PRCA launches World of Media event series for 2019

As the PR and Communications industry continues to change shape and develop, the PRCA Northwest and Yorkshire committee have developed an event format that presents the three main areas of distribution effecting engagement – Digital, Print and Broadcast.

The first of these free to attend events takes place on February 28th and will be hosted by music journalist and singer John Robb. The venue will be the Marriot AC Hotel beginning at 6pm and finishing at 8pm. This event has a particular focus on digital media, providing various debates on the current and future landscape along with the chance to network and pitch your own stories.

The debates will have panellists from various digital media companies including LadBible, BBC and Manchester Evening News. The format for the debates can be seen below:

  • the changing media landscape
  • what are the influencers and future trends.
  • how PR can better engage with the media (and vice versa)
  • share thoughts on topics/stories of interest

If you’re looking to attend the Print focused event, this will take place on April 4th. Further information to be announced.

To secure a place please email :


enjoy! will be exhibiting at Marketing Show North this year.

“In business, as in life, no one gets married on a first date…”

Adjusting your marketing to how people really buy

Whenever I’m asked after events, or at meetings, which of the strategies we implement has the most profound effect on marketing results it’s this: As a business you need to align your marketing and sales funnel with the way that people now buy…

When people ‘do’ anything the process involves a series of psychological changes, steps even, that take them from their initial perception or thought through to an action or, in a customer’s case, to a purchase.

Those stages are;

Indifference Awareness Consideration Preference Intention Action (Purchase / Re purchase)

“By not leveraging these psychological steps that people go through during this buying process businesses are leaving huge amounts of profit on the table…”

Advertising isn’t working as well as it used too!

The reason that traditional advertising is less effective nowadays is due in the main part to the fact that consumers are now much more in control of the buying process. Due to factors such as 4G, smart phones, Google and social media they are searching, reviewing, analysing and educating themselves much earlier in the sales process than they have ever been able to before.

As a business you MUST adjust your marketing and sales funnel to match this change.

Your initial challenge is this; your business must be there for them to find in the ‘awareness’ stage, when they are searching and reviewing solutions to their problem or needs.

And therein lies your second challenge: During this stage they are not looking for you, your products or your services but simply searching for a solution to a specific problem, want or need…

So as well as being there during the ‘awareness’ stage you must be looking to simply start the engagement process NOT pushing for a sale. In a B2B environment, this can be achieved with something as simple as a download or article (such as this!) and in B2C look to use free samples, trials or deliver educational, or even simple inspirational, content.

This FREEMIUM model approach creates three key advantages for your business over your competitors: Firstly you start to position yourself as a trusted, and ‘likeable’ source; secondly, you automatically create a lead generative approach to your marketing that will increase your enquiry levels dramatically; and thirdly, by simply getting them to ‘do’ something you will have started the first step to a committed relationship with your potential customer or Client, that is 20% more likely to end in a sale (something psychologists call Completion Bias).

In short, a few simple adjustments in the way you market your business will enhance your current engagement levels, increase leads and ultimately boost sales conversions.


Honeycomb Analytics will be exhibiting at Marketing Show North this year.

Andrew Wiseman looks at the contextual flaws in comparison data.

For the first time in a few weeks, I found myself in London on Friday the other week, and whilst riding the escalators at Euston tube station, I was drawn to the new advertising campaign from the self-styled ‘Punks’ of the craft beer industry, BrewDog. Under the advertising slogan ‘Your Call’, the advertisement compared ratings of BrewDog’s flagship Punk IPA with a number of mainstream lager brands. The comparisons, obtained using data from showed ‘how much better’ Punk IPA was versus brands including Carling and Peroni, according to users of the site.

Now for a data nerd and craft beer lover, this seemed like an ideal opportunity to spend the day browsing Ratebeer’s website – all in the name of research, you understand? I’ve seen enough of BrewDog’s advertising over the years to know that they are intentionally provocative, however on this occasion, I found the comparisons to be genuinely unfair.

