They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.
Even Ron Burgundy understands that doesn’t make sense. This is the feeling that we come away with in about 1/3 of our initial meetings with potential new clients. No one has asked them directly about their current business and/or marketing outcomes before. We have received many answers that are similar to Brian Fantana’s study on Panther Cologne.
Businesses who do not have e-commerce websites, but rather are setup for lead generation have a tougher job evaluating successful outcomes and return on investment. Your investment and work in search marketing does not end when you see increasing traffic and conversions to your website, that’s only the beginning.
What happens to leads after they have converted online?
- Are they quality leads?
- How long is the sales cycle?
- What is the average sales close rate?
- How many leads turned into sales last month?
These are questions that need to be shared (and asked) continuously from your business partner. Measuring the outcomes is not easy. It’s a commitment of time and resources to truly understand if your search marketing efforts are working.
Don’t tell us how much you want to spend; Tell us how much you want to make!
Our approach has always been to understand the goals first, then re-engineering the search marketing game plan to best achieve these goals. It all starts with the simple question, what are your business goals? Do you want to grow revenue from $5m to $7m? Do you want to grow market share by X%.
Give us a shout out about your thoughts…..You stay classy Indianapolis
Pay Per Click Account Management isn’t like the cooking infomercial with Ron Ponpeil. His Ronco Showtime Rotisserie’s selling point may be that you can “Set it & Forget it”, but if you “set” and “forget” your PPC marketing campaign, it can wreak havoc like a toddler in a mud puddle; when you turn your back on it, a mess will inevitably be made.
Running a PPC campaign can be very expensive, and you want to make sure that you are maximizing the potential of your Campaigns. It is very important that you not only monitor the results of your PPC campaign carefully at the end of the day, but that you are also checking in on your account several times throughout the day to make sure there are no glitches. Often times throughout the day you could find that…
- Ad Scheduling went astray
- Credit card payments have been declined
- CPC’s are jumping astronomically
- Ad positions are declining
- Destination URLs have broken
- Number of Impressions/Clicks have jumped exponentially
These are key aspects of PPC Campaigns that you want to make sure are running properly. It can be difficult enough to get the results you are expecting without the little things throwing a wrench in your account. It can be the difference of your ads showing in a top three position or not showing up at all. And besides, it’s your money that is being spent to advertise. You want to make sure that it is being used effectively. By monitoring your account throughout the day you can make he necessary changes needed to help increase your ROI’s and “get to that toddler before he gets to the mud puddle (well in this case, catch any PPC bugs before they wreak havoc on your account).
Checking in on your account often is especially important after:
- Setting up a new account
- Creating new campaigns/ad groups
- Adding new keywords or match types
So remember when it comes to PPC, this isn’t cooking, this is online advertising and you want to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your account running smoothly. Set it & Forget it…..only if you want your competitors to enjoy the ROI’s you’re missing out on.
First let’s lay out some definitions:
Dynamic SEO – Are you paying an SEO Firm a Monthly fee? Then you better have dynamic / always evolving & improving SEO. IMPORTANT NOTE: Your SEO Firm cannot be satisfied with just getting your website to the number one ranking on Google—this is only part of the battle as shown below.
Organic CTR – Organic CTR or Organic Click Through Rate is the number of times your organic listing is clicked on divided by the number of impressions it receives. IMPORTANT NOTE: Using Google Webmaster Tools will give you the number of impressions for your top five keywords; however, you will need to use your average local keyword search volume as a guide for your impressions in all other cases.
Why is Dynamic SEO Important?
If you are anything like me, Valentine’s Day comes with an agenda that starts out with finding the right gift for your Valentine. Like many, I use Google and search some ideas, but always seem to end up looking for “flowers”. For those of you in the Flower Business, Valentine’s Day is like Black Friday. Just take a look at Google Trends for the keyword “flowers” over the last thirty days:
WOW, Look at the spike on February 11th looks like a lot of people procrastinated! Now let’s take a look at the search results in Google for “flowers”.
Which result stands out to you?
