Monthly Archives: February 2015

Nicola Peaty

Pay Per Click Explained.

By Nicola Peaty

Between the importance of having a website and the power of Google, most marketers will be focused on driving traffic from the search engine to their online business. This can be done organically with search engine optimisation (SEO) via specific web content and/or with paid search marketing. This blog explains the basics of Pay per click and some tips to help especially for smaller companies.

Pay per click (PPC) is also known as Search engine marketing (SEM). This is when a company pays for specific search terms and keywords that people may enter into a search engine when looking for a related product or service to their company. The results of typing in a search term into Google, or other search engines, will produce a results page called a search engine results page (SERP). PPC results will appear at the top or right hand side of the page with ‘Ads’ next to them. The company then pays each time a user actually clicks on the link to their website for that particular search term.
See below an example for the term wedding cakes. You can see that Waitrose and Marks and Spencer have paid most for this search term as they appear at the top.

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‘Wedding cakes’ would be a premium search term and most small to medium companies would not be able to compete and afford this as a PPC option. Therefore, smaller companies can be smarter about the terms they either pay for or include those terms on their website for an organic listing. You need to be as specific as possible to match the needs of the users looking for your particular business products.
See the below example. If the search term is refined to ‘small wedding cakes in London’ then companies who have matching content on their site will appear higher in the SERP such as 1st Choice Cakes. Companies who have paid for ‘similar’ terms will appear lower down, so Marks and Spencer have dropped to the bottom of the page and The Cake Store appears higher as a PPC listing.

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The Google ‘bots’ crawl sites to find the most suitable results to match the user’s search. So it’s worth taking the time to understand what terms people are using to look for your related products. It is then your choice, depending on your marketing need, whether you go down the PPC route or spend time generating relevant organic content on your website.

There are a number of advantages for PPC. Firstly, if, like the Marks and Spencer targeting wedding cakes, a company wants to raise brand awareness in a market, then PPC is a less expensive form of advertising. You have the advantage of capping your budget by only paying for an agreed budget limit on how many people click your Google Ad words. And as shown above, you can use specific terms to align with your target market.

It is also very straight forward and simple to set up once you’ve chosen your ad words, and then update as and when you need to. SEO obviously requires rewriting content on your site should new words and terms become necessary. This can take time, whereas Google ad words are immediately effective from the moment you set them up. This can be of real benefit if you have a timely event or promotion and need to quickly target your audience. Just ensure that your links drive traffic to the relevant landing page or you will lose paid-for users straight away.

You are totally in control of your PPC and can react and change as you feel necessary. This means trying and testing new campaigns and monitoring which works best. Having access to immediate results in terms of click through rates will allow you to track the performance of campaigns and assess ROI. The emphasis here is to stay on top of your PPC and keep a check on the SERP and whether any competition affects your listing as well as if users are finding and clicking on your campaign links. You may have to ‘up’ your bid slightly to guarantee top listing against a competitor or change your ad words if the market are using a new search term.

Finally, if done well, make sure you have conversion points in place when users reach the required landing page. This can be an online form, enquiry email link or for a sales rep to contact them. Any form of lead generation requires this essential part of the marketing ‘funnel’ and gives you the full picture to track you ROI.

 

Nicola Peaty

Top Tips for Successful Direct Mail

By Nicola Peaty

Think direct mail is dead? Well, think again. Yes, we have swung right over to digital marketing, but do not be misled in thinking that the DM channel no longer exists. Time for an Infographic to prove some results:

Direct-Mail-Statistics-2014-Ver2-WEB
Note the quotes at the bottom showing the benefits of direct mail: people are more likely to remember a message, direct mail is easier to take in than email and that it is a channel that shows value to customers.

So here are some tips to consider when planning and executing your direct mail to make it an effective channel in your marketing mix.

Quality data: No junk mail please! Just sending out a ton of leaflets to all and sundry and hoping that someone will respond, will not produce the best ROI. Using a carefully selected list of contacts to receive your proposed mail piece will give you the best chance of response. The best data is your own built up list from respondents who have previously interacted with your company together with intelligence details which allow precision targeting. If you have to purchase your list, it is worth being as ‘picky’ as you possibly can, to choose the criteria to meet your requirements.

Personalisation: As with most marketing now, customers want to feel like you are talking directly and specifically to them. So take the opportunity to include their name and tailor the message to meet their details. We all recognise blanket letters that have generic content which mostly end up in the bin. Be different and make yours stand out, it will always be worth the effort to get the respondent to engage with your message.

Creative: This leads nicely on to ensuring that the creativity also gives the right impact. The chosen font and colours should reflect the brand and tone of the message, but also be relevant to your target audience. That means considering the demographics (eg old or young, female or male) and whether it is consumer or B2B (eg beauty salons or financial services). The execution can be in many formats, be they brochures, letters or postcards. Just take time thinking through what will catch their attention and resonate most. Also, consider what the competition are doing and try to be original, but still relevant, to get the best response.

CTA: So you’ve reached the right customers, tailored the message and creative so that they’ve opened and read your mail piece. Now what do you want them to do? By including a call to action you will hopefully generate a response that you can monitor and drive the customer to the next stage of the purchasing funnel. Incentives like registering online to enter a competition or using a promotional code for a discount will allow you to track response but also give you the opportunity to engage with that customer.

Follow up: And engaging with your customer is what it’s all about. So once they have responded don’t leave them hanging. Follow up with your next point of marketing contact, whether that be by email, telephone or another direct mail piece. Keep the conversation going, move the customer relationship forward and build on what you have started. Just ensure to collate all customer details and actions on your database to build a useful profile.

Integration: One marketing channel is good, but it’s always more effective if a message is supported as part of a bigger campaign. So consider targeting the same audience with the same message via other means such as advertising, social media and email. It is vital to track each channel, and remember to use different channel promotional codes, to assess the overall campaign. Advertising could build awareness, while email notifies the customer to look out for the direct mail and social media could encourage discussion or get customers to post as part of the call to action.

Check, check, check: Never let any marketing go out before it has been through thorough checking, but especially a mail piece. With all the time and effort that has been spent on planning and execution, it would be a complete waste if there was a typo or the wrong details. Customers would lose respect and may disregard the message as a result. So ensure all branding, content and customer details have been verified and approved before anything is sent out.

For further tips and advice on direct mail marketing go to: http://www.dma.org.uk/