10 Things You Can Expect to See In eCommerce Marketing in 2017

What You Can Expect to See In eCommerce Marketing 2017

Be able to plan stronger eCommerce marketing strategies after reading this post! We're sharing 10 things you can expect to see in eCommerce marketing in 2017!

eCommerce marketing is one of the fastest moving fields in the industry. Every year there are new best practices, new hacks, and new ways to get even more from your eCommerce site.

It can be hard to stay ahead.

So here are our top 10 things you can expect for your eCommerce marketing. Keep an eye on these trends to drive a better bottom line in 2017.

1. Metrics continue to be critical

eCommerce marketing is a science more than an art. In order to squeeze every drop of value from your marketing dollars, you need to be relying on data to make decisions and inform your overall strategy.

And essential to using data to make decisions is gathering and understanding key metrics.

The exact manifestations will vary company to company, but most will find a key metric that is a good predictor of success. For example, Spearmint LOVE found that tracking their cost of customer acquisition (CAC) was their key to stretching their marketing dollars.

Other metrics for your eCommerce marketing might be:

  • Number of communications/touch points before a purchase
  • How many times an item is looked at before it’s purchased
  • Time of site and depth of site visit

And of course, there are a huge range of channel-specific stats so you can track which channels are doing well and which ones need to be paired back.

2. Strategy is more important than tactics

The biggest difference between good marketing and great marketing is strategy. It’s no longer enough for businesses to simply deploy a range of tactics to drive sales.

To be competitive today (more on competition in a minute) you need to be deploying overarching and holistic marketing strategies.

What’s the difference between strategy and tactics?

A strategy is the overall campaign plan or objective. Tactics are how you achieve your goal.

For example, a social media ad might be a tactic to drive sales. The strategy is the overall idea of where social media ads fit within a broader sales funnel and customer ecosystem.

To deliver quality eCommerce marketing, the strategy needs to be fully developed. Tactics will follow.

3. eCommerce marketing IS content marketing

It’s official – content marketing is here to stay. It’s how you can drive traffic to your site (SEO), engage customers, develop sales funnels, and position yourself as an expert in your industry.

It’s extremely difficult to deliver an eCommerce marketing strategy in 2017 without a large chunk of content marketing. Here are the two primary benefits:

  • Customers expect it. There are so many providers now writing great stuff on their blogs, customers expect free access to a dearth of information about your product. You need to be aware of that.
  • It drives organic traffic. Beyond the primary SEO benefits, content marketing is a great way to build authority, traffic, and time on site – all of which are going to help your ranking in the SERPs

There are other benefits as well though, namely content marketing is the best way to build a relationship.

4. Plan for a relationship, not a sale

Gone are the days when eCommerce marketing was all about the hard sell. Infomercial-type marketing is ineffective in the ecosystem of the modern internet. Instead, companies need to focus on building relationships with people over a long sales cycle.

This process is pegged to the rise of content marketing and specifically to the idea that the overarching goal is to be useful to your customer.

If you can make yourself useful to your customer when they’re NOT in market, then when they eventually move to the buying stage, you’re the one they think of.

For example, if you run an eCommerce site that sells TVs, you might blog a lot about how to fix an and troubleshoot TVs. Customers will look to your site for information on fixing their TVs (which seems like it costs you sales in the short term) but in the long term, most of those customers are going to want to upgrade.

And when they’re looking to upgrade and buy a new TV, guess who they turn to?

That’s right. You.

That’s why building relationships more than driving sales is going to be critical in 2017.

5. Expect more competition (even if you’re a niche)

eCommerce is projected to be $4 trillion globally by 2020.

And you’re probably not the only ones trying to cash in on this market.

What’s more, the rise of new website software, new drop shipping services, new digital marketing and marketing automation tools, the barrier of entry into eCommerce continues to drop.

For example, a simple WordPress site, a theme, a domain, and membership to a drop shipping service could get you up and running for under $200.

What this means is that there are increasingly niche sites focusing on deep penetration into a narrow market.

You need to be ready for this increasingly crowded space, and be prepared to spend to stay on top.

6. Conversational purchasing

With chatbots now commonplace, a new buying process has been developed. It’s conversational purchasing, where people interact with, people and brands in a messaging format. It’s the digitization of the sales representative.

For eCommerce marketing, it means that people can have their questions answered in real time and can help drive conversions as fence sitters turn into purchasers.

7. Videos will be the norm

Since Facebook had pushed more and more to go digital, it’s no surprise that videos are increasingly the norm for content creation and customer engagement. For services, this is often an ‘explainer video’ but for more traditional eCommerce options it might be a product review, a video showcasing the product (Asos uses these a lot) or just a video helping build a use case.

Whatever it is, video is likely to be a big part of everyone’s marketing budgets going forward.

