Should you be promoting all of your products through paid search?

With many Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns one of the most frequently asked questions is, “Should we be promoting all of our products through paid search?”  The answer is no!

First, companies must take a deeper look into the relationship between Sales Velocity and Margin which equals Return On Investment (ROI). (See Chart Below)  By identifying where each company’s products fall under the following four sections: (High Margin, Low Sales Velocity) (High Margin, High Sales Velocity) (Low Margin, Low Sales Velocity) and (Low Margin, High Sales Velocity) they will be able to design specific PPC campaigns for each segment in the chart.

For a High Margin, Low Sales Velocity, companies should refresh their keyword list regularly, utilize time bound promotions to boost sales, and experiment with ad copies and landing pages.  Companies can use long tail keywords with more descriptive words to help generate more targeted searches. Ex. (Car Dealership or Designer Furniture Companies)

For High Margin, High Sales Velocity, companies should focus on efficiency and growth, controlled keyword list expansion, and identify new sources for keywords.  (Tablets or iPhone)

For Low Margin, High Sales Velocity, companies should figure out their average order value, the order margin, and number of inventory turnovers.  Here companies should have high impact keywords that draw attention to the ads.  Since there is a low margin, there is very little room to experiment or be creative with ad campaigns.  Ex. (BIC Pens)

For Low Margin, Low Sales Velocity, companies should not be utilizing any PPC campaigns and should instead be evaluating of keyword search advertising is right for them.  (Specialized trinkets like keychains)

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-The NetElixir Team

100 conference sessions, 175 expert speakers, 250,000 square-foot exhibit hall, 575 exhibits, and 8,500 attendees – the world’s largest display of e-commerce technology from a newbie’s perspective.

Internet Retailer was a huge success for NetElixir this year! We traveled to Chicago with a mission to convey the power of sharing knowledge with one another… and we succeeded. I underestimated the muscle of using knowledge as our differentiator.

On the first day, NetElixir CEO Udayan Bose gave a pre-conference presentation which stressed the importance of using best practices in SEM campaigns and reinforced the power of sharing practical knowledge with one another. With three hundred people in attendance, overall the presentation received positive feedback and as a result started some exciting conversations! A copy of Udayan’s presentation is available at this link: http://www.netelixir.com/IRCE2012p.html.

Since joining the NetElixir team one month back, I have come to appreciate the drive to help companies of all sizes grow their business. It isn’t just about the money. Case and point: At IRCE we launched the LXRMarketplace – a suite of free web-based apps designed to help small business owners run their online marketing campaigns more efficiently. While other companies turned away prospects with low advertising budgets, we had something for everyone.

The exhibit hall was open for 1,215 minutes, and in that time we handed out a Fresh Ideas workbook and NetElixir branded jute bag to one attendee every 6.075 minutes.

We made 135 business contacts, holding one potential client conversation every 9 minutes.

In our short trip, we were also fortunate to be able to join our clients in attendance around the same dinner table for an evening of family style Italian dining at Chicago’s Gioco restaurant. Here I truly witnessed the connection that Udayan has built with each client that extends beyond a business relationship.

Upon our return to Princeton, we were excited to learn that Internet Retailer published an article covering Udayan’s presentation. The article is available here: http://www.internetretailer.com/2012/06/12/irce-2012-report-its-easy-fix-search-marketing-missteps

Big things are happening at NetElixir and positive relationship building is what has allowed us to come so far. We look forward to continuing to share our knowledge with you!

Stay tuned for an update on the big move to our new office!

-Jacqueline, Client Relationship Manager

Fresh Ideas in Search Engine Marketing for E-Retailers

Sitting outside a small restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey, an idea was born.  For the past 3 years this idea has culminated into a workbook series to help online retailers create and manage Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns.

This year NetElixir is proud to announce its release of the newest workbook which focuses on sharing knowledge of the top ten SEM ideas that were rated “very useful” by over 5,000 retailers in the US, UK, and Germany.

Download a free copy today at http://www.netelixir.com/freshideas2012.html !

-The NetElixir Team

SEM Mistake #3: Lack of Clearly Defined KPI’s To Measure Progress of the SEM Program.

In order to determine how well your company is doing, or if you are on the right track to achieving your goals, you must have something to measure your progress. Without this, it is impossible to determine if the path that your campaign is following is in fact the one that is going to yield the best results for your company.  KPI’s are an invaluable form of company intelligence that allows an organization to discover what work still needs to be done in order to improve their campaign.

