If you’re a retailer with an online presence, chances are you’re constantly looking for ways to increase your brand awareness, build your customer base, and sell more through the myriad channels available in today’s marketplace. Whether it’s via your website, a distributor, or social media, there’ve never been more opportunities to get your products in front of potential customers — but how do you ensure you’re taking advantage of the right channels? The answer: invest in Google Shopping.
What is Google Shopping, and how does it work?
Those products that appear at the top or along the side of the page when you search for something like ‘black Nike hoodie’? That’s Google Shopping.
Google Shopping ads account for a whopping 76.4% of all retail search ad spend, and they generate higher click-through and conversion rates than any other pay-per-click advertising method. A cost-effective way for you to market your products, Google Shopping uses Google Ads (where you build your shopping campaigns and set your bids) and Google Merchant Centre (where you build your product feed) to create ads that then show up when someone searches for your specified keywords.
How can you win at Google Shopping?
If you do Google Shopping right, you can minimise your spend, maximise your profit, earn valuable repeat customers, and take your brand awareness to a new level. So what’s involved with doing it right?
First: as far as Google is concerned, your product feed (which you manage in Google Merchant Centre) is the most important aspect of Google Shopping. That’s because in order to generate your Google Shopping ads, the search engine needs to be able to pull from a clearly defined, precisely detailed product feed.
You’ve got two options when it comes to building your feed: do it manually, or offload the work to an extension. The former likely makes the most sense if you’ve got a smaller product offering — but either way, you need to ensure that your product title is accurate and optimised for search queries and that your product descriptions are captivating and thorough.
This leads us to tip #2: put yourself in the buyer’s shoes when it comes to those search queries. Say, for example, that you’re a housewares retailer offering a variety of goods such as bath products, kitchen appliances, and home furnishings. You’re writing the title and description for one of your bestselling SKUs — let’s call it a bath mat — and wondering how best to describe it to achieve a high ranking on Google Shopping.
So imagine you’re a potential customer. What would you search for in order to land on that product? ‘Decorative blue bath mat’? ‘Plush floral bath mat’? ‘Shag runner bath mat’? Whatever the case, project yourself into the customer’s mindset and tailor your keywords and descriptions to that mindset.
And speaking of those bestselling SKUs: tip #3 involves being purposeful about what you choose to sell on Google Shopping. Depending on your budget, it may not pay to advertise your entire catalogue; instead, focus your efforts on products people are likely to repurchase or goods with the highest margins.
Now that you’ve decided which products to sell, it’s time for tip #4: be strategic with your bids. Rather than setting the same bid for all of your goods, go a little higher on the products that sell faster — and then monitor your feed to see what’s working and what’s not, and adjust your bids if your products aren’t generating the number of clicks you’d like.
The bottom line on Google Shopping
Google Shopping provides you with an easy-to-use, intuitive sales channel that gets your products in front of potential customers as soon as they hit the ‘Search’ button. Fine-tuning your strategy and learning how to adjust keywords and bids may take a bit of work — but when you remember that Google Shopping dominates retail search ad spend (with nearly 80%), it’s easy to see why the time and financial commitments are worth it!
Harper Digital are Google Shopping Experts
Keen to test the benefits of Google Shopping for your retail business? We can help with everything from configuring your Google Merchant Center feed, to setting up and optimising your Google Shopping campaign for maximum return on investment.
Voice search is no longer the work of science fiction. It’s real, it’s here and it stands poised to transform the search game as we know it. What’s driving this trend? What does the future have in store for voice search? And how can businesses and marketers prepare themselves for the revolution?
The Rise of Voice
Voice recognition technology might seem like a modern innovation, but it’s actually been around in one form or another for more than 60 years. Back in 1952, Bell Laboratories designed a system known as Audrey, which could recognise spoken numbers. A decade later, IBM introduced Shoebox, a computer that could understand 16 basic words. And in 2008, the technology finally went mobile, when Google released the Voice Search app for iPhone.