8. Mobile remains important

Mobile has traditionally been a low-conversion channel, used by customers largely in the prospecting stage of a purchase. But this trend is finally shifting.

eCommerce predicts that 2017 is going to be the year that purchasing goes mobile, with over half of all consumers actually buying via their smartphone.

What's more, despite the expansion of Google's AMP program over the last year, mobile remains a key ranking factor. Being a mobile first site makes you easier to find, and this doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon.

9. Consider a subscription service

Since 2013, there’s been a steep rise in subscription services. From Sprezza Box to Frank & Oak (who have since expanded into brick and mortar stores) to dollar shave club, you can subscribe for virtually anything these days.

One way to boost eCommerce marketing efforts is to focus on subscribing customers instead of selling items. It builds a consistent revenue stream, it differentiates your offering, and most importantly, it is a great relationship builder between you and your audience.

10. Latch yourself onto a cause

In 2017, we predict you'll continue to see the rise of cause marketing for eCommerce brands (and especially pure play eCommerce brands). The benefits of cause marketing proceed themselves - while giving back to the community, you can also show your customers (and potential customers) that you truly care about giving back vs. just making another buck.

 

Conclusion

There you have it. 10 trends to get in on in 2017 to keep your eCommerce store generating revenue. Combined with driving high-quality traffic with SEO, AdWords, and Social Media, you can make 2017 your best year yet!

Need help executing your eCommerce marketing in 2017?

Contact Us


The 8 Essential Restaurant Marketing Tips You Need to Be Using

The 8 Restaurant Marketing Tips You Need to Be Using

As a restaurant owner, you'd think serving good food would be your bread and butter. (pun intended)

However, today's customer is savvy and busy. Restaurants need to rely on more than just good food to keep customer loyalty.

But marketing often seems hard, confusing and time-consuming.

That's why we created this list of the 8 essential restaurant marketing tips you need to be using.

To start with, a successful restaurant marketing campaign should contain these 3 strategies:

  • Dine-In Presence
  • Digital Presence
  • Offline Presence

1. A Good Restaurant Doesn't Just Mean Quality Food

If your food isn't good, no one will eat there. This isn't news.

However, there's more to restaurant marketing than just good food.

Over 80% of diners will view an online menu before they dine out.

That's why you need to:

  • Redesign your menu to keep it looking fresh
  • Ensure all menu items are current and correctly listed

59% of diners will also view online photos of your restaurant before they dine out.

Get a decent photographer to take photos.

But a meal is not just about the food, it's also about the experience.

So remember to also photograph:

  • Your Staff: That way potential diners feel they already know them before walking through your doors.
  • Loyal Customers: People want to see others are enjoying being and eating at your restaurant. Show them you can deliver by photographing your favorite customers.
  • Special Events: Birthdays, office parties, wine tastings all go to show that your restaurant has more to offer than just good food.

Your staff can also either make or break an in-house restaurant experience.

Train your staff properly. Not just on how to do their jobs, but how to effectively provide the experience you want all your diners to have. Proper training will ensure repeat customers and less turnover with your staff.

 

2. Create a Dine-In Marketing Campaign

Food is an experience. Often an experience shared with friends and family.

Impress one person and you often find many others following in their wake.

Here are some easy-to-implement marketing ideas for retaining customer loyalty:

  • Birthday Promotions: A free meal to the person celebrating their birthday can give back in spades. Happy customers talk.
  • Free Samples: Having a staff member hand out free samples on the street can bring in a ton of foot traffic.
  • Customer Loyal Program: If you'd like customers to return, offer discounts to let them know you appreciate their business.
  • Extend or Offer a Happy Hour: Get people in the door early for drinks and then have them stay for dinner. In the colder months, extend your happy hour to lure people out of their homes.
  • Offer Seasonal Drinks: Whether it's a 4th of July cocktail or a new spiked twist on hot chocolate, specialty drinks are always a great way to get new people in the door and regulars coming back to try new things.

3. E-commerce Marketing

Most restaurant owners can't rely solely on foot traffic anymore.

Too many people are searching online instead.

You need to be found easily online.

Here are some easy and cost-effective ways to create an online presence:

  • Moz.com: A great site for ensuring your restaurant is found by all the locals on all the local search engines.
  • Blog: Blogging is a great way to get people talking about you online. Try these following topics: Feature loyal customers, share a story about an employee, share recipes, invite a guest blogger to write for you.
  • Google Toolbox: Anyone marketing online needs to use these tools. They help you locate and correct errors and perfect your online marketing methods.
  • SEO: It is imperative you use the right keywords in all your marketing campaigns. Whether it's your blog, website or menu, keywords are the best strategy for success.

4. Social Media Marketing

People talk. Especially online. Social media is here and it's not going away.

It's also a great place for a restaurant to effectively and easily market their business.

