SEO tip: PPC + SEO drives better quality leads to your website

B-KoThis week, we welcome a guest post from our Online Marketing Manager and PPC/SEO specialist, Brian Ko. Certified in both Google AdWords and Silverpop, Brian works with clients to develop strategies leveraging search engine marketing and email marketing automation.

Congratulations – you invested in a brand new website equipped with the latest features and gadgets to provide customers a fantastic user experience. What’s the plan for driving visitors to your new site?

A great website is useless without traffic, and more importantly, qualified traffic that converts visitors into customers. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) come into play. As a SEO/PPC specialist, I have three favorite recommendations for incorporating SEO and PPC into your marketing strategy to drive quality traffic to your website.

The Case for SEO + PPC:

seo-ppc
At its most basic, SEO drives organic traffic to your website. Organic traffic consists of visitors who land on your website by searching for keywords relevant to your business in a search engine like Google. SEO uses a combination of website optimization, content strategy, and a variety of other methods to make sure your business is at the top of search listings.

Why is being at the top important? According a study by online ad network Chitika, Google results on the first page get 92% of traffic for the average search, and organic listings with the first rank have a click-through rate of 33%. Staying atop of the herd pays off, when it comes to organic search.

Meanwhile, PPC works hand in hand with SEO, driving visitors to your website through paid advertisements placed strategically around the ‘organic’ search results for specific keywords. A company bids on what they want to pay for a click on an ad.

According to a study by Wordstream Research, 64.6% of clicks for high commercial intent keyword searches (people looking to purchase a specific product) come from paid search, and 41% of clicks go to the top 3 paid ads on a page. The keyword competition can be fierce with PPC, but it’s worth it – you’re paying to get your site in front of your target audience.

SEO + PPC – the benefits

The statistics speak for themselves – SEO is key to getting your website found by customers online. It requires patience, perseverance, and agility to adjust your strategy to the never ending parade of Google algorithm updates. At the core, SEO is all about providing unique and relevant content to the right audience for consistent and long term ROI.

PPC is instant gratification – you pick a keyword, set a bid, write an ad, and then see results right away. It is a fantastic way to boost conversions for special events, like sales or holidays. PPC offers an ever expanding set of features (Google shopping/product listing ads, display ads, ad extensions, remarketing) giving you many opportunities to sell more products or services.

Incorporating both SEO and PPC into your marketing strategy can maximize inbound search traffic.

1. Immediate and long-term traffic: use PPC to drive traffic to your site right away and then use the collected data to optimize your SEO for long term traffic.
2. PPC data fills in SEO gaps: use the comprehensive data captured from PPC and apply it to your SEO – an especially useful workaround when it comes to secured search (see our blog post on the (not provided) issue and secure search).
3. Leverage your PPC campaign to get ahead of SEO competition. If you rank #1 in organic search listings for your brand, but you’re not running a PPC campaign, a competitor can bid on your brand name and jump ahead of you on the search results page. Don’t let this happen!

Communicate Early:

SEO and PPC are sometimes considered low priorities during the madness of building and launching a new website. Coordination and communication from the start between stakeholders, development, and the search team is vital to success.

Takeaways:

Implementing PPC and SEO in conjunction will drive short-term and long-term qualified traffic to your brand new website – ensuring you maximize your investment.

Behind the glasses: Teddy Pekalski

TeddyEach month, we interview one of our fab employees here at Whereoware. For July, we get to know Teddy Pekalski, our Sales + Marketing Associate, a little better.

WHO:

What’s your name? Teddy Pekalski
Job title: Sales + Marketing Associate

BACKGROUND:

Favorite food: Chipotle Bowl, all day, every day!
Hidden talents: Falling asleep in movie theaters. (Yes, I’ve been woken up by movie attendants.) I won’t see a movie past 8 p.m., because I’ll only waste my money.
If there were a movie of my life, I’d be played by: Mark Wahlberg… man crush.
One item you would bring with you to a desert island and why: A beach chair… I’m not leaving!
My earliest memory: My first time fishing – I was holding the tub of worms, when a dog came running down the hill barking and scared me. I took off running, but unfortunately, I ran towards the water. Before I knew it, I was waist deep in water and the tub of worms was empty. Our fishing trip resulted in wet clothes and watching the fish eat the worms I graciously spilled.
In a zombie apocalypse, my weapon of choice would be: a Ray Gun from Call of Duty.

