Category Archives: Blog

12 Key Ways to Boost Landing Page Conversions

Easy-to-implement tips and tricks to create landing pages that convert.

A landing page can go by many names: static page, lead capture page, destination page — the list goes on. No matter what you call it, it’s a great marketing strategy to take a user from an organic search result, paid search ad, or marketing promotion straight to a page on your website that delivers a clear message. But what should that message be, and how can you ensure your page is set up to convert? We’re glad you asked.

These 12 elements are great to keep in mind when building your landing pages — so you know you’re set up for success.

1. A killer headline

A great, eye-catching headline can be the difference between someone bouncing from your landing page and actually completing the desired action, like filling out a form. Software company Crazy Egg highlights a few elements worth keeping in mind: such as clear prospect targeting, full transparency (AKA no sensational promises you can’t actually keep), and emphasis on the benefit you’re offering.

2. A strong call to action (CTA)

The point of a landing page is to start your visitor on a journey — and that journey should include a CTA telling them the next step to take. Whether it’s completing a form, signing up for a newsletter, or requesting a consultation or demo, you want the CTA button to almost jump off the page, grab the viewer’s attention, and entice them to click.

3. A thoughtful design

Your landing page’s design should be both intuitive and correlated to your website and overall branding. Add too many elements and you risk your CTA getting lost in the shuffle. Add too few and you risk underwhelming the user and having them bounce. Our roster of successful landing page examples illustrates how a good mix of imagery, graphics, and verbiage can create a successful landing page that converts.

4. A conversion rate optimization strategy

There are a few essential factors that can transform a regular ol’ landing page into one that’s fully optimized and ready to boost conversions. These generally include a headline, a possible subheadline, a concise and value-centric offer description, an image, a form, and, optionally, a badge or client testimonial to drive your point home. As you continue to optimize:

  • Use CRO tools like a heat map to track where your visitors are flocking
  • A/B Test singular elements like photo choice and headline copy
  • Review this data after a statistically significant amount of time

5. An easy form

There’s a delicate balance to strike between asking for the information you need and not turning off the user by asking too much. The less you ask for, the higher the conversion rate, and landing pages are where you’re most likely to gather this crucial data. It’s a good idea to ask for the minimum info you need to qualify a lead — you can conduct some testing to determine the best form for your business. Some CRM tools even offer smart forms that limit fields if the visitor is returning. If you’re already tracking someone who has signed up for your newsletter or previously made a purchase, for example, you don’t need to ask for their email address again.

6. A consistent message

If the messaging in your ad is drastically different from your landing page, you risk confusing your user (which we’re guessing isn’t an emotion you want people to associate with your brand). That’s why consistency in your messaging is key — your ad verbiage should very closely mirror your landing page verbiage to properly drive your message home.

7. A streamlined process

You don’t want anything to get in the way of someone going to your landing page, filling out the form, and submitting it. So, it’s a good idea to remove unnecessary features on these pages — such as your main website navigation bar — even if they appear on your regular website. The fewer distractions you offer, the higher your chances of conversion will be. Plus, you can always show a secondary CTA after they complete the form.

8. A thorough plan

Once you have a goal for your landing page, the planning doesn’t stop there. Mailchimp advises you to keep the conversation going — luckily, there are a few different ways to do just that. You can create a “welcome” campaign that automatically goes out to those who submit the form, introducing them to your business, offerings, and brand. You can also use this as an opportunity to ask for feedback, thank them for making a purchase, or recommend other products or services they may like.

9. A special offer

Not to blow your mind or anything, but it’s a fact that limited-time offers serve as stellar marketing tools. People love to get a deal, so if you promote a special discount, time-sensitive offer, or even a freebie, your conversion chances go up. Of course, this offer should make sense for your company, both fiscally and from a brand standpoint. Maybe you offer a 10% discount if someone schedules a consultation within a certain amount of time, or you waive the setup fee you usually charge.

10. An easy way to share

I know we previously mentioned keeping landing pages minimal, but social sharing buttons are a worthwhile addition. By making it easy for users to share your offer on social media (via social share buttons), you can instantly expand your reach into networks you may not have been able to access otherwise. Oh, and bonus points for an email forwarding option to boot, since people like to share in different ways.

11. A mobile-friendly experience

One big part of effective marketing is meeting your potential customers where they are. Often, that means on their phones. Because of this, it’s crucial to make your landing pages mobile-friendly. But beware of mirroring desktop landing pages for a phone environment. As experts point out, trying to fill out a form via your cell phone can be a nightmare. For mobile landing pages, it’s best to ask for as little information, at least in the first step, as you can.

12. A consistent testing practice

ABT — always be testing. Though these are best practices for both conversion rate optimization and landing page optimization, your audience may surprise you. That’s why you should continuously be testing your landing pages — things like:

  • CTA locations
  • The number of form fields
  • The type of validation (such as a quote, review, stars or accolades)
  • Colors
  • Verbiage

There’s no crystal ball that will tell you exactly what will inspire a person to do exactly as your CTA says on your landing page. But with the above advice, you’ll know you’re well on your way to creating optimized landing pages that turn prospects into customers.

