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Top 10 Tips for Using Google AdWords

With a multitude of marketing and development tools available to organizations now, it can be hard to know which ones are worth the time. Google AdWords is one of those tools. If your organization is looking to increase brand awareness, grow sales or generate leads, Google AdWords might be the tool for you. Unlike a lot of other tools available to organizations to help them grow, AdWords is not free, but it is adjustable depending on an organizations budget. The great thing about AdWords is that it is flexible for individual organizations based on budgets and goals. It can be hard to know where to start with a system like Google AdWords, even after taking the certification classes, so here are ten tips to help you make the most of your AdWords account.

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1. Ensure your landing page is the best possible experience for your target audience.
The best way to utilize your Google AdWords account is to ensure you have a solid landing page that keeps users engaged in what you have to offer. Your ad should be promoting what the link will send them to. For instance, if your ad is promoting a new brand of spreadable peanut butter, your Google Ad should send the consumer to a page about that new peanut butter. If it sends them to a page about peanut butter bites, it will confuse the user, and they will exit the page before finding out any additional information or making a purchase, which you don’t want. Creating an engaging, informative and accurate landing page is the first step to utilizing AdWords effectively and efficiently.

2. Use the right keyword match types.
Keywords are the terms or ideas that define your content. They are the words that users will search to find your website and information, therefore it’s very important to get them right since they are your most valuable tool when utilizing AdWords.

There are four keyword match types:

  • Broad Match: This is the default match type that doesn’t require any formatting. This will include searches that have misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant queries. It is the broadest way to get your ad seen (as reflected by the term “broad match”), so if your goal is to increase brand awareness, this is a good place to start.
  • Phrase Match — “keyword”: A phrase match means that as long as the phrase within the quotation marks shows up somewhere in the user’s search query, the ad may also appear. For example, if the keyword is “swimming pools” the search “swimming pools in Nashville” and “Nashville swimming pools” will show users the ad. But, if the user searches “I want to swim in pools in Nashville,” the ad will not appear. You have to be careful when using a phrase match because it may weed out unwanted searches, but it may also prevent desired users from finding your information.
  • Exact Match — [keyword]: An exact match setting ensures that only the most relevant search results are returned for a user. Exact match actually includes close variations as long as they don’t change the meaning of the search. For example, the keyword [men’s shoes]  can show up for the search “shoes for men” even though it’s not the specific phrase. Exact match weeds out the most unwanted search queries.
  • Negative Match — -keyword: A negative match means that that search term will not show ad results for the searcher. This is best used when you absolutely do not want a search term to bring up your ad. For example, if you’re a college bookstore, and you don’t sell USB drives, it’s important to negative match USB drives, so if someone searches for it, you don’t have to pay for a click that won’t lead to a sale.

3. Utilize negative keywords.
Now that we’ve talked about negative keywords, we can talk about how you should definitely be using them. Negative keywords are important because they ensure you aren’t paying for clicks that don’t lead to conversions. If someone is searching for something that you don’t sell, but you’re not specific enough to weed out those searches, you’ll be paying for people to click on your ad but not make any purchases themselves. The most efficient way to curb those needless clicks is to incorporate solid negative keywords.

4. Utilize every inch of space allotted to you.
Google AdWords has added plenty of real-estate to spice up ads that display alongside searches. There aren’t a lot of characters allotted for that space, but make sure to utilize each heading and descriptive area of text you can to ensure your ad appeals to your target audience. The more specific your ad, the more clicks and hopefully conversions is will lead to.

5. Use ad extensions when applicable.
AdWords has some great extensions that can spice up any ad. In addition to utilizing all the text space allotted, it’s important to use ad extensions to further make your ad stand out to users. Some of the most important extensions include the call extension and the location extension. These extensions make your ad more user friendly and might help you accomplish some of your goals. For a full list of extensions, check out Google Support.

