Writing Emails In Your Voice: Trust Me, You Won’t Be Sorry

Writing Emails In Your Voice: Trust Me, You Won’t Be Sorry

I just wanted to say thanks for reading this blog. I mean, I’m no expert, but I think that how we phrase things in emails is really important. Sorry if it’s blunt, but sometimes our phrasing can diminish the substance of what we’re trying to communicate. Does that make sense?

Did you hate that opening paragraph as much as I hated writing it?

Power in Communication

Being a completely remote business, emails are a big part of our communication. When you remove the face-to-face conversations, you really need to step up your email game. The words that you choose can break a relationship, ruin a strategy, and waste time. But they can also build trust, friendships, and respect. I have clients that I’ve known for years who I’d consider close friends, but we’ve never actually met in person. There’s a lot of power in the way you communicate, so it feels like a no-brainer to pay close attention to the way you say things.

It wasn’t until the other day when I was composing a tough email that I found myself really questioning my language. For the more difficult emails, I always say them out loud before hitting send so I can get a feel for how they’ll come across. As I read this particular email draft, I realised I had said the word “just” about 6 times, “actually” twice, and to cap it off, said “sorry” for no reason.

Ugh. That’s not me.

I’m a confident person, and yet there was nothing confident about this email. Why was I apologising for existing and making requests that were totally reasonable? I own a business and I’m awesome, dammit!

“Woman In A Meeting” Language

We can all accidentally or unintentionally undermine ourselves, but the reality is that it happens more for women in the workplace. This article from the Washington Post takes famous quotes and puts them in the language a woman would use if she were in a meeting. One of my personal favourites is a spoof of the famous “I came. I saw. I conquered”, or as a woman in a meeting might say;

“I don’t want to toot my own horn here at all but I definitely have been to those places and was just honoured to be a part of it as our team did such a wonderful job of conquering them.”

This “Woman in a Meeting” language, as dubbed in the article, was so ingrained in me that I hadn’t even noticed it. And the more formal or important a situation was, the more I found myself leaning on it.

For me, I fall into this bizarre “Woman in a Meeting” language because I’m trying to fit in. Times where I’ve been passionate about something, I’ve been called “emotional” or even “hysterical”. Some days where I’ve felt sad, depressed, or frustrated and I’ve expressed those feelings at work, I’ve been told to “put a lid on it” or “go do that in private” – basically the corporate equivalent of “you’d be prettier if you smiled more”. So eventually I learned that if I had something important to say, I had better say it in a way that would be received and heard. And unfortunately, that’s “Woman in a Meeting” language.

Just Not Sorry

I recently installed a Chrome extension called Just Not Sorry, and it has helped A LOT. The app highlights words and phrases that undermine your voice, like:

  • “Sorry”
  • “I think”
  • “Just”
  • “Does this make sense?”

Since using the extension, I’ve realised that I use these words and phrases far more often than I originally thought. It’s an excellent tool that’s made me more mindful of my language. I was a huge fan.

That was until I started drafting this email;

“I appreciate your understanding. I always want to be honest with you, especially when I feel that communication might be starting to break down.”

Squiggly lines appeared under “to be honest” and “I feel”, and I started second-guessing myself. Should I rephrase this? Maybe “I feel” just isn’t strong enough. I re-worded the email several times but I had that same feeling I had before;

Ugh. That’s not me.

Yes, as a woman I do lean on language that undermines what I’m trying to say, and it’s bad. BUT, my strengths are my emotional intelligence – my ability to connect with people and be genuine. Overly professional environments make me uncomfortable. I like saying “Cheers” instead of “Kind regards”. And sometimes, when I say “I feel”, it’s because I actually feel something. And I shouldn’t be hiding feelings or apologising for them.

I don’t want to undermine what I’m saying, but being my genuine self isn’t undermining my content. Being in touch with those things I used to hide at work – my emotions, my concerns, my frustrations – are the things that make me win at business. I shouldn’t have to translate my words to fit into a culture that doesn’t cater to, or respect, those parts about me.

Be Yourself

So my tip for you is this. Download the Just Not Sorry Chrome extension and look for the squiggly lines. But ask yourself if you’re apologising for your own existence, or if you really are sorry. Ask yourself if “you feel” because you can’t come right out and say it, or if you really do feel something. When you’re “just emailing to say”, read it out loud, does that sound like you?

Be the wonderful person that you are, embrace the whole of yourself at work, even the messy parts that wouldn’t fit in traditional office environments. Write emails in your voice. Trust me, you won’t be sorry.

Written by Gemma Renton

Tools To Get Your Local Business Online

Tools To Get Your Local Business Online

Local Business, Global Tools: How a digital presence is your key to bouncing back post-pandemic

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a multi-faceted impact, not least of which is the effect on the business world. Small business owners have had to close their doors, lay off staff, and appeal to the government for support with varying levels of success.

Now that we are hopefully seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, the changing face of business and the way we interact as a society will continue to impact on our local businesses and the way they attract consumers.

But it’s not all bad news! Whether you’re in the process of re-opening your physical storefront, transitioning to a full online presence, or completely starting over, there are tools available that you can employ to get your local business online.

Google My Business

Utilising this free tool from Google gives you prominent online real estate when people are looking for you or similar businesses. You can use Google My Business (GMB) to advise would-be consumers of your location, business hours, contact details, busy times, and so much more. This is a fantastic way to advise your loyal customers that you are back in action and also advertise to newcomers, tourists, or people visiting your area.

GMB also gives you visibility on Google Maps, so you can reach even more potential customers travelling into and through your location. It’s easy to update, and can even let other consumers see great reviews and testimonials. Lastly, a fully-optimised GMB profile will boost your organic listings in Google searches. With so many details and connections to other Google apps, it’s a great way to give your local business an online presence!

Facebook Business Pages

Facebooks pages are another free and easy tool you can use to stay in touch with your customers and clients. It is estimated that 2.5 billion people log on to Facebook once per month. Estimates also indicate that 1.66 billion people across the world are daily Facebook users. This means that your potential customers and clients are on Facebook on a very regular basis, and they want to communicate with you!

Similarly to Google My Business, you can update your contact details, business hours, and product range easily and instantaneously. It differs in that you can visually engage with your audience in rich and interactive ways that are not always about selling yourself, but also about building your audience.

Share images, videos, host live chats and demonstrations of your products and services. You can cultivate customers and enthusiasts who will help spread the benefits of your products and services to others they are connected to.

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

Using the targeted approach to advertising is paramount if you want to reach the right people at the right time. Pay Per Click advertising on platforms like Google Ads and Bing Ads makes sure that your services are seen by the people who are looking for them, at the time they need them.

You have complete control over when your ads show, how much you pay for each click, and even what searches trigger your ads to show. If you combine this with targeted locations, you can be extra relevant to your local community.

Let everyone know that you’re back in business

Now more than ever, your digital presence could be the key to moving forward with your local business in our ever-changing society.

Give your business the best chance of staying on-trend, viable, and up-to-date by getting yourself online. It will help you make sure you’re available to your audience and customers when they need you!

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or would like a free strategy to help you get your business online!

Written by Kristen Boucher

Working From Home: The New Normal?

Working from Home: The New Normal?

Time was, working from home was the dream and people who did it could often be visualised sipping mai tais on their deck, Bluetooth headset in, Hawaiian shirt on. Cut to 2020 and a majority of the workforce is working from home in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. By all reports, working from home is nothing like we thought it was.

The difference between the current shift in working trends, and the original idea of remote-working professionals, is that the choice has been removed. Plus, for many workers, we’re also having to contend with our children being home from daycare and school, our partners also being sequestered in close quarters, and our general family equilibrium altered. We can no longer go to the gym to blow off steam, to the mall for retail therapy, or even to our local coffee shop for a catch-up with friends. Things are tough right now. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and just all-round irritable, you’re not alone.

The Vine Street Digital team are well equipped for the “Work From Home” model as we’ve been a remote digital agency since our inception. Of course, we’re all in the same boat with the isolation restrictions, but here are a few tips for you and your mental health, while you adjust to the New Normal.

Let Go of 9–5

If you’re new to working from home, some of the perks include no commute, a bit more time on your hands, and the ability to choose when you want to work. You may feel a little more freedom with how you structure your day. Be kind to yourself about scheduling your tasks. This is especially important if you have children underfoot or a partner to work around. For instance, get up a little earlier if you find yourself more productive in the morning. Alternatively, if you’re a night owl, save some of your work tasks for later at night once everyone has gone to bed (and you can have some quiet time).

Schedule Your Active Time

If you’re used to going to the gym or getting outdoors, this can be a huge adjustment for your day-to-day life, not least of which because exercise/fitness is so important to your mental health. When you’re putting together your new daily schedule, make time for exercise. No equipment? No problem, there are many fitness activities that require little to no machines, weights, or fiddly straps. Think yoga, running, walking, or plyometric exercises. Alternatively, consider taking advantage of the many fitness streaming programmes available.

Working around kids

If you’ve found yourself at home with young children in this time of upheaval, you might be feeling like tearing out your hair. You love them, sure. But trying to work, clean, cook, stay sane, and keep them entertained 24/7 is more than a full-time job – it’s closer to three. Keep in mind that you are not alone, and there are many groups on social media designed for stay-at-home moms, homeschooling, and entertaining little ones. Some tips that may help include working while they’re asleep, tag-teaming with your significant other, and having scheduled quiet time every day. They don’t have to sleep, but they do have to entertain themselves for a couple of hours so their parent/s can work. Feel free to relax your screen time restrictions if that’s going to help you stay sane and get some work done.

