circle image sidebar
circle image

Why is Sharp Ahead sponsoring MeasureCamp?

By John Woods  |  May 12, 2022

The MeasureCamp unconference

Sharp Ahead is proudly sponsoring the MeasureCamp unconference in London on 15th May 2022 https://london.measurecamp.org/.

MeasureCamp is an “unconference” – free to attend and self-organising – for the digital analytics community.

It’s an amazing event with around 300 digital analytics practitioners expected to attend, many travelling from overseas. The presentations will range from deeply technical (such as how to manage the upcoming switch from Universal Analytics to GA4), to quirky (like my own, on the relevance of WW2 photographic reconnaissance to the management of digital analytics!).

But why is a B2B digital marketing agency like Sharp Ahead sponsoring a digital analytics event?

It’s personal…

Many of you will know me as a pioneer from the early days of digital analytics industry. And in fact the digital analytics company I founded, Site Intelligence/iJento, was a sponsor of the very first MeasureCamp, in London in September 2012. Here’s a terrible 2012-era phone photo to prove it:

So it’s a nice symmetry for me to be a sponsor again in the tenth anniversary year. And I’ve benefitted so much from MeasureCamp over the years – making new contacts and friends, honing my technical skills around digital analytics and conversion optimisation, sparking new ideas – that it is great to give something back to the MeasureCamp community.

…but it is also business

It is true that I have two decades’ experience in digital analytics, and I still work in part as an analytics practitioner, but my work these days is much more broadly-based. When I co-founded Sharp Ahead in 2014 I had a vision that analytics skills and techniques could be put to use in an agile way, in combination with a more general commercial and marketing skillset, to design and optimise digital activities for specialist B2B companies.

That vision came true, I guess! Today, Sharp Ahead actively uses digital analytics every day as one of many techniques to design and improve digital marketing campaigns. I’m one of the team’s analytics experts but several of my colleagues are pretty handy with analytics technology as well. We also work with PPC, SEO, content marketing, marketing automation and CRO, amongst others, to help our clients achieve cost-effective results. Our team also includes designers, copywriters and website builders.

Sharp Ahead looks to work with smart generalists who enjoy using a range of skills to find the best ways to grow our clients’ businesses. I’m pleased that digital analytics still plays a big part in our work, but just as excited about the other elements of expertise that we are able to blend together in our clients’ projects.

We’re growing and looking for new clients, new team members and new partnerships. And we know that the MeasureCamp event and the community around it will be a great place to find them.

Check back on our blog soon for a report from the event. And whether you are attending MeasureCamp or not: if you know of B2B companies who might benefit from our skills, if you know of smart digital marketers looking to work in a great B2B agency, or if you have other ideas how we might work together I’d love to hear from you. Or we can just chat about WW2 photographic reconnaissance!

You can find me on LinkedIn linked.com/in/jwoods or fill in our contact form.

circle image sidebar
circle image

Lead Gen Forms: A B2B marketer's guide on when to use them

By Jennifer Esty  |  March 17, 2022

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms have been around for years now. They are great way to capture leads from within the LinkedIn platform. They negate the need for a landing page, and they de-risk user drop off when switching from LinkedIn to another tab.

But we get asked all the time, when should you use a Lead Gen Form vs Sponsored Content (or another ad format)?

To help with that decision, we’ve developed a handy decision tree. It’s deceptively simple and, although a little tongue-in-cheek, the principles are genuine.

Ready to start your campaign?

A couple of more things to keep in mind:

Lead Gen Forms are prepopulated with the users details (yay!)

But many LinkedIn users have their personal email addresses as their primary email address and don’t always have up to date information (boo!).

And if you don’t spend time on creating properly targeted audiences and useful content, there isn’t a decision tree in the world that will make those campaigns successful.

Need help from an expert? Get in touch for a free 30-minute consultation.

Google ads optimisation score
circle image sidebar
circle image

Why your Google Ads Optimisation Score is too high and what to do about it?

By John Woods  |  November 29, 2021

On 24th September 2021, we had the pleasure to host a session on Google Ads Optimisation Score as part of the Leeds Digital Festival

During the virtual event Dr John Woods, Founder and Director of Sharp Ahead, shared his expert observations on B2B paid media best practices. Dr Woods emphasised that, as Google progressively gamifies “good practice” for paid search advertising, we need to bear in mind that what’s good for Google isn’t necessarily good for B2B advertisers. 

You can now watch the full video recording of the event to learn more about:

  • Paid media campaigns
  • Whether automatic bidding beat manual bids set by a human expert
  • If an AI conversion optimiser reduce your cost per lead
  • Should you trust a machine to write your ad copy
  • The good, the bad, and the ugly of Google Ads’ optimisation score and automation.

We would like to thank all the attendees for their active participation and great questions in the Q&A part of the event.

Find out more about our PPC services or get in touch to see how we can help you deliver successful PPC campaigns.

SharpSpring Platinum Certification
circle image sidebar
circle image

Sharp Ahead Receives Platinum Certification in SharpSpring Partner Certification Program

By Jennifer Esty  |  November 24, 2021

We’re super excited to announce that Sharp Ahead have achieved platinum-level certification in SharpSpring’s partner certification program!

Through this program, SharpSpring, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHSP), a global provider of cloud-based marketing and email software solutions, empowers its partners to become experts in marketing automation and rewards top performers with referrals, certification badges and additional resources.

Sharp Ahead met all of the requirements within the platinum tier of the certification program, demonstrating an exceptional level of expertise in marketing automation and the SharpSpring platform. With this certification, Sharp Ahead is more equipped to help clients drive qualified leads, convert more of those leads to sales, and optimize the ROI of their marketing campaigns.

