Posted: July 18th, 2012 | Author: Drew Clements | Filed under: Google AdWords Pay Per Click Marketing | Tags: adcenter, adwords, cost per click, Paid Search, Pay Per Click, search volume | No Comments »
Paid search is a pillar of online marketing. Few other online channels can give you the quality direct-response traffic that paid search advertising delivers. But there’s a hitch – you cannot scale paid search.
What? But search and the limitless expanse of the internet are joined at the hip, right? Errrr…. let’s look at the mechanics:
- Search engines scour the internet and index the content they find
- People search for things using specific terms
- Search engines return what they determine to be the most relevant results for the given term
Your search volume is only as big as the number of searches made on the specific keywords (relevant to your product or service) that you’re bidding on.
On the broad-niche paid search continuum, the broad end will have high volume, low relevance, high cost, and low ROI. The niche end will have low volume, high relevance, low cost, and high ROI. It’s clear that between the two extremes, paid search performs best (looking at the bottom line) for campaigns on the niche end – but again, it’s not scalable. So what’s an advertiser to do?
First, bring in a professional to help you max out your high ROI efforts on paid search, then keep that humming along and start exploring new programs using tools that are designed to do what you need next – increase your reach in qualified markets. You can’t build a brand on search alone. You need a diversified online marketing plan if you want to grow – especially if you’re a niche player.
Posted: June 27th, 2012 | Author: Glen Spencer | Filed under: Online Marketing | No Comments »
We were eating lunch with the online marketing team for a $1 billion consumer brand. Their sky high conversion rates on paid search and retargeting ads would put your jaw on the floor. They’ve carved out a nice niche that drives several hundred thousand dollars in sales a year. The only problem is they can’t actually grow online sales. I asked about awareness building activities like non-branded keywords or display ads. “Are you kidding? We could never sell that in to upper management.” Too many marketers fall into the trap of only doing the marketing programs they can measure– and they wonder why their online sales are flat.
Google is part of the problem of perpetuating this idea that if you can’t measure it, it’s not worth doing. With AdWords and Google Analytics we have access to free tools that tell us exactly how many conversions we drove from a particular ad execution. I was pretty excited to see Google Analytics now tracking the conversion path with their new multi-channel funnels tab. I was absolutely shocked to see that the multi-channel funnels only takes into account exposures of a brand message for just the last 30 days leading to a conversion. The only problem is that we know that, especially for durable goods, adventure travel, luxury, and other high ticket items, the purchase cycle is much longer than 30 days– try a year or two. Even for shorter purchase cycle items, because there’s so much information available on conversions for some media vehicles, it’s tempting to not even bother with other less measurable awareness-building media… until you look at your sales growth.
Perhaps we could take a lesson from the offline world. Network TV advertising is expensive. A :30 single Super bowl ad now costs upwards of $4 million. Add on top of that this it’s a Sysyphian task to attempt to correlate TV spending levels with sales and you’ve got the foundation for one of the classic arguments brand marketers will have with their CFO. Years ago, in the marketing department at Pizza Hut during an especially challenging year, our CFO got the bright idea to cut TV spending. He asked me to prove to him that TV spending correlates to sales. I couldn’t. He eviscerated the budget. Interestingly, for the first 6 months, sales didn’t decline and that CFO was a hero. Then, at about the 6-month mark, sales dropped like a stone. When the CFO got tired of seeing red ink, we turned TV back on in a big way. It was another 6 months before sales growth finally went back up. We learned that awareness-building media like network TV has a latency to it. This is why awareness-building advertising actually works but why it’s so impossible to prove.
One of the reasons we often drive high double digit online sales growth for our clients is because we have faith. We have faith in awareness-building advertising. We don’t cling just to programs we can measure. We certainly go for conversions where we can, but we realize that a conversion is very, very far down a very long road that’s seeded with many other less measurable forms of advertising like Facebook ads, Tweets, Facebook posting, and display ads. If we just relied on programs and campaigns with measurable conversion data we’d be out of business because out clients sales would be flat too, like that $1 billion consumer brand.