5 Cutting-Edge Digital Marketing Tactics

Expand the reach of your brand or business with the latest and most effective digital marketing tactics.

Over the past year, Facebook and Google both announced major changes to advertisements on social media feeds, search pages, and websites. These days, trends are leaning more towards personalized promotions featuring content and media, transforming digital marketing as we know it.

Even though keywords and audience targeting remain at the core of many search and social ads, businesses and sellers can now make use of new visual marketing tactics to stand out from the competition.

Online marketing agencies already use insights gathered from analytics and artificial intelligence or machine learning to precisely target ads and deliver personalized promotions. Most experts recommend combining these new strategies with conventional search engine optimization (SEO) methods such as site optimization and offsite links.

For example, an innovative marketing plan for digital platforms might unite a paid search campaign with pay-per-view Facebook video advertising or cross-platform social ads. No matter the method, marketing agencies and clients must account for the ever-changing ways customers access information, communicate, and shop. Here, we’ve laid out five digital marketing tools that brands and businesses can pursue with a full-service agency.

1. Explore Visual Product Presentations

E-commerce merchants and vendors have plenty of options for showing off inventory. The newest Google advertisement styles include Discovery, Gallery, and Shopping Showcase ads. Each of these varies in terms of display location and potential reach.

Businesses can invite prospective customers to swipe through Discovery image carousels in YouTube feeds or under the promotions tab in Gmail — gallery carousels at the top of search result pages often draw more clicks than text-based ads. And businesses that use Google Product Shopping listings can develop Showcase ads that present a selection of similar items.

A Premier Google and Bing ads partner can identify ways to maximize visibility to likely customers within a digital advertising budget. In general, marketing tactics that display pictures or videos of individual products or selected items from an inventory tend to drive up clicks and sales.

2. Zoom In On Customers

Search engines and social platforms select ads to serve based on private, secure user data. On Facebook, for instance, ads may show based on recent life events that a user reports, or updates related to demographics or geography that could increase the likelihood of a successful conversion.

Whether the primary goal of a marketing campaign involves attracting new customers, touching base with repeat customers, or increasing transaction amounts, a digital marketing strategy shouldn’t stop at the homepage of an online store. Encouraging site visitors to sign in and build profiles based on page views or order data can be useful for making personalized recommendations across the web.

3. Engage Across Channels

No matter where your ideal customer spends time online, content tailored to a particular social media service can increase audience engagement — no surprise there. But it can be a challenge to manage a brand image across multiple platforms.

The right digital agency can work with clients to deliver dynamic ads and branded content through Facebook Ad Manager, Instagram Ads, LinkedIn, and more.

4. Explore Video Ads

Video marketing has become one of the most effective ways to reach customers and achieve brand recognition. But those that want to use video ads as part of a digital marketing strategy should be aware of the possibilities and limitations of various platforms, from Google and YouTube to Facebook and other social networks.

YouTube bumper ads are timed at six seconds and air before video content. These ads are particularly popular and effective for clients with limited video ad production budgets. Depending on available editing resources, a client may want to consider using the new bumper machine that generates these brief ads from videos shorter than 90 seconds and has a few simple editing features.

Pay-per-view is available to video advertisers on Facebook. These placements resemble pay-per-click search advertisements in the sense that advertisers don’t pay for views of sponsored results or other search ads that don’t get clicked. A fee is only charged when a viewer watches more than 10 seconds of a video promotion. This digital marketing tactic encourages brands to craft content that prospective customers consider more compelling, engaging and interactive.

5. Secure Conversions and Leads

Businesses and web-based brands may drive up site traffic and increase visitor engagement and interaction by eliminating potential sources of friction from the conversion process. Customers should be able to access an easy-to-use e-commerce interface and proceed through seamless, secure payment processing and effortless lead generation. As time goes on, a digital advertising agency can deliver demographic and geographical insights to inform remarketing initiatives.

A full-service online marketing agency may be able to offer support when it comes to processing payments. From SaaS support for omnichannel payments to more secure methods for handling recurring or tokenized transactions and customer contact data, agencies can help brands develop easily identifiable and user-friendly checkout interfaces and order updates for recent purchases.

Approaching payment processing as a marketing tactic lets brands and businesses obtain all of the data necessary to cultivate a consistent customer base. Securely obtain contact information and other useful details for personalized promotions while gleaning insights from accurate demographic, location and search reporting.

It’s now possible to grow a customer base through behavioral, demographic or geographical promotions and recommendations. An effective digital marketing strategy should also make brands or businesses more accessible, responsive, and trustworthy. Increase the number and quality of conversions, leads and win rates today with the best online marketing agency.

Contact Us Today

At HawkSEM, we provide a customized approach based on your particular needs. Our passion for results and drive to meet goals ensure we do right by you, generating a higher ROI. Contact us today to learn how we can help dramatically improve your digital marketing results.

Paid Search Marketing for Financial Services: 13 Tips from an SEM Agency

PPC for financial services can be an effective component of a marketing strategy — use it to build brand recognition and boost conversions quickly.