Fast forward to today, and consumer adoption of voice search is skyrocketing. Between 2008 and 2016, the volume of voice searches increased 35-fold, according to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report. In 2016, about 20 percent of Google app searches were voice searches. And in 2018, 91 million people in the U.S used voice technology at least once a month, according to figures from eMarketer.
Looking at the timeline, it’s clear that voice search didn’t arrive overnight. So why are consumers only now starting to get interested in voice search? There are two main reasons:
1. It’s Everywhere
The explosive growth of voice search mostly comes down to the fact that the technology is now supremely accessible. Voice search has been successfully integrated into a huge range of mainstream consumer products, with smart speakers (such as Google Home and Amazon Echo) leading the charge. In fact, smart speakers sales grew 300 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to figures from Strategy Analytics.
Of course, it’s not only smart speaker manufacturers who are getting in on the action. Just about every major tech company is leveraging the power of digital personal assistants and voice search. You can ask Siri to send a text message for you while you’re driving, tell Google Assistant to read you the news, use Cortana to update your calendar and command your Xbox to start streaming Netflix. Voice search is no longer about the novelty factor; it’s a useful, efficient and convenient feature that is quickly becoming a normal part of everyday life.
2. It’s Getting Better at Understanding Us
The way we communicate verbally is very different from the way we write and type. We’re less formal, less specific and more verbose, which stands in stark contrast to the keyword-laden, ultra-concise queries we’d usually type into a search engine. This has been a bit of a sticking point for voice search, as the technology has traditionally struggled to separate meaningless human chit chat from user intent (i.e. what we’re actually searching for).
Thankfully, this is (mostly) a thing of the past. The AI that powers voice search has become exponentially smarter in recent years and is constantly getting better at understanding context and user intent. In 2017, Microsoft’s voice recognition software achieved an error rate of just 5.1 percent, which put it on par with human error rate. Consumers are feeling more inclined to use voice search because they can use natural, conversational language and still get accurate results.
How Can Businesses Prepare for the Revolution?
Use schema markup: Schema is a type of on-page data markup that helps search engines better understand your website and content, and therefore the services your company offers. This type of structured data can be used to increase the chances of your business being found for local voice search queries.
Focus on long-tail keywords: Short-tail keywords fell out of favour a long time ago, and voice search may well be the final nail in the coffin. As we’ve learned, users are more likely to ask long, complex search strings when using voice search. With this in mind, focus on using long-tail keywords that are very specific to your business.
Incorporate FAQS into your content: Voice search is conversational. An easy way to naturally replicate this style is to use FAQs to answer common questions that your audience might have about your business, services or industry.
Rethink your SEO strategy: The world of SEO is constantly changing. This might be the perfect time to audit your current strategy and rethink your current digital marketing spend.
Curious about what you need to do to optimise your business for voice search? Book your free strategy session to get a better understanding of how the voice search revolution is going to affect you.
Harper Digital is honoured and thrilled to be named a Display Innovation finalist in this year’s Premier Partner Awards, presented by Google Partners.
The Premier Partner Awards honour innovation in digital marketing across Search, Mobile, Video, Display, Shopping and Growing Businesses Online.
Our award submission included a profile describing our recent work for Voodle, who were looking to promote sales of the newly released Wellington edition of Monopoly, and turned to Harper Digital for guidance and assistance.
We took care of every aspect of the strategy, from designing and building a dedicated landing page, through to designing the Banner ads, and building and optimising the Display & Search campaigns in collaboration with Voodle.
Over the course of the 2 month campaign we served in excess of 1M impressions for a completely new brand and generated almost 7,500 visits to the Wellington Monopoly website. The momentum and brand awareness this created in the market helped Voodle move 4,200 units of the product with a retail value of $250,000 through their retail network, thereby exceeding their sales target by 280%.
“The results were far greater than we would have ever anticipated for a relatively small investment”
explains Hagen Bower of Voodle Limited.
Harper Digital is part of a select group of digital specialists that Google celebrates as Premier Partners. To qualify as a Premier Partner, digital marketing agencies and professionals must pass a series of exams and prove their expertise in using and applying Google’s advertising products.
