PPC Crash Course for E-Commerce Part 2

So last week, we went over an introduction and the basics of what you want to look for when doing advertising for your e-commerce business. This week, we’ll be going over structuring and budgeting your PPC campaigns. So, let’s dive in!

Ad Group Structuring

Good account structure helps you make changes to your ads quickly, and allows you more granularity when targeting. So, when just starting off with PPC, the best ad structure strategy to use is to copy your site structure, by product. Taking our example from last week, let’s say you’re selling knitting needles. So you have a campaign for steel knitting needles, bamboo knitting needles, ceramic knitting needles, so on and so forth. By structuring it like this, it’ll help you create keyword lists that directly relate to the corresponding ad along with the ads leading to that specific product. This works really well because it aligns ad groups and landing pages for those ads like so:

Google AdWord campaign structure

Courtesy of Google AdWord Answers

 

If you’re feeling frisky, and want to take a look at a more advanced ad structure or feel that the by product structure isn’t for your business, you should check out this article by Sam Owen at Search Engine Land. He talks about structuring ads based on user intent, rather than by product. Definitely worth a read.

Budgeting

Now, this is where things get tricky. Budgeting is always a moving target. You may have a set budget for these ads to begin with, but deciding how you’re going to divide it amongst your campaigns is where things start getting a little murky. There are three things that you need to look for when you first start planning your budgeting for ads. First, which campaigns have products with high search volume? Second, what is their average cost-per-click (which can be found in the AdWords tool we went over in part 1)? Lastly, which product will make you the most money?

What you end up with is a secret sauce mix of giving a higher budget for ads that have a high search volume, where it will make you the most money, and those that have a higher CPC that in turn requires more budget money. However, you don’t want to give too much of your budget to a campaign that’s going to have a high cost-per-click that doesn’t make you as high of a revenue as other products, this will cost your ROI and be a waste of your limited budget.

A good way to get around this when you’re starting out is to just give all of your campaigns equal budgets for the base amount you (or the client) are willing to spend each day, and tweak from there. If you start seeing a campaign performing at a good ROI, start giving it a higher budget. Conversely, if you see another campaign is not hitting its necessary ROI, you can redistribute the money in that campaign accordingly.

This is what makes PPC great for e-commerce. If one of your products is one of your top money-makers than feeding its ad group a higher budget will help you produce even higher sales as long as you have the inventory for it. If you’re a mom and pop shop, that is hand-making everything, you may want to limit yourself to a number of sales per day. But, if you drop ship or are a distributing from a large warehouse, keep feeding those budgets as long as you continue to get a good ROI from them.

Well, that’s it for this week. Next week we’ll go over the last details of using PPC for e-commerce. See you then!

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PPC Crash Course for e-commerce Part 1

So you’re selling a product and you’ve come up with a fantastic e-commerce site. But, you seemed to have reached the ceiling when it comes to growth in your different marketing channels. You’ve seen the ads on Google’s search results and have seen the ads when researching different products, and it made you curious. Congratulations! You’ve just discovered PPC, which is going to be our focus topic for this week. So follow along, we’ll get you started down the road of making sure you know what platforms there are to choose from, what analytics you should pay attention to, and how to get started becoming a PPC monster!

Basics of PPC

Before we dive in, let’s take a few minutes and go over, exactly, what PPC is. PPC (pay-per-click) marketing is a form of online advertising in which businesses accrue costs when users click their ads (i.e. Google Ads on the top and right-hand side of search results). These businesses bid on different keywords and audience types, which a search engine matches to different search queries and pre-defined lists.

Knitting PPC example`

 

 

 

 

 

PPC can be used for all sorts of campaign goals, including increasing sales, generating leads, and promoting brand awareness. PPC ads are all about relevance and gives businesses the ability to show a targeted ad at the exact moment someone is searching for a product that they sell. For example, let’s say someone is looking for knitting needles, and you happen to sell stainless steel, high quality knitting needles. The prospective customer searches for knitting needles, and low and behold, your product shows up in an ad on the search engine displaying your knitting needles for sale.

Advertising Platforms

Alright so now that we went over what PPC is, we need to discuss where you can advertise your products outside of Google’s AdWords. Because, if you’re just using Google you’re going to have a bad time. There are a lot, and I mean, a lot of options out there for advertising. Here’s a couple of the top ones that are great for e-commerce:

Nextag.com

Nextag claims to be the #1 comparison site in traffic, revenue, and GMV (gross merchandise value). They offer free tools such as a ROI tracking system, promotional platform for voucher codes, buyer reviews, and a trusted sellers program. Additionally, they offer no listing fees or set-up costs, and you only pay, when they “refer you to a qualified lead.”