Firstly, if we compare the style of beers on test here: Budweiser and Carling are classified as pale lagers and Peroni as a premium lager. Meanwhile, Punk is classified as an IPA. When looking at alcohol content, we also see differences: At the low end is Carling at 4%, then Budweiser at 5%, Peroni at 5.1% and Punk coming in highest at 5.6%

So, in the spirit of fairness, I decided to look at three other beers that could be equally compared – and based this on location of origin (UK), style (American Pale / IPA) with ABV’s of 5.4% to 5.9%. The results make for different reading:

First up is Siren’s Soundwave, an IPA that comes in at 5.6% ABV. It’s not as widely available as BrewDog’s near ubiquitous offering, but it is a supermarket beer if you shop at Waitrose. Next up, I’ve chosen Magic Rock’s High Wire, a 5.5% American Pale Ale, which on a recent visit was on the shelves in my local M&S. Lastly, I’ve chosen Beavertown’s flagship American Pale Ale, Gamma Ray, again, coming in at 5.4% ABV. Now, BrewDog might claim that as Beavertown in now part-owned by Heineken, the comparison becomes unfair, but it’s distribution growth as part of this deal will make it the most similar competitor on the high street in the next year.

The results generated when using what I consider a more genuine competitive set make for interesting reading:

1st: Beavertown Gamma Ray – 98/100

2nd =: Siren Soundwave – 97/100

2nd =: BrewDog Punk IPA – 97/100

4th: Magic Rock High Wire – 93/100

With this set of more relevant competitors, the newsworthiness of BrewDog’s headline is hugely diminished. Further, a quick look at BrewDog’s current lager offering, Kingpin, we see a rating of 33 – of course, still far above the mainstream brands, but certainly less of a headline maker.

Don’t get me wrong, BrewDog are in no way alone in using data to try and gain competitive advantage (some might say it’s the definition of marketing!). If we trawl through different offers on any of the insurance comparison sites we quickly see a huge range of prices for what is essentially the same thing (or at least your inputs are the same) – but once you factor in compulsory and voluntary excesses, provision of hire cars and so on, the choice is not quite as simple as it first appeared.

So what should we make of such comparisons? As ever, there’s nothing wrong with them per se but the context, in this case why BrewDog picked a less-appealing set of competitors for their campaign, needs to be taken into account to draw real comparisons. And with that, I’m off for a beer. Cheers!

Weekend away with your work colleagues – forced fun or real fun?

ICG will be exhibiting at the Marketing Show North this year.

Well being out of the workplace – a recipe for teamwork and creativity.

Waking up to the Spanish sun rising above the palm-tree fringed sea you’d think I was on holiday far away from the daily routine.

But then I spied our Digital Project Manager heading off for a jog on the streets below and bumped into our Creative Director outside the hotel lift as he contemplated a run.

For myself, I was sure that a swim in the unheated outdoor pool would weave some Spanish magic over what threatened to be a niggling day-long headache.

It’s fair to say that we had all indulged the night before but there’s much more to our annual post Christmas getaway than over indulgence.

Our annual weekend away is a much-anticipated part of ICG’s family calendar. There are memories that have been created in Prague, London, Edinburgh, Bruges, Chester and Madrid that are priceless. We have a family album just like any other – many familiar faces that certainly looked a lot younger 10 years ago!

For the new kids on the block it’s a great icebreaker while the old guard reflect on another great weekend over breakfast in the hotel dining room.

The trip works wonders for people getting to know each other, especially if their paths don’t cross at other times. It fosters communication and teamwork that are essential for the successful running of an integrated agency.

People are not frightened to ask for help, chew the fat over some creative or chuck in a throw-away comment that bounces off someone else to become a cracking key message.

It’s part of the same spirit that last year saw ICG become relay team winners at the Cheshire Triathlon and why everyone’s birthdays are celebrated with home-made cakes.

Inspiring creativity and sharing ideas and insights is vital for our business. If a weekend away in January galvanises this ethos then it’s money well spent and paid back a thousand times. And, we do genuinely enjoy ourselves.

Julie Hackett is a PR Manager for ICG, which won Best Small Agency at the Northern Marketing Awards 2018.


enjoy! will be exhibiting at Marketing Show North this year.