You will notice which link was the most related in my mind “Valentine’s Day Flowers | Florist-Designed Flower Arrangements…” According to a study published by Chitika Insights the number one spot obtains 34.35% of all traffic; but given the example above the Dynamic SEO which was performed allows the website in position #2: 1800flowers.com to actually pull in a greater amount of traffic and is better optimized given the circumstances that it is indeed Valentine’s Day.
A company that can recognize that SEO is dynamic and tests different messaging in your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions will increase your organic CTR. Also, they will be much more successful than those who are just satisfied with ranking in the first position.
You or your SEO Firm should be monitoring your organic CTR and benchmarking it. If your website averages position 1 for the keyword “flowers” and there are 6 million searches you should be getting about 2 million clicks per month at a CTR of 34.35% (data based on study by Chitika Insights). However, upon analysis if you find that you are only receiving 2,000 clicks a month, the question becomes are your Title Tag and Meta Description aligned properly with your keyword or is your website only ranking locally verses nationally / globally.
This is just one of the reasons why EverEffect is different than most SEO Companies; we want to help improve the performance of your website by increasing your revenues and reach; not just claiming you as a client who obtained number one ranking for a keyword.
Has anyone else noticed the exploding popularity of 3-D entertainment lately? I suppose it’s not really ‘lately,’ since 3-D filmmaking has been popular for quite some time, but with the advent of 3-D TVs and HD 3-D movies it seems as though good old 2-D TV is becoming passé. After all, who can resist being pulled into the action, feeling like a participant in a film, and ending up with a richer experience overall?
And so it is with search advertising. No, I’m not talking about ads that actually appear jump off of the screen at you (although wouldn’t that be cool?). Instead I’m talking about depth and richness of experience, both attributes that a simple text ad can achieve with the addition of Sitelinks.
Sitelinks are additional links within a text ad that can take a user to up to 4 separate landing pages on your site. These links not only serve to call attention to your ad, making it stand out on the page, but it allows the ad to be even further targeted to the user. The person viewing your ad will have multiple choices in terms of where they’re taken, and the links will allow access to content located deeper in your site.
Intrigued? You should be…here are a couple of other details that make Sitelinks worth checking out:
- They’re incredibly easy to activate in your account: you simply need to go to the ad extensions section within the AdWords Interface, select Sitelinks, and then come up with link text and destination URLs.
- While only 4 links will show in your ad, you can enter up to 10 in your account allowing for more variety in your offerings.
- They can really boost your performance! I’ve personally found that the CTR of the Sitelinks is often higher than that of the regular ad by percentages in the triple digits. Check out some of the stats in this account—the 1st shot shows the stats for the overall campaigns, with the 2nd showing the Sitelinks stats for the same 3 campaigns:
- Remember what comes with better performance: lower CPCs. So the added bonus here is that Sitelinks may actually help to lower the amount you’re paying per click.
- Thanks to this performance boost and CPC reduction, Sitelinks can be especially powerful when used in conjunction with Brand campaigns, as they allow small- and medium-sized businesses to compete for keywords that normally command high CPCs at a lower cost.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you to give Sitelinks a shot. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t warn you of a few limitations to keep in mind as well:
- Sitelinks will only show for ads in the highest positions, meaning that if your ad ranks below the top 3 or so you won’t see the links even if you have them activated in your account.
- Occasionally you might notice that some destination URLs might not work with Sitelinks. I experienced this with a client using a 3rd party host for some of their deeper content, so be sure to double-check your links once they’re set up.
- If your website is structured such that all of your content and information is on one page. Sitelinks aren’t a good choice for you. This is simply because if you don’t have separate landing pages for different products or offerings, there aren’t any separate links that you can provide in your ad.
Overall I’d highly recommend seeing what Sitelinks can do for you. If you agree, but don’t believe that you have a website that’s structured in such a way as to take full advantage of their benefits (see the last bullet point in the limitations section), you may want to consider adding a few pages to your site—it could be time for some A/B Testing!
Everyone knows the story of the Pied Piper, right? If not, check out Wikipedia.
