Blog

Great Customer Service Will Lower Cost Per Acquisition

Customer-Service

Be good to your customers and they will be good to you. Going the extra mile to make a customer happy can have great long term benefits.

Branding

Say your customer ordered the wrong item accidentally, even though you usually charge a restocking fee to recoup your costs of operation, what would happen is you waive that fee? Think of the small dollar loss as marketing dollars. When you make a customer happy, they want to talk about you. That’s the best kind of marketing.

Word Of Mouth

Now that your customer was impressed with your service, they will want to tell their friends about their shopping experience. If you can keep those friends happy, in no time you’ll have a domino effect of happiness.

CPA

A happy cutomer is the best customer. When your customer is satisfied with their purchase, next time they need something they will check with you. This will bring down your overall cost per acquisition.

Any article on the subject of Customer Service is not complete unless it mentions the king of wow: Zappos. Zappos went where no company went before, they worked hard and lost money short term, but that money was really money well spent. There are many consumers that will not shop elsewhere, they are Zappos customers for life. That’s the way it should be.

I’m sure that a $920,000,000 payout was good for Zappos too.

Accepting Alternate Payment Types

Credit-Cart-Payments

Customers like options. Aside from that some customers prefer one payment type over another. Some customers only use PayPal while others only use Google Checkout. With this in mind you will want to integrate with as many Third Party Payment (TPP) providers as you can.

Some of the more popular ones are:

PayPal

With PayPal you can offer standard PayPal payments with the customer sending you money via email with their PayPal account.

Another option is to utilize PayPal’s Checkout Express, where the customer does not need to enter any payment info on your site and they can just login to their PayPal account and checkout in 2-3 clicks.

In addition PayPal offers full credit card processing services (a la Authorize.net) where the customer does not even know that you use PayPal and it is fully integrated into your site.

Link: http://www.paypal.com/

Google Checkout

Google Checkout is very similar to PayPal Checkout Express. It is pretty much the same easy checkout process which is done by logging into your Google account and going through 2-3 clicks to finalize your order. Google Checkout is popular amongst a small set of consumers specifically because of the ease of use.

Link: http://checkout.google.com/

BillMeLater

BillMeLater, by CyberSource offers consumers the ability to checkout by providing their address as well as birthday and last four digits of their social security number. They do an instantaneous credit check and provide the customer with numerous options to pay for their purchase at a later date.

Link: http://www.billmelater.com/

eCheck

There are several companies that allow consumers to checkout via eCheck. What they do is ask for bank account holder information as well as routing and account numbers. One good thing about eChecks is that the consumer doesn’t have to wait the time it would take to mail in a check and have it clear as most companies that provide this service do a credit check and guarantee the funds.

Links:

http://www.echeck.net/ — by Authorize.NET
http://www.cross-check.com/

Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments is similar to Google Checkout and PayPal Checkout Express. The consumer goes through Amazon’s checkout process and does not need to provide the merchant with payment info.

Link: http://payments.amazon.com/

eBillme

Not sure how useful this would be to many consumers, but eBillme offer the ability to pay via your bank’s online bill pay option. The consumer pays eBillme and they route the money to the merchant.

Link: http://www.ebillme.com/

5 Site Design Tips To Boost Conversion Rates

Shopping Cart

With any ecommerce site there are a lot of variables that can contribute to the conversion rate. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your site.

Speed

Page load times are very important. We live in a very fast paced world. If your pages take too long to load people will leave before the page is even done.

Landing Page

Ensure that your landing pages are highly relevant to your visitors. Make sure that your site is easy to navigate with as few clicks as possible. Always try to show pertinent information above the fold.

Call To Action

Always make sure that your call to action (i.e. Add To Cart, Buy Now buttons) are high enough on the page that it can be seen as soon as the page loads without scrolling down.

Trust

People need to be able to trust you. Display your approval seals where they will be visible right away. You can display your SSL seal, your Hacker Safe seal, your seal from customer review sites. Extend the trust from these brand names to your site.