First and foremost; get rid of the idea that your SEM campaign is perfect and that there is nothing more that can be done to improve it. This approach will only end up hurting you in the end. In an industry as dynamic as SEM, things are ever changing. What is working now may not be what drives the best campaign results in the near future. The only way for anyone to succeed is to be open to learning and open to change. If you fail to establish milestones to measure your SEM progress then you fail to stay ahead of the curve. You must be able to stack your company up against the competition and determine what is working and how you can continue to facilitate that success down the road.

Once you have determined what may need some revamping, you must then select a few KPI’s. Well, monitoring, managing and analyzing KPI’s can take up a lot of company time and effort. It is therefore extremely important that the proper KPIs are chosen in order to target specific company needs. If the improper KPI’s are selected, then time spent analyzing your campaign is time wasted. As mentioned earlier, this industry is constantly changing, which means time is precious. Therefore, you must take the proper time and utilize all the proper resources, in order to determine which are the best KPI’s to monitor with your specific SEM campaign.

Often times a company will focus on improper KPI’s because they lack the adequate knowledge and awareness about new opportunities critical for progress. It is essential to avoid myopia and always think progressively in terms of what aspects of SEM your company can tap into in order to boost performance. By doing so, and by managing your current KPI’s properly, it is possible to see where your company is going to end up and what must be altered in order for you to reach your specific goals. KPI’s therefore allow you to not only imagine the business you wish to become but also help you re-structure certain aspects of your SEM program in order to develop into that business.

Again, the steps to take in order to avoid this commonly made mistake are not difficult. You first must be willing to accept that your SEM campaign may need some work. The market is continually changing and therefore it is nearly impossible to maintain a perfect campaign. Do your best to avoid myopia, and take an in depth look at your company goals and what aspects of your campaign are going to help you get there. Lastly, choose the proper KPI’s to analyze. KPI’s can tell you a lot about how your campaign is doing as well as help you determine where you want your company to be down the road. So take the time to look at how your campaign is measuring its success, and Mistake #3 will never plague your SEM efforts.

-The NetElixir Team

SEM Mistake #2: Strategy Does Not Exist or Does Not Connect The SEM Goals With Execution Plan

So what do we mean by this? It’s fairly straight-forward really; essentially Mistake #2 occurs when a campaign lacks a coherent SEM strategy that connects goals with the execution plan.

Why does this happen? First, the blame falls on the strategic planning process (or lack thereof). Most often, if Mistake #2 is plaguing a SEM campaign, it’s because the strategic planning process is absent or inadequate. One may question how a strategic planning process could be nonexistent within a company, yet in our experience this problem occurs in about 70% of SEM campaigns. Similarly to Mistake #1, this problem usually emerges when there is a lack of communication amongst an organization.

In many companies, the approach to managing SEM programs is still extremely tactical. Therefore, when the right people aren’t delegated to the proper tasks, and there is little communication amongst each party involved in the planning process, it is difficult to execute properly in order to achieve any company goal. Also, it can be challenging to get everyone on the same page because the SEM space is constantly maturing. Thus, not every member of the team has the proper skills to be actively involved in the strategic planning process. So in order for Mistake #2 to be avoided, your company and its employees must be willing to grow with the maturing SEM space.

As we know, SEM has become an integral part of every marketing plan. As mentioned above, the SEM space is growing at an extremely rapid pace. As this process occurs, the talent levels are destined to increase. After all, they must. If any online marketing campaign wishes to be successful it has to keep pace with its environment. One way to ensure that your company stays ahead of the curve is to appropriately train your SEM managers on strategic models and approaches. This can be done internally or with the help of an expert external training. Either way, training your employees on the most innovative models and approaches is imperative to campaign success.

Lastly, it is important to embed the strategic planning process within your company culture. That is, it must be introduced and actively encouraged by the Executive Team. It is important, so make sure each employee realizes that. Again, communication plays a huge role in the success of a campaign, so it is crucial that the strategic planning process is discussed frequently. If you are going to spend the time and resources training your employees, make sure you allow those efforts to pay off by continually working on improving the strategic planning process.

In short, you can avoid Mistake #2 by training your employees so that their skills can grow alongside the maturing SEM space and working every day to actively encourage the entire strategic planning process. By doing so, your company will be more suited to attack and achieve your goals. With the proper skills and company mindset, the disconnect between having a goal and being able to reach it will be eliminated.

-The NetElixir Team

SEM Mistake #1- SEM Goals Differ Within The Organization.