  • Set Up Profiles: Look for the social media sites most often visited by your customers- try Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, and Instagram.
  • Create a Strategy: It's important to post at regular intervals and set up a campaign so there is new content people shared on a regular basis. This keeps people informed, entertained and your restaurant on their brain.
  • Videos: This medium is hugely popular right now. Try creating a short video around an event or interviewing happy customers to post online.
  • Social Media Buttons: Ensure your website has social media buttons so it's easy for more people to find and follow you on social media.
  • Keep Up With Reviews: People talk when they're happy. They talk a LOT more when they're unhappy. It doesn't take much to get a bad review these days, either. Make sure you're monitoring online chatter about your business and handling any bad reviews ASAP.

5. Offline Marketing

The Internet helps but it isn't everything.

Here's how restaurants have been effectively marketing since the Stone Age:

  • Partnering with another Brand: Two is always better than one. Especially when you can utilize one another's loyal customers. Try partnering with a local charity, your favorite alcohol or food distributor or business to help bring in extra business.
  • Make Your Signs Count: Make sure that your outdoor signs are easy to see and read. Put smaller signs in front of your restaurant to attract passersby.
  • Restaurant Week: January and February tend to be slow restaurant months. This week was designed to get people out of their homes and into your restaurant.

6. E-Mail Newsletter

Newsletters are huge right now.

They're quick. They're easy. And they're versatile.

There are also tons of online tools like MailChimp that help you easily create and send newsletters.

They're also an inexpensive marketing tool.

Here are some topics any restaurant can use:

  • Food & Drink Promotions
  • Loyal Customers Sharing an Experience
  • Share Recipes
  • Promote Events

7. Use Technology

Technology will only increase the dining experience and help a restaurant owner make the most of their marketing campaigns.

Here are a few ways to get started.

  • Create Your Own App- Keep your loyal customers up-to-date with specials, events, and promotions.
  • Utilize Snapchat GeoFilters - A great way for mobile users to find you when they're in your neighborhood.
  • Deal Sites - Offering coupons and discounts help grow brand recognition and customer loyalty.
  • Online Ordering - Food deliveries are growing and can become a huge part of your business.

8. Be Socially Aware

Sustainability is quickly becoming a new trend.

Restaurants are poised to directly benefit from this trend.

Here are just a few ways you can help the environment and attract loyal customers:

  • Cook What's in Season
  • Buy Locally and in Bulk
  • Manage Your Waste

There are many ways to successfully market your restaurant.

But successful marketing takes time and an effective strategy. If you aren't sure where to start or realize a professional should take over, contact us and we'll gladly help.

Need help getting your restaurant marketing above the noise in 2017?

Contact Us


Dallas Marketing Facebook vs YouTube video ads

Video Marketing: Facebook vs YouTube

Video marketing is scary. Marketers' tunnel-vision gets them stuck on production costs and time-consuming edits and finding talent. But the rise of Snapchat and the subsequent appreciation of in-the-moment marketing and realistic, transparent content, has lowered the bar for acceptable video marketing. That is, it doesn't need to feel like polished, brand-push marketing. It just needs to feel authentic.

But let's set aside what to shoot for now, and talk platforms. Everyone knows YouTube. Everyone knows Facebook. But not many know the best ways to publish videos on each.

YouTube Video Marketing Strategy

Treat YouTube as your video library, because no one's going to find your videos organically.

Okay, slight hyperbole - I'm sure someone will stumble upon your videos within YouTube itself. But most of your views will come from links you post on social media, other people sharing those posts, etc. Sure, YouTube has subscribers, but not many brands garner a large following, and the payoff of that fan base isn't as lucrative as other social platforms. Users tend to browse for entertainment, not your brand's video marketing.

Use your YouTube channel as a place to save all your promotional and informational videos. Make playlists to organize similar content. Feature a video on your page that auto-plays if someone clicks your channel name. These things don't have major impact, but a backlog of video content (just like blog and social posts) implies a certain level of expertise in, and attention to your industry. Plus it's a great internal directory to have all your videos handy and linkable.

The biggest opportunity in YouTube is the low cost of video ads.

Yes, those annoying pre-roll ads you wait to skip before watching Kanye's latest PR stunt... those things can be dirt cheap. We've paid as little as 14 cents(!) per view. And don't worry, you only pay if a certain length is actually watched. A word to the wise: Don't just count on an existing video to perform well as an ad. Those first five seconds need to pack in a visual stimulant, brand identification, product or service offering, and maybe even a call-to-action.

Facebook Video Marketing Strategy

Don't paste YouTube links. Post videos directly onto Facebook.

Why?

Auto-play is king.

Pasting a link to your YouTube video merely shows the thumbnail of the video. Posting the same video natively to Facebook kicks off the video as soon as someone scrolls to it. Sure, the sound won't play unless they actually click on it, but that's why you've put subtitles on the video, right? (RIGHT?!) The motion of the post practically guarantees significantly higher engagement compared to a mere video thumbnail.