You need “you time”

Self-care seems like a vague concept at the best of times, but now more than ever the stakes are much higher for you, your work, and your family. It’s all very well to espouse clichés and sound bites (is anyone else sick of hearing “you can’t pour from an empty cup”?), but our reality is now so different that your health is the single most important priority on your list. Stress and anxiety are clinically proven to lower immune system efficacy.

So have a cup of tea, read a book, buy an adult colouring book, or simply wear your fluffy slippers to your new work/home office (there’s got to be some perks, right?). Even if it’s for only thirty minutes a day, your mind will thank you for it.

Be Kind. To everyone, but especially to yourself.

Yes, you officially have permission to wear your pyjamas to work from home. You can work from the couch and you can have an extra cup of coffee. If your children have chips and nuggets for dinner again tonight, that’s okay. In this trying time, where you’re doing your best to keep things running smoothly, your ability to be kind to yourself will help you get through. Often attributed to the Buddha is the quote “if your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete”. In a world where things have changed so rapidly, it’s imperative that we remember to be kind.

Remember that all things are temporary! Our current situation is not permanent (although it feels like it when your laptop is propped up on the ironing board and you’re watching your twelfth rerun of Frozen II.) So make the most of this time to look after yourself and your family, enjoy the little things, and stay healthy!

Wash your hands!


Written by Kristen Boucher

Keeping A Home Routine For Work & Life – Part 2

Work & Life At Home Routine – Part 2

The coronavirus pandemic has seen people start to work from home and practice social distancing. It’s a difficult adjustment for many; the loss of structure of a daily routine can be hard. At Vine Street Digital, our default office is our home. We’ve written out what our average days look like, hoping to help those who are needing a bit of reassurance that it’s okay to do things at different times. You can read part 1 of our home routines here, and read on below for part 2!

A laptop, plant, and water bottle on a desk. | Home Routines | Vine Street DigitalCourtney

My daily “routine” continues to evolve as the months go on, depending on what I am doing in my life, although this doesn’t change my productivity levels.

Currently, my routine has altered due to watching a new Netflix series, so I’m going to bed later. As a result, I’m waking up at 8am instead of 6:30am. I go straight to my desk, to check emails. Then at 9-10am I’ll go eat breakfast and brush my teeth.

Sometimes I’ll go to the gym or attend pilates classes at whatever time I’d like to go (ideally the less busy times). I make my breakfast and lunch from scratch every day – from muesli, scrambled/poached eggs, and porridge in the morning; to fresh salads, pasta, and sandwiches during the day.

Overall, my work from home routine has allowed me to be more productive at work and out of work. 

Kristen

A computer desk setup | Home Routines | Vine Street DigitalMy home routine is mostly standard, but with a few tweaks as I have two dogs and a toddler who also require my attention.

I normally get up around 7am and get bub ready and off to day-care by 7:45am. This involves breakfast, dressing, and hygiene all done in front of whatever is on ABC kids. I’m home from dropping her off by 8 and then I’m walking the dogs between 8 and 8:30. This gives me a great start to the day with some fresh air and sunshine and it settles the dogs, so they don’t dance around me all day.

I work from 8 – 1, normally having a 10-minute break for coffee and breakfast around the 11 mark. Lunch is at 1pm and I try to take it in the garden, collecting a little more vitamin D where I can. My afternoon is where I schedule any housework, cooking, etc before collecting bub at 4:45pm. We always shower at night so we can get up and go in the morning, and we always spend the half-hour before dinner back out in the garden, tending our fruits & veggies and running around on the grass with the dogs.

Rebecca

Due to a physical disability, I can only work an hour at a time. On a good day, I can manage about 4 hours. If I didn’t have a regular daily routine, I wouldn’t be able to manage these hours. 

9:30am – Wake up, make breakfast and watch something silly to start the day on a positive note. I’m rewatching Parks and Recreation at the moment.

10:15am – 1 hour of work.

11:15am – Brush my teeth, then get into my daily physio exercises which all takes around 30 minutes, but feels more like 10 minutes with a good podcast. (I’d recommend This Sounds Serious.)

11:45am – Jump back into another hour of work. 

12:45pm – Lunch break! I try to go for a short walk during my lunch break in addition to eating lunch. This would also be around the time I’d head out to the grocery store if I needed anything. 

1:45pm – Back to work.

2:45pm – Shower time! I have roommates who work 9 to 5 jobs, so it’s very nice not to have to fight for hot water.

3pm – The last hour of work.

4pm – Call someone! I live in Canada and my family lives in Australia, so this is a good time for me to call my loved ones. I like to take the time to do something relaxing, like a 15-minute meditation (but usually video games). 

5pm – Make dinner. I like my dinner like I like my parties: early.

6pm – Whatever the heck I want! Sometimes I have night classes to go to, other times I’ll be heading out to perform in a comedy show. I’m a very social person, so it’s important to me to make plans with my friends during the week. While I’m social distancing, I have plans for phone chats with a bunch of my friends and family.

Chelsea

I try to stick to a regular routine, but there are a few things that shuffle around.A desk setup with a laptop and two extra monitors. | Home Routines | Vine Street Digital

I’ve been starting work around 9 or 10am most days. If I have some particularly engaging tasks or big deadlines, I might work until 7pm or later, as sometimes I find it easier to focus at night time. Or, if I wake up super early for some reason and can’t get back to sleep, sometimes I will work for an hour or two (e.g. 4-6 or 5-7 am). I’ll usually make breakfast around 9.

If I have leftover food in the fridge, I can relax for a bit when I have lunch. Lunchtime varies each day, it could happen any time from 11am to 2pm. I might watch an episode of a show, play a video game, read a book, etc. Otherwise, I have to make food for myself, which is not ideal (I hate cooking and would love to hire a personal chef).

I have pilates class on Thursday morning at 9am every week, and I’ll schedule a variety of appointments throughout the month. Chiropractor on a Friday morning, physiotherapist on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon, remedial massage on a Saturday, and so on.

Usually, I work every day (around my appointments) except Thursday and Sunday, as those are the days I can spend with my partner.

Due to social distancing and COVID-19 lockdowns, not much of this is happening at the moment, including seeing my partner (we don’t live together yet, sadly). So, I’m suddenly watching a lot more Netflix instead, and working my way through Far Cry 3 (yes, I’m many years behind). I’m also trying to remember to do more exercises and movement at home. A Les Mills online membership helped get me started. I love their Body Balance mixes, they combine tai chi, yoga, and pilates together.

I love the flexibility of working remotely. If I’m hitting a wall, I can take a break for an hour or so, go sit at the beach to get some fresh air, or I can do some stretches/exercise at home. I don’t have much of a routine for doing that kind of thing, it’s more as and when I feel I need it.

Wrapping Up

Thank you for joining us for part 2 of our home routines! Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

Keeping A Home Routine For Work & Life – Part 1

Work & Life At Home Routine – Part 1

In the midst of COVID-19, many people have found themselves suddenly working from home for the first time. For others whose jobs don’t give them an option to work from home, they are suddenly stuck inside without their regular work and home life routine to keep them on track. We’ve seen posts on social media surrounding this issue, where even regular life admin, self-care, and hygiene tasks have fallen by the wayside. 

Our staff at Vine Street Digital work from home by default; we don’t have a regular office. We’ve had experience with having to craft our lives around remote work, where we can mould the day to our liking. It’s okay to do things out of the box, to break away from the idea of sticking to a 9-5 routine. 

So, here’s part one of our staff describing what their average day looks like! 

Work Life Home Routine | Vine Street Digital

Gabrielle

My daily routine is fairly structured and is centred around staying active while WFH. Previously, I’d walk to the train and to my workplace. However, now my walk to work is from my bed to the office in the next room. To keep active, I wake up at roughly 6:30am, take my dogs for a walk, make some brekky and be ready to start work at 8am. 

I’ll normally go to the gym at lunch when it’s quieter, and finish with yoga in the afternoon. I’ll do the washing/housework during the week so that I can free up my weekend from boring chores. The best part of all this is that I’m normally finished with my daily routine (work, gym & chores) at the same time I was previously getting home from work. So, I have a much better work/life balance! 

Gemma

My typical day starts with me waking up between 6.45 and 7.15am. I have a back-up alarm set for 7.30am but I usually wake up naturally on my own, which has been an amazing benefit of flexi hours. I start my day brushing my teeth, taking my vitamins & brushing my hair. I also take the time to do a skincare routine which is a nice “me-time” activity. Then it’s time to change out of my pyjamas. I don’t dress up or put make-up on, but I definitely pick a comfortable outfit for the day that’s not just sleepwear. 

Once I’m ready, I make my bed and I make it real nice. I tuck in the sheets, fluff & flip the pillows and put a throw on the end. My partner jokes that it’s like we’re living in an IKEA display room, but I love it. No matter how bad my day is I get to come back to a cosy bed.

Then, I take about 10-15mins to make the house nice. I open up all the blinds and let as much natural light in as possible. I pick up empty mugs and plates from around the house, throw things in the rubbish, and just generally straighten up the place. My home is where I work, so if things are overly messy, my day will feel messy. It also allows my mind to wake up!

Speaking of waking up, it’s time for a black coffee. I generally practice intermittent fasting (16:8 for all you fasters out there) so I don’t eat before noon, but I kept the coffee!

Work Life Home Routine | Vine Street DigitalOnce I sit down at my desk (usually at around 7.45-8am) all cylinders are firing. I’m most productive in the morning before lunch. So I tackle the big things first; analysis and complicated campaign tasks, big reports, strategies etc. Anything that I’m worried or stressed about also comes first. If I don’t get it out of the way, the whole day is stressful. But if I knock it over first I feel accomplished and on a roll.

