21 August 2021
For small business owners, every dollar counts. Combine that with the fact that there are about a million different ways to advertise, and the concept of marketing may feel utterly overwhelming. Take a deep breath. While a small business owner may never have the same resources and budget as larger competitors, all is not lost. Here are four tips to help you get the most out of your small business marketing efforts. Know Your Audience Knowing who uses your products or services is critical to any company’s marketing efforts. Period. However, while large businesses can afford to squander money, many small businesses cannot, making this step even more important. The process of gathering information about your target audience is often referred to as “building a buyer persona.” During this process you’re trying to gather as much information as possible about the person who would purchase your products or services from concrete facts like their age to more abstract ideas like their pain points. Building a persona will help you understand not only where your target customers spend their time, for example, Facebook versus Tik Tok, but also what your target customers need to know before making a decision. In other words, the buyer persona will help you understand what small business marketing tactics are likely to be the most effective. In order to start collecting information use: Google Analytics (or another website analytics service). Customer surveys. Customer interviews. Sales data. Industry data. Sometimes, as the business owner, it can be difficult to be objective when building a buyer persona. For example, if you’re a big fan of Twitter it may be tempting to lean on that platform even if that isn’t where your target audience is. An agency that specializes in small- to medium-sized businesses, like St. Gregory, can assist you with building an accurate buyer persona based on facts. Turn to Digital Once you understand who your target audience is, it’s time to start reaching them. When it comes to cost-effective tactics for small business marketing, digital channels are a great option. Digital marketing encompasses a wide variety of tactics including: Organic social media marketing. Search engine optimization (SEO). Search engine marketing (SEM). Display ads. Paid social media marketing. Email marketing. Blogging. There are many benefits to using digital channels for small business marketing including: It’s easier to track and measure ROI. Using tools like Google Analytics and UTM parameters, which are free, you can measure the impact of your digital marketing efforts. You can target your buyer persona. Many digital channels allow you to get very granular with targeting including targeting by location, gender, and age. You can start with a small budget, and you can pause or stop your efforts easily and quickly. The ability to reach just about any buyer persona. There are very few buyer personas that are not reachable using digital marketing. Even if your target audience is an older demographic, they’re online. According to Pew Research Center, as of 2021, 73% of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 are on social media. Pull Double Duty Another way to maximize your small business marketing efforts is to lean on tactics that can serve double-duty. In other words, focus on tactics that give you twice the bang for your buck. Here are two examples of marketing tactics that can help a small business in multiple ways: Ask customers for feedback in the form of online reviews. There are many benefits to asking current customers to review your business. For example, your customers will feel that you care about the experience they had. This may increase the likelihood that they use your company in the future. In addition, you may uncover valuable information that you can use to improve your products or services as well as the overall customer experience. However, there are also marketing benefits to seeking customer reviews. First, there’s a high likelihood that your buyer persona does research online, including reading reviews, before making a purchase. In fact, according to a GE Capital Retail Bank study “When it comes to making big purchases, 81 percent of consumers go online before heading out to a store ….” Having online reviews can help get your target audience to trust you. If these online reviews are done through Google, they can also help with your local SEO efforts. Google specifically says “Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking.” As you can see, asking customers for online reviews can be very advantageous without costing you much at all, if anything. Learn more: Concerned you might receive a negative review? If that happens, here are tips on when and how to respond to negative reviews. Invest in video. Another marketing tactic that can be very powerful is using videos. Unfortunately, many small businesses are intimidated by the idea of creating videos. They think it is too complicated and too expensive. However, with the help of a small business marketing agency, like St. Gregory, which has full service in-house video production capabilities, you can produce videos that pull double-duty. For example, you could use videos on YouTube, other social media platforms, and your website. Not sold on video? Here are a few stats that might sway you: YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google. According to Forbes, 90% of consumers use video to make purchasing decisions. A Sprout Social article states that videos generate 1200% more social media shares than posts with just images and text. Plus, visitors spend 88% more time on a website that has video, according to Sprout Social. Keeping people on your site longer can be beneficial for your SEO efforts. Read more about bounce rate and why it matters here. As you can see, videos can help you on social media and with search engines as well as to push your buyer persona further into the sales funnel. That’s a lot from just one piece of creative. Learn more: Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to make a video or YouTube ad people will actually watch. You’re Not Alone The last tip to maximize your small business marketing efforts is to realize you aren’t alone. If you started a small business, you probably have a lot to do and adding another thing to your list, especially if that thing doesn’t play to your strengths, may simply be too much. Good news—you don’t have to do it all. Small business marketing doesn’t have to be your responsibility. While it is important that you’re involved in the process you don’t have to do it all. There are small business marketing agencies, like St. Gregory that are ready, willing, and excited to work with you. When you opt for a small business marketing agency you don’t have to worry about getting lost in the shuffle. At national marketing agencies you may be a very small fish in a very large pond, but at medium and small business marketing agencies you’ll get the attention you deserve. Learn more: If you are considering hiring a marketing agency, here are six questions to ask. In addition, small business marketing agencies have experience maximizing your marketing dollars. At St. Gregory, we have experience working with businesses with a wide variety of budgets. We know how to efficiently use your marketing dollars. If you’re ready to maximize your small business marketing efforts, contact St. Gregory today.