Expand the lifetime of longer content by splicing it into smaller clips. Five to 30 second clips (with subtitles) of previously-posted videos is a great tactic to increase reach with minimal effort. Post a different clip every few days, or even weeks down the line, and then link to the full video. Keep that thing alive by sprinkling those little punches of value.

Facebook Video Advertising

Video marketing ads work the same way as any other boosted post on Facebook's marketing platform. That is, the videos don't run before other people's videos like they do on YouTube. Instead, it shows up in users' feeds just like other sponsored posts; it just has a video attached to it.

Although not as cheap (probably) as YouTube, they're still very reasonably priced if you're not in an extremely saturated market. A "view" is counted at the 10-second mark.

The great part about video marketing on Facebook is the greater attention to the text of the post. Whereas your description on YouTube probably won't be seen, and it doesn't make sense to keep updating it with promo codes, specials, etc., the text in your Facebook post will almost always be read when your video is watched. Plus, with the short clip method mentioned above, you can continually post and promote content from the same video, with evolving or revolving calls-to-action.

Don't Be Lazy. Seriously.

YouTube is not your end-all be-all solution for video marketing. But its advertising can provide some high value for low costs. Organic (free) views will probably have to be earned or purchased, as even your subscribers likely won't know you've posted something new.

Facebook rewards native video posts with auto-play, and boosting video posts allows you to be more engaging with supporting text. Plus, your existing followers are more likely to engage and share quality content. It makes more sense on this platform to splice up and re-use video content.

Remember, don't get too caught up producing a major, perfectly polished piece. People like realism. They appreciate transparency.

Spend your time appropriately to get the most out of every video post by being respectful to and aware of the platforms on which you're publishing. Video marketing, in many -- especially local -- industries, is currently one of the biggest marketing opportunities to set yourself apart from competition. Do it better.

Need help with producing or promoting your video marketing?

Contact Us


Dallas Waze Advertising Digital Media Marketing

Waze Ads: How Do I Use Waze For My Retail Store?

By now, you've probably heard of the social navigation app Waze. Either you use it, or your coworker has mentioned it 30 times, or a friend has scolded you for not using it. Since Google bought it for $966 million in 2013, they've been working on monetization. Enter: Waze ads.

Waze has a number of tools available for marketers who have monthly budgets of $15,000 or more. It also presents a great opportunity to jump in front of your competition's customers and disrupt their navigational intent.

There are a few offerings in particular that we recommend to marketers who are ready to jump in.

Waze Branded Pins

Branded pins are navigational pins that mimic a digital billboard on the user's phone. As a user enters the area near your location, a pin pops up on the Waze map with your business's logo.

When the user taps on your logo, a pop-up appears on the top one-third of their screen showing your ad.

These pins can use calls-to-action such as Drive There, Save Location, Save for Later, Save Offer, and Call Now.

Zero-Speed Takeovers

A zero-speed takeover is a large format ad (similar to when a user clicks your branded pin) that appears when a user's car is fully stopped. These takeovers happen when... you guessed it, a user's speed is at zero.

Your ad will pop up on his or her phone showing your image and a call to action (similar to the branded pins product).

These takeovers are the granddaddy of Waze marketing because you also have the ability to overlay audience data.

For example, if you are a company that serves breakfast and lunch, you could show an ad in the morning to promote your breakfast and an ad around noon to promote your lunch.

Likewise, you can actually target people who are navigating to your competitor's location and attempt to divert them to your business.

Other targeting options including remarketing to users who have physically been in your store, as well as weather-based promotions.

Promoted Searches

Promoted searches operate much like search engine marketing. As a user inputs a query that is related to your business, an ad is displayed that contains both your logo (so that your ad is more likely to be interacted with) and the offer that you're promoting.

Unlike the other options, Waze's promoted searches do not have a secondary creative image associated with them. A user is simply capable of getting directions, saving the location, saving the offer, or calling your business.

Pricing

Pricing varies, but for the most part Waze ads are sold on a CPM basis (cost per thousand impressions). For zero-speed takeovers, you'll see CPMs in the $20 range. For branded pins, you might pay as little as $2.

Until Waze directly integrates with one of Google's existing self-service ad platforms, they are likely to maintain a fairly high monthly minimum. Currently, advertisers have to spend $15,000 a month to use the platform. As always, we'll be sure to update you as the platform evolves.

Need help with your Waze ads?

Contact Us


Dallas Hotel Marketing and Advertising

3 Ways for Hotel Marketing to Work in Dallas-Fort Worth

In an industry that has seen continual consolidation by the big players -- from the offers to purchase Starwood (from both Marriott and Anbang Insurance Group) or the purchase of the beloved Waldorf Astoria by Anbang Insurance Group last year -- boutique hotels have managed to unearth quite the popularity boost. With this popularity, a challenge arises - hotel marketing!