Financial services encompass everything from credit unions and banks to insurance, credit-card companies, and investment funds. But even though everyone should be thinking about at least some of these topics regularly, not everyone does.

This makes it a challenge for marketers. Luckily, Google Ads can give your financial services digital marketing a boost and build brand recognition, while paid search can attract leads quickly and drive conversions for finance-based services. Below, we highlight 13 tips to help you develop top-notch search marketing strategies in the finance industry.

1. Understand the Regulations

Financial products and services are highly regulated. When creating ads, make sure you comply with local, state and national regulations. This may include specific disclosures that provide transparency to the product or services highlighted by the ad. Google and other search engines may also require specific information within the ad for it to be approved, such as:

  • Disclosure of associated fees
  • Contact information and physical location
  • Links for implied third-party endorsement or accreditation

Personal loan advertising must also contain info about the quality, fees, features, benefits, and risk associated with the product. The idea is that these disclosures provide valuable information to help consumers make informed decisions. When creating an ad, make sure your content contains:

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
  • Minimum and maximum repayment period
  • An example representing the total cost of the loan, including applicable fees

2. Know the Financial Products Google Won’t Accept

Google doesn’t allow advertisers to promote a variety of financial products, including:

  • Short-term loans (loans that require full repayment within 60 days)
  • High APR personal loans
  • Trading binary options or similar products
  • Complex speculative financial products

Advertising for loan modifications and cryptocurrencies is allowed, but there are strict rules. If you’re planning PPC for financial services in these areas, review the guidelines carefully. If your ad is not approved, Google provides guidance for what you can do to fix the issues.

3. Start Paid Search Marketing Slowly

Whether you’re experienced in PPC or are new to paid search, starting slowly can help ensure you get the most efficient results possible. Start with one to three campaigns and a core group of four to ten keywords, then measure the results. You’ll see where your budget is being spent most effectively so you can cut the underperforming ads.

4. Prepare for Higher Cost Per Click

Financial keywords are competitive. When it comes to digital marketing for financial services, this often translates into a higher cost than for other industries. Focus keywords in your niche rather than the industry as a whole to help attract the most qualified leads.

5. Narrow the Target Audience

If your company has locations in a few areas, tightly focused search engine marketing can help you make the most of your budget. In addition to geographic location, you can take advantage of targeting options such as age, gender, and household income. The more specific you can be, the easier it is to find your ideal target audience. For example, if you want to attract management-level consumers, use income levels and demographics. This can help you find the clients that want your products in a sea of unqualified leads.

6. Create Original Copy

To stand apart from the crowd, you’ve got to get creative. By writing unique copy that features offers and benefits, you can increase click-through rates and attract the right consumers. For example, if you’re developing PPC for credit unions, credit cards or banking institutions, you may want to promote no annual fees or 24/7 customer service. If your campaign revolves around insurance company products, what perks or savings can you offer? Create a call to action (CTA) that stands out and catches the consumer’s eye.

7. Customize Landing Pages

If your ad simply goes to your company’s homepage, you could be missing out on conversions. Make sure the link on your ad goes to a page that has the matching content. The messaging across ads and landing pages should be consistent, relevant, and valuable to the consumer. You can even customize it based on the keywords and ad groups to encourage further interaction.

8. Leverage Display Advertising

Although the requirements for advertising may be strict, millions of consumers need financial products – from help with tax preparation, retirement, and home equity loans to auto insurance and basic banking accounts. Display advertising offers you several options to improve engagement and boost conversion rates:

  • Behavioral
  • Contextual
  • Geographical
  • Site-specific

9. Know These Display Ad Best Practices

The marketing strategy for an insurance company, banking institution, or financial products group must have the right mix of elements to be successful. Here are a few to consider:

  • Go local: Localize your ad to make your interactions more relevant. Use familiar local terms and graphics to increase messaging and conversion rates.
  • Add a focused hero image: If your product benefits a particular audience, use images that resonate with that specific consumer. For example, a happy young family in a yard for first-time homeowners may resonate better than a generic image of a wallet.
  • Build trust: Fear and uncertainty are common emotions associated with financial decision-making. Keep the message simple and repeat it, since most consumers need to see an ad several times before they believe it. Add any certificates or recognized local customers to establish trust.
  • Combine search marketing with display: Display ads increase brand recognition. As more consumers become aware of your product, they’ll search for it as they move through their decision-making process. As the search numbers increase, your search engine ranking improves, which can result in more in sales.

10. Be Aware of Competitor Positioning

Who are your top competitors? What features do they highlight? Be ready to outdo them with your product’s value proposition benefits. Consumers often comparison shop, so they’ll be looking for ways that you are similar to competitors and what makes you different.

11. Make it a User-Friendly Experience

Keep your message simple and make it easy for consumers to understand what to do next. Use a quick form that lets them speed through the process, whether the desired action is downloading content, registering an account, or completing a request form. Minimizing the number of steps and removing unnecessary fields has been shown to increase conversions significantly.