Amazon.com

Yes, you can serve product ads on Amazon! You can upload your products manually, or send them a list via FTP. They’ll populate the ads with the information you send them. You can set and track your budget and ad space provides click through to your e-commerce store. The only fee you pay is a CPC (cost-per-click) fee. They also provide different formats, such as detail page, search & browse, buy box, and tower ads, (to find out more of these different ad formats click here). Also, when you sign up, you get $75 in free clicks to start, talk about a nice incentive.

Tracking

One of the most important things when it comes to setting up your PPC campaign is making sure that you’re implementing the proper tracking codes so that you can track goals and optimize your accounts to get the most ROI. The best place to set up your tracking and goals is with Google Analytics, since it will allow you to track your AdWords account along with the other advertising platforms you choose to use.

Google has a great guide in how to set this up and how you can implement the code on your site. Word of warning though this part is where it gets extremely technical, so if you’re programming illiterate, either find a how-to guide or hire a freelancer to set this up for you. Trust me, you want to get this right the first time.

While setting up tracking might be a hassle for you, time-wise or financially, I advise that you don’t even bother with a PPC campaign for your e-commerce site if you don’t have the proper tracking. Otherwise, you won’t know where the leads are coming from, and you won’t know what is working and what isn’t.

Keyword Research

Next, you’re going to want to start researching keywords for your campaigns. My advice is that you start with your own site, specifically, your products. Going through all your products is the easiest way to find the keywords you want to target, because it’s simply finding the keywords that people would use to find your products through the search results. Make sure you keep all these keywords grouped by product, it will help later when you’re going back to research specific products in that product category.

To make the process quicker, I recommend using the Google Keyword Tool. Let’s take the knitting needles example I used earlier, when I type it into the keyword tool, this is what I get:

Knitting needles keyword planner PPC example

Keyword listings on Google Keyword Planner

 

 

 

 

Google Keyword Planner PPC example

Ad Group Listings on Google Keyword Planner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is where the tool gets really robust, this goes into iterations and close relations to the keywords you chose, and the ad groups break down individual keywords associated with that ad group. Additionally, you can have it expand the list by having the program find more keywords like the ad group you clicked on.

Each one of these categories can be expanded to show a whole new slew of keywords. I recommend using this tool to get the bulk of keywords you’re looking for with minimal effort. Additionally, once you’re done researching you can export the list to an excel spreadsheet or you can curate the list right in the tool!

Well, that’s it for this week, next week we’ll go into detail about structuring your ads and setting up budgets for your ads. See you next week for part 2!

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9 Ways To Help Make Social Media Effective For eCommerce

Social media, it invades every part of our day. We’re checking it at work, checking in at restaurants and bars to show our friends where we’re socializing. Posting our vacation pictures to show people where we went. It is one of the main activities people take part in online all the time. So syncing a social media experience with your e-commerce store offers you the chance to help drive added value to your audience and paying customers alike. So with that said, let’s take a look at 9 different ways that will make social media effective for your online store.

#1 – Share Sonny! Share!

So outside of the horrible Sonny and Cher reference in the title, one of the no-brainer features that e-commerce sites are using today is including various social sharing buttons on their product pages. This has become increasingly more common over the past couple of years due to the improved visibility and engagement a Facebook like button or Twitter tweet button can generate around a offered product.

To add these plugins to your store, simply go to the social platforms you want to integrate into your store and they’ll have instructions on how to add them. However, there is a caveat: make sure you only add a few social plugins to your product pages.

Resources for the most popular plugins for e-commerce are listed below:

There are a ton of other options for social plugins available out there, however, these four are the ones most popular with e-commerce stores since sharing a product or service on these channels fits their target demographic’s behavior and interests the most. If you sold clothing or accessories, you wouldn’t want to add a linkedin share button would you? No, because that platform’s purpose doesn’t match what you’re trying to use social media for.

When you add the buttons, try to get them as close to the product’s image as possible, while still keeping it organized and clean. Each store integrates buttons differently, check out some of your favorite stores to see how they integrate buttons for their products.