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, we're home to some beautiful historic spots to rest your head. Like Hotel ZaZaHotel IndigoThe JouleThe Stoneleigh. Marketing your hotel's value above the noise of other ads and capturing last minute travelers can be super challenging when you're going up against the big guys.

We have compiled a list of our favorite 3 hotel marketing tactics for your Dallas-Fort Worth boutique.

Managed-Service Data Providers

Companies like Sojern and Adara purchase data from meta search engines and online travel agents (OTAs) and use that data to target prospective travelers. These prospective travelers are then driven to purchase their rooms on your website vs. the meta search / OTA sites, and do a good job of pinpointing people who are actively looking to travel to your city.

They typically work on a minimum contract and bill out on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) fee for the value of their data. The best part? You receive insights on the types of people who travel and stay at your hotel beyond the standard booking data. You can answer questions like "How early do people tend to start their search process when they stay at my hotel?," "How early do people typically book my hotel before their stay?," and "Where do my customers begin their search when they stay with me?" These answers start playing into the rest of your marketing strategies, and the information starts becoming exponentially more valuable.

Google AdWords

Despite their relatively expensive cost per click (CPC), AdWords search targeting helps you easily target in-market travelers. For example, especially in the boutique world, Google searches for "boutique hotel dallas" are valuable to you. You know that not only is a user looking for a hotel but they are actually looking for a boutique hotel like yours.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth metro, you will spend approximately $3-5 per click. If only 3% of users convert, you will pay between $100 to $160 to drive a hotel booking.

While it is rather expensive to acquire these users, it can be a useful venture with the proper landing page optimization, ad copy, and keywords. Combine with a Remarketing List to lower acquisition costs by swaying users who seem to be on the fence. Plus, once you've got their emails, send occasional promotions in the near future that they can give to friends, as well as further down the road to see if you can get repeat business. Strategies like this can -- in the long run -- effectively offset an initially painful cost-per-acquisition.

Google Hotel Rates Ads

Google Hotel Ads are part of a pretty new product offering from Google's ever-expanding travel vertical. These "ads" help you display your current rates to a user in the standard meta data for your hotel's website. These ads are competitive and necessary because the same people bidding against you on search results (the OTAs and meta search engines) are also bidding against you for hotel ads.

Hotel Ads, unlike Google AdWords, can be sold on either a commission-basis or a cost-per-click basis. To set these up, you work with one of Google's preferred data feed partners. These partners will help you connect your booking engine with Google's technology so that there is no updating necessary to show the correct hotel rate.

This all may sound a bit daunting, but to stay relevant in such a competitive industry, step #1 is just showing up. Literally. As we say time and time again, it's all about testing and learning the behavior of your customers' digital patterns. There are so many opportunities to stay ahead of the digital media curve and outwit the Big Boys, but you've got to get moving. The above suggestions are your backbone. After that, focus on personality and differentiation. I better see a custom Snapchat filter the next time I stay in one of your rooms!

Need to up your hotel marketing digital game?

Contact Us


Dallas Moving Company Digital Advertising

Dallas Moving Company Marketing: How to Effectively Advertise on AdWords

The last time I moved apartments in Dallas, the sheer quantity of moving companies that showed up in my search results was almost crippling. Reviews fell on all ends of the spectrum for every company, and I had no idea which one to choose. Moving company marketing in Dallas-Fort Worth is a complex (and expensive) effort.

So we thought it would be a fun exercise to break down a few ways we would market a moving company via AdWords in order to stand out from the crowd.

The reality is that some of the traditional AdWords strategies are expensive if you go directly for the logical "main" keywords and audiences. For example, if you were to try and purchase the keywords "moving company" on Google's AdWords platform you would pay around $15 per click. Ouch.

If you assume a normal conversion rate of 2-3%, you would be paying between $500 and $750 per conversion. Unless you're the most expensive moving service in Dallas, this is likely not a profitable option for you.

Our approach to improving your performance and driving sales leads at a more profitable cost (say $50-75 a piece or less) involves three key things:

1. Avoid the Main Keywords and Focus on the "Long Tail" Searches

There are three different audiences that you can test in your AdWords strategy - branded keywords, competitor keywords, and non-branded keywords. (We have an article here that will catch you up on the intricacies of each.)

The "long tail" searches involve keywords that are related to - but not the exact search intent of - your ad messaging. This involves targeting things like people searching for moving boxes, searching for a moving truck that they will rent for themselves, or even potentially people searching for furniture for their new place. You're trying to prospect for customers that appear to be prepping for a move, even if they aren't specifically looking for a moving company in that exact search.