Posted: June 20th, 2012 | Author: Drew Clements | Filed under: Google AdWords Pay Per Click Marketing | Tags: adcenter, adwords, cost per click, Paid Search, Pay Per Click | No Comments »
Paid search isn’t a game of chance, but the wisdom of The Gambler holds: “If you’re gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right…”
Don’t forget that paid search platforms like Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter are businesses that want your precious marketing dollars first and foremost. They urge you to “expand your reach” with less-targeted campaigns on broader networks (there goes your budget) while letting documentation on cost-saving, performance-enhancing techniques sit quietly in the background.
Take negative keywords for example: We brought on an adventure travel client that runs trips for teens, and because they hadn’t set up negative keywords in their account (keywords that you don’t want to show ads for), Google was showing their Teen Adventure Travel ads on “nudist colony” and “nudist camp” search queries. The scary thing is that they had no idea it was happening! The actual search terms that trigger ads are buried in an obscure report while impressions and clicks accrue on the “keyword” that you’re bidding on. That’s how the engines do business – Yikes!
Another important point to understand is that paid search is not the “land of opportunity” it once was. As one of the very first online marketing channels, it’s a sophisticated, mature market. Competition is fierce in the ad auctions, even for extremely narrow niches, and cost will only continue to rise. Is it any wonder that do-it-yourself advertisers are getting eaten for lunch out there? So before jumping headlong into paid search, or even if you already have, I strongly recommend you step back and do a few things first:
- Establish context – What is your objective? Does paid search fit with your strategy? Is your product/service offering a fit for paid search? How will you measure success?
- Get your account aligned – Keywords, ads, and landing pages have to be aligned with your objectives and strategies. Implement all the best practices up front so you can make the most of your ad spend.
- Track what matters – If you’re doing ecommerce, make sure your account is set up to track conversions (purchases) and pull in real revenue numbers on every transaction. If you’re not doing ecommerce, define and track the actions that you see as valuable and, if possible, assign them a dollar value. This is the key to determining your return on investment.
- Manage it right – Find a certified professional. Beware “consultants” without significant account management experience that produced real results.
We routinely bring on and overhaul client accounts to turn them around and increase ROI, so I know there’s opportunity for businesses using paid search; but it’s just one of the many online marketing tactics available. It’s right for some, but not all – “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em…” – be smart about it and you’ll be successful.
Posted: February 22nd, 2012 | Author: Sherveen | Filed under: Facebook Marketing | Tags: Custom Facebook Tabs | No Comments »
In the world of Facebook marketing, a now standard tactic to fan building is to use custom Facebook tabs to incentivize people to like a brand’s Facebook page. Typically, these tabs consist of promotional coupons to incentivize liking the brand and converting those likes into actual customers.
At the same time, a highly promotional tab might not be appropriate for all brand and can cheapen the brand. A “Like Us and We’ll Donate” Facebook reveal tab is a great alternative to make your brand look appealing and avoid a hard sell.
How do they work? Using tabs like this for brands, we’ve seen a decrease in the average cost per fan from over $2 to under $0.50 when implementing this type of tab.
Posted: February 15th, 2012 | Author: Sherveen | Filed under: Facebook Marketing | Tags: Big Chill Fridge, Custom Facebook Tabs, Facebook, Retropolitan | No Comments »
It’s become commonplace for companies to use a reveal tab in their Facebook marketing campaigns to offer an incentive to get people to fan their Facebook page. We’ve come up with a new twist that we’re starting to use with clients: offering a demo or chance to “explore” the product in exchange for a like.
We created a custom reveal tab for our client, Big Chill Fridge to showcase their new “Retropolitan” line of refrigerators. This tab allows fans to view the new Retropolitan in all the colors Big Chill offers and inspect the inside of the product.
The genius behind a reveal tab like this is that it rewards current fans not with a coupon or “deal” but something much more high level: an experience.
