Three Most Important Steps of PPC (Pay Per Click)

Pay Per Click also known as PPC is one of the most recognized tools of Internet advertising. The main principle of PPC differing from many other advertisements is that the advertiser does not pay for every advertisement that is published or visible, but the advertiser pays only when someone has clicked on the ad. The advantage of PPC advertising is its measurability and the ability to relatively plan the outcomes.

The whole point of PPC is the usage of very direct key words describing the company/website or the customer needs so when a potential customer is searching for a particular product/service on the Internet, the advertiser’s goal is to get this person to come on their site because this person’s needs are linked with that particular advertisement. In order for this to happen, advertisers bid on the key words that their target audience is most likely to use when searching.

The first step that a company should follow is the amount of money the company is wiling to spend on this PPC campaign because it can get very expensive, therefore setting a budget allows the company to control how much money will be spent. Another step that should be taken is obtaining professional support; therefore the business can rely on the experts support and continue to focus on another areas that need to be taken care of. Another essential step is to analyze the customer’s needs and keywords that customer is most likely to use when searching. There are many PPC keyword generators webpages on the Internet that might help when analyzing these keyword phrases. The advertising system Google AdWords is the most commonly used PPC system around the world. These advertisements appear besides the organic search results, meaning on the right side of the webpage or on the very top (commonly displayed on a yellowish background).

An article that I chose on Mashable.com PPC, Marketing: 10 Killer Tips for Better ROI written by Stacey Politi is focusing on ten necessary tips that will help in advancing ones PPC campaign and hopefully resulting in a greater return on investment (ROI). Politi advises to run a negative campaign meaning that when searching for keyword phrases, you place all negative keywords on a negative list, which will help to get rid of all the negative words in advance.

Social Media News Websites

As you have probably already noticed if you have been reading my previous blog posts, I often include quotes from articles published on two websites that I personally like a lot because they are very helpful. Those two websites are Mashable.com and Fastcompany.com. Mashable.com main focus is social media news such as news about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. Their website is also focusing on technology, business, entertainment and lifestyle news.

The articles published are very professional and reliable. They are written in ‘easy’ English, which is beneficial for non-native English speakers as they are able to understand better. The website is very nicely organized and it is easy to search on it.

Fastcompany.com is more focused on innovations in technology and business media. Their articles are also reliable, however, the English used in text is more difficult, therefore, I do not recommend it to a non-native English speaker because Mashable.com is certainly easier.

Both of these websites are excellent when you need news regarding innovations of social media, however, I personally prefer Mashabale.com. Their website and articles are more entertaining and fun. Their site is also easier to browse on.

Replying to Customers is Important

I earlier uploaded a blog post that was talking about how important it is to respond to your customers as a company. I found a great small interview called Brit + Co. CEO Brit Morin On Your Audience Wanting R-E-S-P-E-C-T on Fastcompany.com written by Margaret Rhodes. Rhodes asks Brit Morin what did she learn in the previous year 2012 that she will carry to year 2013 and her response is her replying all her comments that she is receiving.

It makes it important to literally respond to every tweet, Facebook message, and so forth. It shows users you respect them, and then they start evangelizing for us. “I’m literally online all day long, and if I don’t get back to everyone, I’ll stay up all night.” (Morin, 2012).

 

From this interview, we can tell that Morin is a very dedicated person and she does care about her ‘followers/fans/visitors’. She is aware that by satisfying her customers, she has a higher chance of them staying with her brand. By taking little time for each comment, you show respect and care and people will feel you are actually listening to them like Morin is doing. The interview with her is very short, however, it tells a lot of depth.

Few Tips How to Maximize Your Brand Reach on Facebook

In this blog post, I will talk about a good article that I found on the Internet called 5 Tips to Maximize Your Brand’s Facebook Reach on Mashable.com written by Stacey Politi. The number of Facebook users is constantly expanding. Facebook reached 1 billion users by August 2011, which is fascinating. Below is a diagram showing the constant increase over certain period of time.

