Starting Up A Digital Marketing Business

Quitting Your Job & Starting Your Own Business – Here’s What I Learned

Last week I handed in my notice to quit my full-time job as a Digital Marketing Consultant, so I can focus on running Alix Digital. It’s been the hardest decision I’ve had to make in my career and I don’t doubt for a second that it’s one of many difficult decisions I’ll have to face as I look to grow my business.

Growing A Digital Marketing Startup

It may be a little early at this point, but I’ve already learnt 5 great things from this process:

1. Leave on good terms

Storming out, not working your notice, not completing your work to a satisfactory level. These are all in the no-no list.

I have been incredibly lucky to work for a fantastic company with amazing people and a brilliant boss, so it wasn’t hard to keep on good terms. But, I was still pleasantly surprised at how supportive my managers were. It’s certainly helped calm the inevitable nerves of going it alone.

Doing it the right way also maintains your reputation in the industry and you could be considered for referrals.

2. Make sure you’re leaving for the right reason

I hate to be negative, but starting business is not for the faint hearted. In Digital Marketing alone, there is mountains of competition and plenty of determination needed. Starting your own business is not a way out of your current stresses – it’s the opportunity to do it all for yourself.

Before handing in my notice, I read plenty of blogs about how quitting a job to start a business ruins lives or how freelancing is the worst thing ever. But, I felt that the author’s reasons for starting a business were different to mine and they seemed too focussed on the rewards to appreciate how much harder you now have to work. Reward isn’t cheap or easy.

3. You’ll know when it’s the right time

A couple of people told me, they saw my leaving coming. They may have even known I was going to do this before I did. I personally feel ready to jump into the world of freelance marketing; partly because I already do it and mainly because I know I have the knowledge, skills, experience and the tenacity.

Things you may want to ask yourself if you’re not sure if it’s the right time:

    • Are you ready to deal with the paperwork, the organisation, the finances, the completion of work (where applicable) as well as being the receptionist, the sales executive and your own customer service department? Aside from facing a pretty quiet Christmas party, it’s also one heck of a commitment.
    • Are you financially secure? Sure, you may be doing this for the money (it’s one of the top reasons people get into starting a business) but you must bear in mind how long it’ll take to get enough work to pay yourself. This may not happen right away, and money will run out fast. Can you secure funding? Do you have savings? Do you already have clients? All these things will help.
    • Do you know enough about your product/service? Having the essential skills required is paramount. If you’re not 100% confident in your field, get some training or hands-on experience before you make the leap.

4. Research and plan

I would start by writing up your business plan. Get together your mission statement, proposed forecasts then set some realistic goals and KPIs. You’ll also need to think about your marketing plan and scope out the competition. Then, ask yourself, what sets your business apart from all the others.

For Alix Digital, my main mission has always been to help SMEs by demystifying PPC for them; taking the complicated stuff and making it easy to digest. Once I had this objective in place, everything else was much easier to develop around it. 

5. Leverage your network

When setting up, you need to consider your budget, not to the point of cutting corners which could be a detriment to your business though. The best way to cut costs and ensure you’re not getting ripped off? Utilise your network. Reach out to people who have got useful contacts. The benefits are twofold:

Firstly, having people you know help you can boost the support you receive and lower your costs. It’s also a safe pair of hands.

Secondly, consider referrals. For example, I find it beneficial to be good friends with Web Devs, they often get asked about Digital Marketing and I often get asked about west creation. This is the perfect opportunity to pass work either way.

If you’re reading this because you too are a startup, or just thinking about going for it, I wish you the best of luck. Here’s to the most terrifying, sleepless, uncertain years of my (and maybe your) life. I’m excited.

If you are looking for a PPC Freelancer for your start up or established business, maybe Alix Digital can help, get in touch.

Alix

Google deleted my adwords account?

Where Did My AdWords Account Go?

If you’re reading this from 26th March 2018 onwards, it may be because your AdWords account has been retired by Google. Any accounts that have not spent any money for the last 15 months will be deleted to speed up the AdWords experience.

So Google deleted my account?

Yes.

But all is not lost. You have some options:

  1. Simply reactivate your account (phew!)

There is  an option to do this by going to your account preferences.

Preferences can be found by going to your tools, billing and settings section (the spanner, top-right). Then go to ‘Preferences’ under the ‘Setup’ section of your site.

From there you’ll be able to select the option to reactivate your account if its’s been deleted.

where to reactivate my google adwords account
where to reactivate my google adwords account
  1. You *could* create a new account.

