on leading directories like Google My Business and Yelp. Many small businesses are surprised to learn that local businesses are what are found on the first pages of these types of directories. The key is to make sure that your information is always accurate.

The second thing to keep in mind is that your website must be optimized for mobile. If people search for your business on your phone and your website isn’t set up for mobile that will make it difficult to read and navigate, causing users to quickly move on to the next listing. When this happens, you don’t just lose a customer, your ranking on search engines drops.

Finally, don’t just optimize your business for local searches and then make sure your website is mobile-friendly. You always must be checking to see that anything you are doing online-email marketing, for example-is producing the results you want it to produce. If it isn’t you must try something new. After all, marketing dollars are scarce so you can’t afford to waste them on digital tactics that aren’t working.

Most business people consider themselves well-mannered, even if they have never picked up a copy of Emily Post’s Etiquette: In Society, In Business, In Politics and At Home. After all, how hard is it to remember to chew with your mouth closed?

There is probably no need for you to pour over any etiquette books but if you are going to host or be a guest at a business dinner, there are some basic rules you need to follow. While it’s true that social functions and interactions are more relaxed than they were in years past, there are still some guidelines you need to adhere to.

  1. Be punctual. If you are a guest, show up a few minutes early. If you are a host, arrive no later than 15 minutes before dinner is scheduled to begin.
  2. Dress for the occasion. Since you are attending a business dinner, dress as you would for any type of business meeting.
  3. Silence your phone. Don’t just turn your phone off, keep your phone off the table and out of site.
  4. Shake hands. Give everyone a quick handshake and short greeting when they arrive. If you are the host, make sure everyone has been greeted before you sit down. If you are a guest, wait for your host to sit and then sit at the same time.
  5. Fill everyone’s glasses. Before you pour water for yourself, always fill up the glasses of everyone else at the table.
  6. Tread carefully when it comes to alcohol. Do not be the first one to order alcohol and only order it if your host does. You also should limit yourself to one drink. If there are people in attendance who you think would be uncomfortable with alcohol being served abstain.
  7. Mind your manners. While no one is going to be judging your every move, make sure you know the basic rules of etiquette. Elbows off the table, napkin on your lap while eating, etc.
  8. Order and eat smart. Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu, don’t order anything messy (ribs are a no-no) and always wait for the host to begin eating before you start. You also should avoid eating too fast.
  9. Don’t fight over the bill. If you are a guest, simply thank your host for the dinner and if you are the host, politely decline anyone who offers to pay.

Business dinners are not everyone’s cup of tea. Knowing the basic guidelines will help make sure that these meals go as smoothly as possible.

Business-to-business marketing differs in many ways to business-to-consumer marketing. While in both cases you are selling a product or service to another person, that is where the similarities end.
Despite this fact, many B2B marketers write their content in much the same way they would write B2C content. If you are looking to improve the ROI of your B2B marketing strategy, it is important that you take a hard look at your content and make the necessary adjustments so it is more B2B-friendly.
Here are some ways you can tailor your content in such a way that it speaks to specifically to a B2B audience.

  1. Ditch the hard sell. B2C copy can afford to take more of a hard sell approach but businesses don’t want someone to tell them that they know their business better than they do. Instead, outline how your product or service will help to solve a problem.
  2. Remember that less is more. While you should explain the benefits of what you are offering, don’t go into excruciating detail about every aspect of what you are selling. Remember, you want to entice them to contact you to learn more.
  3. Keep it professional. Keep in mind that anything you write could land in the hands of CEOs and the tone of your content represents your business. Get too casual and you might come off as unprofessional. While it is fine to be conversational, make sure you don’t sound glib.
  4. Mind your headline. Headlines for B2C articles and blog posts can get away with being dramatic. B2B readers are not as impressed by over-the-top headlines. Instead opt for a more straightforward approach that highlights a current topic in the industry or that addresses a specific need.
  5. Use the correct terminology. Don’t write about topics you haven’t thoroughly researched. Nothing will damage the credibility of your brand more than writing on topics that you aren’t familiar with.
  6. Include an effective call-to-action. Don’t assume your readers will know what to do once they’ve read your content. Do you want them to subscribe to your newsletter? Visit your website for more information? Download an eBook? Make sure you tell them. And don’t bury your call-to-action either. Make sure it is big and bold and can’t be missed.

Writing B2B copy and writing B2C copy involves different tactics. Make sure you are aware of those tactics so your content will do all it can for your brand.

If you are a B2B marketer, you are likely always on the lookout for news ways to fill your sales funnel. After all, lead generation is the lifeblood of any business.
While most articles on the latest trends in marketing usually hit around the New Year, we thought we would mix things up a little and do a mid-year assessment of what are the hottest trends in B2B marketing right now. After all, things change quickly in the marketing world so it is important to know how to best promote your B2B brand throughout the year.