I take lunch at about 12-12.30 each day. Lunch is the time where I switch off my brain, so even my meals aren’t complicated. They’re either leftovers, or an egg dish; whatever requires the least amount of effort and thought. Because I like to turn off my brain at lunch, I tend to watch 30mins of Netflix – light stuff or comedies only! Recent favourites include Schitt’s Creek, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Bojack Horseman.

Once I’m back after lunch, I usually have smaller or less complicated tasks ahead of me. I also like to reserve my phone calls for the afternoons too. Phone calls, depending on the subject matter, allow me to walk around a little bit while talking which keeps me active as my brain and energy start to fade.

Most days end for me at 3.30-4pm and I have my routine this way because it’s also when my brain starts running out of juice. I sign off from my computer, closing down all work-related windows, and I head out for a walk. Having a walk gets me outside in a bit of sunshine, but it also allows me to debrief the day to myself as I listen to music. The act of going for a walk also breaks up work time and home time for me too. Since isolating, walks outside have been more limited. But YouTube yoga and a cup of tea on my balcony also make great afternoon routines.

Lachlan

Work Life Home Routine | Vine Street DigitalFirst thing I do when waking up is head straight downstairs to my coffee machine and breakfast. Then I’ll usually jump on the computer and check my personal emails, updates, etc. During this time, I’m also usually listening to a podcast about tech, football, or gaming.

Once I’ve finished with my own emails, I’ll start with my work emails. I always like to check my emails first because it allows me to pull tasks from them and set my day up. While I check my emails, I’ve also got my task list and calendar open for the day. 

Once I’ve done my emails, I’ll start work around 9am. I usually work until around 10.30am then I get ready and head to the gym. I usually get home from the gym around 12pm, then I shower and have lunch. 

Once I’ve finished that, I work until my tasks are done for the day.

Zea 

My daily routine tends to depend on what kind of social plans I have that day or what I want to cook for dinner. Depending on this, I’ll probably start from any time between 7am-9am. Earlier if I want to finish early to get to a friend’s place, or later if I’ve been out for dinner the night before. I prefer the earlier starts, because it feels like I get so much more out of my day when I finish around 3pm. 

I’ll usually use my lunch break to go to the gym, because it’s not as busy during the day. So, depending on when I get motivated to do that is when I’ll take my lunch. This also helps me to break up the day and get out of the house. 

My days aren’t super structured, I just like to make sure I have enough time to get everything done and not be stressed about it. It’s really nice not having set hours like 9-5, because it takes a ton of stress off. If you’re more productive early in the morning, having the opportunity to start earlier is great. 

Wrapping Up

Depending on the restrictions in different locations, some of these activities (e.g. going to a gym) might not be possible for you, but hopefully, you’ve found something that sparks an idea of what you can do with your time. Perhaps you can adapt some of these ideas into your own routine!

It’s okay if things are a bit unstructured for you right now, but don’t worry. You’ll find something that works for you!

You can find part 2 of our home routines here.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to us.

Working At Home? Stay Focused & Work Successfully With Our Tips

Working At Home? Stay Focused & Work Successfully With Our Tips

Pandemic or no, 2020 is a great time to begin working at home. As the world becomes further digitised and people want greater control over their time and resources, more and more businesses are starting to implement remote options for their employees.

There are plenty of benefits to having remote working arrangements, but it can be a hard transition for those who are used to working in an office. Staying productive and focused in your home environment can be difficult with so many of your creature comforts around you. Our team here at Vine Street Digital all work 100% remotely and face these challenges daily.

We’ve put together some tips on how to stay productive and focused while working remotely. Everyone is different, so some of these things may not resonate with you, but we’re sure you’ll find something that helps!

Work Space

If possible, a separate office – or at the very least, your own dedicated desk – is great. However, not everyone has the space for this in their residence. If you can’t have a separate office, maybe you can fit a desk into another room. You might find you’ll be more productive working at a desk than if you were on your bed or the couch. Having a second (or third!) monitor screen is a great booster as well. Sometimes I’m tempted to take my laptop somewhere else to work; but if I have lots of spreadsheet duties on that day, then there’s no way I’m ditching my dual-monitor setup!

If you can’t fit a full-sized desk, try getting a small laptop desk or tray. IKEA has some great options here: they sell a tray table that has space to rest your legs underneath. This is great for working from your bed or a couch/chaise lounge, especially if you are not able to sit at a desk (because of illness, disability, space, or other reason).

Also, set yourself up where you get some natural light. It helps you keep track of the day, and one of our staff says it helps them feel less isolated. If you have fresh air and see the world moving about outside, it feels less like you’re sitting in solitary detention. Plants are also great for this – introducing greenery and/or flowers into your space brings a sense of vibrancy and life to your surroundings.

Mental Boundaries

You’ve heard it time and time again: don’t bring your work home with you. It makes sense! But when you have to work from home, one of the most important things you can do is to set some strong boundaries.

Tell your housemates/family when you’re working, and at what times it might be okay to distract you. If you know you’re due for a business call, perhaps put a sign on your door to warn the other members of your household. Teach them that they can’t come and bother you all day just because you’re physically there with them.

Try to discipline yourself, too. When you’re working at home and have 24/7 access to your emails, work files, task list, and more, it can be hard to break away. It’s a slippery slope – ‘just 5 more minutes’ can easily turn into another hour or two of staring at the screen. Don’t let your work take over! If you think you might struggle with this, try setting alarms for yourself or bring in an accountability partner. Ask a friend/coworker/family member to come fish you out of your work hole if you’ve not surfaced by a set time.

Routines & Schedules

Speaking of time; keeping to a relaxed schedule on regular days can help with improving your mindset for work. Some of our team keeps their gym and lunch break times consistent so that it’s easier to manage their time, and they try to be at the computer by 8:30am, ready to work.

Figure out what times of the day that you’re most productive and see if you can schedule your breaks around that. If you usually hit a slump around 3pm, then schedule a break for 3pm. You could use it to do some yoga, meditation, cooking, singing; whatever helps you feel rejuvenated.

Maybe you’re the kind of person who gets a power surge in the evening? Great! Consider taking the afternoons off to do something relaxing, and come back to work with renewed focus. Or, maybe afternoons are your best time? Then use the mornings to tick off some smaller tasks, and save the afternoon for the big projects once your brain has warmed up.

Make sure your routine feels good specifically for you. Maybe you want to wake up later – you don’t have to get up early for the commute anymore!

This might be difficult if you are still expected to be online and available from 9–5, but see if you can make an arrangement with your boss. Try to find a compromise for you and your team. Perhaps you can start earlier or finish later, enabling you to take a larger break throughout the day where required.

Embrace JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out)

When you’re working at home (and you’re probably alone), you don’t have the regular hustle and bustle and accountability of the workplace. Take advantage of it! But do this in a healthy, productive way. Instead of the same old office playlist, enjoy the silence or your own music. Eat your lunch in peace, away from your desk, without worrying about someone coming to barrage you with questions and tasks.

Beware of what you might be tempted to do when there’s no manager looking over your shoulder. Maybe you’ll scroll Instagram on your phone or Google for your next holiday destination. Don’t get sucked into the black hole of the internet! What’s worked for one of our staff members is putting their devices on aeroplane mode and placing them in a drawer out of reach. You can also add plugins to your computer browser to restrict your access to specific sites such as YouTube and social media.

And remember, take regular breaks! Take the opportunity to stretch often, or dance around the room, whatever you’d like to do that makes you feel good. It’ll feel even better knowing that nobody is watching!

Communicate with your team

All the benefits of working at home aside, the reality is that sometimes it can get a bit lonely. Remember to keep communicating with your team. Whether you use a chat app (Slack, Skype, etc) or have the odd phone call, daily communication goes a long way to helping you feel more connected. You’ve lost the opportunity to pop your head over the cubicle divider to say hi to someone, but you can still send messages and give a few smile emojis! :)

Our team has implemented multiple ways to help us connect. These include weekly icebreaker questions, shout out Fridays, and a fortnightly pairing of team members to have a chat and get to know each other more.

Having a casual chat with your coworkers might not sound like a way to stay focused and productive, but it can increase your happiness and morale, which in turn can boost productivity. As long as you’re doing this in moderation, you should be fine! And of course, everyone has different levels of interactivity that they require to feel happy and comfortable. Sometimes it’s nice to have peace and quiet to be able to put your head down and work hard. But for when that’s not working, try reaching out to a teammate to have a friendly conversation. It could give you the boost you need to be able to focus on work again!

Final Words

Best of luck to you in your remote working arrangements! Feel free to reach out to us at Vine Street Digital if you have any comments or questions.

Written by Chelsea Zanki, along with tips contributed by the whole team.

Australian Small Business Champion Awards Finalists: Vine Street Digital & Gemma Renton

Australian Small Business Champion Awards Finalists: Vine Street Digital & Gemma Renton

Vine Street Digital is excited to announce that we are finalists in the Marketing Services category of the Australian Small Business Champion Awards. This award organisation has spent over 20 years recognising the achievements of small businesses throughout the country. They help to highlight the roles of small businesses in our communities, creating employment opportunities and contributing to our economy.

The digital marketing industry is one that’s often known for overselling and under-delivering. Noticing the burnt-out staff, low productivity, and unhappy clients, and burning out herself, Gemma Renton knew something had to change. She created Vine Street Digital in 2015 as a way to combat these issues.

“It’s important that Vine Street Digital advocates for workplaces that prioritise employee mental health. I want to return to authenticity. I don’t want people to be afraid of the messy parts of themselves and their lives.” – Gemma, owner.

The business is founded on the principles of honesty, trust, and integrity. Rather than subscribing to traditional office life, Gemma chose to give herself and her employees the freedom and flexibility of a completely remote work environment. Staff can choose their location and their hours of work.

