March 2019 - YasTech Developments
Marketing

Guest Post: Ask The Expert: 6 Tips on Buying Equipment for Your Business, with Mike Nemeroff

by Imri Merritt aka “M”

Imri (pronounced em-rye), also known as “M”,  is a graphic designer and screen printing expert at RushOrderTees, one of America’s most popular custom apparel companies. He has more than 10 years of graphic design and color separations experience in the screen printing industry. As a graduate of the Multimedia program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, he has explored various creative pursuits, including art and design, marketing, DJing, and even producing comedy shows. He is a contributing writer for Impressions Magazine, Printwear Magazine, and ASI Central. He loves roller coasters, music, and fried pickles.

Making major purchases for your business is always an important decision. When it comes to buying production or manufacturing equipment, there are some crucial things to consider. Some of them may be common sense, others are counter-intuitive.

I spoke with Mike, the founder and CEO of RushOrderTees, to get a better understanding of what goes into these types of decisions. RushOrderTees was started in his garage in 2002, and has grown into one of the industry leaders, with over 500,000 customers nationwide and a satisfaction rate of 99.7%.

We narrowed our discussion of this topic down to 6 important tips that will help guide you when buying equipment for any business, from a truck for a construction company to equipment for a commercial kitchen. The following are excerpts from that interview. Now, let’s talk to Mike!

1. Requirements

M: Hi Mike. What is the first thing to consider when deciding on a major equipment purchase?

Mike: Hi M. The first thing is making sure you really need it. Asking yourself what your specific requirements are. You don’t want to run out and buy something just because it’s new. Consult with your department heads to find out what exactly they need.

M: Are there any advantages to being an early adopter?

Mike: For business, when something new comes out, you usually don’t want to be first to try it.  It’s never what they say it’s going to be unless the technology or process has been proven.  If you do go this route, usually there are some ways to negotiate a deal for yourself in exchange for taking the risk of being an early adopter, from extended warranties, discounts, acting as a reference, etc. When you’re the first one in the US to have a machine, there’s a discount for that.

2. Research

M: What’s the next thing to consider? Most people probably think of their budget when it comes to purchasing.

Mike: Research. After you come up with what you need– your requirements to grow or become more efficient– then you can go out and do your research on which pieces of equipment are right for you.  Requirements and research are at the core of getting the right equipment the first time. Budget is secondary.

M: Gotcha. So doing your homework is key. What are some of the questions business owners should ask themselves when starting research?

Mike: What brands are well-known outside of your current knowledge? Have you done basic Google searches? Have you read online reviews? How many of these units are installed and working in the field today? Have you seen it in action? Did you call around to the biggest companies in your industry to find out what they use?

M: Are competitors typically willing to help?

Mike: People love giving advice. They’ll usually be more than happy to tell you about their experience with equipment so that you don’t make the same mistakes they did. There’s nothing more valuable than getting a real-life testimonial on the equipment you’re looking to purchase.  Many companies are even willing to take you on a tour and show you the equipment in person if you just ask. You’d be surprised.

M: What about trade shows?

Mike: Trade shows are a great shortcut to asking many companies their experiences with various pieces of equipment you might be looking for. For us, trade shows have been a huge source of knowledge and insight into new and existing manufacturers and their equipment.

3. Budget

M: When it comes to a budget, is the main question ‘How much do you have to spend?

Mike: This question should come with really careful consideration, but I would usually go with:  spend more than you want to, if you have revenue stream you feel you can count on because nothing is more important than uptime and output.  We have always pushed our budgets well beyond our comfort zones in order to purchase the best equipment the industry had to offer.

M: What if you don’t have a steady revenue stream?

Mike: There’s a time in the business life cycle to go lower cost, but only before the inflection point when consistency and uptime are of the utmost importance. When we were just starting, we went the lower cost route, during proof of concept. We could have taken a big loan, but it would have been too much of a gamble. We wanted to prove ourselves first. As a business, you’re always taking risks– but they should be calculated risks.

