What we learnt at Google Master Class

This September we attended the Google Master Class in Brisbane. For many, it was the first time we had attended something like this. With David Booth as the primary presenter, we were taken through hills and valleys of AdWords, Analytics, Mobile and Marketing in general. This is the main take aways of what we learnt.

Your Agency

David Booth presenting at the Google Master Class
David Booth presenting at the Google Master Class


A lot of the focus of the master class was on you and your agency. Getting to know exactly what you do and what you do well is important to understanding your goals and how it all comes together. Here are some of the main tips and insights we can share.

#1 Get real about the value you provide

As a digital marketing agency Brisbane and for any business for that matter, this is the foundation for success. Start with your competitive advantage, develop a super clear message, consistent branding and then put it all together. Shout your value from the hill tops!

One approach is to list out your top clients and most successful engagements. Then for each one:

  • Write out what you did
  • How you approached the challenges
  • What you excelled at
  • And the positive outcomes for the clients.

Once you have all this information, you can then look for similarities between the clients and the specific engagements to understand exactly the value you added in each case – use this to craft your marketing message to attract more of your ideal clients.

#2 Find out what your clients REALLY think of you

A brave step for any business, but this will allow you to improve fast by taking on board both the positives and the negatives. Clients leave for a multitude of reasons, even ones that are doing well. Perhaps they have met their marketing goals? Maybe their business is changing or getting sold?

  • Have some form of post engagement feedback: ideally in person or over the phone
  • If it’s positive, don’t forget to ask for a testimonial!
  • If there are some honest truths to improve on, then use this to shape and change your processes

#3 Sales Tools

There are a many ways to put together internal sales tools and documents. No, we are not talking about Software or systems here (more of that later). Instead we are looking at documented white papers and solution sheets or case studies that can be kept on file and, without been too specific, can be provided to potential new clients or sales consultants to help them understand what you can do for them.

You can do this by having them segmented by industry or vertical. For example, our own Sales Tools could be:

  • Web design for tradies (covering plumbers, electricians etc)
  • SEO for health care (doctors, cosmetic medicine, physio and the like)
  • Ecommerce SEM (How we can leverage AdWords specifically for ecommerce websites and businesses)
  • The list can go on and on

You can also take this further and write up content for each of these and more on your websites – specific landing pages for narrow search terms.

#4 Be Social!

Social Media is here to stay and is an often misunderstood and underutilised marketing channel. Take control of it. Put someone in charge of the whole operation – this is generally easy to do within a marketing department. We don’t mean that one person is responsible for posting to each and every channel you are using, but one person that coordinates it will be good.

Having other team members controlling your Facebook and Twitter feed is good and a must. Find out who likes what. Is the receptionist a Pinterest Fan? Does the web developer love his Google Plus? We find that if someone uses the platform already, then it will be a whole lot easier for them to do so for the business.

Automate what you can. For social this is easy. Anytime a blog post is written, have it automatically sent out to all your channels where possible. This can be done via WordPress plugins, IFFFT and other similar systems.

Important things to remember:

  • Put someone in charge to coordinate it all and keep an eye on everything at least once a week
  • Have team members use the platforms the like
  • Automate what you can
  • Ensure your branding and style is across it all
  • Build Calendars. No what is happening
  • Use scheduler tools like HootSuite and Buffer
  • Be responsive too and post regularly

Social can build your brand. But if not done right, can also damage it too.

#5 Write and be Heard

Have a blog strategy. Write for both your clients and the industry. Digital marketing strategy and tips can help your clients (both old and potentially new) understand what you can give them. Technical articles help you to show what you know to the rest of the industry and also potential clients.

Remember your clients may know more than they let on. They may also have their own misconceptions of what you do, and by writing both technical and strategic style posts you can show both sides of whom you are and what you can do for them

Partner up!

Google is always looking to strengthen alliances with digital agencies via its Partner Program and reaching out to provide more support to the industry at large, so get on board!

Google wants to reach more businesses in Australia and one major way it wants to do this in Brisbane, for example, is via its partner PPC Brisbane agencies. This is great news to help strengthen the digital industry and to provide universal standards of excellence to help everyone improve what they do.

Australia is filled with agencies just like yours. Some have been around for a while and some are new. There are different tiers as well – some may be in the 10k a month club (and thus could have a whole lot of clients that they don’t work with that they could pass on to you)

Look for opportunities to build win-win relationships within the industry. Creating partnerships is very important to us at Media Heroes and it’s great to hear Google encouraging its partner agencies to build alliances between each other.

Bring on the Hero Alliance!

Mobile usability is the new black

Mobile isn’t just important, if you don’t take this every bit as seriously as desktop marketing, then you are going to be left in the dust along with your business.

Do it now and get ahead of the curve and join the mobile revolution.

Here are some amazing tips from Google’s own research – some of them seem obvious, but now there’s proof. Tips included:

  • Sort your forms out – make them easy to fill out, welcoming, auto fill wherever possible, validation of forms as you go, if it’s a number field then flick over to the numbers keyboard and test them heaps!
  • Calendars built for mobile – lots of calendars don’t translate well to mobile, so you might need to change how this works in the website, but make sure you use one that is going to make like easy for even the pudgiest fingered user.
  • Shopping carts should allow you to switch devices – whether it’s a login to G+ or the ability to send yourself an email from the shopping cart, make sure users can switch devices without having to restock their shopping carts from the beginning.
  • Easy in site searches – mobile users need help finding things in your site, especially for ecommerce, so make it easy! Think about relevant related searches, guided searches, and make sure the search bar isn’t hidden away in some obscure menu reveal.
  • Calls to action front and centre – first make them compelling, but also make sure they are high up in the site design and in the centre, so it’s really easy to take the next step as a user – cut out the need to be a detective to find out how to send an enquiry or find a product.