In most cases, SEO is the only search marketing direction considered. Of course there are a few that are using PPC up front to help determine the directions to take your SEO efforts in. You can use PPC to determine what keywords convert better, and use that to your advantage in your SEO optimization practices.
The question you need to ask yourself is, why stop (or not at all) paying the Pied Piper (AdWords, if you have not guessed that yet)? It’s an easy answer, don’t!
Within Google’s AdWords, you now can use Ad Extensions to display multiple items to attract more attention, more interaction and more to clicks to your site.
In today’s ever-changing online environment, you need a search marketing strategy that is an on-going combination of SEO and PPC efforts to achieve maximum return on investment.
Back to the theme of the post; remember if used in concert with SEO, the music of the Pied Piper will deliver more customers to your business.
At my company, EverEffect, we believe that the success of email marketing hinges on execution in two critical areas:
- The Quality of your List, the Quality of your Offer, and the Quality of your Call to Action
- Getting the Right Message to the Right Audience at the Right Time
Let’s start with your list. In Email Marketing, the quantity of people on your list matters far less than the quality of people on your list.
Case in point – EverEffect has organized a full day conference focused on interactive marketing featuring speakers from eight other companies (www.getyourMBO.com). We sent out an invitation to our email list (205); we secured another list and sent the invitation to its subscribers as well (more than 3,900).
We urge our clients not to buy or rent lists themselves, but we did so ourselves for two reasons: 1) we wanted to expand our reach to a targeted audience of online marketing professionals; and, 2) we wanted to use the exercise as an experiment to prove our point. The results are a staggering endorsement for permission-based email.
205 Emails Sent
44.6% Click-Through Rate
60.6 CTR/Open Ratio
3,939 Emails Sent
12.9% Click-Through Rate
34.0 CTR/Open Ratio
Now, the primary goal of this particular send was to have Subscribers view a video invitation to the conference. Here’s where the stats get extremely interesting. One in three EverEffect Subscribers viewed the video compared to 1 in 42 Subscribers for the much larger list!
Take another look at the numbers. The smaller list outperformed the larger one in every key performance metric: nearly 2-1 in Opens; almost 4-1 in CTR; and, 14-1 in Conversions!*
Okay, inquiring minds want to know why. It boils down to this: EverEffect’s subscriber list is permission-based; Brand X’s is pseudo-permission-based. The people on our list know who we are, and – hopefully- anticipate receiving email from us; people on the Brand X list do not have a relationship with us, and have little incentive to open an EverEffect message.
It’s pretty simple, we have less quantity (we work on that every day), and more quality than the “borrowed” list.
Yes, it takes longer, and requires more effort, to build a quality list, but the results are worth it.
You don’t need a Tsunami-sized list to make your splash!
*In fairness, even the rental list outperformed advertising/marketing industry averages for Opens (37.9% vs. 24.6%) and CTR (12.9% vs. 2.8%). Source: http://bronto.com/stats.
Once upon a time, there lived a hungry Lion who found it tough to acquire new customers (to eat). Possessed of an entrepreneurial spirit, he decided to advertise. He spent tens of thousands of dollars on a direct mail campaign, sending coupons to his neighbors inviting them to take advantage of a Free Lunch.
A few animals responded to the offer (about one percent), and came to visit the Lion in his den. Upon their arrival, the King of Beasts promptly devoured them.
An observant Fox quickly discovered the Lion’s trick, but kept his distance.
“Come on in for a bite,” said Mr. Lion.
“No thank you,” replied Mr. Fox. “I see a few footprints entering your establishment, but I don’t see any coming out.”
The Fox liked the Lion’s idea, but thought it needed to be fleshed out a little. He hired an Interactive Marketing Agency, and the nice people there helped him develop a strategic approach for lead generation and presented him with some killer creative to make it work.
First, the Fox threw a Jungle Block Party, and used the event to warn other animals about the Lion’s ploy. Once he had the trust of his fellow animals, it was easy for Mr. Fox to amass a huge, permission-based list of Subscribers for his email Nutritional Guide.