Posted: February 1st, 2012 | Author: Sherveen | Filed under: Twitter Marketing | Tags: Social Media, Tweetups, Twitter Marketing | No Comments »
A step-by-step guide to executing a successful Tweetup
A Tweetup can be a great word of mouth generator to drive store traffic for a retailer or restaurant chain. By definition, a Tweetup is a real world meeting between people who know each other through Twitter or the blogger community. People come to share ideas, enjoy drinks and food and get to know one another. It’s essentially a Twitterpalooza!
We’ve seen some nice results with Tweetups for our clients. For example, with 2 Tweetups we drove record traffic for a restaurant client in two locations where sales had been way down. Done right, a tweet up can help build some nice short terms sales through word of mouth.
Step 1: Define Your Objective and Target
What do you want to achieve by having a Tweetup? Who is your target? This is crucial. You also should determine how you will measure success. Set a base criteria for who you want to attend the Tweetup (e.g. you must have X amount of followers to attend). The objective is very important in determining which bloggers you go after.
Step 2: Develop the Right Promotion
If it’s word of mouth you want to get, you need to make sure you design a promotion for your consumers that you want the bloggers you partner with to blog and tweet about. Just inviting a bunch of bloggers to come into a restaurant and tweet, is not nearly as powerful as when you give them something to tweet about. For example: “Come into the restaurant tonight and get 50% off any meal” is a lot better than “Hey, come on down.”
Step 3: Find The Right People
You don’t want invite just anyone, you want bloggers and tweeters who will be real influencers with your target While we use a proprietary tool to identify bloggers who have a high Google page rank, lots of shares, and a large twitter following, you can also use tools like Alexa or Google page rank to determine how influential these Tweeters and bloggers are. Local is important for two reasons. One: they have to be able to get there. Unless you’re working for Nike or Pepsi, you’ll be hard pressed to find people willing to fly out for a night of chips and dip. Two: Twitter and blog followings tend to be very regional. How effective is advertising for a restaurant in Denver to people in Boston? Find these people through Twitter, blog search or, simply, by talking to people (gasp!).
Step 4: Send Bloggers or Tweeters All the Information They Need
Let these people know the date, time and location. You might even add in directions for the GPS challenged which, believe me, we appreciate. You should also provide a Twitter hashtag to use throughout the event while they tweet about it. Finally, provide them with your Twitter handle if they have further questions or need special arrangements.
Step 5: Follow Up After the Event
Let people know that you’re glad they came. They are absolutely doing you and your client a favor, so really you can’t thank them enough!
Step 6: Analyze Results
Whether it’s the number of Tweets or the number of blog posts written, it’s important to measure how much buzz your event has created. While A good indicator of success is if your event is trending on Twitter. By using Trendsmap, for example, you can receive real-time mapping of Twitter trends. The most important indicator of course is the sales you’ve generated from the Tweetup; after all, a cute promotion that doesn’t drive any sales is wasted time. We’ve found actually, that clients often underestimate their results, and being going in and looking at the real numbers, you can help them realize the power of the Tweetup for their brand.
A Tweetup could be the event you need to get your brand the recognition that it deserves. It’s a fun way to network with colleagues, create brand awareness and enhance your Twitter marketing efforts.
Posted: February 9th, 2011 | Author: Melanie Cohn | Filed under: Facebook Marketing | 2 Comments »
Try Something Different With Your Posts on Your Facebook Business Fan Page
Have you looked at your newsfeed hide rate on Facebook lately? If your hide rate is much over 2%, chances are that it’s your own fault. You’re boring your fans. There’s nothing worse than reading a stale, you’re-making-me-slowly-yawn, Facebook status update from a brand you “Like” on Facebook. With Facebook marketing quickly becoming one of the best marketing tools for building and maintaining brand awareness, Facebook business marketers need to start providing the kind of creative content consumers want, desire and feed off of on Facebook. . . or pay the price by watching their hard-earned fans hide them in their newsfeeds.
For the creatively challenged, we’ve perused through the Facebook galaxy, identifying 50 different posting categories popular brands have successfully used to Promote brands on Facebook, interact with their fans and create real buzz, excitement and interaction–no more yawns, we swear.