“Since working for Vine Street Digital, I feel a lot healthier and happier because I’m able to do the things I want – like going to gym or going out for lunch – while still being able to get all my work done.” – Lachlan, employee.

This opens the company up to employees from all walks of life. It creates a productive work environment and provides a remedy for the digital industry’s modern problems of burnout and high employee turnover. Vine Street Digital fosters an inclusive and accessible environment where staff can design their own lifestyle. Happy and productive staff lead to better results for their clients.

“We provide in-depth, rigorous analysis and improvement for our clients because we are a group of people who believe in transparent and authentic quality for everyone involved. Free from the pressures of inflexible schedules, long commutes, and unrealistic KPIs; our specialists and assistants can create their own work-life balance. This means that every time we sit down to work, we’re bringing the best of ourselves to what we do.” – Kristen, employee.

Vine Street Digital employees live (or have lived) anywhere from regional Victoria, to the Sunshine Coast, to the United Kingdom. Being able to take their work with them means that staff have the freedom to choose where they want to live. It’s also common for workers to visit their families on a more regular basis, working from their childhood homes in Cairns, Townsville, Gladstone, and Lismore.

“We contribute to many local communities, not just one. We have the option of employing people who don’t live in a major city, thus creating jobs where they may be limited options.” – Gemma, owner.

We envisage a world where no one has to sacrifice their careers for their desire to travel, have children, or live rurally. We also want to level the playing field in terms of gender, disability, and race. Staff with mental and/or physical disabilities have found working for Vine Street Digital to be accessible and comfortable.

“As a person with a physical disability, it’s impossible for me to work in a normal office environment. Both sitting and standing are painful for me. At Vine Street Digital, not only am I allowed to work lying down, I didn’t even have to ask.” – Rebecca, employee.

Our ambition is to ensure Vine Street Digital continues on this path and leads others by example. The Australian Small Business Champion Awards is a great platform to share this vision and promote change in the industry. Gemma herself is also a finalist in the Young Entrepreneur category (30 years and under).

The award winners will be announced on the 29th of August, 2020. Follow Vine Street Digital on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates!

 

Australian Small Business Champion Awards Finalist Gemma Renton | Vine Street Digital

 


Written by Chelsea Zanki

About Vine Street Digital:

Vine Street Digital is a digital advertising agency that focuses on PPC (Pay-Per-Click) marketing across multiple platforms including Google, Bing, Facebook, and more. Their management services include a thorough analysis of their clients’ business goals and metrics to help deliver their desired results. For further information, contact Vine Street Digital.

2020 Telstra Women’s Business Awards Finalist Gemma Renton

Telstra Women’s Business Awards Finalist 2020

Gemma Renton, owner and founder of Vine Street Digital, is honoured to be selected as a 2020 Telstra Women’s Business Award finalistThe Telstra Business Women’s Awards are entering their 25th year of recognising and celebrating outstanding women who are revolutionising business. From thousands of nominations across Australia, Gemma is one of only 5 finalists in the Queensland Emerging Leader category. She’s excited for this opportunity to share her vision with others.

“My hope is that people will see that inclusive environments that encourage a work/life balance can also lead to higher productivity, efficiency, and profits. Essentially I’d like myself and Vine Street Digital to be the proof that this vision can work.”

Gemma created Vine Street Digital in 2015 after experiencing burnout in an industry that is too highly focused on the ‘hustle’ culture. Knowing there had to be a better way, she grew her business with foundations in honesty, trust, and integrity.

“I started my business so that I could control my own future. Being able to give that freedom to other people too is what gets me out of bed in the morning.”

She gave her employees the freedom and flexibility of a completely remote work environment. Seeing the company grow with productive and happy staff has validated Gemma’s decision to cut ties from traditional working methods.

Telstra Business Women's Award Finalist Gemma Renton | Vine Street Digital

Gemma Renton, owner of Vine Street Digital

As the owner of an agency that focuses on PPC (Pay-Per-Click) digital advertising, Gemma knows all too well the pitfalls and restrictions rife within many agencies in the industry. So, Vine Street Digital is not only about liberating Gemma and her employees, but their clients as well. 

The freedom and transparency that she offers to clients is a driving factor in her success. Gemma’s PPC management service is contract-free, and clients maintain complete ownership of all their accounts. This differentiates Vine Street Digital from the many agencies that try to keep a firmer hold on their clients. 

“We want our clients to stay with us because they’re happy with our service and because we can provide what’s best for their business; not because they are contracted to us.”

Gemma is passionate about inspiring and helping others to implement more flexible practices. She plans to use this award to get the word out about what she and her employees at Vine Street Digital are doing, and to encourage better mental health awareness in the workplace.

“The award would help me to highlight that the digital world doesn’t need to be filled with toxic cultures and employee burnout.”

The award winners will be announced on the 24th of March, 2020. Follow Vine Street Digital on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates!

Telstra Women’s Business Awards Finalist Gemma Renton | Vine Street Digital

 


Written by Chelsea Zanki

About Vine Street Digital:

Vine Street Digital is a digital advertising agency that focuses on PPC (Pay-Per-Click) marketing across multiple platforms including Google, Bing, Facebook, and more. Their management services include a thorough analysis of their clients’ business goals and metrics to help deliver their desired results. For further information, contact Vine Street Digital.

Vine Street Digital Receives High-Rated Reviews on Clutch

Vine Street Digital Receives High-Rated Reviews on Clutch

Vine Street Digital is a one-stop-shop for all of your PPC management needs. All of our PPC Specialists come from an agency background and have experience in paid advertising. We are ranked highly in Australia, and also have a global presence, with clients in multiple continents.

Our focus on one service allows us to dedicate time to perfecting our craft. We operate with transparency, making sure our clients stay informed about everything we’re doing and letting them know of all of the changes we’re making.

Our Reviews on Clutch

Clutch’s platform supports our business by publishing reviews from past clients on our Clutch profile. The most recently reviewed project on our Clutch profile is from managing Google and Bing advertising for a consumer goods company in Philadelphia.

We helped the client increase their yearly revenue by managing their Google Shopping & Search advertising and Bing Shopping & Search advertising; as well as expanding into a similar strategy for their Amazon PPC. The client’s revenue increased by 20% across all of their accounts, with some accounts even having growth upwards of 40%.

Reviews on Clutch | Vine Street Digital

“I was impressed with their willingness to be transparent. Their team is also results-oriented. Their model works well for us. Vine Street Digital is honest with our team when things aren’t working. Their team is open to fixing issues and trying new things.”
Nick Wicks
, Head of Digital at Fun and Function, LLC

We work with companies in a wide variety of industries. One example, as highlighted by our review on Clutch, is a solar energy company based in NSW, Australia. We managed their PPC ad campaigns across Google, Bing, and social media platforms. Some great results include the company’s click-through rate increasing by 16.5%, conversion rate increasing to 21%, and cost per inquiry decreasing by 46.5%.

Reviews on Clutch | Vine Street Digital

“Their weekly campaign updates and monthly reports on progress make our job easy.”
Mark McClurg
, Managing Director at Coffs Solar Energy

Thank you!

In addition to company profiles on their original site, Clutch also features companies on their sister site, The Manifest. The Manifest offers business articles and tips for starting and growing a business, or expanding already booming businesses.

We want to give a shout out to Clutch and all of their support, and of course a big “thank you” to our wonderful clients!

Reach out if you’d like to know more about us or what we can do for you, whether it’s search engine marketing, social media ads management, or even if you just have a question. We’re here to help!

How To Use Custom Labels in Google Shopping

How To Use Custom Labels in Google Shopping

Custom labels in Google Shopping are an effective way to set up and optimise your campaigns. You can already create product groups based on Product Type, Item ID, Condition, Brand, and Channel. But custom labels allow you to create your own filters based on anything you like.

The day I learned how to apply them blew my mind (thank you, Gemma Renton), and made managing my Google Shopping campaigns so much easier. You can create up to five custom labels, Custom Label 0 to Custom Label 4, and below are some ways you can use them.

Sub-Product Types

You can already separate products based on their product type in a Google shopping campaign, but there could be subcategories within this type you want to dive deeper into.

For example, imagine an online store that sells famous Australian brands such as Akubra. We know we can sort the Brand (Akubra) and the Product Type (Hats). Akubra’s hat range is exhaustive though, with over 100 different styles, such as Cattleman, Riverina, Avalon, Arena, Snowy River, Bronco… to name a few!

This store wants to create an ad group for each style so that they can monitor the search queries and control the bidding on an ad group level. Custom labels allow us to set up filters for each style and then split them up accordingly. Instead of breaking each custom label into an ad group, you might also like to just keep them in one ad group to observe the results from there and adjust bids as needed.

A screenshot of options for Custom Labels In Google Shopping

Best Selling Items

If you know what your best selling products are, then you could bid more aggressively for these products to increase search impression share and sales. If the Akubra Cattleman and Traveller hats were the highest-selling of the hats, these could be added to a ‘Best Selling’ custom label and bid on more heavily. You might also like to put your best selling items in their own campaign so they can be allocated a specific budget.

High & Low Profit Margins

The same as above goes for sorting products by high and low profit margins. Some of your products might have lower profit margins, therefore needing a higher Return On Ad Spend than products with high profit margins. In this situation, you could separate your high profit and low profit products into separate ad groups or campaigns to control their bids and ad spend.

Seasonability & Events

It is also useful to label items based on seasonality (Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring) or events (Christmas, birthdays, etc). For example, an online store that sells gifts might set custom labels to sort their cards based on events like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, and birthdays. They would increase bids for Christmas cards in November and December to increase their Impression Share during this period of high demand.

