"Almost all our new business
prospects come from the web site now. No more cold
Turn your web site into a SALES
We are Search Engine Marketing experts. We'll develop
a custom "search engine marketing" strategy that drives
traffic to your web site through legitimate Search
Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click Search
Engine Advertising tactics.
179 East Main
Branford, CT 06405
I attended the Search
Engine Strategies conference in New York about
six weeks ago. This is one of the major search
engine marketing conferences of the year. In
this newsletter I’ll fill you in on some
of the important, very related developments
in search engine marketing.
people search online, but buy offline.
A recent study (A comScore study sponsored
by Overture, a division of Yahoo!,) showed that
for one product market, the consumer electronics
market, over 90% of people searched for product
information online, but then bought offline:
They either picked up the phone or visited a
local ”bricks & mortar” store.
In fact, for most products and even many services,
most people, 60% to 90%, search online, but
So what does that mean?
Many people search online then pick up the
phone and call. That’s good, because conversion
rates are much higher, five to ten times higher,
when people call as they are usually very far
along in the buying cycle (See Pay Per Call
below for information on the related Pay-per-call
advertising model that should help take advantage
of these higher conversion rates).
Regardless of whether they pick up the phone
or go to a physical location it’s important
that you begin to implement steps to measure
offline sales that originated from online sources
(such as from search engines, partner sites,
etc) to a reasonable degree.
If you don’t learn how to measure offline sales
and your competition does, then you may be at
a severe disadvantage. If your competition knows
its true conversion rate, including both online
and offline sales, they’ll be willing to spend
greater dollars than you in their marketing
campaigns. For example they’ll likely spend
more on their search engines ads (such as Google
Adwords or Overture/Yahoo Search Marketing Pay-per
click listings) to keep their ads in top positions.
In a competitive market, this can have the effect
of pushing your ads into lower positions in
the search results greatly reducing the amount
of clicks throughs to your web site. You competitors
could even knock your ads off the radar altogether!
For example, let’s says you do a decent job
of measuring the leads and sales that come directly
from your web site (through inquiry forms, email,
signups, or online sales) and you’ve determined
that your total sales conversion rate is 1%
from your Search Engine ads (that is 1% of the
total visitors to your web site from your search
engine ads eventually turns into a sale).
In this example, if you get an average of 1,000
visitors to the site each month from search
engine ads that means you make an average of
10 sales per month from those ads (1,000 visitors
at a 1% conversion rate equals 10 sales). If
each new customer is worth say $500 in gross
profit (either in one sale or on average over
a year for example), you make about $5,000 a
month on average from your search engine ads.
So you might be willing to spend as much as
$2,500 a month or more on your search engine
ads if needed in order to make $5,000 in gross
Now let’s your top five competitors do a reasonable
job of measuring both their online and their
offline sales resulting from their search engine
ads. That means they know the “real” conversion
rate resulting from both their online and offline
As we mentioned, the offline conversion rate
is five to ten times greater than the online
conversion rate. In other words, it’s much more
likely that people will buy if they pick up
the phone and call you or stop into your location.
So it’s reasonable to assume that “real” conversion
rate is 5% to 10%. Let’s be conservative and
assume the real conversion rate is 5%.
We’ll assume for simplicity that your competitors
have determined that a new customer is worth
about the same to them as a new customer is
worth to you, about $500 in gross profit. Then,
on average, for every 1,000 visitors that come
to their web site from search engine ads they
know they make 50 sales (1,000 visitors at a
5% conversion rate = 50 sales). The number
of sales will likely be even higher because
as we mentioned above 60% to 90% of people actually
buy offline, but for simplicity we’ll use 50
sales. Again, because you haven’t been measuring
offline sales you only know that you make 10
sales for every 1,000 visitors from your search
This means, in our example, that your competitors
know they make $25,000 in gross profit compared
to the $5,000 that you’re aware of. That’s huge!
They might be willing to spend $10,000 to $15,000
a month on search engine ads compared to the
$2,500 a month you’re willing to spend.
In a competitive marketplace, your competitors
who know their “real” conversion rates will
be willing to spend dramatically more on their
search engine advertising than you. That could
push your ads far enough down in position that
your sales will be reduced dramatically.
Being unaware of your “real” conversion rate
while your competitors know their real conversion
rates can have a similar affect on all your
marketing efforts, such as promotion and online
advertising, email campaigns, search engine
optimization, even traditional advertising intended
to drive people to your web site.
I think you can see how important it is to
learn how to measure the offline sales resulting
from your online marketing. It can be difficult
to do but there are some effective methods we
can employ to help.
|Pay per call
– A new search engine advertising model that promises
higher conversions rates for some businesses.
In the previous article, “Most people search
online, but buy offline”, we mentioned that
most people search for information online, but
then by offline. Either they pick up the phone
or visit a local ”bricks & mortar” facility.
When they do pick up the phone studies show
the conversion rates are much higher, five to
ten times higher.
There’s a new type of search engine advertising
model that you’ll be hearing about over the
coming months developed to take advantage of
the higher conversion rates, Pay-Per-Call ads.
It promises very high returns for some business.
And you don’t even have to have a web site.
Essentially Pay-Per-Call ads are very much
like the Pay-per-click ads you’ve probably become
used to seeing in search engine results, however
instead of clicking through to a web site the
searcher picks up the phone. Just like Pay-per-click
ads, you don’t pay until the searcher calls.
Another advantage to Pay-per-call advertising
is the inherent lead tracking built into the
systems. All the phone calls from Pay-per-call
ads are tracked by keyword and the specific
ad, so we should have a much easier time determining
what ads and keywords are paying off (see the
pervious article “Most people search online,
but buy offline” for more on the importance
of measuring offline sales).