As a standalone medium, traditional advertising has had its day.

Not because the media has changed, but because the way consumers purchase has changed dramatically over the last ten years. Because of the advent of 4G, mobiles, tablets, Google and Facebook, people are now searching for, discussing and researching products and services way before they are ready to buy. Traditional advertising was all about preaching to the converted. In this modern social-digital world consumers are preaching and converting themselves!

The Behavioural Selling Model™ we implement for Clients aligns with the paradigm shift in consumer buying habits…

Supporting our model are a number of key human and behavioural triggers that, when implemented, can have a major difference to the returns you will see from your marketing activity. The ones that have the biggest impact we call Performance Enhancers. Some of our favourites are below –

Freemium: Give your product away for free

Marketing is simply about relationship development and building trust in your product or service to the extent that your customer is comfortable enough to swap their hard-earned cash for them. The quickest way to do this is via sampling opportunities where you take all the initial risk.

Some of the biggest barriers to purchase include fear of loss, mistake making, security, and change itself. By adding a ‘free’ element to your initial customer offering, you will see up to a 5X increase in the number of potential customers you can generate.

Compound Selling: Only ever analyse your ROI by marginal net worth

Welcome to the bigger picture. Your marketing spend must always be evaluated based upon the initial revenue generated AND the potential income during the purchasing lifetime of your customer; Marginal Net Worth. Just like with compound interest on savings the real profit is in the back end. Emotional triggers such as procrastination, consistency bias and a desire for self-belonging means customers are likely to return over and over again if you can meet their emotional needs.

Consider acquiring customers initially at break-even or even at a loss! Understanding marginal net worth allows you to out-market, outperform and outsell your competitors.

Membership Economy: Create ‘repeat buying’ platforms within your business

Your perfect customer evolution should be to convert a prospect to a customer, through to a fan, and finally to a ‘member’: someone who spends a set amount with you, repeatedly, over and over again. ‘Membership’ / Repeat Payment Platforms will allow your business to scale quickly across all your customer demographics and additionally tap into the millennial mind set.

To understand the full economics of a Repeat Payment Platform, think Amazon Prime, Denplan, gym membership, Netflix and Spotify.

Premium Pricing: Add layered pricing strategies across your business

All customers are not created equal. Marketed to correctly, 10%-20% of your existing customers will be more than happy to purchase from you at up to 25% of your current pricing. Between 1-5% would gladly spend up to 10 times what they are currently spending. Premium pricing is about understanding the value in a purchase, it’s not about the product itself – it’s about the status it provides, and the emotional attachment made to it.

Think the hotel penthouse and Virgin’s Upper Class.

Risk Reversal: Eliminate all barriers to purchase

Fear is the biggest obstacle your customers face when looking to purchase from you: fear of appearing foolish, fear of making a mistake, fear of wasting money. Remove these fears and your sales will escalate immediately. There are four key risk reversal strategies that you can choose from that can be implemented in your business almost immediately.

Do Customer Video Testimonials Still Matter?

Galleon Studios will be Exhibiting at Marketing Show North this year.

In this blog, I’m going to tell you why you need customer testimonials but more importantly, why it could represent the biggest mistake you’ll make.

What research there is that supports the use of customer testimonial videos and what the ONE word should you avoid at all costs!

Studio Filming Video Reviews image

Customer Testimonials

You’ve got a great service and that’s born out by the remarkable video testimonials you have collected from dozens of happy customers. Yet do video testimonials still matter in a world where video content is EVERYWHERE?

Recent research by Pew Research Centre shows 82% of consumers look a business up online before using them. We’re all aware how important good word-of-mouth is as a business. Gathering your testimonials together on an independent platform like Trust Pilot or Google’s own reviews section is a great way to highlight your service over competitors. Can video make all the difference in leveraging your competitive edge?

Seeing is believing

The expression a picture is worth a 1000 words is brought into sharp focus by use of video. A video of a smiling, happy customer, fully satisfied with your product and the benefits it brought is undeniable evidence of how fantastic you are. Especially when you consider people might not adequately be able to put into the written word exactly what you’ve done for them.