NERD QUIZ:

Facebook or Twitter: Twitter – to read all the sports insiders
iOS or Android: iOS
‘Nerd’ or ‘Geek’: I don’t think I’ve been called either (unless it dealt with baseball stats)
Star Wars or Star Trek? I don’t really do the sci-fi thing.

What’s the best part about working at Whereoware?

Every day is different. I’m constantly learning and facing new challenges. Luckily, I work with a group of incredibly bright co-workers, who are always willing to lend a hand. Whereoware allows me to push myself and continue to grow, not only as an employee, but as a person.

5 tips for a tablet-driven sales meeting

Is your iPad sales tool helping, or hurting, productivity in your sales meetings?

Forrester Research projects spotlight for sales - in ipad-v2that by 2017, total worldwide tablet sales will reach 381 million units, with 18% of these tablets purchased directly by enterprises.

That’s a huge number of tablet users leveraging the tool to meet and exceed their business goals. We put together our top five tips and tricks to ensure you’re using your tablet to its fullest potential.

1. Always represent your company’s brand 
In today’s competitive sales climate, it’s imperative to highlight your company’s brand wherever you go. This is especially true with your sales app, which is in front of your customers regularly. Your sales app should have a cohesive look and feel (your company’s logo, colors, and messaging) to help customers better associate and recall your brand, set yourself apart from the competition, and increase their comfort level doing business with you.

2. Be prepared before walking in the door
Open and load all the apps you need, BEFORE you walk into the client’s door. On the same note, ‘kill’ your games, email, music, and other apps that you don’t need during the sales presentation. Even better, move all nonbusiness apps to another screen. Unnecessary apps only distract your client.

3. Your tablet is guiding the meeting, not leading it!
Remember, your iPad is a sales tool, but YOU are the sales master! Don’t let technology take over your meeting – your knowledge of the customer and your product should always take center stage. Use the tool to prepare a customized presentation (based on your customer knowledge) and guide your client through closing the sale.

4. Disable all push notifications
Before walking into your meeting, picture that familiar movie theater clip about silencing your cell phone. No client should see you have another client meeting in an hour, or that you have to pick up little Jimmy from soccer at 4:00 p.m. Don’t interrupt your client’s buying experience! If you’re unsure how to disable push notifications, ask us at support@activemerchandiser.com

5. Charge your battery
How can you give an effective sales presentation from your tablet, if it won’t turn on? Charge your tablet each and every night. You should also have a car charger, for when you’re on the road all day.

Take advantage of sales apps in your meetings by following these great tips (collected from reps using our Spotlight iPad application). How do you take advantage of your iPad in sales meetings? Share your tips in the comment box below!

Paper Style recognized in the Internet Retailer 2014 Second 500 Guide®

Congratulations to our client, customized invitations and stationery retailer PaperStyle.com, for their inclusion in the Internet Retailer 2014 Second 500 Guide. Paper Style is recognized for their targeted email campaign that we helped develop, design, and execute.

Using marketing automation and personalization technology, the innovative wedding campaign comprises of a series of emails that follow a bride and/or her friends through wedding events, offering Paper Style products to match their needs along the way. This email program launched in autumn 2012, and has seen impressive returns – 244% higher open rate than their average email send and 330% increase in revenue per mailing.

The Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide lists e-retailers operating in North America that are ranked 501-1,000, based on 2013 online sales. The competitive information included on this list aims at helping other e-retailers improve their businesses.

To read more about the structure and success of Paper Style’s targeted campaign, get the case study.

Google analytics tip: coming soon – enhanced e-commerce reporting

online shopperGoogle’s 2014 Analytics Summit unveiled the latest updates rolling out in the tool. We’re particularly excited for the Enhanced E-commerce functionality and reporting that will let us better track, measure, and analyze customers’ journey to purchase.

Enhanced E-commerce is currently in beta, but is being rolled out in phases to Google Analytics accounts leveraging Universal Analytics. We submitted our request to access the beta, and while we impatiently wait for approval, we are giving you a glimpse of what’s to come with Enhanced E-commerce. We’ll follow up, of course, once we get our greedy hands on the beta version!