6. Utilize geo-modifications when biding for AdWords.
This is specifically important if your organization serves or is trying to target a specific area, but if your organization serves nationally and internationally, this may not be necessary. For example, if you have brick-and-mortar shops in two locations (say one is in Nashville and one is in Los Angeles) and you don’t serve a customer base online, it’s going to be imperative that you focus your ads in those locations because people in New York can’t be patrons, and you wouldn’t want to pay for them to click on your ad without them being able to visit your shop.

7. Optimize campaigns for mobile usage.
Look around any given room and you’re likely to see people scrolling on their phones. Typically those people are searching for an answer to some inquiry, and if your ad isn’t optimized for mobile usage, you may miss out on potential patrons. The digital world is leaning towards more mobile functionality with every day, so to keep up, it’s important to utilize your ads for mobile devices.

8. Utilize remarketing features.
Remarketing features allow users to target patrons that have already visited their site. For example, if you sell clothes online, and someone visits your site, clicks on a few items, and leaves, with remarketing you can target those clients that have already shown interest in hopes that they will come back to purchase something from your site. This is particularly helpful when trying to improve repeat user visits.

9. Stand out from the crowd by promoting deals or events.
You can use callout extensions (different from call extensions) to promote special sales or events to engage your audience members. This can be an especially useful extension for short amounts of time to drive business because of a special event.

10. Start out with a low budget to test targeting and conversion rates.
Before you throw away hundreds or thousands of dollars, do a test run of your ads and see how they resonate with potential customers. It would be tragic to set a budget of $10,000 a month, just to have it wasted on unwanted clicks and a less than stellar conversion rate. Start off small and see what negative keywords or exact match keywords you may need to add to improve your conversion or click-through-rates.

Using Google AdWords can be intimidating at the start, but with these tips, you’re sure to convert users that click on your link. If you need additional help, reach out to Cabedge. Cabedge has a team of Google AdWords specialists that are ready to help you reach your goals.

How Gestalt Principles Can Be Incorporated in Web Design

Gestalt psychology stems from German psychologists and scientists of the 1920s who believed that the mind worked subconsciously to make sense of an otherwise chaotic world. There are many principles of grouping in Gestalt psychology that have been used to explain how the mind perceives images, and some of the most prominent principles can be applied to design techniques used regularly in print and web design. Today, we are going to go over seven Gestalt principles that can help improve design.

Law of Proximity
The Law of Proximity states that people group elements together that are close to each other in space. This can be seen in the header or footer space of a website — all of those elements are close together in proximity either in a line or under certain headings, which lets users know they are to be perceived as one unit. You can also see the Law of Proximity exemplified in the example photo above. The boats are clumped together in sets of columns. When looking at the picture, people automatically associate the four columns of boats as two groups.

Law of Similarity
The Law of Similarity states that people group similar elements together. Whether it’s shape, size, color, or texture, these characteristics can lead to people grouping things together in their minds. It’s like looking at a pizza with a handful of toppings and grouping the mushrooms together, the pepperoni together, and the pineapple chunks together. In the image above, people will tend to group the windows together based on the color swatch in the top bar. Therefore, the windows would be grouped by the Law of Similarity in the following groups: yellow, pink, blue, light blue.

Law of Closure
If images aren’t closed, our minds can and will close them for us. For instance, when parts of an image are missing, like a flower petal is out of frame, people still know the image is a flower and can imagine the other petal. With the Law of Closure, people can combine disjointed lines into complete shapes. This is a good design principle to keep in mind when designing logos or website backgrounds. The Law of Closure can be seen in action in the image above because people that look at the image of the moon can instinctively close the shape to imagine the moon whole.

Law of Symmetry
The mind likes symmetry, which we talked about in an earlier blog post dedicated to basic design principles. The Law of Symmetry operates under that notion. It is pleasing to the mind to be able to divide objects into an even number of symmetrical parts. People tend to look for symmetry in design or images even if it may not truly be there. In the above image, the symmetry is pretty apparent in the even space between the windows and the square shape of the windows themselves.

Law of Common Fate
The Law of Common Fate claims that if there is movement, real or digitally constructed, in an image or design, people tend to group similar movements together. People tend to group elements that move in the same direction together. For instance, in the image above of cars moving on the highway, people infer that the white stream and the red stream are moving in opposite directions.