11 August 2021
Today, in marketing, a lack of data usually isn’t the problem. Quite the opposite. Generally there is too much—from reach to viewable impressions, CTR (click-through-rate) to video view rate, cost per click to cost per acquisition. How do you cut through the noise to what really matters? Well, for starters, it’s important to know what metrics are available and to know what they actually mean. One question we get a lot is “what is bounce rate?” (Quickly followed up by “what is a good bounce rate?”) This question probably stems from the fact that bounce rate is on the home page of Universal Google Analytics. Google is giving it a prominent position, so it must be important, right? So to help you start weeding through all those metrics, lets talk about bounce rate—what it is, whether it matters, and how to improve it. What is bounce rate? A bounce, as defined by Google, is “a single-page session on your site.” In other words, it’s when someone comes to your website, sees only that one initial landing page, and then leaves the site. For example, let’s say you’re running a Google Ads campaign to get individuals to open a new business checking account at your financial institution. John sees your ad and clicks on it. He’s directed to a special landing page on your site. John lands on that page and eventually clicks the back button. It does not matter how long John is on that landing page—10 seconds or 10 minutes—or how much of the landing page he sees. In other words, whether he immediately clicks the back button or reads all the way to the bottom and then clicks the back button, it’s a bounce. Bounce rate is the percentage of times a bounce occurs on your website. You can calculate the bounce rate by dividing all the single-page sessions by all sessions. So if your checking account landing page gets 100 sessions and 10 of those sessions don’t visit any other pages, your bounce rate would be 10%. Pro tip: A session is a group of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame. So when someone visits a website they are starting a session and during that time period they may view multiple pages, click on things, or even make a purchase. All of those actions occur during that one session and are grouped together. This Google Analytics help article provides more information. What is a good bounce rate? It depends on your website and your business. (Yes, we know, that’s a frustrating non-answer.) Unfortunately, there is no absolute number you can use to judge your website’s bounce rate. A high bounce rate may indicate something is wrong with the website. Especially if there is a high bounce rate on a specific page while the rest of the site has a low bounce rate. Going back to our example with John, maybe that landing page does not match the ad he clicked. John clicked an ad for a special new business checking account but the landing page is talking about new business loans. Whoa! He’s in the wrong place … so he leaves. However, remember, bounce rate is defined as a single-page session. So while we know John only went to one page, what if he took a valuable action while he was on that one page? Let’s say your landing page is spot on, but the only way someone can open a new business checking account is to call the bank, make an appointment and then visit a location in person. John sees the phone number right there on the landing page, so he calls to make an appointment and then leaves the website. Google Analytics doesn’t know he made that call. Once he leaves the landing page, it’s a bounce … even though you just got an appointment from your Google Ads campaign. In this instance, you don’t really care that John bounced, right? Another example of an inflated bounce rate is if you have a login option on your site that directs to a different domain. Let’s say your financial institution has an online banking portal for customers. If someone comes to the homepage, immediately logs in, and is redirected to that online banking portal, they just bounced. This scenario could obviously lead to a lot of bounces every day. The type of business you have and how your website is set up will factor heavily into what you should be looking for in terms of bounce rate. We recommend that you evaluate bounce rate in conjunction with other metrics (such as conversions). In addition, pay attention to outliers; if there’s one page with a much higher bounce rate than the rest of the site dig in and try to figure out why. Pro tip: If there are important actions someone can take on your website, such as watching a video, you can set up event tracking. By default, when an event occurs, Google counts that as an interaction and even if the visitor only hits that one page, he or she will not be counted as a bounce. However, if you want to track events but not impact your bounce rate you can tell Google to see it as a non-interaction event. That means even when the event fires the individual must hit more than one page or it is still a bounce. Does bounce rate matter? So, wait, there’s no good answer to what is a good bounce rate? Does this mean bounce rate doesn’t matter? Umm, not quite. As mentioned above, bounce rate can indicate that there is a problem with your website as a whole or a specific page. Maybe something is taking too long to load or doesn’t match the user’s expectations. Another factor to consider when thinking about bounce rate is SEO (search engine optimization). A lot of people will tell you that bounce rate is part of Google’s algorithm when deciding who shows up where in the search results. For a variety of reasons, this does not technically appear to be true. What Google does appear to be considering for SERP (search engine results page) rankings is what’s known as “pogo-sticking.” As we’ve already talked about, a high bounce rate is not inherently an indicator of a bad website. Individuals could be converting on that landing page or moving to a different domain (like the online banking portal). What is an indication of a bad website is when someone leaves the site unsatisfied, goes back to the search results, and clicks on another organic result right away. Google actually has a patent called “search pogosticking benchmarks,” and according to that patent, the search engine is tracking the number of times search results are selected before a user doesn’t come back to the SERP as well has how many additional results are clicked after your website was selected. If Google concludes your website is causing pogo-sticking, you may be in trouble from an organic rankings standpoint. While high bounce doesn’t necessarily equal pogo-sticking, it could, so be sure to evaluate pages with high bounce rates to ensure you’re providing an optimal user experience. How do I improve my bounce rate? How to improve bounce rate will depend on what’s causing the high bounce rate in the first place. This is where an analytics deep dive is needed. You’ll want to look for answers to questions such as: What is the speed of the site or the page in question? A slow load time could be causing people to flee. Is the bounce rate higher on mobile devices? If so, evaluate the site or page from a mobile device to look for issues. Is the conversion rate on the page in question also high? If so, the bounce rate may not be anything to worry about. If you need help understanding your bounce rate or any of the metrics related to your site, St. Gregory can help. Our Google Analytics certified digital marketing specialists would love to help you implement a tracking plan that provides the exact data you need. Contact us today for a consultation.