Colours

Sorting products by their colour is also useful. An online shoe store might want to know which colour shoes are their best seller on Google Ads. By setting up custom labels according to shoe colour, they can identify the number of conversions, Return On Ad Spend, Cost Per Acquisition, or whatever the goal is. Knowing this information can help them know where to bid more aggressively (or less). They could also apply ‘best selling’ or ‘high ROAS’ custom labels to these colours.

Naming products

You might be in a scenario where you want to bid on individual products. I find it annoying that you can’t automatically separate individual products by their names – it’s only by their Item ID. This usually doesn’t give you much indication on what the product is.

Normally, you’d then have to go into the ‘Products’ tab to see which exact products had conversions…but not anymore! You can set a custom label to display the actual title of the product. It’s so simple to do. When setting up a custom rule in the Google Merchant Centre, set the custom label to the Title attribute – and you’re done!

A screenshot of options to set a title Custom Label in Google Shopping

Wrapping Up

So there we have it, six ideas for how to use custom labels! Contact us if you have any questions, or would like help with managing your Google Shopping accounts. If you’d like to know more, we also have an article about the benefits of Google Shopping.

Thanks for reading!

Written by Courtney Wilkinson

Google Audience Types & How You Can Use Them

Google Audience Types & How You Can Use Them

Long gone are the days of using keywords as our primary targeting method for Google Search Ads. Now, we have the ability to target URLs (using dynamic search ads), remarketing lists, and more! In this article, we’re going to explore the 3 main Google audience types that you can use (asides from remarketing lists). After that, we’ve got a couple of options for targeting levels.

So, what are these Google Audiences?

Affinity Audiences

Google identifies these audiences based on their ‘habits’ and ‘interests’. Google creates a picture based on the pages a user frequently visits, the time they spend on the page, and their search behaviour.

Affinity audiences are grouped into generalised topics, so targeting with them can be quite broad. Google states that you can reach people based on a ‘holistic picture of their lifestyles, passions and habits’. You can find a full list of these categories from Google’s help article on audience targeting. However, a few examples are:

  • Banking & Finance – Avid Investors (People who actively invest their money, follow financial markets and regularly read financial or business news)
  • Food & Dining – Frequently Dines Out (People who frequently purchase meals at restaurants and other dining establishments)
  • Shoppers – Luxury Shoppers (People who prefer luxury brands and tend to buy high-end goods)
  • Travel – Business Travellers (People who travel frequently for business, typically by air and over several days)

In-Market Audiences

In-market audiences are users that Google has identified to be actively researching or planning. For example, they could be buying a product, or planning a wedding!

We know they’ve taken the first steps to actively seek out the product/service they are interested in. So, you can imagine that these audiences would be great for targeting users further down the buying cycle, in the consideration or action stage. Again, there’s a range of different categories you can select, for example:

  • Education – Post-Secondary Education (People interested in pursuing degree programmes or formal continuing education)
  • Gifts & Occasions – Wedding Planning (People interested in wedding planning services or products)
  • Property – Residential Properties (People interested in purchasing or renting residential properties)

Detailed Demographics

As the name states, these audiences are based on the demographics of the user. They are broken down into four categories:

  • Parental Status: Parents of children in different age brackets
  • Marital Status: Single, In a relationship, Married
  • Education Level: Current student, the highest level of education attained – i.e secondary school, bachelor’s degree or advanced degree
  • Home Ownership Status: Homeowners or renters

Google Audience Targeting Options

Once you’ve decided on your audiences, there are two levels of targeting options.

Observation

Firstly, this allows you to observe how the users interact with your ads, without narrowing the reach of your campaigns. We’d recommend starting out with this approach so you can see which audiences perform best. After that, once you have sufficient data, you’re able to add a bid percentage increase or decrease on each of the audiences.

Targeting

On the other hand, this approach narrows the reach of your campaign to the specific audiences that you’ve selected. You would take this approach with a Remarketing List for Search Ads campaign. If you’ve determined that one audience converts better or perhaps is more valuable to you, you could create a campaign targeting that specific audience.

Wrapping up

So, why not give them a go! Test adding relevant audiences to your campaigns (under observation) to further optimise your campaigns. There are more advanced options you can take with custom or combined audiences, but they deserve a blog all to themselves, so stay tuned!

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

Written by Gabrielle Behm-Pike

5 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Facebook Ads

5 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Your Facebook Ads

Running Facebook ads puts you in front of some really large audiences and can be a great source of revenue for any business. But with audiences so large and almost endless impressions to gain, it’s very easy to let your Facebook costs get out of control. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to reduce the cost of Facebook ads while still getting the results you’re after.

Many of the tips below relate to lowering your cost per click (CPC), but it’s also about culling wasteful spend from your campaigns.

Improve your relevance score

Your relevance score has a huge impact on your CPCs, so it’s important to try and improve this as much as possible.

Reduce the cost of facebook ads - Ranking | Vine Street Digital

Facebook’s Quality Ranking is a bit mysterious. It’s what Facebook calls an Estimated Metric, meaning that the exact algorithm to determine the score isn’t known. However, there are a few factors that we know to contribute to the score. Examples include feedback from people viewing or hiding the ad, engagements with the ad and the results it generates. As you can see, Facebook gives us the Engagement Rate Ranking and the Conversion Rate Ranking as clues about how it has come to the overall Quality Ranking.

The good news is that Facebook is pretty clear about what they don’t like. So to improve your Quality Ranking, you should avoid doing things like;

  • Using too much text in your ad’s image (or thumbnail of the video)
  • Withholding information or purposely being unclear about your offering
  • Using headlines that are over exaggerations and clear clickbaits
  • Using language such as “Like if you’re this” or “Comment if you’re that”

Facebook likes your ads to be clear and honest about who you are and what you’re offering. Take some time to review your Quality Rankings. Remember; the better the Quality Ranking, the lower the CPCs.

Remove Poor Performing Placements

Where your ads show plays a big part in how well they convert. Firstly, some placements on Facebook are smaller and have fewer options when it comes to creatives, and simply don’t look as good. Secondly, other placements are in “noisy” areas of Facebook where they’re placed alongside a lot more competing content.

Placements affect what the user sees and how engaged a user is by the ad. Narrowing your placements can help to improve your CTR, which in turn improves engagement and can lift your Quality Ranking. And as we’ve learnt above, a better quality ranking means a lower CPC.

Reduce the cost of facebook ads - placements breakdowns | Vine Street Digital

I’d recommend segmenting your campaigns and ad sets by Placement & Device, to see how much you’re spending on each one, and whether it’s bringing you a strong return. Removing underperforming placements means you’ll reduce costs, whilst keeping the performance.

Split test your ads

Improving your CTR is a good way to get that Quality Ranking up and lower your CPCs. That’s why it’s so important to be split testing your ads. Even if you have an ad that’s tried and true, you need to be looking at possibilities to improve engagements at all times. Even minor changes can make a difference, such as the style of the image, the CTA on the button text, emojis or no emojis, and so on.

Split testing is also important because it keeps your ad fresh. If you’re noticing that your frequency is a bit high, it means that people are seeing the same thing over and over. Getting bored of an ad is a surefire way to reduce the engagement, so make sure you’re always A/B testing.

Check for Overlapping Audiences

If your audiences are overlapping with each other, then you’re spending money that you don’t need to. A competing or overlapping audience is where you target two different ad sets to the same audience. You’re already fighting other advertisers for those views, so don’t fight yourself!

The best way to check if your audiences are overlapping is to use the Audience Overlap Tool. Simply go to your Audiences, check the boxes next to the ones you want to compare, and click Actions > Show Audience Overlap.

Reduce the cost of facebook ads - Audience Overlap | Vine Street Digital
Image source: Facebook

Bidding against yourself is a surefire way to increase your CPCs, so get rid of those overlaps!

Implement Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking matters! Facebook uses your results, conversion tracking, and pixel information to determine your Quality Ranking. Without accurate and complete conversion tracking, you’re feeding Facebook only half the story.

Conversion tracking for Facebook involves using Facebook Pixel. Not only should you put this on all pages of your site, but you should also set up conversion events and e-commerce information if applicable.

The other major benefit of having accurate tracking in place is that it opens up the use of remarketing audiences. Facebook will be able to collect audiences based on people visiting your site and the actions they take on it. This gives you a great chance to re-engage those users and retain your existing customers.

In Conclusion

Reducing the costs of your Facebook Ads does mean changing quite a few technical aspects of your campaigns to bring down your CPC. Ultimately though, it’s about creating ads that are useful, relevant and honest, and putting your money where the conversions are happening.

If you’ve taken a look at these factors above and you’re still wondering what you can do to improve your Facebook ads, get in touch with us today!

Quality Score: How To Improve Your Ad Position Without Spending More

Quality Score: How To Improve Your Ad Position Without Spending More

Getting your ad to the #1 position on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) is something we all want for our accounts. Sometimes, unfortunately, it involves spending a lot on bids to try and outbid the competition. This can drastically increase your overall costs!

What if there was a way to improve your ad position without having to increase your bids? Well, there is! Thanks to a little bonus by Google: Quality Score. With a higher quality score, Google will reduce the amount you are required to pay to sit in better positions. On the other hand, with a lower quality score, your account can suffer.

Quality score is basically Google’s way of determining the relevancy and quality between your keywords, ads, and landing page. It’s made up of the following aspects:

  • Your click-through rate (CTR)
  • The relevance of each keyword to its ad group
  • Landing page quality & relevancy
  • The relevance of your ad text
  • Your historical Google Ads account performance

Although we aren’t able to tell the exact weight of each factor, we do know that CTR is the most important one. The more people that click your ad, the better the indicator that your ads are relevant.