Take the time and effort to build an amazing experience for mobile users. Google is investing heavily in this area and users are demanding it. Once you have a great mobile user experience, make sure you test and segment your mobile visitors via Google Analytics to uncover anything you might have missed and improve the mobile experience.

Use data like a ninja

Data should be used to uncover the gold in your campaigns and potentially also the weaknesses.

It starts with the segmentation of your visitors, so you can start to market to different segments in different ways. Most people don’t do this at all and if they do, it’s usually only via a few specific landing pages. The good news is that Google Analytics already provides segmented data including; devices, geography, new and retuning customers, traffic sources and so much more.

Compare segments against conversion rates to uncover specific winning or losing segments, so you can understand what you are doing well or not and most importantly why. The Advanced segments within Google Analytics have just been overhauled and this now allows you to create layered custom segments to tell you even more.

Once you have your segments, you can use remarketing directly from your Google Analytics account to make the process so much easier. If you have a segment of highly engaged visitors but who’ve never purchase, then you can create a remarketing campaign just for them to give them a gentle push to finally convert.

Using segments and remarketing is like mining data to find the real gold behind all the rocks. By doing this, you are creating and testing highly targeted campaigns for each segment and moving towards a much more personalised marketing campaign.

You can take this one step further with Universal Analytics by feeding in data from website split testing tools, and even data from your website such as login details (excluding personally identifiable data – PID) – this lets you match data sets and target potential customers even more precisely and get the very best from your digital marketing campaigns.

Ultimately, data will provide unbelievable opportunities, but it takes a lot of time and research, so for clients where this will be a benefit, be sure to build this into your campaigns and educate them about the value in investing in this aspect of their digital marketing strategies.

Tools – use what is available and keep up to date with new features

#1 AdWords

AdWords keeps changing and improving. This year’s Master Class showed off some of the new features, including:

  • New Call Out Extension – Use it to add more “space” and text around your ads. The more visible you are, the more likely a user will click through.
  • Exact Match now includes close variants – Check your campaigns, see what is happening and adjust what you need too.
  • Display and Search quality scores are calculated separately – this has been an old misconception in the industry for many years. While we still think it’s best to keep them in separate campaigns, there is now direct confirmation that they two use different metrics for calculating Quality Scores and that the two are tracked separately.
  • Mobile Ads – (Remember, Mobile is the new black!) Extensions may replace 2nd line of the Description in your ads. Thus the first line of text is now even more important for your mobile campaigns.
  • Google has its own call number to replace the number on the website for ads only – this can be setup and the script installed by your developer, allowing you to track calls from your ads!
  • Ad Customisers, like dynamic keywords, lets you auto fill in parts of the text in your ads like brand, pricing and even when a sale ends.

AdWords PPC still remains a valuable marketing tool for agencies and businesses alike, no matter what the industry.

#2 Google Analytics

Google Analytics has seen some recent improvements like Universal and Apps in the last few months. Some new features were highlighted to us as well.

  • Notifications and issues – Google Analytics and AdWords too show you issues with a red or yellow icon near or under your account name. The warning here is that this may not always be accurate but good to review the messages – sometimes you may find something interesting
  • Apps now have demographic data as well. So you can monitor your campaigns in more detail.
  • Google Analytics is probably the best source of data for your business (See above). Be sure to stay on top of it and monitor what is happening, where and why.

#3 Enhanced Ecommerce

Ecommerce users can now celebrate as well. With the Upgrade to Google Universal, you now have access to a wide range of data that was previously difficult or not available to see in Analytics.

You can dig down to the very product level and see where that traffic came from and who bought it (in terms of a new user, existing user). This gives you a lot of information about your customers and you can tie that with your CRM or Sales Platform to get a bigger picture.

#4 Google My business

Keeping with everything Google, My Business is the new name for Places. Google has invested a lot in this space and the branding with television and billboard ads across Australia. Some news from this segment also made an appearance at the Master Class.

  • Post card verification – is now been managed by a local, Australian sender. This means that many clients are receiving their postcards in a few days rather than weeks. Quicker turnaround times are a win for everyone
  • Single dashboard across devices – whether on desktop or mobile. The My Business Dashboard is familiar and easy to use.
  • Of interest, Australia has highest verification rate worldwide!

Local businesses are the main client type for many agencies and knowing and managing their Google My Business listings is essential to growing them and your own business. Some agencies even specialise in this aspect – another opportunity at a partnership!

#5 Video – Smile for the camera and don’t be shy

Video has been around for ages, and using it on the web is nothing new. From the now outdated “Presenters” on websites, to fully produced branded videos the possibilities keep growing. With the power of the internet and speeds that mobile users can now get, having video on your site is easier than ever.

Partnering with experts in this industry is a must to leverage the best for your own Agency and your clients and putting together a calendar for video production across the year is important to help this coincide and work together with your other marketing channels.

In Conclusion

Overall this was an awesome experience by us as an Brisbane Digital Marketing Agency and I am sure we ate too much chocolate (thanks Google, I think!) The breaks, the food, the people were great.

Been able to network and meet new people in the industry and what they are winning or struggling at helps us as a business understand where things are going and what the trends are – bottom line, we are not alone and our situation is not unique.

The tips and advice mentioned above is only a small segment of what we gained from the Master Class. We recommend joining Google Partners and attending every Master Class you can in the future.

Thank you to David Booth, Richard, Duncan and Katherine (and not to mention Google as whole) Apologies to anyone else we may have missed.