Facebook Growth

Facebook Growth

The article specifies and describes 5 main tips that will help you expand your brand’s Facebook reach and those are;

  • Know your audience
  • Practice brevity, be topical and don’t play hard to get
  • Mind your content
  • Engage the engagement
  • Turn Your Fans’ Friends into Fans

 

These are very crucial. You need to identify what your customers want so you are able to satisfy their needs. Keep in mind that you should not view your customers are a whole group, but as an individuals. When you post new content on your Facebook page, post it at a time when majority of your fans are more likely going to be awake so they do not miss out on anything. Be aware of what their reaction is at certain times of the day. If you post a photo in the morning and you immediately hit 60 likes within few hours, and you post a photo in the evening and receiving significantly lower amount of likes, you are able to analyze that your fans are more active and engaged in the morning hours rather than in the evening hours.

 

Why is Mobile Marketing Important

The amount of smartphone users is constantly increasing and that is why mobile marketing is so essential in today’s century. Mobile marketing is a mobile campaign. Same like in my previous blog post about email marketing being an email campaign; mobile marketing is focused on smartphone users only.

Mobile phones are for most of us very personal and intimate; we take photos with it, we contact people with it, we have private notes on it and simply, we basically have ‘everything’ on it. In order to persuade an individual to give your company his/her phone number, your company has to have a very convincing reason. Majority of us do not like to be bothered by receiving annoying SMSs or MMSs from random phone numbers send by companies, as mobile marketing can only work when the customer wants it and is interested in you. If customer does not want to receive SMSs or MMSs from your company, those messages will appear as irritating ‘spams’ in your customer’s eyes and will only do more harm.

Text messages are targeting mass audience, and are used as a reminder. I have a SEPHORA membership and receive SMSs almost every two weeks that are informing me of special sales and offers. I really like receiving SMSs from this company because they are simple, easy to understand and direct. They are also very short, which is great because long messages tend to be repelling. I think SEHORA does a great job at mobile marketing.

Your company should attract your customers by saying something like; give us your phone number and we will keep you updated by sending you SMSs regarding new sales, special offers and new collections. This is very powerful, as everyone I can think about loves sales. The word ‘sale’ is like a magnet.

I found a good article on Mashable.com called Top 5 Mobile Advertising Trends To Watch written by Erica Swallow that describes mobile marketing very well. She also states; “About 90% of all text
messages are read within three minutes of their delivery, and over 99% of all text messages are read by the recipient” (Swallow, 2010). This statistics shows that well done mobile marketing has a very high chance of being effective. Mobile marketing is cheap, quick and reaches a mass audience.

I personally use my smartphone way more than my PC, however, searching on particular websites on my mobile is still a pain. Many websites open in strange layout and completely unorganized form that immediately makes me feel bothered and annoyed so I quit. By me quitting, this company just lost a possibly potential customer. Purchasing over a mobile device is more and more common, but how can I purchase something if I cannot even search it.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile Marketing

Companies should not forget to optimize their websites/ecommerce sites for mobile phone users because details such as missing logo or unsteady layout can easily lead to loss of customers. Mobile marketing is based on mainly making a purchase so making site look trustworthy, organized, clean and easy to operate is crucial.

 

User Personas

 

User persona is the description of what and who potential customer is and its consumer behaviour. Personas are ‘made up’ characters that represent real users that benefit the company to distinguish what exactly should particular company include on their website in order to meet the needs of larger demographic and geographic group of people.

By creating user persona, user’s goals and needs are point out. In simple words, companies create user personas, in order to identify individual customer needs.

But how exactly do companies create user personas? They commonly create them by:

  • Interviewing their stakeholders
  • Reviewing market research
  • Using surveys of consumers
  • Based on own experience

Personas are based on the experience and awareness of real users even though they are invented and fictional characters. Companies often; name their personas, give them an age and certain personality and profession to make it simpler to recognize certain groups of individuals.

Lets talk about SEPHORA, company that is selling cosmetics and other body and beauty products. SEPHORA has a very large demographic group of customers, however, in order to know what exactly certain customer is looking for, correct user persona is most likely going to make it easier. Here is my example of one user persona for SEPHORA.