I hear you, yes this could take a bit of time and if you used the account a lot in the past, the historical data could be very useful. However, please bear in mind, a lot of has changed in the last 15 months.

This could be an opportunity for a squeaky-clean new AdWords account, a fresh set of keywords to target and some funky new ad copy.

Of course, if you have a lot of historical data that you’re looking to use as a basis for your ongoing activity, I’m not telling you to delete and re-create your account. It’s up to you – it’s just an option.

  1. Show cancelled accounts (MCC Only).

If you’re using a MCC (My Client Centre) – I’m looking at you, agencies, this one is easy. Simply select the ‘show hidden’ option in the menu (the three dots on the left).

Still a little confused? Why not get in touch – I’d be happy to help you out. Good luck and get some use out of your AdWords accounts!

7 Deadly Sins of an AdWords Campaign

Pay-per-click (PPC) has been considered one of the most sought after marketing services in today’s modern society and it’s no surprise. Everyday we face the wash of the selfies, hashtags, acronyms, stalkaholicwork-2005640_640 (1).jpg tendencies and everyone is in it for themselves. The ability to target people who are likely to be interested in what you or your client is selling isn’t just a science, it’s an art.

Bloggers, influencers and experienced marketers could talk for hours about how to make PPC work well, but what makes a bad PPC campaign? Well here is my list of the cardinal sins that should be avoided at all costs:

  1. Not doing your homework. Irrelevant content is annoying and pointless. What is being promoted might seem obvious, but when paying for advertising you need to know for sure that you’re clued up on what it is you’re promoting. Why would people click on your ad? Who are they? Where are they? Will they convert into a sale/enquiry? Set aside time to research your industry and demographic.
  2. Not testing. For example, your ad might be the best ad you’ve ever written but how do you know it works? Even if it works well, could it be more successful? Be a pioneer in the world of technological evolution and never stop experimenting. I recommend having two versions of ad copy, AB testing if you will. Track your conversions carefully and monitor performance. Test everything you can, landing pages, keyword match types, different imagery on display campaigns and so on.
  3. Using broad keywords. Did you know that using the term ‘online casino’ in 2014 would have cost you and average of £52.72 per click? Aside from the obvious cost problem, broad keywords seldom attract your ideal audience. Try making the keywords more specific. Build specific landing pages that will retain their interest and translate into a sale (or whatever your goal may be). Also try avoiding broad match keywords. Opt for exact match, phrase match and broad match modifiers.
  4. Neglecting exclusion settings. I grit my teeth whilst looking at the costs attributed to a campaign with no exclusion settings. Sadly it’s not uncommon to look at an account for a UK-based campaign and see the ads have shown in countries all over the world. Adding exclusions takes seconds, but forgetting to do it costs unsuspecting companies gruesome amounts; hundreds, thousands even.
  5. Not tracking conversions. From small businesses to agencies, there are many shameful culprits of this sin. A lot of the time, performance is measured like this: Impressions, clicks and CTR (click through rate). Excellent. But how do you know if any of those clicks converted into a sale or valid enquiry? How much money did your PPC campaign make for you? You should probably know these answers. If this is your guilty habit, hop onto Google Analytics (pronto!). Need help? Check out this post by PPC Hero.
  6. Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI). Okay, this one isn’t bad and the idea is actually quite clever, but the lack of control over the content of your ad can be risky. If you want to run DKI, you must be squeaky clean in your best practices, avoid competitor bidding for trademark purposes, remember to input keywords with capitalisation, ensure these ads aren’t linked to a misspellings ad group, avoid nonsensical sentences with mismatched ad copy and keywords, etc.
  7. Not monitoring placements. This mainly applies to running display adverts, whether it be display or remarketing you should set up exclusions. You’ll find you have more control over behavioural and contextual targeting (BT & CT) but remarketing/retargeting targeting is a bit more open. It will show your ads to someone who has a cookie dropped since visiting your site but be careful where they see it. Do you want your ads showing on sites with adult content? Do you want your ads showing on sites with controversial content?
    Oh, and just because you’ve set up exclusions, doesn’t mean you don’t have to check where the ads have shown. There could be sites you didn’t think of or new sites you couldn’t have thought of… it is the internet after all.

There are more than 7 things that could go wrong, but for the most part, paid ads are incredibly useful for both companies wanting to promote and for internet users looking for something you can provide. A careful and considered approach will always be beneficial, do your research, analyse your data and have fun testing!