#2 – Your Customers Are Your Best Product Reps

A lot of content around your brand and products is user generated content, from fans sharing photos, to videos or text updates on social media about your stuff, whether good or bad. One way you can take advantage of the positive content is featuring it on your site.

There are quite a few platforms out there that allow businesses to highlight and moderate content submitted by their customers, fans, and followers. Usually displayed as a photo feed, these images can be highly curated to show the best of the best user generated content. For example, online retailer black milk clothing uses a photo feed at the bottom of all its product pages to showcase customer generated photos to individual products. Additionally, they curate the photos to specific products by associating a hashtag with the product. for example, their panther maxi dress is associated with the hashtag #bmpanthermaxidress which allows the photos tagged under the hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to show up in the product photo feed if the pictures are tagged properly.

#3 – Sign in, Show off

Normally, visitors to your store have to create an account, enter their information, and sign in so they can purchase products, view their order history, etc,. Social sign-in allows customers to do all of this without having to go through the multi-step process of creating an account by allowing them to sign in using the information from their social media platform of choice.

The platform of choice that customers often use for social sign-in is Facebook, basically because its the most widely used social media platform to date. Social sign-in can be extremely beneficial to a store because research shows that customers who use social sign-in spend more time on the site and purchase more than those who don’t use a social login.

Since most people are concerned with their privacy, especially when it comes to social sign-ins, one thing you might want to do before jumping in to using social sign-in completely, is to split test between with and without the use of social sign-in.

#4 – I’m Just Here For The Comments

Social based comment systems like Disqus and Livefyre are robust tools that make the experience of commenting on content and having conversations with other customers much more engaging due to it being a live feed instead of static posts, as well as credible because of social verification to use the comment widget. These feeds are often found on an e-commerce site’s blog instead of the store itself. These social powered comment widgets require users to sync one of their social media profiles to the tool so that you can see a genuine profile linked to the comment. This helps reduce trolling, and makes the commenting process more social by allowing customers to share engaging thoughts and conversations in a user’s social channel of choice from the comment section.

#5 – Make Your Sales Funnel Shareable

If you do it right, integrating social media across your store can improve customer experience and can increase the likelihood of others doing shareable actions on your site depending on what they see published on social media. However, you’re going to want to find that right balance so as not to annoy users by over sharing, which can happen. Try focusing on sharing interesting activities of your store visitors and providing value to users that may see what your customers share on one of their feeds.

For example, Eventbrite gives people the option of sharing that they’ve booked tickets to an event on Twitter and Facebook, it’s not mandatory, but sharing events like this is something that might be interesting for customers to share on social media.

Analyzing your sales funnel for event markers like the one in the Eventbrite example can help have a positive effect on drawing in new customers as well as create repeat customers by improving the customer’s journey. As always, you’re going to want to split test these plugins and CTAs to make sure they’re not having the opposite effect that you want.

#6 – Shopping First, Social Second

What we mean by our title is, don’t forget, you’re a store first, just because you have social media pages does not mean that customers are going to flock to your door. As the name suggests people go to Facebook and Twitter and the like to socialize not shop most of the time. Social media pages for your business are a great way to aggregate reviews as well as use them for customer service and support.

#7 – Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them

Videos are great sales tools. Customer’s love seeing a product in action or being showed off. Like the post above about using customer generated content, you can apply that with videos as well. Not only does it improve sales, but people get to see the product, “in the wild” so to speak. Additionally, it adds another social factor that can be found on video aggregators (i.e. YouTube).

#8 – Customer Trust Is Key

Giving back to your customers helps to build trust with them, which is paramount for your brand. Find out ways that you can help out your customers outside of your store. Share local news and tips, ask their opinions, give out coupons, find ways to interact. The most important thing is that you’re visibly trying to be helpful ti them. The more useful you can be, the more loyal they’ll be to your brand.

#9 – Don’t Forget About The Rest Of Your Marketing Mix

Social media is often viewed as a silo of marketing that can be done separately from other marketing activities. Instead,  view it as an extra layer that integrates with the rest of your marketing mix instead of being a separate part of it. For example, with email marketing, integrate sharing buttons with your newsletters or e-blasts. This will help encourage people to sign up for your email list or check out what you’re offering. Also, don’t forget to share your posts to your social media following, this goes hand in hand with #8 above, if it’s useful to them, they’ll read it and possibly share it with friends and co-workers.