Law of Pragnanz (or Good Figure)
The Law of Pragnanz states that people tend to perceive images as a whole rather than breaking them up into their individual parts. It’s like seeing the steps of how someone draws a cat. Technically, the head could be a circle, the nose could be an upside-down heart, and the ears could be triangles. The Law of Pragnanz at plays means that cat is perceived as a cat rather than the individual elements. We perceive things in the simplest way possible. This can also be seen when looking at the Olympic rings  — people tend to perceive it simply as the logo and not as five separate circles.

Law of Figure/Ground
Disliking uncertainty, people tend to look for solid, stable items in an image or design first. People tend to see the foreground of an image before they see the background. For example, in the above image, a viewer’s eye would be first drawn to the leaves and then to the ground they are strewn upon.

There are many other Gestalt principles that can be applied to design, but these are a good place to start. If you’re looking for more design tips or inspiration, make sure to follow along on the Cabedge blog. If you’re looking for assistance in designing a website, reach out to Cabedge today for a personal consultation.

computer in an office with images

Digital Marketing: What it is and Why Your Organization Needs It

Marketing, as defined by the American Marketing Association is, “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Digital marketing takes those traditional marketing activities into the digital space. It is a non-traditional field that encompasses a wide range of skills and elements and is essential to achieve success in the world today.

Fundamentals of Marketing

Marketing is all about getting the right message to the right people at the right time. It’s about understanding an audience and catering to their needs. It means staying up-to-date on trends in the digital space and using those up-and-coming communication methods to connect with audience members. Digital marketing encompasses a lot of platforms and methods of communication, but it all comes down to being able to promote a product to the right people in the right manner.

  • Understand your product/service’s benefits and features. When you’re selling your product or service you aren’t selling what it is but rather what it can do for the consumer. Will it make their morning run more smoothly? Will it help them chop vegetables more swiftly? Sweaters don’t fly off the shelf because of the color selection they come in, but rather the promise an organization sells of one living their best life while wearing said sweater. Digital marketers know how to pinpoint those benefits and communicate them to a wider audience.
  • Define your audience. The main part of a marketer’s job is to understand the audience they are trying to sell to. In the digital space, it’s incredibly easy to get a message out into the world, but it’s not as easy to get that message to the right people. To define your audience, you simply need to determine who your ideal consumer is. Decide what they eat for breakfast. Figure out where they get their information. Determine where they go to get their work done. Figuring out every detail about your consumer helps you determine the right path and message to reach your target audience.
  • Craft a persuasive message/call to action. The final step to being a digital marketer is to market. Whatever it is you want accomplished (reading a blog post, buying a product, signing up for a service) you need to share it in a creative and persuasive way on the right channels so it reaches the right audience.

Elements of Digital Marketing

The amazing thing about digital marketing is that there are a handful of different avenues one can go down when exploring the field. Because the online space is constantly growing and changing, so is a digital marketer’s job. Here are just some of the elements a digital marketer must have in mind when providing services:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Increasing organic traffic to your website through search engine rankings.
  • Content Marketing: Content marketing requires the creation and promotion of your own content (think blog posts or videos) to build brand awareness and convert customers.
  • Social Media Marketing: SMM utilizes social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to promote content and generate leads.
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Google AdWords is a type of PPC — marketers pay a certain amount of money based on how much traffic is driven to the site via ad clicks.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Commonly seen on social media, affiliate marketing is a method of marketing that requires a partnership between a brand and a promoter where the promoter is compensated for talking about the products/services online. For example, a corporation can partner with a blogger to have them promote its new nail polish.
  • Email Marketing: Used as a means of direct communication with consumers, email marketing is a popular way to promote content like discounts and events.

Digital marketing is a big world to tackle — that’s why Cabedge is here to help. We have a team of able digital marketers who consider communicating their passion. Contact Cabedge to get a personalized digital marketing plan for your organization today.