When people watch a video testimonial they’re watching a story unfold. The person interviewed says what the problem was and then goes on to say how using your product or services you solved the problem for them.

We love stories. From gathering around the campfire and watching the stories unfold in the flames humankind has always been drawn to stories. What’s more, research reveals video has a 95% retention rate, while people only remember 12% of text information.

online video review image
Studio hire for video testimonials image


The Content Marketing Institutes 2018 study concluded that case studies are the second most effective marketing tool. The third being video (FYI first are ebooks and white papers). By combining these 2 marketing tools; case studies and video you can produce an impressive filmed testimonial.

People buy people

When consumers see other people talking about a subject it means more to them than reading it on a page. 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations Furthermore, 59% of executives would rather watch a video than read text on the same topic with people four times more likely to watch a video than read. This all means you need to start making video testimonial content pronto.

User-generated video versus professionally shot videos

Nowadays we all have the means to film a customer testimonial on our mobile phones so why not take the opportunity to film your client yourself? Well certainly do so! According to SmartInsight companies can see up to a 26% increase in site traffic when they share customer reviews on Twitter.

And here’s the kicker; if you have your video filmed professionally you can see a 10x increase in the effectiveness of your videos. So even though you may be producing fantastic stuff in-house by going to a professional video production company to film your video reviews it can pay off dividends (in every way).

Customer Reviews For Mobile Phone Company image

Why “Testimonials” don’t work.

Drum roll. You’ve made (or had made) a fantastic video testimonial. But here’s the bad news; an increasing number of people don’t know what the word testimonial means. Which means if you list it on your site as “Testimonials” as so many people do the odds are none will click it. So the key takeaway from this blog is this: call your testimonials “reviews”.

From Yoasts SEO blog writing advice in October 2018; “Words with four or more syllables are considered difficult to read, so avoid them where possible” and the word testimonial is now one of those words a “no list”. Which is sad but also a prime opportunity for you to get ahead of the competition. So the solution is simple (if a pedants nightmare); use the phrase “customer reviews” in place of “customer testimonial“. Not only will seeing these “video reviews” be a useful sales tool to inform your visitors but they’ll understand your website section, your videos and your service that much better.

Working to Live or Living to Work?

Outside the Box will be exhibiting at Marketing Show North this year.

Trying to achieve the correct work-life balance can often feel like a minefield.

Juggling the pressures of meeting work deadlines and family life often means we don’t even give it a second thought, and if we do, it’s a conversation with ourselves shrouded in scepticism and idealism. But, why does achieving this balance seem so elusive to us?

Elon Musk is Faltering

To give an insight into the ‘never-ending’ work day, we look towards Elon Musk of Tesla and his commitment to working a 120-hour-week, as reported by The Independent. Companies all over the world look to Elon Musk and the tech giants of Silicon Valley for changes to implement into their working culture, regardless if they are a tech company or not. Elon Musk is perceived as the innovator with all the answers for a ‘cooler’ and better working culture – from onsite gyms to inclusive staff meals, he is used as the yardstick to which other companies feel they need to follow. Many have called on Musk to lighten his obscene work schedule, but he has refuted these suggestions and simply stated that he has no choice but to work these hours to keep his beloved Tesla competitive and profitable. While his level of commitment is admirable, one can only wonder about the negative impact of working such hours on his body and mind, not to mention his relationship with his six children!

Musk piloted the ‘unending’ workday where the usual 9 to 5 template has been well and truly torn up. This concept may not be explicitly rolled out across UK workplaces, but there has been an undeniable shift towards that direction. We are now encouraged to start earlier, work later and answer emails and client calls well into our evenings at home. So, as the world of work becomes more intrusive into our personal lives, what impact will this have on us? Musk can boast of Tesla being only one of two American car companies to make profit in the last year, but was it worth him missing his own birthday? His stubbornness and excruciatingly long work days have led to bizarre twitter outbursts, obvious signs of fatigue in public, and even the assertion that one of the rescuers in the Thai Cave saga was a paedophile.