How To Boost Your Quality Score

Now that we’ve established what quality score is, how do we go about improving it in your Google Ads account? Well, there’s a number of things we can do to help boost the quality score in the account. Below are some examples.

Keyword Organisation

It’s important to make sure that the keywords you use in your account are segmented appropriately. Lumping everything into 1 ad group might seem simple and easier to manage, but it’s very detrimental to the overall performance of your account.

Instead, look at grouping certain keywords together, based on how relevant they are. For example, let’s take the keywords “PPC management”, “PPC account management” & “paid online advertising”. To ensure our quality score is high, we could group “PPC account management” & “PPC management” into 1 ad group and put “paid online advertising” into another. This will allow us to tailor our ad copy to be incredibly relevant to our keywords.

Split Test Ads

Split testing ad copy is a great way to determine what users find most appealing. When split testing, it’s important to only change 1-2 things about each ad. That way, you can easily identify what does & doesn’t work. The goal of split testing is to find the ad that most people will want to click on, which will help improve your CTR and your quality score.

Optimise Your Landing Pages

Be as relevant as possible with your landing pages. For example, if you had an ad group that’s advertising “dining tables”, don’t send users to a page that has a huge range of different kinds of furniture. If possible, send them directly to a page that exclusively has dining tables. Remember, relevancy between keyword, ad, and landing page will help to drastically improve your quality score.

We’ve got a few articles about landing pages if you’d like to read up on the subject:

Wrapping up

These are only some examples of what can be done to improve your quality score and improve your ad rank without the need for excess spending. There is a huge range of things that could be adjusted in your account, but remember, relevancy is key!

So the next time you want to boost your bids to jump up the ad positions, take a look at the quality scores of each of your keywords and see if you can improve that first. It could save you a lot!

Feel free to reach out to us if you’ve got any questions!

Written by Lachlan Ward

Is Pinterest Advertising The Next PPC Channel For Your Business?

Is Pinterest Advertising The Next PPC Channel For Your Business?

Are you crushing it on Google Ads? Getting a great return on Facebook? Or perhaps you want to find new channels to promote your brand? Then let me turn your attention to Pinterest Advertising!

If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, you can think of it as a platform of ‘ideas’ where users browse and search for inspiration on products and topics through visual ‘pins’. There are more than 300 million people that depend on Pinterest for new ideas with 83% of weekly Pinners making purchases based on Pins they saw from brands.

Whether you’re a big or small brand, based in Australia or internationally, Pinterest advertising can work for you for a range of marketing goals such as brand awareness or sales growth.

Pinterest works in all stages of the buyer’s journey from brand awareness, consideration, and to purchase. The combination of both keyword and interest targeting allows you to get your products and ideas in front of the right people, at the right time. Essentially, you can combine both the search aspects of search engine marketing (Google or Bing Ads for example) with the audience targeting of social ads.

Vine Street Digital - Is Pinterest Advertising The Next PPC Channel For Your Business?

Measurability

One of our favourite things about PPC is the ability to track valuable conversions from our campaigns, keywords, and ads (among other variables). Pinterest Ads is no different! In fact, it’s a similar set up to Facebook in that you install a ‘basecode’ to your website and then create additional events in either Google Tag Manager or the backend of your website.

Currently, there are only 9 standard events available for Pinterest reporting but they cover the majority of key conversions that most businesses would require. These are:

  • Checkout (Purchase transaction)
  • Add to cart
  • Page visit
  • Sign up
  • Watch video
  • Lead
  • Search
  • View category pages
  • User-defined events

Campaign Objectives

You can choose your campaign objective based on your marketing goals. Do you want to build brand awareness? Increase traffic to your website? Or drive sales at the end of the user’s buying cycle? Pinterest has objectives for each stage!

Here’s how Pinterest recommends selecting your objective based on your goals, aligning with general marketing:

Build Awareness Drive Consideration Get Conversions
Brand awareness

Video views

Traffic

App installs

Conversions

Catalog sales

Targeting

There are three main targeting options available on Pinterest, these are audience targeting, keyword targeting, and interest targeting. Secondly, there are two placements that you optimise for, one being ‘search’ and the other being ‘browse’.

Audience Targeting

Can Pinterest do remarketing? Yes, it can! You can set up audiences similar to other platforms and you can also customise these based on the actions of users – such as anyone who has added to cart or viewed specific content (providing tracking has been set up). You can also upload customer lists as well using a CSV file.

Keyword Targeting

This targeting method allows you to reach people when they search for a specific idea on Pinterest. Similar to Google & Bing, there are different match types available: broad match, phrase match, and exact match. You also have the option of adding negative phrase and exact match keywords to further refine your traffic.

Interest Targeting

This is where you can have fun! The idea here is to pick topics related to your brand so that you reach users based on what they are engaging with. Interest targeting is great for browse placement as users browse their home feeds for inspiration.

Pinterest Advertising - View of Targeting options for Category & Interest - Vine Street Digital

Ad formats

There are currently four different ad formats that you can choose from, and we’d recommend split testing these variations where applicable within your campaigns.Vine Street Digital - Is Pinterest Advertising The Next PPC Channel For Your Business?

Promoted Pin

This is your basic static single image Pin that you’ll likely be most familiar with.

Promoted Video Pin

Utilise engaging video content within your campaigns with varying lengths and sizes.

Promoted Carousels

Use multiple images and creating a compelling story for users to swipe through.

Promoted App Pins

These pins allow users to download your app straight from Pinterest, without leaving the platform.

How To Get Started

Firstly, you’ll need your own Pinterest account for your business. Once you’ve set that up, you’ll be able to create your business manager account where the ads are managed, along with reporting and analytics.

Similar to other PPC channels, the budget is really dependant on your goals. However, you don’t need a hefty budget – a minimum of $10/day is effective in driving website traffic.

Waiting are you waiting for? Get started with Pinterest today! Feel free to reach out to us if you’d like help!

Written by Gabrielle Behm-Pike

Automated Bidding Strategies: What, When & Why

The What, When & Why of Google Ads Automated Bidding

There is a range of bidding strategies to help achieve your marketing goals in Google Ads. It’s important to know what their purposes are, plus when and why they should be implemented. Understanding the different types of automated bidding strategies – and if they are right for your business – will assist you in getting profitable leads.

Enhanced CPC

This bidding strategy is suitable for when you want to drive more conversions, but still have full control over bids.

Enhanced CPC is part of Manual CPC bidding, and allows you to have full control over your bids on a keyword, device, time, and location level. It’s basically full control, but also provides some assistance when Google thinks a conversion is likely to occur. Enhanced CPC allows Google to bid up to 20% more on a bid for this purpose.

If you don’t have enough conversion data, then Enhanced CPC is a good place to start.

Enhanced CPC can be used across Search, Display, and Shopping campaigns.

Maximise Conversions

The goal of this strategy is to drive as many conversions as possible within your budget.

It isn’t concerned about your Cost Per Conversion (CPA). It’s objective is to increase conversion volume and it will spend all of your budget to do that.

If you’re already spending your entire budget and don’t have a target CPA in mind, Maximise Conversions is worth doing in order to increase the number of Conversions.

Target CPA

Target CPA bidding is great for when you have a specific Cost Per Conversion goal in mind.

Businesses in the service industry usually work towards a CPA goal, because they know how much an average job is worth, and how much they are willing to spend on advertising to acquire a lead. While it takes away a lot of the bidding control, you can still adjust your CPA targets on an ad group level. This is useful if you have an ad group spending too much with little return – you can lower the target so it spends less. You can make bid adjustments to devices, however, keep in mind this will alter the device’s Target CPA. For all other targeting options, it allows you to add -100% bids to remove a certain targeting completely.

There isn’t a minimum conversion requirement for Target CPA, but it’s recommended you have at least 30 conversions in the last 30 days. The more you have, the more data Google can take into consideration when bidding. It’s important to look back at what your CPA has been over the last 30-90 days and set your goal realistically. If your average CPA is $150, and you set it at $50, the chances of achieving $50 are unlikely, at least in the beginning.

Target CPA can be used in Search and Display campaigns, but not Shopping campaigns.

Target ROAS

This automated bidding strategy is for when you want to acquire conversions with a certain Return-On-Ad Spend (ROAS).

If you need to make $4 back for every $1 you spend in advertising, then your ROAS goal would be 400%. E-commerce stores usually work towards a specific ROAS goal, because with each sale varying in revenue, a specific return is more reliable than a CPA goal.

You need at least 15 conversions in order to use Target ROAS bidding. However, it’s recommended to have at least 50 conversions in the last 30 days – the more the better. We tend to wait until we’ve got at least 2-3 months of solid conversion data before switching over to this.

You can’t make small bid adjustments to devices, locations, or times. But, Target CPA does allow you to add -100% bids to remove a certain targeting completely. For example, you could add a -100% bid to computer devices, so the campaign just focuses on mobiles.

Target ROAS can be used across Search, Display, and Shopping campaigns.

Important Things To Remember

When implementing any bidding strategy it’s important to keep the following things in mind.

  • Know what your conversion goal actually is before choosing a strategy. Is it: Cost Per Lead, Return On Ad Spend, a certain number of Conversions?
  • Set your goals in Target CPA and Target ROAS based on historical conversion data. Understand what is a realistic figure.
  • Let new bidding strategies run their course for at least four weeks. This allows 1-2 weeks in the Learning period, and another two weeks in the Test period.
  • If increasing your targets, don’t go crazy. Adjust these gradually by -/+ 20%, and then review 2-4 weeks later.

Let us know if you need any assistance!

