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Leeds Digital Festival 2022

By Jennifer Esty  |  August 25, 2022

Discover How To Decarb Your Digital Marketing

Sharp Ahead are proud to be returning to Leeds Digital Festival and hosting an event at 9:30 on 29th September.

The Leeds Digital Festival, known as “The Tech Event for Everyone”, is an open & collaborative celebration of digital culture in all its forms. It’s perfect for those interested in coding, fintech, social media, AI, healthtech, data, start-ups, digital music, cyber security or AR/VR.

Now returning for its 7th year, the Leeds Digital Festival is hosting a jam-packed three days of cutting-edge tech events, including our very own session on decarbing your digital marketing.

In our 45 minute session, hosted at Avenue HQ and online, we’ll be discussing the carbon cost of your digital marketing activities and how you can work towards your ESG goals, whilst improving the performance of your digital marketing channels.

Interested in decarbing your digital footprint, whilst improving your marketing performance and overall ROI? Reserve your place now.

Sharp Ahead + Measure Camp London Logos
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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:

Measure Camp Event

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.

Sharp Ahead + Measure Camp London Logos
Should you be using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms Thumbnail?
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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.

Sharp Ahead LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms Decision Tree

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.

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Constant Contact Acquires SharpSpring

What does this mean for your company?

By Dan Winter  |  June 28, 2021

Last week it was announced that SharpSpring has been acquired by Constant Contact – an established leader in online marketing technology.

As many of our valued clients are currently using, or in the process of implementing, SharpSpring, we wanted to give you a quick update on the latest news.  

In a session for agencies late last week, SharpSpring’s CEO Rick Carlson assured us that the fundamentals of the software will not change – Constant Contact and SharpSpring share the same values and vision. The acquisition provides the opportunity for further investment in the platform – meaning more great features for you and us!

What happens next?

Well, mainly, it’s business as usual. Constant Contact and SharpSpring will spend the next couple of months completing the legal necessities, and at Sharp Ahead we’ll continue to drive growth for our clients through the SharpSpring platform. 

We’ve been informed there will be no major changes for the foreseeable future. There are, however, a range of exciting new features already in the pipeline for this year, including: 

  • An SMS marketing tool
  • New integrations
  • New navigation
  • New opportunity manager
  • An updated mobile app
Automation Graphical Demonstration

Any questions?

We’ll keep you updated as and when we hear more about the acquisition and any exciting new features, but if you have any questions, or if you’re interested in becoming a SharpSpring user please do get in touch!

Dandelions
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Digital Spring Clean - 3 Quick Tips

Spruce up your digital marketing and stay top of mind with your customers

By Jennifer Esty  |  March 24, 2021

This past weekend marked the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, so we thought we’d give you a few quick tips for your digital spring clean.

1. Tidy up your SERP (search engine results page)

Sharp Ahead Google Search Results

This is a key part of the experience for your prospects, customers and other important stakeholders interacting with your business and if you haven’t Googled your brand name in a while, now is as good a time as any.

Here’s how to check your SERP the right way. 

First, use an incognito window so you’re not biasing what you see based on previous search behaviour. Then check for these signals:

  • Are you in the top position (P1)?
  • Is anyone running an ad on your brand name?
  • Is your Google My Business / Knowledge Panel listing up to date with accurate contact details (phone, website, opening hours etc.)?
  • How are your reviews looking? Are there any that you could respond to? These are people in close contact with your business and they deserve your attention.

What if things are looking a bit dusty?

This is your shop window – if it looks unloved, you’ll be losing out to other businesses. Run a brand ad. It might seem wasteful to bid on your own brand names, but for most B2B companies, those searches are relatively low volume but very high value. Plus, those ads will keep the competitors out of your P1 spot, enable you to curate and quickly update your SERP and align it with your current campaigns and brand messaging.

Pro tip: for most B2B companies, applying a few negative keywords, for example around jobs and careers, can keep costs down and focus the campaigns on your key prospects.

2. Refresh your website (inside and out)

Sharp Ahead Header Contact Info

44% of B2B marketers say the main reason they abandon websites is that there’s no contact info immediately visible*. Unless you are selling something that can be purchased on your website, your prospects will need to speak to someone in your sales team at some point.

Make it easy for visitors to choose you with a quick look at the following:

  • Make your phone number clearly visible – Make it easy for visitors by clearly displaying your phone number or at least an email address in the header of your site. Or go one better and enable live chat on your site like 11 out of the 50 fastest growing B2B companies**!
  • Does your copyright notice still say 2020?? It’s March already and I’m still finding websites without an updated copyright notice footer. With the upheaval of the last year, if your website doesn’t have signs of recent activity, prospects could be forgiven for thinking you might not be around anymore. Update that copyright, refresh your COVID-19 message, and make sure you have a recent blog or news story prominently displayed. These are all important signals to your customers that you’re open for business and ready to help them.
  • Get the LinkedIn insight tag, the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) tag and Google Tag Manager (GTM) in place – These tags each have a role to play in best practice digital marketing and if you’re not using them, you’re missing out on key insights, future analytics and easy tag management. These are all ways to learn more about your customers and how to delight them on your next interaction.

3. Welcome new visitors (and then look after them)

We're Open Sign

You’ve done the hard work by getting someone who doesn’t know you to choose your website. Whether the onsite experience is perfect or not, you now have a chance to be remembered and convince your prospects that your business is the right choice for them.

One of the easiest ways to be remembered is with remarketing campaigns: even if you’re not using paid search or social for lead generation, you should run remarketing ads. 

Consideration cycles for high end B2B products and services usually take months, or longer, and remarketing is the most efficient way to keep in touch with those decision makers during that time. Remind them of your brand, tell them something they might not know about your business and show them why you’re the right choice. 

Pro tip: Don’t wait a year to refresh the creative and mix it up with different ad formats.

What next? - The BIG clean!

If you're looking to go a bit deeper, here are three things that are vital to digital marketing success in the coming year.

Say goodbye to Broad Match Modifier

We discussed this in a blog article back in February but if you haven’t had time to sort out your match types, you could be wasting valuable media spend. In short, Google is combining two existing match types, phrase match and broad match modifier. This means that with nuanced search terms that are standard fare for B2B search marketers, it would be very easy to bring in a lot of irrelevant clicks and quickly reduce the ROI on your campaigns. Read our top tips for sorting this out as soon as possible!

Core Web Vitals

This was another new development from Google that we flagged back in 2020 but the deadline is approaching faster than most digital marketers would like. If your site doesn’t meet Google’s criteria, or you don’t have a plan in place to make sure it will, you’ll need to think now about making a reasonable investment in speeding up your site—or risk losing valuable search rankings to better prepared competitors. If this is the first you’ve heard of CWV, read our previous blog article and then get yourself over to Google Tools for measure them!

Mystery Shopping

And last on our list of big cleans, a plea to B2B marketers everywhere. Check that your customer and prospect contact channels work. Does someone answer your phone during business hours? How quickly do you respond to lead enquiries? Is your online chat staffed consistently? I know what you’re thinking, this is ridiculous of course the answer is yes. But when was the last time you checked? Do some mystery shopping and find out for yourself. In the high end B2B market, one missed phone call or a few days’ delay on replying to a form fill, could be the difference between a successful or failed campaign.

We work with intelligent marketing managers to make budgets go further and cut your cost per lead. 

If you have any questions on your own digital spring clean, get in touch for a free 30-minute B2B consult.