A few years ago, the BBC reported on a Google employee named Brandon, who has taken this trend to new heights. He decided to buy a van, park it in the Google staff car park and live out the back of it… yes, you heard that correctly. He showers, eats and works out inside the Google building so has no need for anything more than a bed and clothes rack in his humble abode. While Brandon claims this was done to swerve extortionate rent prices and save over 80% of his monthly salary, it is the relentless work environment that Google and other tech giants perpetuate, that has made a young software engineer from Massachusetts living in the back of a Ford van, in his employer’s car park, a viable option.

Striving for Work-Life Harmony

Yes, there will be occasions when we must make ourselves available for an early morning meeting or a one-off client call in the evening, but this should not be the norm. By making this the accepted way of doing things, you open the door to more regular folk enlisting extreme measures like Brandon just to stay on top of work demands. Accounting giant PwC has announced this week that new recruits can effectively work when they want, which can include anything from shorter weekly working hours, to only working for a few months a year. They believe this will help dispel the myth that working for a large accounting firm is ‘non-stop’, attract a more diverse workforce as well as giving them the competitive advantage.

The benefits of having a healthy work-life balance are exponential. Maintaining this balance will not only improve an employee’s health and relationships, but it will also lead to them being more productive, less prone to making errors and having increased mindfulness – all of which can only be perceived as inherent positives for an employer.

Work-Life Balance Initiatives:

  • Don’t encourage the answering of work emails/phone calls outside of work hours
  • Committed to finishing an hour early on a Friday so employees can make the most of their weekend
  • Encouraging the possibility of working from home, where possible
  • Create a family-friendly work environment because what’s more important than family?
  • Invest in team building exercises/team socials to foster a community atmosphere
  • Childcare services/support
  • Allow schedule flexibility
  • Create a quiet/exercise space within the office
  • Be the change you want your employees to embrace

What is Customer Lifetime Value and Why Does it Matter?

Wired Plus will be exhibiting at Marketing Show North this year.

Often shortened to CLV or LTV, customer lifetime value is one of the most important metrics that a business can keep their eye on.

Which do you value more – a new customer, or a repeat customer?

customer lifetime value

Statistics say that, if you want to attract a new customer to your business, it will cost you five times more than keeping an existing one.

Treating your current customers right is the key to building and growing your business. As a marketer, it’s essential to follow the best practices to ensure that you’re engaging with your existing customers in a positive way.

Knowing how many customers you have is all well and good, but how often are they making a purchase? And how long do they remain a customer for?

What is Customer Lifetime Value?

Simply put, customer lifetime value is the value that a customer contributes over the entirety of their relationship with your business.

customer lifetime value

It can measure how much profit you expect to make from a customer over their time with you. It lets you know who’s in it for the long haul.

The longer you can keep a customer, the greater their customer lifetime value becomes.

Knowing the value of a customer will give you an idea of how much you should be willing to spend on keeping that customer for your business and also how much you can afford to spend on attracting similar.

You can use this information to help you make important decisions about your marketing strategies. You’ll be able to better target your most valuable customers with more focused, personalised campaigns, meaning you can generate more future sales.

Don’t get customer lifetime value and net promoter score mixed up. Unlike NPS, customer lifetime value can be tangibly linked to revenue.

How to measure Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value will influence most of your business decisions, but especially your marketing spend.

It will provide you with meaningful insights into how you plan your future campaigns, and improve your future customer interactions.

customer lifetime value

You don’t need to get bogged down with complicated calculations.

The simplest way to work out the customer lifetime value is:

Average value of purchase x Number of purchases in a year x Average length of customer relationship 

customer lifetime value

Why email marketing is important for customer lifetime value

When it comes to your marketing efforts, you probably pay a lot of attention to your campaign metrics. While these are really important for knowing for successful your marketing is, you can miss out on the bigger picture.

Customer lifetime value isn’t just about your next conversion. It teaches you to look at the relationship with your audience as a long-term strategy.

When you’re focused on the value of your different customers, you’re focused on growing a loyal audience and catering to their needs.

customer lifetime value

Email marketing is one of the best ways to get loads of detailed information about your customers.