Written by Courtney Wilkinson

Working from Home: Expectations, Realities & Misconceptions

Working from Home: Expectations, Realities & Misconceptions

Hanna's work from home office. Her cat Mika is sitting on the desk.

Working From Home – The Dream?

The opportunity to work from home is often a highly desirable one. In the digital industry, this lifestyle is becoming more attainable, with more and more opportunities to operate from anywhere in the world (as long as you have a laptop and decent internet access). Your expectations of working from home might lean towards “everything is fantastic, there are no downsides!” Sure, there are some obvious benefits that come with being in a remote role, especially as it has strong ties to positive work-life balance. However, there are also challenges and misconceptions that are often less known or spoken of. I have gone into four of the more commonly recognised benefits, to shed some light on the reality of working remotely.

Flexible Hours

The flexibility to decide how you wish to operate is a wonderful thing and can increase your general day-to-day productivity. Setting your own hours to complete your tasks means that you can use your time as you wish, and work when it feels best for you. If you happen to be a night owl, then getting in some hours during the night when it’s quiet and calm might be your thing. Or maybe you would prefer to start work at 6am, and take the afternoon to exercise or read a book.

So what could be bad about choosing your own hours? Operating outside of a 9–5 role takes strong resolve and self-discipline. In a regular office role, it is not always easy to pull yourself out of bed on a Monday morning and commute to work. Similarly, for remote work, the ability to choose your own hours can lead to procrastination or less effective time management. It may be even harder to get started on a Monday when you don’t have to make a commute and your comfy bed is calling.

The beauty is that sometimes, that extra hour of sleep or quiet time in the morning reading a book can be just what is needed to mentally prepare, and make for a more productive day. Time management, discipline, and routine are the keys to ensuring you are using your flexible hours in the most efficient way for you.

Freedom To Work Anywhere

This is probably my favourite benefit from being in a remote role. Fancy a week at the beach? A trip overseas? Visiting family? Or maybe you would like to work from a park, shared office space, or coffee shop? Having the choice to travel and work from any location is an incredible feeling and provides a great sense of freedom and expanse. The opportunities are endless!

What is less often realised about not working in an office, is that you can experience feelings of disconnection & loneliness. Travelling with work is great, but often the common reality is that you will find yourself working from your home. Alone.

If you are accustomed to working in an office as part of a team, or you are very used to being surrounded by people during the day, this can be a bit of a shock to the system.

We all know the feeling of finishing work for the day in an office, and the bliss of finally getting home. Often the last thing you want to do is go out or be social. It can be the opposite experience when you are at home alone all day. I have found it important that I increase my social interactions & hobbies during the week, and make sure that I get out of the house!
Working from home expectations. Hanna's plants on her home office desk. Make your space yours!

No More Commuting

It’s a big relief no longer having to face the rat race of the morning commute. This means you can start your day in the way that feels best for you. In my experience, a big contributor to the daily stress of 9–5 was the journey of getting to the office and then getting home every day. Taking that stress out of your day can lead to improved mental & physical health.

So, what happens when your commute to work is walking from one room of your house to another? It can be tricky sometimes when there is no separation from your work and home life, as it can be easier to keep mentally carrying the work with you once you have signed off. It can take practice to learn how to detach yourself from work once you have decided that you are done for the day. I find that it helps to have a dedicated workspace or office – one that you can walk away from and shut the door behind you as you go.

Healthier Lifestyle

It can be easier to make better meal choices when you are at home, as you have access to your own utensils & food and are not limited to whatever options are available in the vicinity of an office. This can also mean saving money on buying lunch from shops near your office.

However, many of us are aware that food delivery services can be just as tempting when you are at home. Temperance is definitely needed in both cases!

Outside of meals, having the flexibility to set your hours means that you are able to enjoy more activities and downtime that might not have been possible (or as accessible) when working 9–5 in an office. I have picked up more hobbies, found more time to meditate, read more books, and exercised more since working remotely. This has actually increased my productivity, but more importantly, has positively impacted my mental and physical health!

In Summary

Working remotely has been a fantastic experience, and has provided me with freedom, flexibility, and a sunny outlook on life & work! It has also presented challenges and opportunities to learn about myself, take up new hobbies, and step out of my comfort zone.

If you’ve got any questions on how we operate, feel free to contact us!

You might also like to read about our other staff members’ working from home expectations, tips, and experiences: Kristen, Chelsea, Courtney.

Written by Hanna Baume

5 Unique Facebook Ad Targeting Ideas To Inspire You

5 Unique Facebook Ad Targeting Ideas To Inspire You

With any great Facebook campaign, I always start by targeting the most obvious, or what I call “bullseye”, options. If you’re selling Himalayan pink salt, then it makes sense to target people who are interested in Himalayan pink salt, right? Seems like a safe bet. But once I’ve done that for a while, refined my audiences, and found a great ROAS for a client, it’s important to scale up their Facebook ads so that their business can grow. If you’re stuck in a rut, here are some great “out of the box” Facebook ad targeting ideas to inspire you.

1. Commuters

Targeting commuters might seem like a really broad audience, but when you think about who commuters are, and their day-to-day behaviours, it’s more narrow than you think.

Commuters facebook ad targeting ideas - Vine Street Digital

Commuters are people who live a decent distance from their work and have to travel in, thus finding themselves with dead time. I’m lucky that I don’t have to commute anymore, but I used to hate how much time it took out of my day. So, when you think about people with time to kill, there’s a lot of great things you can offer them. I’ve used commuter audiences for clients with online courses, podcasts, podcasts, audiobooks, and mobile apps. It can also be great if you have a shopfront located near a major bus or train station. Your customers are already passing your store, so why not pop in?

2. Upcoming Anniversaries

Yes, that’s right, Facebook remembers your anniversary, even if you don’t. Not only that, it allows advertisers to target you, knowing that you’ve got a present to buy!

Anniversary facebook ad targeting ideas

Unlike some audiences that have a more static population (where people might stay in there forever), an upcoming anniversary audience list will see people frequently moving in and out. This means you’re not hitting the same people over and over. It’s what we’d call an evergreen audience. I often layer this one by adding gender and age to create a more targeted copy. Remarketing is also a great idea to make sure that they follow up with a purchase after browsing for a gift.

You’re welcome, forgetful partners!

3. Engaged Shoppers

Speaking of buying presents, your online shopping behaviour can depend on a lot of things in your life, and you might not always be eager to buy. Facebook tracks when and how often you click buttons that say “Shop Now”. If you do it frequently enough, you might be classified as an Engaged Shopper.

Engaged Shoppers Facebook ad targeting ideas

This facebook ad targeting idea is a great one for any e-commerce store. It can also be a way to narrow down audiences that are very broad.

Another clever way to use this audience might be to offer them financial planning and budgeting services!

4. Frequent Travellers

So many businesses benefit from targeting travellers. Of course, there are the obvious ones like travel agents, tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, and all things hospitality. But did you know that you can also target people who just got home from travelling?

Frequent Travellers facebook ad targeting ideas

I know that when I return home from a trip, there could be any number of household things that need addressing. Usually, my house has been sitting idle and is now a bit dirty. I’ve had times where I’ve come back to a plumbing issue. I’ve even had housesitters who have broken things and not known how to fix them. Coming back from a trip is definitely a time where local tradies and services can be incredibly valuable. I’ve used this audience for plumbers, pressure washers, cleaners, carpenters, and all sorts of service businesses.

5. Page Admins

Facebook page admins are great targets, especially when you’re trying to reach business owners or decision-makers. Targeting by job title can be a bit hit and miss on Facebook. People can put whatever they like in their job title (and they do!), so when you’re trying to reach decision-makers, page admins is a great facebook ad targeting idea.

Page Admins facebook ad targeting ideas

Not only can you narrow down by admins, but you can also narrow that by the type of page they have. Trying to reach restaurant owners to promote your fit-out services? Here you go! Targeting Facebook page admins is also a great way to narrow down within a broad, interest-based audience. But don’t forget that sometimes digital marketers (me, for example) fall into this category too!

Feeling inspired? I hope so! Facebook has a lot of great options for getting in front of the right audience. Still a bit stuck? Get in touch with the team to discuss some options that might work for you.

Written by Gemma Renton

Hygge in the Workplace: What it is & why you need to get on board!

Hygge in the Workplace – What it is and why you need to get on board!

You’d be forgiven for having never heard of Hygge, especially since it has its origins in the Scandinavian countries of the world.

A quick Google on the meaning of hygge produces the following:

hygge
/ˈh(j)uːɡə,ˈhʊɡə/ (“hue-guh”)
noun
a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality (friendliness, warmth) that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).
“Hyggeligt” is the adjectival form.

Hygge is more than happiness, it’s more than comfort, and it’s a concept that, in and of itself, is difficult to encompass. But Hygge is a huge element in the Scandinavian way of life. This is important on account of Denmark (in particular) being listed consistently as one of the happiest nations in the world.

Hygge is hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. And a lively yet cosy dinner with friends, surrounded by tealight candles, finished off with chocolate cake and wine. It’s reading a book in a window seat, covered in a soft blanket, while it’s snowing outside. It’s a sense of cosiness, camaraderie and homeliness. The Danes attribute their happiness and contentedness to a national dedication to cultivating hygge at every level of life.

Happy people are more productive, less stressed, and well… happier! So, introducing hygge into your workplace can have a positive impact on your work, your life, and your mental health.

Here are a few tips that might make you feel a little cosier and happier while you work.
Drinks Station - Hygge in the Workplace - Vine Street Digital

A Hygge Drinks Station

What better way to create a cosy space than with a beautiful tray, filled with everything you like to drink. Try herbal teas, craft coffees, and decadent syrups. Even when heading into summer, this idea still works! Just replace your hot drinks with refreshing cold juices, herbal infusions, or if you’re lucky enough, a water jug filled with edible flowers, fruit, and herbs straight from the garden! Think mint, rose petals, and strawberries. Hydration has been scientifically linked to productivity, so pretty up your space, drink more water, and work harder!