M: So once you have the steady revenue, your advice would be to go with the higher-cost, higher-quality, known brands?

Mike: While there might be more upfront costs, they are usually more efficient and require less maintenance than their lower cost competitors. We made that decision early on, after learning the hard way with purchasing lower cost manual and automatic screen printing units and digital printing units. We already had a huge demand at that point, so the most important thing was consistency and uptime to capitalize on the opportunity. Way more valuable than any upfront savings.

4. Space

M: What about physical considerations?

Mike: Absolutely. It might seem obvious, but measure your space carefully. Think about all your layout options, think about positioning the equipment to optimize workflow. Think about moving things around if you need to. Create a floor plan on the computer that’s to-scale, and makes sure it works there. Then, make sure you can get the equipment through the door.  If not, knock a few walls out, or make the door larger (laughs). We’ve had to do that a bunch of times.

5. Scaling

M: What about long-term considerations?

Mike: Once you choose a piece of equipment that you may need more of in the future, choose the one that you’ll enjoy working with as you expand your capacity because you’ll likely be buying more of the same machines for redundancy. You might like one of them and it might have some kinks you can deal with when there is just one in the building.  However, what if you had 10? or 20? Can you deal with those kinks when they are multiplied?

M: I imagine maintenance considerations would go into this category.

Mike: Yes. Before buying, you should consider which brands will be around in 5-10 years if you need service or parts. And which brands use parts that are accessible to you from a Grainger or a Fastenal. This is a crucial factor that could lead to extra expenses and headaches and disruptions for years to come. Or not.

6. Relationships

M: What is something you think business owners might overlook when buying equipment?

Mike: This one is more important than people might realize: develop and maintain a great relationship with the manufacturer or distributor.  You want somebody who will be available when you need them, pay special attention to your specific needs, and of course, give you a great deal.

M: Thanks, Mike. Good talking with you.

Mike: You too, M. Thanks.

To see more about this great site where you can make a custom t shirt design, with no minimums and free shipping, check out RushOrderTees here!

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MarketingReginaSaskatoonSEOSocial Media

5 Quick Tips for your First Social Media Campaign

Check out these quick tips on how to start your very first ad campaign. Whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform, these tips will apply to you.

1. Gather Your Social Keywords

In the world of SEO, keywording plays an important role in your global rankings on the internet while also helping potential clients find you better. To find your industries’ keywords, I’d recommend browsing your competitors’ websites to see the type of lingo they’re using in their header content. This should give you a good indication of the words their clients are typing into Google.

2. Network with Influencers to mutually benefit from creators in your industry:

Industry influencers are professional social media users sharing relevant posts in your industry. An example of this would be a tech inspired Instagram user posting new technology, software updates, and tips that their followers would be interested in. Because of these influencers’ large following, getting them to do sponsored posts with your advertisement could create content for them, while redirecting viewers to your page.

 

3. Measure your Stats

Keeping track of what works and what doesn’t is extremely important for the future of a campaign. Learning what resonates with users can help you change your campaign along the way so your content can adapt to what works.

4. Learn the Rules, Or Get Burnt

Websites like Facebook have very specific rules when it comes to running ad campaigns. For example, the rules about doing giveaways and the methods you use to conduct them could get your posts removed. Because of all these little rules, it’s good to know them so you don’t have to cut your first campaign short.

5. Connect Your Social Media to Your Website

Where are your ads directing your clients to? Back to your social media profile? You should be focused on getting clients to the hub of your company: your website. Getting them to spend time interacting with your website can even help your SEO.

Now that your ads are ready to go, get out there and create your audience! Need more help with your Social Media? Contact us!

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Marketing

Master Your Google Ads Game in 10 Easy Steps

If you’re looking for tips on how to master your Google Adwords game, you’ve come to the right place! Read through my strategies below and then watch my quick-tip videos on how to implement the strategies. You’ll have to forgive the audio quality—I’m new to voice recording!

