The holiday season is a great time to sell products and services. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, the average person will complete about 39.5% of their holiday shopping online. (up from 38.8% last year). Additionally, Shop.org, (the digital division of NRF), is forecasting that online holiday sales will increase between 13% and 15% to as much as $82 billion during the months of November and December. So what does that mean to online marketers? How can we make the most of our websites to gain a piece of this eCommerce?
I can’t tell you how frequently I hear things like “I can’t afford pay-per-click” or “Social media doesn’t work.” These business owners have done some light experimentation with the channel and formed an opinion that is now used as a blanket for all forms of pay-per-click or social media. What I wanted to cover in this article is not just that each of these channels have viable marketing merit to them, but a little bit of how to make that channel work for you.
More important than the list of tips I give throughout the article is the thought process I’ll try to describe for each channel. Marketing is not following a list of tips, it is learning a thought process that allows you to analyze and adapt. So, without further adieu, let’s analyze and adapt!
I’ve written several articles in the past touting how effective PPC (pay-per-click) advertising can be. On the other hand, it can also be a huge money waster. As in anything, there’s a learning curve involved and it’s very easy to waste a lot of money quickly. The key is to approach it strategically. I recently wrote a series of three in-depth articles on PPC advertising for the LinkedIn “Business Knowledge Share — powered by American Express” group. (This is a member based LinkedIn group.)
Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) can be a very effective marketing tool when used skillfully and wisely. Recently, I posted a series of three articles explaining how you can run PPC ads on a budget, target your ads using keyword phrases based on buyer-intent and creating a landing-page or micro-site for a targeted Pay-Per-Click ad. This article is a quick recap for anyone who still may have reservations about trying PPC advertising as a marketing channel for your eCommerce website. The trick is to have a plan. No one wants to waste a dime on ineffective ads that reach the wrong people. (That statement is as true for traditional advertising as it is for online advertising.)
What is a landing page and who ever heard of a microsite? Well, if you’re running Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising or are about to, you should be able to answer those questions. One of the advantages of running PPC ads is that you can target your ads to specific customers. You can select the geographic area where you want your ads to appear and even target specific demographics. When you write your ad title and copy, you can carefully select targeted keywords and bid on keywords based on buyer-intent. So, why would you send someone who clicks on your ad to your home page or some other page that currently exists on your site? If you’re investing money into pay-per-click advertising, why not take it one step further and create a customized landing page for each ad campaign?
The original title for this post was going to be “Is Pay-Per-Click Advertising an Option if You Have a Zero Marketing Budget?” but let’s face it. . . if you really have a zero marketing budget, it may be time to sit back and look at your overall business plan. Is it time to switch gears? Should you temporarily put your idea on hold and make some cash to invest in your dream? Can you afford to continue promoting and marketing your business the same way you’ve been doing since you started? Is it time to try pay-per-click (PPC) ads?