Anna is 16 years old and is currently in her 2nd year of high school. She has been working part time as a waitress in a local restaurant in her hometown; however, she is not very satisfied with her salary as it is not enough. Anna is starting to use cosmetic products as her mother and older girlfriends have inspired her. She likes to browse on YouTube and watch make-up tutorials since she has very little knowledge and experience regarding cosmetics, therefore, ‘how to’ tutorials have been very helpful for her. Because of her very shy personality, she s not seeking for help from any of her friends but rather reads articles and videos online.       

From this example above, SEPHORA can now identify what to include on their website that would benefit Anna. First of all, Anna is very young with little to spend; thus, she will be looking for cheaper products. The choice of price range category would definitely benefit Anna where she would be able to search by the amount of money she is willing to spend. She also has a very low experience with cosmetics and makeup tutorials really help her, so SEPHORA should include tutorials on their website of their products and how to apply them. SEPHORA mainly needs to provide Anna with a lot of information. Since she is young, she is not looking for aging products such as anti-wrinkle eye creams. As already mentioned earlier, Anna is mainly receiving money from her parents and her part time job, therefore, SEPHORA should not waste their time and money on advertising expensive brand products such as Lancôme, Dior, and Estee Lauder to her, but products suitable for her age and financial situation.        

How to Increase More Sales Online

Since selling online is harder than selling a product/service to an individual within an actual store, online marketing must be taken very carefully in order to be successful. One of the biggest difficulties in digital marketing is increasing more sales. It is rather easy to make the product/service when comparing to actually finding customers to purchase it.

So how to actually increase more sales on your ecommerce site? First impression can have a very positive pull but also a very negative push therefore it is crucial to focus on creating your ecommerce site very clear and well organized. Features such as categories, subcategories, crumbs and search bar with predicted typing will certainly enhance product/service findability and save your customer’s time as Benjamin Franklin already stated; “Time is money” (Benjamin Franklin).

Make your ecommerce site look trustworthy by providing security authenticator symbol of third party and clear background information regarding your company with contact details and possible addresses of solid store locations. Including links to social network platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and company blog will show your visitors/customers that your company cooperates with people and is active.

Another tactic on how to increase sales is providing your customers will apps that help to see delivery process of ones order. This is very helpful for customers as they are able to see where exactly their order is and when exactly it will arrive to their doorstep, therefore avoiding any inconvenience.

Try to respond to all phone calls, emails, and also Facebook, Twitter and blog post comments. Something very little as responding to a Facebook comment that can take few seconds will make your customers feel heard and noticed. Your customers are more likely going to realize that your company takes time to respond to its customers and listens to them. This shows the effort of building customer relationship as well as the dedication of the company. From my own experience as an Instagram user, I have noticed many companies that do not respond to comments at all and if they do, they are very cold and unfriendly. At this particular company selling accessories, I have seen users leaving comments such as “This is such a nice hairband, I love it, so beautiful. How much is it?? And where can I buy it?” (Myself), receiving response being; “$9, http://www.XZY.com” (company). It is nice that someone actually replied to me, but such a straightforward, unfriendly and cold response makes me feel like person replying to me is a machine that does not comment back on anything else but ‘how much’ and ‘where’. In some cases, I do not receive response at all. Customers are what keep majority of companies going; therefore, they should feel desired, appreciated and noticed.

Keeping contact with existing customers is another way how to increase more sales. In order to keep existing and long-term customers interested and ‘hooked’, your company should create some kind of loyalty reward system. Loyalty programs are based on rewarding customers for their loyal behaviour and encourage them to stay devoted. Those systems are commonly based on collecting points and redeeming them for discounts, selected items, privileges and so on. This is a good way how to keep customers feel appreciated and rewarded for their loyal behavior.

I found a good article on Conversionchamp.com called Are You Using These 25 Sales Techniques to Increase Sales? written by Adarsh Thampy that explains exact techniques that will help increase sales. Thampy talks about how important it is to do clever pricing as majority of people are less fortunate then others. Product/service of a high price mainly indicates that it is of a high quality or very niche and product/service of a very low price commonly shows that the quality is significantly lower or competition is extremely high, therefore, price your product/service according to what you are able to deliver and what customers can expect in return for their money.