Enjoy!

Connect Analytics

Unsurprisingly, Google Analytics and Google Ads work extremely well together. If you’re tracking goals on your website such as purchases, contact form conversions, or video watches, connecting the two will allow Google to show you how many people went from one of your specific ads all the way through to completing a goal.

This can help you make tough decisions like whether or not a poor-performing keyword is worth keeping just because it has a high number of impressions.

Google Analytics provides the absolute best data to let you know if your ad campaigns are reaching the results you envisioned for them. They can even estimate financial success if your goals are associated with a dollar value.

To learn how to connect Google Analytics to your Google Ads, click here

NOTE: As I was writing this article, I spoke to Google on the phone and it looks like sometimes Google Ads doesn’t count the conversion data being pulled in from Google Analytics. In this case, I had to set up a specific Google tag for each of my conversion events on the individual target landing pages.

To learn how to add Google Ads conversions tags to your wordpress pages, click here

Switch to Exact Match or Phrase Match

The days of paying to serve ads to any and everyone are on the decline, which is likely why you decided to invest in Google Ads.

Broad match keywords leave room for serving ads where they aren’t relevant—a wasted investment.

Imagine you’re a clothing retailer and your product is called “Pizza Graphic Jeans”. If you’re running “Pizza Graphic Jeans” in broad match, you’re paying to show your ads to anyone who Googles “pizza”. Chances are, these hungry viewers aren’t going to interact with your ad.

Exact Match will only serve your ad to those who type in “Pizza Graphic Jeans” while Phrase Match will serve your ad to anyone who searches anything that includes “Pizza Graphic Jeans”, such as “Pizza Graphic Jeans New York”

To learn how to toggle between Broad Match, Exact Match, and Phrase Match, click here

Use Call to Actions

Any marketing professional can attest to the power of a call to action. You want your ads to appeal to a certain sense of urgency in your target audience—to give them something to do.

The difference between “We’re The #1 Dentist” and “We’re the #1 Dentist | Book Your Appointment Today” can be the deciding factor between an impression and a click.

To learn how to set up Call to Actions on your Google Ads, click here

Set Up Dynamic Ads

Google’s new dynamic ads take your logos, images, headlines, etc. and organize them in different ways, giving favor to the ones that perform the best.

The largest benefit of dynamic ads is their ability to analyze what the user is searching, show the most relevant string of headers and descriptions, and then direct them to the most relevant landing page you’re using.

The ads will draw landing page options from the other ads you’re running, or you can create options from categories or page feeds you’ve created.

To learn how to set up Dynamic Ads on your Google Ads, click here

Add Some Ad Extensions

The more information your ad can provide to a potential customer, the more likely they are to click it. Utilize any extra information that’s relevant to your business from the following list:

  • Location
  • Affiliate locations
  • Callout extensions
  • Call extensions
  • Message extensions
  • Sitelink extensions
  • Callout extensions
  • Structured snippet extensions
  • Price extensions
  • App extensions

Most businesses running ads for their website have a phone number, multiple relevant pages, and compelling calls to action, but some of the less common extensions are extremely powerful, as well.

If your business has an app, direct some traffic there. If your website has products with concrete prices, show them off! Give your customers everything they need to make the right choice—your business.

To learn how to set up Extensions on your Google Ads, click here

Consider your Relevance

Google Ads gives each of your keywords a quality score between 1 and 10. This score is based on the following criteria:

Expected clickthrough rate: Google makes predictions based on how your keywords have done before. As a result, this criteria can take the longest to change.

Ad text relevance: This criteria considers your keywords in relation to other keywords and the ad itself. Factors that lower this score include keywords that are too broad, or an ad that covers too many topics.

Landing page relevance: As always, Google’s definitions can be very vague. Landing page relevance looks at the entire landing page experience. The algorithm is looking for keywords, original content, ease of navigation, and how long people are staying on your page. If your visitors aren’t finding what they’re looking for within seconds, Google will know.