Pay-per-call advertising had its beginnings
last September. Until now Pay-per–call ads have
only been available through the relatively small
FindWhat search engine advertising network.
In addition, some of the online yellow pages
and Amazon’s A9 search engine (see below for
more about A9 and Local Search) have offered
a similar service called “Click to Call” where
the searcher clicks a link in the ad which triggers
a call to the advertiser (during business hours)
who then either speaks to the searcher via a
normal pone call or via a PC microphone.
We expect Pay-per-call advertising to start
growing rapidly now as giant AOL released it’s
version of Pay-Per-Call advertising on April
15th. Most of the other major search engines
and directories will be bringing out their versions
over the coming months.
Search is here
In the last newsletter I mentioned that Local
Search has been evolving for all the major search
engines, as well as some new players. If you
are concerned with local or regional markets,
local search is quickly becoming important.
This includes small local business such as auto
body repair or restaurants for example, as well
as larger regional or national companies that
focus on local markets such as consumer electronics
chains, movie rental chains, etc,
It’s important because as we pointed out most
people search online, but buy offline (see Most
people search online, but buy offline above).
When someone searches for a particular brand
of TV, a pizza, a plumber, or to buy a car,
for example, many of them will want to know
“where can I find it locally?”
What is Local Search? Basically a search engine
tries to offer up what it thinks are relevant
results in your local area either at your request
or for searches it believes are local in nature.
Search on “pizza”, for example and Google may
display a link near the top of the results asking
if you’d like to see results for your search
in your area.
Local search is evolving and becoming important
for both the “natural” or conventional search
results as well as the Sponsored Listings (Pay-per-Click
Below are some of the features being offered
with the various local search listings. I think
you’ll see there are a lot of benefits to the
searcher and this is why we think the use of
Local Search will likely grow very fast:
- Some Local Search Features
- Ratings & reviews
- Integrated maps with contact info
- Business detail pages
- Click to Call and Pay-per-call (see article
- Links to web sites/pages that mention the
- Add images of your business and products
- Satellite images
In this newsletter I’ll give you some examples
that you can try on some of the major search
engines so you get a flavor for how Local Search
If you’re a subscriber or a registered
user, in some cases AOL will suggest local content
automatically because they know where you are.
Go to AOL search, http://search.aol.com,
and find and click on the link for Local. It
should be just under the search box (AOL subscribers
will get local results in a different manner).
You should see a new drop down box appear that
may have a city, state listed in it or it may
say something like “change location” If needed
click on it to set your location.
Try a search such as “pizza”. You’ should see
a listing of some pizzerias, etc in that city.
Pay-per-call ads should be seen here (as well
as in the main web search results) as they grow.
Some features to check out -
- Click on one of the listings to see the
available details for that business.
- Ratings and, if you’re a subscriber,
“add your rating”
- Map & directions
- Enhanced listings with your business information
and web site link are available.
Yes, Amazon is in the search engine
business now. Go to its A9 search engine, http://a9.com,
and try a search such as “pizza”.
You should multiple columns of results. Look
for the Yellow Pages Results column. You may
see a Mapquest map with locations numbered on
the map in this column. Click on one to see
more business details .
Some features to check out
- Click to call – People can click to initialize
a phone call via a normal phone or over the
- Map & Directions.
- Share images – You can add images to the
business detail page such as products in action,
with captions, people enjoying a pizza in
your restaurant, etc.
There a few ways to see local results
First, from the main Google home page, http://www.google.com,
enter a search, such as “pizza” along with a
either a city name and state or zip code. Relevant
local business listings will appear at the top
of the page next to a Google Local compass icon.
Click on the link that says something similar
to “Local results for pizza near CITY/ZIP” link.
You can also start on the Google home page
click by clicking the Local link above the search
box or go directly to the Google Local Search
homepage at http://local.google.com
On the Local Search results page you may see
some Sponsored Listings (Pay-per-click ads)
near the top of the pages, some of which may
themselves be local search ads being served
by the Google Pay-per-click Adwords advertising
network. When we set up an Adwords advertising
campaign we can tell Google to only serve the
ads to people from specific cites or regions
or a specific distance from a location. Displaying
local pay-per-click ads should be very accurate
in the Local Search results as the searcher
has input the location they are interested in.
As we’ve mentioned before, if the searcher does
not enter a location Google may try to determine
where the searcher is from the address of the
computer they are using (the IP address). Google
is getting much better at determining where
a searcher is located even if they don’t enter
a location in the search, about 85% accurate,
according to them.
Some features to check out
- Push-pin Map - Below the sponsored results,
if there are any, you should see a listing
of local results and a map with “Push-pins”.
You can click on a push-pin to see contact
information for the business and get directions.
To “zoom in“ and narrow your search area,
click a distance value in the top right corner
of the page. The map will resize and the push-pins
will spread out.
- Satellite Images – Just below the map you
should “Map – Satellite” links. Click on the
Satellite link and if it’s available and you’ll
see a satellite image of the area. You can
drag the image around, zoom in or out and
also overlay driving directions on the image.
I don’t see much value in these satellite
images, but I expect the feature will evolve
and possibly become more useful some day.
- Business Detail Page - In the listing of
local results click on one of the businesses
names (They should be a hyperlinks). You’ll
be brought to a detail page for the business.
At the top of the page you’ll see the contact
information again with another link to the
directions. You should also see a much more
detailed map of the location (with another
link to see a satellite image if available).
- References – Below the contact information
and map, Google will display results of a
search on the business. The results could
include pages from your web site as well as
other pages that mention the business, both
good and bad!!
is Now Yahoo! Search Marketing
Just an FYI: The Overture search engine
advertising network, owned by Yahoo, was renamed
Yahoo! Search Marketing last month.
eVision Home Page