STATUS UPDATES THAT SELL
These are the most obvious types of posts for businesses on Facebook. Would you like it if some crazy sap cornered you on the street every day on the way home and tried to sell you Amway. Nope. It’s the same way on Facebook. Keep the selling to a minimum, and if you have to sell, realize that, when it comes to selling on Facebook, there are a lot of different approaches you can use.
Insert aggressive, straightforward messaging about your products to persuade consumers to make a quick purchase decision.
2. Soft- Sell
Promote with subtle, friendly or creative sales language to push a product by positioning it more about the customers’ needs, wants and desires. This tactic is used by brands to convince the consumer to buy without being too forceful.
Tie in a popular holiday with posts that resonate with audiences’ emotions, memories and excitement about the holiday, in an effort to encourage product interaction.
4. Brand Features/Attributes
Divulge fun facts and information about your company that makes consumers feel like an insider. This ultimately creates fans who are loyal to the brands they know the history of and feel most connected to.
5. Brand Benefits
Highlight a specific benefit of your brand that addresses key need states of the consumer to encourage action.
Introduce and evangelize new products, initiatives or events to excite fans.
7. Gift Ideas
Dream up fun gift ideas based on consumer needs, and capitalize on high purchase seasons like holidays (last minute ideas), ultimately prompting users to buy.
Everyone likes a deal, just keep them to a minimum to maximize the news effect and whatever you do, avoid training customers to just look for the next deal.
Emphasize ongoing or limited-time deals by featuring special details, incentives and benefits to generate quick sales.
9. Exclusive/Special Discounts
Target a specific demographic of people by occupation, state, status, membership, etc. for special discounts to give feeling of exclusivity to consumers.
10. In-Store Events
Promote events that are only happening in-store to drive online customers to offline locations.
11. One-Day Specials
Create a one-day deal or a limited-time only deal to incentivize people to act immediately.
12. Charity Fundraisers
Offer special discounts or events with a certain % of sales going to a charity of choice. This helps the charity while also showing consumers you’re involved in the local community and support causes other than your own.
Promotions can be really fun. They build interest for your brand and can even be great email address generators.
Build a contest that offers a small prize and causes people to act quickly in order to enter. This creates short-term buzz and excitement, and rewards fans for participating.
Design a promotion which requires people to enter and provide their information in order to win a prize. Sweepstakes are used to increase fans and create excitement, as well as highlight products and/or brand mission/experience.
15. First To Comment Wins
Think outside the box to create interesting trivia or personal questions and reward the first person who comments correctly, or just comments, with a prize. This rewards fans for engaging with your page.
Reward fans with products and prizes in return for instant participation. This gives incentive for fans to interact, while also promoting products in a more exciting way.
One of the reasons consumers “like” a brand is to get more information. By sharing helpful tips, you’re addressing a key consumer need on Facebook.
17. Usage Tips & Tricks
Share tips with consumers on how to use products in creative, useful and new ways. This shows fans that you can provide valuable resources for them they may not be able to get elsewhere.
18. Guest Expert Tips
Reveal special tips and insider views from a “neutral” third party to establish “expert” status in your field with consumers.
It’s important to think of your brand on Facebook almost like a person. People aren’t all business all the time. In fact, we believe that the best brands on Facebook act more like good friends– they share, they make you laugh.
Shine light on famous, inspirational and funny quotes that relate to the brand essence and add content that may resonate personally and emotionally with fans.
20. Company History/Culture
Disclose important facts about the history of the company and the culture surrounding your brand. This helps position your company by providing special anecdotes related to your business only.
21. Brand Representative
Act as the face that represents your brand and speak in first person, using your brand personality/position/point of view to promote. This makes for a more personal approach showing fans there’s a real, authentic person behind a big brand.
22. Employee Spotlight
Introduce interesting employees in the company to acknowledge their hard work and most importantly, show fans the real people behind the brand.
Reveal exclusive content that only employees have access to normally. This makes fans feel a part of something special and provides insight into the creation and execution of products, campaigns, etc.