Unlike the "moving company"-type keywords that cost in upwards of $15 per click, you can buy keywords like these for much less:

  • Moving Boxes (~$3 per click)
  • Where to Buy Moving Boxes (~$2 per click)
  • Moving Trailer (~$3 to $4 per click)
  • Pickup Rental (~$1.50 per click)
  • Apartment Furniture (~$3-4 per click)

Targeting these types of keywords and aligning the search intent with the value you provide as a moving company could potentially reduce your cost per sales lead by around 90%. The conversion that cost you upwards of $500 - $750 before now costs you $50 - $75.

2. Build Landing Pages that Correlate to Search Interest

The biggest issue that many DFW moving companies have is that their websites are not prepared to support and facilitate effective advertising.

The concept of a landing page that is highly focused on driving conversions is an important one. Pretty much any study you find about it will agree that landing pages will boost your conversion rates instantly.

What exactly is it? Think of a one-page experience to which you send everyone who clicks on an ad. It succinctly and effectively portrays your whole pitch. From why they should choose you to what they should expect to pay. Often times there's a special deal or incentive (10 free boxes!... 1st hour free!) to entice visitors. Attractive, professional design is key; that whole first impression thing, ya know?

Landing pages are especially important when you target those longer tail searches I mentioned earlier. Google factors many things into what they call their "Quality Score" and this score helps determine your relevancy, where your ad shows up (are you the first paid search result or on page 3?), and ultimately how much you pay for each individual click.

Google won't find your ad relevant if people do not click on it or if the content on the page that they ultimately land on is not correlated to the keywords you are bidding on.

We at Red Herd Media use tools like Unbounce to build and test landing pages for our clients so that we can always be showing the most relevant content to your visitors. Such platforms are havens for A/B testing because of how easily you can push out small variations for every landing page. We're often asked, What's a good conversion rate? and our answer is always the same: anything higher than yesterday's rate.

3. Track Conversions through to Real Sales Leads

This is possibly the most important aspect of a successful AdWords lead-generation campaign. You must be able to test the keywords you are bidding on and correlate them to real sales or leads. How else can you tell what's TRULY working best?

For tracking on your site, this is all about setting up goals in Google Analytics on your site that represent the things that make you money. This could be filling out a form, clicking a Contact Us button, or a number of other indicators. You must be able to correlate the intent and the click to a true conversion for your business.

Pro tip: you can also use an ad extension in Google AdWords to have users click to call you directly from your ad on mobile. Google tracks these conversions and reports them back to you. The visibility of seeing exactly which ads are bringing in phone calls epitomizes the testing, targeting, and user experience that we constantly emphasize.

Whew, where do I start?

Anywhere. Start with improved, more efficient keyword targeting. You'll gradually notice what's working via the AdWords dashboard. Then, build out a landing page or two that caters to the keywords and value pitches that the hardest-working ads are promoting. Start sending those ad clicks to those pages, and keep tweaking. Make sure forms and buttons are being tracked so that they're tied to the ads that brought the user in.

Improvements are improvements. Don't be overwhelmed by the extent of our suggestions here. Anything you can do to lower your cost-per-acquisition while upping your revenue trend line is a good thing. Keep on movin' on.

Moving company marketing have you stressed out?

Contact Us


Google algorithm advertising digital media

What is an advertising algorithm?

As you scale your marketing efforts as a small business, the need to expand some of your technical knowledge and remain in control of optimizing conversions grows larger. We are creating a new series of blog content to facilitate the education process on some advanced advertising lingo and know-how.

What the f*** is an advertising algorithm?

An advertising algorithm is a process that a computer uses in calculating or problem-solving to determine an outcome.

In the scope of advertising, advertising technology ("ad tech") companies often pitch how their 'algorithm' will discover the people most interested in your product or service.

What does an algorithm theoretically do for my advertising budget?

It depends on the software platform but the general idea is that algorithms can produce solutions that a human can not efficiently replicate. The computer software is capable of automating an extremely manual process and actually learning what works best.

Depending on the platform, their algorithm will use inputs from many different "hints". They will take these hints and automatically score them to determine the best time to serve your ad.

These inputs can include things such as:

  • Time of day,
  • The site that a user is on,
  • User behavior (have they interacted with your site?),
  • Frequency (how often are ads shown to a user? how often do they interact with your site or your ads),
  • The device (mobile, desktop, tablet),
  • and countless others.

When you assign a goal like a CPA (cost per acquisition) or a CPC (cost per click) to the advertising model, it can use all of those inputs to determine how much to bid on that user and how often a user needs to see an ad before they complete your goal metric.

Will Ad Tech algorithms solve all of my advertising problems?

The reality of the situation is that many "algorithms" are either not proprietary (they are 'leasing' technology from another larger provider) or they're not as robust as they claim.