“Agencies that are leaders in marketing automation are also far more likely to become leaders in the digital marketing industry,” said Rick Carlson, CEO of SharpSpring. “When a partner goes the extra mile to obtain this level of certification, we know they truly understand the value of marketing automation and that they’re committed to driving the highest results for their clients.”

“We’re very proud of the Sharp Ahead team for achieving such a significant designation. At Sharp Ahead, we aim to provide our clients with the highest level of service and expertise. Obtaining Platinum Certification from SharpSpring is a clear reflection of our approach”, says Jennifer Esty, Director of Sharp Ahead.

Find out more about our marketing automation services or get in touch to request a SharpSpring demo.

circle image sidebar
circle image

What To Look For In A B2B SEO Audit – The 6-Step Framework For Success

By Rachael Clark  |  August 11, 2021

For many B2B marketers, the logical starting point for their SEO strategy is an audit—after all how do you know what to fix if you don’t know what is broken, or how to prioritise content creation if you don’t know what the search landscape even looks like?

A B2B SEO audit should be both a pragmatic and strategic launchpad for your objectives, but how do you know if the audit itself is any good?

Here are our pro tips for what to look for:

1. The Three Key Areas

A good SEO audit will cover three key areas: on-page, off-page, and technical.

They of course have a lot of cross-over and the key is identifying which elements of each of these should be prioritised.

In a perfect world of unlimited time and resources, you would fix every issue—but sometimes you have to be pragmatic and consider the ease and impact of each of the changes being suggested.

What your audit may reveal:

  • On-page: are page titles and descriptions in place, unique and of the right length; primary keyword is in the H1 and in the page content; do you have internal and external sitelinks on the page; is the content not comprehensive enough to rank?
  • Off-page: what sort of page authority do you have? Where are your strongest backlinks and where is there more opportunity?
  • Technical: page speed issues, existence of 404s, whether schema is used correctly (or at all!)
SEO Venn Diagram

2. UX

UX and SEO are inextricably linked. Things like the information architecture and the navigation design are fundamental to both. You simply can’t achieve success with one without the other.

What your audit may reveal: Pages, posts, categories focused on the internal structure of a business, rather than that of the searcher’s intent.

A good SEO audit will also include pragmatic UX tips and advice on site performance (which has never been more important since the announcement of the Core Web Vitals criteria).

3. Understand the B2B Decision Maker and Influencers

Delivering the best SEO strategy requires an in-depth understanding of the audience. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are you trying to speak to?
  • What are their challenges, frustrations and goals?
  • How do your solutions/products/services help address or support the above?

Consider this step “the method acting of the search world” – get into character and think like they think in order to identify the right search terms for your business. If you have the time/budget available, then interviewing existing customers can help provide you with insights into the buying patterns to bolster your own efforts.

4. Focus on the Funnels

A good SEO audit will provide prioritised recommendations for keywords and content based on where in the funnel your prospects and customer are.

Depending on your business objectives and growth strategy you might need to focus on getting more prospects into the top of the funnel or more urgently require conversion optimised bottom of the funnel content and pages. Your SEO audit should reveal those key terms and opportunities and help focus your marketing resources in the right areas.

Top of the Funnel (TOF): the audit may reveal new opportunities for broader trends in your market, search themes or innovations.

Middle of the Funnel (MOF): the audit may reveal closely related products, services or even business challenges for which you could rank.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOF): the sorts of keywords that match your product or services and indicate strong consideration or purchase intent, e.g., product pricing, product recommendations—the sorts of keywords you may also be bidding on in paid search.

When identifying terms, it is vital to put yourself in the position of your prospect and recognise the key differences between B2B and B2C SEO:

B2B SEO B2C SEO
Low-Volume but High Value Keywords High-Volume but often Low Value Keywords
Complex & Often Long Sales Funnels Shorter Decision-Making & Simpler Sales Funnel
Smaller More Specific Audiences Broader Audiences

Low volume keywords do not necessarily mean they should be ignored. Consider this Ease/Impact Matrix when deciding what terms will be relevant for your business:

SEO Table

Examples of what may impact where a keyword/phrase is placed on the Ease/Impact diagram:

  • Keyword difficulty
  • The balance of optimising existing content or needing to create content from scratch
  • Overall business value of a lead/conversion
  • Credibility in that space

Understanding the competitive landscape is key for an SEO audit. But what is a competitor? In the SERPs, it’s whomever is ranking for the term you want to rank for – not just who you see as providing a directly comparable product offering.

5. Competitors

A thorough audit can even reveal new competitors as well opportunities that your competitors have missed, and help you gauge just how much work is going to be involved in moving your competitors out of a top position.

A really thorough audit will even look at your competitors off-page authority and make suggestions for backlinks and potential partnerships.

6. Remember, go back to basics

SEO isn’t rocket science. If users aren’t searching the terms you’ve focused, then it doesn’t matter how beautifully crafted your webpage is, they’ll never find it organically.

Steer clear of falling in to the trap of “we want to ‘own’ term X”. This is often a result of internal politics and can derail efforts that will actually deliver tangible business value.

That’s not to say that other “non SEO” content doesn’t have a place on your website. You may have pages on your site that won’t themselves rank but you drive to them from other channels, such as email, or you may want to “start” a conversation where one doesn’t currently exist – let’s face it, someone had to say “digital transformation” first. This page itself is an example of a blog that is unlikely to gain too much by way of organic traction but provides value to our existing clients, social followers and email contacts…plus a few internal links back to our main SEO page!

Obligatory Sales Pitch

And of course, we’d love to help with you with an SEO audit and even provide training and support to your internal teams, just get in touch to find out how we can help!

You can find out how we’ve helped other B2B organisations by having a look at our case studies.