Google Gets Us

shopper2Whether you’re a marketer, sales person, or business owner, you need more than a list of numbers to crunch, you need to understand how those numbers effect your business, and how your business decisions, in turn, effect those numbers. Google has slowly been integrating these “big picture” tracking and reporting functions to help you understand your customers and business better than ever before.

Previously, Google’s e-commerce reporting was cemented in transactions and revenue. This is extremely helpful at correlating marketing tactics resulting in conversions. The customers’ journey to purchase, though, is still vague. What other products did customers view? Did they add items to their cart and remove them? What about potential customers who added items to their cart, but then didn’t follow through with the purchase?

Enhanced E-commerce’s greater insight into these less concrete aspects of your customers’ path to purchase will let you virtually map out their buyer’s journey through your site, and tailor your website content and promotions, accordingly.

Enhanced E-commerce features:

  • Shopping and purchasing behavior reports help you understand how site visitors are interacting with your website along their path to purchase. Track products customers view and products added or removed from their shopping carts; along with data on initiating, abandoning, and completing transactions.
  • Product performance reports let you measure the revenue and conversion rates your products generate, how many products the average transaction includes, the average order value, refunds you had to issue, and the rates users add products to their carts and make purchases after having viewed product-detail pages. You can set this report to speak to individual products or add category and brand properties to look at the bigger picture.
  • The Affiliate Code report lets you track revenue, transactions, and average order value associated with affiliate sites that drive customers to your site.
  • Order and coupon reports let you track how effective your coupons are in terms of revenue, unique purchases, and product revenue per purchase, at both the product- and order-level.
  • The Internal Promotion report allows you to track the same metrics for internal promotions (like banner ads) within your website.
  • The Product Lists report measures how your Product Lists (categorizations of similar products, related products, upsells, and cross-sells) are influencing action, including the clicks, views, and click-through rate for each list, list position, and product position within the list. This will help you determine whether the order you list your products or their categories are impacting conversion rates.

We’ll be in touch…

We’ll write a follow up blog post as soon as we’ve explored the Enhanced E-commerce functionality for our own clients. Keep in mind, there will be some initial work to ready your site. You’ll need to implement Universal Analytics and then the ec.js plugin. The ec.js plugin lets you track all aspects of your users’ shopping experience, from clicking product links, viewing product details, adding and removing products to the shopping cart, completing transactions, and more. Plan fora bit of a learning curve to determine how to gain the greatest insight from these new reports. To help, Google is offering a free online training course through Google’s Analytics Academy to learn how to run the new reports and analyze the data.

Web tip – 3 website tweaks to convert visitors into customers

shopping cartIs your e-commerce website helping you grow sales? Your website is more than an online version of your brochure or catalog. An effective website works for you – engaging, convincing, and converting web browsers into customers. If your website isn’t pulling its own weight, try incorporating a few of our website tweaks to convert visitors into customers.

Convince + Lead

You cannot turn browsing site visitors into buyers without a clear and concise value proposition supported by a descriptive call-to-action (CTA). We know – we sound like a broken record, but it’s an extremely important step that so many websites skip. The same way diet and exercise is the age-old mantra of slimming down, your value proposition and CTAs are the time-tested principles of a website that sells for you.

Regardless of how aesthetically pleasing your website is, your site visitors need to instantly know why you’re more awesome than your competitors and what action to take next. Your value proposition tells visitors why your products and services are valuable and worth purchasing. Your CTA directs them to their next step in the purchasing lifecycle. The best CTAs specifically tell visitors exactly what to do, like “Shop Kids Apparel,” or “Get Patio Furniture on Sale.”

Without these guiding principles, site visitors stumble around your website like toddlers learning to walk. Don’t leave site experience up to chance – make sure your value proposition is immediately understood and your CTAs are effectively guiding visitors through the shopping experience.

Make sales easy and upsells easier

Upsells are the best, plain and simple. Our value props and CTAs are working hard to guide our customers towards the shopping cart, so it’s always a bonus when customers purchase MORE product than originally intended. Build upsells into your website design – it’s easier than it sounds!