Natural Elements

The benefits of indoor plants have been touted the world over in office spaces and there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate this into your at home-work space. No room for a ficus? No problem. Mini terrariums, baby succulents, and fresh flowers work just as well. Plants purify the air, add greenery (which is a great colour to look at to assist with eye strain), and give you a general feel of cosiness and personalisation. You could also display that seashell you got on your last beach vacation, your favourite crystal, or piece of driftwood. It’s homey, personalised, and good for your environment. This is a great tip no matter the weather, so you can incorporate Hygge whether it’s rain, hail, or shine.

Cosiness at the desk

The Danish nation buys and uses more candles than any other nation in the world. Candles provide ambient light, a sense of wellbeing, and a beautiful, cosy feeling right on your desk. Scented candles in your favourite colours and shapes can be used to make your desk feel more like your own personal space. Turn it into somewhere you enjoy being, and make it the foundation of your productive, efficient, and motivated workday.

Cosiness - Hygge in the Workplace - Vine Street Digital

Cosy, not cluttered

You can create a cosy, hyggeligt space on your desk without making it look like you’ve established a small jungle that’s lined with Dusk candles. There’s a balance to hygge that indicates that your space should feel inviting, comfortable, and uplifting. Clutter is not uplifting and is a known source of stress. Clean your desk of all filing, kids toys, empty coffee cups, superfluous stationery (I could go on) at least once per day so that you feel great while you work. Replace the clutter with meaningful objects such as plants, candles, and photos of your family. Make your office space work for you.

Lighting

One of the best ways to be more hyggeligt is with great lighting. Natural light is not only great to work by, but it’s great for you in general. Open the windows and doors, position your desk strategically, and feel more yourself in the morning sunlight. If sunlight isn’t an option, or it’s too hot or distracting (as is common during a Queensland summer when it’s 30 Degrees at 8 in the morning), make use of desk lamps to enlighten your space. Or, if you prefer to work at night, fairy lights can make your office cosy and uplifting. Candles also help slightly with lighting, but don’t rely on them to see – just use them to make you feel great!

So from the country that has its own Happiness Institute, you can create a space that is productive, personal, and comfortable. Even in the warmer climates and months, hygge is a concept that can make you feel happier, less stressed, and more efficient. Think outside the box when working from home and bring a little Scandi serenity to your day. It would also be a great principle to integrate into your morning routine to make your day run more smoothly!

Written by Kristen Boucher

What Are Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs)?

What Are Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs)?

Dynamic Search Ads or DSAs are a great way to capture traffic from crazy, wild yet relevant search queries. They are perfect for filling in the gaps between the keywords current running in your Google ads account & operating as a ‘catch-all’ solution allowing you to expand your keyword database.

Dynamic Search Ads appear as regular search ads on the results page, however, the way they trigger is very different from regular Expanded Search Ads or Responsive Search Ads. Instead of using keywords to trigger the ads, Google will crawl your website and look for content based on the search query.

Once it finds a match, the headlines & landing page are dynamically inserted into the ad text to match the search query. This allows for much more relevancy between the search query, the resulting search ad copy, and the landing page.

DSA Targeting

But what happens if you only want to target a specific set of pages? Well, Google has an option for that too! By default, Google will automatically index your entire website to find matches for the search query. But, Google also allows you to create Page Feeds. These Page Feeds allow you to add specific URLs you want to target. Once the option “Use URL’s from my Page Feed only” is selected, Google’s AI will only crawl those specific pages.

The way Dynamic Search Ads are set up also differs a lot from regular search ads. As I mentioned, the headlines & landing page are dynamically inserted into the ad. So, the two description lines are the only adjustable aspect of the ads.

In terms of targeting methods, there are several options to specify exactly which URLs you want to include.

All Web Pages

This default targeting method simply targets all available web pages on your domain or in your page feed.

Category =

Category = can be used to target specific categories created by Google. As Google crawls your website, it will begin to segment certain pages into categories which can allow for more defined targeting.

URL Contains

URL Contains allows you to target pages containing specific strings. For example, say you want to target all services for your plumbing business. If your service pages followed the URL pattern of plumbing.com/services/ then you would be able to set the URL Contains to “services”

URL =

This method is very straightforward. URL = allows you to target specific URLs on your website or in your feeds. For example, if you wanted to drive traffic to a ‘Clearance’ subpage, you can target the exact URL.

Page_Title Contains

Page_Title Contains allows you to target pages containing certain words in their title.

Page_Content Contains

Page_Content Contains allows you to target pages containing specific words that you select. For example, you could show all the pages on your website that contain the phrase “men’s shirt”.

Custom_Label =

Custom Labels are mostly used when Page Feeds are being utilised. Custom_Label = allows you to target the Custom Labels you can set on specific URLs. For example, you might have three URLs that are labelled as ‘Shoes’ while another three might be ‘Backpack’.

DSA Challenges

The biggest downside to DSA is the spending. Think of it as a kid in a candy shop – guaranteed to find the best lollies, but will probably also grab many others along the way! This makes it extremely important to get the targeting sorted from the beginning. Try including things such as negative keywords to help prevent irrelevant search queries triggering your ads.

With the range of targeting options & the ability to select specific URLs, DSA ads are a great way to capture additional traffic that could result in more sales. Along with that, the amount of time saved by not having to map keywords or adjust bids makes testing DSA even more appealing. Just make sure you keep an eye on your budget!

Let us know if you have any questions or want help setting up dynamic search ads in your own accounts.

Written by Lachlan Ward

4 Tips For Great Ads – Reviewing Ad Copy

4 Tips For Great Ads – Reviewing Ad Copy

It can be difficult to have a successful ads account without regularly reviewing ad copy and making sure that it still works for you.

Sometimes people ask questions such as “what is the best ad copy?”  or “how can my ad stand out better”? But without having information such as historical data of your account’s ad performance, it can be hard to give an overall answer. There isn’t always a “one size fits all” solution.

When I would look at ad copies, I often felt like they weren’t good enough or could have a bit more to them. However, I’ve realised over the past few months that I should not be so focused on the ad copies themselves, but the metrics and split tests behind them.

Testing different sets of ad copy to find higher-performing combinations is a great practice. Once you’ve done a few sets of ads over time, you can start to review and analyse the data to see what you should do with your ad copy ongoing. So, with that in mind, here are a few tips to help push your ad higher up the search results page.

Basic Relevancy

Your first port of call is always the basics. It’s a simple thing that is sometimes overlooked, but make sure your ads are relevant. Check that your ad copy matches your keywords and your landing page.

Have a look at the Click Through Rate (CTR) of your ads. If it’s too low, it could be that your ad copy isn’t relevant enough to the search keywords. Therefore, no one is clicking on it, because it doesn’t sound like what they’re looking for!

So, the first step is to check that your targeted keywords are present in your ad copy. Try to make sure you’ve got them in a headline, or at least a description field if you can’t manage the headline. Headline 1 is generally the first thing people will read though, so try to make it as relevant as possible!

You also want to ensure that the ad destination/final URL is directed to the relevant page for the keyword you are wanting to promote. The landing page should also include the same (and similar) keywords that you are targeting with your ads.

If you are ever in doubt, always go back to basics and check your relevancy, then proceed from there.

Responsive Search Ads

With responsive search ads (RSA), you have up to 15 headlines and 4 description lines to play with for your ad copy. Responsive Search Ads use Google automated systems to find the best performing ad and shows it to the audience.

Google recommends that you put at least two expanded text ads (ETAs) and one responsive search ad in every ad group.

RSAs are a great way to test multiple headlines and descriptions to see what performs well. When you’re reviewing ad copy in your Google MCC, you can check the assets of the RSA and see what combinations Google has been using. Google will show you which combinations have the highest impressions. You can then choose to take inspiration from these combinations and create them as a regular expanded text ad to see if it performs well by itself. This is working very well for me currently.

Metric Indications

Periodically have a look through your account to see if any ads are under-performing. When you are reviewing ad performance, you want to look for a few key indicators. The major ones are Click Through Rates, Conversions, and Cost. If any of these are too low or too high, pause the ad and replace it with a new one. Again, you can break a new ad out from a responsive search ad.

Don’t remove/delete the old ad – keep it for historical reference! Not only do you want to have the metric data to compare to, but it will help you when reviewing your ad copy for writing new ones.

Call-To-Action

Lastly, have a clear call to action (CTA). A lot of people ask why this is necessary. Well, people gravitate towards phrases such as “Call now!”, “Buy Now”, or even “Quick, selling fast!”. We’ve been exposed to advertising from an early age and we have all grown up with these sayings. Guess what, they still work today! A call to action can help instil a sense of urgency in the consumer, prompting them to buy when they otherwise might have passed over it.

There are other techniques you can use, such as appealing to emotions or keeping your ad copy fresh by providing proof, offers, and more. Some of these techniques can be integrated and combined with a call to action.

Wrapping Up

If you keep reviewing and refining your ads on a regular basis, it will help you see which tactics have worked over different periods of time. At the end of the day, you will always be changing your ads up. Ideally not on a weekly basis, but every month or two. This keeps your advertising fresh and your audience will keep seeing you in the game.

The important thing is that you are active and keep pruning and nurturing your account. With the right strategies, an active account will be a successful account in the long run.

Feel free to contact us if you’d like some help or advice!

Written by Cameron Asher & co-written/edited by Chelsea Zanki