An age-old question in the world of digital marketing is “Which is better: PPC or SEO?” And our response is almost always “It depends, but usually both.” While this may sound like a bit of a cop out, there really is no one-size-fits-all answer – it all comes down to what will work best given the unique factors that make up your industry, company and product or service.
What we can say is that a two-pronged approach will offer the best results most of the time for most businesses.
Well, SEO and PPC are complementary marketing models, each with their own pros and cons. When used in conjunction, they can effectively bolster the other’s weak points, maximising your chances of hitting all your business goals in the short as well as the long term. Read on for a quick primer on the basics principles of SEO and PPC and find out how you integrate them into your marketing strategy.
What are the benefits of SEO?
SEO is the practice of raising the visibility of your website via organic (unpaid) search engine results. About 67 percent of all clicks on search engine result pages go to the top five listings, while the first page receives around 95 percent of web traffic. To get in on this action, you need your brand to appear as high up the results page as possible when a prospect types a business-related query into a search engine.
Perhaps the great advantage of SEO is its longevity. Unlike PPC, there’s no expiry date on SEO content, making is sustainable and – if executed correctly – very profitable over the long term.
Smart SEO content not only helps clients find your company on search engines but can also play a key role in positioning your brand as an authority in your space. Blog posts, FAQs, and how-to guides all lend credibility to your brand, which can increase your chances of conversion.
It does take a while to start seeing results with SEO, but after the initial groundwork has been laid the clicks are more or less free. SEO traffic is organic, meaning there’s no direct cost per click or lead as there is with PPC, which makes SEO more financially sustainable over the long term.
What are the benefits of PPC?
Whereas SEO is more of a long-term investment, PPC is geared toward getting results in the here and now. PPC allows you to immediately get eyeballs on your product or service, and highly customisable targeting options ensure your efforts are focused in all the right places.
Launching a new product? Need instant feedback? Running a flash sale? Sometimes you simply don’t have the time to build up a marketing campaign. PPC excels in these situations, giving your brand an instantly visible platform.
Search engines do a pretty good job of concealing organic search metrics in the name of user privacy. However, the same rules don’t apply when it comes to PPC, giving analytically savvy marketers deep insight into which keywords are converting, ROI and more.
While the leads generated by PPC do come at a cost, the ability to cap daily spend ensures the marketing budget doesn’t get out of hand. Combined with smart, localised keywords, PPC really can deliver fantastic ROI.
A case for using both SEO and PPC
As you can see, SEO and PPC have their own strengths and weaknesses and work best when used in synergy. PPC offers instant results and the information you gain from PPC campaigns (whether it’s A/B testing, analytics information or keyword data) can be used to fuel deeper SEO strategy. Using a combination of SEO and PPC also strengthens your contact points, allowing you to more effectively guide prospects through the funnel from initial awareness all the way to conversion.
So, SEO and PPC should be used in tandem. But how can you start applying them to your business?
While SEO is a pretty deep field, the good news is that there are many things you can do yourself to start optimising your website. Applying the fundamentals of on-page SEO (keywords, meta tags, SEO-friendly headlines and more) are critical for helping search engines understand what your website is about, which in turn can help you climb the results ladder.
In addition, creating a Google My Business listing, maintaining a Facebook business page and establishing your company in local online directories can add more authenticity to your brand, which can further boost visibility. Finally, working toward developing a backlink strategy (that is, links on other websites that point to your website) can also do wonders for your search engine rankings.
Curious about how SEO-friendly your website currently is and how you could improve? Register for a free SEO site audit and we’ll give you a comprehensive report revealing how you can better optimise your website, as well as a free 30 minute strategy session.
Matt and Irene we were easy to deal with. In our initial brief we disclosed that we had a budget of $10K and Matt came to us with a quote for $6.5K which showed me Harper Digital's integrity and understanding of customer needs. They didn't quote us for the entire Budget. Irene has also been very easy to work with while building our new site. Exactly what a small business like ours wants - down to earth but great service!