Your email list is one of your greatest sources of data. You can use it to gain a better understanding of who your customers are and what it is they want, and ultimately improve your customer lifetime value.

Save your best efforts for your best customers

Increasing the value of your existing customers is a great way to drive growth.

If you’re losing customers or they’re only making one-off purchases, it’s a good idea to work on your post-purchase marketing.

Remember, your existing customers matter too!

In the end, it’s the customer lifetime value that will determine the ultimate success of your company.


Venture Stream will be exhibiting at Marketing Show North this year.

Global eCommerce is on the rise, with an estimation of total sales reaching $4.5 trillion by the year 2021.

Now more than ever you need to be sure you are running your eCommerce site to the highest standard possible. With so much competition, approximately 110,000 eCommerce businesses generating revenue globally and counting, you need to be sure you’re ahead of the game. We discuss the most common eCommerce marketing mistakes and how to avoid making them.

Poor audience segmentation

Let’s go back to the basics – audience segmentation is the process of dividing a market into sub-categorised groups based on their demographic and other shared characteristics. It’s a way of identifying unmet customer needs, in order to get ahead of your competition and provide solutions to these needs. The use of audience segmentation can help with a huge range of targeted marketing efforts, ensuring that the right message reaches the right consumer.

It’s important when segmenting audiences that you think outside the box and avoid stereotyping. Buyer personaresearch can be particularly important during the segmentation process, as you want to segment by very specific characteristics and not just generalise by gender, age, etc. Dividing by interests, needs, lifestyle, status and so on is key.

Many people can take the easy route and segment by the most generic characteristics, but putting time and effort into segmentation is the best way to drive results. Be sure that you don’t ‘over segment’ – having too many categories can create niches that often don’t come up and can become confusing for marketers to keep up with. Keep segmentation consistent, specific and clear.

Your personalisation efforts are minimal

48% of consumers are more likely to spend when the shopping experience is personalised for them. There are so many ways to personalise your website for visitors, from user-generated techniques and loyalty programmes to progressive personalisation based on real-time and historical data.

User-generated personalisation is determined by where a visitor navigates to on your site. During browsing, content such as ‘you might also like’ and ‘other visitors who viewed this product also viewed…’ becomes visible. The more a consumer is exposed to items that are suited to them, the longer they will browse and the more likely they will be to convert. Although this type of personalisation is important, it is the bare minimum and you should expand your efforts further to see results.

Progressive personalisation is based on data characteristics of visitors. Real-time data is collected through cookies and other variables as a visitor browses your site. It can also involve rules based on the segmentation process mentioned earlier. Pop-ups, messages and ads can then be tailored via location, gender, device type, traffic source and even weather conditions. Historical data is recorded from the journey a specific visitor took on your site in the past and can target messaging based on the number of previous orders, average basket and transaction value, total amount spent, cart abandonment and how often the visitor frequents your site.

If you want to take a more innovative approach, you could have visitors fill in a survey/quiz at the start of their buyer journey, asking them outright to provide their preferences in order for you to filter the best products for them.

Your website works for you, not for your customers

It can be a common mistake when designing a website to choose your own design preferences over those that would best suit your audience. The colour scheme, fonts and layouts should all be chosen with your target audience in mind and not just what looks good to you.

The way a website looks on first glance can make a huge difference as to whether a visitor will stay on your site, in fact 55% of all visitors will leave a site after just 15 seconds. It needs to be easily navigable, tailored to your audience and demonstrate your brand appropriately.

There are several ways you can ensure that your website works best for your customer, research and create buyer personas, conduct a survey to gain feedback on your site, use a ratings system once a visitor has converted and follow up with customers via email.

Lacking unique content

This may not be an issue if you make your own product, however if you sell products created by another manufacturer, you shouldn’t just be regurgitating their product descriptions. It can be so tempting when the work seems to already be done for you to just copy and paste direct from the manufacturer site, but you risk getting lost in Google searches, or worse being removed from Google rankings entirely.