12. Test, Adjust and Retest

Take your PPC insurance, loan, or banking campaign’s search marketing results to the next level by testing individual components. Start by auditing keywords for funding value, rather than for leads or conversions, to help you tune for the highest return on investment. Look at the segment breakdown for tablet, mobile and desktop to see which ads perform best. You may find that it makes sense to run some ads only for mobile and others only for tablets or desktops.

All leads are not created equal. Because of this, it’s a good idea to align your sales and marketing goals by using lead scoring. This method prioritizes leads, allowing you to respond to people most interested in your products and increase the conversion rate. It assigns points to contacts so you know which leads require ongoing communication and which should be fast-tracked. The most effective systems use a variety of attributes including but not limited to:

  • Demographics
  • Keywords
  • Clicks
  • Website visits

13. Add Retargeting to your Ads

Retargeting can be an effective method for increasing conversions. It encourages consumers to return to your website and complete an action they may have started but not finished, such as filling out a form or completing an order. However, there are rules that may limit how much you can do in this area, so take some time to research the requirements in your niche to find out if it’s worth it for your company.

When people are seeking out financial services, they’re often in the midst of making their decision, so timing is critical. You have a short time frame to attract and convert prospects to customers. Paid search marketing can jumpstart your efforts and show results quickly, which can help you tighten the focus of your messaging and improve ROI.


Contact Us Today

Pay per click advertising campaigns can deliver targeted, highly qualified traffic when developed correctly. At HawkSEM, we provide a customized approach based on your particular needs. Our passion for results and drive to meet goals ensure we do right by you, generating a higher ROI. Contact us today to learn how we can help dramatically improve your digital marketing results.

10 Tips SaaS Companies Need to Know About Paid Search Marketing

Check off these boxes to ensure your paid search marketing strategies are on the right track.

Whether B2B or B2C, software as a service (SaaS) products and platforms play a huge role across many industries, from finance to event planning and everything in between.

As your SaaS company plans its marketing strategies, there are a few key areas to focus on to make your strategy more effective. To get the best results, it’s wise to leave things to the experts by hiring a professional SEM company for your SaaS marketing. Using an agency with a proven track record of success both in your industry and with SaaS, in particular, can help you be successful.

1. Increase the Right Type of Lead Volume

There’s a drastic difference between increasing your lead count and increasing quality SaaS lead generation. If more people are clicking on your ad but there’s no increase in on-site conversions — or, ultimately, sales — you know something is wrong. This is especially crucial because you’re paying for each click.

Sometimes, aligning yourself with well-known clients or customers can encourage higher caliber prospects to jump on board. Use recognizable industry names from your portfolio or any Fortune 500 companies you’ve worked for (with their permission if it’s for an ad) as a hook to clients considering a purchase. In some industries, listing elite certifications can also be a good SaaS marketing strategy.

2. Book Sales Demos That Close Deals

As a SaaS company, sales can rely on how effectively you demonstrate the value of your product — and how it stands out from the crowd. When you know the challenges faced by your prospective clients, you can cater to the product features that will be most relevant to their needs.

Showing metrics can also be very convincing. It’s one thing to say you can save a company money. It’s a game-changer to say you can potentially save them at least $100,000, and have the data to back it up. With that in mind, you need to be booking sales demos with the right type of clients so your demos will be more effective. That’s where an SEM or B2B agency can come in handy.

3. Know How to Properly Use LTV

Lifetime value (LTV) can be used to make critical decisions, such as how much you pay for user acquisition and how losing users impacts your bottom line. Because of this, it’s crucial to be certain it’s calculated correctly.

Hubspot explains you can determine lifetime value by calculating the average purchase value, average purchase frequency rate, customer value, and average customer lifespan. Ultimately, multiplying customer value by the average customer lifespan should give you your LTV. Once you have an accurate number, compare that with your customer acquisition cost (CAC) to make sure you’re getting at least three dollars out of every single dollar you put in.

4. Understand What Constitutes Quality Conversions

Your goal should always be to create clients for life. Because it costs money to acquire new clients, the more clients you keep, the less it’ll cost you (spoiler alert, right?). Plus, an increase in client volume coupled with a decrease in cost per acquisition can save you serious money.

Understanding this can help you market with the long game in mind. Big players and key clients will sometimes visit your website or contact you with questions many times before deciding to make a purchase, but that type of client can be more lucrative in the long run.

5. Consider Your Landing Page Your Lifeline

A landing page is where a user ends up after clicking an SEO search result, marketing promo or email, or an online ad. This page needs to present the purpose and products of your company clearly and convincingly. It should give viewers a reason to browse the rest of your website and make them want to look into what you offer — and plenty of companies fall short.

It typically helps to use impressive numbers and statistics on landing pages that offer a wow factor. For example, stating that you can save clients up to 50 percent or cut their customer service calls in half is more convincing than saying your product “utilizes the latest technology.”

Along with potentially incorporating metrics, visual aids can also be hugely effective. Using charts, diagrams and grids can allow you to more clearly display how you’re different than your competition in terms of:

  • Cost
  • Features and benefits
  • Contract or subscription type

You can also mention specifics, like cost per user and “freemium” models to attract clients’ attention.