  1. Channel Integration. It is always tempting to focus on individual channels that seem to work well for your B2B brand. However, integration of channels can do wonders for your brand. No longer does it make sense to spend all of your marketing dollars on email marketing, for example. Savvy B2B marketers understand the importance of integrating email marketing with web optimization and social media-or whatever combination works best for their particular brand.
  2. Personalization. Individual interactions are all the rage. Providing seamless, unique experiences for customers that is both user-specific and time-sensitive leads to huge bumps in ROI.
  3. Account-Based Marketing. Account-based marketing involves getting more personalized information from users. The more personal information you can get from users, the better you can customized their experiences which means they will remain on your website longer and visit it more often.
  4. Video, Video and More Video. If text or video are both available on a website, most people will click on the video. The options with video are virtually endless. You can livestream from a tradeshow, perform product demonstrations, give behind-the-scenes tours of your business and much more. This is all in addition to posting straightforward brand videos and client testimonials.
  5. Content Marketing. This is certainly not a new trend but its popularity continues to grow. B2B companies benefit greatly from content marketing because B2B buyers have a longer sales journey than B2C buyers. That means B2B customers have more time to pour over content which will allow them to make the best buying decision. It also means you need to constantly work on upping your content marketing game.

No matter what you think about the latest marketing trends, one thing is for sure, there has never been more ways to connect with customers and prospects. The key is to find a few of the trends you know you can excel at and work hard to take full advantage of them.

Content is king. But that doesn’t mean that every piece of content is worth its weight in gold.

While you should never publish a piece of content you are not satisfied is well written and connects, educates and inspires your target audience-that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to miss the mark once in a while. However, if your content strategy seems to be consistently falling flat, you need to take a hard look at what is going wrong and find ways to fix it.

Here are some telltale signs you need to overhaul your content marketing strategy:

  1. Lack of traction. Relationship building is an essential part of content marketing and that takes time. However, if your website never gets views and no one is sharing your content, it’s time to make some changes.
  2. Hidden website. While being at the top of search engine result pages is the ultimate goal of every business, slowly climbing up those pages is what tells you that you are moving in the right direction. If you continue to always languish in the same (low) spot, you need to figure out why.
  3. Stagnant social. Are people liking you on Facebook? Retweeting your Tweets? If there isn’t a lot of activity on your social media sites then your posts clearly aren’t doing their job.
  4. Failure to engage. Valuable content means that visitors will stay on your site for longer periods of time. You also will see a lower bounce rate.
  5. Nothing stands out. Again, not every piece of content is going to be a homerun (although it shouldn’t strike out, either) but periodically you should have a piece of content that hits it out of the park. When a piece of content really creates a buzz around your website you are on the right track. If there is never any buzz, it is time to mix things up so that you can create some.

In some cases, a lackluster content marketing strategy will require a major overhaul. In other cases there are simple fixes that will drastically improve things. These include figuring out how to differentiate yourself from the competition or merely doing a better job of promoting your content.

Chances are if you own a small business you are using social media to market your brand, as well as the products and services you provide. After all, social media is one of the best methods to connect with customers and prospects without breaking the bank.

Unfortunately, many small businesses reach a point where they feel as if they have done all that they can when it comes to social media. They enjoy a good following and are able to interact with customers and prospects on a fairly regular basis. The truth is, however, that social media’s reach is truly endless and no matter how much success you are currently enjoying, you can always achieve more.

So how can you kick it up a notch when it comes to your social media? What follows are some tips to expand your reach, increase your number of followers and, as a result, improve your lead generation efforts and overall sales.

  1. Up your posting game. Posting consistently on your social media sites is imperative to your success. Sporadic posting just won’t cut it. Review what you are posting, as well. It can be easy to fall into the trap of just slapping up a post to say you posted. As difficult as it may be, aim for making every post better than the last.
  2. Always be analyzing. Learn from your successes and failures on social media. Always track your posts to determine what worked best and what didn’t work. Use this knowledge to tailor future posts. It also is a good idea to analyze what your competitors are posting and how many likes, shares, etc. they are seeing. Are there topics they are focusing on that you aren’t? Give those same topics a try.
  3. Make sure your visuals really enhance your posts. It is well-known that pictures and videos increase engagement – but only if they are compelling. Make sure any picture or video you post is pertinent to the content it accompanies.
  4. Join the club. Join communities but be careful about promoting your product. If someone asks a question, you can share a solution but straight out selling is a no-no. Many small businesses wonder what the benefit of joining communities is if they can’t sell to these communities. Two words: relationship building.

Social media is one of the most inexpensive ways to market your business. Make sure you are taking full advantage of it by always looking for ways to do things better!