01:56 15 Oct 19
Great support from a very friendly, professional team - helping us grow our business! Great to see the SEO growth our company has achieved from working with Harper!
04:21 19 Aug 19
Matt and the team have been great to work with. Great communication and great results!
21:39 11 Aug 19
We have recently signed over to harper digital with Adrian Clarke. We have been thoroughly impressed with the results that Adrian and the team have produced for us in this short time, we look forward to a long working relationship with Adrian and Harper digital.
00:44 07 Aug 19
Juliette, Irene and the rest of the team at Harper have been amazing to deal with and really deliver great results. Their communication is great and they are upfront when it comes to costings. With them, we've never encountered hidden fees or add-ons, as can sometimes be the case in the industry.
04:22 01 Aug 19
Very good, personalized and informative service.
04:53 31 Jul 19
Great working with the team, communication and good information flow makes things nice and easy!
01:49 31 Jul 19
I had a really great experience working with Harper digital.I worked closely with Leighton who was very helpful and offered a great service that boosted my business and client base of my company.Cheers Harper Digital
23:02 30 Jul 19
Engaged and interested in helping you grow.
07:04 30 Jul 19
Without Harper Digital's help with marketing my business would not be where it is. Their ability to get your business seen online is amazing.
08:29 03 Jul 19
A breath of fresh air - So many companies / individuals have had a bad experience with agencies and most for good reason, Matt and the team at Harper are different, right from first meeting them. No lavish promises or hard sell closing, no contracts just a good old fashioned - how can we help? and lets make it work!. A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
22:03 01 Jul 19
These guys produce results.......
04:13 15 May 19
Great boutique supplier of knowledgeable and effective online marketing for our business. Measured results and creative thinking ongoing. Very approachable and receptive to Client ideas too. Highly recommend to any business!
01:28 17 Apr 19
Matt and the Team at Harper Digital have been looking after us for about 2 years now. They do a fantastic job.
RP Studios Ltd
23:30 14 Apr 19
This team of guys are absolutely marketing genius. Two months into the campaign and huge increase on our bookings and work. Definitely has helped our new company to start up the right and strong way.
06:20 08 Apr 19
The team at Harper Digital are an absolute pleasure to deal with. They always follow up, see how everything is going and really make me feel important. Their digital marketing and campaigns are also incredible with easy to follow reporting, and if I have any questions I know I can pick up the phone and get an answer. I highly recommend this excellent company when it comes to wanting to be noticed online.
04:19 12 Feb 19
Bruno- Smart, listen to problems and come up with solutions. Very knowledgeable. Highly recommended.
20:53 29 Jan 19
Bruno. Gregarious, insightful and a real pleasure. The real deal.
07:18 26 Jul 18
The team at Harper Digital provide me with a Google Adwords and Facebook marketing campaign, through the leads they generate they cost me nothing. Highly recommend.
01:49 26 Feb 18
Harper Digital have done a excellent job of managing our Web Campaign for the past 18 months. They have assisted us in changing our customer profile and getting the right customers onto our website and through our doors. I always feel like a priority, and they get the job done quickly, efficiently and to our budget. Working with the Harper Digital team is always a pleasure, and I recommend them to everyone. Thanks HD!
19:37 31 Jan 18
Harper Digital have taken our business to the next level! We could not have done it without them. Their knowledge & experience in digital marketing has been second to none. Their approach was professional, yet personal, ensuring they got to know us & our business before putting any plans into place. Throughout the years as our business grew they ensured our marketing was keeping up, constantly keeping informed and ahead of the game. Thanks Harper Digital!
21:41 24 Jan 18
Great company to deal with,, they produce amazing results and great website design
20:30 18 Jan 18
I have been very happy with the team at Harper Digital. They are readily available to answer any questions that I have and we have seen an increase in our google adwords leads! It is a rough world out there looking for quality adwords offerings and I finally seem to have found one!
00:04 17 Jan 18
The Team at Harper Digital have been managing our Web Campaigns for the last year and we have had amazing results. They are committed, focused and we highly recommend their services.AmandaAuckland Garage Door Repair Man LTd