6. Study Your Ideal Client and Your Current Clients

If your search marketing strategy isn’t working as well as you’d hoped, you may have misread what matters to your target audience. For example, as a technical or IT company, keyword targeting is crucial.

Due to the technical nature of the lingo in that industry, one keyword may have multiple meanings and can prevent your strategy from being effective. It can be helpful to go back through and make some of the following changes:

  • Adjust display times
  • Switch up keywords
  • Use more compelling ad copy
  • Tailor by language and location

Sometimes all you need is a display campaign targeted to a very narrow audience to start attracting the right kind of clients. When you choose to go this route, however, it’s extremely important to pick your placements carefully and make sure they’re on relevant sites.

7. Strategize Based on Your ROI

While we know it’s easier said than done, you don’t want to let emotions or personal preferences get in the way of profitability. You might love the emojis on your website or social media posts, for example, but anything that doesn’t appeal to the majority of your clients needs to be changed.

Focus on the areas most attractive to clients and spend money in the right places to see the best results.

8. Avoid Tunnel Vision

While you are certainly aware of the benefits your products and services offer, you have to assume prospective clients aren’t. Especially if your company offers a niche product or cutting-edge service, educating people is key. In these cases, it might take more convincing evidence like:

  • Demos
  • Video tutorials
  • White papers
  • Case studies

It’s a good idea to keep a thorough portfolio of the assets that make your company marketable handy, for both your team and visitors to your website.

9. Stay True to Your Brand

Using a variety of simultaneous campaigns is usually the ideal approach since most viewers don’t become clients after one touchpoint or interaction. But even though you’re using different ad channels, your message and mission should be consistent across all of them.

Studying typical user patterns lets you focus your efforts on the best channels to increase ad effectiveness. When you know your standard user goes from an ad click to remarketing to white paper to a YouTube video before converting, you can budget better.

10. Take the Guesswork Out of Campaigns

Knowing your audience helps make your paid search marketing more strategic. If your demographic is millennials, a social advertising campaign might make more sense than an intense search engine marketing campaign. If your audience is primarily ballet dancers, you would use a different strategy than if your audience was mainly construction workers. This is especially true for products that aren’t deemed necessities.

Instead of focusing solely on a Google search campaign, include Bing or other more specialized marketing channels that may produce better results. For example, if you’re targeting marketing execs, you might consider a campaign on LinkedIn where you can take advantage of keywords for specific job titles.

As you talk through your marketing goals and strategies with a professional SaaS marketing agency, be prepared to hear suggestions you might not have thought of before. They may tell you, for example, that you can sometimes achieve a lower CPC when you push content downloads and assets and then follow up with an email or retargeting instead of focusing solely on free trials and demos. Take the advice of professionals — you may be surprised by the results you see.


Contact Us Today

At HawkSEM, we provide a customized approach based on your particular needs. Our passion for results and drive to meet goals ensure we do right by you, generating a higher ROI. Contact us today to learn how we can help dramatically improve your digital marketing results.

How to Choose the Right PPC Agency: 12 Steps to Selecting a New PPC Agency

Tips to help you select the digital marketing agency that best fits your needs.

Paid search is an ever-changing field. For marketing professionals whose time is already at a premium, finding the time to stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and nuances can be challenging. If you are new to the PPC field, you may feel under-experienced to be running campaigns. Hiring a PPC agency may be the best way to boost ROI and free up your time for other channels.

Agencies often prioritize learning. They understand that to remain effective, the teams that work for them must stay abreast of the latest trends and techniques. Account representatives are experts in their field, and they typically have access to systems that help them increase effectiveness for clients. In the same way that no single marketing strategy fits all companies, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for PPC management. Here are some tips to help you hire the right SEM agency for your business.

1. Have a List of Goals and Objectives

Before you begin your paid agency search, make sure you know what you want to achieve. For example, building brand awareness, fueling your pipeline, launching a new product or service, increasing conversions, or improving online revenue. The more specific you can be about your objectives, the better chance you have of partnering with an agency successfully. Goals are crucial for ensuring strategies developed and the tactics used are in line with your business needs.

2. Identify Which Services You Need

Perhaps you want to run paid search ads or add content to boost your SEO ranking. When making the list of agencies to contact, make sure they have experience with the services you need. You may want to screen out any that only focus on one area, such as SEO. A PPC company that integrates paid search with other online marketing services can work with you to a higher degree and help you understand customer behavior across various digital channels. Over time this can improve campaign results and increase ROI. Services that paid search agencies typically offer, include the following:

· Paid Search (SEM, PPC)
· Content Marketing
· Conversion Rate Optimization
· Social Media Advertising/Paid Social
· Shopping Feeds
· Display Advertising
· Remarketing/Retargeting

3. Have a Budget In Mind

You may have an estimate of what you can spend for a PPC company, whether it is a percentage of your overall marketing budget or based on what you have spent in the past. When searching for an agency to work with, ask for their opinion: Is the amount adequate to obtain your objectives? Is PPC the best way to go, or should the funds be spent on a different channel? The way they answer these questions demonstrate whether they can explain it in a way you not only understand, but also believe. If they don’t think you are budgeting enough, does their reasoning make sense? Ask if they recommend an alternate channel where the spend may be more effective.

