Article Archive by Author

December 13 2010

Don’t Fly Blind

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There’s a familiar saying that goes, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road can get you there.” This is especially true in the world of paid search campaigns. When running a paid search campaign, it is important to have conversion coding active on your website, without it your campaign will be flying blind.

Conversion coding is a small snippet of code that is placed on the final page of a conversion process. Most of the time, the final page is the “thank you” or “confirmation page”. For example, if your site sells products, then once a customer makes a purchase, they receive a confirmation page. The conversion coding should go on this page. If you ask people to sign-up for a newsletter, then the conversion coding should go on the thank you page that they receive once they sign-up for the newsletter.

Search engines such as Google and the Search Alliance offer conversion coding for free. Once a campaign is created in these engines, the conversion coding can be retrieved and placed on the thank you or confirmation page. Conversion coding and analytics work hand in hand. Some may say I have Google Analytics or Omniture, why do I need conversion coding? Although analytics programs will show conversions, it’s good to have checks and balances for paid search campaigns.

A key benefit of implementing conversion coding is to be able to see what’s happening, just by logging into the engine. If there is a glitch with the analytics program that is being used, the conversion data within the engine will act as a backup. Also, within the engine there are reports that can be run that can include specific data about conversions. Not only that, it’s great for on the spot optimization of paid search campaigns.

The value of conversion coding is that it’s a benefit which can help your company analyze data to make sure the overall goal is being attained. If your company isn’t utilizing conversion coding to track conversions, then now would be a great time to start.

November 15 2010

Missing a Key Ingredient

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Imagine seeing an ad for a gorgeous high end restaurant, which compels a visit on your part. Upon arrival, the hostess is friendly, the dining room décor is exquisite and the ambiance is perfect. Everything seems great and then the food comes. As you take a bite expecting an angel choir, you’re abruptly hit with a taste that mimics the scratching of nails across a chalkboard. It’s no wonder that this restaurant is quickly crossed off your list, and friends and family are warned to never step foot in this deceiving place.  It’s sad, but it happens all the time across the web. Many companies are missing the key ingredient of good service which affects their cost per click campaign.

Good service is the key to maintaining an effective cost per click campaign because it causes people to return to your site and share kind words with friends and others. When people are satisfied with your product or service they’ll come back. Many companies try to go after the new customer, but there’s a lot to be said for a business that keeps their current customers happy. Happy customers actually help to improve the success of cost per click campaigns.

Within a cost per click campaign, branding is normally one of, if not the most successful campaign. Why? People trust the name and want to do business with that company. In fact, they’ll even tell complete strangers that Company A provided them with a great product or service. Then that stranger will go look for Company A to provide them with the same product or service.  Analytics backs this theory. Many companies who are running a cost per click campaign receive a good deal of revenue and return visitors through searches on their name. Here’s an example. A company may sell cup holders, and their campaign for cup holders does well. Now, add the company name before cup holders, such as “company A’s” cup holders and the success of the campaign doubles or possibly triples. Many companies like cost per click campaigns because they get some of their best ROI, from their name, especially if there reputable. Now let’s look at the flip side.

In the opening paragraph, the high end restaurant had everything going for it until the food came. It is imperative for companies to effectively deliver on the product or service that was promised. In fact, not following through can hurt a cost per click campaign. Some businesses think they can treat a customer any kind of way and still be successful because there’s always new customers out there. However, that’s not the case. Your business can start out with a strong cost per click campaign, but if the service or product isn’t up to par, the cost per click campaign will falter. It’s not because the campaign isn’t good, it’s because eventually people catch on and stop coming back. In fact, they’ll even warn others not to visit your site.  This can hurt a campaign in the short or long term. If your cost per click campaign isn’t producing like it used too and all of the metrics and competitors didn’t change, check your service.

Good service is the key ingredient to a successful business and also to a cost per click campaign. The best cost per click campaign in the world can drive millions of visitors to your site, but if your company fails to deliver, that campaign will be of no avail. Any way you slice it, good service helps to propel a quality cost per click campaign to new heights, which benefits your business.

October 28 2010

5 Tips for Successful Holiday Campaigns

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The holidays are quickly approaching.  Soon Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas will be knocking at our doors. Get prepared for holiday season now, so it doesn’t catch your business off guard. Here are 5 tips to help get your paid search campaigns ready for buyers.

Tip 1. Have a Game Plan
It sounds simple enough, but many businesses skip this step and it shows in their paid efforts. Decide which holidays your business will target with paid search advertising. If you’re only interested in reaching the Hanukkah and Christmas audiences, set a date range for when ads will begin and end. Hanukkah is from December 1st through 9th. It would make sense to run ads in November to reach this audience; whereas Christmas is December 25th and ads for this holiday could begin at the beginning of December. Determine what strategies your business will use to target searchers. Will you try banner ads? Will you offer incentives? If so, what type of incentives? This leads us to tip 2.

Tip 2. Offer Incentives
If you haven’t noticed, most people like to get a good deal during the holiday season. In fact, many of your competitors will probably be offering an incentive. What will your business offer? Will you try coupon codes? If so, when will they expire? Free shipping and discounts on products are good ways to get people to purchase. Also, make sure to plan out what discount your company can afford to offer. If your company decides to offer free shipping, but the shipping costs will eat into your profit too greatly, consider offering free shipping with a minimum a purchase amount. For example, free shipping on orders over $50. It’s good to offer incentives, but make sure the incentive will not hurt your profits. Next, start working on your ads

Tip 3. Make sure ads are Holiday Related
Ads are a crucial part of your holiday campaign strategy. They determine if people will click on them and get to your website. Include “holidays” in your ad copy. For example: “Big Thanksgiving Sale”, “25% Off Christmas Sale”, “Celebrate Hanukkah Sale”. This signals to the searcher that these sales are for a limited time. Why? The searcher knows that a Thanksgiving Sale will not be running until Christmas. It may cause the searcher to think, if they don’t act now, they might miss out on the holiday sale. If your business is doing banner ads, make sure they have the right holiday theme. Don’t run ads with pilgrims and turkeys in the background with ad copy that says, “Enjoy Our Christmas Sale.” By the same token, a generic background may not signal to the customer that this sale is related to an upcoming holiday.

Tip 4. Bid on Holiday Keywords
In keeping in sync with holiday related ads, your business should include holiday search terms. If your business sells jewelry and is targeting the Christmas holiday, consider bidding on keywords like “jewelry for Christmas”, “Christmas jewelry gift” “Christmas jewelry sale,”etc. Keywords that are holiday related can help drive potential buyers to your site.
Once the keywords are in place, think about your landing page.

Tip 5. Landing Pages that Reflect Holiday Incentives
Landing pages are one of the final steps in getting a customer to purchase your product or fill out a lead form. The page that a visitor lands on once they click on your ad is called a landing page. Make sure your landing page lines up with the messaging in your ads. If your company is offering 20% off in the ad copy, the landing page needs to mention 20% off. It can be frustrating to a customer to click on an ad that offers 20% off, but end up going to a page that doesn’t even mention the discount. How can they be sure they’ll receive the discount? Furthermore, is it worth their time to find something they like, hoping that when they get to the shopping cart page the 20% off offer will be there? Think about it. 

The holidays are a great time to reach many new customers. By following the five tips above, a business can rest assured that they are on the right path to having a successful holiday campaign.

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