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The Basics of Google AdWords

Cabedge is a dedicated design and digital strategy organization. Having one foot in each world, Cabedge employees have a pretty good grasp on how to make your website beautiful and functional and how to promote it to the World Wide Web. Google AdWords is a handy tool that can be used to promote organizations for an adjustable fee.

What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is a way for companies and organizations to advertise online to connect with customers through the Google Network. AdWords makes it easy for businesses to set goals and budgets and connect with intended audiences to increase awareness of a product or service or to increase sales. Google AdWords has a bunch of features and services that patrons can use to better promote their organizations. Let’s take a look at some of those now:

  • AdWords Express: Automates managing keywords and ad placement for businesses to make AdWords management easier.
  • Google Partners: Allows users to become certified in Google AdWords. Certification is not necessary to use Google AdWords, but it teaches the fundamentals and best practices of the tool to help users utilize it best.
  • Remarketing: Enables businesses to show advertisements to users that have previously visited their website. Remarketing allows users to further segment audiences to better display advertisements.
  • Ad Extensions: Google AdWords allows for a variety of extensions that can be added to a business’s ad to better serve it’s consumers. Some extensions include a clickable phone number, the ability to leave reviews, price displays, and more.
  • Keyword Planner: Estimates the amount of traffic per-month for selected keywords and offers alternatives.

Benefits of Using Google AdWords

Google AdWords is not required to run a successful business, but it does help at the end of the day in attracting new and existing customers. Here are some of the biggest benefits of using Google AdWords to promote a business online.

  • It’s measurable. The biggest benefit to advertising through Google AdWords is that it is completely measurable with price-per-click metrics. Businesses can accurately attribute consumers actions to AdWords campaigns.
  • It’s flexible. Businesses can make AdWords applicable to any need. Users can easily add extensions (talked about previously), specify keyword matches, narrow the audience scope for an ad, and more.
  • It pairs well with SEO. While businesses can’t just completely forget about SEO, AdWords works alongside SEO to improve engagement and reach. It’s not a quick fix to get more sales, but AdWords will inevitably reach a wide range of people for a cost.

AdWords can’t do all the work for you, and it shouldn’t, but it does have it’s positives when it comes to engaging a target audience.

Cabedge prides itself on its knowledge of SEO and Google tools, including AdWords. If you’re looking for help starting or managing your AdWords campaign, look no further. Reach out to Cabedge today to talk about your goals.

Rethinking a necessary evil: Three things digital marketers can learn from the NBA Playoffs

If you’re a basketball fan, maybe you’ve noticed feeling less compelled to flip channels during the game in recent months. Or maybe you’re finding the ubiquitous “TV timeout” (an opportunity you once used to abandon the game for an expedition to the fridge) a little more absorbing than it was in years past.

Well, there’s a very good reason for that.

Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, recently gave a fascinating interview about the analytics behind viewer behavior and some strategic changes to the way the NBA places ads within the game to keep the attention of the viewer.

Silver and his team are passionately devoted to continually examining the analytics of viewer behavior to understand how long the average user stays engaged and where viewer levels drop-off. “Not surprisingly, we lose the highest number of fans when we move off live-action, especially at halftime,” Silver noted. “And we lose fans at every commercial break. So we’re experimenting, with Turner and ESPN, with not leaving the arena completely during commercial breaks, and instead having a split-screen, where we stay with the huddle at the same time we show an ad. It’s a trade-off for our marketing partners. On the one hand, they’d like the full attention of a viewer. On the other hand, they might prefer to keep all of the viewers and find ways to create connections with their products and engage directly with the game.”

The NBA’s willingness to rethink the “necessary evil” of TV advertising has resulted in a more engaged viewer who is less apt to flip channels or abandon the game for other distractions. The viewer still sees the marketing materials and product advertisements, but it’s within the context of an in-game experience, thus resulting in an audience that’s a little more engaged as the products are being pitched. Silver also outlined other ways his team has shifted the TV experience to increase engagement such as incorporating player mics, alternate camera angles, and other data fields for users to understand the metrics behind the game.

So what can a digital marketer learn from watching the NBA Playoffs?

