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7 Tips To Maximize Your Results From Google Product Search

Google-Product-Search

Being that Google Product Search (Base) is free you want to spend some extra time to make sure that you are getting the most out of it. There are several things you can do to optimize your feed.

Content Is King

The Google Base datafeed specs are fairly simple. aside from the required fields there are many optional columns that you can include. Your best bet is to include all that you can. There is a neat tool by Tom The Developer that allows you enter a search term and analyze the data fields that your competition is using. Google loves data, the more data you use, the better your products rank.

Title & Description

The product title and description are the most important parts of your datafeed. You will want to include pertinent info such as Brand Name, Model Number & Product Name in the title column. The description should include all the same information as the title as well as a more thorough description and product details.

Historic Performance

Google’s ranking algorithm also takes your feed’s historical performance into account. As long as your account is live, Google collects information such as Click Through Rate and Bounce Rate and analyzes it to see if it is in the consumers best interests to show your product with higher placement.

Fresh Feeds

Google likes to keep it’s content fresh, you should try to upload a feed on a daily or weekly basis for best results.

Google Checkout

Google allows merchants who accept Google Checkout to display the Google Checkout logo next to your products in Google Product Search. You can goto your account settings and link the two accounts. This helps your products stick out from the masses.

Reviews

Google aggregates your merchant reviews from many different rating websites and displays a star ranking of one through five next to your merchant name. Customers have the ability to sort and filter the results by the number of stars a merchant has.

Prices

Since Google Product Search is a Price Comparison Shopping Engine, you will want to see that your prices are always competitive for the best performance.

Advertise Your Brick & Mortar Business With AdWords Ad Extensions

Google Local Ads -- Enter Address Or Link Local Business Center Account

Google Local Ads -- Enter Address Or Link Local Business Center Account

What Is This?

In the new Google AdWords interface, you will notice that the option to add a new Local Ad is no longer a available. Instead, Google has released a new feature called Local Ad Extensions. This gives you the ability to show a PlusBox in your ad that pops out with your business address and location on a map.

What To Do

You can either enter the business address by each campaign or you can connect your campaign to your Google Local Business Center account and it will automatically pull in your business info. With this new feature you can select from preset icons or upload your own. This icon will be shown next to your business address on your ad.

Making The Most Of Email Marketing

Email Marketing

If you are not actively engaging your customers to signup for your site’s newsletter, then your missing out. If you don’t even have a newsletter, then you better get started.

Email Marketing is often overlooked as a marketing channel. If you have a smaller ecommerce site, you may think that you don’t have so many people signed up anyway. If that’s the case, promote your newsletter on your site by offering to send out shopping tips, coupons codes, special sales etc…

Branding

You should try to send out an email campaign once or twice a month. This helps consumers become familiar with your brand and they will be more likely to open your email and less likely to hit the ‘Spam’ button.

When sending out your email you should always send from them same email address and try to include your brand name in the beginning of the subject. Again, this helps familiarise the consumer with your brand.

Compelling Call To Action

First and foremost your goal is to get the consumer to actually open the email. The way to do this is by using a great subject. Something that will make someone click. Skip the boring ‘Bob’s Bi-Weekly Newsletter’ and go with ‘Save $10 Off All Orders – 3 Days Only’.

Aside from a great subject you should make the body of the email as compelling as you can. Offer discounts, instant rebates, rewards. The better the incentive the higher your conversion rates will be.

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.