Article Archive by Author

September 8 2008

The Holiday Season Has Ecommerce Retailers Seeing Green

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With the approaching holiday season many online retailers are already gearing up for record breaking sales.  Typically in the past, the day after Thanksgiving or ‘Black Friday’ was when retailers received a large portion of holiday sales; by offering bargains, sales and deals to consumers.  Online retailers seeing the potential for record sales began offering super deals online to consumers the Monday after Thanksgiving; this has become known as ‘Cyber Monday.’ According to BusinessWeek.com, more than 72% of online retailers planned a promotion around Cyber Monday.

However, ecommerce retailers have also seen such a huge jump in holiday sales the second week in December.  This Monday is referred to as ‘Green Monday.’  Green Monday (coined by Ebay), marks the beginning of the busiest shopping week of online shopping; partly due shoppers who want to ensure delivery before the holiday.  According to MarketCharts.com, last year, December 10, 2007 Green Monday sales totaled over $881 million; a 33% increase from the prior year.  The number of sales for the 2008 holiday season is expected to grow even more.

Since the holiday season will be here before we know it; preparation now for online retailers is crucial for a successful holiday season.  It’s a good idea for online retailers to have an action plan ahead of time to identify what they are going to offer to drive sales.  MarketingTrends.org states that over 40% of holiday shoppers start their shopping in October. 

To catch early shoppers, consider free shipping or a percentage off the order; if customers purchases before a certain date. You should then tailor your online advertising efforts to reflect these special bargains.  Another idea is to create new and fresh ad copy to captivate shoppers.  Lastly, be sure to test your site to ensure complete functionality; a short test could save your holiday shopping sales. 

With so many opportunities to make this a stellar holiday season, it’s easy to see more green in your pocket!

September 5 2008

Why do I need to bid on my own name?

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It seems like a no brainer to me, yet without fail, I often get asked this question. I typically get into a debate (albeit a friendly one) as to why an online branding campaign is nothing short of essential. The truth of the matter is that many online marketers are rather hesitant to bid on their own names, however, it is imperative to do so in order to protect your brand. The common response is: “But I am already number 1.” Even if you are ranking number 1 organically, you should still bid on your name! Here are a few facts to convince you why it is extraordinarily beneficial to do so:

– It is perfectly legitimate (and happens quite frequently) for competitors to bid on your name. The engines permit this activity, which means that a competitor can lure away your searcher without doing anything illegal; provided they do not use your actual name in the ad copy. Keep in mind: this is a customer who was initially looking for YOU! If that is not reason enough, keep reading…
– It reinforces your brand and adds credibility.
– It is relatively inexpensive. Most engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) make it so you are likely to get the best deal on your own company and product names, which results in a lower CPC.
– It is good to cover your bases. In other words, if your organic results drop as algorithms change, you will maintain your online brand presence with your paid listing. Even a well optimized website cannot achieve top positions for every variation of the company name or brand all of the time.

Do not give a competitor the opportunity to snatch away your visitor. Be sure to bid on your name! Oh and while you’re at it, you might want to create a competitor campaign. Remember, it is perfectly acceptable to give your competition a run for their money!

September 4 2008

What Ad Position Works Best in Search Engine Marketing?

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If you ask most companies who are doing search engine marketing what ad position works best, the overwhelming response would be number one.  Companies are always competing to be in top positions and most want to be number one.  However, you have to ask to yourself when doing search engine marketing if ad position one will work best for your company. The proper way to find out is to run some tests. How well do your campaigns perform when you’re at position one relative to positions 3 or 4?  The type of business you have can affect how well you do in certain ad positions as well. It affected a real life furniture company.

A furniture company which we’ll call “The Sofa Company” started out bidding for positions 1-2. They were doing okay, but somehow there was a feeling they could do better. When we targeted ad positions 3-4 their click thru rate increased. What’s the reasoning? Most people when shopping for furniture don’t buy the first piece they see, they do comparison shopping and then buy. “The Sofa Company” did well because by the time people got to them at position 3-4 they were more ready to buy and because the “The Sofa Company” had good prices, they were able to make the sale. This doesn’t work for every company. Other companies only do well when they’re in the top 2 ad positions. Ad positioning has to be explored on a case by case basis. The best way to know is to test. You may be surprised to find that for your particular company ad position 3 works best.

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