Sara Scurfield, Online Program Manager at Advantex Marketing International is an AIMS volunteer and blog correspondent. She posted her first interview with Steven Goldhar late last week. This is the second and final part of her interview...
Following up on the first Q & A post with Steven Goldhar, I have included a few more of his insights that just needed to be shared. Please feel free to add your comments. I am sure Steven will be happy to address them on the 30th.
SS: What are some of the industries that are most advanced in their integration of digital marketing and web metrics into their marketing mix and what can other industries learn from them?
SG: Industries that are most advanced in their use of web metrics are the ones that possess many of the following characteristics;
- They are very competitive with similar offerings between companies
- Potential customers use the internet to research, buy or sign up for a given product or service
- Companies are able to develop successful sales channels via their website
- Have higher than average profit margins
- Have higher than average keyword search engine bid costs (also known as the average cost-per-click or average CPC), generally over $5 U.S. and often as high as $15 U.S. per click.
Applicable industries include those that deal in mortgages and many other financial products and services, debt consolidation, legal services especially those involving class action lawsuits and those dealing with online gambling and pornography.
Some important strategies that can be learned from these industries are;
- Attention spans are extremely short - have a clear call to action (the main campaign objective) on EVERY page if possible
- Aim to have the desired or relevant content on the landing page or within one click away of it
- Use summarized or bulleted style content to prominently highlight key positive features
- Search marketing requires good skills in a technical, creative and analytical capacity. Begin by having a knowledgeable and experienced SEM company set up and optimize your campaigns to bring them quickly into profitability. Very few companies with less than one year of in-house SEM experience set up and manage their own campaigns. Most companies outsource this task on an ongoing basis to achieve consistently higher than average industry results.
- Except where brand identity exists, internet marketing success is often more driven by perception than reality. Don’t underestimate the ability of physically smaller competitors to achieve enormous internet success. It’s brain over brawn when it comes to internet marketing. Aspirational and lifestyle marketing is one of the most successful approaches used by incorporating effective imagery, colours and features that focus on positive emotions.
- One or more better and more aggressive online marketers can appear in your category overnight and reduce your share of the pie significantly. There may be a better medium for your online marketing efforts than the one currently used. Continue looking at other forms of online marketing for additional and better ways to increase more qualified traffic, achieve higher site conversion rates and ROI and lower marketing costs. After getting your search marketing campaigns running smoothly, look into SEO, affiliate marketing, PR marketing, blogging and forming strategic partnerships to generate more low cost qualified traffic.
SS: What would you say are the most common reasons users abandon once they reach a website? What can sites do to reduce abandon rates?
SG: The main reason that users abandon once they reach a website (also known as the bounce rate) is due to the issue of content mismatch or relevancy. When the user gets to the landing page and does not navigate any further into the site then some possible reasons for this are;
- The content was not what they were expecting or told from the ad
- There was a weak or unclear offering therefore not worth their time going further
- It was taking too long to find or navigate to the information they desire
- The web page was taking too long to load
Here are some good best practices to reduce bounce rates:
- Develop a landing page strategy that directs users to web pages with relevant content based on the keyword, ad, referring website or search engine they come from
- Have the most important and relevant information clearly visible without scrolling.
- Keep the message of the landing page focused on just a few or ideally one relevant idea
- Remove ALL unnecessary links, buttons, graphics or content that could distract, confuse or reduce the impact of the main focus
- Have a clear call to action or next steps that clearly leads to achieving the users objective
The bounce rate measurement is an indicator of how well the theme or ideas around a keyword, search engine ad and landing page are integrated. It’s usually the first indication of a relevancy issue that should result in
- Modifying or eliminating the keywords shown by the analytics to elicit higher bounce rates.
- Modifying or eliminating the ads that are unclear to or set up erroneous expectations to the content on the landing page
- Modify or ad an additional landing page which contains more relevant, clear and easily identifiable content
Bounce or site abandonment rates always vary between different referring sources (website or search engine) and source attributes (keyword, ad or landing page). Good use of proper conversion based web analytics with search engine marketing is your best tool to be able to determine the exact causes of the higher bounce rates or how many different sources or attributes are part of the cause.
A good way to illustrate the importance of analytics in search engine marketing would be to use the analogy of the way a sluggish car is diagnosed and repaired. One way is to begin replacing parts, trying to find the one, two or three (sources and attributes) that makes the difference or perhaps just writing the whole car off (the landing page or entire campaign). Another way is to hook the car up to the proper computer which would isolate any and all parts that contribute to the problem. Just like in repairing a car, using the right tools will reduce costs and increase performance generating higher returns on your campaign investment.
SS: Thanks for your insights Steven. We look forward to hearing more from you on November 30th. Details and registration are on the AIMS website - http://www.aimscanada.com/Default.aspx?pageId=322&eventId=413&mode=2