What creative ways have you integrated social media into your e-commerce store? What works and doesn’t work for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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8 Landing Page Best Practices

So, you’ve made the leap and opened up a website to help sell your product. But, you want to make sure your customers have something to see when they land at your shiny new site. Well, this is where landing pages come in. Think of them as the complimentary bottles of water that you get when you check in to a hotel. They make you feel welcomed and mainly are there to help encourage you to possibly raid the mini-fridge later. However, a bad landing page can have customers go off your site faster than you can say bounce rate. Well, that’s what we’re here for, to help you make sure that when potential customers come to your site, they don’t want to leave. Here’s our list of the top 10 best practices you should use when building your landing pages.

Tip #1 – Why Do I Need A Landing Page In The First Place?

Good Question! Let’s break this down a bit before we answer it. First off, what is a landing page? Well, a landing page is a standalone page that’s tangentially attached to your website. They’re also designed for someone who’s on your site to complete an action, whether this is signing up for a mailing list, purchase something, it can also simply be used as a gate to gather information before the visitor gets to the main part of your site. Mainly, this page is used for someone to complete an action and leave the page. So if you’re looking to build a mailing list to help gain repeat customers, and let’s be honest here, who isn’t? Then that is why you need a landing page or several for your site.

Tip # 2 – Make Sure Your Landing Page Can Adapt

No, I’m not talking about making your landing page into some kind of AI bent on…hold on I’ve seen this movie before. Anyway, adaptive content means that the landing page works on multiple streams. I.e. Can work across social media platforms, slideshares, email blasts, can be syndicated, you get where I’m going with this? However, don’t try to make it work with every single channel out there, all you’ll end up with is a headache. Make the landing page work across a few channels where you know that these channels are where you want to get traffic from.

Tip #3 – Make Sure The Landing Page Is Responsive

Alrighty guys and gals, it’s 2015, mobile is not going away, it’s just getting bigger. Mobile made up 55% of all search in 2014, so you can imagine what it is now. Plus, portents are pointing towards Google giving extra goodies (read: ranking factor) for sites that are mobile friendly. So what do you have to make sure that you have to do? That’s right! Make sure the landing page is responsive and can work across all devices; mobile, tablet, and desktop because you will get traffic across all 3, so make sure you can handle all 3.

Tip # 4 – Pay Attention To Your Competitors

The best way to do research to see what works for landing pages and what doesn’t, is looking at what your competitors are doing. Got a competitor that’s taking your lunch money? Mosey on over to their site and look to see what’s good about it. Watch for trends, and read articles (like this one!) to find what’s big, what’s good, and what you should move past/get rid of if you have it. This leads us to our next point…

Tip #5 – A/B Test Like There Is No Tomorrow!

Split test, split test, split test…did I say split test? Split testing is a great tool as it lets you dissect what your customer base responds to by finding out what they like and dislike about the landing page. Not only will you gain insight into your customers’ behavior, you’ll also help to increase your conversion rate, by implementing these incremental changes.

Tip #6 – Seduce Your Prospects With Your Copy

Alright, so we’re going to switch gears here and talk more about design than concept. One of the biggest things when dealing with landing pages is you have a very short window to convince someone to stay. According to Hubspot, 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a page before leaving. So you have to make sure your content is short, concise, and to the point whatever it is you’re saying. If you can’t read it in 15 seconds it’s too long.

Tip #7 – Make That Call To Action Big And Beautiful

When building your landing page, having your customers performing an action is the reason why you built it in the first place. So you’re going to want to make sure that the CTA that you build for the page is big and in a prominent position above the fold. Additionally, you’re going to want to make sure that you use your copy to entice your visitors so that they fill out the form. Finally, only ask for information you need, additional information might turn off your visitor and they’ll leave.

Tip # 8 – Landing Pages Are Not The End Of The Rainbow…Thank You Pages Are

So you’ve designed the landing page, your potential customer has filled out the form for more info, now what? Getting a user to fill out your form is not where the process ends. You’re going to want to direct them to a thank you page for a few reasons. Firstly, it allows you to engage with the customer further. By directing them to a landing page, you can direct them from there to check out your blog, the rest of your site, or interact with you on social media. Additionally, a thank you page allows you to explain what happens next, and when your prospect will get their info/white paper/free stuff.

Well, there you have it folks, by using these best practices, you’ll have a high-converting landing page in no time! Need help? Or looking for something more than just a landing page? Swing by mountainmedia.com or give us a call at 1-877-583-0300.

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