There's this underlying hesitation around sprouting ad tech companies; a suspicion rooted in many of them selling "vaporware." Vaporware is technology that - on the surface - has a lot of features and a slick user experience, but falls short in effectively performing your goals and reaching those elusive KPI promises.

You should really push all technology providers to explain the benefit that their service provides your business. Even if they sell convenience vs. exponential performance, they might be making a pitch that is worth your investment. That is to say, choose products for the right reasons. If you're looking to save time each day, then UI/UX can be a huge factor, and maybe you're satisfied with your current baseline ad performance. If nothing matters more than upping conversion, then those same features could end up seeming like a facade of simplicity.

You should also be voracious in your tracking of the metrics that are important to you. The best defense against being sold technology that does not benefit you is testing a small budget with them and holding them to a specific goal metric.

What platforms can I trust?

We are absolutely not trying to paint a negative picture of the ad tech industry. We're actually extremely optimistic about the long-term outlook of such tools and capabilities.

That said, we recommend approaching all of them with caution. The players that are easiest to trust are also the biggest. Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc all provide robust technology to serve your advertising. When it comes to things like email marketing, cross-platform ad management, and larger bidding platforms, the features and promises get more grey and less predictable.

What does this mean to me?

In a technology environment dotted with snake oil salesmen, we recommend a cautious approach. Don't believe everything a salesperson tells you. Ask a lot of questions and make sure that you are educated on the benefits of the platform and how they specifically relate to you. We've seen it time and time again where a "can this tool do X?" question receives a "yes" before the sale, and then the tune quickly changes once they have your money. Make them demonstrate everything. And always ensure that you track the proper success metrics to verify that the new technology is driving the results you expect.

We at Red Herd believe it's essential to educate our clients on what we are doing to grow their business. That means always being available to answer questions about what's going on "behind the wall." We're also constantly learning about what's out there, and are happy to facilitate a connection between your company and a third-party solution.

Need to up your digital marketing game?

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Dallas Agency AdWords for small business

Search Marketing Anatomy: The Three Basic Audiences

If you are new to search engine marketing (SEM) in tools like Google AdWords or Bing Ads, you might be wondering where to begin when testing keyword audiences. We use three essential audiences for all of our client's search campaigns. There are pros and cons to every audience and it's important to understand the value of each of the different types of search intent.

Branded Keywords

Branded keywords are keywords that literally include your brand name. These keywords are important because they help you protect your branded search terms. In a competitive landscape, other brands can purchase your branded keywords and show their ad at the top of search results if you are not also bidding on these keywords.

Pros

  • Protects searches for your brand.
  • Is a relatively cheap cost per click (CPC) because your brand is highly relevant to the search intent.
  • Allows you to offer unique experiences to users whom are already familiar with your business.

Cons

  • You are paying for users who are already looking for you.
  • If you handle subscriptions or a model where a user wouldn't pay you anything additional on their next visit, you are paying for customers who will not provide incremental revenue.

Competitor Keywords

Competitor keywords involve search intent related to your competitor's business name. They are your competitors' branded searches. These can often times be very expensive but if your competitor is not protecting their search intent, this audience can be cheap and lucrative.

Pros

  • It is your chance to redirect search intent for your strongest competitors to your brand instead.
  • If your competitor is not also bidding on their branded terms, you can typically buy these search terms for a very low cost per click (CPC).

Cons

  • The competition's loyal customers are going to be hard to convert. You are paying for clicks that could potentially never switch to your brand. Be sure to really push your competitive advantage in the copy of these ads to sway customers.

Non-Branded Keywords

Non-branded keywords involve search intent around the problem that your business solves. For one of our clients, CrushCraft Thai, this involves a strategy that targets people who are hungry for thai food or even more generally a quick bite to eat for lunch or dinner. These are phrases like, "best restaurant in uptown dallas" or "thai food lunch."

Pros

  • Non-branded keywords (depending on your market) can be very non-competitive. This is your chance to rise to the top of Google's search ranks.
  • Long-tail keyword phrases allow narrower pinpointing towards your target market(s)
  • You are more likely to familiarize a potential new customer in their discovery phase when they are searching for a company to satisfy their need.

Cons

  • Due to the prospecting nature of this audience, conversion rates are typically lower.
  • If you are in a competitive market like lawyers, moving companies, or plumbing companies, these searches will often have lower conversion rates and high cost per clicks (CPCs).

 

Just like any suggestion we provide, our emphasis on testing can't be overstated. Don't just set it and forget it. Try out a bunch of keywords. Pull the weeds (high cost, low conversion) as you see them. Water the flowers (low cost, high conversion) daily. I think I'm going to go outside now...

Need help dissecting the search marketing anatomy?

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Dallas Restaurant Marketing Advertising Agency

Dallas Restaurant Marketing: 5 Innovative Digital Channels

At Red Herd Media, we are often getting asked how to make a small budget go a long way. Many of our clients are restaurants, attorneys, breweries, and bars looking to get their feet wet in paid advertising. We believe in the concept of "building to test" which means testing lots of different platforms, measuring results, and then reallocating based on performance.