4. Determine the Fee Structure

When it comes to pricing, the terms should meet your budgetary requirements. There are several options to consider:

· Flat monthly fee
· Percentage of the advertising spend
· Hybrid approach

There are pros and cons to each. But what deliverables are included in the services you’re signing up for? Are there any hidden fees? Will you need to hire additional resources to get the job done? Discussing such questions with the agencies you interview can help you decide which will work best for your business.

5. Discover Whether They Are a Cultural Fit

Finding the right cultural fit is essential for the success of your relationship with an agency. Not because they will work with you or your in-house team on some aspects of the campaigns, but a shared perspective enables effective collaboration. Even if it looks good on paper, if you don’t share similar values, the teams won’t mesh and work well together, which can affect productivity and effectiveness. You want a firm that is motivated and passionate about what they do and takes pride in the quality of work they provide.

6. Learn about Their Communication Style

Before retaining an agency, you should discuss what your expectations are in terms of communication. Is receiving a weekly email with updates enough or do you prefer a phone call? Do you want specific information in the reports? The firm should also make their preferences regarding communication clear. Do they recommend regularly scheduled meetings and updates? Is the whole team involved, or just the account manager?

Discuss what the agency needs from you and their expectations. Will they be partnering with you to strategize and execute or simply providing recommendations for your team to carry out? When both sides communicate clearly, the partnership can proceed more smoothly.

7. Experience and Expertise

When discussing the possibility of retaining an SEM agency, find out who will liaise with you regularly and learn more about who will be working directly on your account. The agency you hire must be able to navigate today’s complex landscape and have the chops to make your PPC campaigns successful.

· Account strategists help you reach your goals by directing the account and setting the overall strategy.
· Tracking experts and analytics specialists set up campaigns, track analytics, and analyze the results.
· Conversion rate optimization specialists continuously test landing pages for improved ad performance.
· Graphic designers ensure your ads and landing pages look great and attract – and convert – the right traffic.

Not every agency will have dedicated teams with all of these positions. Some have senior managers who own several of these roles, while others may use junior talent and freelancers. It’s important to understand the level of expertise you are getting and whether it is commensurate with the fee.

8. Ensure You Own the Data

It’s possible that, over time, you may decide to find a new agency or build an in-house team to work alongside or in place of your agency. Prepare for that in advance by ensuring that the Google Ads accounts, landing pages, and creative assets, are all yours. When you work with an agency, not only should you receive experienced PPC management, but your creative assets should build. Make sure the account is set up using your e-mail account and that you have full access to the paid ad account(s), but grant the agency full access, so they can create and manage campaigns as needed.

Having historical data is crucial to tuning your campaigns; if the Google Ads information isn’t yours, you will have to start over again, which wastes valuable resources. When the partnership with the firm ends, you should be able to take everything with you.

9. Determine your Key Performance Indicators

List which performance indicators are most important to the success of your campaigns. This can help you measure results and how they help you attain your goals. Some of the most common KPIs include:

· Cost per Acquisition
· Return on Investment
· Conversion Rates
· Sales Closing Ratio
· Customer Lifetime Value

10. Look for Transparency

Reporting results can be subject to interpretation. The paid search agency you hire should be willing to share the complete, unaltered information related to your KPIs. In addition, the reports they design should match your internal metrics so that you can get a consistent view of performance. The data they contain should be detailed and up-to-date, not days or weeks old.

11. Ask About Certification

One factor to consider when choosing an agency is whether they are Google Ad certified or a Google Premier Partner. This accreditation is earned by individuals that attend training and demonstrate proficiency in a broad range of Google Ads features. Some team members may specialize in areas that can benefit your campaign, particularly if you serve a small, specific niche.

12. Request Flexible Contracts

Look for firms that offer flexibility in contract lengths. Consider whether they are willing to accept short-term contracts. Professional agencies who offer this option are confident in their ability to provide the best services for your business and that you will want to renew with them. Before you sign, read the out clause and understand what your options are if you want to leave the agency.

The great thing about digital marketing is that it can be done from anywhere. You can choose the best agency for you, regardless of location. This opens your campaigns to a new realm of possibilities that you may not have had the opportunity for previously. When deciding on an agency, look for the best service, cost and team that fits your needs – not location. With video calls and messaging services, location really shouldn’t matter. And hey, if occasional in-person meetings are a must for you, transportation makes that pretty easy too.

Contact Us Today

Pay per click advertising campaigns can deliver targeted, highly qualified traffic when developed correctly. At HawkSEM, we provide a customized approach based on your particular needs. Our passion for results and drive to meet goals ensure we do right by you, generating a higher ROI. Contact us today to learn how we can help dramatically improve your digital marketing results.

HawkSEM Named a Top Enterprise SEO Company by!

HawkSEM Named a Top Enterprise SEO Company by!

At HawkSEM, we pride ourselves on making our client’s smile. It’s simple, but it drives our business to be the best we can be. The importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is being realized more and more each year, with more firms actively employing the uses of SEO firms around the world. We are honored to be recognized by Clutch as one of the top Enterprise SEO Companies.