Easy Checkout

Simplify your checkout process by consolidating it in to as few pages as possible. Only ask pertinent information and offer multiple payment types such as Google Checkout, PayPal Checkout Express, BillMeLater etc…

Top 7 Price Comparison Shopping Engines

There are so many comparison shopping engines out there that it is hard to keep track of them. It’s just as hard to know where to start. These are the top 7 CSEs by traffic as ranked by Compete.

  1. Google Product Search
  2. MSN Shopping
  3. NexTag
  4. PriceGrabber
  5. Shopping.com
  6. Shopzilla
  7. Yahoo Shopping

Chart Comparing Traffic on Shopping.com, Shopzilla.com, NexTag.com & PriceGrabber.com

There are plenty of other CSEs out there, these are worthy mentions:

  • Smarter
  • SortPrice
  • TheFind

Chart Comparing Traffic on Smater.com, SortPrice.com & TheFind.com

SortPrice is still relatively small compared to the others but is worth mentioning because of their pricing model. They charge a flat fee per month so you can get any amoutn of traffic without worrying about the Cost-Per-Click.

How To Structure Your AdWords Campaigns

Google AdWords Campaign Structure

Google AdWords Campaign Structure

Campaign structure can lend a lot to the success of your campaign for many reasons. One of the important reasons that campaign structure is so important is because of the way Google assigns a Quality Score to each keyword, ad and campaign. Your Quality Score will have a major impact on cost and performance of your campaign.

AdWords Campaign Structure:

The first thing to understand is the campaign structure that AdWords uses and then build your campaign around that with a few thoughts in mind. Let’s start by analyzing the base campaign structure:

  • Campaign 1 – On the campaign level you can define all the main settings like Daily Budget, Target Geographic Locations, Target Network etc…
    • Ad Group 1 – You can have as many ad groups in a campaign as you’d like. On the ad group level we will create multiple ad creatives and add many keywords.
      • Ad Copy 1 – You can create as many ads as you see fit.
      • Ad Copy 2
      • Keyword 1 – By default all keywords use the ad copy’s landing page unless you specify otherwise. The same holds true for the keyword bid.
      • Keyword 2
    • Ad Group 2
      • Ad Copy 1 – You can create as many ads as you see fit.
      • Ad Copy 2
      • Keyword 1 – By default all keywords use the ad copy’s landing page unless you specify otherwise. The same holds true for the keyword bid.
      • Keyword 2

What Should I Do?

Some advertisers break down their campaigns by brand, others by campaign and yet others by product. There is no set correct way to do this. Here are some best practices:

Use ad groups. Use many ad groups. It is best not to have more than 40-50 keywords in ad ad group. Google’s algorithm doesn’t like having to sort through hundreds of keywords and will just use the more general terms. If you break up your campaign into many ad groups, you give each keyword set a chance to perform well.

One way of breaking up your campaign into ad groups is to separate the best performing keywords into their own ad group. By separating the top performing keywords into its own ad group you will have a much higher Click Through Rate (CTR) in that group. The higher the CTR, the higher the Quality Score.

Additionally you can break your campaign into multiple ad groups based on product category or brand. Always make sure to use highly relevant Ad Copy and Landing pages. Google will analyze this as well as the campaigns historical data to assign a Quality Score. Remember, the higher the Quality Score means better overall campaign performance.

Maximize Your ROI On Comparison Shopping Engines

Apples And Oranges

Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) are a great marketing channel to promote the products you are selling. Most CSEs work on a pay per click model with rates varying by category. Because the CSE gets paid per click they try to drive as much traffic as possible and for most part it is targeted traffic. However, when you have a large product feed you will have a lot of products with many clicks and no return on investment (ROI). There are several thing you can do to rectify this.