  1. Necessary evils in advertising may not be as necessary as you think. Putting an ad in front of your audience may be a channel of marketing you choose to take, but it doesn’t have to be flashy and assertive. Advertising can also convey content that is creative, compelling and useful to consumers, even though it may result in a more indirect path (read: more clicks) to conversion. It’s true that subtlety in marketing & advertising can result in a longer sales cycle, but it can also create lasting relationships with your customers that a more direct “in-your-face” approach may not produce.
  2. You can’t create a better user experience without understanding the places where engagement is lagging or users are dropping off. Creating a visual funnel in your data can be a great method of determining where engagement is slowing or where users are abandoning the conversion path altogether. Don’t be afraid to engage with actual consumers in order to understand how they experience your website. Oftentimes our clients are surprised in what they learn when they stop making assumptions and start talking with real, live users of their product or website.
  3. Don’t be afraid to invite your users deeper into the experience. Conveying a personality that’s consistent and feels authentic is often a road-block for many of our clients. It can be difficult to find a voice for your brand and pinpoint the fine line of just how much to share with the general public. But inviting users into a “behind-the-scenes” look at your team in action or your product being made gives an authenticity to your company and an opportunity for your audience to feel actively engaged and invested in your brand.

The bottom line is this –the key to the future of digital advertising is a better understanding of your users and a willingness to find ways to creatively convey engaging content to them. Taking an opportunity to rethink your ad content and how your ads are delivered is a good first step toward the future success of your brand.

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Search Engine Optimization 101

You’ve heard of it, you’ve seen it around the web, but you’re not 100 percent sure you really understand what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is and what it does for your organization’s online presence. Cabedge is here to help. As a dedicated web design and marketing agency, Cabedge knows a thing or two when it comes to SEO. We help organizations every day improve their web presence, which includes search engine ranking and SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which put simply, means to improve the ranking of a website in search engine results, in turn increasing potential visitors to that site. SEO helps organizations get traffic to their websites through free, organic channels, like Google search results.

How Can You Improve Your SEO

There are tons of ways to improve your SEO. Some are more acceptable than others.

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO utilizes SEO techniques that focus on engaging a real human audience rather than tricking a search engine. That means a little more work may be involved with these tactics on the front-end, but that work pays off since it guarantees real engagement with your content now and in the future. Here are some of the ways you can engage in White Hat SEO:

  • Create quality content: The first step to getting people to your website is to create quality content. It may be frustrating to hear, but if consumers enjoy what you are putting out onto the Internet, they are sure to check it out and share with others.
  • Ensure your site has a good user experience: Just like creating quality content is essential for page rankings, it’s important for the experience a user has on your website to be of a higher quality. This means pages load swiftly, it’s easy to search for information, and the navigation is user friendly.
  • Make sure your site is mobile friendly: Google is set to launch it’s mobile-first index sometime in 2018, so it’s more important now than ever to have a good, mobile friendly site for consumers to use on the go.
  • Utilize keywords and meta tags: To help search engines crawl your site, you should be using keywords and meta tags. Keywords are the words that define your topic and users will search to find your content. Typically, a user can find keywords throughout your published content. Meta tags, on the other hand, are not visible to users and are only displayed in the code of your website. Like keywords, they are related to the content on your page and help its SEO.
  • Design an easily navigable site: Having a site that is easy to navigate is great for user experience, but it also ensures that bots can easily crawl your website to improve your SEO. When a bot crawls your website, it is following links to make an index of your site. The easier it is to crawl, the better your SEO.
  • Earning quality links: A great way for a search engine to see that your website is a trusted source of information is to earn links from other people on the Internet. The more links you have from outside sources, the better trusted your website will be. Link earning can be a form of Black Hat SEO, so you have to be careful when earning your links. Do it the right way, and you’re website is sure to succeed.