The following sections will target relevance and how you can improve your strategy.

To learn how to view Google Ads keyword relevance, click here

Set Match Type and Add Negative Keywords

We can’t always foresee how our keywords might go wrong, but consider these three match-type issues:

  1. Broad Match: You’ve set the keyword “Brands” as broad match. Because broad match shows your ad to any search including your keyword, you’re now serving ads to people searching “perfume brands”.
  2. Phrase Match: You’ve set the keyword “Pizza New York” as phrase match. This is great because you can target searches for “Great Pizza New York” and “Best Pizza New York”, but you soon realize you’re also showing for “Pizza Graphic Shirts New York”.
  3. Exact Match: This one won’t have an issue with the unexpected, as it will show if and only if your keyword “Furniture Ontario” is searched. While this is great for avoiding those strange edge cases, you’re also missing out on useful keywords such as “Affordable Furniture Ontario”.

All three of these match cases have their pros and cons, but here’s my advice: In my experience, Broad Match and Exact Match are more trouble than they’re worth. The best bang for your buck is a strategic combination of Phrase Match and Negative Keywords.

Negative Keyword: These are selected keywords that your Google Ad will specifically not show to. In the case of “Pizza Graphic Shirts New York”, adding the negative keyword “Graphic Shirts” will help you keep the benefits of Phrase Match, but help you avoid showing your ads to the wrong audience.

To learn how to see your Search Terms and set up Negative Keywords in Google Ads, click here

Separate Your Ad Groups

As a continuation from the last point, separating your ad groups is one simple way to solve the relevance issues for ad text.

Imagine your business sells wildly different products like tires, toys, clothing, and cosmetics. Can you think of one ad that will appeal to a person looking for any of these individual categories? If someone did click your ad, would it take them to a specific page catered to what they’re looking for? Chances are, you’ll end up creating a generic ad that just echoes your business’ main slogans.

Try creating a different ad for each specific type of product or service you’re looking to target with your ad. Once that’s done, create multiple ads so you can always test them against each other and find out what’s working the best for you.

To learn how to create multiple ads for a single Google Ads campaign, click here

Test Your Landing Page

Speaking of testing, ensure that your different ads are trying out different landing pages. Keep in mind that if someone clicks your real estate ad that says “View Our Available Homes”, they don’t want to land on a page that doesn’t display your available homes. The harder it is for your customers to find exactly what they’re looking for, the higher the chance they leave.

To learn how to specify landing pages in your Google Ads campaign, click here

Keyword your headings

This one is a super powerful tool. When I search for something on Google, like many others, I find it very frustrating when the results are close to what I’m looking for, but not completely aligned.

With keyworded headings, any user that performs a Google search containing one of your keywords will actually be shown exactly what they searched within your ad.

Imagine that you’re in the automotive industry. Your customer enters into the search bar “Eco Friendly Cars”. They’re going to see a bunch of listings and ads for cars of every type, but they look at your ad and the first thing they see is “Eco Friendly Cars”. This tells them that you’ve got exactly what they’re looking for, and they’re much more likely to click through.

There are some things to be careful about, though. I’ve actually seen my competitors using this trick, but what became instantly clear is that they used the name of my company as one of their keywords. Their ad read, “Yastech | [Their name] | Website Solutions”. Whether or not this was intentional, they either tricked some of my clients into clicking their ad, gave me some free brand recognition, or both.

Another trick to consider is how your keywords will fit into your ad. If your keywords follow a specific pattern, where you could integrate them like, “Top [keyword] in Paris”, great! This will look great with “Top Coffee Shop in Paris” and “Top Cafe in Paris”, but it be suspicious when your ad reads “Top Coffee Shop Paris in Paris”. Carefully consider each keyword and how it will fit into your ad.

To learn how to set up Keyworded Headings in Google Ads, click here

If you have any questions about any of these strategies, feel free to reach out to me personally at zack@yastech.ca or give me a call at 306-249-2863!

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