These are some of the main key tactics to keep in mind when aiming to increase more sales. Hope it helps! :)

Brand Advocacy

Brand advocates are people who are so passionate and loyal about a certain brand that they are the ones that spread around how great this brand is and its product/service. Brand advocates are the main source of ‘word of mouth’, meaning, spreading information by talking about it. Brand advocates do not get paid for talking positively about a particular brand, but often have a powerful influence and that is why they are so essential and wanted by companies.

Those brand advocates can be seen as ‘walking advertisements’ and the greatest marketers. They spread positive and reliable recommendations to basically everyone. A recommendation from a family member or a friend is most likely the most trusted one, thus being a main impact on customer decision making.

According to the article 5 Ways To Foster Fanatical Brand Advocates on Fastcompany.com written by Rob Fuggetta, “You may spend millions of dollars on elaborate marketing campaigns. But there is nothing more powerful than a trusted recommendation from a brand advocate.” (Fuggetta, 2012).

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and personal blogs are nowadays the most frequently used social network platforms that advocates use for spreading recommendations resulting in significantly higher amount demographic audience. Lets say I follow a blog of a very popular fashion blogger and she publishes a blog post about how amazing ORLY nail polishes are. Since she is a famous fashion blogger, I am most likely going to buy some of ORLY nail polishes because I feel I can rely on this blogger’s recommendation. I have observed a lot of brand advocacy on YouTube when watching make up tutorials. Some of the make up tutorials recommend particular brand products and right away demonstrate how those products work, which is so valuable to the companies and the viewers that are looking for help.

Some companies have so many brand advocates that advertisement is definitely unnecessary; “In fact, the three most powerful social media companies–Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn–never spent a dime on advertising or paid people to recommend them. They didn’t need to. Advocates used social media to recommend them to their friends.” (Fuggetta, 2012). Click HERE for full article.

I personally am a brand advocate of the UGG Australia company. This company is well known for its winter boots made from sheep wool. I absolutely love UGG boots; they are extremely comfortable and keep my feet warm in winter and cool in summer. I often talk about this company to my friends and family and believe am a trusted advocate when having over 15 pairs of UGG boots.

My UGG Collection

Some of My UGG Collection

What is Freemium Model; Its Benefits and Drawbacks

Freemium Model

Freemium model is build from two dominant words being free and premium. This model is based on the system of offering basic service/product for free yet selling its premium service/product such as advanced features or functionality to small niche of users.

The best example of Freemium model is the Skype corporation. Skype is software that allows users to make audio and video calls through computer or mobile device such as iPhone (application) free of charge; however, users have the choice to pay for premium services. The Skype premium package offers much advanced functionality such as group video calling, group screen sharing, Skype to mobile calling and live chat customer support that users can purchase. Even though the premium package is only 6.99 per month, after doing some research I found out that there is a significant amount difference between free users and paying users. According to Statisticbrain.com, the total number of Skype users as of January 2012 was 31 million, however, the number of monthly paying Skype users was only 8.1 million. The difference is large, yet Skype keeps on making millions in revenue.

On the official website of Skype, I was surprised to see an article called “How does Skype make money?” written by the Skype team focusing on exactly how does Skype make profit. The article explains that Skype generates money from premium services; “Well, Skype has lots of really great features that cost a little. For instance, not everyone knows that you can make low cost calls to mobiles and landlines from Skype. All you need is a little bit of Skype Credit, or a monthly subscription […] So that’s how we make money – by having great value features that people want to pay for. More importantly, that’s how we’re able to keep our core features free” (Skype, 2012). Click HERE for the full article.

Benefits of Freemium Model

            Allowing users to ‘test’ a product/service and have the option to upgrade to a premium version is the main benefit of the Freemium model. This strategy most frequently attracts high quantity of customers, as they want to test their options and make use of it. Another benefit is the wider variety of target audience. The demographic target audience of Skype is very large due to different services that are offered. For instance, my grandmother is a free Skype user and uses Skype only for computer-to-computer calls, however, my father pays monthly fee for the premium version as the advanced features help him communicate better with his stakeholders such as employees and suppliers. Even though one is a free user and one is a paying user, the needs of my grandmother and father are both met.