Unveil employees favorite new products along with top picks and lists to provide a personal touch and window into daily office life and trends.
25. Brand Personality
Take on your brand’s unique tone, characteristics and values, described and experienced as human personality traits, eg: friendly, intelligent, silly, mischievous, etc. This is the expression of the relationship between the consumer and the brand.
26. Advertising From Other Media
Promote print, video and digital advertising campaigns on social platforms like Facebook to add more rich media and integrate all marketing activities into the page. This gives fans a first look at other marketing initiatives.
You might not think the everyday news of the office is news, but come on, your fans love you. They want to hear about your successes, as well as your failures.
27. Brand Pop-Culture News
Shine the spotlight on instances when your brand is seen in the news, media, on television, in a magazine, or on a top/best/editor list. This gives credibility & makes a brand current and relevant.
28. News Mentions
Place emphasis on what trusted experts say about your brand and the attention it’s getting in well-known media outlets. This also gives a brand credibility.
29. Store Openings
Announce new store openings in specific locations to show expansion of your brand and create excitement for fans in those areas.
30. In-Store Sightings
Reveal exciting happenings in-store, such as celebrities coming in to eat or shop, or people getting engaged at your restaurant, etc. This positions a company store as a unique, exciting place to be.
31. Trivia not Related to The Brand
Mix it up with trivia questions not related to the brand but tied to a larger idea, theme, holiday or event happening. This shows your brand is on top of pop culture and current events and not all about me, me, me.
32. Open-Ended Brand Related Questions
Share background about the brand and follow up with a general related question for fans to bring their opinions into the mix.
The most successful brands posting on Facebook focus on building interaction with their fans. The more interaction, the more chances your brand will have to show up in your fans’ newsfeeds.
33. Brand Trivia
Interact with fun trivia questions about the brand that get people guessing and engaging. This helps bring brands to top of mind awareness through conversation with consumers.
34. Musical Question
Incorporate songs, music videos and questions about music in general. This allows brands to get to know consumers by engaging in a highly relatable topic.
Get to know your fans by asking specific questions and using this feedback to better understand your consumer base and make changes as needed.
36. Open Ended Market Research
Collect data about a particular target market, competition, and/or environment in order to better understand a particular matter and gain insight about consumers.
37. Fill in the Blank
Generate open-ended, interesting questions that end with “Fill in the blank” to give fans the freedom to express their personalities and opinions. This makes the page fun and interactive for fans.
Outsource tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community through an open call for feedback and fresh ideas. This makes product users feel their input is valued and appreciated by companies.
39. Either or Questions
Find out the opinions of your fans by using an either or question to see which choice they would make. This is a quick, easy way to get feedback and spark interaction.
40. Brand Enthusiast Questions
Explore the passion and connection of loyal fans by asking specific brand questions they’ll enjoying answering. This promotes products while also engaging your most valuable fans in discussion.
41. Non-Brand Related Questions
Create questions that give fans a platform to share their stories, feelings and thoughts with the community. These are perfect for getting users to express themselves, instead of solely focusing on products and brand messaging.
42. Click “Like” if…
Take advantage of the “like” button and ask fans to click the “like” button if they agree with you, want something, are excited about something, etc. This helps brands measure sentiment.
ENABLE SOCIAL MEDIA INTERACTION
43. Cross Pollinate Other Social Media
Use 1 social media platform, Facebook, to promote other social media outlets like Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Blogs and more. This spreads your audience out further across your social networks.
44. New Fan Page Tabs
Introduce new fan page tabs with fun and/or useful functionality. This gets audiences to interact with your brand in new ways.
45. New Profile Photo
Upload a new profile photo that promotes a current campaign and aligns with strategy and time of year to maintain a cohesive, integrated page.
46. New Photo/Album
Set-up photo albums with new products, behind-the-scenes shots, in-store photos etc. into a photo album that fans can look through. Photo albums add visual content to a page and allow new and current fans to see your most up-to-date offerings.
