Search engine marketing (SEM) is a rapidly changing field rife with opportunities, but it takes expertise and experience to run optimal interactive advertising campaigns. When engaging in digital advertising, such as paid search, display media, social media advertising and remarketing, it's extremely important that your efforts are backed by knowledge and strategy. Here, our SEM experts provide the tips and information you can use to improve your campaigns, and your ROI. To stay up to date on our search engine marketing blog, subscribe to our feed.
You know you have a quality website. You have a great Google AdWords campaign running. You sell great products or services at competitive prices. You even offer Free Shipping, or 20% off! So why is it that you can’t ultimately get enough potential customers to buy your products, or use your services?
With Google Analytics, you can determine exactly what is happening in the purchasing or checkout process, and see the exact page(s) where your potential customers are leaving your website. You can then begin to figure out what you need to change on your website. For example, let’s say you have a very large order form that spans multiple pages. Or, let’s say you only take one or two different credit cards. You will be able to see when your potential customers are leaving your website, and determine the reasons.
Google Analytics doesn’t stop there. Not only does it easily integrate with your current Google AdWords account, you can view over 100 different reports. Want to see which country most of your customers are coming from? Which keywords are being clicked on the most? What time of day you’re receiving the most traffic? Not a problem at all.
The days of taking blind stabs in the dark are officially over. With Google Analytics, you can make accurate determinations as to what you need to do to ultimately increase your revenue and the success of your online advertising efforts.
“What do you mean, you don’t have analytics? How are you measuring the success of your campaigns?”
I find myself asking that question over and over to both new and prospective clients. It seems like analytics would be the logical companion… especially when you may be spending thousands of dollars per month with online marketing initiatives. You would think, right? Well… that’s not always the case.
Maybe it’s that people don’t recognize the importance of an analytics program… After all, the major engines offer a free conversion tool. Shouldn’t that be enough? What do I need with analytics, if I already know how many people are converting?
If you have all the money in the world and don’t care about how much you spend on your traffic, then it might be okay to focus only on conversions… But, if you’re like most companies, the ROI is a big deal. In fact, ROI is at the center of most campaign strategies.
That being said, consider this. The “free conversion tool” tells you A, B, and Z
– A — Your ad got impressions
– B — Someone clicked on your ad
– Z — someone converted
It’s easy to forget about what happens in-between B and Z… Like, “how many people landed on your site, and clicked off without looking around?” or “how many people put a product into your shopping cart, but didn’t complete a transaction?”… Take it one step further, and ask yourself what it was that people typed in organically when your ad came up. If you sell CDs, do you want your ad to come up when someone searches for “free music”?
An analytics program will give you vital information to help identify issues with keyword choice, ad copy, and your shopping cart. It gives you tangible, raw data in it’s purest form… You can expand on keywords you didn’t realize people were searching on. You can see what your website is being associated with, and include negative keywords to prevent your paid ad from coming up among the undesirables. This will inevitably result in lower drop-off rates, and a higher ROI.
In a nutshell, It pays for itself.
Before I left the NFL Experience, billed as “… pro football’s interactive theme park. …” last Thursday night, I thought I found the perfect place to pick up an extra Chicago Bear’s shirt to bring my team good luck for the big game. (This strategy backfired: It’s not the Defense’s, or Grossman’s fault: it’s mine. And for those of you that only tuned in for the commercials, the Bears were the team in the dark jerseys.)
Inside a massive tent, which could have housed every item from the historic Marshall Field’s department store in downtown Chicago, lurked every piece of NFL, Bears and Colts paraphernalia ever made. There were jerseys, hats, helmets, footballs and jogging suits adorned with the SuperBowl XLI and Colts and Bears logos. As I took it all in, it quickly became apparent that although there were thousands of items for the big game, the selection was limited. While there were many styles and colors, almost every item included a team logo with both teams.
You could buy a Chicago Bears SuperBowl shirt or hat, but right there across from the insignia of my beloved Bears was an ugly, blue horseshoe (The Colts logo.)
Are you wondering how this translates to you SEM efforts? It’s quite simple:
1. Know your customers. In this case, the NFL was on the right path, most people that come to a SuperBowl game are more interested in the event and not the individual teams. But there were fans of each team there who would have appreciated some more team specific options, and like me, walked out of
there without buying anything. Remember when McDonalds only served hamburgers? How many sales are you missing by not looking at a more diversified product mix? Do follow up research on your customers; ask them questions about their interests and how they spend their time online.
2. Keep an eye on your business. Use an analytics package that can help you track what your customers are doing. How did they come to the site and what keywords were they looking for? Which keywords and engines have the best ROI? Looking at your data and understanding it is the equivalent to walking around and watching your customers in a brick and mortar store. Are they searching through the racks or simply breezing through the aisles?
3. Interact with your customers. If your customers are abandoning the shopping process — find out why. Are your prices too high? Is your site too difficult to navigate? Do they try very hard to buy from you or do they rarely browse through your inventory? Do they look diligently through your selections
and compare items? Leverage surveys and user registration data. E-mail your customers or pick up the phone and ask them what they like about your site and what they don’t. If you talked to one customer a month, what kind of free feedback and consultation could you get for your business?
The bottom-line is that an effective PPC campaign only can do so much to generate extremely targeted traffic to your site, but you need to invest time and effort into what happens when your customers arrive on your doorstep.