Next, Mr. Fox segmented his new list and emailed relevant messages to his Subscribers: Rabbits received an offer for free carrots; Squirrels an offer for free acorns; and, the local Bullfrog population an offer for free flies.
The response was overwhelming, nearly four times the weighted animal industry average! Animals — including a number of cranes lured by an offer of free minnows — flocked to Mr. Fox’s den where they received their free goodies, and were then (post-fattening up) eaten by the sly marketing exec.
Mr. Fox soon had more food than he could handle.
Fortunately, Mr. Fox’s advisors had helped him develop a post-send strategy to monetize the results of his campaign, which included the creation of a Diner’s Club for other Foxes. Membership fees alone more than covered the expense of his email initiative.
And the Lion? Mr. Fox’s warning, and the cost of his Direct Mail campaign, soon left Mr. Lion with no cash and no carrion. Word on the savannahs is that Mr. Lion was forced to accept a gig with an American Zoo to make ends meet.
The moral of our story? It takes a solid strategy to outfox your competition.
Virtually everyone has a website these days, but to many, how to maintain a healthy site that generates growing returns remains a mystery. Why? Let’s face it – it’s a crime how many businesses still do not employ analytics to measure program performance, influence website enhancements, or drive profitability.
You may have a cool site, but if you’re failing to turn traffic into conversions, you need to do some real detective work.
Want to improve your website’s ROI? Consider hiring an online detective (web analytics expert). Someone who can uncover the clues behind your lack of conversions; someone who understands how to solve your problems by turning enigmatic information into real solutions. Consider hiring someone like … Sherlock Holmes.
Had Holmes been created today, instead of 1881, he would have been a web analytics guy and not a Deductive Detective. I offer the following quotes as proof positive:
Web Analytics is the Ultimate Brain Game
Holmes: “I cannot live without brain-work. What else is there to live for?”
Holmes: “What is the use of powers, when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace … “
If Holmes considered crime commonplace, no other field today would offer him the continuous challenge afforded by web analytics. Talk about brain-work! And heck, the constant, daily demands of this discipline would even curb his desire for cocaine as an alternative to boredom!
Web Analytics Play a Critical Role in Strategic Planning
Holmes: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.”
Holmes: “Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay.”
Holmes clearly recognized that real insights in the strategic planning process derive from Analytics. Value is created when the right information gets to the right people at the right time so they can make the right decisions to create the right outcomes.
Some Practice Web Analytics Better Than Others
Holmes: “Watson, you see everything. You fail, however, to reason from what you see. “
Holmes: “There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically.”
In other words, lots of people can run reports, but there are too few analysts who know what to make of the metrics. It takes talent, imagination, and creativity to read between the lines and decipher where the actionable insights lie hidden within the stats. Holmes would be singular; that one in fifty.
You Can Analyze Too Many Things
Holmes: “It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize, out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which vital. Otherwise, your energy and attention must be dissipated instead of being concentrated.”
Web Analytics is difficult: too much data; too many reports; not enough deep knowledge; too few real experts; and, not enough time. True, there are dozens of stats that one can analyze, but Holmes would only consider those metrics of vital, not incidental, importance. The result would be real improvements in ROI for his clients.
Holmes Was a Master Communicator
Holmes: “I have been guilty of several monographs. They are all upon technical subjects. Here, for example, is one ‘Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccos’. In it I enumerate a hundred and forty forms of cigar, cigarette, and pipe tobacco, with coloured plates illustrating the difference in the ash.”
A monograph on tobacco would be ill-advised in this day and age, but what if Holmes were to focus on SEO and Pay-Per-Click? Imagine the White Papers he could write or the PowerPoint presentations he could create (all with nifty graphs, charts, and illustrations).
The Big Finish
Being a Web Analyst is like being a detective: it is hard, painstaking work that requires real commitment (recommend daily); those who practice it must be able to look at the same facts as others, but often arrive at different conclusions (insight); and, they must be able to recognize, and focus on, only the most critical, relevant information (what often appears trivial to the uninitiated) in order to provide solutions to problems that often seem impossible to overcome (measurable results; ROI). Sherlock Holmes would have been perfect for the job!