Be unique, describe the product in your own tone of voice and ensure it suits your brand. Use the description to explain why you stock this product and why you think it is great for your customers. Manufacturers can have a tendency to be technical and objective when describing a product and lack the ability to really sell it, so make sure you do!

To find out more about how duplicate product descriptions can impact SEO ranking, read our blog post, ‘The role of content in SEO’.

It’s all about you

If the copy on your website is all about your business and how great you are and not what the benefits of choosing you are, it’s likely to turn consumers off. Avoid writing about why you and your product is amazing – yes this is important, you want customers to understand your brand values and the quality of your product, but it needs to be done in a way that solves their problems.

Brand values that consumers can relate to and want to be part of can help to drive conversions, so ensure that the content of your site is packed with information suited to your target audience. How can your product enhance the life of your customer? What can you do for them that your competition can’t?

Adding social icons everywhere

Social media can play a massive part in getting consumers to your site. However, it won’t always help with conversions once a visitor has made it to your site. Sure, have visible links to your social networks, but be careful not to overdo it. You want to generate a following in order to promote your product/services, and you want customers to see what you’re up to but you also must avoid directing visitors away from your site. If social isn’t promoted correctly, it can actually take away from your conversions, a study conducted by Visual Website Optimiser found that businesses saw an 11.9% increase in call to action click-throughs when social channels were removed from product pages.

Only showing positive reviews on your site

90% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase and 88% of them trust the online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So it’s important that the reviews you have displayed on your website are honest and fair. Ensure that you don’t eradicate the negative or indifferent reviews from view. Work to improve the service you provide and good reviews will become a sure thing, but consumers will respect your brand more knowing that you’re willing to be upfront and honest when things haven’t gone too well. A good way to prove your values is to always reply to negative reviews with an apology, a solution and sometimes an offer to make it up to the unsatisfied consumer.

Not having a call to action when an item is out of stock

If an item is currently out of stock on your website, make sure there is a call to action in place, again using personalisation, for example ‘we’re sorry but this product isn’t available right now. You might like this…” Another good call to action when an item is unavailable is to ask the visitor to leave their email address so you can notify them when it is back in stock. When notifying them, offer a small discount and they are likely to revisit and convert. Don’t let a customer walk away from your site empty handed to purchase from elsewhere, be sure to have a solution in place.

Your design focuses on desktop first and you haven’t thought about mobile

Mobile has become so prevalent in the way we shop today, that consumers actually use their devices whilst in store to help them make informed purchases and find products more easily. In 2017, 49.7% of eCommerce sales in the UK were made using a mobile device, with the estimation that mobile purchases will account for at least 56% of all eCommerce sales by 2021. If your website is only designed for desktop, you need to get up to date and optimise it to work efficiently across a range of platforms. Ensuring shoppers can have a seamless experience with your site no matter the way they access it will prevent them from going elsewhere.

Failing to measure

It may seem strange, but it is actually quite common for an eCommerce business to invest thousands into the creation of a website, and then sit back and relax waiting for the sales to roll in without measuring successes and failures.

Measuring success isn’t all about how many sales or how much money you made in a day. It’s about understanding which marketing strategies are working to deliver results for your business and consistently repeating these techniques.

Using Google Analytics to track transaction and item data and determine the channels that are generating your sales can be helpful to see where your strategy is working efficiently and enable you to rethink the areas that are taking a dip.

Don’t fall into the trap of these trivial mistakes, they are so easily avoidable and can make a huge difference to the way users interact with your website and how they convert.

Four common PPC questions answered

Click Consult will be exhibiting at Marketing Show North this year.

Four areas that our paid search (PPC) clients want to know about are improving their ads’ prominence, organising Ad Groups, and selecting and evaluating keywords and their performance. Because we’re unashamed PPC geeks, we have the answers…

How can I improve my ad’s position?

Google uses a value called Ad Rank to determine the position of your ads each time they are eligible to appear – and whether they show at all. This is calculated using your bid amount, your ad quality (Quality Score, which takes into account factors such as expected click-through rate, ad relevance and landing page experience), the context of the person’s search (for example, the person’s location, device, time of search, the nature of the search terms, the other ads and search results that show on the page and other user signals and attributes) and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.