Competitive Analysis:

The first thing to keep in mind is that people go to Comparison Shopping Engines to… Compare Prices! You will want to map out your competitive landscape and ensure that you are priced competitively. An item priced a penny cheaper than the competition will show up much higher on the page. Some websites will advertise the same product significantly cheaper just to lure the customer in and then tack on a ‘shipping/handling/processing’ charge. Make you your price looks competitive from the first glance on the CSEs.

Consumer Ratings:

Another thing consumers compare on CSEs ar your store ratings. Those little stars can make the difference between night and day. When a consumer sees 4 or 5 stars, they feel comfortable purchasing from you even though they never heard of you before. You should always push your happy customers to leave reviews for you because as a general rule of thumb, only pissed off customers go out of there way to leave reviews about their shopping experience. One additional reason to strive for positive reviews (aside from having happy customers) is that most CSEs incorporate store reviews into their ranking algorithms and will display your products higher on the page because of it.

Categorization:

Always make sure that your products show up in the correct categories. When an item is not categorized properly you will start receiving unwanted clicks that will not convert into sales. On the flip side, if your items are categorized properly you will receive much more qualified traffic and it will have a much better ROI. However you generate your feeds it will be in your best interests to map your sites category structure to each CSE.

Kill Reports:

When you have a large number of products in your feed it becomes imperative to run Kill Reports on a constant basis. A Kill Report is a performance report from any tracking software that contains the following columns:

  • SKU (Identifying ID)
  • Amount of Clicks
  • Cost
  • Amount of Orders
  • Revenue
  • Brand Name (optional)

What you will now need to do is analyze which items are not worth the cost based on a threshold that you define. For example any item with more that 50 clicks and no revenue, or any item with a cost of more than 50% of revenue produced. Once you come up with a magic formula that works for your business, you should run a Kill Report once or twice a month and exclude those items from future feeds. Something to keep in mind, is that if you see a specific brand performing poorly consistently over time you may want to exclude all that brands products from your feed. Results vary from CSE to CSE so I would suggest running a separate report for each CSE.

Using Negative Keywords In AdWords

No Ads For You

Google AdWords has a useful keyword tool called Negative Keywords, which give you the ability to tell Google not to show your ads when someone searches for such terms. This comes in handy when you want to advertise a product or service that has a similar name to something else. For example – if you would be advertising a keyword such as Acer Laptop with a match type of Broad, Google’s search algorithm may display your ad when a user searches for Laptop or Dell Laptop. While this may be a good idea in general, it may not make sense in terms of your ROI goals.

When & Why?

Here is an example of when you would want to use negative keywords:

If you advertise the keyword Apple iPhone as a Broad or Phrase Match term, your ad will show up when someone seaches for Repair Apple iPhone or Apple iPhone Cracked Screen. Now if you are only selling the product you don’t want to waste advertising dollars on keywords that will not drive buyers to your site. In order to stop this from happening you can add the following Negative keywords: Repair, Screen, Cracked etc… Now any time someone’s search query contains one of your negative terms, your ad will not be displayed.

Negative keywords also come in handy when you are advertising a product that has a name very similar to something else. Say you wanted to advertise the brand ThermaSol (manufacturer of steam/sauna generators), if you put a broad match term of ThermaSol your ad may be displayed when someone searches for completely irrelevant terms such as Thermisol (a vaccine). While this will bring extra visitors for your site it won’t help maximize your revenue, it will just cost you per click and bring visitors to your site that have no intention of purchasing a ThermaSol Steam Unit.

Negative Keywords & Match Types:

If you have a Broad Match term Robern Medicine Cabinet, and a Negative Broad Match term of Medicine Cabinet, they will cancel each other out and you ad will not be displayed. The same holds true if your Negative term is a Phrase Match, because the search term contains the exact Phrase. In this case you would want to put several variations of the Negative keyword as a Negative Exact by enclosing in in brackets (i.e. [Medicine Cabinet], [Medicine Cabinets], [Bathroom Medicine Cabinet], [Medicine Cabinet Mirror] etc…). While you do need to add more Negative keywords this way, you will reach a larger target audience and get more qualified traffic.