As any online marketer knows, the ecommerce world is a fast paced and dynamic environment. It’s easy to fall behind or miss opportunities if your organization is not working as a well-oiled machine. I mean all parts; from upper management, to advisors, all the way down to interns. If you want to run a successful online marketing campaign, your company must work and run, day in and day out, as a cohesive unit. That cohesive unit must also have a clear set of goals that each member of your marketing team is fully aware of. When goals amongst upper management and your SEM manager differ, many factors within the marketing campaign are put at risk.

In order to understand how to avoid the commonly made mistake of having differing goals, you must first be aware of why it happens. Here are three main reasons as to why this can occur.

First, as mentioned previously, the ecommerce environment is ever changing. The constant speed of change means goals must change rapidly to keep up with the pace. Therefore, the fast paced environment and constant rearranging of priorities can impact goal alignment across the organization.

Second, often times SEM goals do not get quantified properly. This is an issue that can be easily avoided but when it is not, the result can be disastrous in that the goals and outcomes may vary rather dramatically.

Lastly, the SEM goals get lost in the mix. This is most common in larger organizations or organizations with multiple levels of hierarchy. Again, it is imperative that each member of your marketing team is on the same page, no matter how big or small their role.

So how do you avoid SEM Mistake # 1? It’s simple. Set clear, concise goals and communicate, communicate, communicate. Your SEM goals should be measureable and easily quantifiable. That is, have some type of benchmark for your goals. There must be a reference point, a way for your goal to be measured and assessed, in order determine if your campaign is heading in the right direction. One way to do this is to set smaller goals alongside the campaign’s ultimate goal. Strive for a certain number of clicks, a set amount of traffic to your site, or even a specific amount of ROI. Whatever your goals are, this strategy will ensure that your campaign is actively progressing.

Lastly, communication is key. Your SEM goals should be in sync with overall marketing goals and your entire organization should be aware what these goals are. Hold regular meetings, not just with employees, but all stakeholders that are involved with your campaign. Discuss which aspects of your goals have been reached and which still need to be worked on. Set deadlines for these things to occur, and check in with your entire team frequently. This discussion should happen daily so that there is fluid and congruent conversation amongst all levels of your company’s hierarchy.

It’s fairly easy. Have a way to measure your goals and success on your path to reaching them and communicate with your team along the way. Strive to do this each day you come into the office, and SEM Mistake #1 will never live up to its name.

-The NetElixir Team

“5 Mistakes to Avoid in Search Engine Marketing”- Strengthen Your Campaign For Free

NetElixir is pleased to announce the release of its newest white paper “5 Mistakes to Avoid in Search Engine Marketing.” Like all of our customers, NetElixir places a high emphasis on adapting to the ever changing marketing environment in order to stay ahead of the curve.

In an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace, a company’s success hinges on their ability to adapt and improve. In order to do this, you must be able to look at your business’ SEM campaign’s inner workings, and determine the places that need to be tweaked in order to help drive success. “5 Mistakes to Avoid in Search Engine Marketing” explicitly lays out 5 common mistakes that search engine marketers make, and provides explanations and recommendations on how to avoid these mistakes. This white paper was crafted to help online retailers think progressively in order to avoid setbacks that we have seen plague online marketing campaigns in the past.

The journey to addressing and fixing these common mistakes starts with asking some simple but direct questions. In order to avoid these common problems, you can’t be afraid to ask yourself “What are we doing wrong?” in order to also determine what you are doing right. Here are a few questions that the white paper addresses in attempts to shed light on how your overall marketing campaign is performing.

Have you set realistic and achievable goals for your SEM campaign?

Does your campaign have a congruent and cohesive SEM strategy?

Are you properly measuring your campaign’s progress?

Is your entire SEM team on the same page?

How do you stack up against your competition?

Not too bad, right? Addressing the issues your SEM campaign may have shouldn’t be a scary or painstaking process. However, you have to be willing to look at your campaign from an unbiased, realistic lens. Our newest white paper helps you do just that. It’s not filled with wordy or confusing jargon, but instead asks the blunt questions that will help you to determine if your search engine marketing campaign is performing up to its potential. In a nutshell, it provides you with the analytical framework to properly assess your SEM goals, progress, execution, and lastly, your campaign’s likelihood of yielding success.

Get A FREE In Depth Look Right Here: http://www.netelixir.com/5SEM_Mistakes_pdf.html

Remember, “Smart companies learn from their mistakes. But the real sharp ones learn from the mistakes of others.”
-The NetElixir Team