We also believe that every good marketing plan should be 70-80% "vetted avenues" and 20-30% test platforms. These vetted avenues are the ones that everyone has heard of - Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, Yelp, and the list goes on.

Where do you begin with your experimental spend? We've got 5 recommendations to get started.

1. Snapchat Geofilters

As a restauranteur, you probably already have a loyal fanbase that comes to your restaurant often. One of the ways you can tap their individual reach is by purchasing a Snapchat Geofilter. Snapchat Geofilters cost $5 per hour and can cover your whole location. When customers are at your store, you can either encourage them to utilize the filter for some incentive (a free soda!) or setup and wait for the people to use it. As people share their Snapchat with their friend base, you will reach customers who are friends with / similar to your customer. Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing and cheapest ways to reach your customer base on the internet today.

2. Food Bloggers / Influencers

Food bloggers and influencers are a new(er) rage. They carry followings that typically focus around a specific city or geographical region. Finding influencers can be tough but you can start by combing people who mention your restaurant by name. These people likely will accept some type of incentive (whether that is a fixed dollar amount per Instagram post or an in-store discount or freebie) to post content about your restaurant or its food. You can then work with these creators to get their permission to use their content on your own social feed. These users can be a great way to reach users who are in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

3. Waze Competitive Takeovers

One of our favorite tactics is actually using the popular navigation app Waze to takeover navigations to your competitive restaurants. You can actually serve ads to users who have inputted a restaurant or another location near you. It comes at a relatively high price at $20 per 1,000 impressions and a minimum of $15K per month but the power of redirecting their intent to your restaurant can definitely be worth it.

4. Location-Based Mobile Advertising

You might have heard that 2014, 2015, oh wait... 2016 is the "Year of Mobile". The truth is that now ~56% of all internet traffic is coming from mobile devices. There are tools out there now where you can target a user's precise location and previous interests. You can even go as far as targeting people who have been in your store before (or even one of your competitor's stores). These users will see your ad when they are navigating a mobile browser or are in-app and are within a close proximity (as close as 1/2 of a mile at times) of your store. You can use these ads to incentivize them to take a step inside your door and have lunch or dinner. Bonus points go for if you use an attribution product like Foursquare's new location-based attribution tool to track users who actually do enter your store.

5. In-Store Beacons

If you are a restaurant with an existing customer base that uses your mobile app, you can utilize tools like beacon advertising to convey your message. Beacon advertising takes location-based mobile advertising to the next level by actually being able to send a push notification to a user when they step within proximity of the device. These devices communicate via Bluetooth with users who have your app installed on their mobile device. That means that you have to: (1) make sure that your user base has an incentive to download your app, (2) install an SDK (software development kit) within your app to communicate with the device, and (3) pay a monthly fee to the beacon provider for the software / hardware. This can be an expensive investment and is only reserved for restaurants that have a large marketing budget as it can cost in upwards of $10K per month.

So, what does this mean?

The world of digital marketing is growing and technology partners are each an individual task to manage. If you use the proper mix of traditional digital efforts (AdWords, Social Ads, SEO, etc) and more innovative, "growth hacking" procedures, you can expand your restaurants footprint and stand out from the rest of the Dallas' restaurants.

Need help with your Dallas restaurant marketing?

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Stubhub 76ers jersey advertising

StubHub's $5M Deal for Philadelphia 76er Jersey Ads Is a Steal

The 76ers just announced that ticket resale company StubHub will have its logo on the team's jerseys for three seasons at $5M per, starting next year. This is a historic first step for US sports' teams next foray - selling jersey ads.

So, let's do the math:

At 500,000 average viewership per game and 82 games a year, StubHub is putting their brand in front of as many as 41 million fans who are their direct audience: ticket-buying sports fanatics. This audience is difficult to narrowly, cost-effectively target. There's a lot of noise, and — short of buying expensive ads on all of the premium sports sites in the United States (team sites, ESPN, BleacherReport.com, etc.) — you're going to have a hard time standing out.

Those 41 million fans consume about 64 zoomed-in views of a Philadelphia 76er jersey per game. That's broken down as such:

Over the course of a season that is 2.63 BILLION (with a B) impressions when ONLY accounting for TV viewership. At $5,000,000 a year, StubHub is effectively buying impressions at $1.90 CPM.

And what we're discussing doesn't even include the facts that A) the NBA is allowing teams to sell the jerseys with the ads on them, B) a lot of sports consumption is through video highlights shown online and on ESPN's SportsCenter, and C) that approximately 1M fans see the 76ers play in person a year.

We at Red Herd approve, StubHub. You've spent your $5M/year damn well.

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