Bottom Line:

Use Negative keywords to properly filter the traffic that you are getting from your Broad Phrase Match terms. At the same time, it is imperative to remember to use Phrase and Exact Match terms when needed so as not to completely block your ad from showing to targeted visitors.

Image Credit: Ms. Danielle

What Are Google AdWords Match Types?

Google Money Machine

Google offers several keyword match types to help you target your campaigns effectively. Currently you can use the following match types:

  • Broad Match
  • Phrase Match
  • Exact Match

What’s the difference, and how do I use them?

Broad Match:

Broad Match will get you the most impressions, clicks and the highest cost. In some cases this is a good thing, however when you are trying to maximize your ROI it may be detrimental. When you use a Broad Match keyword such as Nike Running Shoes, Google will try to match your ad to as many people searching for keywords that are similar to yours. So Google will show your ad to people searching for Nike Running Sneakers, Nike Sports Shoes, and also for more generic terms such as Running Shoes or Good For Running Shoes. If it is in your best interests not to have your ad display by such terms, you will want to make use of Negative Keywords as well as using other match types.

As in the above example, say I am advertising Nike Running Shoes, I only want people seeing my ad when they are searching for very similar terms. If I don’t want my ad to be displayed when people search for similar terms I can either add many negative match type terms such as Running Shoes, Reebok etc… This will block my ad from showing when someone searches for these terms. Negative keywords use match types as well so be careful not to use broad match terms that will exclude targeted traffic that you do want.

Phrase Match:

Phrase Match terms should be entered into AdWords surrounded by quotations (i.e. “search term”). When you use a Phrase match term, Google will only show your ad when the search query contains your search term in the same order that you entered it. If you used a search term “Nike Running Shoes”, your ad will likely show when someone searches for Good Nike Running, or Nike Running Shoes White as well. You will get much less traffic because of this so it is important that you add many variations of your search terms. You would want to add misspellings, singular and plural variations of your keywords. In addition it is a good idea to include your search terms in different orders (i.e. Nike Running Shoes and Running Shoes Nike). When you use Broad Match search terms Google’s algorithm does all this for you, but sometimes it goes farther than you’d want it to.

Exact Match:

Exact Match keywords should be enclosed in square brackets (i.e. [search term]). This is meant for extreme cases and is mostly used in conjunction with Phrase Match terms. A good example of when this is needed is when you would want your ad to come up for a specific phrase, but not for anything else. If you wanted your ad to be displayed when someone searches for [Robern Medicine Cabinet] only, you can use exact match to ensure that. However, this may not be ideal as it severely limits your reach. The best use for Exact Match keywords is using them as Negative Exact Match keywords in conjunction with Broad Match, and Phrase Match Terms.

I would suggest that for the best results, you try a mix of a few Broad Match terms and Phrase Match terms sprinkled with a healthy dose of Phrase and Exact Match Negatives.

UPDATE: New ‘Broad Match Modifier’ Match Type In AdWords

Hello E-Commerce World!

Hello Everyone. Well at this point it’s probably “Hello Noone”. Anyway, I digress… Here is the deal. I hope to blog about my experiences with E-Commerce. Over the past bunch of years I’ve been through a few different industries such as Electronics, Home Decor, Apparel etc… During this time I’ve gained expertise in many different areas of online retailing.

Here are a few topics, just to give you an idea of what I will be discussing:

  • Hosting Providors
  • E-Commerce Platforms
    • What Language?
    • Open Source vs Closed Source
    • Hosted vs Self-Hosted
    • Required Features
  • Marketing Channels
    • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    • Affiliate Marketing
    • Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE)
    • Display Advertising
    • Email Marketing
  • Payment Processing
  • Customer Service

I don’t profess to know it all, the idea is to share what I’ve learnt.

FYI — My name is not Michael, but it’s a nice name anyway. Call me Michael J. Kaye.

Page 30 of 30« First...1020...2627282930