An easy way to guide both initial sales and upsells is to group products into complementary groupings. Allow users to not only shop by product type, but also by collections.

For example, West Elm allows you to shop all products in the mid-century line. This makes it easy for customers to visualize how items go together and in turn, compels them to put an extra item in their cart.West Elm

Banana3Another idea is to show glamour shots and allow shoppers to purchase the individual items shown in the image. Banana Republic features “Outfits We Love.” When you click on an outfit, you can purchase each of the items in the outfit.

MudPie1You can also use recommendation engines to automatically categorize and display products (like “Similar Products” or “Customers Who Bought ABC, also Bought XYZ”).

Whereoware client MudPie sets the tone for upsells by offering “Related Items,” “Recently Viewed,” “Customers also Bought,” and “Customer Reviews” on their product pages.

Categories, glamour images, and recommendation engines are win-win: you make it easier for customers to shop your products and improve their experience on your site.

Add testimonials + product reviews

A study by Reevoo found that nearly 90% of customers consult a product review before purchase. Make sure customer testimonials and/or product reviews have a prominent piece of real estate on your website where they cannot be missed by customers. Both customer testimonials and product reviews help alleviate customer anxiety, by extending confidence that other people endorse your brand and products. They lend your website authority and credibility; an imperative since customers have so many shopping options online.

Another bonus is that it helps boost your SEO. Search engines love credible and fresh content regularly posted to your website.

Takeaways

Your compelling value proposition and CTA’s, upsells, and product reviews will ensure site visitors have a great user experience on your site – putting you miles ahead of any company with a pretty website that’s impossible to use. Incorporate a few of these easy tweaks to increase sales and turn aimless browsers into repeat buyers.

 

Behind the Glasses: Kelly Tomchik

Kelly Account ManagerEach month, we’ll be interviewing one of our fab employees here at Whereoware. For June, we get to know Kelly Tomchik, an Account Manager in our product development division, a little better.

WHO:
What’s your name? Kelly Tomchik
Job title: Account Manager

BACKGROUND:
Favorite food: Anything Italian (except ricotta cheese)
Hidden talents: I can somehow make an organized room more organized. It’s scary how organized I am. I drive my fiancé crazy – everything has a place and better be in its place.
If there were a movie of my life, I’d be played by: Reese Witherspoon -part New York chic, part Southern Charm, part all-American girl next door.
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Email automation tip: 5 frequent email mistakes

At Whereoware, we pay tribute to other companies’ unique email designs and catchy subject lines by sharing them at our team meetings each week. Our ongoing game of “design love” helps us keep emails we design and build for clients fresh. Of course, we see a lot of emails that miss the mark too, whether it’s a weak design, broken functionality, or sloppy messaging. Today, let’s review five common email mistakes.

Omitting key information
Skeleton Keys

It’s easy to get caught up designing and writing an email, hit send, and then realize minutes too late that you forgot to include key information. A beautiful email is relatively useless if your customers cannot interact with it. Necessary information like coupon codes, expiration dates, terms and conditions, and links need to be in working order, so that once your witty copy grabs your readers’ attention, they can move forward to the next step without thinking too hard.

Every email needs a reliable email checker . Before hitting send, a second person should look over your email as if they were the recipient. If the end goal of your email is to direct someone to buy a product on your website with a promo code, your checker must be able to do so without getting lost. They should click all your links, make sure the promo code works, and that your copy is clear and not confusing.
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Email workshop – Maximize your ROI from trade shows and events

We had a great turnout at our email workshop with events experts Atlantic Exhibits on Tuesday, June 10. We broke the event up into learning sessions, followed by hands-on email workshops. During the workshops, attendees brought in their pre- and post- event emails, and we walked them through our recommendations to achieve better results. Of course, we wanted to share the wealth of information with our blog readers! We also gave away our favorite email effectiveness checklist.

Check out our sessions:

2014 online benchmark – how does your website stack up against your peers?


Our 2013 Online Benchmark was so popular that we updated it for 2014! Get our 2014 Online Benchmark to see how your website stacks up against your peers.

Whereoware compiled data from our home décor, lighting, and furniture customers to provide an industry benchmark of major online indicators you should be tracking, such as:

% of total customers that visit your website
% of total customers that order online
% of total sales that are completed online