Clutch is a B2B ratings and review service that is headquartered in Washington D.C. Clutch differs from its competition by completing an in-depth review process before rating the company. Clutch does market research, analyzes this research, and most importantly, conducts interviews with clients in order to craft the most unbiased review possible. That is the reason we are so happy to have been positively reviewed by Clutch and in such a high manner. Our profile on Clutch currently has a 5.0 star rating out of 5.0 stars and has multiple reviews, which we would love to show you below:

“They have the expertise, knowledge, and time to push things forward on their own.” –
Communications Director, As You Sow

“They hit the ground running, learning what our programs are and fine-tuning the strategy around the keywords in the ad copy.” – Director of Marketing, Public University

Clutch also has two sister sites, The Manifest and Visual Objects.

The Manifest is designed to show clients a quick view of a company, showing the company’s location and the services that the company provides, all at a glance. Furthermore, The Manifest also has a How-To Guide built in for the client if they are looking to hire the 3rd party business found on the site. The Manifest has us listed as one of the top digital marketing agencies in Los Angeles.

Visual Objects offers the client a much different look at a company by providing a visual portfolio for the company. This portfolio is created by Visual Objects to showcase to the client the outstanding creative designs that companies have done in the past. This is helpful for advertising companies and even SEO companies like ours, as Visual Objects has us ranked one of the top digital marketing companies on their site.

HawkSEM is honored and humbled by the ratings and reviews left by Clutch and our clients. We have always prided ourselves on making the client smile, and while the mission may be simple, these reviews have shown it is overwhelmingly effective. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Clutch in order to further our tradition of excellent customer satisfaction.

New Heights for HawkSEM as a Leading PPC Agency

Results are everything to our team at HawkSEM, both in terms of the growth that we usher our clients toward and in terms of the personal progress that our entire team achieves. Through our focus areas of social media marketing, SEO, conversion optimization, and PPC, HawkSEM scales revenue and launches every customer to unprecedented heights of profitability.

We love seeing clients rack up results that make them happy, but we’re also excited to share some news celebrating HawkSEM. Clutch, a Washington, D.C.-based B2B research and reviews agency, recently published its listing of firms with the top PPC management services around, and we earned one of the top-10 spots in a field stacked with over 200 competitors.

This accomplishment reflects the excellent quality and strong performance of our market
presence, operations, and industry experience, among other criteria that Clutch analyzes in creating and compiling its rankings. Beyond the hard data that factors into company evaluations, client feedback also weighs in strongly.

They’ve done a great job. I gave them all the information I could and let them get to work. I offered a little guidance for subject matter that was difficult to parse and they picked up very quickly,” beamed one of our customers, the communications director of a nonprofit. “They have the expertise, knowledge, and time to push things forward on their own.

The numbers clearly speak for themselves,” highlighted a second, the marketing director at a public university. “Having consistent management of our campaign has been really crucial to our success. They’re very concerned about our metrics and our costs. They’re respectful of our money and spend it as if it was their own.

The Manifest and Visual Objects, sister companies to Clutch, also speak highly of HawkSEM.

Business news and insight website The Manifest highlighted our team in its round-up of the top SEO services in Los Angeles, while Visual Objects, a portfolio curation platform, listed our design and development experience in a showcase of firms with superb digital marketing experience.

In a busy advertising and marketing scene, HawkSEM relishes knowing that we’ve distinguished ourselves from the pack with our exceptional strategy and skills. Whether you’re looking for PPC, design, or SEO work, your growth and profitability are ensured and safe in our hands. Reach out to us here to learn more about out the results that you’ll achieve with us – we look forward to collaborating to scale your success together!

HawkSEM Reviews 5 Star on!

HawkSEM Joins Clutch!

Without the right strategy, a digital program has no chance of success. At HawkSEM, we focus on maximizing revenue through ROI driven campaigns. We do this by targeting the right people, at the right time. This is especially important as personalization only grows more significant in the search marketing space.

We’re always thinking about ways to improve. Recently, we joined Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews platform. Clutch uses data, qualitative insights, and client reviews to evaluate the companies featured on their platform. In the pay per click category alone, there are 2953 firms! It’s a competitive industry, and the world of search is always changing. For this reason, we’re grateful to have anything that can help us show prospective buyers our unique approach and proven results.

As part of our presence on the directory, Clutch collects unbiased and comprehensive reviews from our clients, and our clients, who have graciously given their time, provided very useful insights. Some highlights are shown below:

“They have the expertise, knowledge, and time to push things forward on their own.”
Communications Director, As You Sow

“We’ve seen an increase in leads from their PPC work.” – CEO, Real Estate Firm

“They hit the ground running, learning what our programs are and fine-tuning the strategy around the keywords in the ad copy.” – Director of Marketing, Public University

Our team could not feel better about receiving a perfect, 5 stars from our clients. On Clutch’s sister website, The Manifest, our company is also featured in quite a few categories, including social media, another marketing technique that demands a skilled and trustworthy partner. HawkSEM is excited to continue explore the possibilities of marketing with new partners. If you’re also a business looking to leverage the latest technologies and trends to meet their goals, contact us today to get started.