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO strategies are frowned upon for violating search engines’ terms of service. These practices are not approved of and could result in your website being banned from certain search engines. Black Hat SEO tactics involve:

  • Hidden Text or Links: Like we mentioned above, getting other websites to link to your content is essential for good SEO. But if you do it the wrong way by hiding text or links on yours or others websites through the code, systems can actually track this now, which may lead to negative SEO.
  • Keyword Stuffing: Keyword stuffing is exactly what it sounds like — jamming so many keywords into the text of a page that it ranks highly, but comes at the cost of a valuable user experience.
  • Cloaking: Cloaking is the method of displaying different information to search engine crawlers than to users to ensure better indexing. This can look like a page of text crammed with keywords to a search engine while it appears like a normal page to general users. In general, this is a frowned upon practice because it is dishonest.
  • Link Manipulation: There are a variety of ways a user can manipulate links to fools users and search engines. Purposefully hiding a deceptive URL in display copy, purchasing misspelled variations of popular URLs, and openly redirecting users to phishing scams are all ways of manipulating links that violate search engines’ terms of service.

This was just a basic overview of SEO and some tactics that can be used to improve your SEO now and in the future. For a comprehensive overview of SEO, check out Moz or Wordstream for further resources.

If you need help developing an SEO strategy, reach out to Cabedge. With experience in web design, SEO and content creation, Cabedge is sure to be able to help you achieve your goals.

Timeless Design Principles for Print and Web

Like many things in life, design techniques are always changing. While it’s important to keep up with trends, there are also classic principles that can make any website or print collateral design look clean and engaging. At Cabedge, we are concerned with creating useful designs for our clients. We know that you’re not just looking for a pretty website or beautiful print collateral — you want something that is going to work for your organization for years to come. We’ve got five timeless design principles you can utilize in your print collateral and website design today.

 

Visual Hierarchy

Otherwise known as “emphasis,” visual hierarchy gives your design structure to a viewer or user. It tells someone where they should first direct their attention and can be created through size, color, or position. For instance, if you look at the image above of the Krispy Kreme box, you can see that the brand name (Krispy Kreme) stands out visually because of the color, size, and font choice from the word “doughnuts,” which matches the green dots.The box also stands out from the background because the woman holding it is blurred, making the box more visually dominant. Those are two forms of visual hierarchy.  If you don’t know how to create visual hierarchy in your design, start by highlighting your business objectives and figuring out how to make those stand out in your designs amongst the other information.

Balance

Balance refers to the visual distribution of weight in a design. Balance can be symmetrical, or it can be asymmetrical. Whichever choice you make, there should be an intent behind it. If you’re looking to achieve asymmetrical balance, start with the rule of thirds. This is typically applied to photographs (can be seen above), but can also be useful for web or print design when selecting a website layout. The rule of thirds states that an image should be divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines. The important elements should be placed along these lines or at their intersections. Symmetrical balance is exactly what it sounds like — if you can fold it in half and it’s the same on both sides, you’ve achieved symmetrical balance.

Utilize White Space

White space is a design element. It is not just blank space. White space is the simplest design principle you can utilize since it requires no extra work, just an ability to utilize the space given to you. White space also aids in the creation of hierarchy, a principle we discussed earlier. While design concepts like brutalism may be trending now, clean is classic and withstands the test of time. White space serves as a simple contrast tool against other elements on the page. It creates balance and ensures the design doesn’t get too overwhelming for users.

Repetition

People are drawn to pattern and repeating elements. Some of the more famous pieces of artwork utilize this principle of design as well (think Andy Warhol). Repetition is one of the simpler design principles to utilize in print and digital pieces since it requires utilizing elements that have already been created. On a website, repetition can extend to the user experience with similarly designed pages. That makes the experience seamless for the user and aids in unity, which we will talk about next.

Unity

Arguably the most important element of design is unity. It is also the hardest to achieve. Whether it is a piece of art, a website, or a book cover, every element should relate to another ensuring that the design as a whole feels like one piece of work. Unity is hard to describe, but when you see it, you know it.

If you’re looking to create timeless, useful designs for your organization (print or online), contact Cabedge. We love working with clients that want to create streamlined design experiences for their clients. You’ll be contacted by a design specialist to find out your organization’s needs, and we’ll work with you every step of the way to make sure you’re getting what you need.