This means your ad position can fluctuate each time, but there are two ways to improve an ad’s performance – bid adjustment and quality improvement. In this regard, both the easiest and most cost-effective way to improve the performance of an ad campaign is to ensure it is of the best possible quality. The extra time and money put into developing quality ads can be recouped in the reduction of the cost-per-click.

Here are our tips:

  • Ensure that the landing page to which your ad directs a user is unique, relevant and engaging.
  • Use in-depth keyword research and buyer personas to maximise the relevance of your ad, not only to the product, but to potential searches, and searcher intent.
  • Employ tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to analyse historical data and ensure your ad capitalises on historic click-through performance.
  • Make use of available, relevant ad extensions. There are plenty of ad extensions available to brands, and the time required to implement them is far outweighed by the benefits of it.
  • Bid as much as a click is worth to you – though the bid amount is not a deciding factor often, it is better to have an amount in reserve to maintain a prominent position.

How should I organise ad groups in Google Ads?

An ad group contains one or more ads which target a shared set of keywords and are where you will write your ads and choose the keywords that will trigger them. Use ad groups to organise your ads by a common theme, such as the types of products or services that you want to advertise.

The more ad groups you have, the greater the specificity and targeting options you have to ensure your ads are getting in front of the right people.

Group ad groups by similar themes

A common method of organising a Google Ads account is to do it with a category or business goal in mind – many advertisers base their ad groups on the sections or categories that appear on their website. For example, let’s say you sell desserts, drinks and snacks on your website.

In the table below, each ad group contains a keyword list focusing on a particular product. The keyword list in each ad group tells our system to show ads for these products only on websites related to them.

ad groups

Within a particular ad group, you should choose keywords that are closely linked to your ad text. For your drinks ad group, you might try keywords for different brands, flavours and prices for the drinks you sell.

What are the core areas to consider when developing a keyword list for PPC?

When researching your keywords, the first step is to identify the audience you’re targeting. Think about who, what and where your target audience will be searching for when trying to connect with sites like yours.

Make the most of Google’s Keyword Planner

This Google Ads tool is essential when creating keyword lists. Firstly, it gives you the option to search for keywords by volume using a generic or specific topic (ideally you’re looking for the golden ration of low competition and high volume). You can then narrow this down by location, product category, language and network. This makes the suggested keywords as specific to your business as possible. Your landing page can also be added to the search, which will improve the Quality Score of the keywords fed back because of their relevancy to your landing page.

You can use as little or as many of these options as you like, but the more you use, the more specific the results will be to your business. Use your brainstorm ideas to expand your Keyword Planner research further. To exhaust all possible variations, the Multiply Keyword Lists tool within the Keyword Planner is extremely useful. This gives you the option to combine multiple keyword lists, for example, combining ‘Remote Control Helicopter’ and a list of colour variations. This can be a great time saver but the tool also provides forecasting information that can be used during the planning process.

Google your keywords

Predictive technologies like Google Autosuggest and Related Searches are a goldmine of information. Test your keywords in Google Search and see what suggestions it comes up with – these are the same suggestions potential customers will be seeing when they make similar searches, making this information extremely valuable to your keyword research.

Four tips

  • Think like a customer – pick short and long tail keywords likely to be searched by your buyer personas.
  • Look for gaps – in a crowded marketplace it can be difficult for newcomers to compete against established companies. So don’t compete, find where they aren’t present.
  • Rank for priority – it is counterproductive to spread yourself too thin, so choose your targets wisely and look for the golden ratio of high volume, low competition.
  • Consolidate gains – if you begin to rank for certain terms, don’t rest on your laurels but continue to target these keywords as you expand your target list.

How can I monitor keyword performance?

The search query report (SQR) tool within your Google Ads account is a must for developing your campaigns. The SQR allows you to research what queries are connecting to your current keywords and allows you to refine your keyword targeting with negatives, as well as identify opportunities that you are currently missing. Improving relevancy is one part of improving Ad Rank and Quality Score, which can boost your click-through-rate and save you money in bids.