PPC Management – Increase ROI Year-Over-Year

How much are you spending on SEM every year? North American advertisers spent nearly $20 billion in 2012 alone. With that much money being thrown around, it’s important to focus on SEM and PPC marketing campaigns that produce real results, year after year—in other words, ensuring that the money you spend provides you with a significant ROI.

If you’re a digital marketing manager or CMO, you need to possess the resources and knowledge to properly measure ROI to be successful. Here are 5 helpful practices to improve PPC results, year over year.

How to Track ROI From PPC

To properly track ROI from PPC campaigns, you’ll need to have robust tracking tools (not just conversion tracking on Google AdWords), the latest technology, an experienced team, lead scoring and a detailed reporting system. The technology should be able to track specific keywords, ad copy, landing pages, ad position, and other factors that determine which visits lead to conversions. From this point, you can include these keywords into your CRM.

To elaborate take this example into consideration. AdWords will show that the keyword “refi Mortgage” led to the conversion and it stops there. What you really need to be tracking is:
• Keyword: “refi mortgage”
• Match type: exact
• Ad position: 2
• Ad Copy: “Lowest Refinance Rates”
After, your sales team has spoken to each lead, they must give it a score (we like to use a 5 star system). All this data together ties the loop to properly track ROI.

Launching an ROI-driven PPC Strategy

So you’re ready to launch a new PPC strategy that focuses on ROI. You’ll need to focus on three specific areas:

• Effective & Insightful Tracking
• Proper keyword targeting
• Relevant & Conversion Oriented landing pages

Part 1: Proper Tracking

Tracking goes above and beyond merely slapping a tracking code on your website and assuming the situation is now being handled. You may get some basic statistics from doing this, but how can you boost ROI based on this alone? As mentioned, you need to have the proper technology to really track effectively.

Part 2: Keyword Targeting

Keyword targeting is critical. Once you discover which keywords are generating the best leads, you’re well on your way toward developing an ROI-centered marketing campaign. In addition, there are multiple programs out there that can assist you with new keyword ideas, variations on keywords, and synonyms.

Part 3: Landing Pages

If executed properly, your landing page will be clear, concise, and conversion oriented. Verify that the landing page is not linked from anywhere except your PPC campaign to ensure effective tracking. By developing unique landing pages for specific ad groups/keywords and utilizing Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI), you will increase your conversion rates.

Know Your “Money Keywords” to Convert Conversations Into Customers

When it comes to budgeting SEM, most people have their bidding strategies backwards. Your campaign needs to be built around the understanding of what ROI ratio you are trying to achieve. If you are bidding a specific amount of money because you know what position it will put you in and what kind of traffic it will generate, and then multiplying that number by the conversion rate, you are going at things completely backwards.

Are you properly tracking ROI from PPC? If not, we would love to help you get all set up, get in touch with us today.

5 Proven SEM Strategies to Reduce Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Your customer base is the proverbial goose that lays the golden eggs, in that you have to keep feeding new customers into it in order to maintain profits. Yet you’re probably already aware of just how costly feeding that goose can become. If you allow your customer acquisition costs (CAC) to become to too high, you’ll quickly see those golden eggs start to shrink as your goose becomes a bloated, unhealthy mess, incapable of producing the kind of results you need.

Thus, the challenge then becomes being able to grow your clientele by bringing the right kind of customers in at just the right price. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, without a working knowledge of the market strategies proven to achieve such a goal, you risk wading through an unending stream of unsuccessful marketing ploys.

Proven Cost-Effective Techniques

  • Optimize and grade your leads: Too often, undecided clients let the sales cycle linger out of control, turning sales reps into marketers. Set clear criteria for your marketers based upon targeted, segmented feedback to determine what qualifies as a lead that can be passed on to your sales team.
  • Focus on what works: Monitor initiatives to see which yield high and low conversion rates. Don’t be afraid to abandon those that produce few results.
  • Don’t be afraid of customer trials: Market research has shown that consumers value a company’s willingness to guarantee their products or services at their own potential expense. By offering your new customers a trial period, you’re more likely you keep them over the long haul.
  • Indulge their need for instant gratification: By offering an incentive to work with your company, you’re engendering within customers an immediate sense of brand loyalty.
  • Enter the virtual world: If you’re one of the few holdouts that has yet to fully embrace internet marketing, it’s high time you became converted. Recent years have seen online marketing catch up and even threaten to overtake traditional marketing methods as the preferred choice in the business world. Much of that is due to its cost-effectiveness. Campaigns built around SEO and PPC often achieve better results than most other real-world marketing strategies, and often at a fraction of the cost.

The battle to keep your CAC down can be a difficult one, yet if you remain committed to seeing it done and have the right resources at your disposal, you can successfully keep your golden goose a laying. We here at HawkSEM are one such resource. As experts in SEM, we’re well-versed in all of the market strategies proven to keep customers seeking you out without you having to break the bank. To see just what we can do for your company, contact one of our team members today.