PARTNER AND FAN APPRECIATION
47. Promote Key Partners
Send love back to key partners you work with by highlighting them in a post. This is another avenue for brands to commit to their partnerships and maintain a strong symbiotic relationship.
48. Blog Partners
Introduce influential bloggers and ambassadors of your brand to both promote the blogger as well as provide rich, new content to audience from a peer’s perspective.
49. Wall Posts on Other Partners’ Walls
By posting a message on your wall and on the wall of another partner at the same time, using the @username function of Facebook, you can spread the love.
50. Fan Features
Thank special fans publicly for their participation and excitement. This shows fans you recognize and appreciate them.
Posted: September 22nd, 2010 | Author: Melanie Cohn | Filed under: Online PR, Search Engine Optimization | No Comments »
Online press releases can get a brand to quickly appear in natural search results. How do we know? Because we do it to promote our own Boulder-based online social media agency. Uploading an online press release can have immediate impact on a brand’s search results, both in getting a brand on page 1 of Google results, as well in adding credibility to searches for that specific brand name.
On Tuesday, we uploaded a press release on PRLog.org titled “Boulder’s SmartClick Adworks Expands Online Marketing Agency With Two New Hires.” We wanted to focus on the keywords, “Boulder,” and “Online Marketing Agency,” and so included those words in both the headline and body copy of the release.
Voila! On Wednesday morning, we did a quick Google search on the keywords “Boulder Online Marketing Agency” and were gratified to see that we now appear as number 8 on page 1 of Google’s natural search results. As a new company, with a new website, we would never have appeared in page 1 of the search results on these terms if it weren’t for this press release. Certainly, it would be great to have our actual website appear there, and that will come over time, but this is a great short term solution.
In addition to getting on page one for specific keywords, now, when you search our agency name, the press release from our website comes up as number 2 in search results. The press release from PRLog comes up as number 6. Having the release appear here just adds to the credibility of our brand. People can see that we’re out there, making real news and growing because of it.
We expect that the position in natural search results for this release will fall over time. This is why sending out online press releases more often, is key to keeping a company name in top natural search results all the time for their target keywords.
Online press releases are a great way to get a company to the forefront of search results and add credibility when people search on the company’s name. If your brand is struggling in a competitive category and needs to make some inroads on Google, contact SmartClick at (303) 641-7201.
Posted: September 17th, 2010 | Author: Melanie Cohn | Filed under: Facebook Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Twitter Marketing | No Comments »
A brand’s social media footprint appears to be an increasingly important factor in the order of natual search results on Google. As you may or may not know, a page’s rank in search results on Google is determined by Google’s Page Rank Algorithm (actually named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google).
Google Page Rank for a given page is actually a whole number from 1 to 10 that Google defines roughly as a the probability of a particular page being found among all other pages on the web. While Google page rank has traditionally been based on on-page factors, like keywords in title, and linking factors, like the number of quality inbound links a site gets, it’s been apparent for awhile that Google has expanded their algorithm to include social media.
SmartClick Ad Works, a Boulder, Colorado-based online social media agency recently ran an experiment with a client that shows just how a brand’s social media activity can affect ranking in the short term.
Before this well-liked consumer retail brand engaged us to do social media for them, they hadn’t done any online search optimization at all. Over the years, they had risen to a Google Page Rank of 3. In the month of July, we began actively managing their Facebook and Twitter accounts with daily posts. We did nothing else.
By the end of August, the Google Page Rank of the client’s home page increased from a 3 to a 4. Now this is just one client, but it’s interesting, how the only thing change the brand made was to begin posting on Facebook and Tweeting on Twitter. Because they were interesting posts, those posts were getting a lot of likes, and a lot of retweets.
Google’s reasoning is apparently that social media footprint is a measure of a brand’s credibility. If people are reposting, liking, and Re-Tweeting posts, they see that brand as more credible than a brand that no one is talking about in social media.
Increasing a brand’s social media footprint is now a viable search engine optimization strategy. SEO is now just one more reason for consumer brands to get off the fence and embrace social media in a big way.