Drawbacks of Freemium Model

            There is never a hundred percent chance that a free user will convert to a paying user and that is one of the main drawbacks of the Freemium model. The free users of a particular product may find the same features that are offered in the premium version in competing company for free or at lower cost and that will pull users away. The competition is constantly increasing, therefore, if a customer is not satisfied with a product/service that is offered for free, those users are surely less likely going to pay for a premium version. For instance, majority of photography focused iPhone applications are offered for free with basic filters that allow users to edit photos, yet, users are able to purchase advanced filters, however, those advanced filters may be offered for free by a competing photography application.

Drop Shipping Model

This Drop Shipping model was invented especially for small businesses that do not have enough of capital for starting own well running business. The risk of inventory is low as the money that needs to be paid is minimal. This model is also very suitable for businesses that do no have or cannot afford warehouses and storages.

There are two Drop Shipping systems that I will name system A and system B. Both systems are combined of three segments; customer, e-commerce site and brandXYZ, however, the links between these segments are for each system different. In this case, the e-commerce site is Asos.com and for brandXYZ I chose Michael Kors.

In system A, when a customer purchases an item from Michael Kors on Asos.com, Asos.com will order this item from the official store of Michael Kors. Michael Kors will send the item to Asos.com, and Asos.com will repack the item and wrap it into their own package. Subsequently, Asos.com will send the desired item to the customer. See Appendix A, Figure 1 for the diagram of Drop Shipping method, system A.

Drop Shipping Model System A, My Diagram

Drop Shipping Model System A, My Diagram

In system B, when a customer purchases an item from Michael Kors on Asos.com, Asos.com will also order this item from the official store of Michael Kors. Once Michael Kors has the item ready, the store will send this item directly to the customer, skipping the ‘middleman’ segment being Asos.com. See Appendix A, Figure 2 for the diagram of Drop Shipping method, system B.

Drop Shipping Model System B, My Diagram

Drop Shipping Model System B, My Diagram

Benefits

This model minimizes financial risks due to low inventory. There is no need for warehouse or storage space since retailers using this model demand particular item from the manufacturer/wholesaler once a customer places an order. Retailer not using this model might worry about the items that are not being sold, as they are not desired anymore possibly since it is no longer trendy or in fashion. However, retailer using Drop Shipping model does not have to worry about this at all as there is nothing in stock. The transportation costs are also lower since there is no need for large trucks bringing new items.

The retailer using this model is able to sell wide variety of different products, which means that there is a higher chance of meeting customer’s needs. Due to this model, retailer is able to offer and sell products that would have never been possible due to no storage space such as large furniture items.

According to Andrew Youderian and his article Drop Shipping: The Easiest Way to Sell Online, the four main benefits of Drop Shipping Model are; “1. You Don’t Need Buckets of Money; 2. Convenience & Efficiency; 3. Mobility; 4. It’s a Trusted Model(Youderian, 2012). These four benefits that Youderian states are correct and that is why this model is so popular and worldwide used nowadays.

Drawbacks

The most important aspect to keep in mind is finding good and reliable wholesalers. Wholesalers are suppliers therefore; the retailer is dependent on them. Unreliable wholesalers can easily damage the reputation of the e-commerce site and retailer. E-commerce sites using system B of Drop Shipping method do not have any control over the final packages that are delivered to customers and that can be a disadvantage. First of all, the retailer cannot make sure how well the packing is done since there is no physical contact between the ordered product and the retailer. Package may arrive damaged from the supplier, whoever, the blame of the customer will automatically be put on the retailer e-commerce site.

Regardless of system A and system B, e-commerce sites are dependent on how long it will take for the supplier to obtain ordered product, if the product is available and so on. Suppliers may negatively influence customer behaviour that can harm the e-commerce site retailer (if package is delayed, customers may loose trust in the e-commerce site and no longer be loyal customers).